Last week Metallica were justifying selling skis on their (presumably very wide) merch stall. Kiss have even done coffins and Blur launched a Magic Whip ice cream this week, as it seems T-Shirts alone no longer cut it as a band's merchandise offering. Still keeping their branded products still suitably unusual, at the other end of the rock'n'roll spectrum to Lars Ulrich and co Cattle & Cane have just started selling their own tea. In a guest guest column Joseph Hamill explains explain how they came to create their own signature brew, available from the merch stand on their next UK tour (which starts at Newcastle's Steam Of Head on 16 October).
Life on the road in a band isn’t necessarily all about sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll. In fact, to be honest, for my band it is more about a nice cup of tea and a game of Scrabble. We’re about as un-rock and roll as you get. At band practices, the tea pot is almost as important as our guitars; Cattle & Cane are passionate about tea.
Our most popular item of merchandise to date has been our Cattle & Cane mugs, so Cattle & Cane Tea seemed like the next logical step! We had played an acoustic set in the award winning independent shop The Olde Young Tea House in Middlesbrough a couple of years ago and we’ve stayed in touch with Carli the owner ever since.
So we got to thinking about it and we gave her a shout to ask if she’d be up for tea-ming (sorry, couldn’t resist) up with us to create our own blend. It’s no exaggeration to say she was even more excited than us! To be fair, she is probably the only person around who likes tea more than we do. So me and Helen went down there to create a new and unique tea that would forever bear our band’s name.
The shop is incredible. So much tea! Shelves of neatly placed jars with every different type of tea you can imagine; peach, mango & passion fruit, masala – it's never ending! Creating our own blend was like some sort of chemical experiment – mixing these leaves with those, adding a bit of that to this. What we hadn’t realized before we started was that we would not only have to sniff all the various teas to get an idea of their falvours, we would also have to drink all the different combinations.
Now, as I have said, we like tea, but 52 cups in an afternoon was a bit much even for us. And the less said about the ginger and peppermint experiment the better. Carli was there throughout, kind of producing for us, suggesting different mixes and advising on blends. Like recording the album, it was a lot of fun but had some tough moments and plenty of dead ends.
We tried lots of different combinations of tea but after much deliberation, me and Helen settled on a black infusion tea with a delicious blend of coconut, rum, ginger and spiced orange. We wanted something that felt like our debut album, ‘Home’ so we aimed for something with an autumnal feel with flavours that blended harmoniously, like our voices. We’ll be selling it on tour throughout October - hopefully you’ll be able to join us for a brew x Joseph Hamill @cattleandcane
For more head to Cattleandcane.co.uk.