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The Intrepid Fox

date: 2007-04
photos by All pictures are used with the kind permission of regis hertrich.
interview by Teryal / Lakkshop.hu


THE INTREPID FOX
15 ST. Giles High Street
London WC2H 8LQ
Near: End of Denmark Street, Tottenham Court Road
Opening times:
Mo-Thu 1PM-12AM, Fri-Sat 1PM-2AM
No ties, no football colours, strictly no under 18's!

Every town has pubs: small ones, posh ones, hidden and battered ones. And then there are those with devout followers. Those who stand up and make a difference and bring back their favourite places from imminent death. Here is the story of a place that matters. The story of THE INTREPID FOX.


THE DOSE: Your pub became an inpassable meeting point for the rock-goth community nowadays. How was it in the beginning? Please describe us your history in few sentences!

The Intrepid FoxJANUARY BEGENT: The pub used to attract mainly bikers and punks; it was quite a rough crowd and the music was of bad quality. Either you had the mainstream rock music which came from a juke box or you would have to listen to badly recorded tapes of very hard punk music which the crowd would ask you to play.

This was at the very beginning in the early 80's when Pat was assistant manager before becoming manager. But, as time passed, goths, glam rockers and other rock styles mixed in more due to the gigs played at The Marquee (famous venue where The Rolling Stones amongst other very famous bands played), which was just a block up the road from the Fox and then there where other rock venues in the area which helped bring more diversity of rockers into the pub. Again, we are referring to the very early 80's when the rock scene in London was seriously alive and kickin'. It was the best time in London in our opinion for the rock scene.

THE DOSE: The place can name many rock icons as its returning visitor - for example Ville Valo (HIM) and Lenny (Motorhead). How could you lure them into your pub?

JANUARY BEGENT: Pretty rock-alternative looking barmaids and excellent music! ha! We never really lured these icons as such... band/ tour managers or even themselves, would come in for a drink in passing, they enjoyed the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the unpolished décor, the posters, skulls, graveyard..., the variety in the music played and the fact that no one would hassle them while they enjoyed drinking a pint! I guess if it wasn't for this, they would not have come back for more! They would sometimes would book after shows through their tour managers with us, which was great as we would then have the opportunity to sit and have a drink with them as well and get to know them a little in person. We have so many great memories of crazy party nights with some bands. They have all been so friendly and down to earth people.

THE DOSE: As far as I'm concerned you also organize fanmeets-celebrity parties. How often a year? Can you name some? Which one was the most memorable so far?

The Intrepid FoxJANUARY BEGENT: They are usually after parties. If there is a gig at the London Astoria or Mean Fiddler either the band management would call us to book the bar after their gig of I would get in touch with someone to ask them if they would like to come round for a drink after their gig. The ones that were organised in a more relaxed way always turned out to be more fun; less groupies banging on the door to let them in to deal with! ha! ha! I would say that, I am a woman!

As for fan meetings... Sepultura were great! They came in a few years back and they were incredibly friendly and got chatting with their fans and signed everything that needed signing.

Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) was fantastic and very friendly. He signed a guitar once for us the year they played at Download Festival (2004?), which we then gave away as a prize in the pub one night. I think we had an air guitar competition and there was a manic frenzy for the guitar. Even I went for it! kidding... unfortunately, for obvious reasons I couldn't participate.

Only about 2 weeks after opening our new venue, we were amazed to see Bruce Dickinson sat at our new bar with some of his mates and 3 hours later he was still enjoying our new venue and didn't mind some fans would coming over to shake his hand.

Ammy from BuckCherry was awesome! We sat him on the 'Brain Drain', which was a chair we made up from scratch with metal spikes and leather bits - and forced him to get into the chair and drink 2 pints of lager in under a minute and then play air guitar on the table. He did it and had a blast with us! This was on the last day of the old Intrepid Fox. They came back to play live only this past week!

THE DOSE: TIF has recently moved to a new location but not without difficulties: the pub had to close down its activities at the previous place and it seems to me that only the hard protest of loyal fans and the media coverage could save the pub. Can you tell us some background info: why you had to close the pub - now we can say temporarily-, was hard to come back?

The Intrepid FoxJANUARY BEGENT: The pub was run by a brewery, and even though the pub made good money for them, they never quite knew what to do with us as they did not understand what we were about; they did not understand the alternative rock scene. They had intentions to close us down many times, but due to the amount of money it made without them investing much into repairs, they prolonged their plans and kept on telling us we were safe.

The building was sold for a huge amount of money and obviously this was still a lot more than what the pub was making. They would make it near impossible for Pat to manage it; demanding more profits with minimum expenditure invested. Quite unfair really. This is why at the end it was even more upsetting because obviously Pat was the best manager he could be for years and they dared to put him down in a final interview with BBC1 claiming the pub just didn't make the money. The figure they said the pub made was less than half of the real figure which was infuriating.

The 'new' Fox... was made possible due to the support of the alternative rock people not only in London but around the world. It was one of the most amazing things ever experienced. A petition was drawn by one of our supporters to try save the old venue and after only one week, there were over 3,000 signatures! and by the end which I think was 4 weeks, there were just under 7,000 signatures. AMAZING! It is difficult to explain how humble we felt and how incredibly grateful we were to everyone that were battling with us the unjustice that there was no sign of respect or support from the local authorities and council to help us in our fight to protect what we felt was ours; a part of our community being torn down and taken away from us.

Now we are in a partnership and run the new pub freehold and we have had an excellent response from our supporters. There is still work to be done; skulls to be put up and mechanical crosses to be hammered into the walls... but we have time to do slowly and when it feels right. We can't just stick things around and hope for the best. Time and inspiration will build it up slowly. Some people seem to think that the old Fox jsut looked like that over night which is quite amusing and complain that the new one is not like the old one. Well, of course it's not! But it has incredible potential to be better... and it already is.

THE DOSE: What are your expectations regarding the new place? Has the new place new advantages as well?

The Intrepid FoxJANUARY BEGENT: The new place is not on a main street which makes it a little more difficult to find but actually it is in an even better location to the previous venue. We are at the end of Denmark Street which is well know to a very musicians as the shops are mainly guitar shops. It is right behind the crossing of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road which means that it is literally 2 mins walk from the London Astoria (most famous live music venue in London). And even though sadly, the Astoria will be closing at some point, The Mean Fiddler is next door which is another very well know venue for great rock concerts.

The venue itself is a lot more spacious which is a great advantage that the other one didn't have. We have a 2am licence over weekends which is something we did not have at our old venue and we can have live bands too! So far we have had Zodiac Mindwarp and Buckcherrry play live! We have some other special guests lined up to play this year, but we shall keep that a secret... for now!

I have been organizing the entertainment in terms of DJ's and parties; we have set up differerent club nights for the weekends, including 'METAL DEMENTIA' with DJ Lola (Spanish DJ who lives for metal music), 'FUCKED BY ROCK' (Max Pornscar and Seamus666), KICK OUT THE JAMS brought by Brett Callwood who plays great old school rock n roll and general rock (Brett actually writes for various rock magazines in London too). Another great addition is DENIM&LEATHER - a bit heavier rock , CRASH N BURN with DJ Deminic plays Southern/Stoner rock and 'HORROR HIGHSCHOOL' with DJ raves playing hotrod punk/psychobilly and garage. We also have a black/death metal night called MELTDOWN which dj's of Terrorizer mag.have brought to us. Another night soon to be incorporated on Thursdays will be purely gothic music.

On www.myspace.com/intrepidfox you can see who is DJ'ing and what music to expect on which days on a weekly basis. The idea is to cover each genre of rock music over the weekends in our upstairs bar where we also have a pool table. Music plays a VERY important factor to what the Intrepid Fox is about so therefore we choose very carefully our DJ's and hope everyone has a great time when they come over for drinks no matter what day of the week that may be!