In the 80s, metal was quite a codified and uniformized world, but some bands managed to stand out with a strong identity. ROGUE MALE was definitely one of these bands, mixing the new wave of British heavy metal to punk roots wrapped in a post-apocalyptic image. I was around 14 when I got into them. I had their debut album “First Visit”, but seeing them play “Take No Shit” and The SEX PISTOLS’ “Pretty Vacant” on TV show Les Enfants du Rock was the moment that really got me addicted to them. I was into bands like MÖTLEY CRÜE, TWISTED SISTER, W.A.S.P. and SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK at that time and was just discovering punk through the PISTOLS, and in a way, ROGUE MALE was mixing the best of all these worlds.
More than 25 years later, songs like “Job Centre” or “Progress” -among others- are lyrically still relevant to this day and age. ROGUE MALE survived the computerized apocalypse and are back until the next one at least. Vocalist/guitarist Jim Lyttle answered a few questions…
How did the band start? Did you have an idea about the image/concept before it actually started? Any problem with the name ROGUE MALE (copyrights…)?
Rogue Male started after I had spent some considerable time in other bands, all of which I felt didn’t really have the Killer effect, so I looked for the right musicians to create this thing called Rogue Male, as a punk rocker in circa ’77 the image was more or less a transgression from my original “Punk” image, Never had any probes with the name, “Rogue Male” is a real entity, it was also my identity. lol!
What music did you grow up to? Some of your favourite bands/artists?
I grew up listening to all kinds, mostly blues, however, my biggest influ’s are The Pirates, The Small Faces, The Who, Free, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Sex Pistols, these are the bands that made me sit up and take notice and still do.
It was hard to label the band, to put it in a precise category. Did it scare record companies at some point? On the other hand, did it help to get a wider audience?
My thing is versatility, I wanted to be able to swing from all of my influ’s come what may, Record companies haven’t a clue anyway, as I found out lol, and yes I think it did appeal to a wider audience.
ROGUE MALE appeared on French national TV and had a good coverage in the French press. The band was almost introduced as the new SEX PISTOLS! How did that happen? Did you have good connections here?
Apart from the fact that we had just toured France and went down a storm, we also picked up an award for Top International New Artist at around that time so all these things fell into place at the right time I guess. The Sex Pistols thing came about I think because we had a write up in which it described us as the most dangerous band since the Sex Pistols, we also did the Pretty Vacant cover for the show lol, one of my favorite songs of all time.
What were your favourite venues to play in those days? Best shows to you? Worst ones?
The Marquee in London was always a favorite of ours, also Hammy Odeon, The Ulster Hall In Belfast was a cracker to do, my home town of course, many great venues throughout England, to numerous to mention, the worst venues, well there was plenty of them, Bogies in Cardiff, Wales comes to mind, being ridiculously small, could not swing a mouse, never mind a cat lol
What bigger bands did you open for in those days? Who were the coolest? The not so cool ones?
We opened for Motorhead, MSG, Anti Nowhere League,Girlschool, to name a few, The Coolest was Girlschool, I think it was Kim’s black fishnets that did it lol, the totally uncool was MSG, complete WANKER lol, long story short, Micheal insisted that I didn’t move out of a 2ft duct tape square on the stage floor that he had placed there for me, I told him that I had no control from the neck down when onstage lol so go fuck yourself, we blew them away anyway, lol fuckin cheesy wimpos.
Main differences between “First Visit” and “Animal Man” to you? I’ve heard that you weren’t satisfied with the mix of “Animal Man”?
If you hear us playing these songs live from both these albums, no diff, however the recorded difference is that The First Album cost £10,000 and we were in control, the second cost £80,000, and the record company was in control, like I said before, they have not got a clue, anyway eventually our mix of that record is the one that was released in the end, Elektra re-mixed it again at a cost of £20,000, and to be honest it was SHITE, thats when we made up our minds to get rid, they were not acting in our best interest and never would. They think when they sign you up to a record deal, that they own you, doh!
How did you meet Danny Fury who later joined the LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH?
I met Danny Fury after he came for an audition with Rogue Male, after he got the job, I suggested he change his name to FURY because that suited the band better, his real name Fleury doesn’t exactly conjure up enough mystic, I’m sure Danny would agree, lol, we are still best buddies tho lol
What was the biggest problem that led to the band’s split? The record label or the management?
Problem was for us that our manager also owned the record company, he also set up a publishing company in between me and The real Publishing company Zomba, hence conflict of interest right across the board, again not acting in our best interest, doh!
If you could change one thing from these days, what would it be?
If I’d known then what I know now, the whole deal would have been different, I would have licensed my material to them rather than actually signing to them, and the manager would have been given 20% from the net, not 33and a 3rd from the gross. doh!
Did you ever think about starting the band again with new members in those days? Or did you try and start a new band after ROGUE MALE’ split?
Rogue Male was such a shit hot band that it was very difficult for me to start again with others, I did try but the magic was just not there, so I led it to rest, longer than I ever anticipated mind you, but that’s another story.
What did you do before giving ROGUE MALE a new birth in 2007? Was it something you were thinking about long before happened?
It was always my intention to get RM back together, sooner rather than later, alas the factors all have to fall into place, that silly thing called “life” gets in the fuckin way a lot, lol but hey we are here now and raring to go full throttle.
You released an album (“Nail It”) in 2009. How are things for ROGUE MALE since then?
At the moment we are in rehearsals and have a new album written and ready to record, we have had set back after set with unreliable personnel over the last year or so, but we shall motor on undeterred in our quest to get Rogue Male back on top. It’s difficult trying to get out there again, the music biz has become an even bigger fiasco than it ever was, but the music and the fans keep it alive for me, so its on forward go, I’m overwhelmed at the response we have had recently and we are determined to give our fans every ounce of ROGUE MALE.