This thing’s got legs...

Made in Sheffield: Black Spiders
Made in Sheffield: Black Spiders
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OZZY Osbourne liked them so much he put them on with him at London’s huge O2 Arena. Guns N’ Roses legend Duff McKagan is a fan because they’re punctual.

But how much do we know about the rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut that is Black Spiders? Well, they’re from Sheffield for a start, but to look at them they could hail from the cotton fields of Alabama.

Guitar-slinging singer Pete Spiby isn’t surprised few in their hometown realise they’re Sheffield lads.

“I don’t think a lot of people know that,” concurs the veteran of previous local near legendary noise-makers Groop Dogdrill and FutureXWife.

“Then I don’t think any history is going to overshadow what we’re doing right now. We’ve made our own mark. We don’t integrate ourselves into the Sheffield scene that much, so maybe that’s why.”

Then when the Spiders formed it wasn’t with a notion it would get this far: the band released their huge debut album Sons Of The North last week after long drawing such plaudits as “best unsigned band in Britain”.

Pete moved to London just as they were getting together. “Now I’m commuting to Sheffield because that’s where the rest of the band is based,” he says ahead of tomorrow’s O2 Academy show.

“It seems to have paid off, overcoming those kind of obstacles. The reviews for the album have been unbelievable.”

The 10 tracks of galloping, melodic rock were canned at Doncaster’s Axis Studios, produced by the band and Matt Ellis who handled both Groop Dogdrill albums.

“We were looking at different options and we just realised Matt was probably the most realistic, and he did a brilliant job. He knew exactly what we wanted to do. We all went in with maybe not exactly the same path and Matt put us straight.

“He’s a stickler for a lot of things and he knows how to coax the best out of us. He could have an objective opinion and we did have arguments about things, but he didn’t try to put his take on it because he knew we’d been playing those songs for so long we knew how they wanted to be.

“We gave him an idea of what sound we wanted. I guess there were more arguments when it came to the mixes. And there was always the problem of which songs were going on the album because they all sounded good, but that was down to the band luckily.”

Sons Of The North was the result of two years of hammering songs such as first single St Peter and the contents of two EPs into shape on the road from toilets to Download and Sonisphere in which time they amassed a formdiable live reputation. That, the Ozzy experience and radio play made them a sought after signature for record companies.

“Our profile started getting bigger,” says Pete, in between setting up at Nottingham’s Rock City.

“The underground buzz was getting bigger and we started getting offers left, right and centre from labels, but they really hadn’t got much to offer that was any better than us doing it on our own.

“The releases have been off our own back, we’ve had no financial backing, although we’ve had a little help through Jägermeister. You get to be very cautious.”

And shrewd. The Spider men are a self sufficient machine with touring funding the records and sales putting fuel in the tank. And with tours alongside the likes of Aussie rockers Airbourne, Dwarves and Turbonegro they’ve visited many filling stations.

Either way, remaining free of a corporate grip has enabled Pete and pals to have the ultimate say. The singer finally seems to have found his home. “I don’t know what’s different really.

“I’ve known most of the guys for a long time. When we got together it wasn’t to do anything particularly serious really. I don’t think anybody had an eye on doing this in the future like we are now.

“We all did it for the right reasons, to have a laugh and play some songs we liked. We’ve all grown up with the same sort of music and maybe that’s why it gels a bit more. Plus no-one is interfering with what we are doing - we’ve been guiding our own light this time around.”