A LIFE OF BOOZE, BANDS AND BUFFOONERY with Steve Kincaide from The Bastard Sons of Cavan

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‘I was in Detroit in a band called Candyrag, it was 2001 and we were playing the Elbow Rooms, haunt of The White Stripes. A middle aged couple all dressed in leather splendor warned me of having a partner in the same band, then they invited me to a party to meet Iggy Pop. I politely declined only to find out from the promoter that Iggy was indeed in town and that the couple are old friends.  I should also have listened about having my girlfriend as a singer, as domestic issues do fly out onto the stage.

There is a video on You Tube where I get an almighty thump, deservedly so. The band originally started off as bored flatmates, the drummer used only a fire extinguisher at first movin’ up to a snare then a snare and cymbal. The band only split up when the singer KT (my girlfriend) got off with the USA tour promoter, but we all left friends tho’- there’s a whole other chapter for Candyrag alone!

That band released a 7″ which was recorded at Washington Arts Centre 2001 and yes it was, wham bam in an out recorded in a day. We got it played on the John Peel radio program, unfortunately Peely played it at 45rpm when it was a 33 !

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‘I am now upsetting the psychos and rockabilly folk with The Bastard Sons of Cavan. A band that has had a new line up every year since 2010, Buff Harris/Bull Fiddle and Ed Smash, drums. Both based in Wales so in effect I’m in a Welsh band whilst living in London.

We were booked to play a Biker Festival on the North East coast. It was one of our first gigs. We turned up, set up started playing, drummer joins in, guitarist pipes up, bassist froze. The plugs were pulled, but not because the bassist froze but because this set of bikers love Folk not Rock. They kindly paid us, however I still wonder why they ever booked us in the first place? ’

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What got you interested in music ? ‘I was living on a poor council estate in Chilton, County Durham, we had a broken record player and an acoustic guitar with one string. Back in the day it was Top of the Pops, not the music, but the look, it was 70’s glam after all. The only music I heard was when me neighbour blasted his Elvis records every Sunday. Nowadays it’s the latest thing that peaks my interest, whatever musical genre.

The first wave of Punk passed me by as I sat and simmered at home. I finally heard John Peel on the radio in ’78. Although I had never had any inclination to be in a band it was the second wave of Punk that made me wanna grab it with both hands. So I got myself a guitar from Bells the local music shop, they did hire purchase. Then I got a Crate combo from the catalogue. I learned how to play guitar then switched over to bass.

The downside was I had to leave school and go on the dole to afford payments. There weren’t a lot of jobs and I didn’t want to end up in a factory – punk had a lot to answer for and that’s my excuse’.

When you joined a band what venues did you play ? ‘The first band that gigged were Anti-Climax in 1981. The second wave of angry punk all mohawks and attitude, ideal for a bunch of lads in a Northern pit village. Those lads being Neil Campbell on vocals, my neighbour Gary Ward and Myself. Me and Gary used to switch from bass to guitar and anyone we could nab on drums – still an ongoing trend.

We mostly played in youth clubs and church halls around the North East. My Dad was the chauffer – unwillingly I may add. One night Anti Climax were at a local punk gig and we were asked if we could play a gig supporting Uproar in Peterlee the next night. We said of course, then did what every Punk would do. I stole me Dads car, did the gig, crashed the car and got a hiding off me Dad when I got the bus back.

This was short lived due to me finding out the merits of sniffing glue, and finding myself on the wrong side of the law. So I was taken out of public circulation for a while. I found myself relocated to Newcastle, with a much better scene all round. I got involved with several bands from full on punk to goth, even a stint in a 70’s covers band!

By 1989 I found myself in a Gateshead Psychobilly outfit The Sugar Puff Demons. We recorded a debut album Falling from Grace for Link records. When we went on tour, me being the newbee was the one laid out in the back of the mini van with the gear piled up all around.

But the band got thrown off that tour for upstaging the main act, and the singer went bat shit crazy. In the end we split up. This happened all within a year ! There were more short lived but very highly charged times in several bands with the longest being in Th’ Lunkheads from 1993-2000. They had an ill fated tour of France and a jaunt over the pond.

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‘In France we found the gigs being cancelled left right and centre at the last minute – and we were running out of cash. The lads were feeling low so I grab them and point them to the Pyrennes and say ‘how many folk on the dole up North have seen this ?’ Fortunately local band The Catchers helped us out, plus entertain us with their hot rodded cars. I was in the one that run out of fuel halfway up a mountain and had to cruise back down in reverse – just before the Police caught up!!

I remember I was in the toilet in a venue in Bordeaux when I heard a commotion. I got out and the Police had raided and arrested the landlord – no gig that night. In retrospect I believe wearing World War 2 German helmets may have been a wrong fashion choice for the band.

1997 we landed on American soil, Detroit Rock City – only to be whisked off by security and questioned. We claimed to be just visiting and sticking to our guns we got through it. Only to find that the promoter had got cheerleaders with L..U..N..K..H..E…A..D..S on their shirts waiting for us. Eventually we did the gig but I was ill with food poisoning. Someone scrawled Lunkheads are drunks on the toilet wall, which was not far wrong as the promoter had enough empties to keep him in groceries for a month.

Lunkheads first demo was recorded in a barn on a old 2” reel to reel, it was made more interesting as it was a pub due to shut down and several kegs of cider and lager needed emptying – job done. Those recordings may resurface soon on vinyl through Trash Wax records as part of their Garbage Grails, better late than never’.

Did you support any name bands ? ‘Over the years I have supported many bands of various genres from ? & The Mysterians at the Magic Stick in Detroit to Wonk Unit at The Angel in Durham. Played in venues long gone now like The Mayfair and The Broken Doll in Newcastle. Every one of them a blast whether playin’ to just the bar staff or 2,000 punters who don’t know who you are!

When I was in Blood and Thunder ’87 ish we were supporting UK Subs in Carlisle, during I Wanna Be Your Dog some old codger grabbed the mic and started singin’ – well it was only Charlie Harper, bless’.

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What was your experience of recording studios ?The Cluny studio in Newcastle was the first time. I was in a band called Peroxide in 1986. Very professional and very posh surroundings to us bunch of punks. The desk was sixteen track total separation but the sound was very sterile. Luckily we were a tight three piece outfit so it went smoothly. Can’t remember the cost to be honest but it wasn’t cheap. The tracks were gonna end up on a split vinyl E.P. (Bloodsucker on Other records) but by the time that was sorted out we had changed our name to Blood and Thunder. Only one track was used State Rebel, a cringe inducing anthem that to listen to now I have to have a belly full of whiskey’.

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‘Th’ Lunkheads first single for Japans Barn Homes records was recorded at The Soundroom in Gateshead with friends Dave and Fiz producing and engineering. Fortunately I got community service in said studio – as they say killing two birds with one stone. Now The Bastard Sons of Cavan record at Western Star in Bristol, resulting in three albums all on the Western Star label.

In Newcastle I went to several studios all with varying degrees of failure, trying to find value for money. Then I found First Avenue in Heaton which I stuck with for many years ’til that eventually changed for the worse. No disrespect to Dave Curle he’s a champion engineer, the place just leaves me cold.

Anyway we got £1,000 from the record label to record an album so we hauled the P.A. into the studio and recorded it all live. The whole thing cost ninety quid so we split the remainder, including with the engineer, and lost a few days from our lives. The label from Colorado was well pleased with the results…phew! Much as I love the studio I prefer playing live and putting on a show’

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‘Whilst in The Campus Tramps we recorded two E.P.’s. One for Barn Homes Japan and Knockout Records Germany. Both recorded at the Bunker in Sunderland on 8 track. However the producer/engineer got the monk on as one of the labels used his name on the promotional adverts. Him being a well known singer in a well respected hardcore punk band won’t help his cred helping us low life Thunders/Ramones influenced trash! Not mentioning any names but his band rhymes with mace and it has leather in it.

The first session we lost the master tape so we had to use my ropey cassette copy to master the record. The second session had to be remastered at First Avenue as the original was apparently too high…go figure’.

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Did you record any TV appearances or music video’s ? ‘The only time I’ve been on TV was for a late night chat show about tattoos. When I found out I was the star attraction and not in the audience with my girlfriend and band mates (Steve Straughan – now punk superstar, Keith Lewis, Snarling Horses) I demanded a taxi home to get some decent clobber on…i.e. a pair of brothel creepers and some very loud Hawaian shorts!!

The Sugar Puff Demons did try and produce a music video for Burn The Church. I still have several VHS tapes full of footage of us miming our damnedest around Jesmond Dene, anyone out there willing to make something of it, go ahead.
 The Bastard Sons of Cavan do indeed have a video available to enjoy on You Tube recorded by TuffJam it was a day of insanity. The bassist failed to turn up so we blagged a family friend to stand in, splendid!’

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Any stories from the gigs over the years ? Where do I begin ? I may say in my defence I did drink quite a lot of Thunderbird and some of these events have been relayed to me second hand. Like hanging the guitarist out of a second story window in Edinburgh, setting fire to the quiff of the singer in a restaurant, getting thrown out of the gig during the soundcheck in London – only to be let in to do the gig then promptly thrown out again and making Eugene (Rezillos) Reynolds carry the P.A – after he pulled the do you know who I am stunt.

We all love a party but one at some student digs in Sheffield in 1989 got out of hand and the Police were called. Instantly I hid under the bathroom sink which was quite a squeeze as I’m over six foot two. Chuck the singer of Frantic Flintstones gets under the bath. He’s five foot nowt. Police arrive and turf everyone else out. There was quite a bit of friction amongst the bands the next day due to me and Chuck having all the creature comforts as they all sat outside in the van freezing.

I was in a band called Burning Hells and had a few years of crazy times that involved drinking bleach, bleeding eyes and overall stupidity. But in 2004 we done a gig in Barrow-in-Furness. The car was crammed with all the gear and we hit the road, only to break down in the middle of the motorway and in the middle of nowhere. We got the car off road and I lie down on the bank taking in the sun waiting for the AA. Only to be informed the car is not taxed, tested or insured – action stations !!

We locate the problem, it was a leaking fuel pump, fixed problem with good old gaffa tape. We’re back in business and did the gig’.

‘In 2006 I was in Hangmen helping out on double bass supporting Tiger Army on tour. The previous year I did a warm up gig in Manchester and ended up at a student party. Blustering in I pick up a pint glass, urinate in it, promptly drink it all and declare this party started. At one point there was a chicken on my head and I was crowned the King Of Xmas. The cat was fed all the cheese and the fridge emptied. I bumped into the students again and they said I owed them a xmas dinner, I promptly bought them a bottle of red wine instead’.

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What are you up to now ? The Bastard Sons of Cavan are still bothering stages and studios in whatever guise. I have King Konker still waiting to get outta the traps, they are two guys, two girls playing garage punk trash. Action Seekers, a Stooges rip off which is basically my 16 year old stepson Louie playing all the parts that I’ve wrote.

Last but not least Cleatus Stillborn, an experiment of fusing Lynyrd Skynyrd with Psychobilly. I’m back on bass with two seasoned musicians Alex (a Doncaster bloke who spent most of his life in California) on vocals and guitar plus Lenny (whose Mother was Led Zep’s secretary) on drums.
Oh did I mention Billy Childish wrote a song for me way back in 1992 “My name is Kid Kincaide…you use your own!!”

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Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.

Recommended:

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

ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Butchers of Bolingbroke, 1st June 2017.

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

Wavis O’Shave, Felt Nowt, 6th June 2017.

CRASHED OUT: Guns, Maggots & Street Punk, 6th July 2017.

Steve James, Under the Skin, 9th July 2017.

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

Steve Straughan, Beauty & the Bollocks, 1st October 2017.

EVO, No One Gets Out Alive, 8th October 2017.

RADGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – musician Carol Nichol talks about Lowfeye’s forthcoming album.

Based in Durham City, UK, Lowfeye are musicians Alan Rowland and Carol Nichol…

‘Initially I write the songs on piano or guitar. Alan plays the bass and drums then put’s it all together in his home recording studio. Lowfeye’s new album Pow is due for release very soon and initially it got interest from BBC Introducing after I wrote a track called Demons based on the character played by British actor Tom Hardy in BBC drama Taboo’.

‘Demons’ and ‘Dynamite’ have the dreamy smothering sound reminiscent of 90’s trip hop band Portishead mixed with a 60’s tv/film soundtrack. Is there any producers out there looking for a soundtrack ? Impressive stuff from the dark duo, and the BBC interest was entirely justified.

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‘All styles on the album are completely different to each other because I am a lover of music and its history. I can appreciate all the years of amazing music styles. A track on the album could be a dark Nick Cave style song, set to heavy guitar like Search and Destroy by Iggy and the Stooges. Or a film sound track style from the 60’s. I write how I feel and we try to capture those elements in our production.

The track Pow is very haunting and it’s based around a girl who is is trapped in a volatile relationship and is crying out to her mother. The chorus Pow in one word captures the cry for help. Another song I wrote was Poor Little Rich Girl and is about Andy Warhol’s relationship with Edith Sedgewick who became his muse in his film Factory Girls. Her addiction and child abuse were covered up leading to her death at a young age. In the end Warhol dismissed any involvement in her life.

Other songs can be political or critical of society. I find the mainstream music scene along with TV celebrity’s awful. It’s bland, its beige, it’s plastic and unfortunately we are spoon fed this crap by radio and tv. Some songs can be slightly humorus which is like my track Beautiful WorldNow the worlds run by millionaires they can take from you in a blink of a stare and they walk like dogs in a beautiful world’.

Who were your influences in music ? ’I was brought up by an eccentric mother who brainwashed us all with diverse sounds so I’ve never been in a box listening to one style. My main influence as a kid was David Bowie, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, and Kate Bush – especially as she was a complete one off. She probably inspired me to get into music.

But I hated anything trained, as I’m a self taught musician and perform how I feel at that time. You meet too many musicians who have become manufactured and it’s boring. To be honest I was a John Peel fan as he looked for something different in music and not the obvious, discovering amazing bands which really influenced me growing up’.

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‘I think you go to see a band as well as hear them. I struggled with dyslexia and I am 90% visual, so a real lover of front artists like Ian Curtis, Dave Byrne, Jaz Coleman, Lux Interior, The Cramps, Iggy, Dead Kenndeys and X Ray Specs. As a very young girl I particularity got blown away with the birth of punk not only in the UK but in America. I found it exciting with all that energy, and loved the rebellious side to it. Still love it today.

I also front an original punk band The Relitics formed by Mick Hall in 2015. We have been supporting bands like the UK Subs, Chelsea, 999 and we did Rebellion 2017. It’s all good fun as you find people that are aged 40 plus have more passion to get out there and perform original music and have a voice in today’s beige society. The Relitics have released an album and vinyl and due to release a second album soon’.

When did you start in music ? ‘I have been in bands all my life. My first band was when I was 14, then I joined Gerbils in Red Wine. We used to rehearse down the Fowlers Yard in Durham which is home to Prefab Sprout and The Toy Dolls. We done a gig where a girl at the front dragged me off stage by my hair. I was a skinny little thing at the time but I managed to punch her giving her a black eye. She was a big lass and she didn’t half hit the floor. The door men at the pub where laughing more than anything.

In 1992 an A&R guy linked to ZTT records put me forward as a backing singer for Seal before he shot to fame. The European tour was for 30 day’s in Germany, France, Holland, Spain and Sweden. That was a great time.
I remember playing the Ewerk centre in Koln with Lloyd Cole supporting and after the gig ended up getting smashed on tequila and waking up with a shower cap on my head haha. I had a chance to go on tour again but declined as my father died suddenly.

After that I joined a band The Faraway Tree this was with two female vocalist’s, myself and Rebecca Crawford who now lives in Perth, Australia. We played a number of gigs and appeared on Tyne Tees TV entertainment show East Coast Mainline. I have played most venues in the North East especially the Newcastle Riverside in 1990’s and continue to go and see a lot of bands. I like the small venues better, the more intimate places the better for me as it captures the atmosphere at gigs’.

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Have you always been involved in music ? ’Yes I worked at Circulation Records in 1999-2014 which was set up to run a new deal for musicians 18 -24 to support them into music. At the time I was in a band formed by Chris Labron who played keyboards for Warfare. We played Stockton Festival and showcased bands and dj’s at the event. We also had guest speakers at Circulation Records like Bruce Dickinson, Simple Minds manager and Julian Cope. We arranged bands to perform with Slash and Snakepit in Berlin’.

Have you filmed any TV appearances or music video’s ? ‘I wrote a song called Individuality and performed that on Tyne Tees TV programme East Coast Mainline, which led to being asked to sing a wartime song in a Catherine Cookson period drama, and be an extra singing in it. On the day of filming, actress Catherine Zeta Jones was complaining about not being asked to sing the song and said she had a single out at the time. We all ended up standing around the piano singing it with the camera on her and my voice in the background’.

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What are your future plans ?Lowfeye album Pow will be available soon digitally on Spotify, iTunes and hard copy. The sleeve artwork was done by Rebecca Crawford who was in The Faraway Tree with me. She teaches Art & Design out in Australia and features on one of the songs we recorded when she came over this year.

We are already working on the second album. You can find Carol Nichol and Lowfeye on Facebook and You Tube. I will also be doing regular gigs with punk band The Relitics in North East venues, and hoping to be playing Lowfeye gigs next year after the album release. A lot of the songs are targeted at soundtracks for film and TV – Peaky Blinders next year, you never know’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi October 2017.

HIGHWAY TO HELL with drummer & vocalist Kat Gillham

‘The attraction to Death Metal ? It’s about being able to raise a big middle finger at mainstream society. The attitudes, trends and all the bullshit that goes with it. It’s like “fuck you, I don’t want to be part of your mainstream plastic pop culture”.

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Kat pointed me in the direction of some of her work via You Tube. With song titles like ‘Full Moon Nights’, ‘The Horrors Of Highgate’ and ‘The Arrival Of Apokalyptic Armageddon’. I had an idea what was coming. Or so I thought.
The storm clouds gather. Make one last sign of the cross and click play. What does it sound like ? The cry from nosferatu when his internet connection goes off. No, that makes light of a beastly and brutal sound. The lyrics might be ‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’… I’m not sure, as the death growls, and growls. But who said hell ain’t a bad place to be ?

Has Kat caught the full moon fever ? Has she danced with the devil once too often ? Am I running out of cliches ? But this is hard. This is heavy. This is feral. With Sabbath riffs, tonsil ripping vocals and Aleister Crowley love songs, surprisingly, this theatre of pain hold’s a real narrative for better things. Yes it does. Is it hope ? I asked Kat what has this music given you ?
‘Being able to channel negativity through the power of music and convert it into something positive gives me a natural high and the biggest buzz ever! That feeling and surge of adrenalin before you play a gig and get up onstage is like no other feeling in the world. When that adrenalin and raw live power is in full flow, everything is gelling and you see the crowd getting into it – that’s such an amazing feeling.

I get away from mainstream attitudes by playing niche underground music. The music has heaviness, aggression, raw energy and non-conformity. It has also given me the chance to express myself creatively. It has helped forge long lasting friendships and introduced me to so many like minded people. They have became good friends. In hard times it has gave me strength emotionally, and over the years countless hours of listening pleasure’.

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Who were your influences when you were young ? ‘It was 1990 I was a 13 year old kid and I first heard bands like Death, Morbid Angel, Metallica, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Autopsy, Obituary, Entombed and Dark Angel. That was my introduction to death metal and it fuelled a hunger to form a band and create my own music.

By the summer of ’92 my first death metal band Morstice was formed. We mainly played locally and around Northern England. By ’93 we had recorded two demo’s and filmed two music videos.
The venues I’ve played with various bands over the years have been a mix from floors and stages in pubs, to bigger well known clubs with huge professional PA’s.

The Doom metal band I formed in late 1993 Blessed Realm played across England and also got to mainland Europe, of Germany, Austria and France. I have played all around UK with a couple of my current bands too, but I’d love to get back over to Europe to play live. I’ve shared the stage with touring bands like Cathedral, Orange Goblin, Hooded Menace, Iron Monkey and Hellbastard’.

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Kat is currently writing and performing in 4 bands. 3 of them – Uncoffined, Enshroudment and Winds of Genocide… ‘They are all heavily influenced by traditional Doom metal from the 80’s and 90’s, to the Swedish Crust/Käng Punk scene’.

Her fourth band, Lucifer’s Chalice have this year released an album. ‘The Pact’ out now on Shadow Kingdom Records… ‘We play heavy metal in this band and are heavily influenced by early stuff from NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Mercyful Fate, Witchfynde and Metallica. The drummers from these bands were a big influence on my style of drumming. We have various members for the four bands that I’m in but the current line up for Lucifer’s Chalice is Myself on Drums, CW (guitar), SRM (lead guitar), DH (bass)’.

The storm clouds clear as death metal makes way for heavy metal and Eddie from Iron Maiden presses play on the Lucifer’s Chalice album. His fingerprints are all over ‘The Pact’. Was that the sound of Vincent Price, creaking doors and howling wolves ? Remind me, what is the number of the beast ? This album is a soundtrack to war in the Middle East. American soldiers with headphones and night vision goggles kicking in wooden doors and taking prisoners. Pounding. Intense. Ruthless…

‘Each recording experience has been different and very special and memorable in their own ways. I’ve recorded a lot with various bands in recent years, most of those recordings from 2010 onwards with Winds Of Genocide and Uncoffined took place at Studio 1 in 12 in Bradford with Bri the guitarist from crust/punk legends Doom producing’.

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‘But a few years ago I got to travel to Stockholm, Sweden and work on Winds Of Genocide debut full length album Usurping The Throne Of Disease with a well known producer called Fred Estby. He played drums in one of my all time favourite death metal bands Dismember. To be at Gutterview the studio he co-owned with Nicke Andersson from Entombed and The Hellacopters – was an amazing experience.

To get to work with someone who’s music and producing I’d admired and respected for years was awesome. It was eye opening to see how someone like him worked. I learnt some valuable things over there’.

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What are the future plans for you as an artist/musician ? ‘Just to continue creating music and playing live as regular as possible, which actually isn’t as much as I’d like at the moment. Hoping 2018 will bring more live opportunities for my various bands.

Also planning to make good progress on the writing of the third Uncoffined album as well as sophomore albums of Winds of Genocide and Lucifer’s Chalice. Enshroudment will also record our debut EP in the very near future which will be titled As The Light Is Extinguished.

Discography:
Winds Of Genocide The Arrival Of Apokalyptic Armageddon EP (2010 self released)

Split CD – Winds Of Genocide/Abigail (Japan) Satanik Apokalyptic Kamikaze Kommandos (2012 Witchhammer Productions)

Uncoffined – Ritual Death And Funeral Rites (2013 Memento Mori)

Winds Of Genocide – Usurping The Throne Of Disease (2015 Pulverised Records)

Uncoffined – Ceremonies Of Morbidity (2016 Memento Mori)

Lucifer’s Chalice – The Pact (2017 Shadow Kingdom Records)

For further info contact Kat or any of the bands on Facebook.

Interview by Gary Alikivi October 2017.

First new Warfare album in 25 years. The noise, the chaos, the mayhem – the world of Evo.

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As we’re talking on the phone the memories from 30 years ago are flooding back for Evo…‘We recorded a version of Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer, the record company banned it and stopped it going out cos we changed the song to Addicted to Drugs. We done a gig at the Marquee in London and it was one of my dreams to play on that stage. It was a great gig and for an encore we did Addicted to Love. We got a porn model on stage with us, she stripped off and squeezed lotion all over the audience, the kids at the front loved it, lapped it up, it was in their hair, everywhere, what a laugh – backstage she wanted to play with my snare drum haha. Those were the days, and I lived it to the max’.

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It can be difficult to pick out the best bits of your career but isn’t it strange how events happen and years later they come back round… ’I’ll tell you about the inspiration that started me out on the long road to rock n roll. After 25 years I’ve released a new album. It’s a follow up to the noise I created in the 1980’s. On the album I’ve got a few friends and guests like Fast Eddie Clarke from Motorhead, Lips from Anvil and Paul Gray on bass (UFO/The Damned) he wrote Do Anything You Wanna Do.

I remember as a 14 year old boy in a cafe skiving off school I heard Eddie and the Hot Rods on the radio singing Do Anything You Wanna Do. That’s where it all started. The rest is history’.

How did you get started when you were young? ‘I could play bass guitar but drums appealed to me simply because they were loud and I didn’t want no 9-5 fuck that. I could create more mayhem than I even did at school. I wasn’t influenced by any drummers, I have my own style, possibly Rat Scabies from The Damned if anyone.

I started off in local shitty bands when I was around 16 they weren’t much but the first name band was Major Accident. We supported Chelsea around the UK, I was very young and enthusiastic wanting to get on but you know with some bands it just doesn’t work I got on really well with the group but thought I wanted to go up to the next level.’

During the early 80’s you were living in London, what was the scene like ? ‘Yes we were having a good time in London, however I went there for a reason, to further my career and experience. I went out drinking around Soho with the Stranglers and Motorhead.

There was a band called The Blood who were talked about as the next big thing. I joined them and cut an album False Gestures for a Devious Public which is regarded as a cult classic now. It got to number 62 in the album charts. But after some internal fighting I left the band and joined Angelic Upstarts’.

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Was that a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire ? ‘No I got on well with my old mate Mensi. We toured all the time, on my very first gig Mensi the singer said get yersel ready cos in a few days we’ve got a little gig up in Leeds.

I was still living in London and I went round to Algy Wards place (The Damned bassist) just around the corner from where I was living and told him about this small gig we’ve got. I’d never played live for about six month cos I’d only recorded with The Blood. Algy said, ‘what? no the gig’s at the Queens Hall – it’s called Christmas On Earth it’s gonna be the biggest punk festival’.

On the day we arrived at Leeds there’s huge Trans Am trucks inside the place unloading the gear, the place was massive. We ended up second on the bill. There was The Damned, Chelsea, Anti Nowhere League, GBH, UK Subs a few more…On stage you could feel the power of the audience. 15,000 people bouncing… a little gig in Leeds haha’.

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‘But I wanted to try a few more of my own ideas you know, fronting my own band. So I formed a  three piece mixing punk and metal – the way no one had done it before. Metal riffs and intellectual lyrics that stank of the street. Not at 10 but hitting the volume at 12, thrash wasn’t even invented then.

Around early ’84 I came back up North and signed for Neat records, this was the beginning of Warfare. Neat was known as a very loud label, no commercial releases, you’d always be garaunteed to get yer ears blown out.

A lot has been said about Dave Woods the label owner, some stuff I’ve heard about his dealings with bands. But personally I got on with him. It’s how you do business together isn’t it – he put me on a wage, because that’s what I asked for. We’d go out for meals, he became a family friend.
Anyway we went in the studio and recorded the first single Noise, Filth and Fury. On guitar there was Mantas from Venom, Algy Ward from The Damned on bass, and I did drums and lead vocals’.

(Nerd alert:The 7” three track ep single was produced by Evo at Impulse Studio’s, Wallsend the home of Neat records, and released in 1984. A side Burn the Kings Road, b side The New Age of Total Warfare and third track Noise, Filth and Fury.)
‘That immediately got to number 2 in the Heavy Metal charts. Then we cut the first album Pure Filfth’.

‘The 2nd album was Metal Anarchy and iconic Motorhead man Lemmy produced that. Tracks like Electric Mayhem, Disgrace, Living for the Last Days, a big seller along with Venom and Raven. You know looking back Neat had some good bands on the label, but if you really wanted your music big, angry and fucking loud that’s where Warfare, Venom and Raven came in. We didn’t take any prisoners’.

Any memories from that time ? ‘This one was fucking chaos. Typical Warfare. We played Newcastle Riverside and didn’t get paid. It was supposed to be 50/50 split on the door but the Riverside were letting in people free as a promotion before 8pm which I was never told about and certainly never agreed to. It all ended up in court.

Anyway, when they didn’t pay we went mad, headbutting the manager, pissing in the amplifiers, smashing a huge hole in the centre of the stage, the crowd pulled the speakers off the stage, I smashed a bouncer in the face with a bass guitar. We created absolute mayhem.

Same when we went to Holland, we gigged there and the same sort of thing happened. We threw real pigs blood at the audience. It was mental in Warfare – that’s what I wanted it to be – totally over the top. Gleeful and all in a days work’.

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What’s changed in the world of Warfare, why choose now to release an album? ‘Back in the early 90’s I got really pissed off with the industry, I had ran out of ideas, I wasn’t a young kid anymore, it all came to a head really so I decided to stop.

Over the 25 years since, I’ve been offered jobs with name bands, guest vocals, producing albums, but always turned them down until I had a dream one night. No, seriously. I was in a band again. On stage, the lights, the noise.

When I woke up it was like the dream was still there. So I dragged my bass guitar out of the garage, I didn’t have an amp so I went to see my mate Fred Purser at his studio (ex Penetration, Tygers of Pan Tang) we knew each other from way back when we were starting out.

Plugged into a valve amp hit the first chord albeit a bit rusty and blew everything off the desk haha. He said ‘Evo can you not turn that fucker down ? I said ‘no, on the contrary Fred, I’m going to turn it up haha’. Then the noise filth and fury was back in my polluted bloodstream’.

Next stop was writing and recording during 2015 & 16, after hearing the newly released Warfare album on High Roller Records it sounds like he was having a blast, ironic that one of the studio’s was Blast in Newcastle.

Friends including Nik Turner (Hawkwind) Fast Eddie Clake (Motorhead) and Lips from Anvil making appearances. The album was also recorded at Wild Wood studios and at Trinity Heights, the home turf of Fred Purser who supplies guitar on 2 tracks.

The first ‘Screaming at the Sea’ a spoken word intro and bang into the attack of ‘Cemetery Dirt’ and attack again, again and again. Fast Eddie Clarke plays guitar on ‘Misanthropy’ ….’Step into the Fire they do as they are told, Greedy for a future always fighting for some gold’ …sounds like a scathing attack, look up the meaning of Misanthropy – well what else you got ?

Religion and the clergy are in the crosshairs on ‘Black’ and Evo keeps up the relenting pace from the spoken word first track, until the perfect book ending to the album ‘Stardust’ which offers a nice escape route. It must have made an impact – it will for you.

‘I asked Lips from Anvil to do a spot on the album he agreed straight away, great guy. I liked Anvil cos I always thought they were the first thrash band with Warfare being the first punk metal band. And we’ve got Nikky Turner from Hawkwind on the album that driving bass from Lemmy and the powerful sound they created’.

Have you any future plans for Warfare ? ‘Well the album is out now and doing very well but I’ve no plans as yet to take this out live, I’ve been offered shows but nothing has stuck with me yet. I’m looking to do some producing work, maybe if the right act comes along. I’ve got a top class engineer working alongside me so yeah looking to get into that side of the business.

Counting back I’ve recorded 17 albums in my career. I‘ve had quite a journey in music and a load of experience to take forward into production. I may consider doing a guest vocal or two’.

Warfare new album out now on High Roller Records http://www.hrrecords.de

For more info contact Evo Evans on his facebook page or Lucy at Mayhem Management levans@tiscali.co.uk

Interview by Gary Alikivi September 2017.

Recommended:

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

ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Butchers of Bolingbroke, 1st June 2017.

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

Wavis O’Shave, Felt Nowt, 6th June 2017.

Crashed Out, Guns, Maggots and Street Punk, 6th July 2017.

Steve James, Under the Skin, 9th July 2017.

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

Steve Staughan, Beauty & the Bollocks, 1st October 2017.

Steve Kincaide, Life of Booze, Bands & Buffoonery, 11th January 2018.

BEAUTY & THE BOLLOCKS – UK Subs & Hi Fi Spitfires guitarist Steve Straughan

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‘Since joining the UK Subs I am more busy than ever, which I love. The UK Subs have a 40th anniversary gig in November, a UK tour then a 5 week tour of Europe. I’ve got a lot going on and always have since I first picked up a guitar after hearing Never Mind the Bollocks. Blew me away. It still does today’.

Who were your influences Steve and how did you get involved in playing music ? Was there a defining moment when you said I want to do that ? ’1970’s music was healthy at the time but nothing was opening the doors for me. Music was always there in the background like the glam rock thing, but it just wasn’t grabbing me. It was like black and white tv, nothing special.

But when punk came around it gave me that extra thing like colour tv. It just had that extra spark, that beauty. What can I say, it was incredible. I remember watching video clips from The Great Rock n Roll Swindle, songs from the Bollocks album – that made me want to do it myself.

Also listening to The Stranglers album, Rattus Norvegicus, and a lot of other punk stuff from 1977. That whole scene was electric. I rode the wave of punk rock to get into music first, then went back to the likes of 70’s glam to appreciate it. There was a keyhole to my musical heart and it was punk that opened it’.

‘Where I lived in Sunderland we had a healthy punk scene. Watching the likes of Red Alert at Monkwearmouth youth club was very influential. Watching lad’s from my area and who were just a little bit older made me realise that it can be done. Being in a band back then was more like being in a gang but extended with instruments. Punk gave you the ability to tell your story and release your frustrations’.

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When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ’From the start I’ve been really busy gigging and recording. I haven’t stopped, over the years I’ve played in a number of bands. Way back in the early 80’s my first punk band Formal Warning played youth clubs and school halls in the Fulwell and Seaburn area of Sunderland where we lived. That lasted till around ’82.

As I got older I joined Red London and toured all over Europe. I then joined a band called Holy Racket. Again toured all over Europe. We played brilliant gigs but one great memory was supporting Rancid at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Loved that. I’ve played guitar for the Lurkers touring around Europe with them from 2009 until 2012. I was guitarist for a couple of years in the Angelic Upstarts we played many great gigs including a USA tour.

I formed Hi Fi Spitfires and toured a lot in the UK and abroad. One great tour was supporting TV Smiths Adverts and toured with 999 in Germany. We have supported everyone in the punk world really, like The Damned at the North East Calling gigs. Since joining the UK Subs just over a year ago, we have played extensively in the UK, Europe and the USA. Is that enough for ya’ haha’.

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What were your experiences of recording ?  ‘Over the years I have recorded with all of those bands I’ve talked about. Best thing is I’ve kind of found my home when working with producer Fred Purser at Trinity Heights in Newcastle. Fred was once guitarist of the North East 70’s punk band Penetration.
Some of the bands who have recorded at Trinity are Angelic Upstarts, Toy Dolls, Red Alert, Red London, Holy Racket and Hi Fi Spitfires. Holy Racket recorded the album Anthems For The Doomed And Dazed there, North Rebel Radio and Subliminal Chaos all of which were released on cd.

We also recorded some material which was later released on a 7 inch single called Anoraxia.  Hi Fi Spitfires recorded the album England Screaming there which was released on cd and the album Nightraid which was released on cd and vinyl’.

‘We have always paid for everything ourselves, no record companies involved at all. If your serious about being in a band it’s obvious you have to record and release material. It’s not cheap to do it though. To record where we do it’s £220+ per day. On top of that there is the cost of pressing on cd or vinyl. The price of vinyl is unbelievably pricey. This is why I have only managed to do the vinyl route a couple of times. We are at the moment talking to a good friend who has agreed to put the money up to release our first album on vinyl like he did with our second’.

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Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ? ‘I could honestly write a book. Here are just two. A long time ago I played a charity gig in Sunderland. A friend of mine asked if he could come along as he had not seen any live bands before. I remember beforehand he was a bit nervous meeting the rest of my band. He kept asking if everything would be ok. I kept assuring him that everything would be cool and there certainly would not be any kind of trouble as it was a charity gig.

As I got ready and packed my guitars he went to the shop and got some ale just to take the edge off as he was quite nervous around new people. At this point I just thought he was having a couple of drinks.

Fast forward to the gig and just before we went onstage he told us how grateful he was for letting him come with us. About 5 songs in I was aware that something was going totally wrong by the people’s faces in the venue. I turned to my side to see my once very nervous mate running round the stage and pogoing naked. The security was called and he was escorted from the building. We were told to get off the stage.

I asked why and the bouncer said, ‘shut up, get your gear off, your barred’. After the initial shock I laughed my head off all the way home. I think we gave those people something extra thanks to my mate’.

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‘Years later I agreed for the same lad to come on tour with me in Belgium with the band I was in at the time Holy Racket. He assured me all the way there that he had learned his lesson and he wouldn’t do it again. There would be no repeat performance. I know he was very embarrassed about it.

During our performance on stage he was looking in a cupboard and found a horses head mask. He came running on the stage naked, with the horses head on and a sock fastened to his cock. I couldn’t play for laughing. I remember the audience loving it’.

‘Next stop for Hi Fi Spitfires are return recording sessions with Fred Purser at Trinity Heights, Newcastle. We are recording a 5 track cd called Doors To The USA. Yeah can’t wait’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi September 2017.

Recommended:

Crashed Out, Guns, Maggots and Street Punk, 6th July 2017.

Steve James, Under the Skin, 9th July 2017.

Evo, No One Gets Out Alive, 8th October 2017. 2017.

Steve Kincaide, Life of Booze, Bands & Buffoonery, 11th January 2018.

DEATH OR GLORY – interview with Danny McCormack bassist The Main Grains/The Wildhearts

I’m with Danny at his home in Newcastle and notice a black and white photo on the sitting room wall, it’s a picture of The Garricks Head pub in South Shields… ‘Yeah my Grandma Pat used to have it’.

I remembered I had my first drink there when I was 16 year old. A pint of McKewan’s Scotch, after the first drink the froth covered the caterpillar growing on my top lip… ‘Yes it was a great pub sadly not there now. She used to have regular lock-in’s, the punters staying behind after hours for a few more drinks. A bloke with an accordion would be in, there was a piano player in the corner and we’d all be singing along with them. Smokey tunes, great times and wild night’s, yes, I can remember all that’.

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When living in London Danny McCormack was a member of The Wildhearts. During their commercial peak in the nineties, they recorded 4 albums with their 2nd release P.H.U.Q entering the album charts at no.6. The band also released a bucket load of top 30 singles and they appeared on British tv music programme Top of the Pops. Support slots with Manic Street Preachers, Guns n Roses and AC/DC, they also toured America and Japan.

Danny went on to form The Yo Yos and recorded 1 album, toured the UK, Europe and Japan then split in 2000. Since returning North in 2003 he has re-joined and left The Wildhearts several times, played with Dog’s D’Armour and with his younger brother Chris in Three Colours Red. The Yo Yos also made a brief comeback.

Those are just edited highlight’s of his life in rock n roll. But bringing the story up to date Danny has a new band – The Main Grains. Before meeting up I checked out some of their music and watched a video for ‘Unscrewed’. I thought it had a Ramones/End of the Century/ Phil Spector feel to it…
’Yes it’s our nod to Phil Spector in a way. The Main Grains are JJ on guitar, Ginna on drums and Ben on guitar with me on bass and vocals. They are Yorkshire lads so they come up to Gateshead where we rehearse. When we first got together it all fit in place, the playing is tight. That’s what you want.

We record the old fashioned way, idea’s on an acoustic first, then get in a room together to rehearse. Bounce idea’s off each other. We need the spark, the energy for it to come together. This time we are doing it ourselves.

We’ve had no record company input. So never signed anything, we own our own music. We make our own decisions and plenty people are coming to the gig’s so we are doing something right. We will work with promoter’s to put together a few more gig’s but we are in control, we’ll choose when we want to record and gig’.

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Punk was a big influence in your life, can you remember where you first heard it ? ‘The jukebox man would come around to my Grandma’s pub and say ‘Pat what do you want on the jukebox this week ? She said ‘All my usual’s you know the Patsy Cline stuff, but none of that punk rock music there’s far too much fucking swearing in it haha’. My ear’s pricked up like devils horn’s. What’s punk rock ? Then I heard the Pistol’s, Damned, Clash and just loved it. They absolutely blew my mind. I used to play them at low volume so my mother couldn’t hear the swearing.

I was playing The Toy Doll’s, still love them to this day, Angelic Upstarts – there was a lot of complaints about them being on stage kicking a pig’s head around with a copper’s helmet on it. But they were only singing the truth you know, reality, have a dose of this folks. I had a picture of them on my wall and there’s the ugly mugs of Mond and Mensi staring down at me haha. Yes I love punk’.

Did you have any hero’s in music ? ‘Nah I was never into the hero worship thing, never looked up to any of the musician’s or band’s really. The only hero’s out there are all the nurses, doctor’s and fireman. They face life and death decisions every day…that’s who real hero’s are’.

When did you get your first guitar ? ‘I got my first guitar one Christmas, it was a classical. The reason I play bass is because two strings snapped and I didn’t have the heart to say to my mam that I’ve snapped the strings because A, I’ll get a clip around the lug for snapping them and B, she couldn’t afford to replace them. I just used to play along with my records with the 4 strings like a bass’.

Then some mates got together and we done my first band called Energetic Krusher. Ali was on vocals, Hairy the drummer, Louie and Nick Parsons on guitars. Nick went on to do The Almighty. We made an album for a record label down London called Vinyl Solution. We had just split up but never told them.

Ali took us for a pint and told us about the record company interest, we all said yes of course we’ll do it. We were 15-16 year old with a record deal, it was brilliant. I remember going to school somebody video taped us in rehearsals. I was really chuffed’.

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‘We got the buzz then, first gig I ever done was amazing. It just felt exactly right. The crowd were going nut’s, we were going nut’s, it sounded tight, in time, in tune. That was at The Riverside in Newcastle.
Later I was working at King’s Music guitar shop in Sunderland it was a YTS scheme getting £27.50 a week. I remember that was my exact fare to get to London and join The Wildhearts’.

How did that come about ?Ginger from The Wildhearts had heard about Energetic Krusher through his mate Panda from South Shields and he came to see us play at The George Ropery in London. That must have stuck in his mind you know because when one of the guy’s left his band Ginger was straight on the phone to me, saying would you come down for an audition.
Well when I got there it wasn’t really an audition because I took some acid and got off with the secretary from the record company. He said ‘You’re in!’ haha. Ginger was a few year older than me and had already been down there a few years and had been in Beki and the Bombshell’s, The Quireboys and a few other bands. You know I was in a band with Ginger from The Quireboys, and Bam Bam from Dog’s D’Amour. At 15 year old I was down the front at a Dogs D’Amour gig then 4 years later I was in a band with him, it was like a dream come true. It was brilliant’.

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Where did you stay in London, did you have any digs? ‘I was squatting in Gingers cupboard in Finchley Road. The woman used to come round for the rent and she started noticing I was there a lot. Who’s he, where’d he come from she’d say. We were rehearsing in Jumbo Studios when we could. I was on dole money, we had nowt. We used to split and share our money to get by. It was £15 quid with Ginger one week then next week he would give me £15 back. It was that hard when we first moved down there.

First year we were dossing around cos the band were in litigation. Ginger had signed some deals that weren’t working for us. It was all lawyer meetings, what was going on here you know. We couldn’t record it was frustrating. But you know what it is, we didn’t give a shit, we believed in the band that much.

The songs were flying out of Ginger, he had an acoustic and played me a few tunes, what do you think of this one ? Then another and another, he used to blow me away. Coming out with classic after classic in my book. The guy’s a genius. Nothing but admiration for him’.

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Can you remember first recording with The Wildhearts ? ‘The first album was done in Wessex Studio’s where Never Mind the Bollock’s and London Calling by The Clash were recorded, bit of Queen stuff also done there, yes it was phenomenal. It was a great place. We done demo’s there originally and they were so good we used them for the album, we tarted the vocal up a bit. All done in a week and we had an album’.

The Mondo Kimbo EP was done down in Wales at Rockfield Studio, a very famous studio, a lot of bands recorded there. Around late ’92 we done a lot of small gig’s but the turning point was when we played with Pantera at The Marquee, that was a phenomenal gig.

After that we went out with Wolfsbane, Manic Street Preachers, Alice in Chains even Steve Vai. We were building a reputation as a good live band. We were playing tight, a pretty formidable unit. A stand out gig was supporting Guns n Roses in Japan. Ended up going there 7 times’.

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Did you film any TV appearances or music video’s ? ‘As a job, being in a band with a plank of wood and four wires hanging around your neck doesn’t quite cut it with your parents, cos they had proper jobs haha. So after we’d done Top of the Pops a few times and they’d seen me on the telly my mam and dad stopped asking if I was going to get a proper job. We used to have a great time on the show, the crowd would go nut’s. I don’t know where they were from but there was a few Wildhearts t-shirts in the crowd.

We done it a few way’s, miming, live, sometimes just the vocal’s were live. But we never had a song where it stuck and grew. Our hardcore fan’s would buy the single’s and we would sell enough to get on the show, but never reached further in the charts’.

‘For the I Wanna Go Where the People Go video we filmed that in New York. We went there for 5 days to do the video and ended up living there for a couple of month haha. We were 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’. The taxi was quickly surrounded by them. The deal was done and we returned to The Chelsea. We laid them 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. We did get some spliff amongst the pencil shavings.

The drummer Ritchie put the radio on, lit some candles and we chilled out. The candle was on a wood shelf and he put something underneath so it wouldn’t burn through the shelf. But he put a paper plate under the candle. Well of course we fell asleep and the candles burned through, fell into my bag and set his hair alight. The fire caught hold on the old wooden floor, it was pretty big so I ran into the hallway in my under crackers looking for a fire extinguisher.

Next door and downstairs were making noises about all the smoke, now the fire brigade turned up, there was coppers running about and we were absolutely stoned.

The manager came and showed us to another room, he was very calm and said you’re in good company, the only people who’ve set fire’s in this hotel were Sid Vicious and Andy Warhol haha.
Eventually the record company starved us out of New York. They stopped the money going into the bank and we eventually went back to the UK to do Top of the Pops. You know I don’t think about those times all the time, just now that you’ve asked but I can see it in my mind and thing is I’m back in touch with Ginger now’.

Where did you go after The Wildhearts ? ’After The Wildhearts I toured America with The Yo Yo’s and the first drive was 3 days – never complained about touring in a van in the UK again haha. We went out with The Backyard Babies and The Murder City Devil’s. We done about 42 states in 5 month, that was brilliant. We were on Sub Pop at the time and I recorded around 20 songs with them’.
(Nerd alert: Sub Pop was a USA record company working out of Seattle, famous in the 1980’s for signing bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden. In 2000 The Yo Yo’s released their debut album Uppers and Downers, it was recorded in Trident Studio’s, London).

‘They gave us the backing and at first it looked like a very good deal unfortunately it didn’t work out that way – but that’s another story. Those contracts look like they are written in Latin and I wasn’t trained as a lawyer. But hey, loved my time in that band, got to travel to Japan again’.

Danny has a lot more stories and will be returning in a few month time but 
before the interview we talked about musicians who have suffered with depression and addictions, or others who had recently passed away. Danny has had his own problems which are well documented elsewhere, but I felt there was no need to repeat them here…

‘What’s in the past is just that, you can’t change it. Just looking forward to playing some more rock n roll. Musician’s aren’t anything special. Me, I’m just a bass player in a rock n roll band. That’s who I am’.

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The Main Grains.

Catch The Main Grains live at The New Adelphi, Hull on September 22 and at Trillians, Newcastle on September 23. They are supporting The Professionals at The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton October 27 2017.

The Main Grains have a new single coming out on 7th November 2017 The Rain is Over, What We Gonna Do Now ? and Sock It To Me Baby.

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For more info, tour dates & downloads contact the official website maingrains.com or thru facebook or twitter.

Interview by Gary Alikivi August 2017.

Recommended:

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

ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Butchers of Bolingbroke, 1st June 2017.

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

Wavis O’Shave, Felt Nowt, 6th June 2017.

Crashed Out, Guns, Maggots and Street Punk, 6th July 2017.

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

Steve Staughan, Beauty & the Bollocks, 1st October 2017.

Evo, No One Gets Out Alive, 8th October 2017.

Steve Kincaide, Life of Booze, Bands & Buffoonery, 11th January 2018.

METHOD IN THE MADNESS – interview with Wavis O’Shave

‘I’ve always enjoyed working in studios and confounding the hell out of engineers completely unaware of what was about to hit them. And not once has it ever cost me a penny, always paid for on behalf of individuals holding out for me making them wealthy. No chance! Once I’d had my fun, I was off and as uncooperative as usual’.

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In my previous blog about Wavis O’Shave, (Felt Nowt June 6th) I asked, Who was Wavis ? By the end of the interview it still wasn’t clear. Was he a musician, author, performance artist or fraudster ? A mix of all four ?

He had produced a hatfull off records – singles and albums. Appeared on live music programme The Tube. Under the guise of numerous identities he was never shy of promoting his latest gag. This interview looks at the time he spent in recording studio’s. A time that he described as ‘unclassifiable, non-commercial, and a none hit wonder’. Carry on Wavis…
’My, and the unsuspecting engineer’s first experience, was at a 4 track studio hidden in the small village of Wrabgy in Lincolnshire. The unlucky engineer was Andy Dransfield, now owner of luxurious Chapel Studios. Which is a converted church at South Thoresby in Lincolnshire. He has since recorded hits there with the likes of Paul Weller, Wet Wet Wet, Shirley Bassey, and the Arctic Monkeys’.

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‘I went down there during the winter of 1979 after being signed up at only my second attempt by a small indie label called Company Records based in Lincoln. The first near miss was from Beggars Banquet, who at the time were too busy with Gary Numan who described me as ‘unusual’ .
Travelling down, there were five of us in the car that conked out alongside the River Trent. Whilst the car was being fixed nobody could find me. I’d gone for a walk across the frozen Trent. I was almost halfway across when the ice all around me started to audibly crack.

Andy might have preferred it had, but instead we recorded the four track Denis smokes tabs (John is a Fig Roll) EP and somehow he and a couple of his worried mates survived the experience of having five unbalanced, wayward Geordies in his small converted barn. We performed like complete rookies within a studio’.

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‘Andy couldn’t believe it when I had him splice in the middle of the song Mauve Shoes are Awful, my mate Hatts dad swearing like a trooper. It was on a demo tape we’d caught him on when he’d burst in Hatts bedroom during a take of the song. He was threatening to cut off the electricity and informing us he’d had ‘two stings alriddy’ for his pains. We spliced it in at exactly the point he’d burst in during the demo. There’s authenticity for you.
We sometimes made audible sounds instead of musical instruments and we recorded without a bass. Andy hadn’t experienced working this way before with any band. But he did come round to appreciating that there was some uniquely original method in the apparent madness. He became a bit of fan actually, and remains so today’.

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‘In 2005 I freaked Andy out by tracking him down and paying him an unannounced visit at his Chapel Studios. I sneaked in and quietly sat alongside him in exactly the same scene as I had last left him 25 years earlier. When he noticed a presence I just smiled. It was as if time had stood still.

I played him my Katie Derhams Bum cd that I’d just recorded on computer and he couldn’t believe the quality. ‘It’s very Wavis he said. ‘Of course, you twat, ‘cos it is!’ I replied’.

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Wavis and Danny Baker from the NME

Did you have any success with your recordings ? ’I’m told the EP in time eventually went on to sell a total of 5,000 copies after being picked up by John Peel and Danny Baker. They both gave it the thumbs up in the NME. Dunno if that was true, never saw a penny, nor cared less.

Classics like You think you’re a Woman ‘cos you don’t eat Fishcakes and Don’t Crush Bees to Death with the End of your Walking Stick entirely threw the engineer Mr Dransfield who was exceptionally patient with his guests. He even ended up playing drums on the Anna Ford’s Bum album that we recorded there the following year. He was a glutton for punishment. The master tapes were bought off him from Newcastle Indie label Anti-Pop for £100’.

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‘In those days the Sounds had their own Alternative Chart from record store returns, and the album spent three weeks top of the chart before being knocked off by Adam Ant! I have always been blessed with excellent session men and this was no exception. However, when the guitarist asked me how I wanted the guitar playing on She’s a Prune (meaning could he hear a demo first) I told him ‘Dead fast’ Blank looks all round’.

Did you record in any other studio’s ? ’My next actual studio raid came in 1980 and was at Terry ‘Slippers’ Gavaghan’s Guardian Studios within his terraced house at Pity Me in County Durham. Pity Terry, not me. I called him slippers ‘cos he never took ‘em off.

He was into ghosts and all that stuff and we even had a spool come flying off its reel whilst we were there. South Shields reprobate the late Danny Deen, took time out from his band The Letters and had persuaded some school teacher to stump up £300 for us to make a three track demo there. Danny provided the music and I wrote the lyrics’.

‘I’m surprised we ever got there as I seem to specialise in being picked up by conky out cars. By the time I was picked up at a roundabout, the car was filled with five people, it was falling to bits and was spewing constant black exhaust fumes. Soon after a door came off, and we had to abandon ship when the steering wheel started lifting off. It would have done a circus clown proud. Cue ringing for two taxis.

To amuse ourselves, and my idea, we introduced ourselves as The Nancy Boy’s. We had been really naughty though and hadn’t rehearsed any of the songs so when it was time to record we found out we couldn’t reach the high notes or deal with key changes. Terry couldn’t believe it. I was supposed to sing all three but ended up only doing the last one, It’s so Charming when we’re out Farming. A song about falling in love with a farmyard cow. During the song a stressed Terry had absent mindedly left a microphone switched on which we didn’t realise until it was done, but we managed to get off with it’.

‘Everyone had a go at the other two but the middle one nobody could do. Cue the most absurd moment of my recording career when the engineer Terry even stepped forward to have a go at it and he couldn’t sing for toffee.
We actually had to come back another day with another £200 quid to sort it all out. Whilst we were there Trevor Horn of Buggles fame popped in. He must have wondered what became of the Nancy Boys. If he’s bothered he can listen to a spoof radio interview with me and Danny on BBC Newcastle’s Bedrock show and the songs on YouTube under The Nancy Boys 1980 Wavis ‘O’Shave’.

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‘Next free studio for me was a nice little compact effort somewhere in Chester-le-Street where the objective was to record my Texican Raveloni – Bedside Songs for Problem Children album. The artwork drawn by VIZ Comic’s Chris Donald.

I really can’t remember more details about that one, other than the engineer, naturally, was freaked out. My keyboard player caught us all out when he scarpered after two hours to go to give somebody an hour long violin lesson. We had a great session though, containing my craziest material ever.

The content of the album only made it to cassette before becoming a 2005 release on cd by Essex indie label Falling A. The head honcho at the label was a fan who had been born and raised in South Shields’.

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Wavis and Toyah Wilcox.

‘My friend at the time Toyah Wilcox, had her own copy and asked if she could record her fave track with me, the apocalyptic Better Get the Washing in. Being aware of her own chart success scared me off as I was quite happy being what I preferred to be; unclassifiable, non-commercial, and a none hit wonder.
The album included You Won’t Catch Me on the 503 which is responsible for my greatest number of YouTube hits to date – 400,000 under ‘Phunny angry bus drivers’. The track was once played on Radio One for the first 20 seconds only.

The video for it was made by the 11 year old son of one of my fans! The song was the ‘B’ side of 1982 single, my last ever on vinyl, Tie Your Laces Tight released by Eccentric Records. Now, the rumour remains that it was my mate Jools Holland who played piano on it. Did he? I’m not allowed to say, but if I did, I’ll say he might have…’

Have you any other stories from then ? ’Whilst in London in 1980 I was whisked away from spending time with Ian Dury’s Geordie Blockheads keyboardist Michael Gallagher, and guitarist John Turnbull to spring a surprise stitch up on Jona Lewie.
Jona had built a studio in the basement of his flat. Gate crashing in at 2.30am the whole idea of the somewhat contrived visit (manipulated by Anti-Pop connections) was to bribe Jona into allowing me free studio time. Otherwise we would give a recorded phone call of him to the NME expressing his fears about his hair loss and premature ejaculation. It was a stitch up. Either free studio time or the NME got the tape.

Well in the end, I never got the studio, the NME never got the tape and Jona salvaged his hair’.

‘I used to play footy every Sunday on the fields at the Marine & Technical College in South Shields with some regulars. One day this lad new to the area, turned up fresh from a holiday at Butlins in Minehead. No sooner on the pitch, he was excitedly trying to tell us all about this song he’d heard at Butlins and it had been top of their charts for six weeks. It was my You Won’t Catch Me on the 503 song! Imagine his disbelief when one of the lads casually informed him ‘He did it!’ pointing over at me. Against all the odds, as usual. That’s the world of Wavis!

Interview by Gary Alikivi 2017.

Recommended: Wavis O’Shave, Felt Nowt, 6th June 2017.

IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL – blog hits 5,000 views.

It’s all about the story isn’t it. For over a decade of making documentaries and releasing them on DVD, in February this year I decided to try a different media.

The original idea was to transcribe the interviews from my music documentary ‘We Sold Our Soul for Rock n Roll’ (available via You Tube). The stories still sounded fresh and funny even though I heard them many times during editing. But where do they go from here ? I’d read a few blogs and thought they would be a good outlet for the stories, how do I put one together?

I got in touch with a friend who wrote a blog and he talked about using a WordPress template. It didn’t sound too difficult so I checked it out. 

The interviews filmed for the music documentary were a good start, they just needed updating. Then I got in touch with more musicians, recording their stories via email or meeting up and recording our conversation with a dictaphone.

The initial idea was to interview North East based musicians but social media makes it easier to contact bands from across the UK, Europe and USA. Managers and European PR agencies have also been in touch to arrange interviews.

The blog mainly covers rock, punk and NWOBHM. Although the scope has widened lately, but if the story is good – it’s in. The latest feature, Vinyl Junkies, interviews musicians, actors and writers who talk about their favourite 7 records that shaped their world.

So here we are, 5,300 views in 6 month on a blog which I thought would be read by a handful of people. Starting with 300 a month in February it has grown to 1,500 in July. Special thanks to everyone who has shared their stories…they just keep on coming.

Listed below are all the blogs from the past 6 month. To make it easier to find an interview you can now check on the month or put the musician or band name into the white search bar.

February:
Vince High & Maurice Bates (Mythra) Brian Ross (Satan, Blitzkreig) Lou Taylor (pt 1 Satan, Blind Fury).

March:
Lou Taylor (pt 2 Satan, Blind Fury) Mond Cowie (Angelic Upstarts) Micky McCrystal (Tygers of Pan Tang) Bernie Torme (Gillan)

April:
Steve Dawson (Saracen, The Animals) John Gallagher (Raven) Paul Mcnamara (Salem) Dave Dawson (Warrior) Lee Payne (Cloven Hoof) Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden, Battlezone) John Roach (Mythra) Harry Hill (Fist).

May:
Danny Hynes (Weapon UK) Chris Bradley (Savage) Rick Bouwman (Martyr) Maurice Bates (Mythra) Neil Wil Kinson (Spartan Warrior) Kev Riddles (Tytan) Andy Boulton (Tokyo Blade) Steve Dawson (Oliver/Dawson Saxon).

June:
The Butchers of Bolinbroke (Angelic Upstarts) Neil Newton (Angelic Upstarts) Wavis O’Shave (Alternative), Terry & Gerry (Ska/punk), Mick Maughan (Phasslayne, Cirkus) Trevor Short (Dealer) Martin Metcalf (Hollow Ground) Trevor Sewell (Blues) Kev Charlton (Hellanbach, Bessie & the Zinc Buckets) Steve Thompson (Bullfrog, Neat records) Mark Duffy (Millenium).

July:
Ian Dick (Soldier) Jeff Baddley (Troyen) Lee & Chris Wright (Crashed Out) Stevie James (Grudge, Warwound) Martin Popoff (Vinyl Junkies) Bernie Torme (Desperado) Will Binks (Vinyl Junkies) Thunderstick (Samson) Blast Recording Studio (Newcastle, UK) Let the Music do the Talking (Tyneside musicians) Antony Bray (Venom Inc).

LET THE MUSIC DO THE TALKING – in South Tyneside

10 years ago I started researching the South Tyneside music scene and from there a number of interviews with musicians were set up. Here is a few stories taken from them.

Duncan Binnie: ‘I was seeing bands when I was ten year old and at that time to go and watch bands at the Newcastle City Hall you’re just blown away. My brother had a guitar that I pinched out of his room, tried playing it, just the one string, thinking I can play this. Eventually it leads to a band, four lads getting together which we did’.

Ted Hunter: ‘My first inspiration to play music was me Dad, he was a guitarist in the ’60’s. Then when I was 14 I got a ticket to see Ted Nugent, he was jumping around the stage, screeching his head off. We had a little covers band and we used to practice in St Peters Youth Club in Whiteleas. There used to be a youth club in South Shields called St Hildas and local bands used to play there’.

John Hopper: ‘I just bought a cheap bass rehearsed and plugged away at St Judes Church Hall in Laygate. We played The Cyprus, the pubs in Shields. We just liked gigging that much we realised we had to do it more and more’.

John Lockney: ‘I was forever bashing away on me legs to music and many people said why don’t you become a drummer. We used to rehearse in the back of Tyne Dock Youth Club and we started playing gigs, I remember Bolingbroke Hall and Boldon Lane Community Centre in Shields’.

Joe Peterson: ‘Around the age of 14 my Dad was a singer in the North East Social clubs so that’s where I started thinking about music, started playing guitar. We played all round the country at that time as the clubs were thriving’.

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Robby Robertson: ‘First band I saw was The Damned, my lad took me along and that was it, hooked from then. Everybody had a go at being in a punk band. Everybody could have a shot at it and they did. We started off in Hebburn, Kinx nightclub, it was a cellar. We thought we were the business, we were rubbish like.

We done the first gig, we jumped around all over, pulled the leads out and the p.a. caught on fire. The singer run over and blew it out ha ha. We had to finish after three songs, it was an absolute disaster, this is a bit harder than we thought it would be. We went on to play The Station in Gateshead with loads of bands, decent bands like Conflict and Icons of Filth‘.

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Paul McRae: ‘I got into music when I was about 10, in the backyard of John Williamson Street, playing with knitting needles and a dish haha. We used to rehearse at Trinity House Youth Club and we were right into Free then, so we started rehearsing all Free tracks. Then we played the schools, Stanhope Road, Dean Road. We used to play The Hunter and we liked it that much we played it ten times in the same gig’.

Rob Atkinson: ‘Lou Reed, The Doors, Iggy Pop that’s where I was at the time. In the band Next it was the influence we had on each other. It was a bit off the wall, could be a bit weird. But there wasn’t much else like it. When you work with people who can be so productive and come up with ideas, when you bounce of each other that’s the best part of the music. You don’t have to sit for years and think am I good enough. You just go out there and if they like it they like it, and if they don’t they don’t come and see ya’.

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Billy Morgan: ‘The alternative punk scene started and that changed things for me. Instead of being someone who was an observer in music I thought that I can do it. It was like we wanted to jump up and down and be heard, I’m here, I exist. Definitely pushing things to the alternative and coming up with something different. The very first gig we played in front of six people. Then the next gig we played in front of twelve and we thought we really doubled up’.

Richard Jago: ‘The punk thing was pretty fundamental, it was totally different. XTC, Ian Dury and the Blockheads that was the stuff that really made me sit up and listen. I couldn’t play guitar at least I couldn’t play very well, I couldn’t play drums so I started throwing words together. A number of influences like John Cooper Clarke, Ian Dury, the humour that was in what they were doing. I was also very much influenced by the ’80’s, middle of the Thatcher regime, pits were closing, industry was shutting down the yards were going’.

Another 4 years of a democratically elected dictator,
As the sun sets on the yards and poverty at large
The red flag flies from the end of Shields pier in the Peoples Republic of Tyne and Wear.

The iron woman ruined the river for ships and coal.
While the workforce live off the dole.
Like one great house of cards forgotten workers pits and yards,
No one sheds a tear, except the people in the Peoples Republic of Tyne and Wear

Some bands scraped the money together to go into studio’s and record demo tapes and singles. If the band were lucky enough small record labels would make albums.

Joe Peterson: ‘Lots of bands at the time used to record demos and post them off to every record company they could think of. I think they were very rarely listened to’.

TED

Ted Hunter: ‘There was plenty of bands doing original music at the time that could of got further, and obviously the record deal is the holy grail. But many bands got plenty ‘we regret to inform you’ letters. We spent four days in Guardian Studios in Pity Me, Durham and spent £400 for four days. Which was a fortune in those days. I was only getting £25 a week. We come out with two really good Prog tracks. Which I don’t think got the band anywhere’.

Duncan Binnie: ‘Desert Sounds was the first studio where we done a demo. But I was such a perfectionist. I wouldn’t send a demo tape away to a record company because I didn’t think it sounded quite right, I wouldn’t send a photo away to a record company cos I would think I didn’t look right. I just didn’t want the letter back saying, we don’t want this’.

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John Hopper: ‘First major gig was Tiffanys in Newcastle, that was a showcase. Thats where we got the record deal with NEAT Records in Wallsend. When we went into the studio we done most of the tracks that was listed for the album and the demo ones got taken off the reel and put onto the album reel. Originally the album was just called Slutt and then it got catalogued as Model Youth. It was released in 1988′.

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John Lockney: ‘The studios we used was Guardian Studios in Pity Me just outside Durham, run by a man called Terry Gavaghan. We recorded the four track EP and that was so nerve wracking at the time because we were green as grass.

We were proud of the songs and we went around the local record shops to leave some copies on sale or return. It really was great, I mean you’ve been brought up on singles. Now suddenly you’ve got one of your own. It’s still one of the proudest things I’ve ever done you know.
We went back to record another two tracks for a compilation album Roksnax, the production was better then, we weren’t as green and went back again and done another four tracks for demos to flog around record companies. You can tell the difference how confident we were with more experience in the studio’.

Being in a band can also bring it’s funnier moments…

RR5

Robbie Robertson: ‘Kev the original singer out of The Fiend decided he was going to get a mohican, so we cut this mohican for him but it turned out a bit wonky and looked rubbish so we painted it with yellow gloss paint’.

Joe Peterson: ‘We spent a lot of time in Scotland. Used to drive to a club, put the gear in the club, do the performance, leave the gear in the club overnight and sleep in the van. Which was really hot in the summer and absolutely freezing cold in the winter. So cold I remember waking up one morning, someone was sleeping in the passenger seat and his forehead had frozen to the window. We had to peel him off in the morning when he woke up’.

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Duncan Binnie: ‘In ’87 we’re playing the Amphitheatre down South Shields in front of can I say, one of the biggest crowds that’s been down there. Council wouldn’t give us any lights so it was an absolute disaster ‘cos halfway through the gig it was dark. But we had the fireworks and the stage was pretty good at that point.

We had a few unpaid roadies one of them was called Joe and it’s unbelievable what effort he’s putting in for nowt. Well during a song one of our explosions went off at the wrong time and the poor guy he gets blown up at the gig. I remember going into The Marsden Rattler pub afterwards and he was standing there his coat was all burnt, the whole top of it was fringed up and he had no eyebrows left’.

JL4

John Lockney: ‘We supported Fist one time, they were in a different league to us. When they went on I remember there was flour bombs from above the back of the stage getting dropped on the drummer Harry Hills head. He ended up being a blur of white as he thrashed around the drums’.

Joe Peterson: ‘A band I was in The James Boys did an audition for the producer of The Tube, and The Tube at the time was the music show. Everybody played live on it, this was the very last edition of The Tube and we passed the audition. We were given our times and dates to go and do it but a few days leading up to the recording we were told that as it was the last show Paul McCartney decided he wanted to appear on the show. So we were dropped and Paul McCartney took our place’.

Duncan Binnie: ‘We were playing Middlesbrough Town Hall which was the biggest gig we’d done ‘cos you’d feel cool, we were playing a stage the size of Newcastle City Hall. But the soundguy was going to me give us £50 and I’ll get you a good sound and I was going we haven’t got £50, it took us all our bus fare to get up to Middlesbrough’.

Last words…

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Joe Peterson: ‘Music is such a massive part of my life, that I think it has helped me through some really difficult times’.

Paul McRae: ‘The music, the scene, well it was just our life, everything about it, we were in it from the beginning’.

Robbie Robertson: ‘We just enjoy ourselves really, that’s what it’s about, if you don’t enjoy it you’re wasting your time’.

Interviews by Gary Alikivi 2007.

UNDER THE SKIN with drummer Stevie James

Stevie James has been in a few punk bands over the years so he’s collected a lot of memories… ‘I’ve being tapped up by a midget in New Orleans, locked in squats in Genoa and our singer got stuck in a parachute once. I got altitude sickness on stage in Columbia and hid from Nazi skinheads in a loft in Poland. So many memories but if you venture out of your door you experience life in all it’s glory’.

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Where did it all start ? ‘I started off playing in bands as a kid, playing punk rock on drums. My first band was called The Betrayed and since then have played in so many bands including Hellkrusher, Grudge, Blunt Wound Trauma, Demon 340, The Fiend and The Varukers’.

Who were your influences ? ‘Like most kids growing up you start with the music your parents listened to. For me it was a family of two sides. My mothers music taste was diabolical but my dads was great. He listened to bands like Them, The Kinks and the Rolling Stones. But he was also into heavier stuff like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Motorhead. It’s all music I still listen to.

My own music started with Damned, Specials and The Sex Pistols. I remember me dad playing Friggin in the Riggin to me uncle and thinking, I’m gonna get me lug dadded here but he just laughed. Then I discovered Angelic Upstarts and the UK Subs. Now I had a thread to follow I quickly discovered punk in all its forms and along with school mates, found the harder edged and politically motivated punk of the early eighties. Once I discovered that, it was life changing, I never looked back’.

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How did you get involved in playing music ? ‘When we were kids we hung around in large groups on the streets, roaming all over the place. In the early eighties there was an old drum shop on Bede Burn Road in Jarrow that would chuck old sticks and drum heads in a skip around the back. We would go and raid it and see what we could acquire. Kids from my generation didn’t have access to much so even an old drum head would spark off the imagination.

We would play Crass records that one of our friends older brother had. The anger and politically charged lyrics was the first time I really related to someone else’s point of view. It was the beginning of my interest in music.

Around ’81 or ’82 we went to see The Phantoms of the Underground, Blood Robots and The Pigs in a church hall in Jesmond, and that was that. I remember having to lie to my dad about where I was going and when I got dropped off at home after the gig, I thought I was gonna get a clout around the ear, but he just said ‘get to bed lad’ and I escaped another hiding.

We decided after that to start a band and moved in to me dads garden shed for about three years. I built a drum kit from water barrels from me dads allotment. They were covered in towels perched on upside down chairs with the backs pulled off and the dowel from the backs for sticks. I had a snare drum shell with only a bottom head and no snare, so I turned it upside down and covered it with a towel. That was my first kit until I bought a proper kit from a lad at the paper shop for £30.

We did our first gig in my parents kitchen when they went shopping. We sold tickets for 25p and filled the house with kids from the estate. We borrowed the school drum kit and took it to mine in shopping trolleys. Me parents came home half way through the gig and caught us. Me old man said I had one hour and went in the living room and closed the door. He was alright about me music was me old man’.

HELLKRUSHER

When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘When I got heavily involved in the punk scene it was very d.i.y and we would play gigs anywhere and everywhere. The bands we followed predominantly played at The Station in Gateshead, The Bunker in Sunderland and later The Broken Doll in Newcastle.

I played my first gig at the Anglo Asian club in the west end of Newcastle but we shook the floor so much they stopped us playing there. ‘We also used to play a lot at The Irish Centre in Newcastle’.

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‘When I was in a band that you could call serious we did our first gig at The Riverside in Newcastle but we played all over the country and some of us into Europe and America. I have played worldwide over the years, the punk scene is as far reaching as it gets and I’ve played with everyone from Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols, to UK Subs, Discharge, Exploited, GBH, The Damned, Steve Ignorant from Crass, The Dickies, The Misfits, you name it. Those early days of kicking around the doors were special though’.

What were your experiences of recording ?  ‘We were about as clueless as it gets but what we lacked in knowledge we made up for in enthusiasm. I can’t remember prices but we recorded as cheaply and as quickly as possible in those days.

We used to go to Rednose Studio on the north side and recorded our first single with a band called Senile Decay, which was mastered at Abbey Road then our first album there with Hellkrusher on the Wasteland record which was released in 1990. The record company said it wasn’t good enough so we went to Baker Street Studio in Jarrow owned by local musician Howard Baker’.

‘I turned up with a pair of old drum sticks covered in gaffer tape and when the engineer asked me where my drums were, I told him I didn’t have any. I thought this was a studio so there would be some here. We ended up borrowing the kit of someone who stored it in the studio.

I later went on to study and become a sound engineer and record many artists over the years and in studios all over the world, including the amazing Rooftop Studio in South Shields. I went on to design and build The Cave Studio that is still standing to this day, which I’m proud of as it’s in my home town. I’ve always produced everything I ever did since I had the knowledge to do it’.

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Have you any funny stories from playing gigs ? ‘Oh aye. So many, I wouldn’t know where to start. Most bands spend just about the full day travelling and drinking so they do everything three sheets to the wind but I don’t drink so I remember everything.

I’ve got loads of memories, like the time I slept in a convent, we’ve been escorted by police out of various cities and even over the borders of countries. There has been riots, kick off’s, we’ve blown so many circuit boards in venues it’s not funny.

I remember doing a gig with The Fiend and the guitarist Robby pulled into a petrol station to fill up the van and somehow managed to jam his keys into the van ignition and pulled off the steering wheel trying to get them back out. We had to leave the van on the forecourt and Robby got a lift on a moped to go get his car. Aye we still did the gig haha!’

‘We done a gig in The Ferry pub in South Shields where we were so loud we vibrated all the bottles off the bar. They could hear us down the road at another pub so they complained to the police. One time we went through the metal detector in Berlin airport and one band member accidentally had a butter knife in his boot, it didn’t go off but we were sweating buckets going through security.

We were on tour in America when one of us got pulled in Dallas for having the same name as a wanted terrorist! They showed us a picture of an Asian fella and asked if it was one of us before they would let us go into South America’.

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What are you doing now and are you still involved with music ? ‘Music got under my skin and never left me. I was involved in an accident that damaged my spine badly and it had an impact on my health in general. It was a long and arduous climb back up to a semblance of normality but it changed how I live my life and affected me profoundly. I can’t play anywhere as well as I used to as the damage is degenerative and I have to tread really carefully but I still play’.

‘I just can’t imagine my life without playing music in it. I will always play d.i.y punk just how its always been, and how it feel’s natural to me. There isn’t a single penny in it and it’s a chore like you couldn’t imagine. It can be frustrating to manage the logistics of it but I love it with everything that I am and always will, Cheers’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi June 2017.

Recommended:

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

ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Butchers of Bolingbroke, 1st June 2017.

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

Wavis O’Shave, Felt Nowt, 6th June 2017.

Crashed Out, Guns, Maggots and Street Punk, 6th July 2017.

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

Steve Staughan, Beauty & the Bollocks, 1st October 2017.

Steve Kincaide, Life of Booze, Bands & Buffoonery, 11th January 2018.