Hey Stevie, good to Speak with you, where do we find you today?
Between the earth and sky, minding my own business. And that’s all right…
For the uninitiated, tell us a little about yourself, you look awfully familiar…
Yeah I’ve heard that before – one of those faces people seem to know but not totally sure where from! Well, I guess originally going back some years, I had a band called Young Lust – we opened for a bunch of people including Enuff Z Nuff (my favourite band!) who took us on our first large UK tour…which kind of made my face a bit more familiar. It opened up a lot of venues and all that. I went on from that to the Black Bullets – which opened us up to the dirty, semi-underground punk, rock’n’roll movement in this country, toured with the Hip Priests (also my favourite band!) and learned a lot about “hard work and not giving any fu**s”. After that minor meltdown I actually intended to take some time out – but having toured with Falling Red in Europe prior to that, Dave Sanders asked me to join the band for a tour of Scandinavia and Europe – which I did.
Upon my return Dave joined what would be the beginning of the Hooligans – he drummed on the first Hooligans record and did an astounding job. He recorded all the tracks with no guide track…at all..we went and did 3 dates up north and the night I played Bannermans I ended up sharing the band flat with Kory Clarke…which was as hardcore and as much fun as you would expect! I guess he liked what he saw – 3 days later I joined Warrior Soul, which was a band I grew up listening to. For the next 3 years he took me all over Europe, to the States, just about anywhere that would have us. Meanwhile, I completed my first solo album, and not long after I’d left Warrior Soul, I got a call from Christian Kimmett telling me Jizzy apparently needed a guitar player…and it’s been nuts with him ever since, huge tours and a lot of travel! I feel lucky and honoured to play for him – again another band I grew up listening to and reading about. My first solo album came out in 2018 – I think it took some people by surprise…but I’m telling you it ain’t a patch on Major League Son Of a Bitch!
So that kinda brings us up to date.. and why I’m maybe semi-familiar – or it could just be because of my cat…who knows or cares! I can honestly say that 80% of what I do is down to something way beyond me…Jizzy calls them the “rock gods”…who knows!
Tell us about the new album, Major League Son of a Bitch, a little about the writing and recording process and where does the title come from?
Major League is my best work so far. The first album was kind of patched together with songs I’d had for years, but never got round to recording them…it was a way of drawing a line under all the old stuff I’d done. The recording process was disjointed, some of it was done from home, in various studios but fortunately, I had a connection to Dave Draper (The Wildhearts / Professionals) who mixed and mastered it.
Major League is the result of my new material, by working solely with Carl Donoghue on drums the way I’ve always worked best: I have ideas and we thrash them out and pretty much everything turns into something – he’s got an ace structuring mind. It’s how I’ve always operated in the early days through the Bullets etc. This time though I recorded the whole thing with Dave Draper, and he produced it – it was kind of a wild time for me personally, I perhaps wasn’t in the greatest of states, haha…but he got the best out of me and the songs. I was lucky enough to get Jizzy to sing the title track – and worked with CoCoa Cvrino on “Flesh Wound”. He’s been a friend for a long time – a spoken-word poet – he has an interesting view on the world – so to incorporate that kind of art was amazing. It takes the album off on a right different tangent. I also worked with a beautiful piano player on “If I Were Blind” called Dan Leese, again something very different and unexpected. My influences are so eclectic and varied, it’s what I love hearing on an album so hopefully, I’ve created something similar. It’s not ‘rock by numbers’ where every song sounds the same, that’s for sure. Everything I write about is what I’ve seen happen or has happened to me…I’m not very good at making up stuff that isn’t real. Apart from alibis…
The album title comes from a scene in “Toast of London” – the Matt Berry Comedy – it’s one of my favourites and unbelievably funny. “Don’t treat me like I’m a major league son of a bitch”…
Tell us a little more about The Hooligans? It’s a different line-up from the first album?
We’ve all been friends a long time, Carl has been in pretty much everything I’ve done musically…when he and Lance left the Bullets it was a no-brainer.. we live close and we have a great work ethic. Lance Skybaby is just a full-blown musician, he and Carl have another project called the Small Town Saviours, which is his baby and they have a new album coming. He’s either doing that or he’s with me, or with his woman. I guess he’s the CJ to Ginger: and really added some great rhythm guitar tracks to the album – he plays so much different to me – like, properly! And there’s Richard Jones on bass – my aide de kampf, confidant if you will. Solid.
You’re very visible on social media, what are the “Idiots Guides”?
In a world of high definition, and everything being pretty and fun, I like to sometimes show how it really is – I never realised that when I got older how ‘Spinal Tap’ real-life becomes. We don’t have big budgets, or management or anything and don’t belong to a movement. Nothing’s a mystery anymore and I’m not into deceiving people into thinking that we are doing a lot better than we actually are haha!
The album gets a release on August 28th at HRH Sleaze IV, what can we expect from the set?
Pretty fu**ing rad place to release an album don’t ya think? I think we have an hour, there’s 2 or 3 songs off the first album…but the rest will all be new. It’s powerful…I don’t think we hold many similarities with many, if any of the bands on the lineup…it’ll be pretty relentless. If people leave saying “what the fu** was that?”, I’ll have done my job.
There’s a tour in support of the release too, can you tell us about who you’re taking on the road?
For our dates at Bradford Nightrain, Newcastle Trillians and Edinburgh Bannermans we had a great suggestion of Circus 66 who I think come from Maidenhead – a lot of their stuff and riffs reminded me of that early Slash’s Snakepit stuff, pretty full tilt in places, with a gritty female vocal – I just thought it rocked, and they are working hard and have a new album out called “Follow The Black Crow” which is really really good so they have a good purpose to be out. We also have Porcelain Hill from L.A. and Dig Lazarus joining us in Blackpool, Loz Campbell in Bradford, Richy Neil and The Reinforcements in Edinburgh, Red Head in Reading. Black Tree Vultures and Cancel The Transmission join us in Wales at The Patriot. Pretty psyched about all those bands.
I always like to ask if there are any new up and coming bands we should keep an eye out for?
Silk Road just changed their name to “Grit For The Pretty” and recruited a new female vocalist – so I can’t wait to hear how that sounds. Dig Lazarus blew me away a while ago – real different sound!! Circus 66 obviously and any of the aforementioned supports of course.
Any final words?
Enjoy every sandwich!
Interview Conducted by John Ellis