It’s been a while since we heard anything from the Sherriff McCoy. In fact, its 10 years since Hanoi Rocks performed their last hurrah and put the band to bed with a final show at the Tavastia in Helsinki. So what has Michael Monroe’s former partner in crime been up to? Well, if you believe the comments on YouTube, it appears he has been a lighthouse keeper for 10 years! While I would love that to be true, apart from the short-lived Grease Helmet and a few guest appearances, it seems he has done little musically to speak of and has spent more time on his artwork, clothes design and even a stint on Finland’s Celebrity Big Brother.

But the guitar legend is back with a 12 song slab of ‘21st Century Rocks’, his first solo album since ‘Building On Tradition’ that came out way back in 1995. And what a welcome surprise it is.

 

Lead single ‘Seven Seas’ came out of nowhere a month back and actually upstaged Monroe’s first offering from the highly anticipated ‘One Man Band’. Andy always had an ear for melody and ‘Seven Seas’ confirms he still has a trick or two up his sleeve. A definite classic Hanoi feel comes across, as it builds to a fantastic uplifting chorus that fills the ears and soul with a feeling of euphoria no drug can give. Can Andy McCoy possibly be the king of all comebacks? We will have to see if the rest of the album holds up to the same quality.

That familiar guitar tone blasts from the speakers as the title track sets the scene for the album. The even more familiar vocal drawl follows. Andy McCoy’s vocals are certainly an acquired taste, but let’s not forget Hanoi Rocks’ back catalogue would not be the same without those quirky ‘out of tune’ backing vocals of his. And that guitar solo… no one plays guitar quite like Andy McCoy! Killer stuff indeed.

 

The ghost of his bastard past is never far away. ‘Undertow’ comes on like ‘A Day Late, A Dollar Short’, there’s even a sax solo to boot. I wonder if it originated from those sessions. Whether it did or not, it’s a cool tune for sure. Then ‘Batteram’ takes things way back in time. That melody comes on like Hanoi’s ‘Desperado’ to these ears. And the way he sings “round” and “ground” in the chorus with an unmistakeable accent is cool as fuck.

Andy’s songwriting and guitar playing has always been more experimental, taking in eastern and reggae influences, and he certainly creates a few more mental beats to make a diverse album. While Monroe has stuck to his rock ‘n’ roll roots for his whole solo career, (and we wouldn’t want it any other way, right?) McCoy explores the obscure and recaptures the quirky influences that peppered Hanoi’s earlier albums.

‘Maria Maria’ is pure class. Mariachi vibes all over as trumpets and strummed acoustics take us into spaghetti western territory. The Urban Voodoo Machine comes to mind as Andy transports us to the Mexican border to smoke a doobie or two, down tequila and jam out in the scorching sun with a chiquita or two. That is what I imagine Andy has been doing in the wilderness years! While I don’t think Andy is even allowed anywhere near any US boarders anytime soon due to his past antics, the idea is spot on.

‘Soul Satisfaction’ is another track that is out there, even in Andy McCoy terms. A tripped-out pre chorus leads into a 70’s New York groove as the main man slurs his words like Keith Richards on his second bottle of Jack.

‘Bible and a Gun’ could sit nicely anywhere in his discography. A bluesy, Stonesy little number with honky tonk piano and a cool barroom boogie groove. Elsewhere, Andy makes his guitar gently weep on the opening riff of ‘The Hunger’. The laid back, jangly backing, harmonised guitars and the ‘Village Girl’ style breakdown to fade makes this a rapturous and satisfying ride.

As we reach the final stretch it comes to mind that Andy McCoy actually comes on like vintage Alice Cooper, which is something that I never realised.  Take away the smoky sax on ‘Gimme Time’ and listen intently to closer ‘This is Rock ‘n’ Roll’ with its gang backing vocals and Detroit garage rock delivery and maybe you’ll catch my drift.

 

Obviously, ‘21st Century Rocks’ will be measured up against ‘One Man Gang’ as they literally come out within weeks of each other. Michael Monroe has an established career as a solo artist and has one of the best live bands in the business, and Andy is…well he’s just Andy McCoy, the guitar-slinging outlaw! Let’s not take anything away from either camp. Both are living legends that together produced some of the greatest albums in my record collection and influenced a whole generation of bands.

While they made magic together, they continue to do the same on their own terms. ‘21st Century Rocks’ is a testament to that, a surprise hit on many levels. Who’s for a UK tour then?

Buy 21st Century Rocks Here  (Finland)

Buy 21st Century Rocks Here (Amazon)

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

With summer fading fast its time to cwtch u to your stereo or however you currently listen to your music and check out the RPM Spotify Playlist to hear who are the movers and shakers at RPM Towers.  From the albums, we’ve reviewed and are reviewing and the shows we’re attending to the interviews we have coming up.  Here is a playlist to accompany your reading.

 

This month we feature the following bands who have new albums or are playing live shows.

Hollywood Brats, Andy McCoy, The Bar Stool Preachers, Cock Sparrer, Jim Jones and the Righteous Minds, Duff McKagan, Jesse Malin, Queen Zee, Subhumans, Black Star Riders, Strung Out, Dead Shed Jokers, Pardon Us, Paradise Alley, Dead Furies, The Chuck Norris Experiment, TSAR, New Model Army, Ginger Wildheart

First up is the Legend Andy McCoy with a video for ‘Seven Seas’ video taken from his soon to be released album

Second up is the return of Welsh Hard Rockers Forever Vendetta after a long lay off with a brand new track ‘Come Alive’.

Finally with a new album on the way Diamond Dogs release ‘Recall Rock and Roll’

Andy McCoy has set a date for the release of his brand new solo album and sets the time and place for the launch show –  Facebook. The Album titled ’21st Century Rocks’ is coming out on Ainoa Productions and can be pre ordered Here

New Andy McCoy single ‘Seven Seas’ was released on August 15th, 2019 (digital) and full album (CD and digital) September 25th, 2019. Vinyl release later in November. The Tracklist is ’21st Century Rocks’, ‘Undertow’, ‘Seven Seas’, ‘Batteram’, ‘Maria Maria’, ‘Bible And A Gun’, ‘The Hunger’, ‘Give A Minute Steal A Year’, ‘Love It Loud’ and ‘This Is Rock And Roll’.

Way back in the mists of time there were records that got released that a small collection of people went absolutely nuts over much to the bemusement of the rest of the population and still to this day some bands – records are the things of legend and that first Fallen Angels album can certainly be placed into that bracket somewhere near the top if you please.  Sharing the same management and having the stars align meant Knox could have what some (me included) to have the dream team rhythm section helping knock these tunes into shape that would eventually make up The ‘Fallen Angels’ album.  It originally surfaced early 84  after being recorded late 83.  Fallout records released it The band consisted of Knox, Sami Yaffa, Razzle, Nasty Suicide Knox cousin Richard Wernham (The Motors), Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy also guested on the recordings.

The sleeve notes are the same as those used on the CD reissue in 2006 but this RSD exclusive has an extra two tracks to that CD so don’t dismiss this out of hand because those of us who know – know right? Right!

Judging by the sleeve notes it was a bit of a riot recording this and those Hanoi boys had a ball as Sami testifies but lets not gloss over their efforts here because those kids could play and whilst they did like to indulge they were also extremely talented players and Knox knew this and with the rock and roll songs he’d written they would lend themselves perfectly to each other.  From the single ‘Inner Planet Love’ to the ‘Chinese Rocks’ of ‘Rain Rain Rain’ its blistering stuff.

What’s not to love about the snotty ‘Runaround’ and the magnificent ‘Amphetamine Blue’ probably the definitive version right here edging it due to Razzles sense of rhythm and his floor tom rolls having said that how he managed it with Yaffa and Nasty trying to put him off god only knows. The album proper finished with the melancholic ‘Vipers In The Dark’ with its acoustic strum which just about wrapped up an absolute 24 carrot album from the middle of the ’80s make no mistake about that and seeing as its celebrating its 35th year this year why not bring it back for more people to enjoy.

This version pulls in the singles and B sides over the two discs and to complete the set and make this the definitive copy it also has the 12″ version of ‘Inner Planet Love’ and the 7″ version of ‘Amphetamine Blue’ oh and it does come pressed on a couple of lovely coloured records.  Make this one you head straight for on RSD on forever kick yourself its a belter! The biggest shame is the line up never got to play these songs live now that would have been something.

Author: Dom Daley

Website: Here

Seeing as its the last roundup of 45’s in 2018 we check out some recently released singles as well as look forward to some about to hit the shelves of virtual stores (mainly) and gawp at some videos made.  here goes.

First off you might have gathered already here at RPM that there are bands we believe in wholeheartedly and right at the top of that list is without doubt shit islands darlings of the underground The Hip Priests.  They have a brand new album in the bag ready to unleash on us mear mortals early in 2019 and I’ve been reliably informed that it is going to blow us away so when they said they had a split recorded and ready for release how could we turn down a sneak peek at the masters of garage punk rock n fucking roll and their awesome new split featuring a pretty impressive Satanic Overlords.

The Hip Priests/The Satanic Overlords – Split (Gods Candy Records)

with their usual promised exclusive for the Spasm Gang issue this blindingly good EP kicks off with ‘Press Darlings’ and as far as I can hear its a profanity-free bundle of pure energy and a chorus that you will just want to shout back at Von Cruz when you catch them live.  The bulked-up duel guitar attack of Silent Mike and Austin Smith is a real force here and at a time when Shit Island is crying out for bands to rise up and rally, the Hip Priests are front – centre. I’d go over the top with these guys as long as ‘The Nihilist Twist’ was playing from the circling choppers.  Now its fair to say when they’ve done splits before they’ve not shied away from a challenge  as bands like the mighty Dwarves have accompanied them. I have to say these two songs from The Satanic Overlords give The Priests as close a run for their money than any predecessor has as their superb take on ‘Beat My Guest’ is a killer and the delivery is pure proto-punk that would raise an eyebrow from Handsome Dick if he were to hear this bad boy.

V8 Interceptor – Steamin (self Release) Well next up we have a video shot in a caravan.  Awesome? Fuckin’ right it is in a mobile home for God’s sake – enjoy

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Andy McCoy – Soul Satisfaction (Ainoa Productions Oy) 

Its been a while since we’ve had any new music from the most talented guitar slinger of a generation and it was this time last year when he released his one track Christmas single so this is a most welcome CD to emerge from Finland. My only complaint about this is a four-song CD single for the price of an album is a bit of a sting but on inspection the fourth track ‘Wild Kingdom’ is listed as being a non album track which would suggest that the sheriff has an album all wrapped up and ready to go which is exciting and by the sounds of these songs its certainly going to please the purists amongst us who want to hear the king of the six-string knock out something along the lines of ‘Too Much Too Soon’ or ‘Building On Tradition’ and not Grease Helmet. The lead track is a rocker with a whole bunch of that McCoy magic built around a rolling riff and a big groove with his unmistakable drawl capping off a fine tune.  Now ‘Gimme Time’ starts off with some super cool sax and then a gentle paced song that is a step in the right direction – great song! ‘Bible And A Gun’ is a honky-tonk romp as is the non album track of ‘Wild Talk’ plenty of bluster and a rollicking piano laying the foundation for McCoy to do his thing.  Welcome back Andy we’ve missed you now get this album done we need it! Facebook

CJ Ramone – Christmas Lullaby (Fat Wreck Chords) With a month full of big hitters CJ is in great company and with the first and only festive 45.  Two track one being a cover of The Kinks ‘Father Christmas’ and the other being the lead track ‘Christmas Lullaby’ being a classic Ramones lite Crimbo tune the only thing its missing is some sleigh bells oh wait, hang on – there they are.  Well done CJ for taking this on.  In a world that’s gone to shit and left fights right on every turn the festive tunes seem to have dried up until now.  Its warm and fuzzy and a little bit of festive fuzz from CJ.  His rework of the Kinks tune is more what you’d expect from a former Ramone bruda.

Purchase Details Here

 

Alvin Gibbs & the Disobedient Servants – Ghost Train (Time & Matter Records) An album that has really got us excited here at RPM is the soon to be released long player from UK Subs four stringer Alvin Gibbs.  Alvin has put together a two-track taster from the album in the shape of a traditional two-track seven-inch record with amazing artwork from Gaye Advert this features a plethora of special guests that would be a veritable whos who of punk rock n roll and on the one side you have the fantastic ‘Ghost Train’ which is Alvin looking at mortality because lets face it, none of us are getting any younger it sounds like the finest bit of punk rock n roll Iggy never wrote.  It would have fitted in on his Brick by Brick album with its meandering rhythm it’s a real grower that you’ll find yourself humming long after the song has finished.  Make some room for the flip side as ‘Clumbsy Fingers’ is spectacular and has Alvin’s motoring bass line that really attacks your core.  Now if Guns n Rose were to announce a new single and they played this on the radio there would be a collective wetting of gentlemen’s undercrackers and the magazines would be clamoring over themselves to tell you how good it is so with a bonkers solo from the one and only Brian James to boot it falls to me to tell you that if there are any left you really do need to pick one up – Pronto!  Buy Alvin Gibbs Here

Young Skulls – Bomb Train Blues’ (Slovenly Records) With a swirling organ and a frantic beat Young Skulls have got this garage punk rock n roll thing off to a tee and with the opener ‘Bomb Train Blues’ they scream and howl their way into my brain with relative ease because this is excellent.  Continuing the locomotive theme  (and I thought it was Christmas) on the B Side is a slower but none the less agressive menacing ‘We’re Gone’ its wreckless and exciting as it pounds towards its natural death They’re not fucking about here kids there are no festive jingle bells or chestnuts roasting on an open fire just raw vital garage punk rock.  check em out Bandcamp

 

 

The Troubled Bones – Broken Biscuits EP (Self Release) Its a longish story why its taken this one so long to get onto RPM but its here now and that’s all that counts.  Leading the way is the brooding slow burn of ‘Broken Biscuits’ with its hand jive rhythm it’s walking a path previously trodden (more recently) by the likes of Jim Jones and at times the Urban Voodoo Machine Trouble Bones understands what it takes to make good music and do it with aplomb. With their roots in a blues-based voodoo swamp rock thang, there are traces of the Cramps in this and ‘Ma Cherie’ is a great number with its waft of European chic there is a certain Joie de vivre to proceedings and a most enjoyable EP it is too.  Check out them Troubled Bones at the link and tell em RPM sent you  facebook

 

Ditchbanger Demos (Self Release) I daren’t not give these gents a few words after contacting us as one look of their artwork it could be my ditch they’re diggin’. Coming out of the big smoke this three-piece aren’t fucking about with a thrashing punk rock n roll that isn’t taking any prisoners and from the off ‘Light A Fire (Under YOur Ass) is like the classic Uncle Sam heaven or Hollywood album in delivery.  Sure its a demo but who gives a fuck eh? I like it – I like it a lot and it might be the heartwarming sound of three mates kicking out the jams and being their own biggest fans its a beautiful thing. ‘Moosehead’ is like old school speedrock just like Zeke and before you can blink its gone but fear not because they save the best til last and ‘Pure Hell’ is unleashed.  Great stuff look forward to hearing what’s coming next. Bandcamp

 

How about a video to break things up a little?   Well, you’re getting it anyway.  here goes…Radar State with ‘Strays’ from their soon to be released long player coming out in January 2019

 

The Blankz – (Its A) Breakdown (Slope Records) Power Poppin’ punk rockin’ this is a great tune from Arizonians its got a huge new wave synth right through its DNA its gonna’ make you pogo pogo from start to finish with its simple lyrics especially on the B Side ‘You’re Not My Friend Anymore’ its happy go lucky but I’ll be friends with The Blankz if they’re asking they play music I love and do it oh so well and a band that will certainly be on the RPM radar from now on. Simpe no fuss punk rock new wave – love it! Bandcamp

 

 

 

Baby Blue / Triple Junk  – ‘Rock N Roll Or What?’ I always love it when a record crops up and I don’t know why or how it got to circle my orbit and stick around but I am grateful it has and this certainly fits that category. Hailing from Tokyo Baby Blue deliver power pop goodness in the shape of two tracks with the first being a straight-ahead rocker in the shape of ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Sorry’ with a great hook on the chorus whilst the second offering is a more laid back ‘I Can’t Let You Go’ a classic slower number that’ll let you wave your lighters in the air whilst slow dancing.  flip it over and Triple Junk turn up the amps with the perfect accompaniment.  Playing classic power pop and playing it really well. ‘Tax’ being the pick of the two it reminds me of The Breakdowns and Classic Cheap trick now there’s big shoes to fill. Bandcamp

 

Well, that’s your starting eleven for the festive campaign. Some to get excited over and some to hunt down but hopefully, I’ve made it easier for you to find your new favourite band so click on the links and check em out see you all in 2019 keep it RPM for all your 45’s.

 

 

I like it when a band takes its time to get the album they want but we all giggled when Axl took however long to knock out a guns n Roses album well Johnny Seven don’t like to rush a record release either but these punk rockers took forty years! Yup, I did say Forty Four Zero.  Don’t giggle at the back it’s true. Anyway its here now the format might be different to what was originally envisaged but times change and so do lineups.

 

you might well ask yourself what this Teeside foursome are all about well, let me tell you they clearly have a collective ear for a decent tune and I’m pretty sure judging by the songs they wrote we’d share a lot of similarities in our record collections.  One thing they got spot on is when they declared you can’t escape Rock and Roll and that spot on as is this tune.  It’s sloppy – it’s rough and ready – its got a great guitar sound and I love a good gang sing-a-long chorus and ‘Can’t Escape’ has certainly got that. ‘LSD’ is a rolling riff borrowed (or Stolen) and the lyrics show the band has a sense of humour and a rollicking interlude between the more serious elements of Rock and Roll. Don’t do drugs kids they’re bad for you.

‘In Detroit’ they give the Wah Wah a good work out and rattle through Motor City Nice n sleazy does it boys nice n sleazy. They turn the clock back for a sid style romp through ‘Burning Love’ I wouldn’t say its rubbish because its not but if you want to pop the kettle on nows your chance.  I’m not sure this record needed a cover smack bang in the middle to be honest because they were going so well with their own material. ‘Pumping The Pop’ is more like it.  snot ‘n’ sweat flying everywhere as the band get trashy not a million miles from The DeRellas here or the Babysitters when they weren’t singing about trembly noses. and the guitar and handclaps remind me of Hanoi when they were doing the duck and the guitar lick isn’t a million miles away from ‘Shakes’ so I was always going to like this one.

There’s a reckless edge to ‘Car Crash Girls’ and I like it it sounds spontaneous and at any point could fall or stumble over and Rock and Roll needs that sometimes it keeps proceedings exciting which is where we head as the album moves towards its conclusion.  ‘Skinheads’ is a wonderful stomping slice of glam pop in the same snotty vein as The Boys, great melody and a great look back. Finally, we reach the end of what has been a really good record and one I have enjoyed and ‘Hang Loose’ takes this bad boy home with another sleazy rocker that kinda pulls all the previous influences together for one last hurrah as the band goes over the top and into battle once more.

I spose like busses the follow up will be right behind this one dyou think someone should tell the band that Blakey won’t be collecting the fares on it though? Forty years for fucks sake but like a good wine it’s finally reached maturity and its ready to be enjoyed and I certainly did that.

Buy The Album Here

Author: Dom Daley

 

On a typical rainy afternoon in South Wales the phone rings and on the other end of the line is a buoyant and happy Alvin Gibbs – he being the mighty four stringer from the parish of UK Subversives and former bass player in Iggy Pop’s band, Cheap and Nasty as well as one or two other projects we might get to cover.
The reason for the call is Alvin has just completed his debut solo record and if the first two songs are the yardstick of what’s to come then this might just be an amazing time to jump on the Alvin Gibbs Ghost train and pull up a seat and let the man tell you in his own words what he’s been up to and what he’s about to embark on. Alvin…
Let’s get straight into it and begin with an obvious question, why has it taken until now to write and record a solo album Alvin?
Mmmm, yeah you’re right it has taken quite a while to get to this point. For quite a while people have suggested it to me usually because they like the songs I’ve written and sung on the Subs records as well as others, including Charlie I might add he always said: “hey Alvin – you should record a solo album with all these songs you’re writing”. But my attitude for a long time was – oh it smacks of self-indulgence and vanity you know? Besides I’m in the Subs and I’ve got an outlet there for my songs and I sing the odd song so why would I do that.
Then there’s this guy Christos who’s become a very good friend over the years who’s from Poland and does the European tours with us and as I say I’ve known him for a very long time. When we tour over there he says don’t travel with the band I’ll drive you and we can chat about business and such like. Anyway every year he’s like you’ve got to do this solo album Alvin so many people like your songs you’ve just got to do it and so I’ve been thinking about it and – well, maybe it’s doable and maybe this is the right time and for me to not think its a vanity project but something worthwhile. So I spoke to Time & Matter (Rob & Mark) and they said they’d love to do it. They put the money up and I wrote the songs. It’s been a really interesting process. Obviously, it’s something I’ve never done before and I didn’t realise how much work there is involved in all the other side of releasing a record but when it’s all on your own shoulders you know you’re forced to face all of that. But I must say I’m really, really pleased with the results.

I was going to ask if there is possibly a different mindset or approach to making your own album as opposed to one with the Subs. Are you conscious not to over analyze things like the songs….who plays on what and the process of it all?
I think it’s been liberating in a way as I’ve not been worried about writing in a certain way or style. You’re writing for yourself you know so I’m not tailoring it for the UK Subs. It enables me to write songs I wouldn’t bring to the subs so yeah it’s allowed me to have a diverse range which I hope people will like. There’s a dark almost Nick Cave style song and some that would be the opposite side of the spectrum more in a style like the New York Dolls. So yeah it’s been a great process and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a lot of hard work – to be fair just writing twelve songs and giving you that pressure.

Do you write all the time Alvin? Do you sort of stockpile tracks you think might work for this or that project?
There has been a pressure to this but I kind of work better that way I think. Having said that I quite often pick up a guitar and start to play things that have popped into my head……It’s funny how things come to you if you hold a guitar long enough and start playing and you think oh, that sounds good. What I tend to do then is record it onto my phone. So when I started on this project I had a look at what’s on my phone and there were maybe five or six song ideas that were there – maybe a riff or progression of chords. Then there was that pressure of the need to write for the album which I quite enjoyed. There were a couple I had that ended up not being good enough but you know it’s funny there are ones you think won’t be good enough initially but once you start recording them and adding the other instruments they take on a certain form, change shape and sometimes go pow! They come alive and can be the best tracks. It was different but it was all enjoyable.

Do you find that when you’ve written a song you also start to piece together who you’d like to play on the track? I’ve heard some of the songs off the album and you have Brian (James) playing on ‘Clumsy Fingers’ was his name instantly lending itself to that track?
Maybe not when I first wrote it but after I’d recorded it in a basic way and Jamie (Oliver) played drums and I’d laid down a rhythm guitar (which I do for all the songs on the album) and the guide vocal was on there I then began to think “Who would I like to get to play on that” and ‘Clumsy Finger’ was kind of obvious for Brian because instantly it was his sort of thing. Brian loves his rock music and that’s kind of a straight-ahead ballsy rock song and suited his thing down to the ground but there are other songs, for instance – a song called ‘I’m not crying now’ which has a more swing Blues thing about it. And of course, Mick Rossi was the one for the Dolls or Stones rocker. So yeah, maybe not when I initially wrote them but once they were fleshed out and I needed to think about it there were obvious choices that certainly sprang to mind. I produced this with Steve (Godfathers) at his home studio and he’s a great guitar player. I’d ask him to have a go at this one and he was great to have around for that because he’s a great player. There were others I’d have loved to ask to play, but for one reason or another timing or whatever couldn’t get it done. People like Captain Sensible but everyone seems so busy doing other things and it would go on forever if you waited so some were not possible. There has to be a cut off there’s only so much time.

One of my questions was about that and obviously with unavailability was there anyone you have on hold for a follow-up?
Well, yeah let’s see how this does commercially I wouldn’t want to get ahead of myself never say never I obviously want to see how this goes but it’s been great so far. So far so good the reviews of the single have been great and people seem really enthusiastic which is really humbling and we’ve almost sold the entire first press on pre-order which is amazing and encouraging. So if the album does well or as well as some people have said it will, I might well be encouraged to do it all again yeah ha ha! But I’m certainly going to put a band around it.

For live shows….any idea who you’d have in the band?
I’ve kind of got a core of the band along with myself there’s Jamie. Jamie wants to do it. I did say you’re in the Subs, you have your own band you play with other people as well haha but he said he’d find the time and wants to do it. Tony Feedback is a friend of mine and he’s going to do it and I’d like to get some guests like Leigh (The Ruts) who also plays on the album….get him to jump up and play a few songs. James Stevenson (Chelsea, The Alarm, Gene Loves Jezebel) as well as maybe two or three other guests to get up and play which will also make it more of an interesting experience you know….

Does it help to have a good address book then?
Yeah, it does haha. I think it gives it some authenticity as well pulling in people who have their own audience. Maybe people who like them might not gravitate towards it on their own might see that this one is on there so might check it out.

I’m happy to admit that when I first heard the single I was expecting it to be good but I was blown away by how exciting it sounded…you really captured a moment in there its really energetic and vibrant and from the floor toms and bass its really going for it.
Thank you, I really appreciate that but in all honesty, there are better songs on the album in my opinion and I appreciate that you’ve not heard it all yet. We had to decide on a couple of songs for a single and in fact, there were two songs that hadn’t even been recorded when we were met with that deadline. Rob and Mark needed to get moving in order for us to meet our set deadline so we went with those two. I think there are at least four songs on there that could have been singles and there could still be a second single later from this album – I’m glad you get them and like them.
Lee (Ruts) plays some lovely intricate stuff on ‘Ghost Train’ and it really helps. Brian’s bonkers work on the single really helps and gives it some character.

I’m sure as a fan – I can honestly say that people will be blown away when they hear these songs and if this is an indication of the quality then I’m excited. As a fan of your work with Cheap & Nasty, I think there will be fans who aren’t Subs fans who will love this.
In fact, as you mention that era Timo plays on this album as well. I was really pleased I got him to play on this album as well you know, people will maybe be familiar with his work with Johnny Thunders as well. It’s nice that there are elements from throughout my career on this record back through Cheap & Nasty and other influences right the way back. There is some Stonesy stuff on this as well as the Iggy influence – it’s a nice balance. It’s great to hear that you like it – thank you.

Let’s move onto the lyrics for the album. I’ve told you before when we’ve met that ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ is exceptional and I really mean it when I say it’s up there with the best books of its kind Like Ian Hunters ‘Rock And Roll Star. The way you write flows, its really engaging and the reader feels like they’re on the road with you. So did you enjoy writing the lyrics for the songs as opposed to writing for a book?
Yes, I like writing. Been doing my memoirs for T&M and I’ve really enjoyed it – I only wished I had more time but I’m so busy with the Subs and now, of course, this solo record. I do enjoy writing lyrics and prose. I like the process I enjoy telling stories and recounting things. For me, I’ve always liked the confessional lyrics. It’s funny now I’m 60 (its hard to believe but it’s true) I’ve noticed that actually on this album there are a fair few songs dealing with the issue of mortality. Obviously, when you reach 60 you kinda go oh hang on a minute haha its like there isn’t a large amount of time with which you have left to do things. That’s another of the reasons to be fair why I’m doing this now is if I don’t get this done now it’s never going to happen. I do like to think about using my time wisely whilst I still can and all that sort of thing. It’s a natural consequence of aging I suppose.

I love listening to lyrics and trying to work out who or what they are about and going back over some of your songs and reading ‘Some Weird Sin’ I had a light bulb moment that Midnight Emperor was about Andy McCoy and the tour of Japan…
Oh yeah, that was awful. The label had these guys to show us around and stuff.
Like ‘Ghost Train’ deals with mortality and what you were saying just now…
Yeah, it’s a dual meaning really mortality and were born – using it as a metaphor, then we’re on this journey where the inevitability is this train has the same final destination for us all. The other side of it is the frightening political situations everywhere at the moment. People like Trump and Putin these guys are leading us all through scary times with the decisions they make and there doesn’t seem like there is anything we can do. We’re on the ghost train just riding along and hoping that things don’t get worse and we don’t end up heading down the same roads as the 1930’s. Democracy can be overtaken by something more sinister and dark – or maybe its just me being paranoid…

You’re definitely not alone in thinking that…
Oh good, I’m glad of that haha! But I do think people should be aware that a government can send people to another country and just kill people for speaking out……scary stuff.

With regards to your writing have you always kept diaries?
Yes, obviously it’s been a very important tool for me. I’ve got quite a good memory as well – it’s funny, sometimes I write something and I cross-reference it with my diary and wonder how I remembered it like that. It’s good to keep and they’ve been really useful. On that Iggy tour, I did a page – page and a half every day. I can fact check my past but at times it’s been really useful. I’m sure if Andy (McCoy) was to write a book about that tour it would be very different from mine…..

His Autobiography was certainly an unusual read haha!
He had a bit of a pop at me but I didn’t make him out to be the devil…it’s sad that guy could have had an amazing career he’s such a talent. He could be up there with the great players but ego and other things sadly got in the way…

So he wasn’t a name you looked up to call to contribute to this album then?
Ha, ha no, no…He’d have demanded an expensive hotel in London, a limo from the hotel to studio, first-class travel he’d then disappear and probably end up not doing anything (Ha ha ha ) and blow the budget haha…..But to answer the question it’s fair to say I wouldn’t work with Andy in any capacity haha I actually did a bit of digging for the updated Iggy book and was putting together what people had been doing since and with Andy it was a couple of singles since Hanoi reformed (
and one LP Greese Helmet) in well over a decade…

He did do Big Brother in Finland I believe…
Oh did he…ha ha ha!

Anyway getting back on track… When you tour the album – you mentioned live dates. Will it be a UK Subs like tour or something more scaled down?
It would probably be two or three dates maybe some festival dates next year maybe Rebellion so that would be good. Some of the people I’d have as guests would probably be there as well with their other bands so that would be something to look at.

That must be a great feeling playing Rebellion with the Subs, knowing stuff like this year you were the only band to reach capacity in the Empress and have the situation of ‘one out – one in’ over the whole four days which is some achievement by anyone’s standard.
Yes that’s wonderful, it’s wonderful that people like the band so much, it’s a really productive time for us
As a fan of a certain age, the output from you guys over the last decade has been the best for me you just seem to be getting better and better. From ‘Work In Progress’ to the single and this EP we’ve never had it so good as Subs fans…..
I think part of it was when Charlie was in sole control he just wanted to play and stuff and maybe there wasn’t so much quality control…..things were rushed and when I came back and Jamie and Jet as well, when it became a proper band again, we said we had to do it properly or not at all

Was that around the time just prior to work in progress?
Yeah, yeah, it really gave the band a boost and slowly we built it up again to where we are now. This might well be the best it’s ever been in terms of sales and shows. There were some funny times – looking back to the 90’s I can remember Charlie phoning me up one weekend and he would go “Alvin its Charlie. Got a couple of gigs would you mind filling in on bass” and I’d go yes sure no problem. Then he’d go ones in Newcastle then the next night we’re in Exeter and it wouldn’t make any sense. Then he’d have me at his house at 1 o’clock on the day and I’d get to his flat, he’d let me in and he’d say I’m just on the phone. I could hear him pondering and the phone would go down. Then he’d pick it up again and I’d hear him ask someone hi it’s Charlie you haven’t got a van we could use have you? The day of the show ha, ha and he’s only just thought of booking a van! I seem to remember we ended up catching a train with our instruments and using the support bands amps. Another time that comes to mind was a show in Nottingham where we turned up at the venue and I turned to Charlie and asked him where’s the drummer? And Charlie looks at me and says “I thought I’d forgotten something” he’d only forgotten to sort out a drummer! Then he went on stage and asked if anyone in the audience was a drummer who knows our songs. Ha, ha can you imagine it, ha, ha, it was so embarrassing. Those days thankfully are over.
When Charlie’s in charge these things happen…..Charlie’s been writing his book for about 15 years and a few years ago I went up to him for a joke and said Hey Charlie, how’s yer book going? And his reply was – oh not bad I’m up til I’m eight years old. So fifteen years and he’s only got til eight years old haha! He did ask me to write it with him but we’ve just not got the time.

That’s another thing maybe people don’t know about you, Alvin. Where the hell did you find the time to get your BA Hons in History?
Well yeah, that’s another thing I did that was pretty stupid ha, ha. The short answer is I don’t know where I got the time from. But there you go I did and I got a 2:1 which I’m happy with. I found myself doing it on fire escapes, backstage, vans traveling places. I had to come back to the UK every year for an exam and do you know…..I really, really enjoyed it. It was such a great experience and an immense sense of satisfaction going to the Barbican to collect my scroll. I love history and feel I learned so much doing that…..its one of the best things I’ve done in my life and would recommend it to anybody. It’s something I was enthusiastic about and got into it on a much deeper level. Other things it taught me was with history it’s about analysis and reading between the lines and not take things for granted, critical thinking and such likes Things that have been good for me in general in life.
I think it’s not such a shocking thing it’s all about being creative with history and music things tend to lend themselves it’s not all about clichés. Look at me I live over here in France…I love the culture, the wine is lovely and a lifestyle I couldn’t afford in the UK. It’s totally different to what people perceive. You know I expect they think I should have an anarchy sign painted on the wall and pictures of punks and not art or antiques. I don’t know what people would expect ha, ha. Don’t play to the cliché I say.

It was there I let Mr. Gibbs get about his business. It was a pleasure to talk to someone so articulate and happy with his achievements and excited about what’s on the horizon. Click the links to read Alvin’s memoirs Time & Matter, pick up a copy of his stunning album and if you can still get hold of a copy….I can’t recommend his tour diary from that Instinct tour enough ‘Some Weird Sin’….An incredible book by one of Rock and Roll’s finest – Alvin Gibbs – legend.

Alvin’s solo album will be available via Time & Matter music.  Other retailers will also stock it if not just ask them

Buy UK Subs Here

Alvin’s Memoirs

Pictures courtesy of Time & Matter/Timo Kaltio/Johnny Hayward

Every now and then somebody or somebodies come along and shape the person you are through their music.  One such larger than life character in Rock ‘n’ Roll who certainly had it all to offer and the potential to be one of the greats.  Born on this day back in 1962 Antti Hulkko was his name you and I would probably know him as Andy McCoy (The Cosmic Ted).  A man who had style, individuality and an abundance of talent as well as penning some of my favourite songs ever whether he realised that potential is another question for another time.

Here at RPM we’d like to wish Andy McCoy a happy birthday and whilst we haven’t baked him a cake nor have we got him a gift we have however got a few links for you to share the love and maybe watch a video of his unique talent and ability.

 

Many happy returns Mr. McCoy hows about a rock n roll album someday soon?

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