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Interview

The Bermondsey Joyriders 

Gary Lammin interview

added: 31 May 2014
interviewed by: Claudia A

The Bermondsey Joyriders - Gary Lammin interview - Printable version
Gary Lammin is the frontman of South London blues-punk trio The Bermondsey Joyriders - a man with a wit as sharp as his songs, and a fondness for tartan suits. Music-News Claudia A. discusses the band’s new album ‘Flamboyant Thugs’ with the former Cock Sparrer.

Music-News:
Gary, the new album FLAMBOYANT THUGS sees a slight detour from previous album NOISE & REVOLUTION by incorporating a wider spectrum of musical elements/genres…

Gary Lammin:
Yes that's right... we have been experimenting musically with the idea of what Slade might have sounded like if Jimmy Page had been the guitarist! So there is a lot of stomp and drive to the songs as well as some sky diving guitar licks! When I was a kid I was always attracted to dynamic performance and I made this little cassette up that had a running order that went like this: Track 1 WHOLE LOTTA LOVE (Led Zep), Track 2 GUDBYE TO JANE (Slade), Track 3 BRING IT ON HOME (Led Zep), Track 4 MAMA WERE ALL CRAZY NOW (Slade) etc etc.

So it was my personal best of Led Zep meets Slade. When I recently found it again whilst tidying up my music room I thought I’d give it a listen and it still played. It made me smile how cool the two bands sat so well together track after track... So I thought hmm... Here’s an idea maybe that I could experiment with as a "sound" for ‘Flamboyant Thugs’ and I think that's a pretty accurate description of the current sound of The Bermondsey Joyriders.

MN:
The album’s title is derived from 1968 cult movie PERFORMANCE, in which Mick Jagger and James Fox embark on a bit of role reversal… physically and psychologically. Obviously, the movie must have struck a few chords with you…

GL:
When I first saw PERFORMANCE I thought to myself it was very far out but again I was attracted to the dynamics. After watching it several times I saw that the story was in fact a very well ordered sequence of events that trigger a kind of psychologically domino effect. FLAMBOYANT THUGS are what in my mind the two characters of the film are gradually becoming as their individual identities begin to blur together in a metamorphosis.

MN:
It is an album about reality and fantasy, sanity and insanity, vice and versa… How does this translate in relation to the featured tracks?

GL:
All of the tracks on ‘Flamboyant Thugs’ are about making a choice about how you are going to be or what you are going to do and as we all know just the slightest change can have a dramatic effect on a situation or on your life and the people you are around.

MN:
Counter-culture poet and former MC5 manager John Sinclair makes a return on the new album – will he be part of the promo tour and selected live gigs as well?

GL:
Well we become good friends with John Sinclair and so much so that he made a detour from his own recording session that day to come and make another appearance on The Bermondsey Joyriders latest recording... So, if John Sinclair is up for a bit of gigging again with The Bermondsey Joyriders he would be most welcome. He is a great mind and a great heart and he has this glint in his eyes that is very knowing and you always know when you are onto something cool because John bursts out into roaring laughter as if to say “yeah good stuff on that idea”. What a great geezer to have around! The Bermondsey Joyriders are very honored to have made records and gigs with John and if an idea is not to Johns liking he would never say that he didn’t like it. But I have learnt that the idea to go with actual fact is the one that makes him burst out laughing.

MN:
What’s been happening in the world of The Bermondsey Joyriders since the release of NOISE & REVOLUTION and the making of the new album?

GL:
We found out that our tribute song to JOHNNY THUNDERS, ‘Johnny Thunders was a Human Bein’ is to be included in the new Johnny Thunders film and this is obviously a real accolade because any film about anyone has to be very well researched. Consequently before anything is included into a film the situation has to be really scrutinized for authenticity. So that’s a nice bit of news and then how about this... We are going to Japan! Yeah it’s a real mind blast... Chris Musto phoned me to say we had had some interest from Japan and I said to Chris "What kind of interest? Have we sold a T-Shirt to someone out there?" Chris replied "Err, a little bit more then that, they want to send us airline tickets booked with British Airways and they want us to play at this massive festival and do a TV show and a few radio shows. Some big promoters in Japan had recently seen our web page and heard our recordings and contacted Chris Musto. So we are very excited about going to Japan and the offer has come at an essential time for The Bermondsey Joyriders. We are most appreciative that we have been giving this opportunity.

MN:
Gary, the new tracks were all written by you… but surely your fellow thugs in music and crime, Martin Stacey and Chris Musto, must have contributed as well?

GL:
Though I may have written all of the songs, the styling and image of the band is entirely Martin’s (bass player Martin Stacey), because he works for some major name fashion houses as a DJ. This look and this image are then put into a manifest graphic idea by Chris (drummer Chris Musto). So it’s a tandem effort with all bringing their specialist angle to the band.

MN:
The Bermondsey Joyriders recently released a double A-side single: ‘Brian Jones – The Real True Leader Of The Rolling Stones’ and ‘Johnny Thunders Was A Human Being’. How come neither track is included on FLAMBOYANT THUGS?

GL:
The idea was this... let’s suppose that Brian Jones and Johnny Thunders were both mates in similar situations yeah? And they both had a set of car keys to the same car... this flamboyant car... the car being Flamboyant Thugs of course, and so really you need to see the Double A side single as an essential part of the Flamboyant Thugs album in as much as that you need the ignition keys to start it up. It was just a bit of a fun idea really and The Bermondsey Joyriders though making social comment do love to have fun.

MN:
In your opinion, was Brian Jones was the real true leader of the Stones?

GL:
He was not just the leader but he was also the magic. Ronnie Wood is totally a logical choice and Mick Taylor before him was totally brilliant BUT Brian Jones was/is the magic.

MN:
The new album features a track titled ‘Gentleman Please’ with the opening line “Please practice what you preach”. Do YOU always practice what you preach?

GL:
No I'm a total Phoney.

MN:
Any plans for world domination?

GL:
No... But if you own a very tight pencil skirt and 6 inch stilettos please put your hair up in a pony tail and you can come and dominate me.

(Please read my review of The Bermondsey Joyriders wicked new album ‘Flamboyant Thugs’ in the Album Reviews section.)

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