In 2006 Stiff Records returned from the world of reissues and back catalogue, signing their first new band since the late 80s. Three eighteen year old lads from Coventry – Tom Clarke (lead vocals, guitar), Liam Watts (drums) and Andy Hopkins (bass guitar, backing vocals) – The Enemy could not have been more ‘Stiff’. The complete antidote to late 00s celeb-infatuated pop, stating from the outset, “We’re about just making good music, proper music. It’s not about what you wear or what you look like, it's about what you do and what you stand for.”
Having started off under name of Bridges, they were a hit on local radio, winning Band of the Month in July 2005 on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. In February 2006 they regenerated into The Enemy and became the first act to be featured on the station’s new local rock show Sounds, just as Coventry’s scene – and The Enemy’s potential – was beginning to gather pace.
They signed to Stiff to develop their sound, not to shift units. So the label’s first single in almost 20 years was deemed ‘chart ineligible’ when BUY 265 - The Enemy’s 40 Days and 40 Nights - was pressed onto 1000 limited edition 7” vinyl copies on 06 November 2006. B/W Dancin’ All Night, it sold out literally overnight, and was followed by Its Not OK (BUY 266) on 12 February 2007.
Produced by Owen Morris (Oasis, Ash, The Verve), It’s Not OK spurred The Enemy onto Warner Brothers to release a debut album, and book tour dates with Kasabian, Ash and the Manic Street Preachers. As the NME called them right from the start, “The kind of band we’d been praying for since the day Oasis went to seed.
“If you like Oasis and Arctic Monkeys, prepare to get very excited”, said Dazed & Confused or, as Clash magazine goaded its readers in a review of It’s Not OK, “Only a curmudgeon could resist being drawn in…”