TEESSIDE POWER – with Millennium frontman Mark Duffy

Millennium came to prominence in the early eighties riding with the tribe of bands known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The five-piece were formed in Billingham, Teeside in 1983. Vocalist Mark Duffy looks back to where it all started…17359271_837818803016950_510042276823688340_o‘It all started when Pete McArdle and I who were school friends, started to go to guitar lessons at age 16. Pete would come over to my house with new albums that he thought were good and we would give them a spin. At the time we were listening to American AOR bands like Journey and Styx. Then one day he brought round the Black Sabbath album Heaven and Hell.  It totally blew me away, the riffs and the Ronnie James Dio vocals, that was the moment I wanted to be in a heavy metal band. From then on we listened to bands like Whitesnake, Saxon, Y&T and Judas Priest’.

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When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘Back in the 80’s Millenium played the local music venue The Swan in Billingham. It had a hall at the back of the pub with a bit of a stage. They had a rock night on a Tuesday.  We played a gig there supporting Teeside band Black Rose who had a few releases on NEAT Records.  Other than that Millennium only did one small tour around places like Stoke, Warrington, Kings Lynn, Wigan and Sheffield.
We’ve just signed to 3Ms Records and recorded our new album Awakening in Hesdin, France. We are releasing it this summer to hopefully create interest for us to do more gigs, something which has been lacking for us so far’.

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What were your experiences of recording ? ‘Millennium recorded a lot of demos over the years. Our first demo was recorded at Guardian Studios in Durham.  We heard a few bands had been there so we thought we would give it a go. The first demo we recorded Magic Mirror and I’m on Fire. We were pleased with the result so we done another three tracks there Steal Your Heart, Rock was Meant for Me and Nightmare (which later became The Devil Rides Out) before recording our debut album. The band were happy with the results of the demo’s so we were pleased to be recording our album there. We recorded and mixed the album over two weeks with label owner and producer Terry Gavaghan’.

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Despite rave reviews including one in Kerrang magazine the band seemed to lose their way after the album’s release. What happened ? ‘You are right our debut album did receive some great reviews especially from Xavier Russell in Kerrang. But the band lost ground with some unfortunate circumstances. First our guitarist Dave Merrington left the band soon after the recording of the album. Then the bands distribution company went bankrupt resulting in no more pressings of the album after the first 1000 copies. Also the band had a few disagreements with Terry Gavaghan and had a bit of a falling out which resulted in the band parting ways with the label’.

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‘They did offer Millennium a contract to record another album but we declined.
Guardian also released Magic Mirror, Steal Your Heart and Rock was Meant for Me on the Pure Overkill compilation album released in 1983. Playing alongside Risk, Spartan Warrior, Incubus and Tokyo Rose the album helped boost the band’s presence on the British heavy metal scene’.

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‘The band recruited guitarist Mike Muskett  and continued to record a number of demos between 1984 – 1988 hoping to secure a record deal. The Metal Era demo was recorded in 1986 on which the band made an unsuccessful return to their earlier style. The band took one last shot at regaining their lost glory with another demo in 1987 before calling it a day.
Other than vocalist Mark Duffy (who would go on to have success with thrash act Toranaga) the band members faded away. The band split in 1988.
Bringing recordings up to date No Remorse Records re-released our debut album in 2014 and also released Caught in a War Zone. That was released last year and contained an album full of recordings from 1985’.

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Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ? ‘We had a Spinal Tap moment at one of the gigs when we came on stage and the smoke machine came on for effect, smoke machines were used a lot in those days. Anyway this thing just kept belting out the dry ice or whatever they used so when coming on I couldn’t see the stage or mic stand. We couldn’t even see the crowd and they couldn’t see us!  After it calmed down and cleared a bit we started the gig but the daft bat doing the smoke machine set it off again haha’.

‘Another story was when we were going to a distribution company to drop off copies of the debut Millennium album.  The distribution company was somewhere down south so we set off on the A1 and got to the Yorkshire area.  We suddenly realised we needed petrol so for some reason we went off at the next exit looking for a petrol station and ended up driving around these mining towns.  Suddenly the police stopped us and surrounded us.  They wouldn’t let us go any further, gave us the third degree asking lots of questions like lho are you where are you going, how many of you in the van ? It turned out they thought we were striking miners going to join the picket line !  They made us turn back in the direction we came.  It took a long time to get to the distribution company that day!’

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What are Millenium doing now and have you got any plans ? ‘Millennium reformed in September 2015.  We were asked to do Bro Fest 2016.  Original drummer Steve Mennell and guitarist Dave Hardy (who joined Millennium in 1986) were involved along with William Philpot, Andy Fisher and myself.

We are looking forward to releasing the new album in the summer and playing the new songs at some gigs we are in the middle of arranging now’.

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For information about the band check their Facebook page MILLENNIUM UK.

Original line up 1982  Mark Duffy – vocals, Pete McArdle – guitar, Dave Merrington – guitar, Steve Mennell – drums and Dave Price – bass

Line up 2017  Mark Duffy – vocals, William Philpot – guitar, Andy Fisher – bass  Darren Moore – drums.

Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2017.

THE GODFATHER of the North East New Wave of British Heavy Metal

Steve Thompson has had one hell of a career in the music biz, from songwriting with John Verity and Glen Ballard, to having songs recorded by artists Elkie Brooks, Sheena Easton and Celine Dion to producing heavy metal bands Venom, Raven and Tygers of Pan Tang, plus working with a whole load of names like Pete Waterman, Gus Dudgeon, Rodger Bain and The Hollies…

prof-hm‘People say of most decades, “if you remember it, you weren’t there”. I remember it all right but much of it is blurred by the passage of time, the speed at which things were happening, and of course the other “stuff” that renders your brain cells a little less active. I’m afraid I have forgotten some of the songs I cut during my time as a heavy metal producer. I still get business execs in suits coming up and telling me that they were once in a band that I produced and how this happened and that happened during the sessions. I can’t remember it all but I always tried to make things happen, mostly laughter’.

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Where did it all begin ? ’I started out in the real home of heavy metal, the Steel Works! Like all the kids in my town, I went straight from school into Consett Steel Works. With three other steelworkers we formed a band called Bullfrog, and served two apprenticeships. One of them by day working in the steelworks, the other by night playing in the pubs and clubs of the North East of England. That was my first stab at the music industry. Bullfrog put out one single with Cube Records and it didn’t do anything. But over forty years later it’s resurfaced on a compilation album called 20 Power Glam Incendiaries!’

Who were your influences ? ‘Records I was fond of in the 60’s were The Beach Boys. Brian Wilsons skill in making records was unbelievable. Later I got to work with The Hollies, The Searchers and Colin Blunstone who I admired when I was young. I used to listen to the radio and they were so far away like gods playing this music you know. But the thing that got me into playing guitar was seeing the everyday older guys around town playing guitars, just ordinary people’.

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Bullfrog supported a lot of bands like Wishbone Ash, Vinegar Joe, Edgar Broughton that type, we also did a lot of the same venues as Beckett. It was The Rex in Whitley Bay where I met Brian Johnson in a band called Jasper Hart. The Rex had two stages and whatever band turned up first, went on first. So we used to drive around the venue until we saw the other band, and get there after them to make sure we headlined haha’.

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‘On October 10th 1974 I got a call from our manager to say there was a gig going that night supporting Wishbone Ash could I get the band together for the show. I rang round everyone including the roadies and we were ready to rock. When the call came in I had been dying my platform boots (well it was the 70’s) I fancied green but because of that call, in a rush I had turned out that night with one green boot and the other still the original cream colour. The show was at Newcastle’s Odeon Cinema, the one and only time we ever played there’.

‘One of Bullfrogs influences was The Groundhogs and their singer/guitarist Tony McFee. They were treading the boards at the same time as us. Part of that scene with Sabbath, Free, Deep Purple all of that stuff. When NEAT records started to happen for me Tony McPhee of The Groundhogs got in touch and said he’s gonna be in the area and he wants to do some recording. Can you get some guy’s together he said. So I got a friend of mine to play drums, I played bass and we played some of his songs. He stayed with me and my wife for a few days but we found it difficult to feed him as he was a vegetarian! After a few days of salads he pissed off without saying goodbye and I never saw him again’.

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How did you get involved with recording ?Bullfrog were in Island Studios in London with our first producer Roger Bain, he also produced Black Sabbath. I was introduced to his friend Gus Dudgeon of Elton John fame, later on I did a lot of work as a songwriter with Dudgeon. Gus once told me he helped Roger with the Black Sabbath stuff and said he encouraged Roger to overdub more cymbals on their first album haha. But the whole process of studio and songwriting really intrigued me so I knew where I was headed. I went ahead and wrote a few songs put them out there and a guy called Dave Wood heard about me and found a slot at Impulse Studio in Wallsend.

I can see that Dave pretty much wanted a young guy who would work around the clock with bags of enthusiasm for next to nothing but I just saw it as a big opportunity. I then embarked on a number of years having a ball and learning a great deal. I would produce bands and artists and in down time would cut my own demos.

The basic idea at Impulse was to have an in-house producer. Some places just had an engineer but I would be on hand to help in song construction, production and putting product out on vinyl and releasing it. Impulse originally had stuff released by Rubber Records which was a partnership with Windows Records in Newcastle’.

Impulse Studio and NEAT Records, what was the idea behind them ? ‘We set up NEAT as a vehicle really to release stuff or if someone wanted 1,000 records released we had the set up already. I also set up a publishing company called NEAT Music and we had a sub publishing deal called Neon with Bruce Welch of The Shadows. My early recordings gave me a start in writing and production, trying to be like Phil Spector, but failing miserably’.

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‘One day Dave Woods came in and said there’s a band who are making a bit of noise out there why not get them in and sell a few records? So in came The Tygers of Pan Tang to cut three tracks. Incidentally it was to be the third single I’d produced for NEAT (the first two releases were not heavy metal). But the thing that astonished me was how retro they sounded. I had been in a rock band in the early 70’s so knew where things were. But Dave said they are really popular let’s get them in the studio. Although now we know it is known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and the tide was coming in that very evening haha’.

What was the North Eastern rock scene like at that time ? ‘Well part of the scene where the Tygers played was a club called Mingles in Whitley Bay. They had a strict dress policy, if you weren’t scruffy enough you couldn’t get in haha. I went to one of their shows and walking home afterwards the Tygers thought it would be funny to restle me to the ground and threw my shoes on the roof !
Actually Mingles was the place where I checked out Raven, they were due in the studio so I wanted to get the feel of what they were about. I’ll never forget the first time I met the bassist John Gallagher. I was standing at the back of the room with my back against the wall watching the band on stage which must have only been six inches high. John took his bass and pointed it at me like a javelin, he raced toward me and only stopped right at my throat. I didn’t flinch. He gave me a wink as though to say, yeah you’ll do for us’.

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How did you get on with Raven ? ‘Actually when I agreed to produce the Raven album it was only on a three-day week basis. I figured I would need time out to recover from the sessions. Producing this album was an intense but rewarding experienced. I’ve heard these guys work described as ‘athletic rock’ and that’s just about right. In fact they were so energetic that I was obliged to gaffa tape the headphones to their heads otherwise they were just bouncing off as their heads where banging ten to the dozen as they recorded the tracks!’

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‘We decided we wanted a marching sound to bring in the Rock Until You Drop track so we mic’d up the toilet floor next to the studio and went in there and marched. It wasn’t right though. We needed a gravel pit or different footwear. I took a coffee break to ponder the problem and then it struck me. The disposable plastic coffee cups had just that crunch factor we needed. We spread a hundred or so and stomped on them at the tempo that the track was to be. We then did several takes but had to keep replenishing the cups. In the end we used the entire supply of three thousand. The next day Dave Wood was well pissed off haha’.

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Any stories from recording with Tygers of Pan Tang ? ‘They had no sophistication but I guess they made up for that with raw energy. They listened too. I was looking at this from a songwriter’s perspective and suggested that they shorten intro’s and reduce repetition’s of dead wood and get to the hooks quicker. I remember we recorded a track and the guitar solo in it was rather long so I cut it down. Unbeknownst to Rob the guitarist, the other three guys came and asked me to cut it. I cut a huge section out and give them the tape on a little spool. Perhaps it still exists somewhere in someone’s attic but it ain’t on the record. Well a few weeks later I went back to mix the tracks and Dave said hurry up let’s get it out there cos they’ve just done a gig where the audience went absolutely crackers. So I went to work on the drum sound and a few other bits and pieces, we got it ready and the A side was Don’t Touch Me There’.

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‘You know some studio work is psychology, getting the best out of people. For instance the harder I pushed Raven the better the output was. Most of the time humour was what worked best. Some people you have to be gentler with and try not to make a mistake. With Tygers vocalist Jess Cox I just didn’t know how to handle him. As a producer my role would be to point out bit’s that were out of tune. There was a lot of pointing with Jess. I’ve since pondered that perhaps they were really a punk band. Later on Jess was replaced, so make of that what you want. Anyway we put out Don’t Touch Me There and it started to really sell. MCA got interested so they picked it up, re-released it and went on to do their first album. (Wild Cat produced by Chris Tsangarides 1980) Our paths parted then, but sometime later I was looking for somewhere to live, and the Tygers had a spare room for me to move into’.

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What other bands came through the Impulse studio doors ? ‘As well as producing bands I was writing songs, pitching them to artists and also producing local artists with my songs. By now Roger Bain (Bullfrogs first producer) was head of A&R at Phonogram records. He was interested in signing an act I was working with, The Caffrey Brothers (formerly Arbre). I put on a showcase gig at Impulse Studio and Roger came up with his friend Gus Dudgeon. If Gus liked what he heard and agreed to produce then Roger would give us a deal with Phonogram. Gus did indeed like what he heard and we got the deal with Phonogram’.

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Did this lead to more work with Gus Dudgeon ? ‘We travelled to the fabulous Mill studios in Maidstone where many of the Elton John hits were recorded. I was able to learn from a master of record production. Gus kept asking my opinion on things and I would defer to him remembering my wild youth when I would not be told anything by anybody. One day Gus said to me, ‘you know Steve, this is your record and I am working for YOU!’. It was great to meet up with Roger Bain again and he wanted to hear all about the Neat Label. He said, ‘Tygers Of Pan Tang ? – strange name’. He told me they had just signed a band called Def Leppard. ‘Hey Roger, I said, that’s a strange name!’

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‘From the Phonogram sessions Gus and I became firm friends and we worked together many times over the years and he recorded many of my songs. Gus introduced me to people like Elkie Books and Colin Blunstone who also recorded my songs. I would also like to mention that just prior to working with the Tygers I had been to Odyssey studios in London to work with 60’s band The Hollies when they cut one of my songs. The track was unreleased and even when Colin Blunstone cut a version of it, that went unreleased too. Disapointing yes, but that’s how it goes sometimes’.

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‘I recall a really enjoyable session at NEAT with a band called Southbound.  They were a good rocking band with great songs. However they were not considered heavy enough for NEAT and the tapes lay unreleased in the archives. I found the tapes recently and digitised them. I was disappointed not to get Southbound released and I started to feel it was all heading in a direction that I was uncomfortable with. I wanted a broader outlook than just one genre and I eventually quit NEAT to concentrate on songwriting’.

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Where did you go after Impulse Studio ? ‘In the early 80’s I was signed to MCA Music as a songwriter. One day I got a call from my mentor there, Pete Waterman. Pete said there was a big-shot movie producer in town and I was urgently needed in London to meet up with him. So the next day I flew down and arrived in Pete’s office around midday. Pete introduced me to an American guy who’s name now escapes me. He was one of the producers of the movie, Jaws 3D which was nearing completion.
Anyway, this guy treated me to the story of his wonderful new movie and told me all it needs is a killer song. Apparently it’s a ‘boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl’ theme. Except in this case there are no boys and girls involved, the lovers in question are dolphins. He says they have Barbara Streisand lined up to sing this yet to be written song. Pete has put me in the frame to write the lyrics and makes his office available to conduct my work. Pete and the American guy went off to lunch saying they will check my progress on their return. As they were leaving the American called back over his shoulder ‘hey kid, gimme a lurve song for two dolphins’.
Alone in the office I slid the cassette into the machine. Shit!!!!! How on earth could  I turn this orchestral pomp into a song. Still I had been charged with the task so I had to try. I spent the next two hours racking my brain and writing one liners and drawing doodles.

The guys arrived back and the American says ‘OK Kid, whaddyah got?’
I said,  ‘not much’ and passed over the piece of paper and waited to be well and truly spanked. Pete (ever the bullshitter) went into overdrive. ‘What did I tell you about my boy, F***ing brilliant, just look at this, sink or swim, I will follow him, that’s a killer line’. It was just about the only line but Pete was leaving no room for contradiction. He was already on the phone booking a studio for that evening. Then he dashed out of the office and grabed another MCA staffwriter who had a good singing voice. This hapless guy was named Simon Jeffries and he was going to have to sing this crap. Like me, Simon was not going to say no to the guy responsible for signing his yearly salary cheque (publishers advance).
I was therefore obliged to spend the rest of the day making words fit to soaring violins and trumpets. The pain of this was nothing compared to the recording session that evening. I think we nearly killed the poor vocalist. Unsurprisingly, I never heard another thing about my entry into the world of movie themes and as it happens I never saw Simon again either’.

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Have you stories about any of your songs ? ‘Songs are strange beasts they just come from anywhere. I wrote Paris By Air and it was specifically written for a girl called Toni Hallliday. I was working with her at the studio trying to get a record deal. I introduced her to Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics and she went off and did stuff with Robert Plant. She formed a band called Curve and had a fairly good career. But I’ll tell you how the song came about.
I was having a drink in a pub in London with my publisher and he said you can get inspiration for a song from anywhere. Like that poster there that says Prince of Wales, you could write a song called that and I looked at a different one, ‘no I’ll write a song called that’ pointing at a holiday advert poster saying visit Paris by Air. As I toyed with the song I knew what it was about. The song is about a young girl living on a housing estate in Washington, (town in Tyne & Wear, not the capital of USA) wanting to break out, but got no money and she see’s the sign on the wall encouraging people to fly to places like Paris, but she can’t’.

‘Did I tell you about the three songs I wrote for the Tygers of Pan Tang that ended up on The Cage album, no ? Well here goes….as I’ve mentioned I was signed to MCA in their stable of writers and my mentor was Pete Waterman, he was crackers. It was Pete who suggested the Tygers should do Love Potion No 9. Great idea. Anyway at that time I was sharing a rented flat in Whitley Bay with the band, it’s a sitcom waiting to be written haha. Bizarrely the original Tygers vocalist Jess Cox and his soon to be replacement Jon Deverill both lived at the flat. Lead Guitarist John Sykes lived there as well. So I would go off to Impulse studio in the mornings and John would stay in the house playing guitar constantly. He had this old record player. Apparently putting the guitar through the record player overdrives it and you can get a sound without being too loud.
When I’d come back from the studio he would still be playing, he’d been playing all day long. He was a really friendly guy and he’d ask what I’d been doing that day and sometimes I’d have rough mixes and I’d play him stuff. That particular day Tygers bass player Rocky Laws was there and I played them Paris By Air and Rocky loved it, the song stayed with him a few years’.

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‘Coming up to start recording their 4th album The Cage, there’d been a few changes in the Tygers camp. Jon Deverill from Persian Risk had been brought in on vocals and John Sykes walked out to audition for Ozzy Osbourne. (John wasn’t without a gig for very long. He ended up in Thin Lizzy) So that made a big dent in the songwriting team. Fred Purser from Penetration was brought in to replace John Sykes. The band were looking for some songs and Rocky suggested we should do that song I’d played to them a few year ago called Paris By Air. OK I said I’ll re-write the lyric as it was originally for a female.

I also played to their managers a brand new song called Lonely at the Top. It was unfinished and I played it on acoustic guitar, stamping my feet and vocally trying to make noise that indicated how it would become a loud rock song. They asked me to make a full demo and I did. It was also selected for the album.
Pete Waterman, who was my mentor and manager for Pete Collins who produced The Cage, heard the rough mix of the Tygers version and said ‘where’s the guitar lick, should be a guitar lick at the top’. So they flew the new Tygers guitarist Fred Purser, from Newcastle down to London to play the identical notes. Now I had done a few short lick’s on the demo but Fred is a far superior guitarist so it’s interesting to hear something so short but what effort it took to get it’.

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‘I also asked the Tygers Management if anyone wants to come along to my gaff in Tynemouth for co-writes. Jon Deverill said yes so we knocked off a few tunes. Letter to L.A. was put together using a Casio synthesiser played through a fuzzbox haha. That song was just prior to them going into the studio so it really was down to the wire with unfinished lyrics. They were in the studio when I got a call from Jon Deverill he said in his lovely little Welsh accent ‘I’m having a bit difficulty with these lyrics’ ‘I said ok what you got’ well it turned out he didn’t have much at all. He said I have these lines ‘so you like the weather and the food is nice’. I said, not only do you not have much in the way of lyrics but what you have is shit. A year later Pete Waterman sent me out to the MCA Los Angeles offices in America. I sent Jon Deveril a post card, my own ‘Letter from LA’. with my message ‘Dear Jon, I like the weather and the food is nice’ haha.
The L.A trip was quite an experience. More of that story later, now back to recording Letter to L.A. I said to Jon I’ll put some lyrics together, how long you got Jon ? ‘Oh well, we’re having a little break then I’m going in the studio to sing it…in 20 minutes’ haha. So phoning in a second verse in double quick time shall I say was challenging!
The Cage was a success but sadly the band broke up. I don’t know why maybe some of the guys thought we had been a touch too much in the commercial arena’.

What was your story from L.A ? ‘Pete Waterman sent me out to the MCA Los Angeles offices in America. The whole trip was quite an experience. I worked with some of their staff writers one of them being Glen Ballard. Now if you check him out he’s huge, Jagged Pill stuff with Alynis Morrisette, Man in the Mirror with Michael Jackson and I’m sitting in their office working with them, piano’s in the rooms you know. That’s the type of company I was keeping in those days haha. I suggested lyrics to them in my English accent and they’d say ‘oh man we don’t know what it means but it sounds fucking great ‘ haha. I was there for about 3 months working with these incredibly talented people’.

Did you record more tracks with The Tygers ? ‘After The Cage album and the break up of the Tygers I started working with Jon Deveril on a solo album before it morphed into the 5th Tygers album, The Wreckage. To begin with I was using a little portastudio but decided to go large with an eight track demo studio in my house in Whitley Bay. Jon and I went off to Dickens Home Improvement Hypermarket in Shiremoor to buy wood to build this thing. Neither one of us could drive then, so we carried the wood back on the bus and it took us three trips. How rock n roll is that ?’

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‘I met up with John Sykes again when we used his studio to record the 5th Tygers album. He had this huge place in the middle of a housing estate in Blackpool, that’s where John was originally from. So when we were there he popped in and met everyone. I co-wrote all the songs on that album with Jon Deverill. But at the time I was also working on an album with John Verity formerly of Argent, you know the single Hold Your Head Up, well he was always part of the rock scene as he was working with Saxon. To get between the jobs his roadie would pick me up at the studio in Blackpool and drive me over to Bradford where his studio was.
Gus Dudgeon was once producing some stuff that I had written with John Verity. Gus said it doesn’t have the same feel, he reckoned it just wasn’t working. I said we had originally demo’d it after a few drinks. So Gus dug out the tape and took off the harmonies and added them haha. Quite often the demo creates something that the prestine high production looses’.

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What other projects where you working on in your Whitley Bay studio ?
‘Eventually that studio in Whitley Bay became a bit of a ‘Brill Building’ with folks popping in and adding instrumentation or vocals. (Brill Building is a reference to the publishing house in New York where Carol King, Gerry Goffin and all their contemporaries hung out) One day I got a call from a management company who said they had just signed a young guy who wanted to come and work with me on some tracks. I said ‘no mate, I’m not into that’. They said ‘we’ll pay you’ and quick as a flash I said ‘cool,  send him round this afternoon’.  The young guy was Stu Emerson. I told Stu I was looking for a good female vocalist and he introduced me to Lorraine Crosby. I recorded loads of tracks with Lorraine. She recorded all the backing vocals on some stuff I was recording with a guy called Pete Adshead. Pete’s management company had sent him up from London to work with me in Whitley Bay. When the stuff started to get released Pete changed his name to Baby Ford. I had a couple of hits with him in the style of Acid House and one of them Chiki Chiki Ah Ah earned a BBC ban. I’m very proud of that’.

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‘Later I set up a publishing company with Brian Johnson of AC/DC. The company was called De Lucca Music based at his recording studio in Newcastle, Lynx De Lucca. We recorded the 6th Tygers of Pan Tang album Burning in The Shade there but it was written and pre-produced in my Whitley Bay studio. I also wrote and recorded an entire album with Alvin Stardust at Lynx. This might seem a bit lightweight but Alvin did a steaming version of a song Behind The Wheel which was originally intended for the Tygers album The Cage.

Later, Lynx studios was purchased by Eric Cook and Tony Bray of Venom. They asked me to go see them. They then offered me as much studio time as it would take to make an album or any project totally free. Wow, I said, you’re in business why would you give me a load of free studio time. Tony said ‘cos you gave us a career man’. Wow, all I did was spend about 3 hours in the studio with them and they got a whole career out of it haha’.

Have you a few more stories about The Tygers ? ‘Yeah, John Sykes was touring Japan with Whitesnake and we got a call from him saying the Tygers are huge in Japan why not get out here and tour. Well at the same time we were about to get a record deal from Music for Nations on the songs we had written so we decided to make this the 5th Tygers album rather than a Deverill solo album.
To produce The Wreck Age we couldn’t get Pete Collins who produced The Cage so we got the guy who engineered it – Phil Harding who was by then part of the Stock Aitken And Waterman set-up. Because it was going to be the Tygers, who had basically split by then, we needed another Tyger to validate the band, who wants to see a band with no original members ? So we ended up with Jon Deverill on vocals, original drummer Brian Dick came back in, on guitar was a guy called Neil Sheppard who looked like John Sykes. I can’t remember the others but I was asked to play keyboards. On the album I’m credited as guest musician but I played all the bass parts on it, all finger no plec, I thought it would take half an hour…it took 2 days haha.
I didn’t tour with them but we did a live TV rock show called ECT where I was heavily disguised. That show also featured Gary Moore and Robin George’.

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Anymore stories from the NEAT days ? ‘Yeah we had a stream of bands coming through the studio and one of them I mentioned earlier was Raven. When I first heard them I thought yeah this is heavy as hell, not what I am writing at the moment but it was constructed, well thought out and clever with a huge sound for a three piece. They have since said one of the things they remember about our time in the studio was how much they laughed. We experimented a bit, on one of the Tygers songs put a mic at the top and the bottom of the stairs, then we kicked a bin full of metallic objects down them, recorded that and put it at the end of the record, sounded great. At the bottom of the stairs someone can be heard declaring ‘Shit’ I’ve since seen that story applied to the Raven recordings. I can’t recall exactly, it’s all a blur to me now’.

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‘There was quite a scene for a number of years with muso’s getting together in some bars on the coast of the North East of England. They also hung out in Impulse Studios. We were working out of the studio on a few sessions putting stuff together, there was a band called Action. The line-up contained a young vocalist/guitarist called Andy Taylor. Andy was younger than the rest of us, he being 18 and the rest of us mid twenties. Andy did several sessions for me and I cut a few tracks with Action but none were released. He was always telling us we were boring old farts and he was going to be a megastar. One day he stuck a pin in the ‘want a musician’ adverts in Melody Maker and travelled down to Birmingham for an audition. He came home really happy and told us he got the gig. We asked him what the band was called and when he told us we laughed. ‘What kind of name is that? You’ll get nowhere, ha ha, Duran Duran, ha ha !’

‘I recall once I was coaching a nervous young bass player in the studio when our tape op said to the kid, ‘hey mate, why don’t you sell your bass and have a really good night out’. That tape op didn’t last very long but we were soon joined by another young guy called Conrad. It was his job to fetch and carry, make coffee, thread the tapes onto the machines, make tape copies and cassettes. Conrad fitted in well. He was a good tape op and got on well with everyone. He was always going on about his own band. It seemed that they saved up for about three months until they could afford enough pyrotechnics to blow up half a city, then had to save up to do another show. Conrad said very little about the music, it was mostly about the explosions. Nearly forgot to mention, Conrads band was called Venom’.

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‘Hey what about the time I gave Venom the Devil haha. The Devil is a knickname for a musical interlude called the Tritone. And it’s heavily discordant if you crank the volume up and play that, it is basically the sound of The Devil. I remember Conrad in the studio saying they had lost the bass player so I loaned them my bass and he played it through a Marshall stack and a fuzzbox. Apparently the loan of that bass gave birth to Black Metal haha. I’m responsible. Sorry.
Again they were very unrefined but absolutely bags of enthusiasm, but that was the last thing I recorded there. I never took a production royalty, just said there’s the tapes lad’s, I’m off. Eventually I sold Conrad that bass it was a Gibson EB3 and I’d had it right through my career. I said ‘I have no use for it now but you must take care of it’. Next I saw it had an upside down ephigy of Christ nailed to it and holes drilled through it. Some years later I asked him did he still have it and he replied ‘It died in L.A.’

What type of chart success did you have ? ‘On quitting NEAT Records as producer I had a shed load of releases as a writer. I was working in several different genre’s but I still had a healthy grounding in Rock. In 1981 I came up with a little slushy ballad which didn’t fit the NEAT stuff although I played it to Dave Wood and he said uh it’s ok. So I was determined my future lay elsewhere. Within six month it was a Top 20 hit, that was Hurry Home and it was in the charts for three month. At roughly the same time the Tygers put out Paris By Air which was a minor hit so I had some credibility on both sides of the coin. My publishing was with Neon and I had a hit with Sheena Easton on her Madness Money and Music album which went Top 20. Celine Dion also recorded the Sheena Easton song in French. It was a hit single in Canada going Gold. The album sold 400,000 units in Canada and 700,000 units in France.
Eventually I got to own all my own copyrights and I now publish myself with an international collection deal’.

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Looking back on your career what has music given you ? ‘Pain and pleasure !
Over the coming months I’m going to release some nuggets from my archives on a local online lable http://www.stevethompson.vaingloriousUK.com

Thanks for taking the time and sharing your stories Steve, cheers.

Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2017.

Recommended:

Micky McCrystal, Cat Scratch Fever, March 17th 2017.

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

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

Robb Weir, Doctor Rock, 5th November 2017.

 

 

THE ENTERTAINER – All the world’s a stage for Kev Charlton

Today Kev Charlton is known for being a member of North East rockabilly band Bessie and the Zinc Buckets. But in the early 1980’s he played bass for heavy metal band Hellanbach ‘Some of the shows we done around that time were great, the Newcastle Mayfair, Sunderland Mecca, the Hoffborough House. We played with Raven, who were our stablemates at NEAT, they were going great guns. People were going crazy for Hellanbach, we were caught in a whirlwind’.

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Where did it all start? ‘First off I listened to bands like Atomic Rooster and Emerson Lake and Palmer then through a neighbour I got into playing bass. Started a band with a few mates and we rehearsed in a garage. Also a big influence was seeing bands at Newcastle City Hall, I have plec’s from Michael Anthony, Edward Van Halen, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi when Van Halen supported Black Sabbath. Love collecting stuff like that I have a book full of ticket stub’s’.

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‘Then a natural progression from that was to work as one of the stagehands at the City Hall and earn a bit money. What happened was a friend of ours Mick Laheaney, who worked for The Tubes and The Roling Stones,  introduced us to a guy called Colin Rowell who was stage manager at Newcastle City Hall. So for years we worked at the Hall loading in the sound and light gear and meeting bands like Rush, Judas Priest and Motorhead. I remember we set up eight articulated lorries worth of equipment for Van Halen, all for the princely sum of £8 !’

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‘Then I got the gig working on the backline for Davey Urwin and Kieth Satchfield’s band, they were called Axe at the time, then they turned into Fist. One of my favourite bands.
That’s where it started for me really. That stuff still get’s to me I love to see bands it’s something that’s in yer blood, ya just can’t give it up. I can’t get enough of it’.

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Where were your first gigs ? ‘We called our first band Oblisque and arranged a gig at Talbot Road Youth Club in South Shields. The word got round especially with the kids in the youth club it was like, wow they are in a band. The gig went well but that band fizzled out, it didn’t get out of first gear, but it turned into a band that changed my life, that was Hellanbach’.

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‘We started rehearsing then had our first gig at St Hildas Youth Club. We started getting everything together, rehearsals, flyers, everything was going ok, until it got to the night of the gig and there was a queue all the way around the market it looked to us. Then the nerves kicked in, but when we started playing I knew we had something. I can’t put my finger on it but it was something special and drove a lot of people crazy. Basically I got hooked from then, it’s something thats in yer blood, yer can’t give it up. I can’t get enough of it’.

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What was your experience of recording ? Hellanbach really hit the ground running because in 1980 we put a four track EP together for Guardian records in Durham, the studio was owned by Terry Gavaghan. We recorded Light of the World, Out to Get You, Nobodys Fool and Lets Get this Show on the Road. But we didn’t realise that what your playing isn’t in your hands of what goes down on record. That was the job of Terry Gavaghan’.

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‘Then we went down to take some photo’s for the cover, it was on a bridge near the Burn beside Brockley Whins, the photo’s still look good today haha.
The whole thing was a great experience the feeling of listening to the playback thinking thats your music, your songs, it’s an incredible feeling. In the end we called the EP Out to Get You, put it out and it sold like hotcakes’.

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With the sales of the E.P. did you feel that the band were getting somewhere ? ‘I really felt that the band were firing on all cylinders, off the back of the EP we got a deal with NEAT records to record our first album at Impulse Studio in Wallsend. That was the best time.’

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‘After rehearsing for months getting the new songs together we recorded the album which is a very proud moment in my life. Now Hear This came out in ’83 and was produced by Kieth Nichol. I remember getting the first copy of the album, taking it into work thinking this might be me leaving the shipyards’.

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‘It really was one of the weirdest times of my life because it came out to amazing five star reviews some of the big bands weren’t even getting five stars. I remember sitting in the toilets of Wallsend slipway reading the reviews in Kerrang and Sounds, thinking this will be the last time I’ll be in the shipyard…but it wasn’t’.

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Where did you go with Hellanbach then ? ‘In 1984 we recorded another album The Big H which I’m immensley proud of. Our line up then was me, Barry Hopper on drums, Davey Patton on guitar and Jimmy Brash upfront. But looking back I’m so disappointed that we didn’t gig enough and we listened to the wrong people. It all went pear shaped with bad management and signing wrong deals, it just fell to bits. We should have been touring the States but instead I went back to the shipyards’.

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What are you up to now and are you still involved in music ?  ‘I’m still playing, making a living and having a great time. We still rock n roll like we did when we were 16 year old kid’s in a garage trying to play our first song. Which I don’t think was Smoke on the Water haha.
One thing I’m proud about is that I kept my Aria guitar, which I recorded the two Hellanbach albums on, a nice bass but doesn’t suit the rockabilly stuff that I play now. But still love it, basically it’s still my love and I set out to play music till the day I die’.

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After performing for 30 years Kev Charlton played the Newcastle City Hall in 2014  where as a teenager he worked as a roadie. Alongside playing with Bessie & the Zinc Buckets Kev has recently joined North East heavy metal legend’s Fist, who he worked for on the road crew in the 1970’s. Yes you can say his dream come true.

Interview by Gary Alikivi taken from the documentary We Sold Our Soul for Rock n Roll available to watch on You Tube.

Recommended:

Lou Taylor, SATAN/BLIND FURY: Rock the Knight, 26th February & 5th March 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.

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

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

 

 

STILL GOT THE BLUES – with Trevor Sewell

This Friday June 23rd, is the the launch of ‘Calling Nashville’ the new album from Trevor Sewell. If you don’t know him check this for an impressive record in the music biz; Winner of 9 major awards in the U.S.A , 4 times nominated in the British Blues Awards, his debut album ‘Calling Your Name’ spent a staggering 7 weeks at number one on the American Blues Scene Chart. His second album ‘Independence’ went on to win multiple awards and firmly establish him as a real force to be reckoned with.

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Sewell’s music has not only been recorded recently by several American artists but also featured on numerous major compilations alongside legendary artists such as Robert Johnson, B.B King and Howlin’ Wolf. The years have seen Trevor Sewell continue to go from strength to strength… ‘We have the new album coming out which features some amazing guests in the shape of the wonderful Janis Ian who is herself a multi platinum selling artist and Grammy winner. Also Tracy Nelson from the legendary Mother Earth and produced by American producer Geoff Wilbourn’.

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Rewind the tape Trevor and tell me where did it all begin and how did you get involved in playing music ? ‘The people that influenced me in the early days and really got me started playing were Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King and John Mayall with Eric Clapton and the Bluesbreakers. I have a very eclectic taste in music but it was these guys that really made me want to pick up a guitar and make a go of it. My brother brought a guitar home along with the John Mayall album and I was hooked before the intro of All Your Love had completed. I just thought how can I get a guitar, it was an amazing moment for sure’.

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Where did you rehearse and when did you start playing gigs? ‘Like most bands we started off rehearsing in each others houses and church halls, anywhere we could really. The first one I ever did was when I was 13, it was at a Drill Hall in Heaton, Newcastle in front of about 400 people. But since then I’ve played pretty much every sized venue from the very smallest to 20,000 plus’.

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What were your experiences of recording ? ‘I spent a lot of 1983 working in the major London Studios which taught me a lot and gave me a taste for recording and over the next decade or so I worked hard to learn how to do it myself and build my own studio enabling me to record my albums at home. Although I recently did one at Capitol Studios in Hollywood and have just returned from Nashville where I’ve recorded the new album’.

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Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘I remember touring in Norway with The Monroes who were signed to EMI Norway and had a number one album at that time. The Monroes were themselves Norwegian and wanted to take the show to places where major bands didn’t usually play so over 6 or 7 weeks we played pretty much everywhere in Norway and it is such a beautiful country. It was amazing driving through the mountains in the Arctic circle and then getting a small plane into Hammerfest, the most Northerly town in the world, it was a fantastic experience. I also love playing in America we have had our last two album launches in Los Angeles its a fantastic place’.

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What are your plans for the rest of 2017 ? ‘We played at the pre Grammy Soiree earlier this year and we are planning to go back to the U.S for the Grammys next February. I’m also lucky in that I get to play on other peoples albums sometimes particularly in the U.S. I really do think I am a very lucky person as even after all this time I still love playing’.

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Tickets are still available from http://www.thecluny.com for the launch for the new album ’Calling Nashville’ on Friday 23rd June at The Cluny in Newcastle with special guests (from Lindisfarne) Rod Clements with Ian Thomson plus Les Young of the Wall to Wall Blues Show.

Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2017.

Recommended:

Bernie Torme, The Dentist, 21st March 2017.

Steve Dawson (ANIMALS) Long Live Rock n Roll, 2nd April 2017.

Robb Weir (TYGERS OF PAN TANG) Doctor Rock, 21st June 2017.

John Verity, (ARGENT) Blue to his Soul, 7th November 2017.

HUNGRY FOR ROCK – with Hollow Ground mainman Martin Metcalf.

Martin is guitarist for NWOBHM band Hollow Ground who formed in South Shields in 1978. He also played in Geordie, Powerhouse, Fist and Sabbatica.
The day we were due to meet was as cold as Russia. I walked up to his front door knocked a few times and rubbed my hands together trying to get some warmth. Knew I should have worn my gloves. Door opened and I was greeted by a smiling Martin Metcalf  ‘How ya daein howay in I’ve got the kettle on’.

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I asked Martin what were his earliest memories of music and his biggest influences. ‘I first listened to glam rock bands like TRex, Slade and Bowie with my first guitar hero being Mick Ronson. Then got into heavier sounds like Alice Cooper and progressed to bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That was the catalyst of wanting to play music.
I got my first Satellite Les Paul Copy guitar and Sound City Amp and started rehearsing in Tyne Dock Youth Club in South Shields’.

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When were your first gigs ? ‘We played a few pubs around South Shields around 78-79 and then later some more local gigs with Fist and Hellanbach. We also played in clubs with a more commercial set doing cover versions under the name Horizon. This financed our first time in a studio, recording at NEAT records’.

What was your experience of recording ? ‘My first one was at NEAT’s Impulse Studios in Wallsend basically a live recording of most songs from the Hollow Ground set. I think it was Keith Nicholl who produced the demo and the tape operator was a guy called Conrad Lant aka Chronos, who later became the bassist in Venom. We were just young lads then, sort of finding our feet in the studio. That one cost £50 and was recorded totally live’.

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‘One night we went to Newcastle Mayfair to watch our mates Fist who were on the bill with Raven. Steve Thompson who was producer then at NEAT records pulled me to one side and said theres a deal at NEAT if I wanted it. I liked the idea but told him we had just sorted something out with Guardian. We went down to the studio in Durham and recorded 4 tracks Flying High, Warlord, Rock On and Don’t Chase The Dragon. It cost around £500’.

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What was the story behind Roksnax the compilation LP that Hollow Ground appeared on? ‘What happened was we met up with producer Terrry Gavaghan and talked through the idea of a compilation LP with a couple of other bands from the North East. So we went down to Guardian and recorded a further 2 songs – The Holy One and Fight With the Devil. Our mates from South Shields, Saracen were also going to be on the record’.
3‘We were in the studios for 2 days and slept overnight there. The studio was basically 2 terraced houses knocked into one. I still remember the smell of the brown cork tiles in the studio and having to sellotape the headphones on my head when recording as they kept falling off!  In hindsight maybe NEAT would have turned out better for us in the long run. Although a good thing was that Lars Ulrich from Metallica bought a copy of the Roksnax LP in Los Angeles and that led to our track Fight With the Devil being played in the Metallica documentary A Year And A Half In The Life Of Metallica’.

What caused the break up of Hollow Ground ? Hollow Ground lasted until our singer Glenn Coates went for an audition for Fist. The writing was on the wall because they already had a following and a record deal with NEAT plus they had recently toured with UFO. Glenn got the job and in the end there was no hard feelings about it, all the lads in Fist were and still are good friends’.

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Where did your career go after that ? ‘Around ’84 I had a 5 year stint with Geordie, who changed their name to Powerhouse following an album release. We played gigs and recorded the album (Powerhouse) at Redwood Studios in London for Mausoleum records’.

577880_293251164129519_846241940_n‘Redwood was owned by the Monty Python guys Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison. The studio was run by a guy name Andre Jaquemin who in 1980 set up some studio work for Brian Johnson, who at the time was on the brink of leaving Geordie and joining AC/DC. Small world eh’.

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What are you up to now are you still involved in music ? ‘I’m still working in music, just not as much on stage. We do a few Hollow Ground gigs at Metal Festivals in Europe and I still play, but nowadays I mostly work behind the mixing desk engineering live sound’.

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‘I do loads of gigs for North East bands in fact I’m booked up for pretty much the rest of the year. So yeah, I enjoy that and get just as much a thrill out of it as I do when playing on stage’.

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I drained the last few dregs of my coffee, put my coat on, said our goodbyes and walked out into a cold wind howling in from the North sea. It’s Baltic out here. Head down and quickly walked along the street catching the sun going down over the river Tyne.

Interview by Gary Alikivi on 12th January 2017 .

ALL ABOARD -Getting the band back on the right track with Dealer frontman Trevor Short

Formed in 1979 New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Dealer are from Cirencester, in the South of England. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Trevor Short got in touch…

18424728_10213382527297309_1475073037_n‘We had quite an entourage back then, to accomodate everyone and our gear we got a massive 28 seater ex US Airforce bus, and our first proper gig was at a pub in our home town, we ran it all from one plug socket – lights, PA and the back line haha!’… but where did it all begin ? ‘I was in the church choir as a kid and when I was 15, a local band were looking for a singer and asked if I was interested. We all had similar influences, basicallly anything metal from the late 70’s and 80’s like AC/DC, Budgie, Diamond Head and Scorpions’.

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‘Originally we were called Lone Wolf but had to change the name as Paul Di’Annio, who was sacked from Iron Maiden, formed a new band called Lone Wolf. We looked into fighting to keep the name but eventually gave up and that’s where Dealer started’.

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When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘We played all pubs and clubs up and down the country with memorable gigs in Swindon, then over to Oxford and into Cardiff. Then a couple of gigs where we supported Gary Moore and the mighty Motorhead at Chippenham Golddiggers. The whole experience will stay with me forever. Motorhead and their crew could not have been more helpful. We spent most of the evening in their dressing room having been practically dragged in by Lemmy ‘Help yourself to beer and food guys’. When it was time for us to go on, Lemmy and Philthy stood in the wings and watched our whole set. It was a sell out gig and everyone was up for it. We actually got an encore but we didn’t think we would be allowed to do one more and started to leave the stage. Lemmy was having none of it and insisted we go back out for our encore. He was a very kind and generous man. The crew worked their asses of for us too. Nothing was too much trouble’.

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‘All in stark contrast to the Gary Moore gig. The man himself was quite friendly, he seemed almost shy but their management not quite so. We had to wait outside while the band sound checked. Then we were bundled on and off and pretty much made aware of our place. Good gig though’.
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What were your experiences of recording ?  ‘Tudor Studios in Swindon was our first time in a proper studio that was around 1980. I remember we recorded 3 songs but amazingly with all the archive material we collected there is no recording of this session, not a tape or receipt so I cannot even tell you how much it cost !
We have one track Strip Jack Naked which has survived from the 2nd session we recorded at a studio in Reading. Again we haven’t got much info on the name of that studio but I can remember we were struggling to find a place with a producer who understood heavy metal’.

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‘I’n 1982 we wanted to record an album’s worth of songs, but this would of cost a fortune so we converted our rehearsal space into a studio. We got all the necessary gear, a recording desk, quarter inch reel to reel and plenty of mics. Then went for it, totally live! The end product we called Boogie, Booze & Birds and put it out on cassette’.

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‘Not long after, we met a guy who owned a studio in Cardiff, we found that he really knew his stuff. He was a real saviour for our recorded output so for the next few years, Studio 2 was our real go to place. The result was our deal with Ebony Records’.

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‘Our next recording was at Ebony Studio in Hull. It was a pretty hectic time because we only had one week to record and mix. But we knuckled down and came out with the First Strike album, that was released in 1986 on the Ebony label’.

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Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ?  ‘I mentioned that we got a massive ex US Airforce bus, well that was a V12 Chevy that was very slow and very thirsty! We added our name on the destination board at the front of the bus, we thought this was great but proved not to be one of our better ideas as the police would stop us on a regular basis. We had just done a gig in Guildford when we were stopped and hauled back to the police station. We were strip searched and held for over 5 hours…finally we were let go’.

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‘The bus wasn’t the most reliable as it would reguarly break down and to get going again we’d have to push it. I remember supporting Spider in Newbury, we were late after breaking down again. We pushed the bus into the venue’s car park and all the people in the queue were watching us. It was like a scene out of the TV spoof documentary Bad News’.

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Have Dealer been active lately and is there any future plans for band?  ‘In January 2010 we played a ‘one last gig for old times sake’ gig in our hometown of Cirencester. To our surprise that gig was quite a success and I have to say it kinda stirred up the juices again. Also ONR, a Greek record label, released an album of our demo’s which was later released by German label High Roller Records’.

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‘By 2011 of all places to gig, we were asked to tour Russia ! A 10 day tour was set up and that was an absolute blast. Our album First Strike was also remastered and released there. More festivals followed including the Heavy Metal Maniacs in Holland’.

18015672_10213163500181768_1572748859_o‘Then Dealer was put on hold after the tragic death of original bassist Pete Gentil. This was absolutely devastating. After a year of contemplation Dealer returned with new bass player Tom Bull to play gigs in the UK, we went back to Holland again and also got on the Lechlade Festival bill supporting Status Quo’.

18015817_10213163525702406_1138638468_o‘Things were starting to look up again when Steve our lead guitarist developed a problem with his hand meaning Ash Doulton, was brought in to fill on guitar duties. This year with gigs ready for Europe, USA and India we are ready to keep the Dealer train rolling’.

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Dealer full line up:
Trevor Short: lead vocals & rhythm guitar
Rupert Irving: drums & backing vocals
Tom Bull: bass & backing vocals
Ash Doulton: lead guitar & backing vocals

Interview by Gary Alikivi 2017.

 

THE SHOW MUST GO ON -“I’ve been a professional musician all my working life” say’s guitarist Mick Maughan

Mick looks back on his time when over 30 years ago he recorded at NEAT records for NWOBHM band Phasslayne ‘Tracks included Run for Guns, Who’s Losing Now and Minute Man we called the album Cut it Up

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He also brings his story up to date ‘I’ve play all around the world, last year I played at the Sydney Opera house. I do summer seasons every year in Greece and in the winter move over to Switzerland and Austria. I’ve taught guitar, played on cruises, in football stadiums, done loads of session work and live backing of other artists’.

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‘I’m a self taught musician. Music is in my blood you know and I come from a very musical family. My father played piano and his mother was a music teacher. On my mothers side all of her brothers played guitar so it was a natural progression that I would do the same. My first guitar was an SG copy which I got around 79.
The guitars I play now are mainly Strats and Les Paul’s but I’ve got a great little Tele that I like too. Acoustics I play are Maton, Martin and Takamine.
Gear wise I’ve got a couple of Fender amps, a Bassbreaker and Blues Junior 111, a Bogner Alchemist and a Line 6 DT25. I’ve used amp modelling a lot until recently. I’ve also started using analog pedals again’.

Who were your influences ? ‘My influences range from Steely DanQueen to Stevie Wonder and of course The Beatles. Then heavier stuff like Deep Purple, Van Halen, Gary Moore and UFO, I soaked up all these different sounds, loved it’.

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Where did you rehearse and when did you start playing gigs? ‘My first band used to rehearse in The North Eastern pub in Jarrow around ’81 and my first gig was at the PHAB club on Bede Burn Road in Jarrow. That was with Ian McElwee who later formed a band called Zig Zag with Ginger from The Wildhearts.
Around the same time I formed NWOBHM band Phasslayne. We rehearsed upstairs in the Dougie Vaults in South Shields and I remember our bassist borrowing his dads car and making multiple trips with Marshall cabs and drums, those were the days haha.
Amp wise in those days, I played through 2 x 100 Marshalls and 4 x 4×12’s. Also used a distortion pedal and WEM Copycat cry baby wah and a chorus.
The line up had Barry Hopper on drums but Ian Matttimore stepped in when we started gigging, Paul Gago on bass throughout until the band split’.

Phasslayne-Brofest-2015-2‘In the recent version he has been replaced by Brian Morton (pic. above) as I believe Paul has not played bass for many years now. Kev Wilkinson was the original singer who was on the first demo in 1983. He left to join glam/punk band Sweet Trash who were based in Newcastle. Musn’t forget to mention Maurice Bates from Mythra who is a very good friend of ours and was Phasslaynes manager, he helped us with decisions and advice from the very beginning’.

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What venues did you play ?  Phasslayne played the usual places around Tyneside, the Mayfair and Trillions in Newcastle. The Mecca in Sunderland and in South Shields we played St Hilda’s youth club and The British Legion social club. We could never afford the necessary equipment required for big shows as we were basically kids so we used to hire PA systems. For all those gigs we drove in a van with no insurance, no tax or m.o.t and the steering was goosed, but it still got us to the gig. In the end we scrapped it for a tenner haha’.

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What were your experiences of recording ? ‘In the summer of 1985 Phasslayne were approached by Neat Records, Dave Woods was the main man there. What happened was we recorded a demo at Desert Sounds in Felling which they really liked so the label asked us to record a live no dubs demo in their studio in Wallsend. On hearing that Dave Woods signed us to do an album. But just before we got our record deal our singer Kev Wilkinson left and everyone looked at me so that’s how I ended up doing the vocals’.

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I think Keith Nichol was the engineer.  For guitars I used my Strat and Maurice Bates from Mythra loaned me his Les Paul. But in the end Phasslayne weren’t getting any support from NEAT plus more lucrative jobs were being offered. So that was the end of that really, and I moved on’.

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Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘I have a few yes, one was where we had a gig booked in South Shields which had been booked for a few month and we wern’t going to cancel even though we had lost our singer. So I took over. I wasn’t sure of all the words to the songs but we got thru it somehow. We didn’t audition for another singer so I remained on vocals, also drummer Ian Mattimore left and we brought in Andrew Stidolph to replace him’.

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‘Around ’84 or ’85 we entered a Battle of the Bands competition at Buddy’s nightclub in South Shields. All I remember of that gig was we played three songs and came second. I can’t remember the bands name who won but they changed it to The Playboys. Was it Vila La Something or other ?’

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What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future ? ’Still keeping very busy. I play on the new Cirkus album and recorded most of the guitars in Greece and there’s also a Bouzouki featured on one of the songs played by one of my Greek friends who is one of the top players there. The guitars on that album are my Fender Strat, a Gibson Les Paul and a Maton Acoustic. The band have arranged a deal where it will be released on the 17th June so really looking forward to that’.

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‘For Phasslayne, that is an on going project, we were asked to perform at Brofest 3 in Newcastle a couple of years ago and we are now currently writing a new album. Always keeping busy you know, forever on the look out for new projects, it’s in my blood’.

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Interview by Gary Alikivi.  2017.

 

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME ? Send your answers to 80’s cult skiffle punk’s Terry & Gerry

After nearly 30 years Terry & Gerry, the Birmingham based cult skiffle punk band reformed in honour of their biggest fan, the late John Peel. The BBC Radio DJ  received a demo tape from Terry & Gerry, the name of the best friends of Peel’s wife.  He thought the coincidence was too great to ignore so he played the tape and immediately bacame a big fan. He asked the band to travel down to the BBC and record a few songs for his show. It was a case of right time, right place, right name.  
Gerry: ‘Sadly, we never met him, although he did give us a fond mention in his autobiography. We met his friend and producer John Walters who was a skiffle fan and totally top bloke. In 2014 I was invited to play a John Peel commemoration concert and got in touch with Terry, Su and Mick. We were all amazed that we were all still alive!! The old wounds had scabbed over and we decided to give it a go’

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Where did it all begin for Terry & Gerry ?
Terry: ‘Just buy a guitar, learn three chords, write a song about something you are passionate about and off you go! We were both in bands in Birmingham so knew of each other. Gerry bought a double bass from a bloke he met on a train and I went round to check it out. We found we wrote well together. We tried to come up with a cool name but our names rhymed so it was just a happy coincidence.’
Gerry: ‘Our sound needed some percussion and our mate Su Richardson, had a ridged dinner plate which provided the backbeat…it was a natural progression for her to get a washboard!! The inclusion of a second guitar, originally Andy Downer and then Mick Howson created a really exciting, fun sound’.
Su Richardson: ‘Our line-up and sound was created by accident. We all loved Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers and punk and we wanted to write songs that reflected that, but with lyrics about 1980’s Britain with the Political and social problems that people faced’.
Terry: ‘The indie scene in the 1980’s was like a family, everyone helped each other. We were lucky enough to go on tour with The Nightingales, The Pogues and Billy Bragg and had a blast with everyone. We were so different and eclectic that we fitted in with any band. There was a very real feeling of being part of a movement that was fun, exciting and saying something about issues of the day. You have to write what comes out and what angers or inspires you, otherwise it’s no fun to play. I’d like to add that we always had an independent spirit, Terry and Gerry never had a manager we were always, and continue to be self managed’.

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Did the band make any appearance’s on TV ?
Sue: ‘Televison was good to us and we appeared on The Tube, Whistle Test, loads of Kids TV. On one show Noddy Holder from Slade sang backing vocals’.
Terry: ‘My recollection is that we got the gig at The Tube through the recommendation of Mike Davies who was a DJ at Beacon Radio. He suggested us to Chris Phipps and that we auditioned for the show in Su’s front room. I remember Chris Phipps commenting that he wished he had filmed the audition – clearly bands did not usually audition in a front room.
Our original appearance was cancelled due to the broadcast of the funeral of Indira Ghandi at the beginning of November 1984 and put back to February 1985. Also on the show were Killing Joke’.

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‘I remember that we hired a Birmingham P.A. company to provide holdback as the production company at Tyne Tees were charging us to use theirs. I understand that the Musician’s Union subsequently negotiated an additional payment for us as a result of this practice. I think that although the broadcast sound was reasonable no sound was sent into the studio with the live audience. My guess is that the record company for Killing Joke paid the in house PA companies fees.
I’m not sure how we got the Whistle Test Gig. Personally I remember that it was the day I had an allergic reaction to sea food and that we went on a search for a pharmacy because I was feeling dodgy as a result. The things you remember eh !
We went down to London to play live at the Mean Fiddler, where it was being filmed. It was great to be broadcast from there as Vince Power gave us our first ever gig in London. It’s also the one television appearance that goes some way towards capturing what our live shows were really like at that time. When I watch it now I remember many of the faces of the people in the audience that used to come and see us play whenever we appeared in London. Yes, a great time!’

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In the mid-eighties the four piece band released six singles and one album. The band toured extensively in the UK, Europe and America gathering fans from Joe Strummer to Shane MacGowan and one of the singles was reviewed by Morrissey for Radio One ‘I love it!! Don’t know why!!’ At this point things were really looking up for the band but could they keep the pace up ?
Gerry:Morrissey was very complimentary about our EP ‘Clothes Shop Closed’ and Shane McGowan and the guys made us feel so welcome on their tours. Joe Strummer even came to a gig in New York!! Looking back we still can’t believe it’.
Terry: ‘At the end of the 80’s we were all pretty burned out and wanted to do something different but we all stayed in music. Terry and Gerry fell out and rarely spoke. Doing something together again had never been on the cards’.

What got the band talking again ?
Gerry: ‘In 2014 I was invited to play a John Peel commemoration concert, got in touch with Terry, Su and Mick and we decided to give it a go’
Mick Howson: ‘Our first rehearsal in 27 years was absolutely amazing. It all came flooding back and the songs were as relevant today as they had been in the 1980’s. Now we don’t wanna stop!’

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In 2015 you were invited by Status Quo to be special guests on their U.K. tour. What was that like ?
Terry: ‘The Mighty Quo and their fans have been brilliant. They sang along, waved their hands in the air and gave us a wonderful reception. We even got a standing ovation at The Royal Albert Hall!! They are a brilliant band to tour with and we are so grateful for the opportunity’.
Gerry: ‘We have concerts coming up all year as well as festivals, we plan to keep going for as long as we are enjoying it, there is a host of skiff-punk bands out there which shows indie music still lives on.’

Check the official website for the latest tour dates and information at http://www.terryandgerry.com.

Interview by Gary Alikivi April 2017.

 

FELT NOWT -The world according to Wavis O’Shave

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Who was Wavis ? An exclusive interview with the reclusive character and his biographer Gary Craig: ‘As a kid I’d been to Wavis O’Shave gigs at the Bolingbroke Hall and St Aidens Church Hall in South Shields. He used to have some strange sort of admission fees, like slices of bread or boiled eggs. It had to be a hard boiled egg cos he wouldn’t let you in with a soft boiled egg. If the entry fee was a white slice of bread but if you brought a brown one you were caught with a forgery’.

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‘When he was making the album Anna Fords Bum we decided to go down to ITN in London and try and meet up with the TV newsreader Anna Ford. Amazingly enough we had only stood around for an hour when Anna Ford herself just walked straight out onto the steps of ITN. She was approached by a man with an 18 inch polystyrene nose attached to his face. She stood there, waited while he got down on one knee and proposed marriage, we took a couple of photographs and it made the national newspapers. After that I think he managed to get a bit more famous, he used to get on The Tube and establish one or two characters’.

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Wavis: Wavis had many adventures. I remember driving through London in the Wavis mobile. Someone sprayed a massive nose along the length of the car. You could see we were out of the area because of the licence plate on the car.
Gary Craig: We got ourselves a bit lost and headed down a deadend. We realised there was a car following us, I thought it was just going to come past so I was waving them on.
Wavis: All of a sudden it was screeching of tyres. Turned out to be the Flying Squad. It was just like Reagan and Carter on the telly. When I used to leave the area I used to have masks and stuff like that in the boot, this time I also had a baseball bat wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. They asked me to get out and started to search under the seats and opened up the boot.
Gary Craig: They started to look at all the things in there and said sticks and masks son you could get 15 years for this. But Wavis and another lad who were in the backseat donned the 18 inch polystyrene conks, stuck there heads outside the back window and said ‘can you tell me whats wrong officer’. At this stage I think he decided we were pretty much crazy and there was no point of trying to pursue enquiries.

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The Tube in the early 1980’s was a music programme broadcast live from a studio in Newcastle. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for a few show’s. The early series featured Wavis O’Shave but it was in the Summer of 1982 when we witnesed the birth of one of Wavis’ best known creation’s, The Hard.
‘I’d filmed two 45 minute VHS movies, The Hard and Enter the Hard, where with a bit of camera trickery The Hard challenged and fought Bruce Lee. These films were quickly made available to Wavis fans on the Whiteleas Council Estate. Video copies fired around the estate and a Hard mania was born’.

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‘I was asked by Tyne Tees TV who were making a music programme for Channel 4, if I would like to contribute as I had been on their Check it Out show as Hootsi Tabernacle. Hootsi was a spoof about an American Cult leader of Nebbism who had bought Marsden Rock and was having it transported bit by bit over to the States by helicopter’.

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‘Researcher Nigel Sheldrake loved The Hard videos and wanted him on the show. Somewhat lazily I was hoping they could simply use the footage from my own VHS movies but of course the quality would be far better if we re-shot some with professional cameras so I conceded to redoing some in my own humble back yard in Stoddart Street, South Shields’.

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‘The brand new TV station Channel 4 and The Tube was planned to air in November 1982 so we did the shoot sometime in September. I was designated a sizeable film crew including the cameraman who couldn’t stop laughing, nobody knew what I was going to say or do next, so it took a few takes until he and his wobbling camera settled down. Director Geoff Wonfor took an unashamed back seat, left me to it really, and told all the crew to do whatever I asked them to. And they did. It took about three hours and obviously not all of the sketches made it to the screen’.

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‘The origin of the famous stripey jumper worn by the Hard was that I spotted it hanging up at a friend’s house. He was much taller than me so in order to make it fit I was inspired to have to pad myself out quite a bit, hence the exaggerated muscles. I guess it may have reminded me a bit of Dennis the Menace’s jumper. The Dennis the Menace Fan Club is the only thing I have ever joined in my life. When The Tube first aired The Hard’s national debut was on the second or third episode’.

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‘On another occasion, I was given the luxury and rarity of a full day to film on location in Newcastle. As the day wore on the crew got progressively drunk on the free beer, the disastrous result being that much of the footage was unusable, and so Lord Lobsang Coalseamwig, The Hard’s toff cousin, with top hat, tails, monocle and Doc Martens with his posh phrase ’I felt no thing’ never made it onto the Mid Summer Tube Special. This was despite it been advertised the previous week. That was naughty of them because it was probably the best thing I had ever done.
Part of the jollity that day was when word got back to Director Geoff Wonfor that I said I was going to throw my self off the Tyne Bridge instead of the prepared Hard dummy but not to tell him. When he found out he pinned me up to a wall and said if I did he’d kill me! I’d have thought the drop would have done that’.

‘The immortal catch phrase ‘Felt Nowt’ came naturally, although we suspect the Hard actually did feel the lot. Two weeks after he made his debut on the show The Tube crew were sent to film something in a Manchester nightclub and all the bouncers were wearing homemade ‘Felt Nowt’ T-Shirts! The Hard was here to stay. But these days, The Hard resides at a secret location, frozen solid in a state of cryogenic suspended animation in order to avail himself for historical study by future generations, as the worlds hardest person ever. Premature defrostment is only an option should he be called upon to save the world if ever under threat from an incoming asteroid, whereby NASA have booked him to head butt it away’.

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‘I, Mr Wavis O’Shave true to my origin, remain an enigma even to myself, projecting multiple aspects and facets of my being hither and thither under numerous names and identities, some of which are known only to a few. One of me being a successful author, broadcaster and occasional film maker of all things deeply profound….’

It is rumoured that  video’s of The Hard are still in secret circulation on the Whiteleas Council Estate watched by a small number of Hardites and Hardettes wearing black and white striped jumpers underneath their duffell coats. We can’t deny that Wavis happened, and is still happening.

Interview by Gary Alikivi 2017.

Recommended:

Wavis O’Shave, Method in the Madness, 5th September 2017.

ALL THE YOUNG PUNKS – The early day’s with ex Upstart’s guitarist Neil Newton.

Neil Newton is a musician based in the North East of England. For 11 years he was guitarist for Angelic Upstarts. Here he looks back on his career and where it all began…

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‘It all started off with Wizard and The Sweet, my earliest memory as a kid is seeing Roy Wood’s geet mad hair and makeup and the music just hooked me even though, at 5 years old, I didn’t understand why it appealed but I didn’t care, those songs and images were fucking great’.

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‘A few years later Punk came along and that was it, I had already been primed for Punk by listening to the Glam Rock bands and the impact on me was massive. I loved the energy, the anger and lyrics being spat out like venom, fucking incredible and Punk still does that to this day, it still makes the hairs on my arms and neck stand on end’.

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‘Punk music did so much more than influence me musically though, it shaped my whole attitude to the world in general and it was a local Punk band who brought everything into focus about just what it was that punks were angry about. The Sex Pistols were writing about Anarchy in the UK but the Angelic Upstarts were writing about events and issues that were happening in my hometown. I loved Punk because of the Pistols, Damned, Clash et al but I understood Punk because of the Upstarts’.

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‘One other major influence at that time was my dad. He heard me learning and practicing some punk songs on my first ever guitar which I still have. He gave me one of his Eddie Cochran records and said ‘Here, learn that’. So I did and said to him ‘Here dad, that record’s just like the Pistols’ my dad’s reply was ‘check the date it was recorded you stupid bastard’. 1950’s?? Fuck me, that seemed prehistoric to me at the time and there was me thinking music only started with Glam then Punk…Wrong!. I scored for all my dad’s old vinyl though, Chuck Berry, Eddie C, Buddy Holly etc…Mint!’

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How did you get involved in playing music ? ‘The Boy’s Brigade. I started as a bugler but always wanted to be a drummer, so when I got the chance I took a drum and started rehearsing with it at home. Well, when I say at home I mean my dad’s shed. My mam hate’s noise, always has and even to this day she has her telly’s volume on something like minus 24! So I’d get hoyed out into the shed.
It was cosy as fuck. I can still smell the creosote, Jeyes fluid from Lindgrens, old tins of gubbins and my sneaky tabs (loosies, remember them?) Our neighbours must’ve been either stone deaf, extremely tolerant or best mates with Ted Moult and got a great deal on double glazing, because the noises coming out of that shed must’ve been bloody torturous!’

Where did you rehearse and when did you start playing gigs? ‘I played my first gig before I had ever rehearsed! I was still at school maybe 14 or 15 year old and I was approached by a 6th former. He said he’d heard I’d played guitar and would I help his band out by playing bass, as they had a gig coming up. I agreed and asked him when the gig was, thinking it might be in a few months time and the lad said “Oh it’s tonight”! Ehhhhhhhhh???? Don’t worry, he said, do you know the bass line for Satisfaction by the Stones? Aye? Right, well just play that for every song. A few hours later I was upstairs in the Marsden Inn drinking pints of lager and belting out Satisfaction like there was no tomorra’.

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What venues did you play ? ‘In the early days I played a few pubs in South Shields, upstairs in The Cyprus, The Commando but because I supported Newcastle United, I would spend more time in Newcastle than down Shields. I discovered great bars like The Farmers, Jewish Mother, Egypt Cottage, Barley Mow and the best bar ever for live music in Newcastle…The Broken Doll. Mega City Four gigs upstairs in The Doll, smashed off your tits on Slalom D, those were magic times Gary, magic times’.

What were your experiences of recording ? ‘Mostly positive and I’m not talking about the actual written material, because that usually takes care of itself either by being written and well rehearsed before you go in, or jammed out spontaneously to give it an extra edginess on the day. Like most things, the greatest experiences are when you learn the most and I fell double lucky by having Steve Mack as producer for a band I was in at the time called The Sunflowers’.

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‘Steve’s from Seattle but in the early 90’s he had a studio called ‘Bang Bang’ in Hackney. Steve was also the front-man for That Petrol Emotion who were formed by John and Damian O’Neill and were signed to Virgin. Steve was a brilliant producer and he showed me how to properly arrange songs to get maximum impact, he explained about dynamics, he was a fucking genius and my biggest song writing mentor’.

Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘Haha, oh aye shitloads but a lot of them I can’t repeat. Ok then here’s a couple’.

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‘ The first involves a band I was in called Speedster and we were asked to play an all-day music festival at Newbiggin Bank House Social Club. How they even got onto us in the first place is still a mystery but contact us they did and asked if we would play. As soon as the bloke said ‘Social Club’ I immediately asked him if he knew that we were a punk band, that we played all original material and no, we wouldn’t ‘play something wa knaa’!! He replied that he was happy with that and that he wanted, as he put it to ‘put summat on for everyone son, a bit of variety’. Well, you can’t say fairer than that I suppose so we agreed to play even though, to be truthful, we still had reservations.
Anyway, the day of the festival arrives and we travel up in our drummer’s van.

We arrive and get shown through to the dressing room by the Concert Chairman, who introduced us to some bloke and his barely teenage son. ‘See this lad here’ ? says the CC pointing to the young lad, ‘he can play The Shadows on his guitar, give him a listen and tell iz what you think’ ! Now I don’t know if the CC had mistook us for Tony Hatch or Mickie Most but we stood in uncomfortable silence as this young kid gave us back to back versions of ‘Apache’ and ‘FBI’. No disrespect to the young kid but it was cringingly embarrassing to see his dad and the CC with a proper chuff on about this young lad, who probably felt as uncomfortable playing for us, as we felt watching him. A pushy parent is one thing but a pushy parent and a concert chairman, the poor kid must’ve been going through hell.
Whilst all this had been going on an old bloke had been popping in and out of the dressing room. We assumed that he was club staff, or one of the dreaded ‘committee men’, so we didn’t really pay him that much attention….more on him later! We asked if we could see where we were playing and were escorted outside and onto a concrete flagged patio, with two small speakers for the vocals…and that was it.
I remember it was a sunny, warm day so we buggered off into Newbiggin and got ourselves a slab or two of lager, it was Oranjeboom lager and how the fuck I can remember that I’ll never know but there you are. We went back to the club and just sat in the sun drinking our cans and waiting for our patio erm stage time. In fairness we had a great view of the seafront and it was a beautiful day but we began to dread what would happen when we got up, as the audience was comprised mostly of old people and staunch clubmen types (sorry for the generalisation) nonetheless, as more of the Oranjeboom began to go down, the less we gave a fuck….except our drummer, who wasn’t drinking because he had the van and was dreading it more and more the nearer it got to our stagetime.
Finally we got up to play our set which was approx 50mins long. Not today though, our drummer just wanted to get on and off as quick as he could and set a band personal best time of just over 30 mins, by playing the set at 200mph! There was problems with the weedy little PA as our backline just roared over it. When we finished, you would’ve thought the audience had been twatted with a wet Turbot, they just sat there, stunned and bemused.
We got off and went back to the dressing room and were met by the bloke who had booked us, he paid and thanked us and seemed happy enough so we thought fair enough, a little surreal but fair do’s. Then we noticed the little old fella from earlier, except now he wasn’t wearing old gadgie gear, he was squeezed into an Elvis Presley, Vegas bloated years jumpsuit. I did spot a custom addition though, the proper Elvis caper has something like American Eagles sewn on it and encrusted with jewels, this fella had Magpies sewn on instead of Eagles and glitter that he’d glued on. We thought he was fucking mint and couldn’t wait to see him get up and strut his stuff, so we went up and parked our arses where we could get a good view. Hey man, when he came on everyone gave him a big cheer and he was over the bit glad with himself. He started belting out Elvis songs and you know the crack, it’s just owld fella chanting and wobbly vibrato innit.
Then he fired up with a real classic (You’re the) Devil in Disguise. A track I quite like as it happens but this fella sang his own version, I suppose the Magpies on his shirt should’ve been a big enough clue but the owld fella was clearly a proud North-East working class fella and when he got to the chorus he roared out ‘You’re Mike Neville in Disguise’ ! It probably doesn’t sound all that funny a story in and of itself but the experience of it was fucking hilarious’.

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‘Second story, I can’t give names for this one but it involved some after show shenanigans at a hotel in Blackpool. One of whose guests included a certain diminutive Scottish lady, who likes dressing up as a schoolboy. The surreal level went off the scale with that one, especially when the after show shenanigans moved from the bar and upstairs to a hotel room. True story’.

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What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future ? ‘I’ve just left the Angelic Upstarts after being with them for the last 11 years and having written and released two albums. I’ve got my University finals coming up for an MSc so I need to focus 100% on them for the next few months but after that I’ll be heading straight back into music again, although probably not with the Upstarts. I’ve got plans for what I’m going to do music wise and should be able to reveal those towards the end of the year’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi March 2017.

Recommended:

Mind Cowie, Angels of the North, March 12th 2017.

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

Neil Newton, Vinyl Junkies, 12th September 2017.