Chris Spedding Interview – Transcript, Produced Sex Pistols first demo – LOADS of COOL STORIES

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Hey everybody, this is Craig Garber. Welcome to Everyone Loves Guitar from across the pond. We have a rock and roll guitar legend with us today with Chris Spedding. And I was telling Chris, I get an email this morning. Chris Spedding is going to be at the Iridium on November 10th. So if you want to come check out Chris after the interview, now you’ve got a time and place to go see it. Born in Derbyshire, England. Did I mess that up? Was that the way you pronounce it? Uh, Derbyshire. Derbyshire. Okay. I knew I did that. I always mess those. Born in Derbyshire, England, adopted at three months old, moved to Birmingham at age nine and started playing violin. And he moved to guitar at age 13. And he knew early on he wanted to have a career in music. Moved to London after high school, he started gigging and touring with various bands all over the world. And he really began focusing on the blues. In late 60s and early 70s, he began getting national recognition and winning top guitarist awards in a variety of categories throughout England. In March of 1971, he finished second to another pretty good guitar player, John McLaughlin, for best guitarist. Over an almost 60 year career, Chris has done well over a thousand sessions with people like Joan Armitrading, who we had here on the show, Ginger Baker, Roger Daltry, Dave Davies, Brian Ferry, Art Garfunkel, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Nick Mason, Harry Nilsson, Didi Ramon, Rodriguez, man, you’ve got, dug everybody out. Uh, the sex pistols, Sid Vicious, Tom Waits. He’s contributed to dozens of top movie soundtracks. He’s toured with artists all over the world. He’s released 14 solo and, and now probably three live albums because he’s got a new one just come out in 1920, in 1920, in 1975, Chris had a top 20 solo hit with the song motorbiking, which is real popular. And he also produced the Sex Pistols first demos. And you just came off tour with? Brian Ferry. Brian Ferry. There you go. Chris, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on the show. And I want to give a shout out to quiz. Thanks quiz for connecting us. Hi quiz. There you go. Hey man, when you, uh, first moved to London, I would imagine it was not so easy getting established, probably had a lot of competition there. How did you manage? to get established and get through some of the lean times that you probably had early on, if you had them? Well, I was pretty young. I’d just left school. I didn’t want to, there was nothing else I was good at except music. So there was no question of me going to college or doing it. I mean, you couldn’t go to college or any kind of school to learn how to play a rock and roll guitar in 1961. Sure. You know, you can now. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but you couldn’t. So I, my… parents, God bless them, made sure that I had a job to go to in London, which was a music shop selling sheet music and guitars. There were acoustic guitar, no, no amplifiers or electric guitars, banjo, mandolins, guitar. Was that store still around? Uh, I believe it may be. Really? Called Clifford Essex. That’s wild. And it was in the West End, you know, amongst all the other music stores. Um, and I had that job for a couple of years. And I would play eventually, you know, got so much other work, I was able to leave that job. Well, actually, the thing that made me leave that job was that I got a job on a boat on a ship that used to fly backwards and forwards from Australia to England. So I was in the ship’s orchestra. Oh, that’s really that was a great job for young kid. Well, yeah, it was, it meant that I had to leave my day job. Right. Once I did that, then I was a full-time professional musician. That was probably 1964. And I always made my living such as it was out of music since then. So that’s that story. And it sounds like your folks are really supportive of you as well. Well, yes, I think because… I mean, they were classical oriented, not professional amateur musicians. My dad played the piano and the organ. He played the organ at a local church. And my mother sang in the choir and she sang in a Bach choir who used to do this big Bach choral works in the cathedrals and stuff. Uh, and they were horrified by anything at a beat, you know, they didn’t even like Bing Crosby or Vincent Atterly. You know, they were just, Oh no, that’s pop music. You know, we can’t have that. And all I heard at home was opera and symphonies and stuff. And of course I played the violin, probably about age nine. And when I first heard rock and roll at age 12, that would have been 1956, you know, when it was all Elvis and Skiffle, which you’ve probably heard of, in connection with the Beatles over in the Skiffle Bowl. Yeah, and then late 50s, it all went out the window for me. Couldn’t wait to get onto the guitar. And if you want a funny story, I got an acoustic guitar. And of course, my parents, I was pestering them as about a 12-year-old or a 13-year-old. I wanted to get an amplifier. And my mother came up with the classic line, well, Segovia doesn’t need an amplifier. That’s the sort of thing I had to deal with. Well, imagine how that went down with a 12 year old who was just into Elvis. Yeah. That’s such a, that is a classic parent thing, man. That sounds so fun. Well, Segovia doesn’t need an amplifier. That’s like, uh, because I said so, you know, that’s one of the, that’s funny, man, I’m writing that down. Segovia doesn’t need an amplifier. Uh, in 69, you recorded your first album with Jack Bruce. Uh, yeah, that was my first big time session where it was a, you know, like a big deal and it was major artists and all that. Yeah. And I was, um, who was that for? What record company? No, the artist who, who, who is the artist? Oh, Jack Bruce. Oh, Jack was the, oh, Jack was the artist. And okay. Yeah. Bruce songs for a Taylor. And I did another one with him. How many wrote his first two solo albums? Um, cause I was in a band called the battered ornaments, which had as its lead leader, Pete Brown. Pete Brown, he was Jack’s lyricist. You know, all those songs, Sunshine of Yellow and all that stuff. And I was a bit of a sort of purist in those days. And I sort of, when I first heard Eric Clapton, I thought, wow, this guy’s really got that blues stuff together. I better try doing something else if I want to make a name for myself in music. So I have a theory that Jack chose me because I was about the only guy in London, Western world who didn’t guitar player who didn’t sound like Eric Clapton. Oh. Because in the 60s that was the he was the man and you’ve got to play that blues influenced guitar and I didn’t want to do that. And I guess Jack didn’t want to leave cream and play with some guy who was imitating his old guitar player. Yeah. So I have this theory that maybe it chose me because I wasn’t one of those guys. So I was kind of lucky for me. unintended result of me adopting that attitude, which was a little silly really, because in the end I dropped that purist attitude and I think I got on a session once and they said, oh, can you just do a little solo at the end of this in the style of Eric Clapton? And I thought, oh no, these guys are paying me really well, so I better do my best. So I did my best, which wasn’t very good, but they seemed happy with it. And I found, I realized that I could do different styles, uh, that didn’t really say, I didn’t really sound like Eric Clapton. I just sounded like me trying to sound like Eric Clapton. The fact that it sounded like me gave me a little more confident to say, Oh, well, I’m fine. I’m not going to be an imitator. I’m always going to be me, whatever I try and do. because I imitate other people very badly. It’s tough enough to be yourself, isn’t it? Right. We can get advice out there for other guitar players if they ever find themselves in that position. Just do it. It’ll always sound like you. Okay. That’s the answer to that question. So what was it like working with Jack? I mean, what an incredibly talented dude. I mean, just. I didn’t know how you made records. I’d listened to records up to there. I was a big fan of the Beatles records. I thought they were fantastic records, as we all did when they were making them. We still do, most of us. Most of us look back on those records as, you know, kind of a new standard to achieve in pop music. I tend not to call it rock and roll. Why is that? It was 40 years ago. You know, it’s moved on. Pop music will save you always. In 1920, like Louis Armstrong was pop music. Right. Yeah. Glenn Miller was pop music. all the other people that you don’t hear of, the arty ones, you don’t really hear so much of them. Very true. Stan Kenton, you know. Yeah. Duke Ellington for me always for the big bands. Anyway, what was the question? So what was Jack like? Oh, what was Jack like? Oh, it was great in the studio, as you said, great musician. But I didn’t know how people made records. So his method of recording was a little odd for me, but I just thought, okay, this must be the way people do it. He came in with a song and he would sit down at the piano. playing the piano part. He wouldn’t sing the song and he wouldn’t play the bass. He had John Heisman playing the drums and me. So there was the three of us. There was no song being played. So I would figure out the chords and play what I would play along with him in the style of not Eric Clapton. In the style of not Eric Clapton. That’s so funny. Yeah. And well, Felix Papaladi The engineer was an engineer who nobody had ever heard of before but heard of later on called Andy Johns. Holy shit. What a session, man. Well, and there was me who had no experience at all and thought that this was how everybody made a record. Like, a case in point, one of the great songs from that album was a theme from an imaginary western. Such a good song, man. When the album came out and I heard that song… I thought, well, what a great song. If I’d have known that it was going to sing that I’d have played this, done that, you know, but of course there was no hint of, of what the song was to become in, in, in, in Jack’s piano part. So wait a minute, he just played piano. You didn’t, he didn’t sing or play bass. He didn’t sing. He didn’t tell you what the song was called. He didn’t play bass. It was me, the drummer and the piano player. Wow, that is really weird. Not acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano and drums. And then we’ve more or less did the whole album like that with the exception of Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out of Tune, where we had an actual band of horn players, Dick Exitl Smith was one of them, Henry Louder, and that was a full band. Although other stuff was done like that, which was kind of weird. That is really weird. And nobody’s sort of… took me aside and said, hey, Chris, just go with this. This is not how we usually do it. So I was in the deep end there, totally green. But I’m glad I did it. He got my name around as a session guy. So there you go. Hindsight 2020, why do you think he did that? I mean, just as a guess. Oh yeah, I think he wanted to layer the record in a certain way. Maybe he wanted to work like that and couldn’t with the cream. I don’t know. Wow, that is- It was a little different in as much as he did play bass quite a lot of the time. He did play, it was me, John Marshall and Jack. doing I remember doing the backing tracks for Harmony Row. But that time we’d done some live shows. The three of you guys. Yeah. Yeah, it was a three piece band, except there was a couple of times when we had augmented it with Graham Bond, the organ player. Yeah, why do I know that he was in he was in a very successful band too, wasn’t he? Well, he had a band called the Graham Bond organization. Yes, right. Right. And the drummer, the drummer was Ginger Baker. Oh, and the guitar player was John McLaughlin. Holy shit. And that he had, I remember seeing them once live. And he got a his had a history of a jazz saxophone player. I actually heard him in a jazz club. Played saxophone before he even played the organ. This will be the early grand bond. Graham Bond, yeah. Wow. No longer with us. I can’t believe that’s how Jack made a recording, especially because his voice is so beautiful. I mean, it’s like an instrument. I don’t remember him singing at all. Well, that’s quite often. Quite often you do a backing track and you don’t hear the song, which is one of the sort of challenges of being a lead guitar player, but doing all the sort of little fillings to back up the vocal. And you have to guess where you think the vocal’s gonna be. Yeah, that’s weird though. I wouldn’t… You think Jack would… Well, this is not band landing 69, you know. Yeah. People would just start, we were just starting to get to eight track and 16 track days. Um, he would probably, after we’d all gone home, he’d probably put the bass on and we wouldn’t hear the song again until he came out on the record. Um, a couple of things, a couple of times I was asked to do an open dub, but I was… I think that’s when he expected me to suddenly turn into Eric Clapton and do an Eric Clapton lead. Of course I wasn’t up for that at all. Not until a little later could I do that. What guitar did you play on that session if you remember? I think it was a Telecaster. I had a Telecaster in those days. Um, I had someone else on the show who played with Jack. I’m going to say, uh, maybe less Davidson. I don’t know that name. Yeah. He’s up in he’s a, another, you can have many guitar players. Yeah. Um, he had, uh, what’s his name? I can’t think of the guy’s name. It’ll Gary Moore. Oh, people like that. Gary Moore, Robin Trower. Mick Taylor, Hugh Burns was another one. Yeah. He had a whole raft of guitar players and drummers like Simon Phillips, people like that. And all of course, Leslie West, who he West Bruce and Lang right after the period that I was working with him. Yeah, West Bruce and Lang, that was a good band. And, um, Your band battered ornaments. Yeah. You opened up for the Stones at their famous Hyde Park concert and that was their first show after Brian Jones’ death. What was that? That was the first show with Nick Taylor. Yeah, what was that whole scene like for you and any cool or interesting stories or memories from that? Well, the reason that we got to go on right before the Stones, which was like a coveted spot, was the people who promoted. the stones in the park, were our managers. Right. Like our advisors, they were very sort of established management people. They’d done Pink Floyd, they’d done T-Rex, ELP, people like that. So battered ornaments with Pete Brown leading them was managed by them. We fired Pete Brown because we didn’t like his singing. Really? And we went on, and we went on, yeah. It was a bit unfortunate because none of us could sing better than him. So we, you know, no, no good singers in the band. So you say your voice is pretty good. I’d never sung before. Oh, okay. So I never, I didn’t even know if I could sing all the songs were in Pete’s key, not not mine. I didn’t even know about cheese and getting the right keys. And, um, the, uh, the only sort of funny story about that is, uh, I was suffering from terrible hay fever. day and we had a band wagon which fittingly enough for a band called the battered ornaments was it was a British Army field ambulance you know with the painted was it there was sort of dark green so it fitted with the grass I suppose it wasn’t it wasn’t a camouflage it was just plain green dark green So it looked very unusual looking. It was a bit of an old, old, you know, must’ve got it real cheap from, you know. So the stones wanted a decoy to get into the, into the hide park. So they had the usual limos, which everybody thought they were in, and they wanted to put the stones in the field every once. Which was a stage. So that I had to get out, because I got in there to get out of the sun. Oh, because you’re hay fever. because of my hay fever. So I was really pissed off about that. Arrived in our van, like, and then as soon as they went on, I got back in the ambulance and didn’t see the show. Not that I was that interested at that time, I was just so into my own thing, and not having to suffer from hay fever. So that’s the only story I have of the stones in the park. Did you tell Mick and Keith that they had some pair of balls kicking you out of the ambulance? Well, I didn’t know, I just… I didn’t make any waves. I just was grumpy the whole day. Yeah. That’s funny, man. Uh, in the early seventies, you playing with a really good jazz band called Nucleus, but you wound up quitting the band over philosophical differences. As I understand it, basically they weren’t getting paid and you thought we deserve to be paid. and I thought that… Well, they had a little bit of the old jazz musicians thing about, you know, if we get money to buy a couple of drinks we’ll be fine and our cab fare home will be fine, where other people in the business who were looking to us were coming to see our shows and were being influenced by us. They were in big pop bands that would, uh, all rock bands if you like, that were getting paid a lot more. So that, and I was the only guy who was really from the rock world, as you might say. Yeah. Who didn’t sort of agree with that. But I left over another silly thing. I just sort of being really pretentious when they were reciting poetry over one of the tracks. Oh, yeah. I thought, oh, this is a bit much. Yeah, I could see that. I thought that was pretty, when I, even if you left because of the money arrangement, I thought that was pretty like, fair and bold. I mean, especially you’ve been out working and getting paid. Yeah, I wasn’t the real reason. It was more of the thing about the poetry. Yeah. Because I actually at that time was probably earning more money out of playing jazz than I was out playing so-called rock. Because I was playing with a lot of jazz people because it was because of the jazz fusion thing as we called it then. or jazz rock, I think, not jazz fusion, yeah, they call it jazz rock. And all these jazzers thought, oh, this is the way forward. But how can we be convincing, oh, we’ve got to get an electric guitar player? And most of the electric guitar players were so playing one style, influenced by Mr. Clapton again, I guess, and because it’s all very well, but you’re a bit limited if you play that style in a jazz fusion band. Sure. And I sort of having come up sort of listening to a bit of jazz in the 60s, was able to communicate with these jazz musicians and was able to do what they wanted, you know, like fit in with their thing. And I was something nucleus, I was the only guy that That’s why I ended up getting a lot of calls from jazz guys to play and be the rock element in their jazz fusion experiment. So that worked for a couple of years. That’s how I got to be number two to Mr. McLaughlin. I mean, listen, your career speaks for itself, man. You’ve played with top names for 60 years, man. That you’re obviously, you know, a great player. Um, what guitar were you playing back with Nucleus? Um, well, it was still the, it was in the Jack Bruce, uh, telecaster phase, the first, I later got a Gibson Les Paul for black beauty. Um, but very, very early on I played a Gretsch. It was a Gretsch country club. Oh cool. Uh, I just thought it was a beautiful looking guitar. Uh, the Gretsch country club. And I played that for a while. It was a 1964 model. One pick one, one, um, one cutaway. and the slim body, which you don’t, which they don’t make now, unfortunately. And, uh, I realized that the session people, the one at the time if to do pop records, that was not really the current sound. Yeah. You wanted a Fender or a Gibson, not a Gretsch. So I, I, I saw a guy with a telecaster and say, Hey, I’ll swap in my Gretsch for your telecaster. And that’s how I got the telecaster. Do you still have the tele? No, I don’t have any. guitars really they tend to sort of I do have a nice old Gibson J 200 which is from the 50s. Oh that’s great. This is the only vintage guitar I have. My current Lesport Black Les Paul Black Beauty is a brand new. Really? And I’ve just bought a Telecaster brand new. I’ve been playing James Trussart guitars quite a lot. Oh yeah yeah sure. And I have this theory about Gibson and Fender that in the 70s and 80s and 90s, they weren’t that great if you bought a brand new Fender or Gibson. And everybody, of course, wanted something from the 50s. Yes. Less pork from the 50s, a Stratocaster. That was what everybody wanted. And for some reason, these guitar companies… It’s as if they got somebody from Detroit that was used to selling motor cars and everybody who drove a car wanted a new one Every new model every year with some kind of modification, right? Which is what we did to their guitars Totally ruining the original design. Yeah, and they would look in the the the wanted ads and found and realized that they’re more for about 30 years they were looking in the wanted ads realizing that then 1950 models were selling for 20 grand, you know, and they were selling their new models for the ground. Yeah. And some bright spot put it together that, oh, maybe we got it right in the fifties and we don’t need to change anything. So now in the last sort of 15, 20 years, they’ve been making those guitars like they did in the fifties. Now you can buy a Fender Stranocaster that has got all the same hardware on it. No fancy pickups, you know, they’ve got the original pickups. They got it right the first time, as did the Les Paul people. So that’s my little theory about, don’t buy an expensive vintage guitar because they’re not like Stradivarius as they don’t get better as they get older. Because it’s all in the pickup. And the magnets go and they get weaker, they’ve got to be remagnetized and all the hardware inside the wiring. and the condensers, all that. They don’t get better with AIDS. They have to be replaced. So get a new one, is my message. Well, Gibson, of course, they don’t even know if they’re even around anymore, but. They are, they are. They are? Yeah. I know they had problems, but they probably had problems because of that sort of very short-sighted thing that they went through all those years ago, trying to. I braved them and make them better every year by adding the other bits and pieces. Well, their quality control has been pretty bad over the last 10 to 15 years where everything breaks constantly out of tune and they’re charging top dollar. I know. Well, I’m not much of a guitar tech for fixing stuff on guitars, but the guy that I go to fix my guitars when I bought a new Gretsch. Gretsch 6120 and I took it to him and he looked at it and he said you know what the stuff they’ve got in here the hardware is so much better than the vintage ones I’ve looked at and I bought this guitar for a fraction of the cost that I would have had to pay for a vintage one and you can’t tell the difference because you know when when doing Eddie bought his 6120 in 1956 it would have probably looked exactly the same as the one I bought brand new when I bought it, brand new for me. Is that a thick body or is that a slimmer body, the 6120? No, it’s a, I wish it was a slimmer body, but somehow they only do the slim bodies in the double cutaway. Okay. But it’s so much cooler to have single cutaway in the thin body. Yeah. And I wish I could get one. Uh, I want to talk about some of the artists you work for. If you could tell me how you got the gig or how it came up or what the connection was and a cooler, interesting story about working with them. Let’s start with Sir Elton John first. Um, well, all these sessions I would get on, you know, especially in the early seventies, I would be hired by a fixer. We’d all get hired by a fixer. Fixer. What is that? Like a producer? No, it’s a contractor. Okay. He’s usually the leader of a violin section. Yeah. Fiddle player. Uh, he would, he would, he would book the string section. If you wanted a string section, he would book the horn section. He would book a rhythm section. And if you get on those guys books, uh, you just get the fun call. You go up, you don’t know who it’s going to be a lot of the time. Wow. So you’d say, Hey man, just be here at this studio, this room at 10 o’clock or nine o’clock in the morning. Yeah. You turn up and there’d be like a whole bunch of string players, a big orchestra. Or you, it would just be you and a drummer and a bass player. Wow. In this particular one it was Barry Morgan on the drums, Herbie Flowers on the bass, and a bunch of string players. And there was a guy, there was a rostrum, and the guy got up, oh I’d never met before, Paul Buckmaster, who was the conductor. Elton John was there, he was playing the piano. and we did Madman Across the Water, that song. Oh, beautiful song, man. And we did a couple of other tracks, I think, with the orchestra. And that was it. I had a chart to read. I think I might’ve come up with a couple of licks of my own, but I basically had a chart written out for me, and we all played live with the strings. I’d seen Elton John on a couple of other sessions, on Abbey Road. I think he’d written the song for the artist, and he came along to play the piano. We didn’t have any interaction really. Yeah. You come along, you’re concentrating on your job, on the music. So there’s not really any stories really, apart from the fact that it was a workaday session and Paul Buckmaster was conducting the orchestra and I was the electric guitar player. Man, I know that song so well. I know exactly the string movements in there. I’ve listened to that song probably a couple of hundred times at least. Beautiful track, man. Right. Well, that was all done live. Yeah. That’s so cool. That’s a really great, that string section was awesome on that, man. I mean, right. Well, it was all arranged by Paul Buckmaster. God bless him. And, uh, uh, I don’t know whether he ever worked with him again. Um, I can’t remember, but I do remember that song and that session, which was at Trident Studios, which is not a large studio to get like a dozen string players and a rhythm section in there. It’s quite an achievement. And then to get that sound. Um, probably about the same as the, if you’ve ever been to the Motown, uh, in Detroit, the hits, hits, hitsville, USA. Yeah. The mud floor, dirt floor. That’s wild. And all those sessions with the horn players and the string players and the huge rhythm section with about three guitar players, you’d wonder how they even got them in there. And once they did, how did they get any separation? Well, of course, the answer is they didn’t. Silly question. Did you guys have air conditioning in that studio? Yeah, you did have air conditioning because of what course they couldn’t have anything open to the Zool soundproofed right? Well, no windows to the outside. Okay, so you had to An elaborate air conditioning because you were there you weren’t Able to hear it. Yeah, the air conditional that they’re going you can hear it But an air conditioning in the studio in the seventies, it would have to be baffled and soundproofed itself. So you could get the strings playing by themselves and you wouldn’t hear these humming in the background. Strings are not that loud. Even 12. All right. I only asked because my wife is from there and she goes back off and from the UK. And, uh, I said to her, she thought it was so hot. I said, why don’t you just put the air conditioning on? She goes, we don’t have any air condition. No, they’re air conditioning in offices, air conditioning in cars, but not in houses. Yeah. Her mom lives, she lives, do you know what Dunstable is? Yeah, I’ve heard of Dunstable. It’s like near, not far from Luton. It’s in Bedfordshire. Yeah. Yeah. It’s in the South. Yeah. No, people don’t, well, it doesn’t really get that warm so that you need an air conditioner more than from one week out of the year. So you can suffer for a… put a fan on or something. It’s not like it is in New York or down in Florida. Yeah, that’s for sure. Sorry. Yeah, sorry. But if you’ve got an isolated, closed off place, you’ve got to have it. Yeah. How about Paul McCartney? What’d you do with Paul? I did a movie called, I think it was… Say goodbye to Broad Street. Yes, something like, give my regards. Give my regards to Broad Street or something like that. Which involved me flying over from the, I lived in New York at the time and I would fly over to London for a week and we’d do, I suppose demos and rehearsals in the studio with Paul, it was like doing an album. It would take enough time, as much time we put into it. doing it and we’d find that this wasn’t in the album it was just a run-through or a rehearsal or a demo for another thing that we’d get us to come back and do. But it was… A great experience, I have to say, I got to play with. There was one time in the studio, it was at Air Studios in London. The producer was George Martin. Holy crap. The engineer was Jeff Emerick. The drummer was Ringo Starr. And the bass player was Paul McCartney. Holy. There I was in this room and I was the only non-Beatle. So I thought, oh, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Yeah, that must have been really weird. Most musicians would have thought at that time. I don’t know what Paul makes of that, but he must be used to it by now. Wow. What were you doing in New York? How long did you live there? I lived in New York from 1978. To? 1994. And then I moved to Los Angeles. Oh, that’s a long time. I spent most of my professional career in the United States. from 1978 until 2006. What prompted you to move over to the States or to New York in particular? I’d just finished a tour with Brian Ferry. We ended up in New York and I decided to stay on a couple of weeks with a friend’s place in an apartment. And I decided that I would like to live in New York. Suited my lifestyle at the time, the city that never sleeps and all that. And it suited where I was at the time. Plus I felt that, you know, I’d been around in London for so long. I didn’t think I was getting anywhere. Um, I didn’t think I could get any further. Let’s say, I’ve done some albums, but a little bit success. I was like in demand for the sessions, you know, and I thought, well, this is not going to last, I got to do something else. So I did something drastic. I left down. How did you like living in New York? I loved it. It was great. Where’d you live? I ended up on Bleecker Street. Oh, my favorite was my favorite street in the whole city, man. Sorry, I mean, the village, there was a village gate. Yeah. Well, I lived in that building. There was an atrium apartment above the village gate. And it was opposite Kenya Castaway. Yeah. Yeah. Holy shit. That is I’ve been that I was to walk that street five, 600 times. Yeah. Yeah, it was good. It was right in the thick of things. Yeah. I wanted to get away from all the action. I could just go into my apartment three floors up and I was away from everything in my air conditioning. Wow. What a cool place to live, man. Have you been there lately? Like Bleecker Street is not. Oh, it’s totally different now. It’s kind of depressing, man. It’s yeah, it’s like a theme park now. Like CBGB is the place used to be CBGB. It’s now a clothes boutique. Yeah. And you know what, man? You know, pizza box that was right downstairs from you. across the pizza shop. It was right across the street. They had like a little atrium in the back where you could walk outside. I don’t know if you remember. It was right on Bleecker Street there on the same side. I remember the pizza box. It was great pizza, man. You could go out back. They closed down about five years ago. My life ended, man. I was really depressed. Yes. Well, there are lots of great restaurants, you know, within two blocks of work lived and I didn’t eat in all of them. I tend to have a favorite restaurant. If I like it, I’ll keep going back there. Ignore all the other, other ones. Sure. Definitely. Yeah. And also there was, there was two 24 hour coffee shops. Yeah. So it was like living in a hotel and having room service. You just call up and they send food. That’s awesome. So that was the sort of thing I dug that you could not get in the 1970s in the UK, you know, stores closed around seven o’clock, you know, there’s no 24 hour deals. So if you wanted to have a certain lifestyle that I had at the time, which was just like, you know, go to bed when you’re tired, get up when you feel like you want to do something. Yeah. You feel like it. Um, we couldn’t really do that successfully in, uh, in London. So, uh, I, I dug that about New York for a while. Did you work with any of the session guys in New York? Cause were you doing a lot of session work there? Uh, not a lot. I was playing mostly with, I did an album with Nina Argon that did a one with Joan Arbitrating. Um, she’s had some great guitar players, man, yourself included in that list. She’s picked some good ones. It was a great album that we did. I really liked that. Uh, I did this stuff with Robert Gordon, of course, which was the reason I went there in the first place, uh, and, uh, did a tour with Jerry Harrison of the talking heads. Oh, really? Did a tour. Yeah. It was a world tour. We did. We didn’t do a great deal. I mean, these were just isolated gigs that I did. And in the end I got to do a gig in LA, it was in 1993. And I realized that I liked LA really a lot. And why didn’t I find out about this place before? If you lived in New York, you’ll know that New Yorker will tell you. Oh, you don’t get a layman. It’s full of flights. Yeah, that’s exactly what they say. So of course, I’m me wanting to assimilate with my New York friends sort of bought into this. I would only see LA for one night or two nights and never really got to see. But I went to do a whole project which took me a couple of weeks. Yeah. I’m going to fucking move here. Good for you, man. And so that’s what I did. I’d love to have been there in the 60s and 70s. Oh, in LA? Yeah, Did you, I had on my show, Jamie West Oram, he was living in the city at that time as well. Did you know him? No. From the Fix? No, I didn’t know him. Yeah, he lived in New York at that time. He lives, I think he’s in the middle of England, but he was with the Fix at the time when they were in their heyday, and he was living in the city at that time. Him and the lead singer, Psy, I don’t know if Psy’s last name. What? A couple of people came over at the same time as I did. Billy Idol came over at the same time as I did, but we never worked together. Uh, although I knew him in, in London. Sure. I knew him before he was Billy Idol. Uh, it was Billy, uh, when he was in generation X generation X. Yeah. It was called Billy Broad. Billy Broad before he had blonde hair. Yeah. He was a very successful, it came over, was very successful in New York and worldwide actually. That’s really cool. I didn’t know you were living in New York. Right on bleak. What a great location. Sorry to keep going on about that. But man, that is just like such a perfect spot during that time as well. Right. Well, you know, since I came to New York for the only advantages that living in such a great city would bring you, I wasn’t going to just live anywhere. Yeah. Cool. No, you picked the coolest spot, man. I mean, you know, it’s interesting. I don’t know when the last time you were there, almost all of the buildings. all of the buildings in that West Village area, like surrounding Washington Square Park, is an NYU in some form or another, either as building, campus or housing. It’s just amazing how like they literally own almost everything there. It’s really crazy. Nick Mason, let’s talk about Nick. How’d you get hooked up with Nick, of course? Oh yeah, I forgot to leave him out of my New York. He’s one of the guys who came over from… Oh, did he? to do a in Woodstock yeah. I’m going into Carla Blay, Steve Swallow, I don’t know whether you know these people but they could jazz musicians and I was asked to do his solo album. I don’t know why they asked me. I’m glad they did. Yeah. I love working with Carla, she’s a great musician and I enjoy working with Nick. Nick obviously worked with some more eclectic musicians because he was so well known from the Pink Floyd and then that’s what he did. He hired guys like me, Steve Swallow and Carla and we did this quite unusual album which I think is quite good. I’m not a huge fan of what you might call prog rock. I guess I would fall into that a bit prog and a bit like fusion-y but it was very enjoyable and the really heavy guys who really do that stuff well. And I think we did a good job and I enjoyed it. Nick is such a great, his style is so, I saw the new, not new at this point, but I saw Gilmour’s Pompeii and Gilmour’s a huge fan. I’m just like, I love everything he does. And I had Steve de Stanislaw on the show and he’s a great drummer. But man, when I left the theater, And this is probably about a year before I started this show, maybe two years. I said to my wife, I said, you know, this, I didn’t know Steve at the time. I said the drummer was good, but I really, you know, you miss Nick, just the subtle tease of the way he played was just perfect for that band, you know? Yeah. Yeah. You need somebody who plays quite kind of simple and to the point with that sort of music. You can’t have them sort of being too experimental. Yeah. having sort of to lock it all down so that the experimenters, the soloists could do it, you know, otherwise it will sound like jazz, you know, it’s sound like everybody’s overplaying. Yeah. Which is not the case of all jazz. Of course, the great people don’t do that, but I find that a bit sort of boring to listen to, but they do play so much and overplay. I agree with you, man. What did you do? You produced the Sex Pistols. demos. How did this all come about? And like, how did you Well, in the sort of fast forwarding to 7475. I was starting to do the motorbiking sort of look here, the look of the biker with the leather jacket and the straight pull up your album and let’s show everybody Oh, this one? Yeah, the new one. OK, so this is Chris’s new album, Robert Gordon, Chris Spenning, Tear Up the House. So that’s the look kind of without his leather jacket. Yeah. I was well, at the time. By the way, man, you got great hair. I’ll tell you right now, man. You know, it’s the same hair. I know, man. It’s a little lighter. You know, it’s gray, but it has it. You got a big, thick head of hair, you’re big, as thick as head of hair for someone at your age group that I’ve interviewed, man, for sure. Yeah, I’m lucky with the hair. Yeah, man. Well preserved. You are. Actually, the hair was influenced by Elvis Presley. I’ve been trying to get it to look like Elvis’s for 40, 50 years. If you were in my shoes, you’d be saying, thank God I got this. Trust me. I was looking when in the 74, 75 pop musicians were still wearing platform boots and slared pants and and blow dried long hair. So I was trying to look a little different. And in order to do that, I had to buy the right clothes. And the right clothes were being made by Malcolm McLaren and Vivian Westwood in a place called Sex. So I used to go there for my clothes. And I suppose that Malcolm McLaren, realizing I was an established musician, thought, well, he kept trying to interest me in his band, Sex Pistols, and I wasn’t actually that interested. until a friend of mine who called Chrissie Hines, who used to work with Malcolm McLaren as a shop assistant, a sometimes model, and also used to work for the New Musical Express writing. She wasn’t in the band. This was way, way before The Pretenders. She called me up and said, you’ve got to come and hear this band, they’re playing at the 100 Club. And so I went down and I heard them and they were the Sex Pistols. And well, they started the show with 15 people in the audience. And by the end, there was hardly anybody in the audience. Was this when Glenn Matlock was in the band still? Yeah. OK. Yeah. It was the original lineup. And I went out with them after the show to a club. And I said, you know, I enjoyed that. I was very impressed with Steve Jones. who broke most of his guitar strings, but still managed to stay in tune. That’s what impressed me. That’s pretty impressive. And the charisma of Johnny. And the rhythm section was solid. And I was quite surprised at the story that I would go out to places where musical press writers, journalists would, Yeah, in London and and people would come up to me and say hey Chris I I understand you’re hanging out with this group the sex pistols. Well, you know, you have a reputation in this business You gotta be careful. So I said well, okay Each to his own, you know, that’s interesting When did you hear them? So I said, oh, I’ve never heard them everybody knows that terrible This is a musical press that was writing in the melody making holy crap uh mentioning no names but obviously after the punk thing happened they they didn’t have a job anymore holy it was a kind of prejudice that they had and i thought i went back to mcclaran and said look there is something i can do i can take you in the studio because that’s my area of expertise in the studio and i can produce three songs that’s what you would need to take to a record company to get a deal there would be sign you up on the strength of three songs. The next thing that happened was I went to their rehearsal space and made them play. They played through the whole of their repertoire. And I noted the three songs I liked the best. And that was pretty vacant. No feelings and problems. At the time, they were the best songs. They hadn’t written, God Save the Queen at that time. So we went and recorded that. Okay, so Saddle-Litting and Chris was pretty vacant problems and no feelings? No problems and no problems and no feelings. Right, okay. So those are the three ones I chose and that was what we recorded. I got a studio. I um, a studio I’d worked in before. And I, so something didn’t seem right with Malcolm McLaren. I thought he was a bit of a player. So I thought. I’m not going to get left with the bill here. You could have come on with cash to pay the studio and it was silly money. It was about 18 pounds an hour, you know, silly cheap money, but I wasn’t going to. Why would you pay? Yeah. Well, I said, you get stuck with the bill. Well, okay. If this is leading up to another funny story because Malcolm Ashland did pay the bill. If I’d have paid the bill, I would have owned the tapes. I wasn’t that smart. Oh man. You can’t win that. Oh my God. So I didn’t own the tapes, but I got them. I took it to Chris Thomas. They produce that. I also took it to other people like Mickey most, for instance, who I was working with at the time and he did not get it at all. Really? He did not get it. No. Later on he realized that he’d missed something. Wow. And realized that I might have known something that he didn’t. It was not his era, he was from the 60s. Yeah. God bless him. He’s no longer with us. He was a great man in my life, Mickey Most. But the punk movement was a little too far for him to stretch. Later on, I think he realized the value of what they were doing. But a lot of people didn’t, including the journalists at the time. That blows my mind that they didn’t even hear them and they’re journalists and they’re saying they’re not good. And the other funny thing about the text-based sources, I believe that in the end, when they did break through, thanks to other people that worked for the musical express, like music, melody maker, like Caroline Kuhn, who was a bit more clued in, they… generated enough interest to be on the cover of the Melody Maker before they’d had a record out. I don’t think that ever happened before because they created such a way they looked. And you know kids up north would never even have heard them because they hadn’t played up north. They never heard a note of music where they would you know put the Sex Pistols on the cover and that fucking issue sold out. which was a phenomenon that I was very happy and very excited to be involved in, to see it opening and evolving before my eyes. Of course, as soon as they started to get a bit of notoriety I had to bow out pretty quickly because at that time I was in my 30s and I was one of the boring old farts that they were trying to replace. So they wouldn’t, I was wondering, I was gonna ask you, how come they didn’t ask you to produce their album? They wanted Chris Thomas. They were big rock music fans. And I knew Chris Thomas. Sure. I didn’t know that. I probably didn’t know that I knew Chris Thomas, but I was able to. And the old thing of everybody didn’t expect them to sound any good so that they all immediately thought that I was the guy playing the guitar, including Chris Thomas. Okay. Interesting. That’s where that rumor started, which I immediately thought would have pissed off Steve Jones no end. but me and Steve Jones have a joke about it now. Here at this radio show, you know, Jones’s jukebox. Last time I appeared on there, he introduced me as the guy that played all the guitar on the Sex Pistol. That’s classic. Totally confusing people that are not really into it. Did you ever work or run into Seggs Jennings? No. He was the founding, one of the founding members, the Ruts. Sorry? The Ruts? No, the Ruts. No. Yeah. He’s a bass player. No, I don’t know him. No, I thought you were going to say the guy who made the Vox Amps. No. Oh, no, no. Seggs Jennings was a bass player. Lovely guy. Just curious. I just had him on the show recently. I just asked because he was in that era obviously of the, you know, when this was all coming down. No, I didn’t know them all. A lot of them I didn’t care for. A lot of those bands that came out at that time, I just thought they were very amateurish and not that great players. And the songs weren’t that great. But the Sex Pistols, I thought, were actually outstanding and deserved to be heard. They played grooves. They didn’t like go, and you get that, you know, like fast, furious music with all the energy, you know, like, very fast. tempos. You know, the Sex Pistols song, it’s usually a nice sort of laid-back groove. Like the Ramones, they had a groove. Yeah, but they were more up-tempo groups. You wouldn’t find the Sex Pistols playing a song at the same tempo as the Ramones, even though they thought they wanted to sound like the Ramones. The way they played was totally different. And they only… Marco actually told me this, they only did 28 concerts. The Ramones? No, the Sex Pistols. Yeah, well of course they kept getting canceled. Yeah. They kept getting banned and canceled, and yeah. So it was like a train wreck waiting to happen and eventually did, I guess, the whole thing. They actually achieved a lot while they were doing those. And look at it, how many years later, people were still talking, that’s still the seminar. You know? They actually played in Dunstable. And there’s another thing I don’t know whether this is a pocketful or what but when This is never mind the bollocks Of course it eventually got released in China now they had to translate it the the never mind the bollocks to Chinese with all their sort of problems with the questionable language. So fair enough, but you take that, the Chinese album cover and translate it back to English. And apparently, I mean, I’m sure somebody’s going to take me up on this. Apparently it was, pay no attention to the rude word. That’s what it’s translated over. Yeah. Nevermind is pay no attention to the bullets, to the rude word. Holy shit. That is really funny. Even if that’s not true, it ought to be true. Yeah, it ought to be true. I think this, we need to start that rumor now, man, whether it’s true or not should be, nevermind, pay no attention to the rude word. Uh, so that’s great. So you really had, you were like a very instrumental part of getting them launched. Well, they’d have made it anyway. You know, it’s like. No, but you were the guy, you were, you were a part of that. You know, you’re a part of that. A big part. Yeah. Whether they’d have got themselves to Chris Thomas, quite as easily or quickly. Um, maybe not, but they’d have got there in the end. That’s great, man. Uh, Tom Waits, what’d you do with Tom? And just to let you know, he is the number one, more people I’ve interviewed guitar players specifically. Uh, have Tom Waits in their top three records and any other artists? Okay. Really? What I find is, I thought that was interesting. Yeah. I knew that it was interesting. I’d left it out for the people I’ve worked with in New York. Um, I had a tour booked and it was like in a couple of weeks after the, I started working with Tom Waits. Um, and, uh, I’d heard his, I think. an album title called Trombones. Something Trombones? Yeah, it’s, I don’t know exactly what you’re talking about. Trombone. Yeah, well that Trombone album. That was the album that was out when I got the call. Swordfish Trombone. Swordfish Trombone. Yeah. So I listened to that and I thought, oh, this is really great stuff. You know, like all my jazz. sort of stuff came out and thought I can play this stuff because this is what we used to do, you know, improvised sounds like really improvised and this would be really great. So I’ll go to the studio, the sessions, and I think I got two weeks before my tour starts, so I’ve got two weeks I can concentrate on this. It turns out that what I interpreted as being like spontaneous sort of easy going sort of it was not that at all, it was very very obsessive about the sound that he wanted and the way when he played. And it took ages and ages and ages to get anything down on tape. And I think I’m only on one track out of that whole two weeks, which is kind of disappointing for me. Yeah, sure, of course. Because I wanted to stay and finish. So I had to leave the project and go on my tour. And who takes over? But Keith Richard. That’s what I was doing. That’s my experience. I loved the guy. I loved him and I thought he was very funny and great to work with, very creative, but wasn’t ideal for me in those circumstances. Sure. Because I was willing to go along with however he wanted to work, but I totally misconstrued the way he got those results. And how’s he gonna get those with Keith Richards? Well, he’s also another guy who wants to… spend a lot of time honing everything. Okay, interesting. Probably more suitable for Tom than I was. Interesting. Who would do something, you know, like do a take and lots of experimenting and I go, okay, great, you know, next song, you know, and they go, wait a minute, wait a minute. That’s not what we want at all. Oh, okay, tell me what you want. And then the work starts. Okay. So it was a lot of post-production or just Well, no, a lot of, you know, um, it was more deliberate than spontaneous. That’s what it sounds like. Yes. Yes. Yeah. That’s tough. You spend a lot of time deliberating and rehearsing to try and make it sound ending up spontaneous, which was not an approach that I’d done before. Wow. That’s almost hard to say. You spent a lot of time deliberating to make it sound spontaneous. That. doesn’t. Yeah, I don’t think you realize that we had it on the first take. Yeah, that’s very under the same. We wouldn’t have liked it to to casual and to random. Yeah. It had to sound like it was random, but it wasn’t random. Interesting. Would you who are you going on a tour with? It was my own band, David Van Tegerman, Buster Cherry Jones on bass, David Van Tegerman, drums, and we call it the trio. And where are you going? throughout the States? Oh, we ended up playing at the Whiskey of Go-Go in Los Angeles all over. That’s the only one I can remember playing because we had a tape of it. You know, club date. Yeah. Or as I used to call them, sticky floor date, sticky floor tours. Sticky floor tours. You were either. Sticky floor tours. Melted beer. I like that. And of course, sticky. I had never heard that, man. Sticky floor tours. That’s a good album title. Yeah, all right. Maybe I’ll do that. Sticky floors. Pretenders, what did you do with Chrissie and the Pretenders? I sat in with them a few times. I had a band in the 1980s when the Pretenders first came to the United States. And the East Coast, we supported them with my band. Oh, very cool. So I got to meet James, Pete Farnham and Martin Chambers, who are a great band. that she had. We didn’t actually do anything together with the pretenders. I never got to play guitar in that band for whatever reason, I have no idea. But I still got on well with Chrissie as a speaker from time to time. And that first album was phenomenal. Yeah, sure was, man. I think I can lay claim to having introduced her to her producer. the same Chris Thomas because Chris produced one of my albums called Hurt. It was the same time as he was producing Nevermind the Bollocks, in fact. And we got Chrissie in to do the backing vocals. Oh, wow. And Chrissie was a friend of yours, you said? Yeah. Well, Chrissie introduced me to the Sex Pistols. I introduced her to Chris Thomas. I introduced the Sex Pistols to Chris Thomas. So I was a bit of a sort of… Mover and Shaker in those few, that sort of very slim period of time, 1976, 77, when that was going on. And eventually when Chrissie formed the band The Pretenders, after the first producer, Nick Lowe, when they went to do the album, she chose Chris Thomas. So, yeah, I was instrumental probably in hooking them up, let’s say. No, we didn’t actually build anything together musically or playing wise. Apart from her playing on my singing on your background vocal. You’re the Henry Kissinger of the London music scene there. Oh, really? That’s what he was really well known for introducing brokering people. All right. Okay. I can go on asking you stories all day. What what were the just a knee jerk reaction top three experiences you’ve had musically? Um, oh, you know, you’ve got, if you’ve had like a longer, varied career, you can’t like, one name will jump out of, jump out today and then tomorrow another name will jump out. And those sort of questions I’m very wary of because what if I say a name and there’s somebody that gets to hear this? who I’ve worked a lot with and done a lot of. It’s gonna get pissed off. You might never call me again. I totally get it. I have to decline to answer. That’s totally fair, Chris. I get it. That’s not a, I totally get that, man. You’re born in Derbyshire. Did I get that right that time? Yes, Derbyshire. Derbyshire, oh, I did get it right. Yeah. I grew up in Sheffield, which is admittedly, I did spend a few years in Birmingham, but mainly I’m Sheffield. Where’s Sheffield? Yorkshire. Okay. Oh, that’s way up in the north. North Midlands. Yeah, it’s beautiful. Beautiful up there. It used to be a steel town before, you know, like Pittsburgh did. Uh, that is not anymore. It’s more of a university town now. It was known for, it was known for, uh, they invented stainless steel there and they had a big, big, you know, steel industry when I was growing up. And it was kind of, all the buildings were black for all this pollution. Oh. And then they all got cleaned. After I’d left, I came back in the town hall was like sandstone is like yellow, beautiful yellow building, which I’d always known as a black jet black. Oh, that’s wild. And gradually all the, a lot of the industrial towns that we know now in America and in Europe, they’re all like yellow stone now, they used to be black in the, in the 19th century up until the 1950s. So, uh, That’s all I can tell you about Sheffield. No, I didn’t know any of that. It’s really interesting. What was your childhood like growing up? Well, we were a middle-class family. My father worked at a bank. At the end of his career, he became a branch manager. So he was, you know, middle-class. And they were classical music fans and horrified by this rock and roll. And for many older people, in my generation they will remember that pop music and rock and roll, pre-Beatles, wasn’t that respectable. You know, it was viewed in culture a bit similar to like gangster rap is today, you know, bad boys played rock and roll. The Elvis was a bad boy, you know, when you don’t want your daughter marrying anybody. Until the Beatles came along in the 60s and changed that because everybody loved the Beatles. Sure. Well before it wasn’t like that. It was really out there and rebellious stuff, you know. Marlon Brando in the Wild Ones, you know, and James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause. And Elvis was a sort of en font terrible of music. You know, everybody thought, oh it’s all over now, you know. When will the big bands come back? When will Frank Sinatra music come back? And all that and there was, you know. until where the Beatles came out and gradually changed not only the way music was played, but the way the culture was. It might be a surprise to a lot of people, but I can remember that. I had no idea that. Yeah, I didn’t know that. You’re probably too young. I’m 55. I’m just like a little bit too young to know that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s the effect that… And if you’ve got to understand where my generation, which is the same generation as the Beatles and the Stones and all those guys, that’s how it was when we started playing our music. The BBC here wouldn’t play the music. You’d get one show a week, or you’d have to listen to this thing called Radio Luxembourg, which if you… I do remember that. Biographies of… people like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards. We all used to listen to Radio Luxemburgers, and it was really bad reception. AM used to keep going in and out of modulation. And we all listened to Radio Luxemburg with headphones on, with our crystal sets under the sheets at night when we were supposed to be sleeping. And I remember that very, very well when I was a kid of 12 or 13, and sure enough. in the first chapter of all those guys I just mentioned, they did the same thing. They were all in the same music, all the same way on the same radio station because it was the only one. And that was the situation in the late 50s, early 60s. So you really had to have a strong belief in, you know, music should be done by passion anyway, but you also had to overcome like a lot of social bullshit to exercise this passion. The reason that… One of the reasons that the Beatles were so hip and they knew all those early Motown records was not because they heard them on the radio. There was no radio station that would play them. They would, because they were living in Liverpool, which is where the ships left to go to New York, they would get the records from Merchant Seaman and they would exchange hands for vast amounts of money. You know, oh you’ve got a new Smokey Robinson out, oh yeah I’ll give you… and they go home and they listen to it as a treasured little piece of American culture. So, and people in America, of course, this is why we were able to export American music from England to America because it was so precious to us, it was so rare that we would come across a good American record that was never heard on the radio and they would learn all this stuff, you know, like Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes, that almost the whole of The Beatles’ first album. would have been learned like that from treasured Motown records that came over from New York on the ships to Liverpool. That’s amazing. So you would have heard it first. So had the Beatles been in another place, they wouldn’t have been. They might not have heard it as, you know, but places like Manchester where the Hollies were and Birmingham, they were all, not North Sheffield, you know, all the… There’s such a genre called Northern Soul, which is like very obscure in the blues records from America. And we used to listen to all that stuff. And you said Northern Soul, I think you were going to say that was the slow Black Sabbath songs. Well, an early Motown would have been Northern Soul and Stax records. That’s amazing. I had no, this is like really- But it’s only because it was so rare that it was considered so valuable to us and we treasured it so much. I remember in my school group, my drummer was a big Bo Diddley fan because of the Bo Diddley beat. And he would treasure these records that came over from chess. They were not released in England. They used to go to a specialized imports shop. that would have the latest Bo Dilley record come over from Chess. And of course we’d learn about Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry had a few chart records, but to buy his albums, you had to go to a specialist shop or buy a Howling Wolf album or a Muddy Waters album. You would have to sort of really go out of your way to go to a, you know, a jazz record shop. So that’s why these artists were so, they were really, you used the word treasures. I mean, Literally. Yeah. Yeah. People like Brian Jones, when he started the Rolling Stones, he was a total purist. You know, he thought anything that he thought Chuck Berry was too rock and roll. Wow. So he was listening to Howlin’ Wolf in Muddy Waters or something. He was, yeah, Jimmy Reed maybe a stretch. So that was how that, I think a lot of people now, the younger generation don’t remember that. They can’t figure out how that British invasion thing happened. And that’s how it happened because I can remember I was there. Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s amazing. I’ve never heard that Chris. Thank you so much. That was really interesting, man. I had no idea how rare this stuff was. You know, I asked my, uh, Well, it was rare to most white, uh, American kids until they heard the British people doing it secondhand, you know, the first stones album, the first Beatles album, full of all that stuff. Yeah. All that stuff, you know, like more R and B on the Rolling Stones, but the Motown stuff and the Beatles. See, not in New York where I grew up, but the rest of the country. So I’m sort of myopic about that because we had, that’s all we had, you know, but I think the rest of the country probably didn’t have that access to the music that we did, that we may have. What were Maybe some of the lower points or darker periods you’ve had to deal with in life and how’d you get through them? Oh. Well, I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve always worked. I’ve always had a job. Uh, I don’t know. darker periods or low points. Low points. Well, you know, like I’ve had periods when I wasn’t getting as much work as I wanted. I was always able to pay the rent. Um, always had a reasonably comfortable lifestyle. Okay. I can’t say I can complain. I never learned millions, uh, like a, you’re, you’re sort of mega star. Yeah, but nobody, that’s not very few people. I mean, you know, that’s one in… And those, some of those guys are totally miserable. Yeah. Well, you know, they say money, you know, doesn’t, doesn’t fix everything. Yeah. No, I don’t think I can, nothing comes to mind from that question. That’s great. That’s really good. Any advice that you’d be able to, if you want, if you had to give younger… crisp betting advice, is there anything you would tell yourself, assuming you would have listened, that would have made your life easier, either business work, personal. Um, well. I always followed my own advice, as our president did as well. I just heard him say that on CNN. I always did. I tend to listen to a lot of people because I always plowed my own lonely furrow as I explained earlier about. all the guitar players in England were sounding like Eric Clapton. Yeah. So I decided I knew better. But it worked. It worked for me that one time. Yeah. And when I wrote the song motor biking, I wrote it by looking at the charts and thinking, what’s missing? Really? What are we not getting here? And I sort of thought back to sort of old Gene Vincent, Eddie Cocker and some things that originally inspired me and thinking, do you want a song like that about… about motorbikes, because that’s like a rock and roll icon, you know, this is what you want. And it worked for me that once. It’s never worked for me again. Hey, but it doesn’t. But it really worked. Yeah, that song was there was no other song like that. Yeah. Whereas most sort of still today, you know, like, you’ll get like, Oh, I can see why that’s a hit, because they were listening to this other song by this other person. And the genres gradually takes place, you know, like, That’s how these genres sort of work in the end. But that was a one-off, as it were. And it was a year before the punk thing happened. It was in 1975. And the way that I looked, I suppose, with the slick, greasy hair and the straight jeans, when I appeared on top of the pops, all the other people were not looking like that at all. They still had the old look. pop star look. So maybe that was why the sex pistols gravitated towards me because we had a similar sort of look. But I was a bit too old to be a punk by that time. That’s crazy, isn’t it? Yeah. So yeah, I don’t look back and think, oh, I wish I’d done this or I wish I’d done that. And I think I was always happy with the way I stayed things. I don’t know. You know, it’s not really good to set and guess everything. You know, you can wind yourself up into a state. Absolutely. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You might as well enjoy life and get on with it. I agree with you, man. You sounded very English when you said that last part. What? Have I been sounding American? No. Well, I would say to a lot of people that’s English people that have spent 28 years in the United States, both sound like an English person. No, but just the phrasing and everything. Just the way. Yeah. Well, I’m still English. Let’s get on with it. That was good. It was just very British. The way you said that. Well, I think that if you, if you leave, I came to the United States when I was in my thirties and I think by the time you’ve reached your thirties, you’re not going to be changing your way you talk or the way you think very much. Yeah. If you’re in a new culture or you’ve got different friends, you know, I wasn’t conscious of sounding American when I was speak sounding English. Sorry. When I’m speaking with my American friends, I think I sound like them. Yeah. But they never let you forget that you didn’t sound like them because everybody loves English accents here. Well, I would notice when I first came over to New York, I’d be sitting in a room full of people and they’d be hanging on my every word. Not because I was making incredible sense, but because they were fascinated by my accent. But it was good for pulling young ladies. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Very effective. Yeah. Absolutely. So, yeah. And people in England, they hate it when an English person comes back to England and sounds American. Do they? Cause I think you’re putting it on the thing that you’re being phony. Oh, really? And of course when you, when your accent changes, you’re not conscious of it. Sure. Right. So, you know, there’s a lot of people come back and they don’t do so well because there’s American putting on airs as it were. Oh, but you sound very English. You don’t sound American. I mean, your accent doesn’t sound American at all. No, it’s unusual, I think. When someone who’s been so long in America. When my wife’s mom first heard my daughter talk when she was a little girl, she says, oh, she’s got that horrible American accent. The American accent. It’s funny, though, like she’s grown up here in America. What would she sound like? She wouldn’t sound English, you know. Just because her mom is English. Chris, let’s talk about gear for a few minutes or go back to talking about gear. What’s your go-to guitar right now? Maybe you mentioned it, Les Paul, and has that changed over the years? And what are some of your top guitars in general you’ve always talked to? Well, I bought a brand new Gretsch doing Eddie model, which I’ve got right here in fact. Yeah, let’s see that. Oh man, is that beautiful. with the Dynasonic pickups, the original 50s pickups. What do they call that color? I’m not sure. Sunburst, sunset. I’m not sure. It’s beautiful. I call it orange. Yeah, it looks like a beautiful orange, man. Like, yeah, but the prettiest orange you’ll ever see. Yes, yeah, they’re really pretty. It’s hard. Nowadays, I play Gibson’s quite a lot. I’ve got another Gretsch, similar to that one, with P90 pickups on it, with ivory-colored covers, not black covers, ivory, white covers. So the white or ivory against the orange looks really nice. Yeah, that is pretty. So yeah, and when I met James Trussart, he made me… a Gibson style truss art, which I like very much. I play it as my main guitar for the last 20 years. Oh wow. I like it because it always stays in tune. The fingerboard’s nice. It’s got 24 frets, so it’s like a modern sort of guitar. It’s got two humbuckers on it, and it’s like a Les Paul setup. It plays and sounds like a Les Paul. It’s got the metal body. Is that with the ebony neck or the rosewood? I think it’s rosewood. Those are pretty guitars, man. I’ve seen his work. It does a very good telecaster, because it’s hollow, it resonates like a telecaster, telecasters don’t usually, so it’s like a telecaster, plus the fact that it’s got this resonance. So that’s a very, an interesting thing. But yeah, I’ve got to offend the telecaster as well. And uh… J 200. Let’s see. What do you take on the road with Brian? A whole bunch. I have a guitar tech at the side of the stage who’s got like a rack full of stuff. Okay. I have an old flying B that was made for me by Dick Knight. Is he a UK builder or American? Yeah, he’s not around anymore. He did it for me in the 70s. And it’s got a body like a black Les Paul. It’s like black lacquer with the white surround. That’s nice, man. Smart looking guitar. It’s got one pickup on it. It’s one I played with Leslie West. I think I got the idea from Leslie West. What did you do with Leslie, man? Oh, well, it was a long time after I lost my Jack Bruce job to Leslie. I played, I supported Mountain on a tour in 1973 or four with a group called The Sharps. I was in the group called The Sharps. which was the one that was formed by me and Andy Fraser. But that time he’d left and we had Buster Cherry Jones on bass. And so I got to know Leslie fairly well as the support group for the mountain tour that he did around that time. And I used to sit beside the stage watching him play and I noticed he had a flying V without the neck pickup. He had just a hole there. which he jokingly used to refer to as his ashtray. He used to tap his cigarette into the hole. Amongst other things, he was a very funny guy to be around. And he was a good guy to watch. He was very accomplished doing that blues stuff on the guitar with that band. And what he did with that theme for an imaginary Western song. He did a great version of that, yeah. That’s off the charts, one of the greatest songs ever performed. Yeah. He did that really well. Um, so yeah, uh, what was it? That’s the idea for playing with the plane, just with the bridge pickup. It just simpler. The, the, the signal came just from the one pickup through one volume knob. You could even take the tone knob off. You know, we would use that. Sure. If that one time I had a, an SG junior. one pick up and one knob just a volume knob and I the tone knob I used it as a jack socket hmm okay I had it modified I’m always modifying my guitars so that was good uh now now I’m using the neck pickup a lot more with Brian oh yeah uh using it a lot more yeah I’ve got a Stratocaster I use Talking about before when I started talking about making guitars better now and went through a bad period. I got one of the custom Fender Stratocaster, custom shop Fender Stratocaster. Quite expensive. Yeah, very expensive. And then I saw, I was in Santa Monica and I saw this, there was this pawn shop and they had a really nice looking Stratocaster in there. It was all covered in autographs. You know, like some kid had got it and he’d got all his friends to magic marker. I got it. It was a hundred bucks. So I bought this. It was an ES not in his square. Okay. And it was better than the Fender custom shop. You’re kidding me. Alcohol. And I got, I just wiped all the signatures off it. So there’s no sign of any of the autographs and it’s just, just like a, an original 1950s Fender. And it was not even a proper fender. He was a squire. And I use that as my strategist. I got, I sold the custom shop fender. Wow. Do you know a guy named Jack Pearson? No. Jack’s a guy here in the States out of Nashville. He played with the Almond brothers for three years and he plays a squire. He plays an $80 squire and he plays this shit. Uh, he’s a great player. You know, well, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with, you know, Like, it’s like Epiphone’s, you know, they’re like, they’re like the, the poor man was Gibson, but some of them great, you know, I mean, John Lennon played that Epiphone casino, whatever it’s called. Yeah. Is it a casino? Yeah. Uh, and of course he got great results with it. He and John Lennon. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. He’s like, you’re gonna get great results. That’s amazing. Man, I can’t believe how many people you’ve played with and work with. It’s just phenomenal. I mean, you’ve had just like an incredible career. I mean, you’re like. You know, yeah, well, lucky and good. It’s always tough to figure out which one comes first, right? Who are some of the favorite players you’ve, I mean, I ask you that, um, best guitar and best amp you’ve ever owned or played. Well, I always, I bought in 1970, a fender deluxe reverb and I still have it. I still use it. Awesome. In the studio, I use it live. I was able to come over to the United States with it because it had a 110 volts, 220 volts transformer on the back. So I was able to use it all over the world. And that sounds good. I can’t see any point in it. A lot of people, if I ask for an amp, when I don’t want to bring my amp around, I ask for a Fender amp. Nine times out of 10, it’s a Fender Twin. Yeah, I’ve never been able to get a sound out of a Fender Twin. They’re far too loud and They just don’t overdrive properly. The only way I can get a sound out of a Fender Twin is to turn the Treble down and the bass down and turn the middle full up Then I can start to get a sound And so I don’t know why they’re everywhere those amps The amp to get is a Fender Deluxe Reverb. It’s got one speaker and it’s It’s not too heavy for one person to carry. Is that a 15 or a 12 in there? Tell you the truth. I don’t, I’m not sure. I think it’s a 12. But it could be a 10. Um, I don’t know those technical details. Just get one of those. But he’d be all right. And best guitar you’ve ever played? Well, probably the Gibson Les Paul, the black one. The one you have now? Uh, it’s a different one now. I think it fell off the guitar stand works at a gig and the headstock snapped, which is always a… always happens, seems to happen when you drop those Gibson’s. So I’ve got a different one now, as I said it’s a brand new one, or at least five years old. I like them because they’re very solid, and again they don’t go out of tune easy. They feel solid. They’re also very heavy, of course. Yeah. They do feel solid. Oh, so is yours chambered or it’s not chambered, I guess? No. Oh, so those are heavy. Yeah. Is the trussard heavy? It’s not as heavy as a Les Paul. OK. Even though it’s made out of metal. It’s lighter, quite light. Different wood? I don’t know what the wood is, but the bridge. The screws on the bridge, if you look, because you can see through the guitar, it’s got holes, it’s got holes in it, is screwed, the bridge is screwed into two wooden blocks. So I don’t know whether when he was designing the guitar, he decided that it would be, sound-wise, it would be better to have a little bit of wood involved in the sound, because a lot of the sound is involved in where that bridge is screwed into. Hmm. On a mahogany guitar, it sounds different than on a different wood guitar. So the medium that the bridge is screwed into does have an effect on the sound, and maybe it wouldn’t have sounded right if it was screwed into the metal of the body. So you look through the guitar, as you can see through the guitar, you can see that it’s a couple of little blocks, about one and a half inches square. for each side of the bridge, to the bridge posts. So that’s, and of course the fingerboard and the fingerboard is wood. It’s a very good fingerboard, feels very good. 24 frets, great intonation, but it plays like a Les Paul. Yeah. Desert Island Discs. like let me call this Desert Island CDs, because I know sometimes in the UK when I say Desert Island discs, people give me singles. What would be your top three? Again, knee jerk reaction just for this moment, because I know that could ask you that question in an hour. It’ll be three different ones. Oh yeah. Well, one of them got to be the band, one of the first two albums, either the brown one or the big pink one. Um, and maybe a Beatles album. Um, say maybe rubber sole or no revolver. Yes, a revolver and I could have a jazz record I think maybe Sonny Rollins the bridge is a really I bought that because I like Jim Hall’s play and then when I guitar player Jim Hall and I got totally snowed by Sonny Rollins and Sax Payne as a result of me being a Jim Hall fan and buying the record. That’s cool, man. That’s great when that happens. Yeah. Oh, another instance of that is the very, very first Flying Burritos record. I bought it because I thought they looked so cool in those nudie jackets with like marijuana pants on their legs and stuff. I thought this is a great, must be a great record. I’m going to buy this. just because of the cover. Of course, I was knocked out by the music. It was fantastic. Well, I was really surprised to hear you say the band. I mean, a great record, not because it’s a band. I love the group. I love the records. That’s totally not anything that we’ve talked about musically. Well, they are very, very gospel-y, the rhythm and blues bass, especially the vocals. and their playing is fantastic. The way they play those songs, very unusual. And that’s what I like about them. Some of those songs, I find it quite miraculous how they came up with those songs and played them in that way and sung them in that way. The vocals are very, you know what? It’s the best way I’ve heard it put. They are very gospel-y and they’re very beautiful. Just the vocal tracks alone are amazing. Every one of their songs. And Lee Van Helm’s fantastic. Yeah. Singing and drumming. I saw them at the Isle of Wight with Bob Dylan in 1970. Oh, that’s so cool, man. Um, yeah. What are some of the better concerts you’ve seen? Well, that one probably. I wasn’t a big fan of going to concerts. I would prefer to sit at home with my records. I remember when I was a kid of about 12 or 13, Buddy Holly came to my town in Sheffield, uh, and Dewey and Eddie was there. So, and these were people whose records I bought and I couldn’t have, I didn’t have enough money to go, I mean my pocket money was about the same as a ticket. I would rather have gone and bought a record by those artists to a concert which would have been over in an hour, the record I would always have. So I didn’t used to go to a lot of shows. Yeah. When I still, I’m still like that. Yeah. It’s too much of a hassle. You got to park the car. There’s all the crowds, you know, and then the sound might not be great. Yeah. And there’s a support group you got to sit through. Yeah, that’s a problem sometimes. Yeah. And I could be at home listening to my records. Yeah, I get that. I was, I had no money as a kid also, so I always bought records. I couldn’t afford to go to shows. I’d much rather, plus I, you know, back in the day I’d go down to Bleecker street, it’d be a whole day thing. How many used records can I get for $5 or $7? Bleecker Bob’s, there were tons of them there, you know. The other another sort of story, which you might be too young to to to know about, was it in the old days, I’d go into it, say Hound Dog came out by Elvis Presley. Yeah, I was around when Hound Dog was released. Right. I go to the local music shop and say, have you got Hound Dog by Elvis Presley? And they would always say, well, that would be the record of the sheet music. So I said, well, how much is the record? How much is, sheet music would be a third of the price of the record. So me being stupid and not having much money would say, oh, I’d have a sheet music. I’d have a nice, I’d have like a piece of paper with a picture of Elvis on it, the lyrics, the chords. When I go home, of course I still didn’t have Hand Up by Elvis Presley, but I have something. Then of course I’d have to go back and then say, well, I want the record this time, please. And then it’s like, will that be a 78 or a 45? I remember those. And of course it was the 78 in those days because my parents had a wind up gramophone that used to plug into the back of the radio. So that’s something that some of the, of your generation wanted to experience. Yeah, that’s cool. And that’s 78 or 45. Um, it’s funny. There is a, uh, a YouTube documentary on Bleak or Bob, if you ever want to check it out. It’s interesting. I don’t know if you saw it. Yeah, it’s kind of interesting on him. What? This is a tough question. What’s your definition of happiness, Chris? Oh, thinking about that, then you start becoming thinking what’s not not happiness. I don’t think it’s worth even considering. That’s a very British answer. You know that right? Nothing is wrong. That’s a very British answer, man. That’s all good. I could see, she’s significantly older than me, but I could see asking my mother-in-law that question. She’d say the same exact thing. She’s the same exact answer. Best childhood memory. Oh, um, I’m told. I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to get old enough so that I couldn’t be, one always told that I was not old enough for that. I remember like in this, I had a little room which was my den and we’re talking about like late 50s. I would get these magazine covers, like the photo play of all the movie stars. I’d have one with Brigitte Bardot and I’d put it up on my wall. I’d be 12 years old. My father said, You better take that down. You’re not old enough for that. My respect for my dad, I said, well, how can I not be old enough for it? Why would I put it up there if I didn’t think it was a pretty picture of a pretty girl? And what do you say? I said that to myself. I didn’t say that. But he didn’t appreciate the fact that I was reacting to pictures of pretty girls. He thought I’m growing up too fast or something. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be older and be out of the house. Sure. And, you know, so that’s not a good childhood memory of that. Is it? Is, uh, I just thought he was a jerk, of course, I think I didn’t later on, but generate a generation gap. Yeah. We, I would imagine that that was, I think the gaps have gotten lesser and lesser success. Oh yeah. And a lot of the kids are a lot smarter than we were. And I’m sure that’s the case. What I know, like I was, I had less and I don’t know that it was just me, but I had no problems relating to any of my kids. And I see my son now relating with his daughter. It’s nothing. It’s yeah. It’s everything like that’s got a lot better. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There was a lot of repression, you know, in sexual matters. Oh, totally. Things when they were spoken about at home, you know. Sex feelings, communication, all that stuff was pretty… It was a very 1950s household I grew up in. Yeah. And I think it’s, yeah, very much so. Uh, who’s had the biggest influence on you musically and also personally. Oh, well I would admire musicians, you know, like Scotty Moore. I would like his sound and what he did with Elvis. And Elvis was a big, the way that he was able to. You know, I once had the pleasure of playing in the same club as JD Fontana, or is it DJ Fontana? I’m always getting mixed up. the drummer from Elvis. Uh, I don’t know the drummer’s name. We take a quick look. It’s Fontana, JD Fontana or, or, or DJ Fontana, one or the other. Yeah, it was DJ Fontana, Dominic Joseph Fontana. Yeah. Yeah. And I used to listen to records by these old 1950s records and all the drummers on them. They were always playing a jazz beat. They were playing ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting ting Yes. The drummers were going like… The jazz swing, right? In the early days, this is, you know, we’re going back to the 50s here. And for some reason it sounded quite cohesive, but Elvis’ records, they didn’t. They always sounded quite hip to me. The drummers were playing along with the eighth notes, the even eighth notes of the guitar. So I said… So that was quite hip, you know, and I had the drummer that was doing that in front of me and I said, how, how, how were you to do that? So he said, Chris, tell you the truth. I was in the jazz. I was in the Buddy Rich. I was in the big bands. And you know what? We go into the studio Elvis would sit down at the drums and said, can you play it more like this? Wow. So the fact that you think that Elvis just used to sit there and not play the guitar is playing with it. He could play and he knew how to get his sound and he produced those records. He used to have a musical supervisor, you know, like Steve Scholes was a guy, he used to be the guy from RCA who would make sure that everybody got paid. But Elvis produced those records. And he would always do it live, wouldn’t do overdubs. So Elvis was quite influential. And if you look at the comeback thing that is in the leather suit and he plays the, he grabs the electric guitar from Scottie Moore and he’s playing, you can hear him playing one night, all the licks that you hear on the record, he’s playing them. So vastly underrated musician. Those records are pretty influential, those early Elvis records, you know, J-Last Rock, Don’t Be Cruel, and then when you sort of hear the cohesiveness of that rhythm section in the late 50s and then you listen to some of the other records that were made around that time, not quite as hip in terms of the session playing. So I would say Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore. Oh, interestingly enough, Scotty Moore’s on record as saying, what’s all this rockabilly stuff? I don’t, we didn’t use to call it rockabilly. All we were doing, we were trying to put together the music we knew and play some pop music and get into the pop charts. Pop music again. Yeah, pop music. Scotty Moore, that’s coming from. We didn’t call it rockabilly. I think hillbilly music, the rocking hillbilly. But when I first met Robert Gordon, he said, Oh, you can play this rockabilly stuff. And I said, well, what’s that? And he said, Oh, you know, Elvis and that. So I said, well, I know it’s Scotty Moore, I don’t buy that shit. But we didn’t call it, you know, over the years, it’s changed. It’s become a genre. Yes. What we first listened to in the fifties is now a genre. Definitely. Um, and then, you know, some people think that it, or stopped when Elvis went into the army or when Buddy Holly died, you know, like that song. But pop music kept going. Yeah, it is a genre now, man. How about personally, who’s influenced you most? Um, I’d have to think about that. I mean, to read a lot of history, and people that have gone before, they wouldn’t be very well thought of now. You know, you can talk about like, one of the heroes in Great Britain is somebody like Winston Churchill. Yeah. He would not be very, very well thought of. a lot of bigotry, a lot of racism. There’s a lot of, it was against votes for women in 1920, stuff like that. It might have helped us win the first World War and saved us from being bombed out by the Nazis, but he would not have been a very good modern man. So it’s very difficult to say you’ve mired people from history because we’ve got better than that. I hope we have anyway. Yeah, now we have. Yeah. So to say, you know, look back at people, I mean, my father was a very good man. He was somebody to be proud of and to look up to. So I think that’s the same in everybody really. Unless very unlucky people. I was lucky enough to have people to look up to in my family. Biggest business win and biggest personal win. business wind. Well, I guess it was the motorbiking record because I got, I was doing fairly well doing sessions, but that was a plus. I was able to go out. I went about, went out and bought Corvette. That’s really cool, man. Well, you know, like a lot of people just, oh, now I can pay off all my debts to pay my credit card off, but I was fine. I was doing fine doing sessions. So I was able to get the check and spend it all. That’s cool. That felt good. Yeah, I bet. Man, but you did that. Nobody, very few people have that opportunity to get that kind of exposure off one song. Right. That’s a pretty, that’s a pretty significant. Well, there was a different scene in those days, you know, it’s all down to the pop music thing. Again, motorbiking was a pop record. When I was on top of the pops, proposing that record, I was out on the road with John Cale. Wow. Now there was nobody in the audience chanting, we want motorbiking, you know, because the people that came to see John Cal didn’t even know about the existence of that record because it was a totally different world. Nowadays, it’s a little not quite something like that. But in 1975, it was, uh, there was these people who liked the progressive and the, the eclectic, you know, the John Cal fans. Yeah. They would not like be impressed with my song. and the people that like my song wouldn’t know who John Cale was. Did you, you were just on tour with John Cale. You didn’t open for him. No, I was in his band and I just played on his record. Yeah. You know, it’s weird. Years ago, it seemed like when they had opening acts, the act was a lot more comparable. The two acts were much more comparable. I see some weird opening acts today that are not necessarily remotely compatible at all with two completely different. I mean, sometimes they get, you know, you see it. Okay, that makes sense. But more often than not, you see some weird combinations. And I don’t know if it’s because the lack of cons. I don’t know what it is. Well, yeah, I think that’s probably a good thing. Who opens up for Brian? Various people. I can’t think of their names because we’re all getting changed when they’re on. Yeah. We don’t go to the side of the stage and listen to him. Actually, Leslie West used to come and jam with our band. When we were doing when we opened for Mountain, that shark sort of was. He used to come on stage and play along alongside us. In fact, he used to ask me to turn down because he thought I was too loud. That’s funny, man, because he’s pretty freaking loud. My amp was a tiny little amp and he has about six amps all hooked up together. Yeah, he’s pretty loud. funny. Well I think both both me and Leslie learned something there. Six 200 watt amps are not louder than a 30 watt Fender amp because the sounds coming from a small place instead of this huge place and you could actually hear it and define the sound a lot better which is why he asked me to turn my 30 watt amp down because he’s six two six is 600 watt amps. You know three were not drowning me out. That’s amazing. He’s a, and you know, I thought about what you said before. He’s played single humbuckers a lot or single pickups. He had, he’s famous for the junior, you know, he had the junior was his big thing. Yeah. He used to also have a single coil. Well, yeah. I think the melody makers were single coil. I think the junior was like a P90 or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing how the guy got so much tone and you know, that’s, which just goes to back to show you what everybody, every professional, like you said, you said it before, you always sound like it’s in your fingers, man. You sound like you, you know, no matter who you’re playing. The famous Chet Atkins story when he was playing, he was playing in the studio and the engineer just said, Mr. Atkins, that guitar sounds fantastic. So Chet Atkins put the guitar on its stand and he said, how does it sound now? In other words, it’s not the guitar. It’s the guy that’s playing it. And there’s a lot of people play Chet Atkins’ Gretches that don’t sound as good as Chet Atkins. Most people don’t sound as good as Chet Atkins, man. That’s for sure. Yeah. You have any hobbies, Chris, outside of music? Reading. Reading history, historical novels. No, not really apart from that. Uh, it’s what, uh, as, uh, as a time on the road is reading, I caught the, um, uh, what do you call it? Uh, iPad with, you know, all the electronic book that don’t take books around anymore because they’ll be half the weight of your suitcase. But you can take all your whole library around with you in the iPad. Yeah. It’s really cool. Are you doing any more motorbiking nowadays? actual riding a bike? Yeah. No, I don’t. I had one, I bought one after I got the record out because I knew that people were gonna ask me what I was riding. So I didn’t ride a motorbike until I wrote the song. That’s great. I only had it for a couple of years. That’s great, man. Last question, toughest decision you’ve ever had to make or most difficult thing you’ve had to do? Well, I liked California. I didn’t want to leave. I left because I was getting more work from England. So I had ties in England, like family and cultural ties. And I thought it was time for me to go back. And I spent 28 years in the States and I really decided I liked the lifestyle in California, but it didn’t make any sense for me to, it’s an 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to Heathrow. So that was my commute, an 11 hour commute, didn’t make any sense. So I decided to move back and that wasn’t an easy decision to make. And I still miss California. You think you’re moving? Are you gonna be, are you staying in England, you think permanently now? You think you’ll move back to the States? Possibly, because I’ve got now to the age where the free national health is quite a plus. Oh shit, yeah, that’s right. Followed back. to it. I mean, the American medical system is very good. The doctors are great. Hospitals are great if you got the insurance. Yeah. So I’m watching the developments of that. Yeah. The pharmacare and all that stuff very closely. Sure. Like me at my age of 75. Yeah. You can’t just, most of the time I was living in the States, I didn’t have medical insurance, but when you’re younger, you don’t think of that. But now you do. Man, that would stop me coming back. I would have to be doing pretty well to be able to inform the top insurance. Yeah. Medical insurance. But that’s, you know, that’s looking on the dark side of everything, which I tend not to do. Man, my wife’s American. Oh, she is. She’s from Brooklyn. Yeah. Oh, so you did a reverse of me. I met her when I first came over. Yeah. Yeah, that’s wild. Um, you’ve been married that you’ve been married since 78 or with her since. Oh, no, well, I didn’t marry her in 78. No, we, we, um, I met her in 78 and we had a sort of on-off relationship for a long time and finally decided to get married and then we got divorced. Uh, and then we were, we were apart for a while and then we got together again. Good for you, man. I take on that was, uh, I guess the divorce didn’t work out. That’s the best optimistic way of saying that possible, man. The divorce didn’t work out. That’s great, man. So how long you been together like as a whole since 78? We only got married about five years ago for the second time. But that’s 40 years of relationships. Yeah. That’s a long time. Yeah. She was in a punk band at CBGBs. she was playing the bass. So she was part of all that, you know, rock chick, you know, rock star coming from England and all that. That’s really cool. Yeah. And here we are. Here we are. Getting old. Well, Chris, that might be your biggest accomplishment of all, man. 40 years on and off, mostly on, I’m assuming, in a relationship. That’s pretty tough. Good for you, man. Yeah. Is it tougher for her or for you? I know the answer to that. Yeah. Well, no. We forgot to have kids though. That’s the only thing. That’s all right. That’s all right. That’s great. That’s a nice story. I’m the divorce didn’t work. That’s good. I’ve never heard. I guess the divorce didn’t work out. Yeah, that’s great. That’s the, uh, that’s the best way of looking at something to have full that I’ve heard. Yeah. I like that Chris. Hey, listen, um, Let me tell people where to find you because you have some cool stuff coming up actually. And I really appreciate you, man. Thanks for coming on the show, man. I could talk to you for hours. You’ve got such great history, man. And I really thank you so much for sharing all your stories and thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. You’ve been generous. Let me tell people what you got going on. First of all, here in the States, like I said, I get an email this morning. Chris is coming on the show and I see at the Iridium, Chris Spedding and Robert Gordon in November 10th. So if you’re in New York or anywhere near New York and you wanna see some great, great guitar playing by some masters, Chris Spedding and Robert Gordon at the Iridium November 10th, they also have a new double live CV called Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding, Tear Up the House. It’s a double live album. First half was recorded at 2008 at a live concert of BB Kings on 42nd Street a venue that unfortunately is nowhere is gone now and So check that out and and I’m assuming will you have that at at the iridium you guys be selling merch at the iridium We will great. Yeah, it’s out now. Yeah, great. So go check these guys out at the iridium and Tell Chris that you heard him on the show and grab a copy of the double ICD. Again, it’s called Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding tear up the house. Also, you can get ahold of Chris online at Chris His last name is S P E D D I N G Chris Spedding. He also has a really cool album. His last record out is called Joyland. That’s a really good title. I like that man. And he’s got some great guest stars on that record, including Johnny Marr, Robert Gordon and. Glenn Matlock, the original bass player for the Sex Pistols. And Brian Ferry’s on there too, I think you said, right? Yeah, and Arthur Brown. And Arthur Brown. This is awesome. Anything else I forgot that you wanna share with my listeners, Chris? Thanks to Quist for hooking us up. Yeah, man. Thank you, Quist. Two best quotes. Well, Segovia doesn’t need an amplifier. And I guess the divorce didn’t work. Oh, man. That’s classic stuff, Chris. Hey, let me wrap up. And then you and I will chat for a minute. Thank you very much for everything, man. I really appreciate your time. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to chat with you, man. What an amazing career you’ve had. and you’ve accomplished a hell of a lot. Thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure. On your own and as a, like, you’re the quintessential Sidemen, you know, and it doesn’t get any better than this. Yeah. And you guys, and what an opportunity, the Sex Pistols. I’m gonna be the guy saying, hey man, Chris Spedding made the Sex Pistols happen. Well. That’s a good rumor to start. I’m sticking with it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. All right. Everybody, thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this, please share it on your social media channels. We appreciate your support. Again, check out Chris Spedding’s new double live record with Robert Gordon. It’s called Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding tear up the house. These guys will be at the Iridium in New York City. Great venue if you’ve never been there on November 10. Check out Chris’s last record Joyland with Brian Ferry, Arthur Brown, Johnny Marr, Robert Gordon and Glenn Matlock. How’s that for guest stars? Make sure you go to, sign up to get on our newsletter list so you and I can connect. And most important, remember that happiness is a choice, so choose wisely. Be nice, go play your guitar, and have fun. Till next time, peace and love, everybody. I’m out. Chris, thanks for everything. Bye. Bye.

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