Forty years into his career as the number one 4-string plank spanker on the UK punk rock scene you can perhaps forgive Alvin Gibbs the “self indulgence” (his words, not mine) of a solo record. I mean he’s worked with some of the biggest names on the scene during that time, plus he’s also penned some absolutely amazing songs along the way too… and the musician’s modesty aside, I for one was straight out the blocks to order my copy when the pre-order for ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ went live on the T&M Records website just after Xmas. So, why all the rush of anticipation I hear you ask?

Well, the best place to start is with the guest list of musicians that Alvin has assembled to help him make this record. It reads like a veritable who’s who drawn from his expansive career and boasts the likes of Brian James, Mick Rossi, Timo Kaltio and James Stevenson amongst the names eager to offer up their services as Disobedient Servants. It was only the name of Iggy Pop that for me was the real glaring omission, but then when I first got to hear ‘Ghost Train’ the lead single from the album, I had to double-take. Could my jug-likes be deceiving me? That is surely Iggy crooning his way through this belting ‘Instinct’ like rocker, but no…it’s actually Alvin Gibbs, and what a great voice he has too. ‘Clumsy Fingers’ the flipside of that mega limited and long since sold out 7” also proved to be a fun time piece of Iggy influenced garage punk, and these two tracks alone were enough to convince me that this was certainly no vanity project and Alvin Gibbs was possibly about to do a Keef and release a solo album fans of his day job band would be clambering to hear too.

With Alvin having also released one of the best books about being in a rock ‘n’ roll band, the awesome ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ (recently re-released as ‘Some Weird Sin’) written about his time spent playing bass for Iggy Pop. It kinda feels eu natural for ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ to kick off with ‘Arterial Pressure’ a (just shy of 2 minutes long) barnstormer of a track written about how Alvin got to know Joey Ramone through Mr Osterberg.

Next up is the aforementioned ‘Ghost Train’ which here perfectly segues into the equally Iggy -like strut of ‘Dumb’, and right here we have as near a perfect opening 1-2-3 to any album I’ve heard in many a long year. Seriously folks if these tracks were on a new Iggy record the mainstream music media would be spunking their chinos over them.

‘Camden Gigolo’ takes things down an anthemic gear or two before ‘Clumsy Fingers’ speeds off in a frenzy of glam tinged punk rock guitar complete with few week’s road dirt under those nails.

Not unlike Glen Matlock’s excellent ‘Good To Go’ album from the tail end of 2018, where ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ really excels is when it throws you a curveball and in side one closer ‘Heaven And The Angels’ Alvin delivers a menacing slice of southern fried psycho-drama that challenges the listener with each new listen twisting and turning itself into your very soul.

Flipping the record over and side two kicks off with perhaps the most UK Subs like track on ‘Your Disobedient Servant’, the riotous ‘Back To Mayhem’ a track that simply fizzes with raw energy, that’s before the more subtle slide driven ‘Polemic’ takes you on a fascinating trip through what influenced Alvin to get into the music business in the first place.

It’s here that for me the LP flips from the overarching influences of Iggy and garage punk to that of one drawn from the likes of Mott and Bowie with ‘No!’ hinting at latter day Hunter and ‘Desperate Dave Is Dead’ doffing its baker boy cap to one of the young dudes passed all to soon. ‘I’m Not Crying Now’ too has more than just a little bit of cracked acting going on within its grooves, whilst album closer ‘Deep As Our Skin’ hints at just how great Cheap And Nasty might have been if Alvin had been given more a role in front of the microphone.

Having been lucky enough to get a good few preview listens of ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ the immediate thing that leapt out at me was just how much this sounds like a band, not a solo record. So kudos indeed to the real heartbeat of The Disobedient Servants; guitarist Steve Crittall, drummer Jamie Oliver and of course Alvin himself for making this one hell of a riotous rock ‘n’ roll record….and one I just can’t wait to get my finished vinyl copy of.

As I mentioned in the intro to this review ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ is available to pre-order right now via T&M Records on LP/CD and via Bandcamp for the download (the links are below). If you are after the LP/CD combo you best make sure you snap one up sharpish as when those red and white splatter babies are gone they really will be gone. So, trust me when I say, ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ is one record you really do not want to be without.

 

Buy It Here

Bandcamp

Author:Johnny Hayward

“October The trees are stripped bare of all they wear but what do I care”

October

We’re building up a head of steam as RPM goes live and one of the first thing Craggy does is pick up the cowpunk noisemakers Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and their ‘Poor Until Payday’ album (Oh yeah the one he didn’t review) That aside October saw Fraser jet off to warmer climates before chasing the Damned around the country and flying to Holland for Helldorado.  But more of that later.

Several of us bought ‘Speed’ no not the drug but the fantastic new album from Swedish action rockers Scumbag Millionaires it is a thoroughbred non-stop wall of noise a turbocharged ride of exciting punked up Rock n Fuckin’ Roll and it deservedly got a rave review round here.

Whilst we’re on the subject of new records it seemed pretty much everyone picked up a copy of the Primal Scream ‘Memphis Recordings’ and most scratched their heads wondering how the band ditched these swinging versions for the more straight rock versions that made the commercial release but we’re glad it did see the light of day that’s for sure.

Bringing up exciting new bands a promo for ‘You Say I’m Too Much’ by Estrons flew into our emails and proceeded to work its way around the review team as those that did hear it wanted to review it but the one pulling the lucky straw was Johnny Hayward who rushed out and picked up a copy and a ticket to see them live on the strength of the record that blew him away.  One of the reasons why we do this is because we are music fans and discovering new bands and albums still gives us a buzz when it happens and especially when it’s this good.Certainly a potential album of the year right there.

Other notable releases this month were the magnificent Virginmarys ‘Northern Sun Sessions’ and ‘Master Volume’ from the Dirty Nil. We also got stuck into a couple of fantastic interviews – firstly Gerald got Tyla to sit down long enough to tell us all about his new album as well as more in-depth responses to some burning questions Gerald wanted to ask someone he greatly admired it was the perfect time to get the exclusive lowdown on the new ‘In Vino Veritas‘ album that was due out in November which we were lucky enough to review first I do believe. As it goes Gerald also picked up the honour of reviewing that to which he gave it a glowing report and one that will certainly be near the top of his end of year list for best album.

Another album we got to review first and another that would easily be a contender for album of the year and that’s the debut solo album from Role Model frontman Rich Ragany.  ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’ is a beautiful, skillful master class in songwriting and showed another side to the guy we call Rags and we were the first to ask the question of how this guy isn’t everywhere? How he’s not on the cover of music mags? Seriously it’s a weird business sometimes but we get it and so do others such has been the response from people who’ve taken the time to sit down and listen. Anyway, Released via pledge it gets its CD birth in the new year with a release show that will sell out fast and it has a supporting cast that makes me blush thinking how good it’s going to be and RPM will be there too.


I also got to interview one of my favourite players the one and only Alvin Gibbs.  We chatted about his forthcoming album as well as his time with Iggy and Cheap and Nasty and found out about Alvin having a degree in History which isn’t something most musical artists can boast as well as a few choice stories about his love of the Subs as well as his book Neighbourhood threat (now entitled ‘Some Weird Sin’) having a makeover with a new chapter  and title and a book I can’t recommend highly enough.  It really is one of the finest books about touring and being in a band out there and absolutely captivating read and one you won’t want to put down.

Also if that wasn’t enough we also got the lowdown on The Hip Priests new album and it was exclusively revealed that the new album that’ll hit the shops in the new year will be called…Nah click the link and read it yourself.  As well as the new album we spoke about playing in a band on shit island and about the expansion to a five-piece.

 

We could go on and on about all the great records released in October this year but we’d run out of time and we need to review the live shows we took in. So Fraser made sure I mentioned his Kiss Kruise and the fact that he finally got to meet Vinnie Vincent but knowing the kiss set up I can’t see if its Vinnie or if he sent his mother instead with a note explaining.

There were so many shows in October Johnny went gig crazy taking in a diverse range of genres from the Canadian thrash-punks Voivod who RRRRooooared into Cardiff and put on a fantastic display then he headed East to Newport Rock City when he spent a rather splendid evening with Ancient Shapes where he declared the evening to be such a success that it was one of the best gigs he’d been to all year and the only thing missing was the sold out sign on the door. 

We also took in Classic rock when Leigh Fuge went to the Tramshed to see Glen Hughes where he was suitably impressed whilst Nev went across the river to see the finest in Americana done acoustically by none other than Chuck Prophet who was supported on the night by Jesse Malin a firm favourite of the team here. It was certainly all happening out West meanwhile in old London town Armitage happened upon a show where The Dirty Strangers followed a magnificent performance by Rich Ragany and the digressions but The headliners from Los Angeles The Brutalists made it a memorable evenings entertainment guvnor.

Sadly October wasn’t all wine and roses as we got the news that Biters were going on an indefinite Hiatus but Tuk later revealed he was heading into the studio to record a solo album which we look forward to in 2019. however, the real tragedy unfolded in California as the news swept social media that Our friend and incredible musician Todd (Youth) Schofield lost his life.  It was one of those news stories you hoped was fake news and just an internet trolls mischief but it was later confirmed by his good friend Skye Vaughan-Jayne.  Todd will be really missed by a lot of people most notably his daughters and close friends.  Todd was a gent we had the pleasure of meeting several times when he toured the UK as part of Jesse Malin’s band and also when out with Chelsea Smiles. When Johnny was the head honcho at Uber Rock he had the pleasure of interviewing the guy who was very supportive of an alternative website championing rock n roll and for all the records he played on we salute you, Mr Youth, you will never be forgotten.

Before the month was out we still found time to review some fine records most notably Martins breakdown of the new Nicotine Pretty EP ‘Real Life Glories’ whilst Dom forensically picked through the charred remains of Deathtraps ‘Gotta Get Some’ and I even managed to take in a couple of their live shows where the songs came to life and were subsequently throttled to death through the medium of  garage punk rock n roll it wasn’t pretty but I liked it – no I fuckin’ loved it! – great stuff!

Gerald flew in his Prophets Of Addiction album review which again impressed us at HQ whilst Ben was mightily Impressed with King Brothers and their wild Garage beats. There was even time for Jeff Dahl to drop by with a new mini album in tow which he recorded in Sweden with the excellent Demons.  It was next month when I got to put some questions about his work and plans.

 

 

Dom Daley.

Originally recorded for radio broadcast this show has had the speed corrected and has been officially licensed from Iggy for release both on Vinyl and CD.  Now those of you familiar with the releases of Easy Action will be well aware of their catalogue and the fact they seem to have a Tony Robinson like leave no stone unturned pursuit of certain artists and amazing and interesting recordings and Iggy Pop is certainly one of those artists.  With an incredible history, The Ig has left scorch marks wherever he’s been and with whoever was playing in his band at that time.  Sure he had some forgetful shows but man did he have more than a fair share of memorable ones.

A week-long residency in one of Detroit rock city’s most famous venues saw Iggy and his band knock it right out of the park with a hypnotic, chaotic and utterly compelling set of classics that absolutely personified everything that is exciting and captivating in music.  From the opening howls of ‘Raw Power’ this performance sounds unhinged as Iggy tells his mom he’s on the radio before crashing into some of the most vital songs ever written by anyone, anywhere.

There is no let up in proceedings as the players who made the touring band also included Ivan Kral who played on the studio album (‘Soldier’) that preceded these tour dates. Iggy always demands every last drop of sweat from his bands and this lot really had the bit between their teeth as they hurtled along( as this show really testifies).  It’s not the classic Iggy that I love about this set (Even though I do) its the lesser known songs the ones like ‘Dog Food’, ‘Puppet World’ the brilliant ‘Knockin’ em Down (In The City)’ this actually sounds like the template used by the likes of Andy McCoy which makes sense as to why he later ended up in Iggy’s band. These are the songs that make this a must hear recording.

After the incredible thunderstorm of the first eight songs, it’s the ten-minute jam of ‘One For My Baby’ where Iggy pleads and begs the audience to shut up so he can croon but c’mon man what do you expect? these kids were hypnotized by the music and then, the audience is asked to move back and chill out. As the audience can be heard calling out during his “Soft Song” brilliant! He does make it to the end – eventually.

As he heads into the home straight all sense is thrown out the window as ‘Search And Destroy’ signals pandamonium no doubt.  ‘Funtime’ has a filthy bass line and then Iggy does his best Bono and gets a girl up to dance as ‘Nightclubbing’ plays out. The album is then closed off with the funky ‘I’m Alright’.  Again Easy Action delivers another compelling Iggy Pop live concert.

Easy Action

First 100 copies will include A4 Poster, Postcard and sticker set

Gatefold sleeve with printed inner bags

Unseen photos from the actual concert by Sue Rynski and audience members

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