Punk blues? Punk rock supergroup? We wanted to know more about Gary Lammin’s new band The BERMONDSEY JOYRIDERS. Gary and bass player Martin Stacey (ex-CHELSEA) answer our questions about this new band and album, blues, COCK SPARRER, Johnny Thunders, Joe Strummer and give you their definition of a good rock’n’roll drummer!…
Who are ya? Can you tell us a bit about the BERMONDSEY JOYRIDERS history? One member lives in France, right?
Yeah thats right, The Bermondsey Joyriders drummer Keith Boyce now lives in the south of France. He is also The Heavy Metal Kids drummer. We all love France, all The Bermondsey Joyriders love France actually as all of us have surnames that were originally derived from French names… Boyce, Lammin and Stacey all originally were French Huguenot names,and every time Im in France it feels like Im home and Im even thinking about joining Keith and living in France as well.
I first formed The Bermondsey Joyriders with Marty Stacey, (bass player),who was the former guitarist of the punk band Chelsea. I was in California doing a few gigs with Marty then Keith Boyce joined on drums about a year later when we came back to London. Keith sent me an email saying he would like to meet up for a few drinks and during that drinking session I asked him if he fancied a rehearsal and thats how we got together.
Can you talk about the album and its recording?
Yeah its was totally nuts, we recorded it in about 12 hours and every take was done in one take and every vocal take is the first take as well. The only overdubs were a bit of extra slide here and there and a bit of tambourine to give it a lift where it needed it, I think all of us were a bit shell shocked after that recording because it came at the end of a very tough USA tour. We had been going to bed very late and getting up very early to drive to the next gig and all of us were wide eyed and road weary…
You said you had problems to find a rock’n’roll drummer even though there’s plenty of rock drummers around? What’s the difference between a rock’n’roll drummer and a rock drummer to you? Who are some of your favourite drummers?
Good question…most drummers you meet are rock drummers and thats because when they first learn to play they think that all a drummer needs to be able to do is drive a bands music along but thats only part of what a drummer needs to do. A truly great drummer also needs to know how to make the music roll…thats the roll part of the rock man..you know so many drummers claim to be rock n roll drummers but they are just rock drummers. It always makes me laugh when I hear a band boasting about how tight their drummer is. As soon as I hear that I know that they don’t realise that being able to play loose don’t mean that your playing is sloppy…being able to play loose is what you need to be able to do in order to turn basic rock into rock n roll. Ive played and jammed with Kenney Jones of The Faces and The Who and Bruce Rowlands of FairPort Convention who really know how to make it roll as well as Rock..and thats what Keith knows how to do as well.
We can hear some punk, blues and rock’n’roll influences on the record. Would you say that this records sums up your influences and musical roots? What are your favourite blues artists?
Im not the sort of person who sits around listening to his own stuff but I got to say that Im quite proud of what The Bermondsey Joyriders have achieved with that debut Cd so yeah the Cd does come very close to where its at for me as a guitarist. As far as influences go ? well I got to say Howlin Wolf and John Lee Hooker are my two favourites where blues is concerned and I love The MC5 as well as The New York Dolls and I love The Pink Fairies as well.
Why did you decide to include COCK SPARRER’S “Runnin’ Riot” on the album?
Runnin Riot is not a Cock Sparrer song its a Gary Lammin song. I wrote it before I was even in Cock Sparrer. Yeah I gave it to them to play but its my song,check the writing credits out with The Performing Rights Society of The UK..so perhaps you should ask Cock Sparrer why they still feel the need to play my song. If you do ask them let me know the reason why.
I’ve heard that Patti Palladin said that “Part Of My Problem” was one of the best if not “THE” best tribute song she had heard for Johnny Thunders and The New York Dolls. That’s quite a compliment, don’t you think?
It was a total mind blast. I was sitting down reading a book and eating a sandwich and the phone rings and the rock journalist Charles Shaar Murray is on the other end of the line and he says Hey Gary I got someone here with me that would like to talk to you about your song PART OF MY PROBLEM… so I say sure Ok put them on the line and this American chick comes on the line and says Hey Gary How you doing? and I say fine whats up ? And she says this is Patti Palladin and your song Part Of My Problem is one of the best if not best tribute songs to Johnny and The Dolls I think Ive heard… Wow I was freaked I got to tell you I was lost for words and just managed to say Thanks Patti Thats really a great accolade coming from someone who knew Johnny as close as you did… then Patti went on to say thanks for writing such a great tribute that didn’t have to refer to all the crass remarks about drugs… and that made me feel real good because you know I loved Johnny Thunders understanding of Rock n Roll…yeah he was a roller as well as a rocker for sure
I read that you left COCK SPARRER before their Oi! direction, how was the band before that? And what are your best memories from those days?
Yeah I wasn’t interested in reforming with them when they asked me too as they had decided to move in an Oi direction. I got nothing against Oi but its not where Im at… Im a punk glam boogie merchant… thats why I got Cock Sparrer to play my version of We Love You.
You look a bit like a “punk rock supergroup”, don’t you think?
If we can rock n roll the people and deliver value for money then that to me is far more important then who we have been playing for in the past. Sure promotors and press people are always interested in the other bands that you’ve played in and I accept that that is always going to be a starting point for a conversation but The Bermondsey Joyriders are now winning people over purely on the heart and passion that we put into the bands live perfomances and thats how we will proceed. Playing our hearts out for anyone and everyone
Then you started your own band The LITTLE ROOSTERS who had an album produced by Joe Strummer. How did that happen?
Joe Strummer I would bump into in The Portobello Road quite often and one day when I saw him again I asked if he would come and play some guitar on a Little Roosters track but he didn’t seem to keen so then I asked him if he would be interested in maybe producing and that kind of got him a bit more interested, Joe agreed to produce a single but then one thing led to another and we ended up recording loads of songs some of which were released in France as a limited edition album. I liked Joe he was a kind person and not the political rebel that his image suggested. sure he knew what he was talking about with all that political stuff but I was pleasantly surprised how when he was talking about it that there was always a look in his eye that kind of said…”yeah well this is what I might think but then again what does anyone know about anything”… I liked Joe Strummer he had a grace about him.
I also read that you were invited to be the SEX PISTOLS’ second guitarist?
Well actually I was invited my Malcolm to audition for The Sex Pistols on two occasions but as I was in Cock Sparrer I didn’t go to the audition… I still see Malcolm every now and then and I have a lot of respect for him. I think we all owe Malcolm the respect that with out him and his vision we could all still be having to put up a choice of either Genesis or Pink Floyd…HORRIBLE !
Any European tour planned?
Listen man try to get the word out for us in France… I got to get back to France somehow…God Bless and keep Rocking AND ROLLING
Gary Lammin The Bermondsey Joyriders