THE DENTIST – In For a Check-Up with Bernie Torme.

‘Creative process for me is always different, some are instant, some are like pulling teeth and it goes on for years, literally. You never can tell’.

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Bernie Torme is best known for playing guitar in Gillan, with the former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. Ahead of his Dublin Cowboy UK tour, Bernie Torme broke off rehearsals to talk to Just for the Record. With an 8 date tour coming up are you looking forward to it and how does it compare to the Gillan era tours of the late 70’s/80’s ?
‘Its pretty much like the first Gillan tour dates I did to be honest, before we became famous and it all went bang and different, those were probably the best times for the band in truth! Marquee and Birmingham Barbarellas and all that. Ian was a legend but it was a low point in his career and when the Gillan band took off it became a bit difficult for all of us to handle. He knew how to, we didn’t!

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Obviously now I’m a lot older and much stupider and not trying to go mad all the time like the old days, just trying to stay alive through the mayhem, so thats different!
Also with Gillan we never did a run of more than 4 dates, Ian’s voice used to fuck up. I don’t need to worry about that because mine fucked up long ago!’14034862_10210049693749186_9218421111264127141_n

When you were young was there a defining moment when you said to yourself “That’s what I’m gonna do” was it seeing a band play live, hearing or watching maybe The Beatles?  ‘Thats a good question! Not sure there was ever a single defining moment though. I think generally it was the Rolling Stones followed by The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck if anything. I loved The Beatles, the songs definitely, but the guitar playing and sounds didn’t really hit me all that much, more John Lennon’s voice, though. I loved the riffy stuff like Day Tripper and Ticket To Ride.
Keith Richards did really hit me though, the sound of the guitar on The Last TimeSatisfaction or 19th Nervous Breakdown really blew me away. And the whole of the Out Of Our Heads album.
And then hearing Beck on the Yardbirds Heart Full Of Soul, just loved it. Shapes Of Things, Mister You’re A Better Man Than I, it was just wow! How can a guitar do that! It was the sound that I loved, that is still the thing for me, the sounds you can get out of a guitar. I love making those sounds’.

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Can you remember your first guitar and what influenced you to pick it up ?
‘Yeah of course! First guitar I ever had my hands on was some shitty Spanish with no name, borrowed from a friend of my sister! I liked it so much I saved up and got myself an Egmond acoustic for £6 10 shillings, lotta money in those days! Then my Dad, who had a second hand shop/auctioneers with his brother had a second hand Hofner Colorama electric turn up, for a tenner, so he gave me that. Lovely guitar, wish I still had it’.

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How do you feel about the work you are producing now and does the creative process take time or do songs come quickly ? ‘Well I do the best I can, I just do what feels right for me. Thats something that has changed since the old days, back then you were always trying to please a bunch of suits, some of them were good people and had a sense of respecting what you did, but most were just trying to get you to produce an instant hit, and that was all about money and not about music in any shape or form. So now I just follow my nose and do what I love, its working well for me.
Creative process for me is always different, some are instant, some are like pulling teeth and it goes on for years, literally. You never can tell. Just have to have a good memory really !
Lately I’ve been able to do a double album, a single album and now a triple album, mind you I’m not planning to buy a yacht or anything on the proceeds! Just as well really, maybe a toy yacht haha’.

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Was the pledge for your latest album ‘Dublin Cowboy’ successful ? ‘Bloody crazy successful! Best one so far, can’t believe it! Its also been a really fun experience this time, first one (Flowers & Dirt 2014) was great but I didn’t really know what I was doing or how it worked, so it was a bit stressy. Second one (Blackheart 2015) was weird because some nutcase broke into my house and beat me up and nearly killed me in the middle of it, so I was maybe not in the best headspace during that one, but this one has been a 100% blast, lots of fun’.

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On your upcoming tour are you playing any gigs where you’ve never played before ? ‘Yes, a few this time, South Shields Unionist club, Glasgow Nice ’n Sleazy and Manchester Factory, its always good to play new places, looking forward to them!’
Thanks for taking the time to answer Bernie and wish you very good luck for the Shields gig on April 1st. You can find all dates on the Dublin Cowboy UK tour on the official website bernietorme.co.uk

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Interview by Gary Alikivi March 17th 2017.

Recommended:

Bernie Torme, Rocky Road from Dublin, 14th July 2017.

CAT SCRATCH FEVER – with Tygers of Pan Tang guitarist Micky McCrystal

One Friday night in September 1982 I was at the Newcastle Mayfair to watch Tygers of Pan Tang. 6 years later Micky McCrystal was born in Durham, UK, by 2013 he landed the gig of lead guitarist with the Tygers… how time flies…I asked him how do the older songs work with the new songs in the set today?

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‘Some of the songs were recorded 30 years ago but they still sound fresh and relevant alongside the new songs, I feel that it’s a very strong set that fans of the band past and present will love. I look at the gig as playing as a fan of the band and what would I like to hear if I was in the audience, we always try to give the fans what they want. The songs from Wildcat, Spellbound, Crazy Nights and The Cage albums have been classics for years so fans know how they should sound. It’s amazed me the amount of new fans who are just discovering the band and like the new songs and then go back and look at the history of the Tygers’.

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‘It’s about respecting the song, doing it justice and sticking to those key Sykes solo’s and licks that people are waiting for, otherwise I feel like people aren’t getting what they’ve come to see plus there’s plenty of opportunity for me to put my own stamp on the songs’. (John Sykes former guitarist 1981-82 albums Spellbound and Crazy Nights)

17321330_10154939271550731_56588470_n‘We’ll play songs like Paris By Air from The Cage album and I’ll do my best to add in the keyboard lines and synth parts like the original track but on guitar which it gives it a more modern edge that works great in amongst the new songs as well as the heavier tracks. It’s great to see the crowd enjoy the song and sing a long to the chorus as much as they would Hellhound or Love Potion No.9 especially the hardcore heavy metal guys or bikers who we wouldn’t normally expect to like this AOR song but yeah they sing every word, it’s great haha!’

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Who were your influences and how did you get involved in playing music ? ‘When I first started playing I listened to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, I used to sit and jam along to those albums for hours and hours and try and figure out their licks. Then I went back and started listening to the classic blues players like BB, Albert and Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf. The influence that seems to surprise most people is that I got heavily into country music especially players like Brent Mason and Brad Paisley. I try and keep an open mind so I love listening to John Scofield as much as I do Richie Kotzen or Yngwie there’s always something to pick up and learn’.

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‘My Dad was a drummer and always had vinyl in the house and he had a lot of guitar albums Hendrix, Larry Carlton but the one that stuck in my mind is ‘Friday Night in San Fransisco’ by Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia and John McLaughlin. I found it incredible that they had that level of technique but were so musical at the same time, it’s without a doubt one of my favourite albums ever. My parents always encouraged my interest in music from day one, they bought me my first guitar from a guitar shop in Newcastle, a Blue Aria Les Paul copy, I still have it today and it’s got a lot of sentimental value’

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What led you to joining the Tygers ? ‘Tygers bassist Gav Gray messaged me asking if i’d be interested in auditioning for Tygers of Pan Tang and of course I said yes. It turns out Satan guitarist Russ Tippins had recommended me for the gig. In the audition we played Keeping Me Alive, Hellhound and I think Raised on Rock. I received a message that night to say I was in and I learnt the rest of the set and began rehearsing for my debut show with the band’.

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Last year you played a tour around South America how did that go ? ‘It was my first time in South America and it was amazing, I loved it. The fans are incredible, they know the songs so well, they sing every word as well as the guitar melodies, some of the fans had actually had Tygers tattoos done specifically because we were playing. They live and breathe it, it’s amazing. Also the night we played Sao Paolo was my birthday and Jack got the band and the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to me which was really special. The centrefold sleeve of the latest album has a photograph of that gig so yeah that has special memories for me, I’d love to play there again’.

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How did the recording go for the new album ? ‘It was great, I had in my head that it would be a good idea to try and mix the flavours of the first four Tygers albums with a slightly more modern feel. We recorded in a great studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Blast Studios. We practically lived there for three weeks haha. The process was very organic, things changed right up to the 11th hour. I had written the solo for Never Give In and Craig walked in and sang four notes as I was about to do the take which ended up becoming the first four notes of the solo. The verse drum part for Devil You Know changed the day before recording it to a tom part. We trusted each others judgement and were open to constructive feedback, at the end of the day we were all there attempting to reach the same goal of making a great album’.

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‘We worked with a great tracking engineer, Mark Broughton who often works with Andy Taylor of Duran Duran. Soren Andersen mixed the album, he works with Glenn Hughes and Mike Tramp. I was very familiar with his work and was excited when I heard he was on board. For mastering Soren recommended Harry Hess of Harem Scarem. It was a great team and we’re all happy with how the album has turned out’.

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‘We released Only the Brave as a promo single for the album along with a music video that has now had over 100,000 hits on YouTube. We’re just about to release the second music video for the song Glad Rags. The storyline is fun and a bit more lighthearted (In no time at all Mickey whipped out his phone and showed me a clip from the video ‘Glad Rags’. The track has a radio friendly feelgood bounce with a very catchy sing a long chorus, the video is not bad either with dancing girls, smoke and mirrors) ‘I’ve got to mention the company Flashlight Films who have done a great job on both videos, they were great to work with and we hope we get this new video well over 100 thousand hits too’.

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Where would the Tygers like to go next ? ‘We’d love to go and play for the South American fans again. It would be great to get to Canada, North America, Asia. Anywhere there’s fans hungry to see the band we would love to play. We’re looking forward to an Italian tour in a few weeks time followed by a two week European run and then some shows on the European festival circuit. We’re super proud of the new album, so we’re excited to play the new album for people as well as the classics’.

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New album Tygers of Pan Tang available from the Official Site tygersofpantang.com also European tour dates for 2017.

Interview by Gary Alikivi 9th March 2017.

Recommended:

Steve Thompson, Godfather of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, 27th June 2017.

Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws, Tyger Bay, 24th August 2017.

Robb Weir, Doctor Rock, 5th November 2017.

ANGELS OF THE NORTH – Mond Cowie original guitarist with Angelic Upstarts look’s back on his career with the punk band.

Mond Cowie was guitarist with Angelic Upstarts from 1977 to his last album for the band Reason Why in 1983.
‘I was getting interested in the recording side of things and taking note of what could be done in a studio as by then we had worked with a few different producers with different styles. Result was I produced our album ‘Reason Why’ in Alaska Studio’s in Waterloo. It was owned by Pat Collier bassist with The Vibrators. I got some great guitar sounds in that studio and I remember the sound of the guitar solo on Solidarity especially, very Paul Kossoff I thought! I’m really proud of that one’.

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Who were your influences in music ? ‘I was listening to bands like Free, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple when I was about 15. My favourite guitarist then was Paul Kossoff from Free, I really liked the Les Paul sound he had and in fact my first guitar was a Sunburst Gibson Les Paul like his. I bought it out of the Exchange and Mart magazine. Me and a friend drove down to London and I paid £320 for it. In my time I had three Les Pauls stolen, one from a gig in Glasgow (when I got stabbed in the back the same night, the joys of touring with The Upstarts) another in New York and one when Lynx Studios, where I was working, was broken into’.

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How did you get involved in playing music ? ‘I was originally in a club band with Decca Wade on drums, we were playing rock standards, some Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and the odd chart songs in the workingmens clubs on Tyneside. We also worked together in Hebburn shipyards, I was an electrician. Mensi used to be a miner. One night we were drinking in our local, The Jester pub on the Brockley Whins Estate in South Shields when Mensi came in and said I’ve just seen this band called The Sex Pistols, why can’t we do that? Mensi wasn’t a singer but neither was Johnny Rotten so we thought we would give it a go. And we did and The Angelic Upstarts was born, in a pub in Brockley Whins’.

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Where did you rehearse and when did you start playing gigs? ‘The Upstarts used to rehearse in a pub in South Shields called The Cyprus and a youth club in Biddick Hall called Percy Hudson. That’s where we did our first gig when we only had 6 songs, we played them all twice and then again for the encores. Fearless eh? We also rehearsed at Temple Park Leisure Centre and ended up doing a gig there as well.
Me and Decca ended up playing in two bands, one making money in the clubs and The Upstarts which was really a bit of fun at first.
With The Upstarts we started gigging seriously around 1978, some of the early gigs were places like The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle and The Old 29 on a Saturday afternoon in Sunderland. We were the only band that they put a cover charge on for the punters because they knew it would sell out, it used to be absolutely mental in that place. You couldn’t breathe there were so many bodies in!’

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‘We also booked the Bollingbroke Hall in South Shields from the Council and did a couple of gigs there. That was mostly through lack of other places to play at the time. When we stated making a bit of a name for ourselves we got invited to play at the Newcastle Festival. We played an outdoor gig in Jesmond Park with The Showbiz Kids but the most memorable was playing at Old Eldon Square in Newcastle city centre on a Saturday afternoon. There was probably over 1,000 people there because it was a lovely sunny day. We were never one for compromises so we played exactly the same set we always did with Liddle Towers, Police Oppression, Fuck Off and Leave Me Alone, it didn’t go down very well with the mams, dads, grandmas and grandas out shopping as you can imagine. Next thing we knew the police were storming into the square there must have been 50 or 60 of them, and trying to get to the stage to stop us playing but that just made Mensi worse and he started slagging them off and screaming fuck you! Fuck Law and Order! Who Killed Liddle! You get the picture! They collared the promoter to stop the gig but nobody was going to get us to stop, we were loving it. It was mad, absolutely crackers and boy did we get some press from that one! I don’t know who thought it might be a good idea getting us to play there on a Saturday afternoon but thanks for the publicity whoever it was’.

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How did the move to London and signing to WEA work out ? ‘Our first album was a funny old story. We were still living in South Shields and had just signed with Jimmy Purseys label, he was singing in Sham 69 then. He asked us to come to London to record some demos so we did that and recorded everything we knew in one day. He phoned me a couple of weeks later and asked us to come back to London to hear the album. I said we haven’t recorded it yet Jimmy but it turned out he had mixed the demos and it was going to be Teenage Warning, our first album. And that’s what is was, it was recorded in one day so that must be a record for a debut album. It charted at number 29 so we weren’t going to complain. Later I heard that he and some of his friends had recorded backing vocals on some songs, but I’m not convinced’.

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‘It didn’t come out on Purseys label either, he had a distribution deal with Polydor who sacked us after Mensi had a fight with the doorman but Pursey got us signed to WEA a week later and they released it. We got 25 grand off Polydor and then another 25 off WEA for signing to them so not a bad weeks work. If only we got it… but that’s another story.
By the time we moved to London we were headlining gigs like The Marquee, The Rainbow, The Lyceum and we played an all dayer at Alexander Palace organised by Jimmy Pursey and headlined by his band Sham 69. That was huge for us. We were then signed to WEA for two albums. They had some huge artists on their books like AC/DC, Foreigner, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac so it was amazing to be on the same label’.

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‘When we were staying in Wood Green anyone from South Shields that was going to London for a show or the weekend would just turn up at our house and crash, some stayed for weeks, some never went home and some were never seen again, it was a magic time.
Me and Mensi wrote all the songs, I wrote the music and Mensi wrote the lyrics. We wrote very quickly but never rehearsed new material, most of the songs were created in the studio. We tried reheasing new stuff a couple of times but it just didn’t work for us, rehearsals ended up as a drinking session and lots of spliffs which I was very into at the time. The record company would have had a fit if they knew they were booking studios for us and we didn’t have any songs ready cos it used to cost around £2,000 a day for a studio in London haha.
There was a time when we were due to record a new single and the company asked us what it was about, Mensi just made up a story on the spot about the miners, he was good at that. When we recorded it, I think it was England, we played it to them and they looked very confused, that’s not about the miners they said? Mensi talked our way out of it and England was a great song so they were happy haha’.

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‘But we felt no pressure, that’s how we worked and it worked for us. And we were daft as brushes and didn’t give a toss, that helped!
Mensi was a prolific songwriter, when we were recording he would turn up with an armful of songs and I would have a cassette with all my tunes on. I used to keep a cassette recorder by my bed with a guitar because I always got ideas for songs first thing in the morning. The recording process was usually me showing the bass player and drummer my idea and arranging it like: intro, verse, chorus, second verse, solo and three choruses to end. Then I would decide which of the lyrics fitted the tune. Sometimes Mensi would say how he thought the tune should go for certain lyrics, like England had to be acoustic for example and sometimes I had already decided which lyrics went with what tune but not always.
When Decca left the band I asked Paul Thompson from Roxy Music if he would stand in on drums until we found someone. He was a mate of mine and we used to drink in The Ship in Wardour Street just up from The Marquee. He ended up playing on England, Kids on the Street, the album Reason Why and he also came to America with us and did a tour there’.

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What were your experiences of recording ? ‘Our first time in a studio was in 1978 when we went into Impulse Studios in Wallsend to record our first single The Murder of Liddle Towers, the engineer was Mick Sweeney. I thought the guitar sound was a bit naff but he said he would beef it up in the mix! The lying TWAT. I later found out that all engineers say things like that just to get the recording finished so they can fuck off home early so I’d learnt my first lesson about recording. The reaction to that song was phenomenal, we were really surprised, it got in all the papers and also got us noticed by The Sounds which would prove very beneficial to us. Gary Bushell became a great friend and supporter of the band.
By 1981 we were with EMI and went into Trident Studio in London where some amazing artists had recorded, The Beatles did the White Album, Queen, The Stones, Thin Lizzy had been there and of course David Bowie had recorded Ziggy Stardust there. We recorded England and a few other songs.
EMI owned Abbey Road Recording Studios so they asked us if we wanted to do an album there, well do you need to ask haha? We did the 2 Million Voices album there and that got to number 32 in the charts’.

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‘We also recorded a live album for EMI using the Rolling Stone mobile. That got us to number 27. So we were hanging around the charts.
When we were at Abbey Road loads of our friends including Stiff Little Fingers used to come over every night because there was a bar and restaurant down in the cellar and everything you got just went on the bill. We thought it was free until our manager got the bill at the end of the session. He said how can one band drink so much? Haha.
The band played a couple of radio sessions at the BBC for John Peel and Mensi had the idea to write and record a song just for the session as a thank you to Peely because he was always playing our stuff. So I came up with a riff and while we were recording the backing track, Mensi was scribbling some words on a bit paper and out popped ‘Kids on the Street’. Song writing the Upstarts way but don’t try this at home kids!’

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What venues did you play and have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘In 1981 we went on our first American tour. We got there a few days early to acclimatize and The Clash were staying in the same hotel so we used to meet them every night for the happy hour. Happy hours are class in America you don’t just get nuts and crisps you get chicken wings and pizzas and all sorts. We used to starve ourselves all day just waiting for the happy hour. It was a great laugh with them and I remember Joe Strummer saying we’re coming to your gig tonight do you mind if I bring Iggy Pop? We said Aye go on then haha. The gig was in New York but I can’t remember if it was Radio City or Civic Hall but we walked on stage, the lights blazed on and Mensi screamed “We’re the Angelic Upstarts, We’re from England, 1,2,3,4” then just as I strummed my guitar there was an almighty bang, it all went dark then nothing! There was a huge power cut. They couldn’t get it sorted out quickly so we jumped off stage and went to the bar at the back where The Clash were standing and I ordered a Jack and Coke and said to Iggy Pop “It’ll be sorted in a minute, this sort of thing happens to us all the time”.

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‘We played all over the States, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Washington, Seattle and right up into Canada – Toronto and Montreal. In LA we played a place called The Florentine Gardens which was massive and also the legendary Whisky a Go Go. Punk had become a fashion then in the States where in the UK it was all pins through the nose and glue sniffing. I remember one of the barmaids in The Whisky loaned me her sports car for the week we were there, a Datsun 280 ZX and Decca was loaned a Fiat Spyder 2 seater sports car but he couldn’t drive. It didn’t bother him, little things like that. It was unbelievable how friendly people in the US were to us. I loved it and still go back regularly for holidays’.

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‘Our manager was called Tony Gordon he also had Sham 69 and Culture Club in his stable. Before he signed Culture Club, I was in the office one day and he asked me if I wanted to come and see a band that night at a club in Carnaby Street. The band was Culture Club and they were fucking shite. I kid you not, probably the worst band I’ve ever seen in my life. I said don’t touch them Tony but he signed them anyway because he thought the singer had something. I have to admit he was right because they became one of the biggest bands in the world at the time’.

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What did the ’80’s have in store for the Upstarts ? ‘I was getting interested in the recording side of things and around ’83 I produced the first New Model Army album Vengeance and some singles, my favourite was The Price, after me they got in Glyn Johns to produce them so I was in good company. Glyn Johns had done Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Stones, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Beatles he is a legend’.

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‘By 1983 I felt the band had run its course, there were no hard feelings when I left but I was looking to work more in production. Also we were on an independent label by then and weren’t getting the big advances anymore like we did with WEA and EMI, we were only receiving recording costs so financially we weren’t as stable.
I headed back home and started working as producer at Lynx Studios in Newcastle that lasted for a couple of years, it was owned by the AC/DC vocalist and fellow Geordie Brian Johnson. I has known Brian since his days in Geordie and we were close friends and still are to this day’.

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Whats your thought’s today on your time in the Upstarts ? ‘You know looking back, one minute we were playing the Bolingbroke Hall in South Shields and the next we were signed to WEA in London. One of the biggest labels in the world. I remember one day me and Mensi had gone into WEA to pinch records, I had some record collection in those days, and we were sitting with our press officer, Dave Jaret, he said can we be quick lads because I’m having lunch with Fleetwood Mac and I’m going out with Rod Stewart tonight. Unbelivable eh? Me and Mensi from Brockley Whins mentioned in the same breath as those two… There were a lot of occasions when I had to slap myself to remind me it was all real and YES, it is happening. But that’s music for you, there aren’t many other jobs that can do that for you. And now here we are… 40 years later and still talking about it. Nobody saw that one coming, certainly not us, we thought we might get a couple of years out of it at the most. We must have done something right I suppose. Thank you to everyone who ever bought an Upstarts record, who came to see us playing and who supported us over the years. Thanks for the memories. It was a blast… Love MOND’

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Interview 24th February 2017 by Gary Alikivi.

Recommended:

Angelic Upstarts, The Butchers of Bolingbroke: Gigs, Pigs & Prison, June 1st 2017.

Neil Newton, All the Young Punks, June 4th 2017.

ROCK THE KNIGHT (part two of an interview with Lou Taylor)

Over 30 years ago Lou Taylor was vocalist for a number of British Heavy Metal bands notably, Saracen, Satan, Blind Fury and Persian Risk. I asked him about some experiences he had in recording studio’s.

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‘When Satan recorded an album around 1984 (‘Court in the Act’ with Brian Ross on vocals, he is featured in an earlier post LIFE SENTENCE) the record company Roadrunner said we had done really well off the back of the first album and asked us to do a second one, they put us in a studio in Middlesex. It was Touch Sound Studio and the engineer was Roy Rowland and our producer was Steve James, the son of comedy actor Sid James. We didn’t believe him at first but sure enough he showed us some photos, yep it was him haha’.

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‘Another time was when Blind Fury recorded the album Out of Reach and released it in ’85. The style of the record was Satan with added flash and brash, the production delivered the tunes with a great sense of grandeur. This album let out a really big epic sound which got the chance to escape on this record. It was a big step up from the Saracen stuff I’d done at Guardian studio.
Prior to the albums release we were invited to record versions for the BBC Radio 1 Friday Rockshow, we added a couple to the session that were not yet recorded Hard Times and a rework of the Saracen tune Feel Just The Same.
We were on the ferry to the Isle of Man to start a series of shows there for the bikers and Tommy Vance was introducing our songs on BBC Radio 1 Friday Rockshow saying this was our radio debut, what will we be like in a years time, and how good Blind Fury were you know stuff like that, you couldn’t have been happier. It looked like the trail was blazing’.

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Did you get offers from any other bands ? ‘When I was based in London and vocalist for Blind Fury we would go to pubs which hosted rock nights, and pop into the Marquee to watch a band, meet up with a few mates and have a right laugh. We were all gigging on the London circuit and these were usefull places to make contacts. We’d talk about what was happening on the scene, who was playing where and who with, you know thats where you heard of bands maybe splitting or looking for new members’.

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‘One night I was talking to another notable vocalist, I mentioned I’d received a call from Jet records, he said you’re not alone mate. Word going around was that they were looking for an unknown frontman who they could mould for a band they had on their roster. ‘They’ was actually David Arden, son of Don Arden, manager of Black Sabbath. It was music journalist Malcolm Dome who worked for Kerrang and Sounds, who referred me to Arthur Sharpe and in turn David Arden. For a few days I was going to the studios, singing some material, they asked me to cut my hair, wear certain clothes and take a tape home, learn it come back, and sing a few tracks. A demo was made but I wasn’t invited to join on a more permanent basis. The rock journalist Dave Ling revealed this story in one of his features’.

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‘There was also a Blind Fury gig at the Tramshed in Woolwich where a number of A&R men from Jet Records watched us. This is where not only me but the band where shall I say in a bit of a mix with Jet and our record company Roadrunner. At the same time we also had a few drinks with American female rock band Madame X and found that Jet were also interested in them. So that added a bit of spice to the mix. It was basically between them and us.
We didn’t know how it would end, to be honest, as a band we flirted with Jet, our heads were turned and Roadrunner could see this. I hold my hands up, I was pushing it, I could see we were moving up to another league, but the rest of the lads didn’t want to lose what we had. Jet records knew they had to buy us out of our contract with Roadrunner so that was a hassle they didn’t need. Not long after the phone stopped ringing from Arthur Sharp’.

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‘As a band we had a few discussions and it was a very difficult decision to make, amicably I may add, that we went our seperate ways. Blind Fury returned to being Satan while I joined Persian Risk, Tony Martin got the Sabbath job and Jet Records signed Madame X. You can say it was a whirlwind that we were in, and who knows what might have been…c’est la vie’.

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What happened with Persian Risk did you gig or record with them ? Persian Risk were on the London gig circuit, I was also starting Perrys, my rock club in London. But my first gig with Persian Risk was on a Saturday night headlinging at the Marquee, you couldn’t get better. I loved it all, the sweaty metallers, denim, leather, hair all over yeah loved it. We would headline our own gigs and also support bigger bands when they came to London, loved my time in that band. But it came to an end when my stage style was questioned by one of the band, it wasn’t the same as the previous singer Carl Sentance who was more of a perfect fit really, all muscle and fist pumping macho style ha ha sorry Carl. Strange because we got on well musically I just think live I was just so different from what they had before. But still had a good time’.

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What are you doing now and are you still involved with music ? ‘I’m still friends with some of the people I’ve met, I’m friends with Satan and still in touch with Metallica and currently playing in the North East with Ronnie James Dio tribute band Heaven or Hell. I’ve managed to make the love of my life the job of my life, I still get up on stage, sing and get paid for it. That’s entertainment’.

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From watching Ronnie James Dio at Newcastle City Hall in 1976 did Lou think that a decision he made as a kid all those years ago would come true? You bet ! Long Live Rock n Roll.
PART TWO of the interview with Lou Taylor. Taken from the documentary We Sold Our Soul for Rock n Roll also in conversation in South Shields 26th January 2017.

Added information from Raw Talent feature by Dave Ling in RAW magazine.

Interview by Gary Alikivi.

Recommended:

Brian Ross, SATAN/BLITZKREIG, Life Sentence, 20th February 2017.

Steve Dawson, SARACEN/ANIMALS: Long Live Rock n Roll, 2nd April 2017.

Harry Hill, FIST: Turn the Hell On, 29th April 2017.

John Gallagher, RAVEN: Staring into the Fire, 3rd May 2017.

Kev Charlton, HELLANBACH/BESSIE & THE ZINC BUCKETS: The Entertainer, 23rd June 2017.

Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws, TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Tyger Bay, 24th August 2017.

Robb Weir,  TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Doctor Rock, 5th November 2017.