When the rock fraternity went to see tips for the top Amen last month, they couldn't help but take note of support band Charger. A blend of relentless noise combined with the sound of a man swallowing razor blades is the best description you'll get from me, ask the band and they'll reel off names like Black Flag and Napalm Death - you get the idea that this is not just some primetime MTV friendly band. Read our interview with vocalist Tim to find about Stoke's anti-heroes.

Q: You would have only come to most people's attention with the Amen tour. For people who haven't heard you, how would you describe your sound?
A: We've always sounded like we do now but the albums a lot more emotional than the EP . I'd just joined the band at that point, so I thought I'd write some lyrics dead quick and record them - that first EP was just a laugh. I'd say were an emotional, heavy band. Some people can see Earthtone 9 in us, none of us listen to them but its similar type of stuff really. Were all into Grind core music but on a mellow softer side we all like Massive Attack and Portishead.

I'm sure we'll be doing the radio sessions this year and you always have to do the obligatory cover version. I think Blondie would be a good one with "Hanging On The Telephone". Were trying to learn "Close To The Edge" by Yes , but its a 20 minute song and it very complex - I think were going to do a "Close To The Edge" Ep.

Q: Were they're any rock & roll moments on the Amen tour?
A: Amen were really nice blokes. Casey's very quiet and spends most of his time in the van - He's a bit pretentious I suppose. Raging Speedhorn are really good mates. Were not influenced by Speedhorn because we sort of gave birth to the 2 bands at the same time. Raging Speedhorn got arrested in this foreign country - Frank was stomping all over these cars and had to spend the night in a cell. We don't get up to much, were just boring old farts.

Its a bit weird because the crowd didn't know exactly what we were doing. They don't know whether they can headbang to it or slam to it. Its a nice reception though. I think its better for people to stand there and their jaws drop rather than bounce around.

Q: You formed in 1998. Do you think that with rock music doing so well that 2001 is finally your year?
A: Yeah, definitely!!! Rock music is getting heavier and even in the charts you're getting rock music. Its good because you'll start to get the kids into the heavier stuff, but I'm not really into the commercial side of it all though, the bands that influence me personally are 70's prog rock acts like Yes and King Crimson. In the 70's rock music was the mainstream and I think we can get back to that again, but it will be totally mutated with all the rough edges smoothed out.

Were from the underground and that's the way we like it. Everyone's just friends and not enemies - you get bands like Korn and its all just politics and money. I think we'll probably get more mainstream and mellow out, but it will still be brutal music. As the years go on we'll get more melodic and that's not selling out - everyband wants to be huge from the start.

We know we could do really well in Europe and we'd like to tour the album in Summer, but unfortunately it all comes down to money at the end of the day

Q: You talked before about the music being heavy and emotional. Is that a trait that carries over onto the lyrical ideas?
A: I prefer not to talk about my lyrics. Each person who reads them can probably take a different meaning from them. As I said before about the EP, we'd just started and I didn't know what to do so a lot of those lyrics were rubbish. Its been said that "Immense Mammoth" is a song about fucking fat women but the album more serious, more emotional.

Writing the lyrics is like a therapy session, being in the studio allows you to get a lot of things out of your system. Everyone needs a release in life and I'm lucky I've got that rather than going to the gym. Everyone needs a release but very few people actually have one.

I'm from Cheadle, just outside Stoke, and its just so narrow minded and very interbred - lots of farmers and people with more limbs than they should have. Its was just really strange and rock music was the only thing I had that was good in life. Robbie Williams grew up here, but we try and keep away from that - he daren't even walk round Stoke because he'd get his head kicked in.

Q: Finally. What's this fixation everything being gay on your website?
A: That's our bass player, Jez, he just started saying gay about everything. There's this really good band called "Lab Rat" from down in London and they said "Metal is Gay" in this review and got a big uproar about it. What they were saying is that heavy metal is socially unacceptable as is homosexuality.

Charger Website