It’s an honor for us here in Metal Invader to have you as a guest. First things first, so when did you start as a musician?
I started playing the piano aged 6 or 7 then went quickly onto drums as I didn’t like what and the way my grandmother was teaching me music…(banging my fingers with a ruler)…
What made you want to play drums?
I liked to dance when I was little (to Elvis and 50s Rock n’Roll).
Rhythm felt right so first it was slapping my thighs, then hitting with anything ressembling drumsticks on anything ressembling drums (pots n’ pans)…
Which were your music influences as a teenager?
The Who, Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Chuck Berry, Small Faces, Animals, Dusty Springfield, Otis Redding, Four Tops, Doors, Elvis, Janis Joplin, the Byrds, Link Wray, MC5, Sam the Sham (& Pharoes), The Herd, the Move, the Gods, the Faces, Dylan (with the Band)… appart from the Doors, MC5, Janis and Elvis, I was lucky to see all of them many times (Dylan just once – Isle of Wight), the Stooges and most before the mania set in… we’d see the Stones walking in Hammersmith…
And then how did you get in to the music industry? Did you quit your day job?
I’d been playing constantly since nine years old, first bands when I was thirteen… I went to art school and then straight into bands at seventeen… when I needed money I’d paint and decorate (I started off washing cars in the snow when I was nine)…
I lied my way into becoming a member of the Speakeasy at eighteen (meant to be twenty one)… I was then at the right place to run into most of the musicians from the above bands… learn their way of communicating, the drug culture, the alternative underground scene in London…
At sometime you met with Lemmy and Larry Wallis. Tell us more about it.
I was introduced to Lem by Motörcycle Irene who was close to me and he ended up renting a room in her flat…when Lem got kicked out of Hawkwind Lem and I had been hanging out for a long time. He was mighty mad and after taking his revenge out on Hawkwind (laying four of their wives while the band were still on the States tour), he started warming to the idea of forming a band… till then he’d always been happy as a side-man… so we started talking about guitarists and Lem thought of Larry and Luther (Grovenor – Ariel Bender from Mott the Hoople)… they kind of fitted what Lem and I had been discussing for months on our tastes of music…early Beatles, MC5, Link Wray, Big Brother and the Holding Company…
From Pink Fairies and Hawkwind ashes to bad ass Rock ‘n Roll, how on earth did you end up on this sound?
Lemmy hated ‘wimpy’ bass sounds – the Ox (Entwistle of the Who) had been a major driving force of his style combining that with him being a rhythm guitarist until Dikmik got him into Hawkwind on bass… Larry had a great wild melodic style which jelled really well, and my drum influences were kind of Aynsley (Dunbar) meets Charlie (Watts) with touches of Moony (Who) and Mitchell (Hendrix)… all of the songs we played at the beginning were from Lem and Larry’s recent past and then re-arranged and thrashed louder, differently…and faster!
After all these years how does it feel to be a part of one of the best, if not the best (‘cause for us in Metal Invader they are), Rock ‘n Roll band of all time?
For me it feels good to have been there for Lem in his ‘hour of need’ and have been instrumental in starting the band… also, at the time there really wasn’t anyone sounding anything like we did (even the first formation). My memories are still fresh from the period (despite the drugs of the time!). When I get to meet all the fans it feels good to know I had a part in creating this monster which gives them all so much.
Motörhead’s legendary discography starts with you behind the drum kit. But then On Parole was cut on 1979 and my version has your drums only on Hawkwind cover, “Lost Johnny”. What the hell happened back then? -I know there’s a reissue with 4 tracks recorded with you that unfortunately never have heard- .
Well the amphetamine was not the ideal drug for me and it finally got the better of me – (in fact I can’t think of many people appart from Lem who manage to function better on speed – he had a very strange metabolism). So the nasty side of speed really kicked in big time when we were recording with Dave Edmonds at Rockfield studios (Wales). But even then, when I was rehearsing with City Kids last night I remembered the first time that Larry played the solo parts on Lost Johnny…Dave got a great sound – sounded melodic and very powerful…So at one point theygot Phil in to overdub the drumparts… the rest, as they say is history!
Life is a collage of moments and lucky facts, so if Wallis and you wouldn’t be a team with Lemmy in 1975, probably the world would never hear one of the loudest bands on earth. Tell us your memories from that era.
Oh there are so many (I am working on a book I’ve been asked to write – about this period but also all the other bands (Warsaw Pakt etc) and the raunchier and crazy sides of my life… ).
I can remember the night when Lem came over to me on stage between songs and shouted – << Lou did you see the guy with his head INSIDE the PA speaker and banging it against the side, Fuck he’s a real Headbanger!! >> I believe it was invented by Lemmy and this was the first time ever this term was used!!!
How strong was the relationship among you three guys?
Well Lem and I were very close (same sense of humour, tastes in music, obsession – WWII etc) and we were hanging together every time he wasn’t on tour… while he was still in Hawkwind… so I was the only one he saw through the three weeks after Hawkwind..
Larry and us got close, he had a sardonic wit and was funny, so we all got on…
Personally speaking Rock’ n Roll would have been just another music genre, if we haven’t stories like yours and how you were disbanded from the band. I mean a drug addict kicks off a drug addict from his band just because he is a drug addicted…
but yeah Lemmy did insist on me taking copious amounts of sulfate … and when it turned weird … Yeah well it’s a bit like the ‘don’t get caught’ thing… if you use drugs don’t let them use you…
With one hand in your hand and probably the one holding a beer, have you ever though thought how your life would be if you have never left from Motörhead?
Yes of course, (and I’d probably be dead lol) but the best combination for my taste was Philthy and Fast Eddie. Looking back I don’t regret it – I have played in many bands and played some really interesting music … also I produced many bands in different countries and that was fantastic…and have got to meet, know and hang out witv so many wonderful people (and exceptional women!)
After you left how did you end up with Andy Colquhoun and Warsaw Pakt and after that in The Sisterhood project?
Well I was living in Ladbroke Grove and I knew Andy through John (Walker) who was a mate and a neighbour. Andy and John decided they needed a more dynamic hard hitting style to drive the songs they were writing… so it was a natural mix. Also character -wise Andy and I were real close and used to go and create and rehearse just the two of us without the others… After the Warsaw Pakt I played recorded and toured with many other bands and produced many alternative rock and Goth bands. The last tour I played was for the Scientist (Australian Grunge-Rock-Goth outfit) supporting the Sisters of Mercy’s 6 week last English tour… I knew the Sisters real well as we were all working out of the same office in All Saints Road. So when Wayne (Hussey) split the Sisters away from Andrew (Eldritch), Andrew asked me to produce Giving Ground (James Earl Ray on vocals) to stop Wayne from using the name ‘Sisterhood’ which was the name of the Sisters’ fan club for his new group. Giving Ground went to number 1 of the Indie charts for 3 months in the UK… Wayne called the new band the Mission. I was with Wayne the other night for a couple of hours when he played Paris… really good to hook back up again!
All of a sudden your name has risen and in 2018 a new album under Pink Fairies name, entitled ‘Resident Reptiles’. Tell us about it.
Well, like most people I was on FaceBook and suddenly someone asks ‘does anyone know how to contact Lucas Fox’? So I go ‘who’asking?’ They go ‘Cleopatra Records and we’d like him to play on an album with Alan (Davey) and Paul (Rudolph)!’ Well this intreagued me as Alan replaced Lemmy in Hawkwind for twenty years and Paul I knew from Ladbroke Grove days (he was John Walker’s flat mate for 7 years)… anyway I ended up writing seven out of the eight songs and we recorded it in Austin, Texas. I love the result, Alan has the same powerbass style as Lem but very melodic and Paul is out of this world (played on4 Brian Eno albums…). Jurgen (Engler – Die Krupps) did a great job producing and Eric (Debris – Urban Sax), an old mate from way back in Paris ‘80’s, really cool engineering. It all went down in first and second takes… It is not the usual rock arrangement of the songs, I wanted something more ‘Fairies like’, and got it. I’m/we’re really proud of the way it’s turned out, right down to the mastering, the cutting and the pink marbled vinyl and the artwork for the sleeve. It’s been really well received by the Motörhead, Pink Fairies and Hawkwind fans…
And in a couple of hours on stage in Athens with ‘City Kids’. How this happened?
Well Aureshka who looks after this side of my life cooked up an idea to give me a break and had seen and liked City Kids last September. So she kind of put it all together..
What’s your opinion about these guys, how close are to recapturing Motörhead’s feeling?
I think they kick ass and they play a great version of Motörhead…good people too.
The last words are yours.
We had a great night with the HDCH, the Athens Harley Davidson Club Hellas at their HQ last night… at the suggestion of Geo (Geoart shop). I have been really blown away by the people I’ve met here so far… I’m really looking forward to tonight!