The GEE STRINGS have been around for quite some time now. After getting addicted to their new LP “I’m So Gee!!”, we thought it was the right time to ask them a few questions. Bernadette (guitar) tells us about the new album, the band’s different line-ups, his experiences with SONNY VINCENT, SCOTT DRAKE and The MORLOCKS, punk rock in 20016, Germany, and more...
Can you tell us about your new album “I´m Soo Gee!!” and its recording?
The album was recorded in that beautiful landhouse near Besançon by Yann Morel in his Cube Studios! We already recorded our last singles there, and we already knew the situation. Perfect place to record. Our friend Adam Payne from Canada mixed the record, he also mixed our last singles! Coverartwork took a while this time…but after we said no to the two first coverartworks, our friend Götzilla in Germany helped us again and did a great job for the LP ! The record has just been released on Ghost Highway Records in Spain… Some other labels wanted to co-release it …So it’s also out on KOTJ in Spain, and for France, our friend Ludo released it for Adrenaline Fix Music and Strycknine Records!
The album is out on vinyl, but I don´t think I´ve heard about a CD version, is it only vinyl and mp3 ?
Yes – Ghost Highway Records is a vinyl only Label, they don’t release CDs, but we met Marco From Ghost Highway Records at our show in Madrid, and he said that it wouldn’t be a problem to release the album as a CD with another label. So if anybody is interested in a CD release, they can write us ! On the other side, CD sales are really getting down these days …but still, a few people ask for CDs at our shows…
There´s been quite a few different rhythm sections in The GEE STRINGS, Who is in the band now ?
Buanax and Macst from Besançon played 3 years with us ! We met and played together on Scott Drake‘s Euro Tour… They were Scott’s backing band, and after that tour in 2011, we needed a new rhythm section with The Gee Strings, so I thought about these 2 guys, thinking they could bring the fun back in our band…. The tour with Scott was really great, good players and even more important, great guys to travel with. Cologne – Besançon is quite a big distance … which was not the biggest problem… The biggest problem was that the guys are really busy with their own bands The Irradiates and Red Gloves, so there was no time anymore to play lots of live gigs with The Gee Strings.
But we found some new Rock´n´Roll soldiers for The Gee Strings !! Nelson on Bass, our friend…..We ‘ve known him for years, he plays with 60s locals Curlee Wurlee, and on Drums, I asked my dutch friend Rob Louwers from The Morlocks. A very good drummer playin’ around for many years with The Fuzztones, Link Wray, Robert Gordon, Chris Spedding and many more…
Bernadette, you also played with SONNY VINCENT, SCOTT DRAKE, and more recently The MORLOCKS. Can you tell us about each of these experiences?
Until 2009 I only played with The Gee Strings, but around 2009 / 2010 we did a break because the drummer and bassplayer decided to quit, so I had some time to try something new and play with other people, which was a great experience. Especially guys from The US who have a different background and taste in music than guys in Germany. Even in France, it is better for that if you ask me . They grew up with good music… Scott Drake told me his parents always listened to Chuck Berry and all that good stuff … But it all started first with Sonny Vincent. My old buddy Paul Smith gave me a call – he´s the old Gee Strings bassplayer from the 90s, and played with Sonny in Shotgun Rationale in the early 90s, and they decided to start a new Sonny Vincent line-up. Good times on the road, and also recording an album was a really good experience. But after 2 years, people coming and goin’ in the band, I was little bit sick of that….always rehearsing the new set with different people, and driving 100 of kilometers for the rehearsals…..but that’s Sonnys´way … never play with a fix line-up. Of course he has his reasons for that….but it could be so much better with a good permanent line-up because some of his songs are really great !!
The way I met Scott Drake was when I heard that Scott would be back in Europe in 2010, to play a solo Tour, and as one of the biggest Humpers Fans we (Ingenius Pop and me) travelled to Hamburg to see a gig ! I remember it was a very cold dark February night in Hamburg, and the way to the club was all icy…. So it was really difficult to find the way in without sliding on the ice! But after we got in to the Hafenklang Club, I met Scott at the bar , he was sitting there with a good scotch whiskey. I also met the backing band from Besançon that night for the first time….and we were really in good company straight from the start on this night…. It was Macst, Buanax, and Sammy on guitar! Normally Scott needs 2 guitars for his kind of music, so I told him that if he needed a guitar player on the next tour, I could help him with this. So, on the next tour in 2011, we played together with Jeff Fieldhouse, his old Humpers buddy on guitar, and we did a great tour together with Macst and Buanax. It was great to play my favourite Humpers Songs with the original guys together . We started the band when The Humpers came along to Europe for the first and last European tour, 96 or 97 …so they were a big influence for us …
We did also some recordings in Besançon, at Cube Studio after the tour. Buanax and Macst joined The Gee Strings, and we directly recorded the Split Single Scott Drake / Gee Strings on Ghost Highway Records which is unfortunately is sold out, sorry guys!
I played again last year on a tour with The Lovesores, Scott´s new band! Check it out ! Good stuff and just as good as The Humpers !!
Playing with The Morlocks is a great coincidence too. I was wandering around and met Leighon Koizumi on a fleamarket some day around Cologne last year. So I found out that he lives near Cologne together with his girlfriend that I know….. And I thought that with such a great singer in the neighborhood, I would like to try something new … So we met again and made some loose plans for a new band and looked for some cool bandmembers. And last summer, Rob Louwers and Pille just left The Fuzztones, and we decided altogether to re-vamp & resurrect The Morlocks….Leighton asked his friend Marcello from Sardinia to play the second guitar in The Morlocks, and the new line-up was perfect! It works really good….just started with a great Italy Tour last December. We recorded some songs for a couple of 7 inches in the beginning of the year, and we will be on tour in Europe for 4 weeks in May…play all the cool Festivals like Cosmic Trip, Munster Rave and some cool club shows. So watch out for some new Morlocks activities. It will be a permanent line-up and a real band which is great !!
How was the last GEE STRINGS tour?
I’m happy to be on tour again with The Gee Strings again, and the new line up works great! We had a lot of fun, it was great to meet our old friends in France and Switzerland again, and make some new friends as well. Especially in Spain, we played for the first time in Burgos and Bilbao, which were great gigs, and great Rock´n´Roll people… and don´t forget the great Tapas Bars, we love it, and ate Tapas all day in Spain ! We love to play in the South of Europe!
In France, we had a great record release party in Bordeaux – it was also Ludo´s birthday party (Adrenaline Fix Music Record boss). So, the gig on the next day in Toulouse was not that good… Big hangover, but the people forgave us in Toulouse ( I hope so) – they still loved us, and Toulouse is one of our favourite cities to play in France! We also met our old friends from Paris again. They come to our shows in Paris every time we play there, they saw the Pistols in Paris in 1977, so there are old now, but these 4 friends always show up!
We’d also like to thanks our friend Did who joined us for 4 gigs in France… from Nancy to Le Havre, Paris to Bordeaux ,and always made a special tour painting for us, and always came along with a great bottle of good red wine from Bourgogne!!
Malcom Mc Laren and Vivienne Westwood´s son, Joseph Corré said he would burn his record collection to protest again the “40th Anniversary of Punk”, he explains: “”The Queen giving 2016, the year of Punk, her official blessing is the most frightening thing I´ve ever heard, (….) Talk about alternative and punk culture being appropriated by the mainsteam. Rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a fucking museum piece or a tribute act. “ Your thoughts about all of this ?
Sorry for Joseph Corré, it seems like he doesn’t have the sense of humour English people are famous for, and we feel sorry for all the good records… but Indeed, Punk is a fucking museum piece, after 40 years that´s kind of normal… and when I see some old bands play their old songs since 40 years with only 1 original bandmember in the band… it’s of course more like a tribute act. Lots of people only want to hear the old songs and nothing new, and talk about the gigs from the good old punk days. Same with all others music styles though, punk is not the holy exception, but there are still some new good bands around….not that many, but there’s always something new to find!
And by the way The Queen is not that bad in her position….Johnny Rotten always liked her!
What other German punk bands do you like ? Favourite places to play In Germany?
Hm very difficult question, we don’t see ourselves as a punk band only… Let’s say Punk Rock, or even rock´n´Roll. We don´t like so much stuff from Germany, there´s a whole new generation that listens to some kind of punk music in Germany, lots of poppy indie stuff with German lyrics they still sell under the Punk flag, and that trend is really big at the moment. There was a few bands some years ago that we liked, but most of them broke up, because there’s no real good big scene for Punk Rock´n´Roll in Germany. Its´all about categories and rules in Germany, the scenes don´t mix, everybody is goin’ to their own scene concerts. In other countries, it is a little bit more mixed, which is a better thing …But not everything is bad in Germany. We like to play in Berlin, lots of different venues to play there. Hamburg , Cologne – Sonic Ballroom is our local drink and concert place, there’s still lots of good places to play in Germany even if there´s not that a good audience every night…
Last record you´ve bought ?
The new Giuda record !!
Last book you´ve read?
Johnny Rotten’s autobiography ! I also like all the books from John Niven…
Where will we be able to see THE GEE STRINGS next ?
After the Morlocks tour, we’ll play a couple of shows more in early June. Our friend Phil invites us to play his Tattoo Motor show in Ardeche, France, and we will also be back in Besançon on the 3rd of June !! We plan to be back for a couple of shows in Fall !! Maybe Italy, and little bit of Germany in our favourite places !!