An Interview With Chris Renfrew

crdru

 

After a brief Q and A last month, I sat down with Chris Renfrew properly this time to fire some extremely important and heavy journo-y questions at him. I say “sat down with” but that’s bending the truth slightly, I sent them tae him over Facebook at half 1 on a Tuesday morning, but the man had some important shit tae say, and sometimes the most vital things in life get spilled over Facebook. I’ve given a few folk my life story for free over that fuckin thing, said some things tae some burds I shouldn’t have anaw, but this isn’t about me and my various misadventures. It’s about Chris Renfrew, it’s about upcoming projects, it’s about two heided dildos, it’s about Street Justice and its about the NAK taking over the fuckin world. It’s also a wee bit about wrestling wae giants, and you might be surprised to hear its a wee bit about Damien Demento. Its eclectic. Informative. Heroin for the soul. Fuck knows. Read it….


 

1. So there seems to be some exciting stuff in the works. Including the relaunch/rebranding of ICW Music. Fancy telling us a bit about it?

ICW Music originally came about in 2012 at the tail end when I started running gigs. All was going well decent wee nights in Box with decent tunes but it started to grow stale and stagnant and I saw the numbers within the crowd slowly dwindle. Dallas (the boss) clips me round the ear and says “Mon tae fuck you, what is going on with ICW Music?!” He was right,it wasn’t quite ICW enough. I had always wanted to use the name Insane Music but we originally went for ICW Music because of the ICW tie in, a recognisable three lettered brand that folks would immediately recognise. We spoke it over and decided a rebrand was in order, just like in wrestling, if the formula isn’t working and you are not connecting with an audience, change it up, “shake things up!” as Vinny Mac would say (would he say that? I’d imagine that is something Vince would say before letting out a huge laugh and telling you to close the door on your way out). I love a lot of the acts we have used in the past with ICW Music, they helped us run gigs for the best part of 18 months, but an issue I have found with many acts is they play so often within the same city, it is hard for them to consistently draw numbers. It’s a very Catch 22 scenario with bands as they need the live practice but often over-saturate their own market with overexposure. That is something we are going to avoid in the future. We have decided to make the shows more “wrestling” more of a variety show than just another Glasgow music night.

This show will be presented by Mark Dallas with another guest soon to be announced. Joe Hendry will be there with an ICW acoustic set, we will have a set from the Van Dammage, Div from Psyko Dalek’s 80s dance project with other bands I am currently in contact with to get this started with a bang. The first Insane Music show is July 3rd, its Free Entry and we are treating this evening as the start of the ICW Summer, 6 weeks between shows?! We ain’t used to that anymore, we need our party fix! That is what Insane Music is going to be, a big ass crazy ICW party where you just don’t know who will show up or what will happen, we are slowly turning Box Glasgow (Great people and best white russian menu in Glasgow) into our own version of WWF New York, minus the over-priced burgers. Once we are underway again there are many projects lined up, such as the next music video (The first music video “Bucky Boys” by the Shadowpeople and Wee Man is available to view on youtube) plus there is chat on an album, so watch this space…

2. You’ve recently worked with Billy Kirkwood on some comedy podcasts, and you’ve teamed up with him and Chris Brooker for I Am The Tag Team Champions. Any other projects coming up of that nature?

Billy Kirkwood is without a doubt one of the most talented and funny individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I consider myself very fortunate to call a good friend. We have done a few podcasts on a project called “Just Being Funny” that has been put on hiatus at the moment purely because of time restraints but we will get back to that soon. With the Tag Champs stuff I have the time of my life, Billy has pushed me to do a five minute set at one of his gigs, I’m tempted but honestly shitting myself at the prospect. It’s different to make a crowd of people laugh, sounds weird to be scared of that environment when i am involved in blood and guts wrestling matches but it’s true, it takes a special kind of nerve to be a comedian. I am always dropping in the questions “When you doing another Tag Champs?” because I love it, I love being able to interact with the fans on that level because deep down I have never lost my love for that side of wrestling, not taking it too seriously when enjoying it as a fan, and I feel like a fan laughing at all the in-jokes of wrestling only us wrestling geeks get.

In regards to future projects I will let in with a wee exclusive… A few years ago myself, Billy, Red Lightning, Chris Duke and JD Bravo ran a radio show called OWS (The One Wrestling Show), it was great and we built up a decent wee following. Then the two Chris’ (myself and Duke) had a major fall out, like mega personal differences that caused the show to fall apart. It has been a while now so here is what went down. Duke basically called us (mainly me and Billy) for ripping into him and not showing him enough respect. I have always had this nature of reacting badly to situations like this, something I have improved on over the past few years working with Dallas and ICW, but my short fuse could be a problem (hence the early rant videos) like if someone would say “Who you calling a dick?!” I’d immediately go to “You, ya dick” it was my nature. Red lived with me for a while and knew this, he told Duke, leave Renfrew a week to simmer, he will calm down and we can get back to it, Duke didn’t, he kept poking the bear and the show fell apart. Between me and Chris Duke we ruined the One Wrestling Show, something we had spent so much time and effort into creating. Recently the old crew (minus Duke) have been speaking on getting a reunion back together on a permanent basis and getting back on the radio. It is only in the early stages of discussion but we are currently working on getting the old crew back together and having a new radio show with myself, Billy, JD and Red. I can speak to Red and Billy all day about wrestling, they are brilliant minds and intelligent people, so there’s a good chance the old crew are getting back together for a new wrestling radio show.

3. With Shugs Hoose Party a bawhair off being a sellout, any secret plans for the show ye fancy letting slip? Just imagine its midway through the Geordie Rules match, and yer hauf cut. Loose lips n that. Wink twice if Austin’s gonnae show up.

If it is midway through that fucking match I’m no chatting to any cunt, I’m mwi trying to avoid getting hit in the head with metal! I honestly envy the fans with shows selling out before matches are even announced! I love the element of surprise with wrestling and with shows selling out in advance this gives more room for creative to spring surprises and work towards giving the live audience the best possible show we can give. I mean who else in the country has the baws to have Fergal Devitt show up unannounced? Nobody, but we see the big reaction, that reaction when the lights come on and a hero is standing before you. Me and Dallas are dreamers, we imagine situations and you wouldn’t believe how many of them have come true…and will come true. All I can say about Shugs is the violence level will be very high.

4. Speaking of that Geordie Rules match, was it as brutal as it looked? No every day ye get mouth raped by a two heided dildo.

Fucking right it was! That thumbtack chair is such an arsehole mate, hurts so fucking bad, and I have the dubious record of being hit with it more than anyone else. In fact I’ve also been smacked with a dildo more than anyone else now, cause that wee dick Davey Boy hit me with a Dildo in the Square Go! The fuck man?! Never in a million years did I think when I got into wrestling someone would violate my face with a 15 inch double ended throbber. But fuck it, the fans were entertained and that’s all that matters. It can be hard to create something different in wrestling these days but I believe me and Havoc have, the Scottish and the Geordie rules match are anti-wrestling at it’s best, the purists will hate it. Thing is it’s not 1975 anymore, wrestling fans come in all shapes and sizes and some want to see people die! Not literally die, but compete in nasty blood soaked wars, I know I love that shit. Was it as brutal as it looked, fuck yeah it was, trying not spew in round 5 was legit, those shots were killing us, and I mean the booze not the chairs. Two matches, two draws, round three will happen.

5. ICWs return to London for What’s Your Boggle is coming up, with the first show being such a rousing success for ICW, how are ye planning on topping it?

On a personal level, it will be hard to top the three-way match between us, The Buckys and the SDS as I feel that has been the best tag match the NAK have ever been in, the chemistry that night was off the scale, barely a step missed and the fans loved it, the SDS are special, there’s a reason they are so world travelled, just a shame they are so fucking DUTCH! The Dutch, they are like stoned Germans! But seriously this gig is totally different. the NAK Vs Havoc/Jester from the Summer of last year is the most violent match I have ever been a part of, I mean shit got out of hand, like it really escalated fast, pretty sure BT Gunn threw a trident. This is 100% me talking here, I am sick and tired of those two claiming to be the most hard and insane in the company, what because they say it it’s true? They act like their blood means more than mine because it is spilled more often, news flash fuckers, maybe it’s because I am the one busting people open. And when I spoke on them at Up and Atom I was being serious, all this “We’re pals but lets try and kill each other” patter can suck my dick, I’m all about the hostility in wrestling. Shake hands years later when the issues are settled fine, like Whiplash Vs Grado, it cemented the end, but at the time, nah man. Some cunt throw a pie!

6. With BT Gunn tearing it up in singles matches lately, and yersell with yer sights firmly on the ICW Title, are the NAK quietly removing themselves from the Tag Title equation for now?

We don’t do anything quietly. There is no danger we are leaving that tag scene any time soon, the issues between us, The Bucky Boys and the SDS are far from over. We just keep ourselves busy. As I stated earlier there is a chemistry between the three teams and we can’t ignore that, plenty of fuel left in that feud. We mix and match to stay fresh, we will have tag wars but recently have been mixing it up with singles matches (Newcastle all three NAK members present wrestled in a singles) we have established ourselves as a group with all the multi-man wars and street fights. As fun as they are to do we can’t just run with the same formula all the time or that gets boring and the big gang wars lose meaning, or mean less at least. If you want longevity with a stable, you need to play with the dynamics and matches, that is what is happening with the NAK in ICW at the moment. We are pretty much feuding with everyone from the Card Subject to Change gimmick (which came about when I said that to a fan who started moaning about taking time off work to see Jester Vs Sabu then there was a chance Id face Sabu instead if I beat Jester, he moaned and I replied “Card Subject to Change fucker!”my mrs thought that was brilliant so I went with that as our catchphrase, also its the play on the old wrestling saying on posters ect so worked with double meaning) fair credit to everyone in ICW at the moment, they have really helped put us over as the top heel faction, but I feel though involved with so much, we have managed to avoid being overbearing and be the only element of the show, like the nwo and evolution 2003 they were too overbearing at times, but I feel we have a found a good balance.

7. You’re teaming with Sweeney over at Pride wrestling, and seemingly having a smashin time of it. Fancy telling us a bit more about your work over there and the promotion itself?

Pride stemmed from SWA, it was originally kind of the trainee shows but Damien Mackle (Damo O’Connor) SWA owner passed the company over James St James (Pride owner) and it became its own entity. Pride is a smaller show running out of the Bridgeton Community Centre. It is technically family shows but to be honest was a more pg14 crowd, not that many kids, but they drew a respectable number. Pride gives a lot of the younger wrestlers an opportunity to perform and is a good feeder company for the larger companies, Cage will not mind me saying that as he is not delusional on the size of the Promotion. Fair game to Cage, he persevered through some terrible draws and has found a formula that started a wee fan base in Bridgeton. Cage first started using me as the ICW Chris Renfrew character but I suggested I wanted to do something a bit different, just for fun really, as I’m so serious in ICW at times but really a total goof, I needed my release. Sweeney is a friend away from wrestling as well as in it and we always spoke on this gimmick of an over the top Street gang somewhere between Mafia goons and 80s henchmen.


The name Street Justice came from an episode of American Dad, the scene is Stan is beating up Hayleys boyfriend, when Hayley asks him to stop Stan replys “Sorry Hayley, I can’t hear you over the Street Justice!” We found that proper hilarious and thought that was a great name for the team. You’d be surprised how much of wrestlings ideas stem from random bits from TV shows or music, like I based a lot of the earlier NAK stuff on Marilyn Mansons music, the lyrics and mentality of his early tracks I used as my mentality as a character, that may sound weird but it worked. Recently I have added some more colour to my character, that was inspired by Simon Pheonix of Demolition Man, this happy-go-lucky nutter, thats why now in pictures you often see me laughing and smiling as I stab folk. But back to the Street Justice stuff, it’s just fun, me and Sweeney are having the time of our lives over selling and being 80s as fuck and with that the fans seem to be having fun with us, so it’s win/win. Mon along and see it for youself Marty fuck sake!

8. I’ve been told yer briefcase is goosed, and you’ll be carrying yer contract around in a satchel now, any truth in these vicious rumours?

Man! Why is it always other people who break my stuff?! I also ripped my favourite jeans on that trip but that’s another story (we are saving our road stories up for a decent shoot interview in like 10 years, none of this T-Total shit, mwi rasslin stories!) Like my first Kendo stick lasted ages, smashing everyone with it and it always survived. Then at Insane in the Membrane its disappeared, next thing I know Whiplash is smashing Jester with it. SNAP! It breaks! To Whiplash’s credit he bought me a new one the next show, which was broken on my head. From there every stick broke on its first evening of use, that’s why I ditched the kendo, at £25 a pop, fuck that! But aye my briefcase, BT proper crushed it over Wolfy didn’t he?! I’m glad, it needed “NAK’d” up a bit and the crack has added character, a Wolfy shaped dent. I went and broke the other side of it on Stevey Boy later on as well. A satchel?! HAHAHAHA! Imagine cashing in and it is a satchel? I reckon that could work for Joe Hendry, if he ever won the Square Go he should totally get a satchel rather than a briefcase! That’s funny stuff, don’t think it would quite suit me though.

9. Any venue ICW have yet to run yet that you’ve got in yer sights? With the ABC selling out fairly quickly now, any plans on looking at somewhere bigger?

Hampden! I can see ICW looking into other Glasgow venues soon, it’s all part of moving forward as a company.If we keep selling out the ABC in advance and it happens quicker every time, we would simply have to move to another venue, but of course we have our eye on a few places.

10. Favourite match of all time

Bret Hart Vs Stone Cold Steve Austin Wrestlemania 13. For several reasons. The match itself is art, a proper war between two men that had near perfect chemistry together, Hart Vs Austin is actually my second favourite feud ever (behind Austin Vs McMahon), so under-rated over time as to what it did for both men and how it shaped the WWF that year, but this match had so much. That iconic image of Austin breaking the Sharpshooter, the blood pouring down his face through his teeth, Lawler at his best on commentary “IMPOSSIBLE!, IMPOSSIBLE!” gives me goosebumps just thinking on it. But the double switch from heel to face was sheer magic, never has it been done as well as that and never will be again. For me it was a change, I was a Bret Hart guy growing up, after the Hogan era ended, for me it was Bret, my wee greatest hits video played to death, I loved the Hitman. Then the turn on Austin, this new guy, and I went with him, “What has happened to you Bret, Fuck you, Austins the man!”. From start to finish, that match for me is perfect.

11. Earliest wrestling memory?

Im 5 years old on the playground and someone hands me one of the old blue trading cards. Its the LOD, full promo pic, spikes the lot and Im like “WOOOOOOAAAHHHH! REAL LIFE THUNDERCATS!” I needed to see more of these real life superheroes, that is my earliest wrestling memory. First match I ever saw was the Natural Disasters Vs The Rockers, The Disasters proper squashed the Rockers, I was gutted! First match I saw live was in 1993, Damien Demento Vs Typhoon CLASSIC!

12. Dream opponent?

Ever, Stone Cold Steve Austin hands down no doubt about it, to me the greatest of all time, changed the business. I wouldn’t want to wrestle him now, I never want to see Austin wrestle again, he hasn’t had a match for over 10 years his neck is a wreck, fans that want to see him in the ring again boggle me, why want to see icons risk their lives at half pace? Mind Bret Hart Vs Vince McMahon? Still active today anyone in the world would be The Big Show. That may sound crazy but I love playing the smaller guy, I don’t get to do it often but I love getting bumped around the place. The Big Show is a specimen and though there are so many guys before him for match quality and the likes, I want to see whats its like to wrestle a giant


Cheers to Renfrew for taking the time to answer the questions, particularly some of the dafter ones. A guy gets chibbed with a dildo, a baking tray, a thumbtack laden chair and various other instruments of destruction and I ask if it was as sare as it looked? “Nah mate…aw that stuff was made outta styrofoam and the blood wis a ketchup n vinegar combination…fuck dae you think?”

If this interview was an accurate depiction of Renfrews soundness, you’ll be wanting to follow him on all that social media shit eh?

Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/ChrisRenfrew1

Like his page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/chrisrenfrewnak?fref=ts

Tickets for ICW – What’s Your Boggle are still available, along with tickets for the Edinburgh Festival shows in August, so get them while ye can. (cause in case ye didn’t notice, ICW sells out pretty fast these days)

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ICW-Wrestling-tickets/artist/825377?tm_link=tm_homeA_artist1

Follow Insane Music on Twitter, and come along to the show on July 3rd at Box tae. Free entry. Good music. Cocktails wae wrestlers names. A plethora of good shit.

https://twitter.com/ICWinsanemusic

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