The saying goes ‘Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story’. But some stories don’t need any embillishment, if it makes you laugh or even smile it’s job done. ‘Have You Heard This One’ is 10 stories that have appeared on this blog since starting in February 2017.
First up is Lou Taylor (Blind Fury, Rock the Knight part one February 26th) ‘When we were rehearsing in London Bridge Studios we were visited by the boys from Metallica and went on a couple of binges with them. One night our guitarist Russ Tippins went out drinking in London with their guitarist James Hetfield. We received a phone call from the police saying can you come and collect them because they are locked up in West End Central police station. They had been playing guitar on top of the canopy of Piccadilly Theatre’.
Mond Cowie (ex-Angelic Upstarts, Angels of the North March 12th) ‘In 1981 we went on our first American tour. We got there a few days early to acclimatize and The Clash were staying in the same hotel so we used to meet them every night for the happy hour. Happy hours are class in America you don’t just get nuts and crisps you get chicken wings and pizzas and all sorts. We used to starve ourselves all day just waiting for the happy hour.
It was a great laugh with them and I remember Joe Strummer saying ‘we’re coming to your gig tonight do you mind if I bring Iggy Pop?’ We said ‘Aye go on then’ haha. The gig was in New York but I can’t remember if it was Radio City or Civic Hall but we walked on stage, the lights blazed on and Mensi screamed “We’re the Angelic Upstarts, We’re from England, 1,2,3,4” then just as I strummed my guitar there was an almighty bang, it all went dark then nothing! There was a huge power cut. They couldn’t get it sorted out quickly so we jumped off stage and went to the bar at the back where The Clash were standing and I ordered a Jack and Coke and said to Iggy Pop “It’ll be sorted in a minute, this sort of thing happens to us all the time”.
Neil Wilkinson (Spartan Warrior, Chain Reaction May 21st) ’I remember in 1984 things were really looking up for the band, we had a record deal, and the night we were due to record our 2nd album we had a gig in our home town at Sunderland Mayfair. The bands future couldn’t look any brighter. We turned up at the gig, sound checked, and went backstage to get ready.
For stage wear I used to have these tight red spandex pants, looked good I thought. I remember the intro tape playing while I was standing at the side of the stage waiting to go on. You know ready to fuckin’ rock. The stage bouncer stood next to me, slowly looked me up and down and said ‘what are you playing tonight like ? Fucking Swan Lake’..What can I say ? totally burned on that one’.
Andy Boulton (Tokyo Blade, Under the Blade May 26th) ‘The 1983 European support tour with Mamas Boys had been set up and dates arranged and confirmed. But we had no money for hotels or food, and only a small amount for diesel. We slept in the van. The money that we were to receive from the shows would only just cover our diesel to the next show, so our saving grace was to be two boxes of Tokyo Blade T-shirts which our manager said we would need to sell in order to get cash for food.
We eventually got on the road down to Calais where the charming French Customs Officers searched the van finding two cardboard boxes full of T-shirts. This being pre-EU days we had no license to sell anything in Europe. Oh how we laughed as they deprived us of the T-shirts and they also added a lovely little fine which took care of most of our diesel money.
Anyway we still had all our duty free fags, until that is when we decided to stop and cheer ourselves up with a beer and in the very short time it takes to down one small beer some friend of humanity decided to smash the van window and nick all our duty free and my Sony Walkman which our new singer had conveniently left for them on the front seat’.
Lee Wright (Crashed Out, Guns, Maggotts & Street Punk July 6th) ‘There’s always funny stories when traveling abroad with the band, trouble is it’s always a blur because of the alcohol! I remember on one of our first trip’s abroad we decided to go by ferry. We got absolutely plastered on the way over and one of the lads passed out drunk on the floor. Someone decided to pour a carton full of boiled rice down the back of his underpants while he slept. It wasn’t hot by the way.
Anyway, morning came and we forgot about the various antics that had went on the previous night. As we left our cabin we joined the queue of people near the exit waiting to leave the ferry, when suddenly our mate starting screaming and grabbing at his arse. He was dancing round as if he was on fire, pulling rice out of his pants, he thought he had maggots coming out of his arse. With the added hangover he was really panicking, you should have seen the look on his face. I can still remember it now haha’.
Ged Wolf (Atomkraft, Running with the Pack August 14th) ‘The London Marquee stage was so small I had to arrange the drums with Slayers drummer Dave Lambardo and see what was the best way to do it. We were supporting them and he played drums facing the side of the stage which was a bit awkward but we sorted it out. In the end he said ‘can you lend me a pair of drumsticks I haven’t got any ?’ I said ‘yes it’s the least I can do’.
Well we’re on stage but after only three songs the whole backline goes off. Even though we had 14 roadies not one of them knew what they were doing. We found it was the guitar that had gone off so me and Tony (bass) played along then after 30 seconds I just smashed my whole drum kit and threw it into the crowd. I’d just bought a new kit so I thought, fuck it, smash this one up !
We went off stage everyone is howling, funnily enough it went down great. We got some great press off it. Anyway stage is cleared and ready for Slayer to go on. Dave Lombardo says to me ‘have you got them drumsticks’ – I’d hoyed everything into the crowd haha. So my drum roadie had to go out and get some back for him haha’.
Danny McCormack (The Main Grains, Death or Glory September 8th) ‘For the ‘I Wanna Go Where the People Go’ video we filmed that in New York. We went there for five days to do the video and ended up living there for a couple of month in a house in Brooklyn it was great fun. For the first month we were in The Chelsea Hotel. One night after drinking in CBGB’s we jumped in the taxi and told the driver to take us to the nearest drug dealer. ’No problem get in guy’s’. We shot off and soon the taxi was quickly surrounded by them. The deal was done and we returned to The Chelsea Hotel. We laid the drugs out on the bed and looking through them – we managed to score some salt and some pencil shavings haha… they must have seen us coming’
Gary Young (Avenger, Young Blood September 17th) ‘Another time playing in Holland when we were young lads. During the terrible winter of 1985 two Dutch girls asked me and one of the lads ‘do you fancy coming back to ours ?’. Being 18 at the time we said yeah. We got a taxi and ended up in a freezing cold rat infested basement under the student hall of residence. ‘Wait here we will see if the night Porter is about because we can’t have visitors after 23.00’ they said. We waited and waited…Ahhhh it was a set up !…they left us in the freezing basement. It was broad daylight when our Dutch friends found us’.
Robb Weir (Tygers of Pan Tang, Doctor Rock November 5th 2017) talking about playing on live UK TV show The Tube… ‘Yes it was Christmas ’82. I remember the crew had just loaded our backline of 18 4×12’s, stacked 3 high in cages, onto the stage in the tv studio. We were in our dressing room and in the distance heard our track Gangland, what’s going on here we thought, it was getting louder and louder. Then all of a sudden our dressing room door burst open and standing in the doorway was this huge, blonde, bare chested monster. We were all shocked. He had a big cassette player on his shoulder playing at full volume…
’You guy’s fuckin’ rock I love you guy’s’. He turned around and walked back out. We looked at each other… ‘Wasn’t that Dee Snider of Twisted Sister?’ I’ll never forget that haha. We talked with the band afterwards and they were fantastic, really brilliant. I got what they were all about, the dressing up and make up you know. Dee was really clever writing those songs, you know the big shouty anthems’.
Bodo Schopf (Pendulum of Fortune, Bodo Swings December 2018) ‘One story I have to tell, because I love the British humour. We were with MSG on tour with Def Leppard, the drummer Rick Allen, who had only one arm left after his car accident asked me if I would go out with him having a beer. So we went to a pub and drank more than one beer. Rick stared constantly at my jacket, on it I had a drummer made from foam material with a safety pin attaching it to the jacket. It was a gift from a fan. Rick said ‘Bodo there is something wrong with your jacket’. I looked at my jacket and asked what is wrong. Rick said ‘Can I have a closer look at the little drummer on your jacket ? I replied ‘yes why not’. So he tore the drummer’s arm off and said with a grin… ‘Now it`s right’.
Thanks to everyone who has shared their stories and read the blog this year have a Happy Christmas and a successfull 2018.