Eight years after “frustrated ambition” led to four young South Yorkshire lads calling time on their band, they are back – and seemingly even bigger for their absence.
When Milburn called it a day in 2008, it seemed they may be remembered only as an influence on more successful artists still to come.
However, as a band spokesman says, “over time it became clear this music would not die, stubbornly refusing to take its place in the backwaters of Spotify. Instead the songs reached a new generation; spread by chants of ‘Miiiilburn’ at other band’s gigs and a new thing called ‘Social Media’.”
And now, “thanks to overwhelming public demand”, the band are back.
Two headline gigs at the 2,350 O2 Academy in Sheffield city centre sold out in five minutes, leading the band to add two further dates, which have both since sold out.
A warm-up show in Newcastle has also sold out.
“It’s an amazing achievement,” says a proud Joe Carnall junior, Milburn frontman.
“It’s a strange feeling as we have been away eight years.”
The band formed after Joe Green started playing the drums and friends Tom Rowley and Louis Carnall learned to play guitar, the trio recruiting Joe, Louis’ younger brother, as singer and bassist.
The quartet, named after a friend’s surname, released their first demo in 2001 and sold out Sheffield’s famous The Boardwalk venue twice the following year, – in 2005, they invited fellow Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys to support them on tour.
A record deal followed in 2006, with their first label single, Send in the Boys, reaching number 22, and their debut album, Well Well Well, reaching number 32 following its release in October that year.
The second album, These Are the Facts, followed in September 2007, but just six months later they announced it was all over, playing their final gig at Sheffield’s Carling Academy in May 2008.
Now, 10 years after the release of Well Well Well, the band are back.
Joe says: “People have been asking us every year to get back together, but we have held off. However. if we didn’t do it this year, there might not be another chance and that scared us.
“We just thought it was a great time to do it, there’s a reason to do it – 10 years since Well Well Well.
“We started talking, then we booked it and we’re off.
“When we split, there was an arrogance to it. It was just four ambitious kids who got frustrated with what we were up to.
“We saw our mates’ success, like Arctic Monkeys and Reverend and The Makers, and we thought we deserved that too, but didn’t get it, so we threw our toys out of the pram and quit.
“I was only 20, so still had that impetuousness of youth.
“Now we’re all grown up a bit, so we can enjoy it.”
And reforming has been easy – the four remain firm friends and involved in the music business.
“We are all best friends from school, so it’s enjoyable,” says Joe, who went to university and became a teacher – teaching history at Dinnington School – after Milburn’s demise,
However, he has combined this with performing in two more cult Sheffield bands, fronting The Book Club and playing bass in Reverend and The Makers, and, more recently, putting on solo shows.
“Joe, the drummer, does lessons and puts on gigs,” he continues, “while Tom has spent the last year playing keyboards with Arctic Monkeys and my brother has been working and playing in my band, so we’re still pretty active muscially.”
For fans lucky enough to have tickets for the Sheffield shows, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 28-30, and Sunday, May 1, Joe is promising a night to remember.
“It will be the very best of Milburn, we’re not going to do eight B-sides when people have waiting all this time.”
But he also offered a glimmer of hope of future shows for those who missed out on tickets
“We’re just enjoying the whole thing again,” says Joe. “We’ll wait to see what happens.
“There might be some festivals in it, but I don’t know. It’s just a few gigs to start, but even before the tickets went on sale, there were festival offers.
“It’s taken off.”
Watch this space...