Ten years ago when Robots was just a printed circuit and some bits of old wire we interviewed a band of old stagers going by the name of Goldblade. Sure, they'd been round the block a few times already (check out the Membranes) but they were kickin' out a fresh soul punk rattatat with the enthusiasm and energy of the band who've just found that magical third chord for the first time.
With their years came wisdom and a sense of humour about interviews with two-bit zines and with a leader like John Robb came an endless supply of gobshite discourse on pretty much any topic. Plus ca change.
Goldblade today are John Robb, Keith Curtis, Johny Skullknuckles, Rob Haynes and Pete Brychmore. www.goldblade.com
You were one of the first bands we interviewed ten years ago. You'd all been around a bit even then. Don't you think you're getting a bit old for this Rock 'n' Roll lark?
JSK: Yes far too old and we are all old enough to know better now, but we keep leaping like young Gazelles. We are The Middle Aged Busted and proud of it!
PB: You can tell this is a British mag can't you!! No other country would think anything of our ages!
RH: We may be getting old young fellow, but not too old to rock. Don't forget that we're operating in a genre where all the groups who inspired us to join bands in the first place are still going strong: The Stranglers, The Damned, UK Subs, Motorhead, Killing Joke etc are still touring and recording and are still inspirational. Oh, and happy anniversary
type of music we play is loved equally by the 14 plus (in fact we have
some fans under 10 years old!) and the over fifties. We are extremely
valid to these people and that's what counts. The other thing which I
always find amusing is that the age of bands always seems to be a problem
to commentators who are over 40! Tom Waits and Iggy still burn, The Killers
are really dull. The age thing doesn't affect that simple but brutally
Goldblade has evolved quite naturally over time. No-one's ever been thrown
out - Wayne and Jay just wanted to do other things after several years
in the band and left amicably. Our two guitarists, Pete and Johny, have
been in the band a few years but feel like they've been in forever.
JSK: On the whole, pound for pound it's a damn sight better!!
It has toughened up, got more focused and direct. Oh, and noisier. Faster,
louder, harder. We had lots of different influences at first. James Brown
and Tom Waits loomed fairly large on the first couple of albums, I think,
but although we've never stopped listening to stuff like that, we came
to realise that we just preferred playing full-on rock and roll. It's
just about the physical excitement and the reaction of the crowd at gigs.
the band sound is a lot more powerful and the gigs have got a lot crazier.
That can only be a good thing! The songs are better, the songs are bigger,
they are big fuck off punk rock guitar anthems but they still have soul
power tattooed right down the middle of them, they are also big pop songs.
Certainly in the last album, Rebel Songs. Our punk roots have gotten stronger
the longer we've gone on, and we wanted to tip the hat a little to the
likes of Crass, Dead Kennedys etc. Besides, Goldblade have always been
about celebrating life, but there's no ignoring things like the Iraq war
and continuing Government dishonesty.
Some of the song are a bit more obtuse, a bit more, poetic. Sort of wonky, out of sorts trips through the dark side of Britain, the melancholic rotting Victorian edifice of our town centres in Fighting In The Dancehall. The medieval ages never ended strokes of Psycho. The environmental disaster that is Everything Is Porn. The F.U.C.K. fuck that is Out Of Control.
I guess you could say all human life is in there. The funny thing is the American Strictly Come Dancing programme has been playing Do You Believe In The Power Of Rock 'n' Roll? in it. How the fuck that fits in with their show is baffling but it also makes complete sense.
Most people stop really liking music when they get to a certain age and just listen to whatever they already know or what's on the supermarket racks. How have you avoided that? And how can we give the rest of them a kick up the arse?
Well, I still love all the bands I grew up loving too. I've never grown
bored of listening to Rattus Norvegicus or Machine Gun Etiquette or Another
Kind of Blues, and I doubt I ever will. But I also love relatively newer
bands like Clutch, Rammstein, and Opeth and by touring a lot we get to
see a lot of great new unsigned bands too. I'm not sure why other people
might stop listening to new stuff, it's not like there's a shortage of
good new music out there - but whatever makes people happy is fine.
can't make people diversify, not everyone has the same relationship with
music that we do; some feel comfortable with background sounds or specific
genres, some get obsessive. I wouldn't wanna be the lunatic collector
who has mint copies of everything a band does but never plays them!
your audience changed over the last ten years?
was nothing wrong with that, but it can inadvertently tie you in with
a passing trend. The punk scene is pretty much immune to fashion, and
people like what they like with a fierce loyalty. We feel very at home
here, and I think it suits us.
In that first interview, talking about indie bands, you said: "People have no self-belief.. I went to see Cable last night, a great band, but when they play on stage, the way they stand; it's really apologetic, which is wrong 'cos they're kicking out some great sounds." Do you see any change there? And RIP Cable, sadly missed here.
I don't think bands need to run around to be good, but if you're playing
exciting rock music then you'd hope that the musicians were as excited
by playing it as the audience would be to listen to it. One of the best
live bands I've ever seen is Amen - now there's a band that's consumed
by their music. And yes, Cable were great. Too many good bands never last.
guess the best bands of that genre manage to combine the firebrand with
the cerebral. Often, though, it can be music to show off about, almost
like a "look how smart I am listening to this!" It can remind
me a lot of the prog rock era when listening to crap like Yes was seen
as being far more intellectual than being into Slade! Saying that though
the Cable record does stand the test of time.
Also in that first interview we said: "This is a punked-up, straight-edged, soul-powered sermon to the masses." Were you ever, and are you still preaching from that gospel?
That still sounds pretty accurate. We usually end out gigs by playing
Do You Believe In The Power of Rock and Roll? which has a big US evangelist-style
segment of John laying on hands with the audience and people testifying.
Do you still get a big kick out of playing a sweaty club?
God, yes. I love that kind of gig more than any other. If we ever get
so big that we could only play big theatres or arenas - unlikely I know,
but bear with me - then I think we'd lose an important physical connection
with the crowd, who are absolutely essential to a good gig.
Who wrote your Wikipedia entry? I like this bit: "The Membranes released several albums that were critically acclaimed by minor publications like the NME, Melody Maker, the Guardian, and Rolling Stone etc." Minor publications. Ha ha! What's your relationship with the music press like these days?
We don't really seem to register with the mainstream press these days.
We'd be happy to talk, but we'll carry on regardless anyway
Many bands get acres of good reviews and no-one ever checks them out, at least we have the luxury of having an audience and an audience that's on the move! Every now and then the press notice something going on. My punk book was in the NME's best books of 2006 list; Big Cheese constantly give us good write ups, and Keraang still gives us good reviews...Alternative Press in America gave us a two page spread.
PB: What relationship with the music press?
Last time, John said: "I don't like crisps; they're there to destroy your will-power and weaken your resolve. Every time you play a gig, they always give you six packets of crisps on the rider, y'know, and then they expect you to play an intense show... but they slow you down, but that's like all the trash that hangs around Rock'n'Roll." Are you still anti-crisp? Do any other savoury snacks get your goat?
Personally I like crisps, but it certainly isn't what I'd choose to eat
before playing a gig, and you'd be surprised how often we play venues
where that's pretty much all we get offered. Promoters please note: some
bread, some cheese, some hummus and some apples will do just nicely, thank
you. And water instead of beer.
bring my own food to gigs! I don't want to be watered down, weakened by
the trappings of crap Britain, why settle for Jade Goody when you can
have anything you want? All snacks are for the soggy, savoury snacks pumped
full of chemicals are the food equivalent of Busted. It's your choice
Where are Goldblade going? Will there be another 10 years? Are you the punk Rolling Stones?
We're going on tour again, for another ten years or so. Probably longer.
I'm not sure what being 'the punk Rolling Stones' entails, but if I can
be the punk Charlie Watts then I'm happy with that.
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