The close-up: Charlie Waller, singer/guitarist in the Rumble Strips

Charlie Waller, singer/guitarist in the Rumble Strips

What are you wearing today?

A jacket that my mother gave me. It belonged to the husband of her friend. She gave it to me a year ago. She was like, "You don't have to have it," but I just quite liked it. These trousers were in a big pile of clothes at a friend's house - no one knew whose they were. They're a bit short, but that doesn't bother me. I can't remember where I got this T-shirt.

Do you often just pick up clothes?

Yes. I don't know why. I used to live in a big flat with lots of people and we accumulated lots of bits and bobs and no one knew who owned what. I lose clothes all the time too, so I haven't got many left. I had one particular shirt since I was 14 (I'm 27 now). I had had it for so long that it was almost see-through. I gave that away at a gig to someone in the audience - I was gutted and regretted it. I lost this jacket for six months recently and then I found it lurking in the back of our tour manager's van.

Who is the dog?

This is Douglas. I have had him a month and my clothes are continually covered in hairs. The string looks a big crusty. It's not really the look I'm going for, but I lost his lead and collar.

Describe your style.

In my early 20s I was into 50s rock'n'roll clothes and then, at some point, I stopped buying clothes. I still have bits and bobs from then, so my style is a tatty version of what it used to be.

Do you always have a beard?

No, I usually shave, but I've just been on tour. I find it hard to shave when I'm away. So for the duration of a tour it grows, then I shave it off. I don't think about it too much.

Is that a wedding ring tattoo on your finger?

Yes, I got married in April. My wife did give me a ring, but I didn't like wearing it, so we both got tattoos done instead. It looks home-done. All my tattoos look pretty shit, really.

Are you happy with the way you look?

If I lived more in one place, and had the time, and maybe more money, I would like to be well-dressed. I would like to wear nice tailored suits and expensive handmade shoes. I'm quite scruffy and I'd eventually like not to be scruffy.

How much time do you spend shopping?

Not much. The last time I went shopping was in Manchester with the band and we went to Primark and bought cheap underwear and blank T-shirts.

What would you never wear?

Jeans. I don't like the way they fall. I like trousers that fall off. When I was a kid I saw Adam Ant wearing these big flannel trousers and a tight leather jacket and biker boots, and I thought it looked really cool. I got my biker boots in America. They are too small for me, which is absolute hell, but I've got no others. I'm between shoes at the moment.

Are you vain?

I don't think so, but I'm not un-vain. Singing in a band is quite a vain thing to do - standing on stage and stuff. If you are on the road, what do you pack? I don't pack anything. I just walk out the door. Sometimes I take some underpants in my jacket pocket, but usually I just don't bother to pack.

So how do you cope?

I just smell. Usually people are far enough away from the stage that it doesn't really matter. We're only away for a week at a time usually before we come back home. Don't get me wrong; I like people who are stylish and make an effort and change their clothes every day. I'd like to be like that. But it's a lot of effort on tour. I think if I wear a T-shirt and trousers and boots it's kind of all right.

Who cuts your hair?

Usually my wife, but last time I got it cut backstage at a festival in Ireland. You could get a manicure and a massage there, too. But the masseur said I was un-massageable. I'm too ticklish. I hated it.

· The Rumble Strips' new single, Girls and Boys in Love, is out now.


Interview by Imogen Fox

The GuardianTramp

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