AN INTERVIEW WITH DARRELL BATH: “BUILD UP THE INTEREST, KEEP IT GOING, AND WAIT TILL IT’S GOOD”

Estándar

This is the story of a South London boy who was born in Croydon…Hold on. Cut to Brighton, 2018. It’s a beautiful sunny June afternoon and I’m sitting at a pub called The Windmill waiting for Darrell Bath, whom I arranged to interview. “He better show up on time”, I say to myself. After all it was a long way from faraway Buenos Aires to the south of England. Add to that, only 4 hours ago I’d jumped on a train from London (Hemel Hempstead  actually, where I was staying), changed it at Clapham Junction, then changed again at Hove, and finally set foot at the Brighton station only 2 hours before I’d meet him. But time was running short. I still had to find the hotel where I had a room booked for the night, which takes you longer than supposed when you go just the opposite way and, errr, it’s not there. To make things worse, it’s called The Brighton Hotel, which means pretty most all of them are. But there should be only one under that very name, or so I thought, and about 20 blocks after I finally reach my second Brighton destination. An hour to interview time now, but somehow time has run faster, and I still have to find the place where we’ll meet which, even when it’s supposed to be not that far from where I am, but nobody seems to know it. And yes, before you wonder, I’m asking the locals. And yes, before you wonder again, I don’t have a cell phone with me and everybody seems to be pretty clueless but the middle-aged lady who directs me to the next street with a pub with The Windmill sign making eyes at me. The wait is finally over, although nothing would have stopped me from meeting one of my music heroes ever -and believe me, I have quite a few- whom I discovered back in 1993, by the time he joined my beloved Dogs D’Amour to record what was should be considered the band’s last great album. 5.30, isn’t it time now? That’s exactly when Darrell enters the scene, two minutes before we order the first round of pints. And there’s many more to come all though the hour and a half or so the interview will run for, as there’s lots to talk about. His last solo album “Roll Up”, released 3 years ago, must be one of the finest albums ever recorded by anybody, you just can’t deny it, but there’s about 32 years prior to that also left to discussion. From 1986 onwards, when he joined Charlie Harper’s UK Subs for the first of many stays, his brief passage through the previously mentioned Dogs, his days with Ian Hunter or The Vibrators or Nikki Sudden and, of course, the amazing and swaggering Crybabys. The story of a South London boy who was born in Croydon, went from playing side drum at school to discover the more rockin’ sounds of the Stones and the Faces and the blues and the glam and the punk guys. ‘Cause if every picture tells a story, here’s Darrell to tell you a few. And yes, please, we’ll have another pint, thank you.

I first heard about you when you joined the Dogs D’Amour for the “More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace” album in 1993. But 7 years before that, you joined the UK Subs, who you did three albums with, and it always seemed to me that somehow you completely changed the sound of the band.
Yeah, “Japan Today”, and two more albums. Yeah, more rock and roll, blues and R&B. Our common ground was garage rock’n’roll blues. Charlie (Harper) is a great harmonica player and he’s into all that.

R-1414372-1459183820-8616.jpegSo would you really say it was you who affected the sound of the band?
Oh yeah. We didn´t really play any of my compositions live, maybe one or two, like “Thunderbird Wine” or “Street Legal”, they were the only new songs we used to play live, the rest were from the previous albums.

More punk style…
Yeah, Ramones-y, or even a bit of hardcore style. I could adapt to that, that was no problem. I wouldn’t say it changed too much, but yeah. I love all good punk albums.

Right after that you joined the Dogs, or was there something in between? The Crybabys? If so, was it your first major personal band?
Yeah, the Crybabys. My first personal original band, yeah, with John (Plain) and Robbie (Rushton)

crybabys

Darrell with the Crybabys (second from left)

How did that ever happen?
Quite easy. I was working with Arturo (Bassick) from The Lurkers. We did one tour supporting Die Toten Hosen, who were very big Lurkers and (The) Boys fans. That went really well, so it came the chance to tour with them a second time, and Arturo rang John Plain. Two guitars, and one bass player singing, so during that tour we thought “let’s do our own thing in the style of the Faces or Mott the Hoople!” And that’s what we did. And John’s great, ‘cause he encouraged me to write my own songs, which wouldn’t have been right for UK Subs or some of the other bands I was with around that time.

And you also did a lot of writing together.
Yeah yeah, lots of them. But The Boys were still popular.

And then you recorded four albums with  the Crybabys.
Yeah. “Where Have All the Good Girls Gone”, “Rock On Sessions”, “Daily Misery” and “What Kind of Rock’n’Roll?”, which was a compilation of our first album, once again, “Where Have…” and what was we thought was gonna be our second album, but it really wasn’t.

R-5878473-1405202965-5076.jpegAny particular favourite of yours?
Yeah, I Like “Rock On Sessions”. It’s a shame it’s such a rare album.

I agree, it’s really impossible to find. Actually somebody copied it for me on a blank CD a long time ago, because I couldn’t find it on eBay, or anywhere.
Yes, it’s impossible to get it anywhere. Only a few copies were done. It was recorded in France, and then they pressed it up. Some 200 copies got sent to New York, and suddenly a phone call comes, “oh the warehouse has burnt down”… And it was like, “oh please!”…

And the album was never re-issued.
No. It was recorded in ’94, and it was eventually released in 2000. And the sound is pretty good, it’s a good performance. I love the band on that. That’s when we had Danny Garcia in the band, the man who made the Johnny Thunders film, he’s the bass player. He sings one song too.

Right, and you had Les Riggs on drums instead of Robbie Rushton.
Robbie is in the first two albums. And it’s Von in “Daily Misery”, who’s now in Die Toten Hosen and, yes, that’s Les Riggs from Cheap and Nasty on “Rock On Sessions”

But the band didn’t do much touring at the time.
We did a bit, mainly in England and France.

13227550_1153636888004162_8955119519994873060_oSorry, it’s just that I couldn’t find much information about the Crybabys…
Yeah, I know, very “cult” (laughs)

OK and then you joined the Dogs D’Amour. How did that happen?
How did that happen? Well we knew each other a bit, but I think that was because they had one more deal, one more record to make with China Records, and the old guitarist Jo (Dog) stayed in America, and they needed a guy in England. And, you know, my flat mate was a music promoter called Fish, and he was gonna book two nights at the Astoria, in Christmas ’92. I just thought I’d meet them for one or two gigs. Cool. But there was an album to do as well.

And for me, that album, “More Unchartered…” somehow marked the end of the good days of the Dogs D’Amour. I mean, I’m not saying that caused the end of the band, but they wouldn’t be that good anymore.
Probably not. But we also did Tyla’s first solo album (“The Life & Times of a Ballad Monger”) which is a good album as well, nice sound on it.

darrell-bath

Darrell during the Dogs D’Amour days, 1993.

And then you toured a bit with the Dogs at the time.
Oh yeah. All over England, and Spain. We were very popular in Spain. Only in those two countries. They were great fun gigs. Just good fun, while it lasted. Nice audiences, especially in the shows in Spain. And it was crazy. They would come to the gigs with 20 bottles of wine with “the Dogs D’Amour” painted on the label.

So you were doing both the Crybabys and the Dogs’ thing at the same time?
Yeah. In fact all band played on the original version of “All the Way to Hell and Back”, on the demo version. But I’ve lost it.

maxresdefaultWhy did the Crybabys stop? Honest John told me last year that he was looking forward to doing at least one more album with the band. In fact you both did a few acoustic shows together.
Well, we didn’t stop, but that would be great. Yeah, we did a little tour in Italy. And we did one more single on an Italian label. That was “Scars” backed with “Tell Me”, the Stones’ song, which was a double A side.

What about Ian Hunter? You worked with him for 6 years. I read somewhere that “you came to be the perfect replacement when writing songs after the death of Mick Ronson”. How much did you write together?
Yeah, we did some writing. He’s a great guy, he encourages you. He looks for the best things in people, and brings them out. I wouldn’t say I’m near Mick Ronson, no. It was more like we were more like a strict rock band in the spirit of Mott the Hoople, rather than a big rock band like Foreigner or Queen.

Did you do a lot of touring together?
We recorded in America, but we didn’t play over there. “Dirty Laundry” was recorded in Abbey Road, and then we did some overdubs in Trondheim, Norway. The second one was done in Vermont, up there in the hills, and then again the overdubs were finished in Trondheim. The whole scene was really “Lilyhammer”. Have you seen the film?

No, I guess I haven’t .
Oh man, you gotta see it…That would remind you of how it was like!

512gM0RqyhL._SX355_All the members of the Crybabys play in “Dirty Laundry”, so in a way it’s like an extra Crybabys album, as a matter of fact it sounds like that.
Oh yeah it does, it´s a classic album. And I love it.

Come 1995, that’s when you worked along Spike of the Quireboys on the “Take Out Some Insurance” album.
Yes we did, me and Spike, but that was unofficial, it was never been properly released. It was only available on cassette, and sold at gigs. That was it. Good album, uh?

Very good album, all blues standards…
Lots of blues, only one or two originals, one or two ‘70s John Mayall songs, a couple of classics, a Mississippi John Hurt one, a Muddy Waters song, you know, just the best we could do.

R-9333444-1478773101-2006.jpegDid you jam at the studio?
No, we were given a task by a publisher. He said “would you do this? Here’s a few ideas”. We did it in a great studio in Chiswick, a lovely studio called Chiswick Reach, all old valuable equipment, some of the original Joe Meek, it was his old equipment, so it was really old stuff.

Well, it sounds like old stuff…
Yeah, it sounds authentic. “Spoonful”… Jimmy Reed´s “Take Out Some Insurance”…

And it’s all timeless. I never pay attention to years, or when albums were released, only for biographical details….And by the way what made you become a musician? Were you a baby at the time? You were born in Croydon, right?
Yeah. It was like a magnet, you know. I loved the radio. My grandmother played the accordion, my grandparents played the piano…things like that.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Yeah, a sister, she’s younger than me, and she plays great tenor horn. She’s pretty accomplished as well, she’s a teacher. There was always music around. I could play violin and the guitar. I learnt all the chords, you know, just all the classic things.

But you played guitar since the get-go. Was it your first instrument?
Naaah, early teens, since 13. Before that was the drums, a side drum, I was in a marching band.

That’s how most people start, with the knife and the fork banging pots and things at home.
Yeah, that’s right, that’s how you learnt it! I was fascinated! And all my friends in school, we were all in the same marching band. We’d all practice at the church hall. We loved it, man. And we were really scruffy, really scruffy guys, with the long hair and the bit, you know.
IMG_0605
Do you still remember which was the first album you bought?
I think it was “Rock Around the Clock”, or something like that.

I’d like to know about your collaborations with Honest John in his solo albums.
Oh yeah, the “Honest John Plain and Friends” album. Again, that’s basically a Crybabys album, ‘cause that one has Von and Ronnie on it, both Crybabys’ drummers, and it was recorded in Blaneau Festiniog , that’s in Clywd, Wales.

Oh that was a bit hard to understand, being it Welsh…
Yes, that’s Welsh. My grandmother speaks Welsh, she was used to,  and my mother probably knows a bit of it.  They’re both Welsh. And the language gives them an identity. I’d forgotten how good that album actually is! We’d been there for a couple of weeks, and John had his brand new envelope for 50 pound notes and he would take it into the pub every day. And eventually the locals would be very suspicious (laughs)  I remember this guy at the pub saying to John, “coming out from bloody London with your brand new 50 pound notes, I know what you’re doing, you’re laundering money!” Anyway, great album! Another rare one, there’s not so many of them around. Another “cult” classic. I’m very proud of that album, ‘cause the guitar sound on it is great. My work is done on a ’66 Gibson Firebird on there.

You should do a box-set including the Spike blues album, all those lost songs and gems.
John has the most stuff, has a lot of concerts. He has one particular wild concert from us in a mountain district in Switzerland, me, Robbie and John, when we were just The Gringo Starrs, before the Crybabys. Before we had the name The Crybabys, we were The Gringo Starrs.

Any explanation behind the Amigos or Gringos thing?
Well you know, we like cowboys. We love all that Texas cowboys thing, Spanish, Italian…Mandolins, we love all that.

When I interviewed Honest John last year in Buenos Aires, he told me he wanted to do another Crybabys album. He gave me his word. Now it’s your time you gave me yours.
It’d be wonderful! I’ve got the songs. The glass is quite full, my “song glass” is getting full, you know. I’m not the biggest writer in the world, but we could be ready for an album, easily.

Where did you get your slide guitar style from? Any heroes?
Yeah, Ronnie Wood, but somebody told me “tune your guitar to an open E”, and use a glass bottle”, and I didn’t have a glass bottle, but I had a marker pen, a glass marker pen. So I got a marker pen, took the ink out, took the label off, and it fitted on my finger. Waaawwlll, simple as that.

Oh yes, but in your recording with the Crybabys, that was  a real bottleneck, not the pen.
Not that one, no, I lost the pen. But I liked it when I you just can to use a little bit of brass or something. I have a slide from Ronnie Wood, a brass one, from Ronnie. From ’91, when I met him in Hackney. My friend Ronny Rocka was working as his assistant.

Everybody loves Ronnie, but most of the people were always mostly after Keith Richards.
Course I do! Everybody loves him. He’s the king of the gypsies, he’s a gypsy prince.

Do you think his hair is black after all these years? Some people say he dyes it…
No, his hair is strong. Some people never lose their hair, his is just black.

And you’ve always been this big Faces fan, by the way.
Yeah, big Ronnie Lane fan. Big Steve Marriott fan too.

You also worked with René Berg.
Oh man, I nearly got killed once with René Berg!  He was a very hard drug addict, but a great guy. I was seeing him maybe once a week or something, playing music. We were music friends really, not so much to do with the drugs, but he was playing hard in that world. And one day we were around his house, and two guys turned up. A white guy, and a black guy from South Africa. And we sat there talking.

ddbbbThey sure weren’t delivering pizza or anything…
Yes, it was drugs stuff. One of the guys pulls out the biggest gun I’d ever seen, it was a brand new solid Magnum, of the hi-tech variety. I actually wasn’t scared, for some reason. You know, I don’t like confrontation, but that was a scene. He was a great guy, and one of the last things he said to me was “I’m sorry”. Because he went down. Everything about hard drugs is hard. But we did lots of gigs together around London, and I also sang backup vocals.

And now the Vibrators. You didn’t only record with them, but also toured a lot.
Yeah, I met them through Charlie Harper. When I was in the UK Subs, we did long tours with the Vibrators.

What about Nikki Sudden, who you toured with and recorded with too? Too sad he’s gone now.
It was never more surprise than to me.  I was very surprised, I wasn’t expecting that. Circumstances, you know. Nikki, oh mate, he was a lovely lovely lovely guy. He loved the Crybabys, he loved Honest John, he loved Casino Steel. In the Vibrators there’s four or five people. One guy drives the van and plays the drums. Another guy writes all the songs and plays a bit of guitar. Another guy also plays the guitar, and he does a lot of party. Another guy books the studios and engineers the albums. But Nikki did all of those jobs. And the party. So that may have something to do with it. It was an honour to be in such an elaborate project like “Treasure Island”. I knew Nikki from a friend of mine called Desperate Dave. He was a guy we all knew from going to gigs like Johnny Thunders, Hanoi Rocks and that sort of bands. Again, I was lucky to be involved in a few sessions for “Treasure Island”. He had at least two albums full of material, stuff we did in Berlin for “The Truth Doesn’t Matter”, which also became “Playing with Fire”, so there were two albums worth of material done in sessions in Berlin which often lasted from 10 in the morning to 2 in the next day. We got 6-day studio time, and that was the beginning of “The Truth Doesn’t Matter”. And lot of work involved in “Playing with Fire” as well. The great thing about the “The Truth Doesn´t Matter” sessions is we always stopped in the morning, picked up a case of nicely affordable red wine, and I´d be in charge of knocking out the glühwein on the stove. We got the glühwein going, you know, since it was the middle of winter.

sameTime to talk about your solo records. Would you consider Sabre Jet’s “Same Old Brand New” your first one?
“Same Old Brand New” was the first one. It was a solo album but, when it came down to it, a guy said to me “ok I’ll call it after a group”, but it was basically all my stuff. With Richard Newman, son of Tony Newman, Paul Kirkham on bass…Engineered and produced by Andy Scott from The Sweet. And I loved The Sweet, ‘cause my first love in music was glam rock, from ’72, ’73, ’74 and ’75, ‘round that area, the glam rock days.

Would you then consider “Love and Hurt” your first 51699eDTg9L._SX425_
proper solo album?
Yeah, I guess, I’d say that would be my first actually. It was recorded with the great Dave Goodman, who was the Sex Pistols producer, amongst many other things. Bands like Eater, and many more. And “Love and Hurt” was recorded on 9/11! Yeah. That’s what I remember about it.

And then came a long hiatus till you recorded the “Madame Zodiac EP” in Spain with Los Tupper and also Eddie Edwards from the Inmates, Vibrators, etc. Dave Kusworth did an album with them too…
We were touring Spain with Nikki and Dave. I met those guys and they invited me over to play in their album and eventually I did some of my stuff too.

2015 saw the release of “Roll Up”, which must be one of the finest rock albums ever in history.
I don’t write a lot of songs but I have some in store. I was ready to do them, and I had the money to pay for the studio, ‘cause I´d been working with the Vibrators on the road, and I thought the best thing to do was planning for the future and get some music up there. So I got Robbie Rushton from the Crybabys on the drums and Chris McDougall on the bass, so I just did it with my closest friends.

6_PANEL_DIGI_1_TRAY_RIGHT_DBXXX3XXIt’s one of those albums I just cannot stop playing, it already became a favourite of mine. “It’s in the Music” is one of the most beautiful songs ever. And by the way what’s the history behind “Rat Palace”?
Oh, that´s from when I was living in Hackney. There was an anarchist cafe, and I went up there one day, and I was reading some books about anarchy. So “Rat Palace” is basically inspired by an anarchist book that I read in a cafe. And I liked it, I just liked it. So it’s kind of abstract but, you know, we all live in a rat palace haha, we go drunk from the chalice, you know.

And what does “goombah” mean, by the way? (from the title of the song “Dancin’ with the Devil’s Goombah”)
I got that from The Sopranos, from the gansters. “Goombah” can be a girl-friend or a boy-friend, but it’s not your wife.

Any new recordings you did after “Roll Up”?
Well, I’ve got a couple of new tracks that I’ll be working on in Spain, and I’m also on the last two or three albums by Los Tupper. Yeah, man.

IMG_5129adj

From L. to R.: Darrell, Robbie Rushton and Chris McDougall

So what’s coming up next now?
Little bits and pieces, I just do bits and pieces. Hopefully when the time is right a new album will take shape. I’m a bit like Ronnie Wood in that way, you know, you don’t do an album in five minutes. Build up the interest, keep it going, keep it interesting and wait till it’s good. And it always takes a few years to people to discover it. It always takes time.

01
Once again, it’s such a fine album, it sounds already classic, beautiful sound all over it, and I’m not playing the fan here…

My favourite track is “Slimline Jim”, hahaha, I love “Slimline”.

And then I cannot get enough of “Dirty Rock Road” too.
Yeah, I love that too.

Anything else you want to talk about?
Not yet. But someday I’d love to go to Argentina, say, with Honest John and Dave Kusworth. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, hahaha.

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH DANNY FURY: “TO ME, PUNK WAS LIKE A FIRST BREATH”

Estándar

Original article (in Spanish) published in Revista Madhouse on August 26, 2017

A few days ago we published an exclusive interview with Alan Clayton, the man behind the Dirty Strangers, which also featured Danny Fury, the band´s new drummer. Now it´s time to take a 180-degree turn and present one with Danny himself, with Alan´s participation, which also took place last November in London. How´s so? That day, both interviews were done almost at the same time, which explains why both Alan and Danny are commenting on their bandmates’ interviews. Danny Fury could be considered the quintessential drummer of the Post Punk scene.

1With an artistic background that led him to be part of a vast number of bands (mainly the last line-up of the Lords of the New Church), he now spends his time between the Tango Pirates, Danny´s last personal project, and as his role as drummer in the Dirty Strangers. But what better than him to tell his own story?

Somehow I’d thought that you’d been born in England, but I’ve just found out you were actually born in Switzerland. So how did you get to England in the first place? Were you already playing in bands in your home country?
Danny: I was already playing in bands all my life and, if you have a look at my record collection, you can see most of my favourite bands were from England.

When was that?
Danny: That was in 1984.

So what were your main influences at the time?
Danny: First bands were Hendrix, and stuff like The Sweet. All that glam stuff. Alice Cooper, you know. I also liked the Stooges and MC5, but that came a bit later, to be honest. And then came Punk, which to me was like a first breath or something, you know.

2

Danny, in the late ’80s

I remember some artists from Switzerland, but they all were mostly into Heavy Metal, like Krokus.
Danny: Well, Switzerland was always more about technical artist. There’s no inspiration coming from there. Everyone was just trying to be someone else, it seems, just like today, everybody’s trying to be someone else.

Why did you choose England and not Germany, as there was always a big rock scene there too.
Danny:
Yeah, but it’s still more or less the same, they just tried copying other things. There was After Punk for a while, where they tried to find their own stuff. Bands like Kraftwerk came out of that scene. But all in all the German or the Swiss bands were trying to copy the English bands.

Since you played with so many bands, I’d say you’re quite a quintessential drummer in relation to the Post Punk era. Starting with the Lords of the New Church.
Danny: I never thought of myself like that, but if that fits, in a way I’d say “yeah!” (laughs) But I guess there are others too. I just don’t wanna grab all the glory. But yeah, I’ve done a lot of work, that’s for sure. And I’m really passionate about doing so. Yes, people might have noticed that.

So you were in all these bands. Would you say you were just at the right time in the right place?
Danny: Well I guess I just got lucky about running into the right people. It was what it was, it could have been more too.

You were friends with the members of Hanoi Rocks. Am I wrong or you were moistly friends with Razzle?
Danny: No, I’ve actually met Razzle before he died. I was good friends with Nasty (Suicide), the main man. And we played together for a while in bands. Just before the Lords, he was gonna have a band with Stiv Bators and Dave Tregunna, you know.

Did that happen in Switzerland?
Danny: No, I was already here in London. I met Dave when he left the Lords. At the time, he was in a band called Cherry Bombz for a while, and he left them as well. And when I read that he left them, I wanted to start a whole new thing, and a friend of mine knew him, and then he introduces us. In fact, after we did a few sessions, Stiv called Dave one day and decided to do that band.

3

Rogue Male (Danny is second from left) That’s how the ’80s were like!

Which was the very first band in London you played with?
Danny: Well, the first band I was working on a professional level was Rogue Male, which was a bit more like Motörhead.

More heavy metal oriented…
Danny: Yes, quite a bit more heavy metal, you know, although it was more like rock than heavy metal. But they were supporting major bands on a major level, so I wanted to play a bit of that. And it was like going to school, you know. I learnt a lot, and then I met Dave and I was right on the track I wanted to be.

You did only one album with Rogue Male, and then came the Lords. How long did you stay in the band for?
Danny: Well, I’ve played with Dave for many years, but the actual time I was with the Lords…I thought it was longer, but now after they did some research about a film they’re doing on Stiv (“STIV: The Life and Times of A Dead Boy”), I think it’s close to 3 years.

4

Relaxing by the pool with Stiv Bators and friend (Danny on the right)

I cannot actually remember how many albums you recorded with the Lords…
Danny:
We did a live album (“Second Coming”) and then a 12” in studios, the one with a cover song, “Making Time”, which was a song by The Creation. Yeah, we covered that song.

But you sure did a lot of touring.
Danny:
Yes, and that was the main thing, it was pretty much non-stop in those days.

How was it being in a band with Stiv Bators? Was he really that wild, as always described?
Danny:
Well, as you can imagine, it was wild and crazy, never a dull moment, you know (laughs) It wasn’t definitely boring for a second.

How close you were to him? Was he friendly to be with?
Danny:
Yeah, we were in it together, because he was crazy enough, like staying up for days, you know, and I guess the others got tired. I joined the band, and they were already going for 4 or 5 years, or even 6. And I was the new boy! (laughs) But we were little brothers, you know, I think his birthday was a day after mine. So we were really close from the start. And he sort of took me under his wing, you know. He wanted to educate me into his style of rock and roll.

5So, in a way Stiv adopted you…
Danny:
Oh, I was his little brother or something, and he educated me on all sorts of things (Alan laughs)

Why are you laughing, Alan?
Alan: Because I’ve done Stiv’s last tour, the Dirty Strangers supported him. That’s how I met Danny first of all. We’ve been always friends of Brian’s and Stiv’s. And then Danny joined. We didn’t know it was Stiv’s last tour. I’m laughing because I know how it was, he was just a crazy man, a crazy lovely man.

It’s always nice to have a straight opinion about him from a bandmate.
Danny: He was very encouraging and very witty. And he just had this aura about him, you know, he was someone special, for sure. When he walked into a room he sort of commanded it without doing much. He just had that thing that some people have. Very interesting. He’s a special person in rock’n’roll.

And he’s still much loved after all these years.
Danny:
Yes, he is. Talking about Keith (Richards), I think they were friends as well. Yeah, because he was hanging around with all the punk guys when Stiv was in the Dead Boys, and Stiv told me he used to look after Marlon (Keith Richards’ son) apparently.

I believe Keith got onstage with the Dead Boys in a New York Club in 1981.
Danny:
Yeah!

6

Danny on Stiv Bators: “He was very encouraging, and very witty”

After the Lords of the New Church came Kill City Dragons, with your pal Dave Tregunna in the band as well. Do you think you got to a more professional level than what you did with the Lords?
Danny: When you say “professional”, what did you mean by all that?

I mean, maybe they were more your own kind of thing and you were more in control of all that.
Danny: No, not at all, in fact the Lords were actually my favourite band at the time, so they were exactly my thing, you know. I came to London to look for a band that was a bit like the Lords, and I ended up in the Lords so, you know.

Then why did you leave the Lords, or how else did it happen?
Danny:
Well, Stiv called it off, he broke it up.

So you never left the band, its actually the band came to an end.
Danny: Yes, Stiv told us onstage that that was it.

He did it during a show? I didn’t know that. Did you or the rest see it coming?
Danny: Yeah, that was actually our last gig, it just came out on YouTube. It’s actually cool to watch, but it’s that long story, if you don’t mind… Sort of what happened was, I was living off the gigs at the time, and they were suing everybody. There was no money coming in other than the live gigs. And then a tour was cancelled. And to cancel a tour you’ve got to have really good reasons, you know, as it costs a lot of money to set it up. And then the band needed a singer for the tour. And that made Stiv really upset, you know.

So the band was stopping, and you were looking for another singer.
Danny: Just for that tour, really. It’s not that we were thinking of replacing Stiv. But at the last minute they couldn’t do it. If he couldn’t do the tour, then we would lose a lot if cancelling it. It had nothing to do with me or Brian or all that, you know. Stiv agreed to have Dave Vanian (of The Damned ) replacing him, but I guess that was not fine with anybody. And Brian put it out in an ad, looking for someone else after Dave couldn’t do it. But he probably didn’t tell Stiv, you know. And then Stiv got really upset. And on the encore he wore a T-shirt with the ad on it. And that’s how it ended.

I know it’s a long story. I think what he was crazy about was having somebody else fronting the band after all those years.
Danny:
Yes, the communication didn’t go right, and people got upset, you know.

You were a fan of the Lords before you actually joined the band, which was your very kind of thing, and then you ended up joining the band you ever dreamt of being part of…
Danny: Yeah. I liked the while concept, the things they were saying. And their lyrics, which spoke to me, you know. Just the whole idea of what it was about, to use rock as a sort of atmosphere to a thing. All that information. And it really had that depth that sort of spoke to me. It was more profound than, say, a dance band. Something very unique as well. And a great image too. And Stiv was such a great performer, in a way like Iggy Pop, really wild.

Just like Ronnie Wood, who always thought “someday I’ll be in the Rolling Stones”
Danny:
There’s Ronnie Wood, and maybe a handful of others, but there’s not too many people in the world that would have imagined they’d end up playing in their favourite band. In fact I didn’t know if that was really happening, or if I was dreaming, you know.

Not many people get their dreams fulfilled.
Danny: It’s actually funny because I had supported the Lords at a gig before I joined them, and I talked to Stiv at the show and asked him if he knew a band in London I could join, and he said, “well, if Nicky dies, you can have his job” You know, just making fun. And it actually came true. He really liked that, he actually told the Press about that. He was really into the stars and things that aren’t meant to be, things like that. So that fit right into this.

Everything came into place.
Danny:
Yeah, he thought that was meant to be, you know.

So that’s when you thought to yourself, “ok, I’m staying in London”
Danny:
I was already here, but at the time coming to London was like coming home. It was a place where you could be yourself. Because it’s such a big place, so you can be more anonymous, you could really be yourself. Because I grew up in Switzerland.

7

Danny in his teen days

Where was that, Basel?
Danny:
Yeah. It’s one of the biggest cities in Switzerland, but it’s really a small town. So when you’re walking down the street, nobody cares, you just can be yourself. But at the time the English were kind of reserved, it was easier to meet foreigners, as English seemed to stick more to their own. Still I liked to grew up in London, everything seemed rock and roll, even riding a bus or going shopping. It was an inspiration that I found here.

Where did you live in London when you arrived?
Danny:
At first I lived in Hackney, ‘cause there used to be squats in those days, so you didn’t have to pay your rent. You just found am empty place. And that’s actually how many musicians managed in those days, living in squats and stuff. So that’s what I did.

Somehow it´s always thought that people coming from Switzerland are all rich.
Danny: Well, that’s a cliché. Everybody thinks that if you live in Switzerland, you live in a chalet.
Alan: Are you rich?
Danny: Of course I’m rich, I’m from Switzerland! (laughs) The thing is, they really do have a high-living standard, compared to everywhere else, they probably did a bit better than anywhere else. And there’s a lot of rich people too, that’s true. ‘Cause a lot of rich people moved there for tax reasons, or whatever.

Are you still in Hackney?
Danny
: No! Back then Hackney was a bit of a slum, actually.
Alan: Yeah, and it’s a trendy place now, isn’t it?
Danny: Yeah, everything’s changed. Now there are luxurious places everywhere.
Alan: It starts out just as anywhere. The artists move in, ‘cause it’s cheap. The artists make it trendy, and then the developers move in.
Danny: That’s it.

Well that’s how Chelsea was in the ‘60s, and who lives in Chelsea now?
Alan:
Yeah, rich people.

So Rogue male, the Lords of the New Church, then came Kill City Dragons, and then what was next? Was it Vain? If so, then you had to move to America.
Danny: Yes, that’s why I lived in San Francisco for 7 years, and I loved every minute of it.

8So how does a Swiss man that’s based in London starts working for an American band?
Danny:
Well, they played with Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses at the time, and he still had a lot of drug problems. And in the end I guess he wasn’t reliable enough or something, and they heard that Kill City Dragons split up, and they called me up. I guess I just arrived on time. I had spent nine winters in London and the band just broke apart, and I had worked hard for the last 4 years so, and then when the guys in Vain called me, it was like “yeah, let’s go to California! Fuck this shit, I’m gonna get out of here!” (laughs)

That’s probably why many people from England move to California and never come back.
Danny: Here it’s so wet and cold, it really gets in your bones.
Alan: London is 2 degrees colder than anywhere in England.

And mostly wet.
Danny:
Yeah, it blows from the ocean.
Alan: I must say it’s not how I remember it was when I was younger.
Danny: It used to be worse.
Alan: Yeah, I think so. Before, it had never been warm till the end of October in this country.

9

Kill City Dragons (Danny, far right)

OK Danny, once again, you left the Dragons in 1994 and then moved to California to join Vain. How was to move from London to California? And how long you were in the band?
Danny: Oh absolutely, it was a different planet, a different culture. And I was with them for 4 years, and then Grunge happened and the audiences got smaller and smaller. W started playing stadiums and we ended up playing empty clubs, you know. And then the band members sort of drifted off and there was no work for a long time, unfortunately.

So that meant when Vain was over you had to move again.
Danny:
After 4 years I was kind of illegal there, you know. But then I stayed on for another 3 years and tried to get something together. There are a lot of great musicians in San Francisco but I couldn’t get anything together, nothing solid and after 3 years I decided to go back to Switzerland.

What happens to a musician when suddenly a band’s over and you have nothing coming? You’re kind of stranded…
Danny:
In my case, it was a big impact. First of all you have to get by, unless you have some money coming in from things you already did, the royalties. So you have to take little jobs and give lessons, or work in record stores. Anything that comes along.

And you managed to do it.
Danny: Yeah! Obviously I’m still here! (laughs)

10I needed to ask you that, you know. So then you went back to Switzerland.
Danny: Yes, and it’s hard to get something together if you don’t have any funds or resources. I ran out of funds and things then got a bit deppressive, and I had a big disillusion with the business part of it, you know. I still loved music. I realized in general no one cared about the real things I cared in music, and it really sort of get in my bones. And also the fact that if you’re someone’s drummer you’re supporting a guy with a vision, you know, and if that keeps falling apart and then you start over and over again, and after a while you run out of steam, and that’s what happened to me, so I sort of couldn’t see what I could do. Basically I had to stop playing music for a few years. And then when I had the urge again I bought a guitar and learn a few chords. But I was already writing lyrics since I ever came to England.  I was learning English, and that inspired me to write. So I said to myself, “let’s try something else from a different angle”, you know.

At the time you only played drums, or you were already singing as well?
Danny: Yes, I’d never sung, I just played drums. I tried writing songs and I’d never thought I could come up with anything I later realized it was good. I just thought I didn’t have that talent, and then after that break that lasted for about 3 years, I didn’t touch an instrument for that time, I bought the guitar, learnt a few chords, got my lyric book out and just started to see if I could put things together. Just for myself in the bedroom, you know.

So you didn’t waste your time.
Danny: No, I just got into songwriting, but basically I had to go way back and start over. Because I figured if I was gonna do something again had to be more in control. And if you’re a songwriter, people may leave, but you can keep going until other people arrive, you don’t have to find a new songwriter all the time. It’s not easy to find a really good songwriter, you know. But as time passed by my friends went “oh you sing really good, you have a good voice!” and stuff, and that really gave me confidence to put a new band together. And eventually we recorded an album.

11The Wild at Heart one?
Danny: Yes, that’s how I called it, and we recorded it in Switzerland, as I got back home as it made more sense ecologically, as I was really like burnt out, money-wise, and it was easier to start again there. I wasn’t even sure if I was gonna release it but I wanted to record it, but then many people came to the studio and I ended up calling Dave to play bass on it.

It’s strange because there’s like a scene of musicians that shift between bands. I mean, Dave Tregunna was once in the Dogs D’Amour, then you were in the Dogs for a while too.
Danny: Well, that’s because in a way we share the same musical taste, you know. And then it’s almost natural that you know people that way along that wavelength, then you call them, as you know they can do that kind of music.

So what happened to Wild at Heart?
Danny: So we recorded this album (“Chasing the Dragon”, 2007) with Dave and a really good guitar player who was a friend of mine and whom I’d been in bands before, but I knew they weren’t gonna be a permanent band. Dave lived in England, and this other guy had his own band, so for a while I was trying to get a line-up that could play live. So I did, but I wasn’t really happy with it, so eventually I thought that I should move back to London. I met a girl over there and she became my bass player, and then we ended up in a relationship, so it motivated me to come back here, as she really wanted to go to London. So I came back here in 2010 and found Timo (Kaltio) and Dave, who were not doing anything, just watching TV and not playing music, so I said to them “guys, I wanna start a band, and you’re just sitting around. Come and play with me” And they did. But I had my girlfriend who was already playing bass, and I wanted Dave. And I couldn’t have two bass players, you know. And I didn’t want to kick my girlfriend out of it as she had already played for a few years, and she’s done a good job, she was the best of the lot, so kicking her out would have been unfair. But Dave was playing acoustic guitar at home, as we lived together at the time, and I said to him “why don’t you try rhythm guitar?”, which was a challenge for him. So finally Dave joined the band as guitar player. And they called it Tango Pirates.

All this while you sang. And the first time you didn’t play drums.
Danny: Well, I had already done it a few years, so I had the biggest experience.

12Now that’s a great name for a band! I guess I read the story about the name somewhere, but can you explain it to me anyway?
Danny: Yes, the first blues and Chess guys that came to New York, they didn’t know what to make of themselves, so they called them the Tango Pirates. You can Google it, there’s some hilarious articles in the New York Times from the 1920’s where “they come to the cities to seduce your daughters with sex and drugs, the devil’s music!” and all that stuff, “beware of the tango pirates!” (laughs) And I thought it was amazing that no one actually had used it yet. It’s like part of rock’n’roll history and no one had actually got onto that, you know.

You know, tango is our music down in Argentina.
Danny: Tango was taking over in the 1940’s, they actually were going to jail for dancing the tango, can you imagine? I think that the Church and state were more together in those days, and I think the Church managed to outlaw tango, as it was really frivolous, you know. And then the sexiness of it, as it was too sexual. And you had like 3 months in jail for dancing it, if they caught you. Of course it was originated in South America.

Do you remember this band called Bang Tango? Which I never liked, but anyway those must be the two only rock bands with the word “tango” in their names.
Danny: I really didn’t like them too. However I think the name was catchy, just two easy words to remember.

13But the Tango Pirates are still going, aren’t they?
Danny: Well, actually I’m still working, but anyway there was this first line-up that went on for about 3 years, and then sort of that other members became too busy, so I just wanted to work more and find more people that could concentrate on that one band. Before I knew everyone was in five bands, and in the end I couldn’t get them together anymore, and I got bored waiting for them.

You still haven’t released an album with the Tango Pirates.
Danny: We never did an album, I couldn’t actually finance an album. So we did EPs. By now there are 3 EPs out.

Well, Chuck Berry used to release just singles and EPs for a long time, and compilations, and then he started putting out albums in the ‘70s.
Danny: I know, and the Sisters of Mercy also did EPs for a long time before they put an album. It’s just a financial thing, I have enough songs for three albums right now.

So you finally became a songwriter.
Danny: Yes, and that was something that really perplexed me, ‘cause I never saw or thought I’d have that in me, you know. And that really surprised me. I’m immensely happy because now I didn’t depend on other people so much anymore. I could do my own thing. And also, when you do your own stuff it’s more tailored to exactly who you are and where you wanna go and how you wanna express yourself. Of course now it gets difficult as you have to find people that like your vision.

People who are on the same wavelength.
Danny: It’s a problem, but still easier than finding songwriters. But again, it’s a great experience and it also lets me experience music from a different angle, which is completely different if you’re just a drummer.

Drummers usually don’t write songs.
Danny: Normally they don’t, but it helped my drumming ‘cause now I’m playing more for the songwriter than for the show .

Are you writing on your own, or you also do with somebody else?
Danny: I was writing on my own for a long time, because I didn’t have a songwriting partner, by then people started to co-write with me. I wrote a lot of songs with Dave, and some with my girlfriend. There was another great guitar played in the second line-up, who I was really close to, and in the same wavelength, so there are still some really good songs that haven’t been recorded yet and that are really good.

When was it that you’ve been part of the Dogs D’Amour?
Danny: That was sort of in between. I did a tour with them, but I wasn’t actually a full member. I don’t think they have a steady line-up these days, I think it’s just people that tour.

So that was before the original line-up got together again.
Danny: Yes, that’s how it was. The original band was great!

14

Alan Clayton, Danny, Brian James

Then how did you end playing with the Dirty Strangers?
Alan
: You want me to leave the room? (laughs)
Danny: You know, like Alan said before, we’ve known each other for a long time, and I saw a lot of their gigs, and I guess they needed a drummer and they just called me up.
Alan: Do you know how I got close together with Dave Tregunna? ‘Cause he played in my dad’s band. Dave and Danny were very close friends, and Danny came along to see some shows. And I hadn’t seen Danny for a long period of time.
Danny: And the tango Pirates and the Dirty Strangers, we did some gigs together, so we didn’t lose contact. And a couple of times George couldn’t play, so I filled in.

Is the band planning to a record a new album, now with Danny as a full member? But please this time don’t take another 4 years!
Alan: Yeah, oh no no no…
Danny: Hahaha!
Alan: I know, we’re famous for that. It was good timing, wasn’t it Danny? Danny filled for George a couple of times, and it was great. And Danny got the songs.
Danny: Well, I tried to progress.

15

With ex Lord of the New Church Dave Tregunna (left)

Danny, same question I asked Alan a while ago, what’s your take about the current music scene?
Danny: I do care a little bit. I’d like to be hopeful and see rock going strong but, to be honest, I don’t really see that right now. I see all the old people still doing great, and a lot of nostalgia, and then young kids trying to be something they’re not really, or just trying to be someone else. And I miss personality, string characters like there used to be. And the internet and the social networks have a lot to do with that. Social interaction has changed and that’s reflected on almost everything. But luckily there are still young guys rocking, so hopefully someday it’ll see the light.
Alan: It doesn’t have to be rock’n’roll for a message,if someone’s got something decent to say it can come across in any music.
Danny: I saw on TV kids being asked “what do you wanna be when you grow up?” And they asked “I wanna be famous” But they didn’t sat “I wanna be a singer” or “I wanna be a painter” Just being famous.

Well thanks so much to both of you!
Alan: Are you alright with it?

Sure, it was more than I expected. Come on, it’s gonna be a long one, if you have the time to read it.
Danny: Sweet!
Alan: Yes, and always interesting to see!

16

 

CON DANNY FURY, BATERO ICÓNICO DEL POST PUNK: “PARA MÍ, EL PUNK FUE COMO RESPIRAR POR PRIMERA VEZ”

Estándar

Publicado en Revista Madhouse el 26 de agosto de 2017

Hace unos días les ofrecíamos una entrevista exclusiva con Alan Clayton, miembro central de los Dirty Strangers, que también contaba con la participación de Danny Fury, el nuevo baterista del grupo. Ahora se trata de hacer un giro de 180 grados y entonces presentar una entrevista a Fury, con la participación de Alan, también realizada en Londres en noviembre del año pasado ¿Pero cómo es esto? Tal como se dieron los acontecimientos durante aquella jornada ambas entrevistas se realizaron casi al mismo tiempo, por lo que hubo aportes de cada uno de ellos en los reportajes a sus respectivos compañeros de banda. Pero nunca es tarde para apuntar que, coyunturalmente hablando, el protagonista principal de esta entrevista podría ser considerado tranquilamente el baterista por excelencia del post punk. Y no hay mucho más que agregar al respecto.
1
Con un currículum artístico que lo llevó a pasearse por una buena cantidad de proyectos y, principalmente, la última formación de los recordados Lords of the New Church, Danny ahora reparte su tiempo entre seguir dándole forma a su última aventura personal, los Tango Pirates, mientras sigue ocupando el rol de baterista de los Dirty Strangers, a quienes se sumó el año pasado como miembro estable. Pero mejor que lo explique él mismo.

De alguna manera pensaba que habías nacido en Inglaterra, pero acabo de enterarme que en verdad naciste en Suiza. ¿Cómo es que llegaste a Inglaterra, entonces? ¿Participaste antes de bandas de tu propio país?
Danny: Había tocado en grupos toda mi vida y, si mirás mi colección de discos, vas a ver que muchas de mis bandas favoritas eran inglesas.

Y eso fue en…
Danny: En 1984.

¿Cuáles eran tus principales influencias en aquel momento?
Danny:
Las primeras fueron Hendrix, y cosas como The Sweet. Y todas esas bandas del glam. Alice Cooper…También me gustaban los Stooges y MC5, pero para serte honesto eso vino algo después. Y después llegó el Punk. Para mí, el Punk fue como respirar por primera vez, o algo así, sabés.

2

Danny, allá por fines de los dorados ’80

Puedo recordar algunos artistas suizos, pero la mayoría son de la escena del heavy metal, como Krokus…
Danny:
Bueno, Suiza siempre fue más que nada sobre artistas “técnicos” No hay inspiración que venga de allí. Todo el mundo quería ser otra persona, que es lo mismo que está sucediendo ahora.

¿Cómo fue que elegiste Inglaterra, y no Alemania? Digo, allí también siempre hubo una escena grande…
Danny:
Sí, pero es más o menos lo mismo, solamente intentaban copiar otras cosas. Por un momento estuvo lo del after punk, donde intentaban encontrar su propia cosa. Bandas como Kraftwerk salieron de ahí. Pero después de todo, las bandas alemanas o las suizas trataban de copiar a las británicas.

Diría que, al haber formado parte de muchas bandas del post punk, tranquilamente podrías ser considerado un baterista por antonomasia de esa era. Comenzando con los Lords of the New Church.
Danny: Nunca pensé eso de mí, pero si es que es título encaja, de alguna forma diría, “yeah!” (risas) Pero pienso que también hay otros, no quiero llevarme todos los laureles. Pero sí, hice mucho trabajo, sin dudas. Y soy muy apasionado al hacerlo. Y la gente tal vez haya notado eso.

Al haber estado en todas esas bandas, ¿considerarías que estuviste en el momento y en el lugar justos?
Danny: Bueno, creo que simplemente tuve la suerte de conocer a la gente indicada. Fue lo que fue, y también podría haber sido más.

Sé que eras amigo de los miembros de Hanoi Rocks, y principalmente de Razzle. ¿Es correcto?
Danny: No,en verdad conocí a Razzle antes que muriera. Era muy amigo de Nasty (Suicide), con quien tocamos juntos en algunas bandas. Antes de los Lords él estaba por formar una banda con Stiv Bators y Dave Tregunna, ¿sabías?

No, en absoluto. ¿Eso sucedió en Suiza?
Danny: No, yo ya estaba aquí en Londres. Conocí a Dave cuando se fue de los Lords. En aquel momento él estaba en Cherry Bombz, y también los dejó más tarde. Y cuando leí que se había ido del grupo, justo cuando yo quería hacer algo nuevo, un amigo mío que lo conocía nos presentó. De hecho, después que hicimos algunas sesiones, un día Steve llamó a Dave y decidieron hacer esa banda.

3

Rogue Male en pleno: Danny es el segundo desde la izquierda. Créase o no, este look hacía furor en los 80

¿Cuál fue el primer grupo en Londres con el que tocaste?
Danny:
La primera banda con la que trabajé a niver profesional fue Rogue Male, que era un poco como Motörhead.

Algo más pesado, ¿o se acercaba más al heavy metal?
Danny:
Sí, algo mucho más heavy metal, si bien era más rock que metal. Pero siempre estaban teloneando bandas de mayor nivel, así que yo quería tocar algo de eso. Y fue como ir a la escuela, sabés. Aprendí muchísimo, y entonces después conocí a Dave, y estaba en el camino en que siempre quise estar.

Después de Rough Male, entonces, entraste en los Lords of the New Church. ¿Por cuánto tiempo estuviste en el grupo?
Danny:
Bueno, toque con Dave durante muchos años, pero en cuanto a cuánto estuve en los Lords…Pensé que había sido mucho más, pero ahora, después de una investigación para una película que se hizo sobre Stiv (N. de la R.: “STIV: The Life And Times Of A Dead Boy”, aún sin estrenarse), creo que fueron cerca de 3 años.

4

Momento de relax piscinero a fines de los ’80; en el agua está Stiv Bators, sentadito en el borde está Danny.

¿Entonces cuáles fueron los álbumes de los Lords en los que estuviste?
Danny:
Hicimos un disco en vivo (“Second Coming”) y después un 12 pulgadas en estudio, que es el que tenía el cover de “Making Time”, la canción de The Creation.

Pero sí en cambio giraron mucho…
Danny
: Así es, y eso fue lo principal, en aquellos días casi no parábamos.

Mucho se ha dicho sobre los días salvajes de Stiv Bators, ¿pero cómo eran realmente según la opinión de alguien que los compartió junto á él?
Danny:
Bueno, como podrás imaginarte, era algo salvaje y loco, nunca un momento aburrido, sabés (risas) Definitivamente no hubo ni  un segundo de aburrimiento.

¿Cuán cercano eras a él? ¿Stiv era amigable con vos?
Danny:
Sí, estábamos en eso juntos, porque él era suficientemente loco. A veces Stiv estaba despierto durante días, sabés, y pienso que los demás se cansaron de eso. Para cuando me uní al grupo, ya hacía 4 o 5 años que ellos estaban tocando juntos, o incluso 6. ¡Y yo era el chico nuevo! Pero éramos como hermanos pequeños, sabés.  Creo que su cumpleaños caía 1 día después del mío. Así que fuimos muy unidos desde el vamos. Y es como que él siempre me protegió. Siempre quiso educarme en su estilo de rock and roll.

5Entonces vendría a ser como que Stiv te adoptó…
Danny:
Oh, yo era como su hermano menor, o algo así, y él me educó respecto a un montón de cosas (Alan se ríe fuertemente)

¿Por qué te reís, Alan?
Alan: Porque yo trabajé en lo que fue la útima gira de Stiv. Los Dirty Strangers fuimos soportes de los Lords. Así es como conocí a Danny por primera vez. Siempre habíamos sido amigos de Brian (James) y de Steve. Y después llegó Danny. Me río porque sé cómo fue. Stiv era un tipo muy loco, un loco encantador.

Siempre es bueno tener una opinión sobre él directamente de un compañero de banda.
Danny:
Stiv era alguien muy alentador, y también muy ingenioso. Y tenía todo ese aura a su alrededor. Era alguien especial, sin dudas. Cuando entraba en una habitación, se imponía entre todos sin hacer mucho esfuerzo. Tenía eso que algunas personas tienen. Muy interesante. Es una persona especial en la historia del rock’n’roll.

Y alguien que continúa siendo adorado, a pesar de que ya pasaron muchos años desde que murió.
Danny:
Hace un rato hablabas con Alan sobre Keith (Richards), y creo que ellos eran amigos. Porque en esos días Keith andaba mucho con los punks, en la época en que Stiv estaba en los Dead Boys, y Stiv me contó que a veces cuidaba a Marlon (N. de la R.: Marlon Richards, el hijo de Keith), aparentemente.

Lo que sí sé es que Keith se subió a tocar con los Dead Boys en un club en New York en 1981.
Danny:
¡Sí!

6

Stiv Bators, “alguien muy alentador y también muy ingenioso”, según Danny

Después que se terminaron los Lords of the New Church formaste Kill City Dragons, nuevamente junto a Dave Tregunna. ¿Pensás que eso los elevó a un nivel más profesional del que habían llegado con los Lords?
Danny:
Cuando decís “profesional”, ¿a qué te referís exactamente?

Quise decir, si era algo más personal, y que al mismo tiempo lograbas manejar mejor.
Danny:
No, para nada, de hecho los Lords eran mi banda favorita de aquel momento, por lo que eso era exactamente lo mío, sabés. Llegué a Londres buscando una banda que se asemejara a los Lords, y terminé en los Lords.

¿Entonces cuál fue la razón por la que te fuiste de los Lords? ¿Qué terminó sucediendo?
Danny:
Bueno, Stiv lo canceló, disolvió al grupo. Y nos lo dijo cuando estábamos en el escenario.

¿Se los dijo en vivo, durante un show? No lo sabía. Supongo que nadie se lo veía venir…
Danny: Sí, y ese fue nuestro último show. Apareció hace poco en YouTube. Es muy lindo para ver pero…Es una larga historia. Lo que sucedió fue más o menos que, en aquel momento yo vivía de los shows, y todo el mundo estaba demandando a todo el mundo. No tenía ningún otro ingreso, salvo el de los conciertos. Y entonces cancelaron un tour. Y tienen que existir muy buenos motivos para hacer algo así, sabés, porque montarlo cuesta mucho dinero. Y la banda estaba buscando cantante para esa gira. Y eso enojó mucho a Stiv, sabés.

¿Estaban buscando a un vocalista para reemplazar a Stiv en la gira?
Danny: Sólo para ese tour, en verdad. Nunca pensamos en reemplazar a Stiv. Pero a último momento no se pudo hacer. Si él no podía hacer la gira, eso significaba que íbamos a perder mucho dinero cancelándolo. No tuvo nada que ver conmigo, ni con Brian, ni nada de eso. Stiv había estado de acuerdo con que lo reemplace Dave Vanian (N. de la R.: el cantante de The Damned), pero creo que nadie quería eso. Y Brian puso un aviso en un diario, buscando a otro cantante. Pero probablemente no se lo haya comentado a Stiv, sabés. Y entonces Stiv se enojó muchísimo. De hecho en los bises del concierto Stiv usa una remera con el aviso impreso en ella. Y así fue como terminó todo.

Sin dudas le molestó que alguien ocupara su lugar de frontman después de todos esos años.
Danny: Sí, la comunicación no funcionó, y la gente terminó enojada, sabés.

Eras fan de los Lords, que también tu tipo de música, y terminaste convirtiéndote en miembro del grupo del que siempre soñaste en formar parte.
Danny:
Sí. Me gustaba el concepto general, las cosas que decían. Y sus letras, que era como si me me hablaran a mí, sabés.  La idea completa de lo que se trataba la banda, eso de usar el rock como un tipo de atmósfera para algo. Toda esa información. Y que tenían esa profundidad que parecían hablarme. Era algo mucho más profundo que, digamos, un grupo bailable. Y también algo muy único, y con una gran imagen. Y Stiv era un performer genial. Como Iggy Pop, de alguna manera. Realmente salvaje.

Como el caso de Ronnie Wood, que alguna vez se dijo a sí mismo  “algún día voy a estar en los Rolling Stones”
Danny:
Como el caso de Ronnie Wood, y tal vez algunos pocos más, pero no existe mucha gente en el mundo que podría haber imaginado acabar tocando en su grupo favorito. En realidad, no sabía si estaba sucediendo, o si lo estaba soñando.

Hay sueños que son muy difíciles de cumplir.
Danny:
Es algo muy divertido, realmente, porque yo había sido telonero de los Lords con otra banda antes de ingresar, y en es show hablé con Stiv y le pregunté si conocía alguna banda en Londres en la cual pudiera entrar, y él me dijo, “bueno, si Nicky (N. de la R.: Turner, el baterista original de los Lords of the New Church) se muere, podés tener su puesto” Lo dijo en joda, sabés. Nicky no murió, pero después terminó haciéndose algo real. A Stiv le encantaba esa historia, siempre se la contaba a los periodistas. Stiv estaba muy metido en eso de las estrellas, y cosas así. Y esa historia encaja mucho en todo eso.

Todo cayó en el lugar justo.
Danny:
Sí, y él pensó que era algo que tenía que suceder de esa manera, sabés.

Y seguramente fue ahí cuando dijiste, “ok, me quedo en Londres”
Danny:
Ya estaba aquí, y en aquel momento llegar a Londres era como llegar a casa. Era un lugar donde podías ser vos mismo. Porque es una ciudad tan grande, que podés sentirte más anónimo, realmente podés ser vos mismo. Porque yo crecí en Suiza.

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Danny en su temprana juventud, suponemos que en Suiza, aunque la alfombra parezca persa

¿En Basilea?
Danny:
Sí. Es una de las ciudades más grandes del país, pero en realidad es como un pueblo pequeño. Y entonces, en Londres, cuando vas caminando por la calle, a nadie le importa, podés ser vos mismo. Pero al principio los ingleses eran algo así como reservados, más apegados a sí mismos. Aún así me gustaba crecer en Londres, todo parecía más rock and roll, ya sea viajar en bus, o salir de compras. Aquí encontré una inspiración.

¿Tenías donde vivir al llegar a la ciudad?
Danny:
  Al principio viví en el barrio de Hackney, porque en aquel momento existían los squats , entonces no tenías que pagar alquiler. Uno encontraba un lugar que estuviera vacío, y listo. Y así fue como muchos músicos se la arreglaban en aquellos días. Así que eso fue lo que hice.

De alguna forma, siempre se pensó que la gente que viene de Suiza es rica.
Danny:
Bueno, es un cliché. Todo el mundo piensa que si vivís en Suiza, vivís en un chalet.
Alan: ¿Sos rico, Danny?
Danny: ¡Por supuesto que soy rico, soy de Suiza! (risas) En verdad lo que sucede es que tienen un estándar de vida alto, en comparación con otros lugares. Probablemente les haya ido mejor que a otros. Y también hay muchísima gente rica, eso es verdad. Porque mucha gente se mudó allí por temas impositivos, o lo que sea.

¿Y ahora seguís viviendo en Hackney?
Danny:
Ya no. En aquel tiempo, Hackney era como un tugurio, realmente.
Alan: Sí, y ahora es un lugar de moda, ¿no?
Danny: Sí, todo cambió. Ahora está lleno de lugares lujosos.
Alan: Es como en todas partes. Los artistas se mudan ahí, porque es barato, pero después hacen que se ponga de moda, y llegan los desarrolladores.
Danny: Es así.

Es lo mismo que ocurrió en Chelsea en los ’60. ¿Y ahora quién puede vivir en Chelsea?
Alan:
Sí, la gente rica.

OK Danny, volvamos a las bandas en las que estuviste. Rogue Male, después vinieron los Lords of the New Church, luego Kill City Dragons…¿Y después que vino? ¿Vain? Ahí fue cuando tuviste que mudarte a los EE. UU.
Danny:
Sí, fue por so que viví en San Francisco durante 7 años. Y amé cada instante estando allí.
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¿Cómo hace un suizo que vive en Londres para llegar a formar parte de una banda estadounidense?
Danny:
Bueno, por entonces Vain tenía a Steven Adler de Guns N’Roses como baterista. Y Steve todavía tenía muchos problemas con las drogas. Y al final supongo que él ya no les resultaba más alguien creíble, y al mismo tiempo habían escuchado que los Kill City Dragons se habían separado, y me llamaron. Creo que llegué justo a  tiempo.  Había pasado nueve inviernos en Londres y la banda se había disuelto después de trabajar duramente durante 4 años, y cuando me llamaron de Vain fue algo así como “sí, ¡vayamos a California! ¡A la mierda con todo esto, voy a escaparme de aquí!” (risas)

Ese sea tal vez el motivo por el que muchos ingleses que se mudan a California, jamás regresan.
Danny:
Aquí es tan frío y húmedo, que se te mete en los huesos.
Alan: Londres es 2 grados más frío que cualquier otro lugar de Inglaterra.

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Kill City Dragons: dale duro con el look

Ok Danny, retomemos. Entonces te fuiste de Kill City Dragons en 1994, y luego te mudaste a California para unirte a Vain. Reitero. ¿Cómo fue el cambio de estilo de vida para un suizo que vivía en Londres? ¿Y cuánto tiempo estuviste en la banda?
Danny:
¡Oh, absolutamente! Era como estar en otro planeta, una cultura diferente. Y estuve con ellos durante 4 años, y entonces llegó el grunge, y con eso las audiencias eran cada vez más chicas. Comenzamos tocando en estadios y terminamos tocando en clubes vacíos, sabés. Y luego es como que los miembros de la banda se fueron yendo a la deriva, y casi no hubo trabajo durante un largo tiempo, lamentablemente.

Entiendo que eso significó que tengas que mudarte de lugar nuevamente.
Danny:
Después de estar ahí durante 4 años, ya era como estar ilegal. Pero me quedé 3 años más intentando general alguna otra cosa. Hay muchos grandes músicos en San Francisco, pero no lograba formar nada, nada sólido, y después de esos 3 años decidí retornar a Suiza.

¿Qué es lo que siente un músico cuando su banda se acaba y no tenés ningún proyecto en mente? La sensación debe ser la de estar varado…
Danny:
En mi caso, fue algo de gran impacto. Primero que todo, tenés que arreglártelas para sobrevivir, a menos que obtengas dinero de cosas que ya habías hecho, como los derechos de autor. Entonces tenés que agarrar todo tipo de empleos chicos, o dar clases, o trabajar en disquerías. Lo que sea que aparezca.

10¿Y te las arreglaste para lograr eso?
Danny:
Sí, obviamente. ¡Aún estoy aquí! (risas)

Necesitaba preguntártelo. Y entonces después volviste a Suiza.
Danny:
Sí, y es muy difícil poder organizar algo si no tenés fondos o fuentes para hacerlo. Me había quedado sin dinero, y todo se volvió bastante depresivo, y tuve una gran desilusión con la parte del negocio de la música, sabés. Aún amaba a la música. Me di cuenta que, en general, a nadie le importaban las cosas verdaderas de la música que a mí sí me importaban, y es como que eso caló en mis huesos. Y después también está el hecho de que, si sos el baterista de alguien, estás apoyando a alguien que tiene cierta visión, y si eso sigue yéndose abajo, y después que lo intentaste otra y otra vez, después de un tiempo te quedás sin vapor. Y eso es exactamente lo que me sucedió a mí, no lograba ver lo que podía hacer. Básicamente tuve que parar de tocar música por unos años. Y más tarde, cuando volví a tener la necesidad de hacerlo, me compré una guitarra y aprendí unos pocos acordes. Pero ya venía escribiendo letras de mucho antes, desde cundo había llegado a Inglaterra por primera vez. Al mismo tiempo aprendía a hablar inglés, y eso me inspiró a ponerme a escribirlas. Así que me dije, “probemos con algo que sea desde un ángulo diferente”, sabés.

¿Por aquel entonces solamente tocabas la batería, o también cantabas?
Danny:
Sí. Nunca había cantado, solo tocaba batería. Intenté escribir canciones, y nunca pensé que podía salirme algo, hasta que más tarde me di cuenta que podía hacer buenas cosas. Nunca pensé que tenía ese talento, y entonces, después de esa pausa que duró cerca de 3 años, sin haberme siquiera acercado a un instrumento, me compré la guitarra, aprendí unos acordes, saqué mi libro con las letras de canciones que tenía escritas, y me puse a ver si lograba poner algo en marcha. Tocaba solamente para mí, en mi cuarto.

Bueno, eso significa que no perdiste tu tiempo.
Danny:
No, para nada, me puse a escribir canciones, pero esencialmente tuve que volver al comienzo, y empezar de vuelta. Porque pensé que, si iba a volver a hacer algo, tenía que ser algo que estuviera más bajo mi control. Y si escribís canciones, los otros músicos podrán irse, pero vos podés seguir adelante hasta que aparezcan otros, y de esa forma no tenés que andar encontrando alguien que escriba las canciones todo el tiempo. No es fácil encontrar un buen escritor de canciones, sabés. Pero a medida que pasaba el tiempo, mis amigos me decían, “¡oh cantás realmente bien, tenés una buena voz!”, y cosas así, y eso me dio la confianza necesaria para formar una nueva banda. Y eventualmente, después grabamos un álbum.

11¿El de “Wild at Heart”?
Danny
: Sí, así es como nombré al proyecto, y lo grabamos en Suiza, ya que al volver a casa todo tuvo más sentido a nivel ecológía, ya que yo tenía la cabeza quemada, monetariamente hablando, y fue mucho más fácil volver a empezar estando ahí. Ni siquiera estaba seguro si alguna vez se iba editar, pero yo quería grabarlo. Mucha gente comenzó a acercarse al estudio, y terminé llamando a Dave (Tregunna) para que toque el bajo en el álbum.

Siempre pienso que es como que existió una escena paralela en el rock inglés cuyos músicos pasaron, casi todos, por las bandas de los otros que también al componían. Digo, Dave Tregunna estuvo en los primeros tiempos de los Dogs D’Amour, después junto a vos en los Lords of the New Church, y años más tarde vos mismo pasaste un tiempo por los Dogs.
Danny: Bueno, eso se da porque de alguna manera todos tenemos los mismos gustos musicales, sabés. Y entonces es casi natural que conozcas gente que esté en tu misma onda, y después los llames, porque sabés que pueden hacer ese tipo de música.

Ok, continuemos con Wild at Heart entonces…
Danny:
OK, entonces grabamos el álbum con Dave y con un gran guitarrista que era amigo mío, y con quien también había estado en bandas anteriormente, pero siempre supe que no iba a ser una banda permanente. Dave vivía aquí en Inglaterra, y el otro tipo tenía su propio grupo, así que por un tiempo estuve buscando una banda que pudiera tocar en vivo. Y lo hice, pero no estaba muy feliz con ella, así que eventualmente pensé que debería mudarme de vuelta a Londres. Allí conocí a una chica que luego fue mi bajista, y con quien terminé relacionándome, lo que me motivó a volver aquí, ya que ella realmente quería ir a Londres. Entonces volví  en el 2010 y me encontré con Timo (Kaltio) y con Dave, que no estaban haciendo nada. Se la pasaban mirando TV, no estaban haciendo nada de música, y les dije, “chicos, quiero poner en marcha una banda, y Uds. Se la pasan sentados. Vengan a tocar conmigo” Y lo hicieron. Pero estaba mi novia, que ya tocaba el el bajo en el grupo, y al mismo tiempo yo quería que Dave esté en la banda. Y no podía tener dos bajistas, sabés. Ni tampoco quería echar a mi novia, que hacía rato estaba en la banda,  y que además venía haciendo un muy buen trabajo, era la mejor de todos, por lo que echarla hubiera sido muy injusto.  Pero Dave hacía tiempo que estaba tocando guitarra acústica en casa, ya que por entonces vivíamos juntos, y entonces le dije, “¿por qué no probás tocar guitarra rítmica?”, lo que era todo un desafío para él. Y así fue como finalmente Dave se unió al grupo como guitarrista. Y lo llamamos Tango Pirates.

Y a todo esto, finalmente vos estabas cantando en una banda. Y también era la primera vez en que no tocabas batería.
Danny: Bueno, ya había hecho lo mismo durante unos años, pero igualmente esa fue fue la gran experiencia.
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Tango Pirates es un gran nombre para un grupo. Creo haber leído al historia en algún lugar, ¿pero me la podrías contar de todas formas?
Danny:
Desde ya. Los primeros músicos de blues de Chicago, al llegar a New York, no sabían muy bien para dónde ir, y entonces alguien comenzó a llamarlos Tango Pirates (“Piratas del Tango”) Podés buscarlo en Google, y aparte también hay algunas notas muy graciosas publicadas en el New York Times en los años ’20, donde dice que “habían llegado a las ciudades para seducir a tus hijas mediante el sexo y las drogas, ¡la música del diablo!”, y todo este tipo de cosas. “¡Cuidado con los tango pirates!” (risas) Y pensé que era increíble que nadie haya usado ese nombre hasta aquel momento. Es algo que es parte de la historia del rock and roll y nadie lo utilizó, sabés.

Supongo que estarás al tanto de que es uno de los estilos musicales por excelencia de mi país, Argentina.
Danny:
El tango era algo muy bandido en los años ’40, de hecho iban a la cárcel por bailarlo, ¿podés creerlo? Pienso que la Iglesia y el Estado estaban muy relacionados en aquellos tiempos, y supongo que la Iglesia se las ingenió para marginar al tango, ya que era algo que resultaba realmente frívolo, sabés.  Y después está todo eso de la sexualidad del tango, porque era algo muy sexual. Y si lo bailabas, te llevaban preso por 3 meses, si es que te agarraban. Desde ya, se originó en Sudamérica.

Ya que estamos, ¿recordás al grupo Bang Tango? Nunca me gustaron, pero como fuera, deben ser las dos únicas bandas del rock de la historia con la palabra “tango” en sus nombres.
Danny:
Tampoco me gustaban, para nada. Igualmente pienso que el nombre es muy pegadizo, se trata de recordar sólo dos palabras.

13Pero fuera de tu trabajo con los Dirty Strangers, los Tango Pirates siguen activos, ¿verdad?
Danny:
Bueno, en verdad sigo trabajando con ellos, pero de todas maneras, hubo una primera formación que duró por alrededor de 3 años, y después es como que los miembros del grupo estaban muy ocupados…Y yo quería trabajar más, y con gente que pudiera concentrarse en la banda. Antes que me diera cuenta, cada uno de ellos estaba en al menos cinco bandas, y al final no pude volver a juntarlos, y me aburrí de esperarlos.

Los Tango Pirates no editaron ningún álbum hasta el momento.
Danny:
Nunca hicimos un álbum, realmente nunca pude financiarlo. Así que hicimos EPs. Hasta el momento se editaron tres.

Bueno, Chuck Berry se la pasó editando singles y EPs durante muchos años. Salvo las recopilaciones, recién comenzó a lanzar LPs en los años 70.
Danny:
Lo sé. Y los Sisters of Mercy también hicieron sólo EPs durante un largo tiempo, antes de lanzar un disco. Es algo financiero, de hecho tengo canciones como para tres álbumes.

Y fuera de todo eso, finalmente te convertiste en compositor de canciones.
Danny:
Sí, y eso es algo que realmente me dejó perplejo, porque nunca pensé, o vi, que podía tener eso en mí, sabés. Y me sorprendió muchísimo. Ahora soy inmensamente feliz, ya que no necesito tanto de depender de otra gente. Puedo hacer lo mío. Y aparte, cuando hacés tu propio material, es algo que se ajusta más a quién sos realmente, hacia dónde querés ir, y cómo querés expresarte. Por supuesto, por otro lado se hace difícil encontrar gente que comparta tu manera de ver las cosas.

Gente que esté en tu misma frecuencia.
Danny:
Es todo un problema, pero aún así, resulta más fácil que el de encontrar gente que escriba canciones. Pero reitero, es una gran experiencia , y también me permite experimentar la música desde un ángulo diferente, lo cual, si sos un baterista, es algo totalmente distinto.

Los bateristas no son de escribir canciones…
Danny:
Normalmente no lo hacen, pero ayudó mucho a mi forma de tocar batería, porque ahora me centro más en eso, que en el show en sí.

¿Estás componiendo canciones exclusivamente por las tuyas, o también con alguien más?
Danny:
Escribí solo durante mucho tiempo, porque no tenía un colega para hacerlo, pero después algunos empezaron a co-escribir conmigo. Escribí muchas canciones con Dave, y algunas con mi chica. Hubo otro gran guitarrista en la segunda formación del grupo de quien estaba muy cerca, y en la misma onda, por lo que hay muchas grandes canciones que aún no fueron grabadas, y que son muy buenas.

Sé que, si bien fue de forma muy breve, alguna vez pasaste por los Dogs D’Amour…
Danny:
Eso fue algo, digamos, intermedio. Hice una gira con ellos, pero nunca fui integrante estable. Creo que hoy día no tienen formación fija, son sólo cuatro personas que salen de gira.

Entonces eso sucedió antes que la formación original vuelva a juntarse, que igual terminó siendo algo muy efímero.
Danny:
Exactamente, fue así. ¡La banda original era grandiosa!

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Alan Clayton, Danny y Brian James: la actualidad les sienta bien

Ok, yendo al presente, ¿cómo fue que terminaste tocando en los Dirty Strangers?
Alan:
¿Querés que salga de la habitación? (risas)
Danny:
Sabés, como dijo Alan, nos conocíamos desde hacía mucho tiempo. Vi muchísimos de sus shows. Y supongo que estaban precisando un baterista, y entonces me llamaron.
Alan: ¿Querés saber cómo me hice amigo de Dave Tregunna? Eso se dio porque Dave tocó en la banda de mi padre. Dave y Danny eran íntimos amigos, y entonces Danny era de venir a ver mis shows. Y de hecho hacía mucho que no lo veía…
Danny: Los Tango Pirates y los Dirty Strangers hicieron juntos algunos conciertos, así que nunca perdimos contacto. Y también hubo un par de ocasiones en las que el baterista anterior, George, no pudo tocar con ellos, y yo lo reemplacé.

¿Planean granar un nuevo disco con Danny como miembro fijo? Eso sí, por favor que esta vez no les vuelva a llevar 4 años hacerlo…
Alan:
(Risas) Sí, oh no no no…
Danny: ¡Jajaja!
Alan: Lo sé, somos famosos por eso. Fue un buen timing, ¿no Danny? Danny reemplazó a George en un par de shows, y fue genial. Y Danny también captó todas nuestras canciones.
Danny: Bueno, intentaba progresar…

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Dave Tregunna y Danny: la combinazione vincente

Te formulo la misma pregunta que le hice a Alan en su entrevista, y en la que también participaste. ¿Cuál es tu opinión sobre la actualidad de la escena musical?
Danny:
Algo me importa. Me gustaría ser esperanzado y ver que el rock vuelve a hacerse algo fuerte pero, honestamente, no veo que eso esté ocurriendo ahora. Veo que los músicos de antes aún lo hacen bien, y que hay mucha nostalgia, y después chicos jóvenes intentando ser algo que en realidad no son, o tratando de ser otras personas. Y extraño eso de la personalidad, personajes fuertes, como solía haber. Y tanto la internet como las redes sociales tienen mucho que ver con eso. La interacción social ha cambiado, y eso se refleja en casi todo. Pero con suerte todavía hay chicos jóvenes rockeando, así que espero que algún día eso vea la luz.
Alan: No tiene que ser necesariamente rock´n´roll para que tenga un mensaje, si alguien tiene algo decente para decir lo puede hacer con cualquier tipo de música.
Danny: Veo en TV a chicos  que les preguntan, “¿qué querés ser cuando seas grande?” Y ellos contestan, “quiero ser famoso” Pero no dicen “quiero ser cantante”, o “quiero ser pintor de cuadros” Sólo quieren ser famosos.

Bueno, ahora sí, ¡muchas gracias a ambos!
Alan:
¿Todo bien con la entrevista?

Desde ya, ¡fue más de lo que esperaba! Y aparte fueron suficientemente extensas, como para que no quede nada afuera.
Danny:
¡Genial!
Alan: Sí, ¡y es algo que siempre va a resultar interesante leer!

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