THE Long Blondes drummer Screech who hails from Stourbridge will be back in his hometown this Christmas following a whirlwind year of musical success.

The 24-year-old - who used to live at Lakeside - is looking forward to sipping a pint in his favourite pub The Old Crispin after a hectic couple of weeks touring Europe this month.

Since signing to Rough Trade records in April this year Screech Louder, as he is now known, and his four band mates have not looked back.

With two top 30 singles and an album under his belt, the former King Edwards and Redhill student - real-name Mark Turvey - said he was looking forward to a well-earned rest and catching up with his mates.

He said: "Its kind of weird looking back on how much we have done. It's been mad really - I haven't been back home since last Christmas."

But he insists his sudden rise to fame with one of the most talked about bands this year and getting to meet his musical heroes hasn't changed him.

"I don't think I've changed. It's been pretty insane. Oasis and Pulp were my favourite bands so to have met Noel Gallagher and Jarvis Cocker - that's amazing.

"But when I go home I just want to talk about football. My friends watched me on MTV and they just think it's pretty funny. It's hard because I'm really busy, but it's always good to come back and hang out with them."

Mark, whose family still lives in Finsbury Drive, got involved with the band after completing a sociology degree at university in Sheffield.

He said: "Everyone in the band had graduated and was looking for work and wanted something to do. I'd never played the drums before, but they all thought I looked like a drummer so I thought I'd give it a go - I thought it would be a fun thing to do."

Likewise bandmates Dorian Cox (lead guitar and keyboards), Kate Jackson (singer), Emma Chaplin (rhythm guitar, keyboards and backing vocals) and Reenie Hollis (bass guitar/backing vocals) all learned how to play their chosen instruments - and three years later their punky rock tunes had become the talk of the industry.

Following the success of their long-awaited debut album Someone to Drive You Home last month, there are plans for another single in February, an outing at Birmingham's Irish Centre on February 2, and Screech hopes there'll be another album by the end of 2007.

Mark, who says his passion for music developed when he used to hire out CDs from Stourbridge Library, rates bands such as The Slits and The Raincoats as his inspiration, along with erm...Republica?!?

He said: "I really love bands with girls in - 70s and 80s stuff."

Although too busy these days to keep tabs on Stourbridge's music scene he has fond memories of watching gigs at the Rock Cafe 2000 and The Shed, where he says he once got on stage dressed as a cowboy!

Similar antics may not be repeated this festive season, but friends and fans wanting to catch up need look no further than Screech's old local.

"If anyone wants any autographs I'll be in the Crispin on Christmas Eve" he said.