|The Über Rock Interview: Gary ‘Guitar’ Lammin interview|
|Written by Dom Daley|
|Sunday, 19 February 2017 06:00|
No messin’ about, no sugar coatin’ ‘round here…. Let’s just jump straight in and get down to business, shall we? How pleased are you to finally get this record out there in the public domain?
I would say that ultimately I'm relieved. Everyone who has heard this album has said that its a very cool album and that is a sentiment that was first alluded to by Mick Jones of The Clash when he gave me permission to say that I could quote him as saying that he thought the album sounded very interesting and very different.
There must have been times when you thought it was never going to get finished and released?
When Dave died I never thought about the fact that the album had two unfinished vocal tracks I just knew Id lost not only a great music producer but a very important and very supportive and knowledgeable friend. I had no intention therefore of ever actually releasing the album.
I totally agree with you when you said what’s the point of releasing a solo record that would just sound like a record you'd put out with the band: but is there a point where you have to have some thread of similarity for people to appreciate what it is you're doing?
Wow that's a great question.... Hmmm.... I guess that it would be arrogant to do something that was so removed from what you are known as so I think what I mean is that when an artiste releases a solo album it should reflect the potential of showing a different perspective. I mean my solo album is still guitar based and still has a street sound it’s not like its gone all piano based or something its still guitar music...hence Gary "Guitar" Lammin.
It’s just that this album is a bit more like a 5 am in the morning with a nice cool joint album rather than a 10 pm in the evening with a long line of speed album. The Bermondsey Joyriders are known for a brutal unrelenting powerhouse performances and it was the legendary ex-NME editor Charles Shaar Murray who said The Bermondsey Joyriders are my outer observations, whereas my solo album is my inner reflection... Good ole Charles Shaar Murray always on the money! I think there should be more reflectiveness in the world at the moment... It helps to take stock. As I say great question man and I hope that the answer is as good as the question.
How comfortable were you at the beginning when you were recording and I guess writing songs like 'Silver White Shadows'? The majority of the work in the first half of this record is quite a departure, but after listening several times it makes a lot more sense.
‘Silver White Shadow’s was very much a soundscape for an imaginary film scene but it is also a great soundscape for some of the things me and Dave would talk about... things like stuff off an esoterically inclined theme. I was already aware of such theories but Dave was well into that stuff and helped me to understand that the esoteric was just really part of nature and the only difference was that it could not be detected by human eye or scientific machine it could only be detected by feeling it and then manifesting it via artistic manifestation... perhaps.
Did you feel that you were taking the listener on a journey? And how pleased were you that you could write these songs that are quite a distance from the likes of what you've recorded previously?
I was scared to be honest.
I was scared because Dave Goodman had got me into a frame of mind to accept that the only "real" artistic performance of any worth is the performance that was as far removed from your own perceived perception of yourself as could be. Dave had got me to be in the Here and Now and to stand in front of a microphone and say whatever came into my mind spontaneously. I think this can best be heard on the track ‘Last Night I Dreamt I Met My Enemy’. After I heard what I had done on that track I was speechless and shaking as I say I was scared...
I think Dave was also a bit taken back with how successful his instruction to me had manifested itself and I remember him coming up to me as I sat on the stairs with my head bowed and with my hands over my face and he put his hand on my shoulder and as I looked up at him he nodded and said "Well done man... stunning.... totally far out and stunning... well done" Even now that track still scares me and its not just that I have no idea what it was that Id channelled from the universe to "receive" such lyrics it scares me because perhaps what I channelled was actually myself... my real real self. Unfortunately it didn't take me long though to start acting like a prat again.
There is a definite late ‘60s Rolling Stones ‘Satanic Majesties’ about a lot of this record in its vibe and feeling -'Take More Care' being an example: was that in your thinking?.
Totally. I think that ‘Satanic Majesties’ is without doubt an album that is very much misunderstood. It’s not a copy of The Beatles’ ‘Sergeant Pepper’. It just happens to be from the same era. ‘Satanic Majesties’ is a challenging album for sure - but isn't that what good rock ‘n’ roll can sometimes be about?
Sure I want to listen to Get It On by T.Rex every morning when I first get up - and I do! But sometimes, as I said earlier, there is a definite time for reflecting. ‘Take More Care’ is such a song, and it is influenced by in part ‘Satanic Majesties’. But also as I learnt from Dave Goodman about ‘Here and Now’ vibes: I realised how taking more care is about taking more care about other people’s feelings. Which ultimately then sees the universe taking care of you...That's what that song is about really. Karma equation.
How much of an influence was Dave Goodman in this record? What did he bring to the table more than anything else?
Well I think that this question has been answered in the previous answers but to further the importance of Dave Goodman's influence and production skills. I’d say that without Dave then the album wouldn't have happened in the first place. The man was part revolutionary and part visionary. A genius.
This record took a long time to make it to release how frustrating was that process?
It wasn't frustrating because any feeling of frustration was overridden by sadness of Dave's passing.
When Kathy Goodman, Dave's lady, heard the album again after such a long time, she wrote to me and said " It was so great to hear that album again after so long... and a great testament to Dave's production skills... release it as and when you feel it would be best to do so Gary".
You must have some great memories of recording at Mandala and its colourful times? care to elaborate, any anecdotes?
That's a very accurate way of putting it... Yes colourful. I can remember that one very bright but very cold day me and Dave were taking a bit of a break from recording and we were sitting in his garden having a smoke and drinking tea and eating one of Kathy's superb homemade veggie cakes. It had just stopped raining and there was a bit of a rainbow and it was freezing! I just wanted to get back inside into the warm and then suddenly just as I went to stand up a robin landed on one of the plates that had a few crumbs of cake still on it... and wow... the colour of the robin against the back drop of the rainbow is in my mind now forever. I sat down and to watch the robin and suddenly the cold was all part of it...The Here and Now in action!
What did Mat say that finally convinced you to put this record out? It must have been great hearing Dave's wife give the record her blessing?
When Mat heard the album he listened all the way though it without saying a word; at some point his mobile went off, but Mat immediately rejected the incoming call without even bothering to see who it was. Mat therefore gave me and the album the upmost respect. Then as the album came to a finish Mat looked over to me and momentarily looked at me before saying "Gary why on Earth have you still not released this album?" I said I don't know really, to which Mat asked if it was mastered. I said it wasn't and Matt then said "Well go a get it mastered asap and release...it’s brilliant"
So what next for Gary Guitar Lammin? Will there be a follow up to this solo record? What about The Bermondsey Joyriders?
The Bermondsey Joyriders have some gigs in May, and in particular we are back at The Blank Generation Festival that's run by the brilliant Andy Cavendish. Andy is a real hard working geezer, and he has vision and is not afraid to get in there and carry out what he believes. With regards to another solo album.... I will leave that for a bit of contemplation. But thanks very much for asking all of these questions: I very much appreciate Über Rock’s interest.
Gary Guitar Lammin plays an acoustic instore performance at All Ages Records in Camden on Saturday 1 April.
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