Slime Zine Issue 3

Slime zine has grown into a 58 page A4 zine including a 7″ vinyl record (ex-HUMPERS Scott “Deluxe” Drake)! Interviews are always interesting in Slime and this time you’ll get to know more about Long Gone Loser zine/podcast from Australia, Brian D. Horrorwitz (film maker and rock’n’roll drummer), one-man band BLOODSHOT BILL and record labels Les Productions de l’Impossible/Offside records/Hogmaw records.
Lots rock’n’roll/punk rock/blues/rockabilly/glam, etc. album reviews, a few book/fanzine reviews and gig/festival reports are only parts of the reason why this professional looking (the lay-out is amazing) zine is cool. Don’t you wish you could speak French now?/Laurent C.http://slime.fr/

Jeff Dahl

I remember when I picked up “Wicked”, the 1992 Jeff Dahl release on Triple X records! I listened to it in the record shop (something that is harder and harder to do nowadays since the record market sadly collapsed and killed small record shops first!) and it just hit me in the face… This mix of glam and punk rock was exactly what I was looking for at the time! Years have passed, Jeff Dahl recorded many records and played tons of shows since those days… It’s 2009 and his passion for rock’n’roll and music in general is still intact… Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Jeff Dahl!

So, you were a teenage glam fag?

Apparently, yes. I started listening to music before early punk started. In the late 60s & early 70s. So that music is a great influence. And like a lot of the earliest punk rockers, the 70s-era glam rock was a huge influence for me. Alice Cooper, Slade, T-Rex, Silverhead, David Bowie, the New York Dolls, Lou Reed and, most importantly, Mott The Hoople.
For me, there is a direct connection between 70s glam and the early punk movement. So I guess that makes me a glam fag!

You started your career very young in 1976. How different is the way you see music now since those days?

Well, it was after glam had finished and disco was the popular music of that time. Before punk rock had gotten any attention or popularity. So it was completely underground.
I remember seeing the Ramones and Patti Smith when they first were starting out and maybe only 50 people were at these shows! So 1976 was a time for underground music.

We heard that you’re working on new projects, can you tell us more?

I’m finishing up writing the music for a new album and I will begin recording soon. I am always writing new songs so that’s pretty normal for me to be writing or recording. I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about tours or traveling to play some shows but I don’t have any plans for that right now.
My priority is to record a new album.

You hung out and played with many rock’n’roll legends/famous people, which ones had the most impact on you? Do you want to share a few anecdotes with us?

I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to meet, record and play with some of my favorite musicians and musical heroes. Certainly, working with Cheetah Chrome is at the top of the list. He’s the best guitarists I’ve ever played with and he’s a really funny guy. Always making a lot of bad jokes and there’s always laughter with him.
We did 2 shows with Stiv Bators and this was the last time Stiv & Cheetah have played together. So that was an honor.
Recording with Poison Idea was an amazing experience and maybe the best singing I ever did.
And all the tours in Europe that I did with Freddy Lynxx are my favorite experiences on the road. He’s the perfect guitarist for me to play with, our styles compliment each others music perfectly. And he’s one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Freddy & I did an acoustic tour with Nikki Sudden in Europe and that was another great time… I’ve got so many great times over the years. I’ve traveled playing music all over Europe, the USA and Japan…
I’ve been so fortunate. Not just as a musician but also as a fan. Because that’s how I really look at myself, I’m still just a fan of good music.

You lived in Hollywood for 12 years, what were the best and worst things for you there?

The best part is all the music and musicians there. Any night of the week you could go to clubs and see some great bands that are now legendary. Basically, any cool band that played in Los Angeles from 1979 into the mid-80s, I saw.
The worst part was getting too far into the drugs and seeing your friends die.

You are considered as a leading figure in rock’n’roll and an inspiration source for many bands, how does it feel?

It’s a humbling and more than a little puzzling. As I said, I still just think of myself as just a “fan.” So if someone is influenced or enjoys my music, I know what that feels like because I still feel that way about the music I like.

A few years ago, you produced an album for The SLASH CITY DAGGERS, do you think that you’ll produce bands again in the future?

The Daggers was done at my studio in Arizona. I produced a lot of bands at that studio. But I’ve moved to Hawaii now, and I just have a small home studio… so I don’t know.
I suppose if the right band approached me, under the right circumstances, I would consider it. I like to produce and record albums but it has to be a band that I really love. I can’t produce something that is boring just for the money.

You have a song called “Junkies Deserve To Die”, did you write it because of bad experiences with junkie musicians?

Actually, the lyrics are written from a “first person” personal point of view. It’s how I felt about myself when I was using too much drugs. So when I sing:
Let me tell you about the times I gave myself up for dead…
or
Let me tell you about the visions of Hell I have seen…
This is me speaking for myself. There can be a lot of self-loathing involved when you’re addicted.

In Kevin K’s new zine Thunderpop, you say you don’t like the way modern albums sound, but you also admit that Protools and computers are quite practical. Do you think that you can have an old-school sound/production using modern technology?

Well, I am hoping so. I much prefer analog tape for recording but where I live is the most humid, rainy area of America so tape machines will not work properly out here. I’m just learning protools and I’m am mainly concentrating on the most basic, simple functions and applications.
My plan is to use it as closely to an analog 16 track recording rig as possible. I’m not interesting in advanced editing features, beat mapping, auto tuning, or midi. I want to just mic up my guitar, bass, voice or drums and record it straight in. And not manipulate things further.
Basically, using it just like in my old tape based studio. It’s just a different technology for capturing sounds. And so far, the sound quality is pretty good. Protools is clean but accurate so far as what it records. In the end, the computer and protools are just a tool and it’s how I choose to use it that should matter most.
So if I keep it simple it should be fine.

Many people found out about the best of glam and punk rock reading your fanzine Sonic Iguana, have you ever thought about bringing this amazing fanzine back to life?

I loved making that magazine but unfortunately now printed magazines are almost impossible to sell in stores these days. So many of the cool, small record shops that would sell this are closed and now gone, the same for distribution.. and the cost of shipping and printing are now much, much more expensive.
So from an economic standpoint, it’s can’t be done. I’m glad that so many people enjoyed that magazine… I still have people asking me to buy old copies but I have sold-out of everything now. Now, I guess, it’s a collectors item! Ha ha…

You’ve always written many acoustic songs, what is your approach when dealing with this kind of songs? What makes you want to write an acoustic song?

For me music is just music… you can call it punk, glam, rock n roll, blues, acoustic… if it’s good, then it’s good. I just enjoy making music. I just write songs. If someone wants to label it a certain genre… punk, hard rock, whatever… then that’s fine with me. It’s doesn’t matter. I just write and record songs.
One thing I can tell you is that a “good” song can be played in a lot of different styles… you could make a slow blues version, a fast punk version… a good song will translate itself into a lot of cool styles. When I play solo acoustic shows I might take a faster punk song like Goin’ Underground or I’m In Love With the GTOs and play it as an acoustic blues or in a folk rock style. It’s fun to do things a little different from what people might expect from me.

In Kevin K’s autobiography, we learn that Freddy Lynxx escaped from the music world, what do you think about that? Any news from him?

No, I’m afraid I don’t have any news from Freddy in some time now. I know he had some health problems and he was concentrating on raising his children. I’m sure he still loves music but I think his priorities are now his children and family. And, of course, I wish him all the best. I hope one day well make some good music together again.

I read somewhere that your drumming technique improved when working on the JET BOYS album…

I never played or worked on the Jet Boys album. That was recorded before I first met Freddy. But I started playing music as a drummer when I was in school and the style then was that bands wanted me to play like Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell… Basically, jazz drummers playing a lot of crazy stuff in a rock style.
But I much prefer drummers like Jerry Nolan, Charlie Watts, Buddy Miles and Ringo Starr… simple drummers. So that’s how my own drumming has evolved over the years. I’ve gotten more simple.

What about your French connection nowadays?

I still have so many good friends all over Europe. With myspace and facebook I try to keep contact. So in that respect, I’m still connected all over the world.

You got back to your family lands about one year ago. How is your life in Hawaii?

My wife and I grew up in Hawaii and it’s where our families live. We wanted to be closer to our family and Arizona got too crowded. So it seemed like a good time to make a move back home. Life here is in a small town on one of the less populated outer islands. It’s very quiet, the ocean is beautiful and there is a lot of nature.
There is not too much of a rock music scene here but there are a couple of good punk bands. So it’s a different life but we’re enjoying it a lot.

Imagine your house is being flooded, which guitar are you going to save first?

Well, first I would save my wife and my cats! But for guitars… probably my Les Paul that used to belong to Ron Asheton.

Will you tour again in Europe in the future?

I hope so… There are no plans at this time… it’s a long, expensive plane trip from Hawaii. But if the right offer were to be presented to me I would consider it. And if the opportunity to play with Freddy Lynxx or Cheetah Chrome came up again I would probably do it.

http://www.myspace.com/jeffdahlband

Long Gone Loser

This interview was originally published in Slime ‘zine (in French), so here’s a chance for all of you English readers to get intoduced to Damo’s world: Long Gone Loser ‘zine/podcast, his band MUSCLE CAR, his record collection/addiction, etc. Damo has got a lot to say and we won’t complain about it!

So, how did you first get in touch with rock music?

I was kind of lucky, I guess, both my mum and dad were into rock music so it was always around me as I grew up. My mum loves the Beatles, my dad loves The Rolling Stones. So as I grew up, I heard all those songs over and over, along with the likes of AC/DC, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, etc. and I just grew an appreciation for it and at the time, I didn’t know of any alternatives until I got a little older and discovered things like hard rock, punk and metal.

You’ve run Long Gone Loser, one of the only rock’n’roll ‘zine in Australia. When did you start it? How did that happen? How come there’s not more of them in Australia?

I started Long Gone Loser in 1998. Me and my girlfriend at the time did a zine for a few years called Purple Monkey Dishwasher. It was a “controversial” zine that seemed to be super popular. I dunno why or how but we started the zine as a joke and then it got so popular that the joke kind of got old and we got bored with it. She started writing more erotic stuff and started her own erotic zine and I started my own rock zine cos I was sad that zines I loved, like Moshable, were coming to an end. That zine inspired me completely to start LGL.
I have always loved the whole zine deal. The fact you can write something and someone out there will pay you money to read it, that rules so much. Like people don’t understand the excitement of people buying your art until it’s happening to them. You see, when we started Purple Monkey Dishwasher, we were giving them away cos we had access to a free photocopier. And then one day the owner of this bookstore told me we should start selling them because he thought our writing had value and people should pay to read our stuff. I didn’t know what to say to that so we just agreed and we still managed to shift hundreds of copies. So when I started LGL, I immediately started with 200 copies and sold ‘em for $1 a piece. I was blown away when people were buying them. As time has gone on, the zine has gotten much better looking and a lot bigger and sadly, more and more unpopular due to the fact that zines don’t sell like they used to in Australia which is probably why there aren’t so many zines here. It’s sad to see. I love zines. But if no one’s buying them, you are only wasting money by producing them.

What are the positive and negative things in running a ‘zine? Do you think that people really stopped reading them?

People definitely stopped reading zines. The whole culture has changed. And this is probably not everyone’s view but this is the way I see it: When we were growing up, things were different. And I don’t mean to sound like some whining old guy but there is truth to this. We did grow up in different times. For example, when I started reading zines, there was no internet that I knew of. We did Purple Monkey Dishwasher on an electric typewriter and my zine before Purple Monkey, my mum would print it up at her work photocopier sneakily on her dinner breaks. True story.
Things are different now. The whole culture that kids grow up with now is they don’t even have to go to a record store to buy music anymore… and where did you usually find zines? On the floors, in the record stores (that rhymed… fancy that?). So I do think the majority of people stopped reading them. Maybe it will come full circle and people will get into them again and say FUCK THE KINDLE! I hope so. I am a little scared of what is becoming of the things I grew up with. Technology is good because it allows me to meet people like yourself but it’s also really dangerous and scary too. Sometimes I still think about the way things were and get really broken down about it because I am still a punk at heart and remember how life was for me growing up. Now, everything is convenient and too easy. Why read a zine when you can read someone’s Myspace bulletin or Facebook notes? Why read a zine when you can read your favourite forum or website? Granted, I am guilty of those things but I am still an active believer in the zine and still buy them because I love independent thought. I wish more people did.
I also think people don’t realise the sense of community that is missed out on by NOT being a part of the zine community. For example, the amount of people I have met through doing LGL has been incredible. I have been lucky enough to have travelled the world through the connections made from my magazine. Sitting up for hours in people’s houses hearing their stories about things, all because they bought my zine, liked it and felt inclined to write to me. And that’s another thing, I always loved it when people who had the energy to put pen to paper wrote to me about the zine. I feel that whole community spirit is missing from today. Now, most people who email me about LGL are usually just writing negative shit or slagging me off or saying the zine is pornographic, or whatever. It doesn’t cost anything to be anonymous and negative via email but it costs the price of a stamp and your time to write someone and say something so I was always thrilled by letters from readers.

You met a lot of musicians through the ‘zine. Tell us who are the ones who left a big impression on you. Any disappointment? Some say “we should never meet our idols”…

Well, I have had the chance to meet a lot of “famous” people who I flat out refused to talk to purely because I don’t want to come across like a fanboy. If I have something to talk to them about that may be of interest to them, I would make an effort otherwise I don’t care. For example, I met Perry Farrell by accident and had nothing to say to him except hello. But I met Zach from Rage Against The Machine and we had an awesome chat about straight-edge hardcore cos I am a huge fan of his pre-Rage band, Insideout. I got him to sign the CD and he was stoked cos he had never signed one of those before. He took the time out to chat to me because he could tell I was a genuine dude (even though I’m not a RATM fan).
I also met Jack and Meg White. Both of them were lovely to me. But the thing that made this meeting special was I was backstage at the Big Day Out festival here in Australia and I had some zines with me. I spoke to Meg a little about Detroit rock n roll cos we have a mutual friend. She was stoked that I knew a fair bit about Detroit music and so was happy to talk to me. I didn’t meet Jack until the next morning when I went to the Hilton Hotel to give my mate his Access All Areas pass and Meg pointed me out to Jack and said “that’s the guy who wrote the zine”. Jack then called me over. He then offered his thoughts on LGL and he really liked it. I was happy that he read it. He didn’t have to say anything but he chose to and that meant a lot.
There’s been a lot of people who “GET” what LGL is about. Kim Shattuck from The Muffs gave me an awesome interview as did Eric from the New Bomb Turks. Scott from Fu Manchu, Izzy Stradlin, The Hellacopters, The Datsuns, Manda & The Marbles, Airbourne, Magic Dirt, Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr), Lunachicks, Eric Adams from Manowar, etc. all of those people gave great interviews. Henry Rollins was super nice, Chris from Dashboard Confessional was cool, The Dead Kings were super informative, and even the pornstars like Mary Carey and Asia Carrera. Both were super sweet and co-operative. I’d probably put my best experience to my dinner with Mark Arm from Mudhoney. We ate pasta at this place in Adelaide when he was touring with the MC5 / DTK tour. I just put the tape recorder on the table and we started talking about anything and everything. It was really professional. He’s a great guy; very down to earth and genuine.
It would be unprofessional of me to say who was a terrible interview so I’ll make sure I say that the bassist from The Get-Up Kids. He had no sense of humour and the interview sucked so bad I didn’t even run it. The Von Bondies also gave a shit interview and ignored the question about the fight between the singer and Jack White so I ran a huge reproduction of that photo of the dude’s face all punched and bruised up after Jack White pummeled him.

Long Gone Loser is also a podcast now. Can you tell us a bit about it?

I started the Podcast in 2007. I was living in Adelaide, bored, and the magazine was taking forever. I was having trouble scoring interviews and I was battling a severe bout of depression. I hated my job, my girlfriend was cheating on me, things were just shit and I was looking for things to do to take my mind off it all. So a couple people started suggesting that I should do it because of all the stuff I get sent to review. I had never thought about it and had no idea what I was gonna talk about or do but for some reason, it’s worked for me as I can get the music to people a lot quicker rather than they wait several months for a zine. Plus, it’s global which means some kid in Bangladesh can hear music that he probably has no access too. A lot of stuff I play is Australian and as we all know, Aussie music has been ignored for a long time by so many people. There is music outside of AC/DC, Radio Birdman, The Saints and Airbourne… but it seems so many people don’t know this. Or have conveniently forgotten.
If you tune in to the Long Gone Loser Rock Show, you’ll hear me rant on about whatever is happening in music I like or about crap in my life, thoughts n stuff and all mixed in with some of the best music you will ever hear. Cos, like, I only play good shit. I also feature interviews I do which is cool. So if you wanna actually hear these interviews and listen to artists talk about their stuff, you can hear it on the podcast instead of reading something. Podcasts are a great way to discover new music. I have bought so many albums by bands I have heard on podcasts. So good! Oh, and you can listen to them on the train while travelling to work.

Can you introduce your band Muscle Car and tell us what you’ve released so far?

Muscle Car was started in December 1998. It has been a huge rollercoaster of good times and disasters. I have had a good run with this band and have experienced a lot of great things from being in this band. Over the time, the band has released 3 CDs, a 7” vinyl and thankfully, have a few new releases coming out soon. Thank god! It’s taken forever to get back into the swing of things as we had been on a hiatus for a couple years due to not being able to find a drummer that wants to tour overseas. Like I said, a rollercoaster. Sometimes I just want to throw the lot away but then we have a rehearsal and I hear those guitars and everything falls into place and I get all excited again and I forget whatever thought I had that was thinking negatively. I’m the only original member in this band so I can feel negative if I want too cos if something shit has happened in this band, it usually happened to me. HA! All the info and more can be found at http://www.musclecar.net.au

You were on the road with Simon Chainsaw in Europe. How was this experience? Any anecdote to share with us?

That was one of the greatest times in my life. Really. I met so many wonderful people on that tour, including you. The whole tour was a huge experience for me. It was great to see the cities, do things DIY style, hang with the locals and talk music, books, movies, etc. with them. Apart from being robbed in Paris and losing my bag of belongings (which included a rare Hard-Ons t-shirt and my Sonic’s Rendezvous Band shirt that I got from Gary Rasmussen) and being Deported, the whole thing was incredible. Simon’s band were on fire and I got to watch them get better and better as each show went on which I thought was really cool. I got to experience both the good and bad things of that tour and it was all worth it. You learn from these kinds of experiences. You learn how to deal with differing personalities, sleeping on floors, crazy temperatures, etc. and it’s all awesome.

Do you think it’s illegal to want to go to the UK in order to see the Stooges when you’re an Australian citizen?

Ha! That whole being deported thing was fucked up. Here’s what went down: I flew from Switzerland to London. The customs dude took one look at me and I had a bad feeling. I got to the counter and he asked me a million questions. I answered them all but he wasn’t happy with my answers. I told him the absolute truth about everything. The next thing I know, I’m detained. It took them 10 hours (while I stayed in a holding room watching TV and writing song lyrics) to decide they were sending me home. When they eventually told me, I told them “that’s fine, I’ve missed the gig anyway and that’s the reason I came here”. I just asked them to get me home ASAP. Which they did, on their dime. Nice! When I landed back in Oz, I got a free ticket to see THE CULT perform the Love album in concert. So I guess they wanted to punish me but I still won. If this had happened at any other time in that holiday, I would have been upset but the fact it was right at the end of the trip and the last thing I was going to do before going home, I didn’t mind so much. I was just pissed that I couldn’t see The Stooges and catch up with all my English friends. Oh well, shit happens.

How is living in Australia like? Best things? Worst ones? How is the situation for rock musicians there?

Not to sound like a pretentious asshole but Australia is the fuckin’ coollest place outside of New York City or Tokyo. I love it here and after all the travelling I have done, I still realise how lucky we are here and I am always glad to be home. The weather here is a good mix (except I live in Melbourne and the Winters are damn cold which I hate but it’s nothing like you guys get). We have a huge multicultural population which I am happy with. The rock scene here in Melbourne is awesome with so many bands here. Everyone’s a musician or their brother / sister is. Melbourne is a very artistic city. I love it. The downer to living here is that international tours are a pain and people don’t like touring here cos it’s so far away. For example, to see a band like Overkill in the USA, tickets are under $20. They played here just last week and the tickets were $65. We pay a lot to see international bands and many people I speak to from overseas tell me that Australia is expensive to see international bands. Metallica is $160 a ticket. Local bands are cheap though so that’s cool. You can still see The Hard-Ons live for under $20 which is great for a band that is almost 30 years old and probably deserves to charge more.

How many records do you own? How do you classify them? Why is vinyl so cool? How come buying records can be such an addiction?

Um, how many? All up including LPs, 7”ers and 10”ers, I have around 3000. They’re all classified in alphabetical order cos I am not skilled enough in the realms of High Fidelity to sort them autobiographical (yet). For me, I have always been into records. When I grew up and started buying music, there were no CDs. It was records or tapes and tapes chewed. Plus, I love art so I bought LPs anyway. And when CDs were introduced, they were super expensive so I stuck with records anyway. That’s how it’s always been. It’s not only a habit though; I love everything about vinyl especially the connection between myself and the record. Like the whole physical aspect that I need to change sides of the record and put the needle on it and stuff like that. Instead of throwing iTunes onto shuffle and then letting it go. For me, I think the addiction is the sense of investment. I have invested in a product, a band and my love of music. We all have out crutches.
Some people use drugs, others like alcohol, others collect football cards, others buy comics or action figures, but for me, I buy records. I get so much enjoyment from listening to records. It’s just a great feeling. And you can look at your collection and each record tells a story; there’s a reason you bought each record. Where you bought it, why you bought it, what the songs mean to you, etc. It’s all a part of the experience that I can’t find in downloading digital music. I like to have a physical product and if you stand by your product, you’ll always win in the end. AC/DC have avoided the digital downloads and they still sell records. Proof that people still want something they can look at, hold, play, read the booklets / lyrics, etc.

5 favourite Australian rock albums?

Picking just 5 favourites is a hard task so I just picked 5 that I like a lot cos I have about 50 favourite Aussie rock records.

1. THE HARD-ONS – “Love Is A Battlefield of Broken Hearts”
2. RADIO BIRDMAN – “Radio’s Appear”
3. AC/DC – “Back In Black”
4. POWDER MONKEYS – “Smashed On A Knee”
5. BORED! – “Negative Waves”

What movies have you enjoyed lately? Did you like the Runaways?

I loved The Machine Girl. Japanese crazy gore with hot girls and kung fu violence. Awesome! I don’t see as many films as I’d like to these days which is a shame cos I love movies but I just don’t get the time as I am so busy writing songs or seeing gigs, buying records, blah blah. I am looking forward to seeing Machete.
The Runaways was fun. I like Joan and Cherie but I really wish they let Lita have a say in the making of it as I think Lita was a key figure in that band and should have been a bigger part of it. Still, it was great to see the band paid respect and the music brought to life on the big screen.

Your next projects?

Currently I am working on new Muscle Car material, I am writing a documentary movie on Australian music and am busy writing a book on the life of Long Gone Loser, kinda like an anthology of all the issues collected together for everyone to have and love and it will feature stuff never printed in the magazine and newer stuff since the last issue. So yeah, busy busy busy! Which is good cos being busy rocks.

Thanks heaps!

Damo

http://longgoneloser.wordpress.com/category/long-gone-loser-podcast/

Sonny Vincent

The French version of this interview was published in French ‘zine Slime a few months ago. Here is the English version for all of you non-French speakers. Sit tight, get a coffee and get ready for Sonny Vincent’s incredible life and rock’n’roll stories…

Interview by Slim Buen.

Hello Mr. Sonny Vincent, let’s start with the beginning. Can you tell us about your childhood and first tribulations outside the family home?

SV-I was born in New York…..Hmmm… family talk… hmmm…childhood… let’s just say there will be a few people from my ‘family’ burning in hell for eternity and a few floating around heaven. As for me I will probably spend time in both areas till they figure out my category. My actual parents died in a car crash when I was very small. We had no relatives, well there were a few but they were very elderly so the court appointed a ‘family’ to take care of me and I was sent to live with them. I was with them till I was 13. They were really terrible people. I have scars, lets’ leave it at that. I quit school and left home at the age of 13, grew up on the streets of New York City and lived a life on the road. To be honest that’s where my fun and personal growth started.
I began to meet people in Greenwich Village, on the art scene there, people who I could relate to and who were open minded. I had lots of fantastic adventures and also some challenging stuff to deal with. I slept at Andy Warhol’s factory on a silver couch and I also slept in Central Park on the grass. There were so many insane situations and experiences during these times. You tend to get around being on your own from the age of 13. God when I look at a 13 year old now I can see they are not fully grown! They have small hands and fingers!! I thought I was already a man and I went everywhere and anywhere. I can’t believe I was out and about then, but that’s the facts of life. I don’t regret it, I learned a lot.

And later?

SV- Basically throughout my formative years I traveled by way of hitchhiking. I had a sort of ‘life on the road’ crisscrossing the U.S.A. At one time I lived in St Thomas, Virgin Islands for two years and that was quite lovely. Crystal clear water, beaches and lots of tourist girls to take care of me! All through this, I had a guitar and I would play on it, writing songs. Many of the experiences were joyous and inspiring, especially meeting those ‘one in a million’ types of people I met on my travels.
But there always was often the down side, the negative aspects of not living in a safe home. I had many encounters with the police and authorities, they were always plaguing me and ruining what was good.
I spent an inordinate amount of time in reform school ( jail for underage ‘minors’) and when I was just about to turn 17 I got busted for drugs so they put me in the U.S. military.
I think jail would have been better… but eventually I got that opportunity, I made it to adult jail as well!

How did The Testors got together? What other bands or artists inspired you in those days?

SV- I was living in NYC in the early 70’s and playing shows anywhere I could, I was pretty young and they would give me playing jobs sometimes opening for some blues act or some ‘folkies’ but it was tough times and difficult to find venues. Mostly during this time period the clubs wanted cover songs from ‘cover’ bands and there were no more clubs like they had in the Hippie times. No places to play ‘original’ or experimental presentations. Yeah so…my early days looking for places to play, that was quite hard. It was a time where everything was ‘commercial’ and there was not much support for young artists and musicians. Sometimes we would organize a show ourselves, or find some place that would let us play. I remember a show I did with one of my earlier bands, (Liquid Diamonds) we played a show together with the band ‘Suicide’(Alan Vega and Marty Rev) on St. Marks Place in the ‘Village’.. but there were not many people there. Like around 30 or so… Anyway eventually I became frustrated with the situation and I left NYC, moved to Florida.
I bought myself a 4 track tape recorder and kept myself active by writing my songs and recording them with that tape recorder. Then after a while in Florida I met a very excited and wonderful guy named Gene- a real ‘go getter’. Although he was a little bit ‘nerdy’ I noticed a lot of fire in the guy, this must have been early 1975. I gave him guitar lessons and one day I bought a music magazine at a 7-11. It had an article about a new club that had opened in New York City, called C.B.G.B and that a group called the ‘Ramones’ were actually playing there… a week later I moved back to NYC and brought Gene with me . That became the start of ‘Testors’. We eventually got a rehearsal room on 22nd street and we were playing Max’s Kansas City and C.B.G.B. with groups like the Cramps and Dead Boys.
In terms of inspiration, it was all around. The atmosphere in New York City was mercurial and sparking. There were many inspiring bands with incredible music. I really liked Television at the time. Their live performances had this transcendental effect where you could almost lose yourself in the weaving of the guitar interplay. Patti Smith was also very good, always almost too good to believe.. At times seemingly not from this earth or any planet for that matter. This might sound grandiose…. but I telling it straight. Patti and I took some walks around the city together, and I discovered that her ‘way’ was apparent off stage as well as onstage. A very dedicated person. If she loved an artist/musician/poet she devoted her love through every cell in her body and every breath, it was awesome to be around. Fuckin uplifting and inspirational! She really adored the 60’s icons like Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, nearly to the point of worship, but in some ways she surpassed them. Patti didn’t need a whole structure or system of the music biz accoutrements behind her to express herself and perform.. she could blow your mind doing her thing on a street corner. I remember actually getting goose bumps and a profound thrilling feeling at some of the performances. It was all new and everyone was trying to get to the core of expression and performance. Some were even into anti-expression or anti-performance. It’s was very edgy. Also I like Richard Hell, he was even rebelling against his own bands. He was kicked out for being too good and stealing the show! Very talented.

Some of the songs sounded very hard and fast with a rawer sound than most bands from those days… I’ve read somewhere something like “Sonny Vincent, father of Hardcore.” What made Testors special to you?

SV- Testors was a very serious band, we thought we could change the world. What was mainly important to us was being ‘real’ in the songs. Our songs were more angular and faster than a lot of the other bands. Also the subjects were not the usual, we made songs about death and society that were far from the soft stuff on the radio. A lot of the other bands on our scene were also angry and a lot of the bands in our scene were also dissatisfied with the way the system and society had developed but with Testors we captured it. It was not a warm fuzzy group that you could wrap your arms around and feel good about the world.

There’s also some songs with a more distorted sound, like “MK Ultra” and its “noisy” guitar parts… Do you think the band could have taken a different musical direction?

SV- We had no interest in any other direction then the one we were on. Eventually people all around us were selling out and writing crap. We had no interest in trying to please anyone else beside ourselves.

You played with Cheetah Chrome in Shotgun Rational. Did you meet him when you played with the Dead Boys? Did you get along with Stiv Bators’ band as soon as you met them?

SV- Yeah I met Cheetah when we played shows with the Dead Boys, actually met him before that. Cheetah was and always will be a wild colorful character. Years later after we met he joined my band ‘Shotgun Rationale’ for a while. He came to live with me when I moved to Minnesota, he flew out there and joined the band. Along with some brief touring Cheetah is also on some of my albums.
Stiv Bators was a special guy, contrary to the stage image, Stiv was a very sweet conscientious person. One time I was going through some real heavy problems and Stiv bought me a pack of guitar strings and took me to Coney Island to drive bumper cars. You know those cars at the amusement park where you crash into each other? A great person Stiv was. And what a performer!! The Dead Boys live was something the world was not ready for. Incredible!

Can you tell us about the conditions when playing in NY club in those days?

SV- At first there were only two clubs- C.B.G.B. and Max’s Kansas city. Later there was the Mud club, the Ritz, Hurrah’s etc. But at first only the two. They both had great sound systems. And Max’s even had a stage curtain, a black velvet curtain across the stage that would be opened when you were ready to play (you don’t see that much anymore in clubs). C.B.G.B was a wonderful graffitied mess and Max’s was a fancy sort of chic dark ‘night club’, like a Mafioso Las Vegas motif. The main element was the audiences, very excited and cutting edge. The audience consisted of artists, prostitutes, students, dancers, taxi drivers, outcasts and crazies.
There was an atmosphere of something ‘special was happening’. This atmosphere was all around town , on the streets in the clubs, in the air. The way we dressed was new and actually shocking to the general people. Playing these places and being in a band put you at the center of it all, No way to describe the excitement. It was cool. Although getting paid was not so good. It always seemed that no matter how packed the clubs, no matter how many people attended the show they only gave us 90 dollars!!! I remember once at Max’s they fired nearly everyone on the clubs staff, they were all stealing from the club, the door people, the waitresses , the bartenders and even the management. So they got rid of nearly all of them!! We played there after the shake up and I went to the office to get paid. I was a little bit drunk and didn’t care much about the fuckin’ 90 bucks they usually handed me. Suddenly the guy counts out 600 dollars into my hand. I went into the dressing room, tossed the money in the air and said to my band “This is what we were supposed to get all along!!!”

You left NY in 1980 when the CBGB was witnessing the punk/hardcore explosion. Were you interested in these new bands the same way you were in the previous generation?

SV- I left NYC because the scene changed and a lot of the people in the Punk scene were turning into junkies…. it wasn’t about music anymore but about which party you were attending that night and how much drugs were there ( well.. actually there was some fun in that.. but that’s’ another story!!). BUT worse than the ones who turned into junkies were the ones selling out and making shitty more ‘palatable’ music.. They were calling it ‘New Wave’ . Now that was some real bullshit.!! Water down Punk!! Some new ‘industry’ word to make it easier to sell. Take the anger out Rocknroll and call it ‘New Wave’!! I could name some of the groups who took the bait but I think you know the ones, the ones that eventually got big hits on the radio. NOT the Ramones, NOT Television, NOT the Dead Boys. But the more ‘Pop’ stuff.. they still call some of these New Wave ‘Pop ‘bands ‘Punk’ in books and media stuff but that is just a lie. It’s not some of the bands faults in some cases, it was simply a case of the ‘industry’ picking the most melodic and radio friendly out of the crowd of bands and producing them in the studio for mass consumption. Anyway the whole creative atmosphere in NYC changed….I figured “Fuck this shit, time for me to leave!!!”. It was really getting somehow ugly in my opinion and I felt the scene had lost some of the resolve.
On the other hand while this was going on there was the emerging hardcore scene, now that had a LOT of resolve!! But the hardcore thing was a bit different from my group. They were focusing on a lot of the same themes as ‘Testors’ , like anger, desperation and dissatisfaction. And I thought a lot of it was quite good, the lyrical content as well as the music. I liked Bad Brains , Minor Threat, Black Flag etc ..all that…and more… but some of it was mainly ‘macho’ like as if a bunch of U.S. Marines got a band together. The good hardcore bands were the ones that had their own issues/struggles with the world and society as they saw it, they expressed it in sound and lyrics. The shitty hardcore bands were just as if they were some bullies wanting to fight. Those were the boring ones, like watching WWF Wrestiing or Jerry Springers. But as I have said, and don’t get me wrong, a lot of the hardcore bands I viewed as valid artists , even poets, but some were just dumb thugs. Henry Rollins and Bob Mould agree with me on that. And anyone who doesn’t agree with me, I will have to punch them in the face! Haa!! Haaa!!!

Then you moved to Minneapolis. How was the scene when you first got there? What differences did you notice compared to the NYC scene?

SV- It was very inspiring at first in Minneapolis. Bands like Husker Du reminded me of early Testors. Seemed like the bands there were excited and had something to say. It was a good place for me. I did have some time adjusting to the slower pace of living there. Back then moving from the heart of New York City to the mid of the Mid West was a bit of a cultural difference. It was a lot., lot slower back then in Minnesota, so I had to adjust. Mainly the people were nice though and that was also a shock!! New Yorkers are famous for being snotty and pains in the ass, to go from that to easy going neighborly people was very pleasant!!! I had a 1959’ Cadillac that I loved to drive back then. It’s the one with the fins and rocket tail lights. That’s a cooler ride than a subway anyday.

You formed Model Prisoner with Bob Stinson (The Replacements) at that time, and then Shotgun Rational (Greg Norton (Husker Dü) later joined you.) How did you get to play with the two most important bands from the city?

SV- They were attracted to my pointy shoes!! No, I met them and we hit it off musically and personally. Bobby Stinson became a dear friend. Greg Norton was a really nice guy who turned into a vicious hungry animal onstage!! I did one tour with Greg, but with Bobby I did a lot of projects.

Then you spent some time in the movie industry, producing “Mannequin World”. Were you seeing this as a new start? Were you still playing at the same time? Who were your favorite producers?

SV- Well it was more of the ‘underground’ movie scene. Although I did have some museum and television screenings of my film ‘Mannequin World’. It wasn’t a new start, but more something new to discover and express themes within. I was still playing concerts and clubs across America.
Also at that time I was involved in multi-media installations using lights, sound loops, film projections, and sensors that were motion sensitive, triggering timers to initiate elements to turn on and off different phases of the installation. Later I saw a lot of the early stuff I did used in techno festivals Although the message and themes of my installations had nothing to do with dancing to a repetitive beat.
My favorite producers were Rod Serling, Luchino Visconti, John Waters.

Do you see an obvious link between music, cinema and literature?

SV- Sometimes. Although I think some films are better without music. Some do benefit greatly from the music and score. BUT some have the music as a sort of utilitarian aspect. “Oh here is the scary part” or “Bring in the violins, this is the sad part” or “ make the music fast because this is the chase scene” All that can become tedious at times. Do you ever see the ‘Grapes Of Rath’ no music, black and white, Great.

Let’s get back to the Shotgun Rational years when you played with Moe Tucker among others… How many albums did you release? Was this when you first started touring in Europe and started to meet European musicians?

SV- Well I was too complicated back with Testors to even listen to a major record company executive blab their ridiculous bullshitt blab . I really honestly felt the big record companies were the kiss of death for anything vital and honest. Back then it was mostly only majors, this was all before independent labels like’SST’ and ‘Slash’ records, stuff like that. So I didn’t actually have an album out till ‘Shotgun Rationale’ in the 80’s (The material I recorded with Testors on our own in the 70’s did eventually come out , but way later!) Anyway … somewhere in the 80’s my pal Mort got us a pretty sizable budget to record our album under our own terms and I wanted to get a Producer to guard us against any impure influences that might be lurking in the studio (like the engineer, etc). I felt we needed someone to help us hold the line and to make sure we could achieve at least part of what we were after in the studio. My first thought was “Iggy!” but he was on tour so I didn’t even try to contact him.
My second inspiration was “Maureen Tucker !” from the Velvet Underground. I was listening to her sing ‘After Hours’ and ‘Sticking With You’ and I figured from her voice and sound that there was no way in hell she would allow anyone to make our music ‘Metal’. This was our biggest fear, We were rough, we were loud, we were raw and wild but NOT metal. And sometimes in a big studio with a million tracks and a guy wearing a heavy metal t-shirt in control of the sound at the board….. well we were nervous, so we got Moe to produce it!! And that was a great team. After Moe produced that album (“Who Do They Think They Are?”) she invited me to be her guitar player on a European tour she was thinking about doing with the band Half Japanese. But there was a ‘situation’/story to it all. Firstly you need to know that Moe is fiercely independent. O.K. you know the word ‘fierce’ O.K.cool..very fiercely independent…. well…Jad Fair had proposed that Moe come to Europe with him and his namd Half Japanese and they would serve as her back up band. The concept being that the show would be split into two parts-Moe singing her stuff and Jad his, During Jad’s stuff (the Half Japanese songs) Moe could play drums. And on Moes’ parts Jad would play’ untuned guitar. Moe liked that to a point. But as I said she is really really independent and also proud of her ‘Velvet Underground’ heritage. She told me she didn’t fancy being ‘in’ Half Japanses as a band member.. so she added me as her guitar player to mix it up so it would be -Moe and Half Japanese and Moe’s Punk guitar player!! Complicated huh? But that’s Moe for ya’. So we did the show with around 7 people onstage. It was a lot of fun and subsequently I played in Moe’s solo band for 9 years after that!
And yes this was my first time touring Europe, I loved it. For me being a former street kid and then to be suddenly walking around European cities…. well…it was absolutely captivating to be in Europe, exciting and cool. I had seen a lot of my friends’ photo books that they made after their University graduation and traditional big trip to Europe. Also some of the Warhol and NYC arts crowd people I knew had been there many times. I would look in amazement at the pictures in their collection books of Notre Dame, Big Ben and various photos of Germany, Spain etc. But I figured I would never get there. Andalucía? That was for the others not me. Well I did see it all and it is thanks to Moe! She brought me everywhere.

How did you first get in touch with the Detroit scene (Scott Asheton, Scott Morgan…)? Is playing with musicians you’ve enjoyed listening to important to you?

SV-I met the Detroit people when I was on tour there. I did a show in Detroit with ‘Shotgun Rationale’ and a lot of the people from the bands were there at the show. At that early Shotgun Rationale show I met Rob Tyner and Scott Asheton and I eventually sent Scott some of my songs. We got along and certainly I wanted to play with him. I usually play with people who I believe can do justice to the songs. Many went on to become friends but the first contact was music with the Detroit ‘Bruthas’.

When looking at all the things you’ve done, we tend to associate you to people like Jeff Dahl or Nikki Sudden with the itinerant bluesmen way of life, a kind of punk Chuck Berry! What do you think about these comparisons?

SV- I like Jeff Dahl his music and his commitment. He gave the ‘Shotgun Rationale’ album it’s first review back in the day and I will always remember that. It made us feel that there were comrades out there. He said something like “Folks this is a serious Radio Birdman alert!!” I didn’t even know who the fuck ‘Radio Birdman’ was at the time but it sounded nice!! Yeah Jeff is a real good guy. You hear it a lot from other people who know him or have met him. And I also liked Nikki, saw him live many times. A real gentleman, good songs and great clothes!! I don’t mind comparisons in the sense that we are ‘underground’. The music is quite different though. And I always had way more pointy shoes than either of them !!

Do you think it’s easier to deal and work with a European band than an American one?

SV-No, its all hell!

I suppose you don’t always know the people you’re touring with very well at first. Have you met any problems/difficulties in the past? How many musicians have you played with?

SV- Yeah-I played with a lot of people, generally I can tell from the start if they are decent people or not. There were some crazy guys on board a couple of times and that created a lot of stress, it’s tough enough , you know? One guy cut off his own toe with an axe because he had taken an overdose of some drugs in Switzerland. In his delirium he believed he was the son of the devil.. or that’s what I think he was saying. He was foaming at the mouth and removed his clothing. We were staying at a beautiful chalet type hotel on the Bodensee and he got into the gardeners tools and fuckin chopped his own toe off!! He was screaming “For Jesus, For Jesus!!”. He really scared everyone. Then I had a Spanish line up from Bilbao and the guitar player brought along a girl roadie.. he didn’t tell me he was in love with her.. but as the days went by it became all stress and tears and fighting , problem was she didn’t want him. Eventually it heated up to Shakespearian proportions and we had to send the guy home, it was soooo much stress!
Anyway she wound up playing guitar with us after we sent him home.. Really!!! The guy that went home invented some crazy stories and posted them all over the internet! He was saying we had him beaten by Slovenian gangsters. It was really too much. In the end the truth came out. But for a while there I looked like a real mean guy on the internet!!!

Your favourite European clubs?

SV- Sonic Ballroon in Köln, Germany, Mars Bar in Zurich, Switzerland, anywhere in Halle Germany. But there are cool, places all over France and Italy too.. I tend to like the smaller to medium places a lot. I really hate tall stages where you stand there and peoples’ heads are even with your feet. Also I abhor smoke machines. But there are many cool clubs in Europe that don’t need smoke machines!! The problem with the smaller places is that they often have shitty P.A. systems. Also some don’t have a dressing room and that really sucks bad. One time we were on tour and we pulled up to some autonome squat house place where we were scheduled to play. They didn’t have a dressing room. A huge place with a bunch of lazy Punks!! I couldn’t figure out why they never got the motivation to build a nice band room….. anyway …we took our van and went to a building store , bought some wood, screws, nails, hammer, a jig saw and a screw gun . In 3 hours me and Scott Asheton built them a dressing room! It cost around 180 bucks including the tools. Thinking of all that. I can say I generally like medium sized nightclubs with very good P.A. systems and a dressing room, wherever they are!!

Do you often go back to New York? What are the most striking changes there for you?

SV- I go back sometimes, we just had a ‘Testors ‘ reunion show there last May. The most striking change is how they gentrify the neighborhoods. Also they turned Times Square into a tourist Disneyland. Back in the day it was all pimps, guns, drugs, danger and prostitutes. Some of the neighborhoods that were very dark and scary are remodeled and have become the nice chic places for the NYU students to enjoy. Back in the Punk era a large portion of the city was violent and dangerous. Now they cleaned it all up. There are still cool bands in Manhattan as well as Brooklyn. But it’s all cleaner and nicer for the most part.

Are you still in touch with some people from the old days there? Can you give me the name of 3 persons who are very important to you there?

SV- Yeah I keep in touch with some of the people who are still in NYC. Richard Hell, Ivan Julian, Bobby Steele.

What jobs did you do in your most difficult times?

SV- In former times I worked every unskilled job imaginable. Factories, shops, building boats, working in a lab, selling vacuum cleaners, delivering laundry, serving food, cooking food, selling illegal drugs, painting houses, fixing gardens. cleaning hospitals, building/construction, carpentry, You name it… with no formal education you are forced to work in anything you can get. The worst job I had was in Ohio when I worked in a factory that made tires for cars. It was hot with lots of smoke in the air and fire pits. -Do you think that family life can’t really work with the touring musician one? SV- I think family life can work. It’s all about the commitment and passion.

I’m a big John Reis fan, and you album with RFTC is really good… He released The Testors anthology on his record label Swami Records. Is that when you met?

SV- The first contact I with John was through an email he sent me. He asked me if I had ever heard of his group (current at that time) Rocket From The Crypt. The email went on to say he and the band were big fans of my stuff. After a few emails between us he sent me a package which included their new album with a note “ We used a lot of ‘Sonny-isms¨ in these songs and lot’s of ‘Testors-riffs, please listen and let me know if you can hear them!” I had not heard of the group (sorry!) but I gave the album a listen and I did hear some of my influence in there but it was mixed in with their own incredible force and dynamic. It’s very refreshing for me to receive sentiments and compliments like John’s. He was influenced a little bit by my songs but he was not ripping my ass off and stealing my whole fuckin thing like some do, and in addition he let me know that he appreciated me. John is really a passionate music maniac and he has enough of his own originality to include some influence in his music and present it as an homage.
Anyway I thought that was all very cool, BUT as I began to say there are a few people out there who actually try to duplicate me and then they never say anything about it to their fans or anyone. Some bands sort of steal my style and play for people who never heard of me and claim it all as their own thing. That is easy trick for people to do to me since I am so under the radar and unknown in so many markets, Not so easy to do that if they copy the Ramones or Hendrix. And claim it as their own…it would be too obvious to too many people… but with me it’s been done a few times!! They often get some mileage out of it for a while but it’s not as authentic.
John Reise is not like them, in fact later John invited me on a Rocket From The Crypt tour where I opened for them and they were my back up band. We played Testors songs and a few SV solo things. And then they played the RFTC show. We went on a long tour together, after that we recorded an all original album together. Me and John even do a friggin’ duet!

Will you work with him again in the future?

-SV- We did have some plans to put out some more Testors material but at the moment his label is on hold.

What’s your main occupation when you’re not on the road?

-I’m a lion tamer at a big circus. Also I do some underwater electrician jobs. Hee! Hee!! No, I haven’t had a normal type of job since the 80’s. I am really busy with the music and films. But I don’t mind normal work. I never had difficulties with the jobs or the bosses for example. I was usually giving them more then their money’s worth, and we got along fine. If I didn’t like a job I walked, if I agreed to work hard , I worked harder. Sort of a supervisors or bosses dream, it had benefits for me as well, this style. They often lent me cars, boats, gave me advances and let me have time off to do shows. In terms of how a society is structured I never had difficulties being in the work force. It was the limitations of freedoms by conservative rulings and the fucking police that I often had trouble adjusting to.

What do you think about the bands that try to sound 1977?

SV- Mixed, I like a lot of the new bands that go for the sound and I always appreciate bands that dress up a bit. Weather its styled or sloppy. I always like ‘image’, I don’t wanna see people onstage who look like they got their clothes from their uncle… although there are exceptions, there some cool ‘uncles’ out there!! Musically and stylistically some have their own original twist and sometimes I like it. It’s an interesting area to talk about I suppose. I guess some bands consciously get together and try to construct sounds that duplicate a ’77 vibe. But I’m sure some people are so into music from that era that it is ingrained in them and when they get together to play that’s just how it comes out naturally. In Testors we just played, there was no conscious ‘shaping’.

This year in Paris, I’ve met a young American guy who told me that The Testors was his favourite band. Do you think that everything goes in circles in rock?

SV- I also am discovering that there are more and more fans out there for the early Testors stuff. I think they are like archeologists! Search and ye will find!!

There’s been a lot of books about late 70s punk rock lately but they all talk about the same things… Are you still interested in reading about the “golden” CBGB days?

SV- I read some of it and I sometimes like to be reminded of stuff I forgot about. It’s nice to read from someone else’s perspective.

Kevin K got his autobiography released in France two years ago… Any chance to read a Sonny Vincent one?

SV- I will write a book one of these days. But first I have to learn how to spell! Just kidding of course! Yeah, Yeah, writing a book…. Yeah.. Cool!!! What an interesting concept? I can laud, applaud and praise my friends, and all my own accomplishments ! I can also skewer, roast, mutilate and burn some fuckers that deserve it. I think I will get started right away!!!!!!!!!!!

http://sonnyvincent.maketrouble.net/

The Jim Jones Revue

Interview with The JIM JONES REVUE just after their explosive sold-out show at La Rodia (Besançon, France.) A good occasion to know more about the band’s history and talk about blues, The GUN CLUB, Stiv Bators, Nick Curran and way more… A rock”n’roll entrevue!

You’re on tour in France right now, how is it goin’?

Rupert: We’ve had some really good shows. We had a great show in Bordeaux on Saturday night, then we did Angoulême at La Nef on Sunday, another great show and we played with BLACK JOE LEWIS & The HONEYBEARS tonight which is a real treat…

So, they only opened for you tonight? No other common gigs

Rupert: Yeah, it’s just one show, unfortunately ’cause we’re friends with them.

Their music works very well as an opening act for you…

Rupert: We haven’t seen them play really before, but yeah the two styles complemented each other. Similar but different. I saw Joe Lewis playing a long time ago in Austin and he was just like playing punk rock, you know and it’s really good to see him play with a big band now. They’re really nice people, I think it was a good fit and I’m sure we’ll play again together soon.

Jim played in THEE HYPNOTICS. What about the other members? Did you play in other bands before?

Rupert: Nick played in HEAVY STEREO. NIck: Yeah, you look like you might have been into HEAVY STEREO back in the day! Rupert: We all played in various bands in the past but The JIM JONES REVUE really put us together as a kind of unit.

So you’re not all from London originally?

Rupert: No, we’re from all over like Scotland but we all live in London.

You played a Jeffre Lee Pierce song that never got released before tonight. Will it be released on a compilation or something?

Gavin: Yeah it’s called “We Are Only Riders”. Rupert: It’s put together by this guy called Cypress Grove, he was one of the last guys to play guitar with Jeffrey Lee Pierce but he’s been friends with him for a long time and he discovered after Jeffrey did die that he had all these cassettes with original demos of GUN CLUB stuff, solo stuff and stuff that they jammed together. It’s really scratchy quality but he thought it would be a good idea to get people and re-record them.
I think the first record was released a couple of years ago and had Nick Cave, Lydia Lunch, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan… And it was really well received so they wanted to do another one. They contacted me originally about working with my sister, which didn’t happen and then we just kept in contact ’cause we met one of the guys who is involved in the project when we played in New Jersey last year.
He said “Oh yeah The JIM JONES REVUE should do one”, we said yeah we’d love to do one but it’s really hard to get the time. We saw them when we were last in America in September and they said “we’ve got to master it in the middle of October.” I said we only got like a week off in London before we start the French tour.;; We arranged it one day, recorded it another day, recorded it on the last day and then mixed it so it was like boom, boom, boom! I don’t know when it’s gonna be released, I think it’s gonna be early next year sometime or maybe even later this year. It’s released on German label Glitterhouse records. Nick Cave does a version of the same song we do as well, which we haven’t heard so it’s gonna be quite interesting. Gavin, you’ve heard this other record, didn’t you? Gavin: Yeah, they got different artists to do the same songs. Nick Cave was on that one too. All different versions. Rupert: And it’s a charity projects as well, all the money goes to Amnesty International and publishing goes to Jeffrey’s family, so it’s all done for the right reasons and we’re really proud to be part of it. We’ve only played the song a few times, tonight was the second or third time we’ve ever played it!

It sounded really good, almost as if it was your own song actually. You gave it your own sound.

Jim: It’s just Jeffrey’s work but… We were given something very rough… Rupert: We got the cassette of him actually playing it, just him, an acoustic guitar and another guitarist. It sounds like a country jam or something. You know what I mean, sounding very different from the song we played tonight. Jim: I think the point of the project is to give your own life to his works, so that’s what we tried to do. It’s just a big honour you know, I went to see the GUN CLUB play a couple of times when I was a lot younger. They were one of those bands back then, you heard him do Robert Johnson’s songs and it was made like Robert Johnson. They were very important… Rupert: I think it’s a testament… We’re still singing around and talking about the GUN CLUB and Jeffrey Lee Pierce 25 or 30 years later. I was lucky enough to see the GUN CLUB as well. It’s just astonishing, really.

Let’s talk about your albums, the first one has a very rough garage sound compared to “Burning Your House Down”, was it intentional?

Nick: We only had like £10 to record that record! (Laughs) Jim: Yeah, no money and we just needed to get something recorded in order to get better gigs… And we just knew that there’s no point trying to make something tidy with no money ’cause it’s gonna sound like shit so we decided to make something very aggressive… Rupert: We could have gone into a cheap studio that sounds average but we thought: “right, what can we do? Let’s just go into our rehearsal room and play straight live”, that’s what we did and that’s what you hear. There literally isn’t any overdubs ’cause we did play it live and there is no way we could have done overdubs, we didn’t even have the technology… Nick: Not even enough tracks! (Laughs) Rupert: yeah, I can’t remember but it was like 4 tracks! One of them was for the vocals and 3 mics around the room and that was it, really.

…And in the end, it gives the abum its own touch and identity…

Rupert: Yeah! It’s quite odd actually ’cause everybody in France loves that record, they really cherish it while everyone else goes “what the fuck is this noise?!” (Laughs) Nick: We never thought it would get on the radio, you know? Rupert: It’s lovely really that eveyone loves it here! (Laughs) Jim: You know, people were like “can I hear your album?” they take you more seriously when you have an album, that’s why we needed to do it… And then suddenly started to hear it on the BBC! Gavin: I can remember Rupert told me “this will never get played on the radio” and then a couple of DJs did play it on the radio. We were quite astonished by that, and then we got live sessions. It started snowballing from that…

Silm Buen (Slime ‘zine): The first album was out on Punk Rock Blues records, right? Is it your own label?

Jim: Yeah, it’s the label that Rupert set up. When we first met, he was booking shows and was bringing over some really cool blues guys, Mississippi Delta guys…

Slim Buen (Slime ‘zine): Yeah, I went to this festival you put up once!

Jim: We met up at one of these festivals, that’s where we met Nick too…

Slim Buen (Slime ‘zine): At The Luminaire?

Rupert: Well, the first one took place at The Spitz, then I did it in lots of different venues… About Punk Rock Blues records, I set it up as a kind of showcase for people that I was putting on like The IMMORTAL LEE COUNTY KILLERS and lots of other people. So it was kind of always there and, when the band came together, it just seemed that we’d put it out for that label. I’ve got some plans to maybe release other artists over the nex year ’cause there’s some good people out there who derserve to be put out and deserve distribution networks and that stuff.

You seem to have a lot of American influences in the band?

Rupert: Totally! Jim: Yeah, but you know, it’s always been that way. I mean, black American music, the ROLLING STONES sound like American black music! Nick: Yeah, or The FACES! Jim: Exactly, if you follow that trail back, it takes you back to Robert Johnson and all these guys back then.

Were you already in these guys and old blues stuff when you were playing in THEE HYPNOTICS?

Jim: Oh yeah! Rupert: When I met Jim, I was bringing over black American musicians. You know what I mean? It wasn’t like a second-hand thing, I was actually going to Mississippi to meet these people and bring them over to London. That’s what I did and there’s very few people doing that in London. I don’t think there was many people doing that in Europe. That’s how I got to know Jim. I think the first time I did a show in London with Jim was with the BLACK DIAMOND HEAVIES from nashville, Tennessee.

Is there any British band that you’ve actually enjoyed lately?

Rupert: Yeah, actually one of them called RUSSEL AND THE WOLVES split up. We played with them a few times. At that festival that you were talking about, they played with BOB LOG.

The JIM JONES REVUE seems to do pretty well in France…

Nick: Yeah, France was the first country that really embraced us from the early days when we started coming over… It has just grown and grown, each time we come back. Rupert: France has always been very strong for us, first time was right when we released our first record. The French loved it immediately, more than they did in our own country, in the UK. We were on national TV in France in 2009 you know? It too a couple of years for that to happen in the Britain. I mean the UK is cool now but we’ve got really fond memories and I think we’ll always have a special relationship with France.
I also remember that the GUN CLUB really did well in France too so it’s nice to have this kind of signature. It’s interesting we talked about that compilation record earlier ’cause when I was talking to the guys putiing out the record that we did the song for, they said that GUN CLUB and Jeffrey Lee Pierce stuff doesn’t sell in The States. Only in Europe. It’s that old classic thing, no one recognizes you in your own home country.

It also happened to The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH for instance.

Rupert: Jim was friend with Stiv Bators. Jim: Yeah, I became friend with Stiv the last few years when he was living with his girlfriend in Paris in Le Louvre area. I used to go visit them in the early days of The HYPNOTICS. Stiv was a supporter of the band. We were like “Wow! This guy!”, you know? We would go there and listen to him: “Have you seen this? Have you heard this band? Do you know about this conspiracy?” or “Look! Johnny Thunders was here!”… He had stories about everything and we were like “Wow!!!”… So yeah, he was like a second father to us young rock’n’rollers!

Slim Buen (Slime ‘zine): I can see similarities between you and Nick Curran, you know him, right?

Gavin: We played with him in Austin! He joined us for “Good Golly Miss Molly”. Rupert: We played together at this place called Justine’s, a French restaurant. The guy who runs it, Pierre is a full-on rock’n’roll fan so all the guys go play and eat in Austin. They all know it’s the cool place to hang out. Nick: Oh yeah, stacks and stacks of vinyls behind the bar! It’s amazing! Rupert: You should definitely check it out next time you’re in Austin! We’ve got a friend there called Danny B. Harvey, he plays with The HEAD CAT and lots of other people, and we said “we really want to meet Nick, we really want to meet him!” so he hooked us up with Nick and we did the show together. He played after us and we did a set together. Jim: Danny B. Harvey was playing with Wanda Jackson at that time and he’s connected with all these people. Rupert: He played with Nick too and it It was like: “Yeah, we’re huge, huge fans of that album”… And then he came on playing “Good Golly Miss Molly” with us and it’s just fucking incredible, his voice is so astonishing and matches so well with his guitar playing! It was just phenomenal! Really, really good…. Nick: And he’s a good drummer too!…

Ok… So thanks for the interview guys!

Rupert: Thank you!… Oh and that tiny keyboard player sitting on the couch is called Henri Herbert and he’s half-French! Though he’s pretending he can’t speak French! (Laughs)…

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