A HISTORY OF THE WOODSTER!

There's a discography of music I've been involved with at discogs.com

 

 

other than that, pending the writing of my memoirs...

 

There's an article on the Mouth Magazine website to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Morrissey's Vauxhall & I album which I've contributed to.

 

 

There's an April 2012 interview with me on the Old School Psychobilly website.

 

 

 

Also... Dynamite, the German Rock 'n' Roll magazine, published an interview with me in 2010 which covers a lot of my background and is transcribed here:

 

When did you get in contact with Psychobilly or Rockabilly for the first time?

WT - At some point in the summer of 1980 - I was attracted by the style first. Like some other Punks my age, by the end of 1979 I was bored with spiky hair. The Clash had released London Calling and were wearing Cat clothes. I was playing with the Daleks and the singer Gaz had started dating a hairdresser from Harrow, where she cut hair for the local Rockabillies. She gave Gaz a quiff and I wanted one too… she said my hair would suit a Mac Curtis better, so that was the first Rockin’ haircut I had. By the summer of 1980 I met a Cat from Croydon (where I lived) who told me about a barber who could cut a flat top, I was just waiting for a band… then the Stray Cats arrived from America and took London (then the country) by storm but had disappeared on a World tour by the following Spring.

 

Do you remember what it was like to see the Meteors the first time?

WT - It completely swept me away, made me feel there was nothing left for me in Croydon (other than my Barber ;-) – I already had the Meteor Madness EP, but live it was another story. The first time I saw them was at the Marquee, Wardour Street – Sunday 5th April 1981. I loved that venue and had seen The Ruts, The Cure and Spizz there in the previous 18 months. The Meteors did a manic 30 minute set + 30 minutes of encores, just kept coming back – all the Rollin’ Rock cover versions. My band was due to play at my girlfriend’s house-warming party the next weekend and I packed them both in to go to Feltham and see the Meteors!

 

Is it true that you saw the Meteors about 59 times in 1981 and only missed 2 shows?

WT - Yeah! I started work in September 1980 and when it came to choosing a two week Summer Holiday for 1981 I was left with the last two weeks in May. This coincided with the Cramps tour that the Meteors played support on, so I was able to go to all the shows.

I didn’t know the band at the start and they were my friends at the end.

 

You’ve been in a punk outfit called Fear that time, right?

WT - That started around the summer of 1981, Al (the singer) and Paula (the bassist) were early Meteors followers. I was looking to get better at guitar. They got Mark Robertson in to play drums for the early gigs. It was good fun. I left when I joined the Meteors and they carried on for a couple of years.

 

Did you release anything with Fear?

WT - No. There was a Live At The 100 Club tape that Adam Skeaping (engineer for Meteor Madness & Radioactive Kid) made the same night as his Meteors recording.  

 

As one of their biggest fans it must have been a great feeling to become a member of the Meteors…

WT - Yeah, of course. For me there was nobody that touched them at the time – The first gig I played was a sell out night at the Marquee and within a week I was recording in Island Records’ Basing Street Studio and played in Paris (for French TV) a month later, things moved very quickly. It was great to see Insight from that Paris show on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvlTPr6DwbQ

 

You recorded one album “Teenagers from Outer Space” and “Mutant Rock” and “The Hills Have Eyes” and then left the band. Why?

WT - Mutant Rock, The Hills Have Eyes and the (non-Mark Robertson) songs on the Teenagers album were all from the same session (April 1982). The regrettable sequence of events was - us sacking our Manager (Nick Garrard), Nigel played one more gig and left towards the end of April. To me the magic of the Meteors was Nigel and Paul together.

 

Have you been closer to Nigel than to P. Paul Fenech?

WT - I’ve been in a lot of bands with Nigel. I’d love to mix some Nigel Lewis and The Zorchmen recordings. I really should drop him a line, Mark Robertson gave me his e-mail address recently. I was good friends with Paul before/while I was in the band.

 

Together with Nigel and Mark Robertson you founded the Escalators. What was the idea behind the band? Personally I feel, the band did a blend of early Psychobilly, punk rock or what was called post punk/new wave later. Many bands try to sound like this nowadays…

WT - I actually joined Nigel, Mark & Bart after they’d played a few gigs, so the idea was already in place. Nigel had a very strong influence from 60s Garage and Psych music, the Pebbles bootleg LP was probably the starting point. I still wanted to improve as a guitarist and Nigel had liked what I did with Fear. I remember Nick Garrard being very keen for us to pursue the double drummer angle, which ended up being on about half the songs.

 

The band quit after just one album. Nigel wanted a darker sound. Wasn’t it possible to realize that with The Escalators? Were you happy with the sound?

WT - In retrospect I’m fond of quite a lot of tracks on the album and think Glen Skinner’s production has stood the test of time pretty well. I was glad it finally came out on CD (and the Live At Le Havre CD too). At the time though I was still grieving the loss of the Meteors. I’ve had quite a few people come up to me and say Moving Staircases is their favourite album ever though!

 

You also joined The Tall Boys and The Johnson Family where Nigel used to play…There’s a great list of bands you joined in but probably the most famous has been Morrissey. How did you get in there?

WT - Through Boz Boorer, his Musical Director, who’s a friend. I’d been working on a project where he was guesting on guitar and he put my name forward for the Vauxhall & I LP. The Johnson Family had supported Morrissey on a couple of London shows, so he was aware of whom I was.

 

Morrissey seems to prefer musicians with a rockabilly background, although his music goes in a completely different direction…

WT - His love of 50s style is well documented and he was a huge New York Dolls fan (I always think of their version of Stranded In The Jungle as being an excellent psychobilly recording, paving the way for the Cramps). His Kill Uncle album had a few songs in a Rockin’ style and it was to tour that album that he got a Rockin’ band together. Once Mick Ronson had Produced Your Arsenal and turned the guitar amps on full it wasn’t going to stay Rockabilly for long!

 

What was it like working with him?

WT - It was great! I think it’s some of the best stuff I’ve ever played on. Steve Lillywhite, who was the Producer, had an amazing way of drawing the best performances out of everybody.  

 

Did you make a living with music at this time?

WT - Yeah, for a good few months anyway!

 

Please tell us about how you got into recording music.

WT - I made a few recordings when I was about sixteen using two cassette recorders and playing all the instruments, so I’ve been interested for a long time. I started getting involved in the recording side of bands I was in from around the late 80s. I got a 4 track, then 8 track and accumulated various bits of vintage gear along the way (tape echos, plate reverb, valve eq, mics etc). I now combine all that with Pro Tools to get the best of both analogue and digital worlds.

 

You've run a production company/record label, called Milou Studios. Can you give us some examples of bands you produced and we might know?

WT - No household names so far. I try to keep my rates reasonable so I can work with up and coming bands. I’m particularly proud of the 9 Time The Same Song LP I did with the Swedish band Love Is All which one journalist described as “Riot Pop”! They ended up licensing it to EMI/Parlophone, so it was a pretty big deal. I’m currently working on a second LP with a Brighton band called SHRAG, who are along the same lines. I play drums in Comet Gain and produced most of their stuff that has come out in the last 10 years. A new band that I’m very excited about is Veronica Falls. I’ve mixed a couple of tracks for them, including a new single Beachy Head. This has a strong 60s Garage/Psych influence. I still very much love the music I was into at the end of the 70s/early 80s. Anybody interested in hearing these bands or contacting me can via www.myspace/miloustudios

 

On your myspace profile I saw some comments of people wondering where you have been. So where have you been? :-)

WT - Actually, that was because I didn’t open my first MySpace as a “Band” and couldn’t post music on it. I ended up closing it down and starting again, so I had to ask everybody to be my friend again! But to answer your question… near to London, mainly Croydon and Windsor!

 

When you think of the term Psychobilly, what does it mean to you? Are you still interested in the scene?

WT - I normally think of those fantastic 50s recordings that the Meteors used to cover. Love Me by the Phantom, Deep Dark Jungle by Bob Luman, the Meteor record label recordings… it’s a long list. Those songs still give me goose bumps. I’ve been invited by the club Born Bad to DJ at one of their nights in Brighton, so that will be cool.

 

Many bands have their comeback these days. Could you imagine a comeback with one of your bands? And which one would you like to play with again?

WT - I don’t think any of these would happen but… The Escalators are all in contact (albeit virtually), so that’s one I could imagine – I’m not sure I could remember the guitar parts though! To answer the second question, there’s two! The Meteors (with Nigel & Paul) for sure, but also the Ruffhouse All Stars who Nigel formed in the Autumn of 1983. It was a Hillbilly party band and there were only a few gigs – all cover versions, including Whatcha Gonna Do When The Creek Runs Dry? and Pick A Bail Of Cotton – classic stuff!

Facebook 8Ts dual photobooth discogs.com link 1 OS Psychobilly link discogs.com link 2 Mouth Magazine link