Bubblegum Slut Zine Archive: Drew Bernstein – Lip Service Clothing

As big fans of the L.A. clothing brand (it was hard not to be if you were into glam/sleaze rock’n’roll in the late 80s/early 90s!), we thought it would be interesting to share this interview of Drew Bernstein (Lip Service founder) by our favourite paper zine Bubblegum Slut. Thanks, Alison for letting us share it.
Read more cool Bubblegum Slut archives at https://bubblegumzinearchive.blogspot.com/

Alison’s intro (August 15, 2022):

t the time this interview was published (2007 / Issue 28), Lip Service clothing’s founder and CEO, Drew Bernstein, aka ‘Lippy’, had no real need of doing press, much less UK fanzine press. 

His L.A-based alt. fashion brand had been outfitting the likes of Axl Rose since 1985, and true to its strapline, ‘The Original Cult’, it boasted a global, cult-like following.  Fans calling themselves ‘Lippy Addicts’ built extensive fan-sites, and traded Lip Service’s limited-edition, highly collectable punk/goth/fetishwear designs for considerable sums. 

In a bid to discover what sort of scheme or sorcery I used to secure an interview with Lip Service’s CEO, I started digging through the old Bubblegum Sl💙t inbox.  The shockingly mundane answer is that I fired off a long-shot email, and three days later Lippy wrote back, apologising for the ‘delay’ in replying, and saying ‘call me tomorrow’. 

While a lot of the fashion content in the zine’s later issues never really worked (eventually, I want to do a series of posts about regular columns which failed, no matter how much I forced the format, and fashion looms large on the list), this feature is a rare exception, which I remember fondly. 

There are a couple reasons for this.

Firstly, I was a MASSIVE fan of Lip Service’s designs.  The attention to detail on this stuff was unmatched by any of the brand’s competitors.

Secondly, having the chance to chat with Lippy himself about the work that went into realising those details – be it sourcing padlocks for a fetish line, or finding the perfect white flocking technique to create ‘lines’ on the controversial ‘Coke Fiend’ collection – turned out to be a rare opportunity, not be repeated.  On 18th August 2014, I was shocked to learn of Lippy’s death by apparent suicide, at the age of 51. 

For a ton of bonus images related to this feature, check out Story Highlights on the Bubblegum Zine Archive Instagram. 

For vintage Lip Service catalogues, head to the Redemption Clothing archive.

Bonus images:

Veglam: I bought my first Lip Service clothes in 1990 at Red Balls On Fire in London and I still own them after all those years!:

The brand has reissued some of their earlier designs these last years.
More info: https://lip-service.com/

Razzle “The Story of The HANOÏ ROCKS legend” – Ari Väntänen

Razzle was the heartbeat of HANOÏ ROCKS, the perfect drummer for the most flamboyant band. Unfortunately, Razzle is also famous because of is tragic death in a car crash in 1984 while MÖTLEY CRÜE’s Vince Neil was driving. Ari Väntänen already wrote about HANOÏ ROCKS and Michael Monroe so he probably was the right person to write about Razzle. We asked him a few questions about this extremely well documented new book…

When did you start working on the book?

I think it was around the late 2018. I was personally interested to learn about Razzle’s life, and around that time it really started to bug me that most people only remember him as the guy who died while someone more famous was driving. The more I looked into it, the more important it felt to write this book. Razzle was all about life, and his life made a great story.

My original plan was to write the book in English only, but then my Finnish publisher Like heard about it and wanted to make a Finnish version as well. So, I translated my own text to my own language, and the Finnish book came out first in September 2020. Svart put out the English version in January 2022.

You say that there was something Dickensian about Razzle that sparkled your interest as a kid. Can you explain?

I guess there was something larger than life in him, you know, the top hat and the striped suit and all, and at the same time he seemed so streetwise. I guess he had to be, because the more he concentrated on his music, the less money he had, before joining Hanoi. Like Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist, he was a kid inside but had learned early to take care of himself.

Was it easy to choose who you were going to interview and get all the photos and documents?

It would have been difficult without the Facebook group Remembering Razzle. That’s where I found many of his friends, band mates, and relatives. Most of the group members were happy to contribute with stories, photos and stuff. I wanted the book to be like a gathering of people who knew him and wanted to reminisce his life, so the more the merrier. What I found curious was that very few people ever argued with him about anything. I even tried to ask people how can it be, but it seems like Razzle just was really easy to get along with.

Is there anyone you would have liked to interview but couldn’t because they didn’t want to get interviewed, you couldn’t find them or because they are not part of this world anymore?

There were a few people who rather kept their memories personal, which they had every right to do. For example, I would have liked to hear Nasty Suicide’s stories because they were close and even shared a flat in London, but he’s not really into dwelling in the past and politely declined. After the book came out he messaged me that he had read it and liked it, which I was happy about.

I also would have liked to chat with Seppo Vesterinen, Hanoi‘s manager, but never heard back from him. Then I found out he hadn’t been well, and he passed away some time later. It was the same with Shaun Newnham of Thin Red Line and Scott Bushburt of the Fuck Pigs, who also died during the writing process. I never got to talk to them, but they or their families sent me some photos for the book. I did a great interview with Timo Kaltio and was in disbelief when I heard he had suddenly passed away, too.

So many people leaving this world before the book was finished made me think that it was high time to tell this story.

Razzle always looked like he should be famous and it seems like everybody loved him. Was it something that also motivated you to write about him?

Definitely. He was a star and very much down to earth at the same time. He had natural charisma but wasn’t arrogant or looking down on anybody. It’s a good combination and made me feel I wanted to know more about him.

Were you familiar with his previous bands before HANOI when you started working on the book?

I knew the bands’ names and I had The Dark live album The Living End, but I didn’t know much about them. For me personally, writing about the pre-Hanoi years were the most fascinating part of the project. I was already very familiar with the latter part of the story, but what did Razzle do before Hanoi Rocks? What were Thin Red Line, The Fuck Pigs and Demon Preacher like? How did he end up joining The Dark? Who did he play with?

Demon Preacher featuring Nik Fiend (Alien Sex Fiend)

It seems like Razzle played an important role when it comes to keeping HANOI ROCKS together through the dark times…

Yes, he got along with everybody in the band even when some of the other guys had issues with each other. They told me Razzle was the glue that held Hanoi together, and they all love him dearly. Like Michael Monroe says in the book, Razzle saved Hanoi Rocks. He kept the band’s spirits up until the end, and it wasn’t easy for him.

Razzle’s drumming really fit HANOI ROCKS’ music. The stories about recording with Bob Ezrin are very interesting.

Ezrin really made him and the whole band work hard. It seemed like the producer tried to bring out the best in Razzle as a drummer instead of trying to turn him into someone he wasn’t as a musician. His playing had a lot of personality and character and I think Ezrin respected that.

It’s funny that he mentioned he would love to play with HEART although his roots were more punk and early hard rock’n’roll. Can you imagine how HEART would have sounded with him behind the kit?

Honestly, I can’t! More punk and rock’n’roll, I guess. Or maybe he would have rehearsed a lot to adapt to their style, like he did when he joined The Dark and Hanoi Rocks. I know he liked Heart a lot, but maybe talking about joining them was his way of saying he wanted to make it big as a musician, like a mainstream big time. Having said that, I have no doubt he would have joined Heart if he had a chance!

Razzle seemed to be very open minded when it comes to music; We also learn that he loved The BIRTHDAY PARTY and a lot of different styles…

Yes, he was and did. Besides the obvious punk and rock’n’roll stuff like The Damned, Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls and Alice Cooper, he liked heavier bands like Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Van Halen and Anvil, and listened to Frank Zappa and The Birthday Party as well.

Have you managed to get more information about this Rebel Yell flyer no one seems to remember?

No! It’s the weirdest thing. Usually, some people online at least claim they know what these things were about, but not in this case. For those who don’t know, there is a mystery gig fIyer about a band called Rebel Yell featuring Razzle of Hanoi Rocks playing a show in London. If someone reading this was in Rebel Yell in London in 1984, please come clean!

Have you ever thought about what Razzle could be doing now if he was still alive?

Pure speculation, of course, but to me he seemed like someone who might have become a family man. I’m 100% sure he would live in some warm and sunny place. He really hated cold!

At the end of the book, we get to think that this story could really be a movie. What did you think of the Razzle scenes in The Dirt?

Yeah, I agree, with all its comedy and tragedy Razzle’s life would make a great movie.

The Dirt… Depends how you look at it. I think Max Milner did a good job portraying the character that was written in the movie script. HOWEVER, I don’t think the character captured who Razzle really was. I believe the real Razzle seemed more friendly, funny and gentle.

But I guess it didn’t really matter who Razzle actually was in the context of that movie. He was just a casualty. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to write this book. I wanted to show the world what he really was like. Full of life and living life to the full, a fun-loving guy who was and still is loved by many.

Not trying to spoil anything, but Cyndi Lauper is mentioned a couple of times in the book. Do you know if they actually met?

I don’t know if they did, but they may have, as Hanoi was on CBS like Lauper.

You wrote a book about HANOÏ ROCKS, the authorized Michael Monroe biography and this book about Razzle. Do you plan on writing on the other band members or related musicians too? Any idea if the Michael Monroe biography will be available in English some day?

I have no plans to do so, but I probably wouldn’t say no if someone asked me to, if I just had the time. I know of a couple of people in the London rock scene in the 80’s who are currently working on their memoirs, so there might more stories on the way without me being involved. And I heard Sami Yaffa’s (& Tommi Liimatta’s) book will be available in English this spring. Yes, I do believe the Monroe book will be out in English some day!

https://www.recordshopx.com/book/vantanen_ari/razzle/#765944

Razzle book on Amazon

Scream Idol – Trash Rock a Go Go!

STAR STAR has morphed into SCREAM IDOL, a scary montster for a new degeneration. We’ve asked Johnnie Holliday (vocals/guitar) a few questions about this new incarnation and the STAR STAR days…

You were one of the first bands I interviewed for Veglam back in 2002. I remember thinking it was so cool to be able to talk to you by email since “The Love Drag Years” is one of my favourite albums. A lot has changed since those days for the music world and especially rock’n’roll. How have things changed for you and your music?

-I like much less of the music I hear at clubs now…and…being that I’m the only guitar player now… we only do songs that can be played with the guitar hung very low. We’ve become so comfortable as a trio that I can’t even imagine playing with another guitar player again. Musically we’re closer to what we sounded like when Mickey Mess and I started Star Star. Long before the Love Drag Years of course.

Can you tell us about the name change, going from Star Star to Scream Idol, will you ever play under the name Star Star again?

-We feel too far removed from the band that was Star Star to continue using that name. We felt like a different band for a while now. I’m not saying that we’ve matured or that we’ve cleaned up or anything crazy like that… but, we definitely feel a rush breaking out as a new band man! Will we ever play under the Star Star name again… hmmm…. kinda’ like if I’ll ever fuck an ex-girlfriend again.

You have re-recorded a few songs from your first album “Go Go Girls In Love”, can you tell us why you have chosen to do so? Did you ever think about a re-release of the album?

-When we did that album I had just started singing and we were in this high lifestyle that didn’t allow us to focus. We’ve always felt that those songs never had a fair chance. So we re-did them….. not that I can sing much better now, but, at least I’m a little sober now….ok, maybe not….but, anyway, yeah, we re-did them the way we sound now..

How do you record music in 2021? Do you have your own home studio?

-We carefully set up our recording situation. We basically bought the gear that we use in the studios. We also built a vocal isolation booth that’s also a guitar booth and a laundry room. Technically speaking…we run Universal Audio and Avalon pre’s through UA and Apogee converters.

Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to cover The PARTRIDGE FAMILY’s “I Woke Up In Love This Morning”?

-The first time I heard that song I thought it was the best chorus ever written..and the singer David Cassidy had the coolest hair on TV. It doesn’t have many chords and I could look cool playing it…and we thought we could bring a fresh feeling to it.

You also covered The SISTERS OF MERCY’s “Vision Thing” live. Have you ever thought of recording it?

-Oh yeah man! We’ve already recorded it. Actually we’ve recorded a Sisters Of Mercy medley that we’ve been playing live. It’s gonna’ be released as a dance Maxi Single along with some club remixes later this year.

STAR STAR was a great mix of rock’n’roll, glam and punk. “Soul Sucker” says “Not a punk, not a rocker…”, is this how you feel in the rock’n’roll world today?

-Music has lost its spirit as it conforms to the guidelines of social and streaming platforms. It has strayed from the culture that influenced generations. The music industry has also been cultivating a mindset so that bands will endeavor to sound like other bands. Do you know where that leads? Check out this years Grammy nominees… that’s where it leads. Generic music without attitude or style! It makes clubs less cool, less chicks, less colorful personalities, more straights, less fun, less artistic spiritual freedom. I feel heartbroken by artists condoning censorship…I feel sad for this generation that is discovering the world through regulated mediums… I feel pissed at punks and rockers that parrot establishment narratives. Other than that I don’t like to talk about what our lyrics mean

I’ve read that you were also a club owner in Greece and I remember seeing some cool flyers about glam/goth/punk nights. Can you tell us more about that?

You didn’t see flyers for that club. It was strictly word of mouth. It was a simple metal door on a street in the center of Athens that led to a staircase going down to the club. We only opened on Saturdays and it was always packed. It was also like 70% dance floor. It was a dark wave, goth, industrial, fetish club so we made sure the atmosphere was comfortable for the regulars. The flyers you did see were for parties that we host at clubs in various cities. We do DJ sets, get drunk and meet chicks… sometimes we’ll arrange fashion or music promotions. Those “Trash City Nights” events always attract very interesting crowds. They are nights of madness

Speaking of Greece. How come you’ve chosen to move there?

I had an uncle that was like a father to me. He became sick and I wanted to spend the time he had left close to him. Weeds, Jay and I decided to do it together and make a new start in Europe. Obviously after Jay’s suicide and my accident it wasn’t such a great new beginning…. but we turned it around man.

These last two years have been difficult for many musicians but have you played live with the SCREAM IDOL line-up before Covid?

We’ve played many shows together as Star Star. Jack was our first drummer when we first got to Europe. We parted ways for a while, then reunited when he got back from Brazil… and Scream Idol was born

I learned in your great interview with Suits and The Platform Boots that you lived in Hollywood. Do you think that New York was better for STAR STAR?

Probably not. We struggled with bad habits everywhere we went. I preferred the scene in LA. Going back to NY was more to straighten up and start fresh, and not so much a musical decision.

Star Star

Last but not least. It happened more than once when pronouncing your name in France that people thought I was talking about French singer Johnny Hallyday who was over famous here!: )… Ever heard of him?

Yes, of course I was asked that question a lot when I did a French press tour. I listened to a bunch of his stuff. Pretty good songs but not enough guitars!

https://www.starfuckerstar.com/

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The Claws – Gut-level Rock’n’roll!

Let’s start 2022 with one of the most interesting rock’n’roll bands from L.A. Chad Cherry (lead vocals) and Gary Martin (guitars & vocals) tell us about the release of their new album “Stars and Broken Stars” and new EP “Hazy Days Wasted Nights” and much more!

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band?

C.C.: It all started with Gary and I. Gary was living out here in Los Angeles and Sarah and I were out here visiting around 2013/14. We were staying at this place on top of Laurel Canyon. It was right next to an abandoned house that some producer from Walt Disney owned back in the 60’s. Place was trashed and cool. We’re checking it out, sharing a bottle of scotch, moonlight creepin, and we came up with the idea of us getting together to make some kinda noise when I moved out to Los Angeles. In the beginning we were just two guys with an acoustic guitar.

G.M.: Soon, Terry Love (bass) came into the picture, and this formed the core of the band. We recorded the début EP in 2017, and the ‘No Connection’ LP was released in early 2020. With the addition of Tony Pacheco on drums in 2019, and Mike Gavigan on guitar in the lost year of 2020, we began the recording of the follow up LP, which was released in late 2021.

You have two new releases, “Stars and Broken Glass” (album) and “Hazy Days Wasted Nights” (EP). Is this because you wanted the album to be released on vinyl and avoid having too many songs on it?

C.C.: We would’ve had a quadruple record on our hands if we didn’t break it up. There’s no lack of creativity with The Claws.

G.M.: It’s true. At this point, we have more than enough tunes for another full length (& EP!) Sonically and thematically, it made sense to do it the way that we did.

Was it easy to choose which songs were going to be used for the album and for the EP?

It was not a case of the “best 10” make the LP. The sequence needed to flow. The sound of the songs can tell a story. We tried our best to make that happen.

Can you tell us about the recording. Where and when did it happen?

G.M.: We recorded the new music at the same place, with the same producer & engineer as the last LP, 2020’s ‘No Connection’. It’s a cool little studio in the Hollywood Hills called Fox Force Five studios. We began the process in late 2020 and finished in the summer of 2021. The LP & EP was mixed and mastered during the autumn of 2021.

C.C.: That Beechwood Canyon studio is magical.

C.C.: That’s like asking a falling star where it’s going to land. There’s not really a rhyme or reason for anything that we do musically. Gary comes up with nonstop songs and we’re all over the place. We never talk too much about it, we mostly just blend together, push and pull melodies into place. I really don’t think we have a specific anything besides some good synergy going on.. we just do whatever it is we do.

Did you know how you wanted the album and EP to sound before recording them?

G.M.: Our surroundings, our adventures, and our personal relationships between the 5 of add spice to the tunes. Everything has an effect. The studio itself has a great feel, along with some excellent vintage equipment, that really helps bring out the nuance in our tunes. Gabe Lowry (producer/engineer) did a fantastic job of capturing The Claws at our best.

While the 70s influences are obvious, there’s also some 80s ones in the songs. Do you like both decades the same?

G.M.: The keyboard during ‘When The Nighttime Comes’ and ‘Strange Rumblings’ is a vintage synthesizer from the mid-1980’s. Totally. Strictly from a songwriting point-of-view, there’s so much great stuff from the 1960’s through the 1990’s that it is impossible to pick a favorite decade, but I do tend to prefer the production values of the 1970’s.

C.C.: I kinda love all decades, man. But let’s face it.. the 70’s ruled!

Some songs like “High Noon”, “A Song For You”, “Seven Medicines” or “In The Dust” could definitely be featured in series or movies. Did you get any interest from Hollywood film makers?

C.C.: We’re too expensive for them.

G.M.: Yeah, we’re open to collaboration with film makers, but they need to cough up the bread. Besides, we’re telling our own stories, so who needs ‘em?

How is the rock’n’roll scene in L.A. These days? Any new interesting bands? What are the best clubs these days ?

C.C.: L.A. still has just about everything happening musically. Nothing will ever be the past but there’s so many great bands here. Any club that you don’t have to pay to play is a good club.

G.M.: I love the current rock n roll scene in L.A.! Much like the city, it’s spread out. You may find yourself in the suburbs at the Maui Sugar Mill one weekend, and downtown at the Redwood (our favorite) the next. Great joints like Alex’s in Long Beach and the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena always have killer shows. There are many talented players in L.A., so you never know who is going to impress on any given night. Someone just needs to open a genuine rock n roll joint in Hollywood!

It seems like a lot of people are moving out of L.A, especially musicians who seem to have found a new home in Nashville…

G.M.: Don’t believe the hype. L.A. has always been a city with people arriving or leaving. Here today, gone today.

C.C.: That’s news to me.

Chad, you also sing in The LAST VEGAS but you have a couple of other projects. Can you tell us about them?

C.C.: I have some new TLV demos somewhere. Let’s see, everyday is Halloween with the spooky synth/guitar pop sounds of Razor Candy. I’m also doing synthesized music with my director pal, D.M. Cunningham in our outfit called Dreaming In Neon. We’re busy scoring his new film, “3 Demons” at the moment. But I do The Claws on the daily. Gary keeps me busy.

Do any of you play in other bands/projects?

G.M.: I don’t play in any other projects or bands, as everything that I write I consider for The Claws. If my tunes get too weird for The Claws, then maybe I’ll do some acid-jazz solo trip.

Will Europe be on the map when things finally start getting better in the world?

C.C.: Question is, will The Claws ever want to leave once we get there.

G.M.: Would love to do a European swing! I heard that many European rock n rollers have moved to Nashville..true?

Oh! That might explain why I haven’t seen any in almost two years! Haha

https://theclawsrock.com/
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Bad Losers – Paris Dolls!

France has never been the best place for glam rock’n’roll but there were a few jewel bands in the past. Some of you might think of The FRENCHIES in the 70s or bands like TEARS and TEASIN’ BABES in the early 90s but the best French glam band in the mid-80s was undoubtedly BAD LOSERS. Twisted Soul Records has just reissued the band’s album enriched with some great bonus material and a 4 song vinyl EP for Record Store Day on June 12th. Guitarist Mister T.Jones answered our questions…

Can you tell us a bit about the history of BAD LOSERS?

As far as I’m concerned, the story started in 1983 when I joined the band in Paris. BAD LOSERS was originally a garage rock punk band from Toulon (Var) that had explored most of their local scene.

Did you have a precise idea of how you wanted to sound and look from the start ?

It was clear to me as a guitar player that I wanted to play in the spirit of the bands that had influenced me such as The ROLLING STONES , T.REX,the NEW YORK DOLLS and all the band we used to listen to like The GUN CLUB or The ONLY ONES. Since BAD LOSERS wanted to head in that direction, we quickly got along well. The way we looked developped as years went by just like our haircuts! (Laughs)

You recorded the album in London in 1985. How did that happen? How were the recording sessions ? Any anecdotes ?

We recorded the LP in August 1985, we had just signed a record deal with Parisian record label GMG. We wanted to record it with Peter Perett (The ONLY ONES) who had worked with bands we used to like such as WASTED YOUTH (with some future members of FLESH FOR LULU) but the record label decided to send us to Dave Goodman who was the live sound engineer of The SEX PISTOLS and who recorded their songs before “Nevermind The Bollocks”.
Dave was great to us as a producer, always listening to what we had to say, from our arrangement ideas to the production ones. We wanted to have female backing vocals and sitar on one of the songs (“Evil Sacrifices”) and he played it himself. He even went and record traffic jams on Oxford Street (that can be heard as the intro of “On Main Street“.) We recorded 8 songs in 5 days (mix included.) The mastering was made at world famous Abbey Road Studios.

There was The DOGS D’AMOUR and HANOÏ ROCKS among others at that time in London. Did you ever think of relocating there just like HANOÏ did?

We met The DOGS D’AMOUR in Paris before the became a well-known band, we felt really close to the way they played rock’n’roll live as well as the way they looked, the glam image we also had here in France. We wanted to move to London but a few things hold us back in France. On the other hand we really thought of being the French glam band in London.
In late 1986 they sent us Ian Grant who played with GUNSLINGERS. We were HANOÏ ROCKS fans because they were one of the rare European bands playing so tight and so loud at that time, their Marquee show is just timelessly killer!

(Copyrights Richard Gillet)

Were you feeling close to any other French bands?

We were friends with WILD CHILD and a few other bands we happened to play with like The JET BOYS but honestly we were the only band with such a glam image playing NEW YORK DOLLS kind of rock’n’roll in those days. Most French bands at that time were part of the “alternative punk” scene/movement.

Johnny Thunders and Stiv Bators were also in Paris in those days. We can hear Stiv sing “Honky Tonk Women” with you on the CD. Did you happen to share a stage more than once?

Unfortunately not! It was the only good occasion to share a stage together. I think I saw Johnny Thunders at least 10 times when he was in Paris whether it was for solo gigs or with Henri Paul Cosa Nostra or The HEARTBREAKERS. As far as Stiv is concerned, it was a great surprise to play with him! We were invited to play as Johnny Thunders’ backing band at the New Moon in Paris and once we got in, the promoter told us that Stiv Bators would also be there!
During the first part of the night Johnny was playing with only BAD LOSERS’ rhythm section and his friend Henri Paul Tortosa while I had prepared cover song list that we used with Stiv for the second part of the night.

It was memorable and so unique to hear Stiv sing a ROLLING STONES song and even a HEARTBREAKERS song we knew by heart. You can listen to the “Honky Tonk Women” cover with Stiv on vocals on the “Southern Style” CD.

There was several line-up changes in the band. Wasn’t it too difficult to find people who could fit considering your style?

It was indeed very difficult to find a guitar player who could match with our tastes and needs.
I found Jean-Paul (N’Diago Pop) who played on the album and who was a 60s/70s ROLLING STONES fan just like me and a really good guitar player when it comes to play Chuck Berry/famous bluesmen kind of guitar chords.

There were various reasons for these line-up changes and usually personal ones. Jean-Paul went and toured in England, Ian who then played with us had the right image for us and so did Phil. The other ones were either shooting stars in BAD LOSERS or just out of control! (Laughs)

A band like HANOÏ ROCKS kinda suffered from being caught in between several music styles, “too glam for punks”, “too punk for hard rockers”, etc. Did you feel the same thing with BAD LOSERS?

Totally! We were a rock’n’roll band before all and in the middle of the 80s, it was all about the “alternative punk scene singing in French (for most of them)” in France.
BAD LOSERS had several sides, a punk rock side but also a lot of 70s influences. Alike the NEW YORK DOLLS or HANOÏ ROCKS, I don’t think we can use the word “hard rock” to describe us even though we could think about it nowadays mainly because of the way we looked.

“Southern Style” will be out on June 12h. This EP was also recorded in London. How come it wasn’t released back in the day?

These 4 original songs were supposed to be included on a second album that was never released.
We shopped for record labels to get a better the deal so that the band could get bigger. Major labels were asking us to sing in French and we refused because our music style was purely Anglo-saxon. Then we had some line-up changes and desires for a different music for some of us. We got tired of it and the band broke up in 1988.

Both CD and vinyl EP are released by Twisted Soul Records. How did that happen?

We’ve had this project for a long time. We had to wait until the birth of the record label and their start as a professional company. We also had to dig for files like this 1985 “Waiting For The Man” (VELVET UNDERGROUND) cover which was a demo with Richard, a great guitarist from Toulon who unfortunately couldn’t stay in the band. Same thing with our MOTT THE HOOPLE cover “One Of The Boys” recorded live at the Gibus Club when we opened for The CHERRY BOMBZ (Nasty Suicide introduced the band onstage with us before we started playing) or the song with Stiv Bators.

How did the band break up? Was it a brutal stop or was it more a long-run thing?

It was more a long-run thing for several various reasons and a desire to do other things. Also because it was a bit hard to see our future as BAD LOSERS at the end of the 80s in France.

Do you think the band would have explored other music territories if you didn’t split? On the EP we can feel a will to try new things and sounds, a bit like The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH or when The DAMNED released “Phantasmagoria”…

The style of these four unreleased songs is a bit different especially in their arrangements. We wanted to have a brass section and a boogie piano for the pure rock’n’roll “Southern Style”, but also some orchestral arrangements for the ballad “Girl In Uniform.” There’s also “Century Jane”, a 70s rock song and another song that can bring The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH or The DAMNED (when they experimented with darker influences) to mind indeed.

After the band’s split you went and explored new musical horizons. Can you tell us about it?

At the end of BAD LOSERS I bought a Home Studio which was a very new thing in those days. Bass, drums, everything was in! (Laughs), then I wrote music for advertisements/commercials before forming an electronic music duo that allowed me to travel and play in many different countries. The band (MOOG SPECTRAL) still exists to this day. In the 00s, I got back to my guitar and started a band called The JONES. We played as a backing band for Chris Wilson (FLAMIN’ GROOVIES) or Willie “Loco” Alexander.

I’m also part of an electro-rock project with Holeg Spies, we have some releases out on a British record label and a song remixed by Youth (bassplayer in KILLING JOKE.) I also work on songs at home. They’ll be released this year…

Did you ever think about a BAD LOSERS live reunion?

Honestly it’s almost impossible to get the band back as it used to be in those days full of music, fun and rock’n’roll!!! But this Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BadLosers) as well as the quality of this reissue with 4 unreleased songs, live material, a demo, a poster and beautiful words from Patrick Eudeline almost make me want to play some good old BAD LOSERS rock’n’roll riffs.

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Plastic Tears – Rock’n’Roll Rats!

It’s always good to see bands that stick to their guns and PLASTIC TEARS are definitely one of them! Lead vocalist Miqu December tells us about the new album « Anthems For The Misfits » and much more!

You were one of the very first bands I interviewed back in 2000 I think. Can you introduce the band for those who might still not have heard of you?

We usually describe our music as sleazy dark rock’n’roll with a glam punk attitude. We’ve been around for a long time since, and we’ve had our ups and downs. So we’ve named ourselves the rats of rock’n’roll, we survive anything. We do what we love, good old rock’n’roll, and spice it up with a little bit of musical this and that. We’re not trying to please anyone, but I’d still say most people who like rock music might like us, as our music draws from different musical sources.

How did things change for the band in 20 years apart from the obvious line-up changes?

I guess we’ve stayed true to our musical roots, but of course the band has evolved and gotten better. We’ve always made music we’d like to listen to ourselves, so no need to make drastic changes. But I guess as we’re a bit more stable nowadays, concentrating more on the music instead of partying, I think we’ve matured much also in a musical sense.

Can you tell us about your new album « Anthems For Misfits »?

We started working on it pretty soon after the last album, Angels With Attitude, was released. So in about a year after the release of that album we were back in the studio again. We started recording summer 2019, did a European tour, and continued recording. Soon after that the pandemic showed up, and it slowed down the recording pace. So it was quite a long process, one or two day of recording, then a break for a couple of weeks, and we continued again. But this slow pace suits us well, and I think it’s one of the reasons why the album turned out so good. The album is pretty diverse, and there’s songs ranging from pop to punk, and everything in between. The opener Doomsday Girls is a fast funny rock’n’roll song that should wake up the listener immediately. Followed by the punk rock sirens of Riot Zone, at this point everyone should be awake! On the third track we lower the tempo to let the listener calm down with the pop desperation of Clash In The Night. Radar Eyes is a moody dark piece that I like a lot. Other highlights for me are the rebellious Restless Outsider, the dark gothic death waltz of Candlelight Hate Affair and the Elvis goes glam punk of Nobody Likes A Crybaby.

Your first single/video « Riot Zone » is quite appropriate in 2021 when looking at the state of the world… Can rock’n’roll still be rebellious to you?

Yeah, I didn’t guess when I wrote the lyrics how topical they would be. And when the label made the video for it just a few days before the Capitol Hill riots, it made the song almost controversial. Rebellious, it depends. Maybe r’n’r can be rebellious on a small scale. We’ve always been a band that has walked it’s own path and done what we want to do, no matter what others think. I guess that’s some kinda rebellion too.

We can still hear Hanoï Rocks/Lords Of The New Church influences in these new songs. Can you think of any other bands or artists that influenced you for this new album? « Hallucinations » for example seems to head in a different direction.

It’s not intentional, but I guess we come from the same school of rock as they do. And we do love those bands. I can’t say any band, at least consciously, has directly influenced this album. I listened a lot to Masked Intruder, The Interrupters and Cheap Trick before the new album, but I don’t think we sound anything like them. Songwriting, for me at least, isn’t usually anything that’s planned. The ideas just come from sudden bursts of inspiration. Hallucinations is actually an old song that we demoed ages ago. We wanted to remake it, as it was too good a song to be left unheard. It’s a really special song, and I really don’t know what to compare it to or to what genre it might belong. It’s one of the songs on the album that stands out, in a good way.

« Divine » is really catchy, was it the kind of songs that just come out naturally and was easy to write?

That’s the second old song remade, it was also demoed in the beginning of our career. That version was like a ska punk glam rock song, or something. Sounds weird, but it was really funny and catchy. Still, we wanted to make a more straightforward version, as we felt the riff and bass line were meant for a rock’n’roll song. So it has a long history, but if I remember right, it was a song that came out fast and easy. It just took it quite many years to find it’s final form. In the end, we’re really happy with how it turned out, it’s a catchy fun song that could cheer you up even on a bad day.

The last two songs on the album, « Communication » and « Imaginary Virgin Mary ” are great, one being a glam punk hit and the other one an amazing dark rock’n’roll song. Can you tell us about these two songs and why you chose to put them at the end of the record?

We gave a lot of thought to the song order, and wanted the album to be strong and balanced, yet highlight the differences between the songs without making it inconsistent. As you said, Communication is a glam punk song with funny lyrics about the invention and use of the telephone, with an underlying message about loneliness. If you stayed awake during history classes in school, you know that A.G. Bell, who is mentioned in the lyrics, is Alexander Graham Bell who was declared the inventor of the telephone. History lesson over! Imaginary Virgin Mary is probably the heaviest song on the album, but it’s still a rock song, not metal. It has a kind of creepy ominous feel and tells the story of being bullied and taking revenge. We wanted to end the album with a bang, so two tougher tracks at the end did the job. And the piano ending of Mary was perfect to close the album.

Is there going to be a vinyl release of the album?

We would love to have a vinyl version too, but it’s not part of our deal with Wormholedeath Records. So if anyone is interested in working with us on a vinyl version, please get in touch!

You released a split CD with Paradise Alley in 2019, can you tell us how it happened? Both bands seem to be good friends.

Yeah, me and Steve of Paradise Alley met already in the nineties and we’ve stayed good friends ever since. Paradise Alley got active again after a pretty long break and they wanted to release a new song, but they didn’t have a drummer yet. So they asked us if our drummer Eco could play the drums on the track, and he was happy to help. Steve and I shared the lead vocals, and most of us shouted the backing vocals. It was a fun and different collaboration, as we recorded in Helsinki and Paradise Alley in the UK.

What do you think about streaming shows? Would you play one?

I guess they’re an ok substitute for real live shows, but of course it’s not the same. Not at all. But I understand why they are done, and I’m not saying we’re never gonna do one. But to tell you the truth I’m not too excited about them. The intimacy and intensity of real live shows can never be achieved with a stream show.

Last albums you’ve been enjoying?

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been listening to the unreleased third album by Beat Angels, it’s great! I’ve also been spinning the new albums from Suzi Quatro, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Alice Cooper, Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders and Jason Ringenberg. All good albums, so give them a listen if you haven’t already.

Any new bands from Helsinki we should check out?

They’ve been around for a while and have already released two albums, but Daggerplay is a band I sincerely recommend. Their mix of punk rock’n’roll and power pop is very convincing and catchy. They’ve also just released a new single, so check that and the band out!

It’s hard to plan anything these days but please tell us if you have any future plans yet…

We’ve got some cool shows lined up for the summer, but it remains to be seen if those can be carried through. Otherwise, I think we’ll continue banging our heads against the wall and see which one breaks down first. At the moment we focus on promoting the new album online, as there’s not so much more that we can do. Have a load of ideas for new songs, so we’ll start working on those at some point. So our future plans are to stay safe and keep rocking, and we hope you do too!

https://www.plastictears.com
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Jay Luke – Alone In The Crowd

“It’s better to be alone than in bad company” they say. Jay Luke probably knows about this although he also knows how to choose his accomplices in rock’n’roll. Jay’s new album « Alone In The Crowd » offers us 8 songs of well crafted heavy rock with glam and punk influences at times. We were curious to know more about him, his background, music tastes and views on rock’n’roll in this pandemic age.

Can you tell us a bit about your background, what have you released so far?

I have been performing and writing music since 2003. Playing in bands such as The MESS, Sorrowsun, and ReachForTheSky honing my craft and paying my dues in the live circuit.

I have performed gigs with Duff McKagan of Guns N Roses, W.A.S.P., Metal Church, To/Die/For from Finland, Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, and Richie Ramone of The Ramones to name a few.

After much frustration in getting the right lineup secured to release an album with my first two bands, I decided to take the studio time I had left to record the songs I wrote to work on my solo career.

My debut “It’s About Time” was recorded from 2016-2017 and the album’s title is quite appropriate considering my disappointments in depending on other musicians to put out an official band release. I went into the studio and laid down the rhythm tracks and vocals and called upon my favorite musicians to come in and do guest spots.

Artists on the album include the players’ in the East Coast music scene as well as established Rock N Roll artists such as guitarist Adam Bomb, who has worked with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks and also features drummer Carl Canedy of The Rods and Manowar.

The release showcases the variety and influences I have taken on over the years and really makes for an exciting listening experience.

In 2019 the second album “Vandalized Memories” was released taking a more personal route to the songwriting and featuring a solid lineup of Joe Loftus on bass guitar, and Michael McDonald on lead guitar. The album featured a single called “Keep Your Head Up Kid” that spawned a music video and has been streamed over 15,000 times on Spotify. The title track has also been featured on multiple playlists like the aforementioned single and has been streamed over 12,000 times since its release last year. 

Since the COVID 19 pandemic a new album “Alone in the Crowd” was slated for a 2020 release but as the recording studios shut down a new single entitled “Trapped In Your Cell”  song was released. It is a symbolic take on how so much of humanity is essentially imprisoned by our cell phones while our attention spans dwindle in this text message generation. This track was released on May 27th and has over 60,000 streams. 

January 25th marked the second single “Killing Time” to be released. It is a song about how time is so precious that we must not waste a second. The third album “Alone In The Crowd was just released on March 1st worldwide. 

Your new album « Alone In A Crowd » has just been released. Can you tell us about the writing and recording?

The writing for this album I had done pre-pandemic which I intended on releasing last year but like most things Covid sidelined the recording end of it with studios being shut down as well. I had 4 songs recorded and I felt releasing a single as we were on a sort of mandatory house arrest in quarantine it at least kept some momentum up. I ended up releasing “Trapped In Your Cell” and more recently “Killing Time” as singles. The recording process ended up going by fast which made it frustrating that waiting on the studios to reopen took so long. 


What are the advantages and drawbacks of doing things alone to you?

This is a great question. The advantages I found relatively quickly in that I always felt in my early band efforts it would be the case of 4 or 5 guys all trying to control the steering wheel of this glamorous car that was great to look at and listen to but would constantly be driven off the road or having a tire blow out. I feel being the sole writer as far as my songs go is a wonderful freedom. I am absolutely not against writing with others or anything of that nature but I know what I have in my head most of the time and I think working in the studio tends to go faster because of that, and not arguing over who’s idea will win out. I like to be as efficient as I can without wasting time. The drawbacks of working solo are that you have to trust in yourself 100% which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but in a group vibe you can be told if you are going off the deep end and in a solo setting you have to really be aware of yourself when no one else is there to tell you so. Like if you’re thinking every eccentric idea you have is brilliant it is good to be either grounded enough to know better or to have good friends that won’t sugar coat the obvious to save your feelings. 

You seem to have a particular liking for ballads/slow tempo songs which is quite unusual in 2021. Do you think they are easier to write for you? How did you get into this style?

I’m not sure I have a preference in any particular song style. I guess it comes down to whatever comes out of my guitar when I start to write stuff. I find recently I have been so into alternate tunings and odd chords to liven things up. Most of the time it stems from either a Stones tune or a Led Zeppelin track and I will explore whatever tunings were used to find something interesting out of that. If they tend to have a slower ballad style tempo it isn’t anything intentional. I think it just corroborates with the chord structures and the lyrics color it in. One thing I never wanted to do is paint myself in a corner. I know bands like AC/DC and The Ramones are so glaringly signature as far as recognizing it is them by hearing 3 seconds of any song and while I love both bands I always want to mix things up and have all styles or influences of mine thrown in a blender for my albums so it’s got a bit of everything. 

Do you play with a full band for live shows?

In my area of North Eastern Pennsylvania in recent times especially with this cursed pandemic shutting off most artistic outlets it has been very, very tough. I am almost accustomed to doing solo acoustic shows since it seems to be all that is acceptable when the rare chance comes to perform but yes, once things get back to normal (fingers crossed) I absolutely plan to do a lot of full band gigs. This current time is arguably the hardest time to be a live performing artist and musician with all the Covid restrictions plus the way we spend a ton of money to record albums that are essentially given out for free with streaming services. I think I can speak for most musicians in saying I hope there is some new way to get some control of our art in a more efficient way than is currently being done. 

You have a lot of streams on Spotify. Do you promote your music mostly on there? Are physical releases still important to you?

I am a visual artist and for me one of the main reasons I got into art was because when I was a kid (and still currently) I would hold the record in my hands, put the album on listen to it as I stared so far into the album cover art that I felt like I was transported into a different world. I care so much to have my lyrics available in each release and interesting packaging or art on them. It is another of the drawbacks we face in the streaming world, for as elaborate as I make my album packaging or releases all that is typically seen is a tiny thumbnail of the album cover. I know it sounds negative towards streaming but in 2021 it is a double edged sword. On one hand my fan base is larger than I could ever have fathomed in part of the Spotify success and the ability to release something that can be instantly heard across the globe. I find it to be fascinating that you put this artform out into the world and you never know where it will catch on. Do I miss the times of physical releases holding more prominence? 100% yes I do but until some new way to give the artists more control comes along we are all in the wild west trying to stay afloat being creative anyway we can. I definitely feel blessed that in such a short time my Spotify streams hit over 200,000 plays and each release seems to build more momentum. 

Choose 5 albums you love and tell us why…

1. Hanoi Rocks– Back To Mystery City – To me this band is everything. At their age and in the time in which they existed I don’t believe anyone could have touched them. Andy McCoy is probably my favorite songwriter out there and I can’t stress my respect and admiration for this band. This release to me summed up so much of their originality, style, variety and spirit.

2. Queen– Innuendo- This release was the last to feature Freddie Mercury prior to his tragic passing. And while I love the entire album I think the thing that gives me shivers to this day is the song “The Show Must Go On” his vocals, his lyrics, his conviction in laying the lyrics down is just incredible. A man facing death and wanting to get that last message out. He achieved it 100% and to this date it will always be my favorite song ever written. 

3. The Rolling Stones- Undercover-  Out of all my picks I know this is probably the oddest. When I was very young this album came out and spawned 2 or 3 MTV music videos that truly captivated me visually and with the sound. I know most fans will pan this release but songs like “Undercover of the Night”, “Too Much Blood”, and Keith Richards “I Wanna Hold You” always hold a very special place in my heart and I listen to this album quite regularly.

4. Guns N Roses– Appetite For Destruction- What else really has to be said about this album that hasn’t been said a billion times? When this came out I recall the music scene pathetic. Every rock band was another watered down version of Hanoi Rocks always trying to play their hair spray bottles better than their music. Everything was lamer and more cheesy than the next and out of nowhere these 5 guys from LA took on the true spirit of Hanoi Rocks and threw a stick of dynamite into a stale scene. The raw vibe, the danger in every breakneck change, the unbeatable attitude they exuded was just so badass. I remember it being so incredible on my first listen and as far as debut releases go I think this one will be impossible to beat by anyone. 

5. Led Zeppelin– III – This is a band that has such a larger than life persona and so many interesting songs but I found this release to be the one that inspired me most to play guitar differently with the acoustic vibe and the colorful tunings I think it broke them out of a shell and into a different entity. Very big inspiration in so many ways. 

How do you feel about releasing an album in those pandemic days?

I think that as most people suffered through the year without work and with so much hardship I was fortunate in at least one thing, that my musical career really thrived. I started the year out with 52 gigs booked last year and that quickly grinded to a halt, which led me to jump on board something I despised for so long, and that was livestreams. I found them so annoying when you would be getting constant alerts from everyone going live in grocery stores or any ridiculous scenario, but as a live musician it was literally our only hope to still play. As I did a few and made it a weekly thing I found I was reaching at least 10 times larger audiences. People that were unable to see me locally due to their jobs, or situations and people from all over the world were able to watch and comment in real time which was cool and I quickly saw its importance. And I released a single that soon became the most successful song I’d put out to date called “Trapped In Your Cell” crushing all other streaming numbers from my previous tracks in a matter of weeks. All of this led to being invited on radio shows, webisodes, television appearances and so many out of the box ways to keep things going. In these times I guess I am one of the few that saw it as a helpful time to release music and not see it as a dead end. 

What’s your views on rock’n’roll in 2021. Have those Covid days changed them?

Rock n roll is ever evolving it seems. Anytime you think you can pin it down it changes. This pandemic has presented a ton of problems for not only musicians but people of all walks of life. In a way it helps to keep us all on our toes and thinking outside of the box. Nothing in life is ever easy but it is how we roll with the punches that is key to survival. I know many of my heroes have commented recently that rock n roll is dead or that the artform of a full length album has also gone the way of the Dodo bird. As someone that is still trying to fly the flag for rock n roll I don’t think it is dead nor are albums dead it is just the way the fast food culture we live in views things. Alice Cooper has one of my favorite quotes where they asked him “If you were to come out today as a young artist and try to be as shocking as you were back in the 60’s what would you do?” he replied “well, you can go out there and cut your arm off onstage. But, you can only do that twice and the truth is by the first ten minutes of the first time you did it you would find the world will be sick of it on the internet and forget it happened.” and I truly believe that is the world we live in today. Trying to be remembered in a world that has amnesia is incredibly difficult but to me the key is to just never quit. Keep writing, keep making music, keep performing and never get discouraged enough to stop.  Andy McCoy had said “rock n roll is dead but we are still dying” and that is something I think is symbolic. Rock n roll has been beaten down and so many have tried to kill it off but it always comes back. 

Will you tour to promote the album whenever playing live is allowed again?

As I said earlier I had about 50 some gigs all booked up to play last year so I absolutely have the biggest itch to perform these tracks and do live gigs regularly again but time will tell when that day will come again. Hopefully not too much longer. 

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Micko & The Mellotronics – “… Everything forgotten hangs in dark dreams of the past, ever threatening to return!”

If you like glam rock then you must have watched Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes, 1998) quite a few times and you probably thought that the mysterious and glittery Jack Fairy was the perfect incarnation of the style. Micko Westmoreland was the perfect person for this role but he is also a musician who has just released a new album called « ½ Dove – ½ Pigeon » with his band MICKO & THE MELLOTRONICS, a fine mix of British pop, glam and art punk wrapped in wry humour and retro aesthetic. Micko tells us about the album, the band as well as his acting experience…

Let’s start with Velvet Goldmine and your role as Jack Fairy. How did you get chosen for it?

My brother & his late partner Richard Glatzer were already good friend’s with director Todd Haynes. So I got an invite to meet with him in Soho in central London, one wet Thursday afternoon & we sat for a couple of hours & chatted. I was fresh out of film school & we hit upon Kenneth Anger; the devil incarnate & his fabulous collection of avant garde short movies. We got on very well so it felt that something positive was going to happen. It did, I tried out with Susie Figgis (casting director) for the role which fell to the brilliant David Hoyle as group stylist. Word filtered through I could audition for the mysterious Jack Fairy, so I did a performance on VHS video of lip synching to ‘All the young Dudes’, by Bowie, two versions were sent in. My brother told me I had got the part, so the work began in ernest. I had very little to no acting experience, so decided to read as much as I could about the era, bought/borrowed a ton of biographies and inadvertently started ‘method acting’ the part. I moved to staying out late and suspending all other aspects of modern life i.e. only music played from the glam era, and lots of other stuffs I picked up from the books. Not eating in front of others, certainly not in public or using the bathroom whilst in company. Subtle things that gave my new personal a slightly other worldly, alien quality.

Jack Fairy is a mysterious glam rock cult figure in the film. What were the references you had in mind for this character?

I felt the role was much more about emanating a presence. People have often asked who ‘Jack’, is based on, Eno/Bolan/Little Richard/Dietrich. Let’s leave the jury out hey.. Jack’s magic is his mysterious quality, he escapes with little to no egg on his face, a kind of patron saint of Glam Rock.

Bowie, Bolan, Eno, Jobriath and many others had something otherwordly in them. Do you think that mystery and magic are important things in glam rock?

Absolutely, the more elusive the more desirable. Todd worked hard on the relationship between fan & star in Velvet Goldmine, gets the hormones racing. Art school Glam was a movement which set about fictionalising itself, partly why Velvet Goldmine works, it’s not a bio pic. Bowie created Ziggy, so in a parallel universe there’s all the variants in-between, Maxwell Demon was after all the name of Eno’s art school band.

Were you allowed to keep « Oscar Wilde’s brooch » after playing in the movie?

Unfortunately not, a deal was done over the costumes so I wasn’t able to walk off the set with a few bits and pieces ala, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth‘. I did however get the leather coat worn over the opening credits made, it was originally designed for Britt Ekland. I have it moth balled in the cupboard, my alter ego hermetically sealed. As the opening credit decree ‘Histories like ancient ruins, are the fictions of empires, while everything forgotten hangs in dark dreams of the past, ever threatening to return!’.

Were you already playing in bands at the time of the movie?

No, I was making Electronic music under the name The Bowling Green, I got signed to Trent Reznor’s nothing records along with a number of Warp records artists. The 90s was the era of the bedroom musician, I was one of those. The technology was improving so fast at that time, the possibilities seemed endless. I changed gear in the 2000s & got more interested in lyrics & returning to writing on guitar.

What have you released before The MELLOTRONICS?

A ton of stuff, http://www.landlinerecords.com is a good spot to find stuff. The band really came out as a result of the 2015 album ‘Yours etc. abc’, which sounded like a band but was in actual fact mainly just me. It made sense from that to build a group from that sound.

How did you get Jon Klein (SPECIMEN/SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES) to play with you?

We were playing on the same bill, Mellotronics were support. I lent Jon my amp for the show & gave him a record. I got a message from him the next day as I remember, asking how I’d put it together, he liked it. We eventually got together for a drink in Camden Town & it went from there.

I’d just finishing writing Noisy Neighbours & I sent it over to him & he gave it a the Klein dynamic work out treatment, I was amazed at the results.

Can you tell us about the recording of the album? Did you have all the songs ready and arranged before recording?

I provide words, chords & melody, they sometimes get truncated or extended as the track gets worked into full focus.

Jon Klein our guitarist (Specimen/Ex-Banshees) plays a huge part in the sound, he’s an amazing player & a great producer. We worked independently & together on the project. Nick MacKay (drums) & Vicky Carroll (bass) are a great rhythm section. Vicky is 100% dependable & is our newest recruit. Nick was in it from the start. Such a great passion for playing & a brilliant live performer..

Did you have any albums, bands, art or literature references in mind when making the album?

There’s a few obvious ones, a Barrettesque paisley envelope modulating Psychedelic Shirt, The Rutles’ own Neil Innes came to play on You Killed My Father which was inspired by him & there’s a few other miscellaneous musical references for afternoon trainspotting. All good clean fun.

There’s something very British in the Lyrics and the songwriting. I was watching Inside Number 9 a few days ago and thought that your music would have been perfect as a soundtrack for it. Do you have any plans to have your songs in TV shows or movies?

Music for TV & Film comes along sporadically & randomly. It’s more that someone has you in mind than the other way around.

Will you have the album line-up as a live band too?

Absolutely, as notated above.

How would you compare being an actor with being on stage with a rock band?

When I’m on stage I have a hell of a lot to do, I’m more concentrated on delivering the best I can. So here’s no great theatrics on stage, it’s more about poking out the details from the wall fo sound.

Do you think that being an actor helps for music videos?

Yes, I would say so. It’s a fine line between confidence which people love & over making the point which turns people off.

You always have to avoid too much sauce. Treat your audience as highly intelligent, they can see things you don’t.

It’s hard to plan anything these days, but do you have any future plans for The MELLOTRONICS or your acting career?

I don’t really have an acting career any more, that’s parked in the Jack Fairy museum where it should be. The band is as active as we can be at present in covid times. We have two videos to shoot in the new year & of course a second album, writing is underway.

I feel very lucky. I work with talented people & I’ve been no steps removed from the greats! I believe that everyone has the potential to be creative deep down, without wishing to sound preachy, don’t let the perceived judgement of others or for that matter your own, get you down & stop you. Good or bad it’ll all work out for the better that way..

Photo credits: Ashley Jones & Paul London

http://landlinerecords.com/
https://smarturl.it/1-2Dove1-2Pigeon

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