|Danny McCormack - The Yo-Yo's - Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Dom Daley|
|Wednesday, 06 June 2012 04:00|
What do you do when someone offers you the chance to chat with Danny McCormack, one time bass monster with The Wildhearts, the founding member of The Yo-Yo's plus let's not forget his time spent with the short lived Chasers, as well as his tenure collaborating with such greats as Tyla? Of course there was only one thing to do and that was to ring the number and see who answers the phone, because I wanted to find out just what the hell 'Dancing Danny' has been up to for the past few years plus how things had been shaping up since his recent resurfacing for his birthday celebrations/sold out shows with The Yo-Yo's. Plus there's this weekend's appearance at Download to talk about so the time to make that call was right here right now, and here's what Danny McCormack had to say about it all.
Hi Danny how's it going?
Hi mate not too bad how are you?
I'm good. Right let's kick things off with what's been happening recently that led to you selling out not one but two shows in the same night with The Yo-Yo's.
Well as you know I was in the Wildhearts and as you also know that um, shall we say that came to an end (laughing). Then I met Tom when I sang some backing vocals on a Toy Dolls record and I just kept in touch after that. Do you remember a band called Sugarsnatch? Well it was brilliant and one of my favourite records so we kept in touch after that really. I ended up starting The Yo-Yo's and we rehearsed at my house and we realised we could write songs together and that was basically that.
Would you say The Yo-Yo's; Because it's quite a different sound to The Wildhearts was more of what you were about? Obviously being one of the writers it has more your personality in it but...
Yeah it's more me musically it's a chance for me to play the music I like if you know what I mean. It's pretty simple music there are less complicated changes its probably more straight rock 'n' roll. But then again I'm a simple bloke! (laughing)
Did you find it at all daunting going from being a bass player in what people perceived as Ginger's band to fronting your own one?
Um not really it was just one of those things you know, I just went for it and there wasn't a lot of time to think about it. It was pretty full on and I just wanted to be playing and it was good because I love the singing, and even though I sang a bit in The Wildhearts it wasn't as much as I'd have liked to have done, so this was great. It was more shared in The Yo-Yo's it wasn't like I was the front man or anything it was always shared with me and Tom.
Moving on swiftly how did the recent birthday gig come about?
That was me brother's idea. I think it all started as going to be just a night out then he says why don't you play? I hadn't given it a thought and he went and got in touch with Tom and the other guys and they were right up for it and it went really well....
Were you at all surprised how well it went?
Yeah definitely. I was shocked and when the first show sold out it was amazing, then they added the second performance. It was a great night I was really really pleased. We're doing Download as well and we've got the warm up booked before that in the Barfly and a chance for us to get the cobwebs off (Neil). Ha ha ha
What about the future after the next couple of shows? Any plan to record?
Well yeah, we're going to talk about that when we get together to do Download and hopefully you never know we'll have to see what happens but I've got a few ideas and we'll leave it open. There is no pressure on us at the moment so hopefully we can.
Why do you think it sort of fell apart after 'Uppers and Downers'? I ask because it was such a good album, and then you followed it up with the EP 'Given Up Giving Up' then it there was nothing.
When we released that we concentrated a lot of stuff in America because it just seemed to happen that we were doing more over there than in the UK, but I guess the record company thought we were getting a bit too expensive because we kept breaking things, (laughing) or shall I say we were an expensive band to look after. (laughing) It was fuckin' crazy there was all the typical rock 'n' roll stuff you know? Hotels and studios being smashed up or broken shall we say (laughing).
Was that tour with the Backyard Babies your first proper jaunt across America?
Yeah my God what a tour that was, and we toured with the Murder City Devils as well
That must have been a great tour to be on you guys and the Backyard Babies because at the time there wasn't a lot of excitement or danger happening in rock 'n' roll, then all of a sudden you guys came along with Dregen and co and there seemed to be some hope again.
Oh yeah it was brilliant from what I can remember, probably too much fun (laughing)
I caught you when you played over the UK leg of that tour and I have to say it was excellent. Plus I have some pretty rowdy performances from the USA leg of the tour, both bands were right on top of it and on fire it must have been a lot of fun?
Let's just say a lot of things happened on that tour, it was a lot of fun and I'm not about to discuss them here! (laughing) You never know who might get to read this.
Did you all travel together sort of get in the van stuff.
Oh it was a mad time like. It was the first time I'd properly toured America I'd only previously done a bit when we played with AC/DC on The Wildhearts tour, but not like that Yo-Yo's/Backyard Babies tour, that was a full on tour in every way! We shared a bus and everything it was shall we say fuckin' mental! (laughing)
Like a proper old school tour?
Oh it was. Everybody got stuck in enjoying themselves, we were young blokes you know doing something we loved, and I'm told there are only fifty states in America but I can tell you I was in fifty five. (Laughing) Fuckin 'ell I'm getting flash backs now but let's just say it was really really 'um good and exciting, just the best time you know?
Going back to the record that you might or might not get round to doing (hint hint) would it be something you'd do independently or would you try and shop around for a label? Have you given this any thought yet?
It would be something we'd fund ourselves probably. It seems the way it goes nowadays doesn't it?
Well at least you'd have total control then and do things exactly how you want them, and whilst there is no interference, there is no hiding place either do you not think?
Yeah well you won't have a record company to please and nagging you every five minutes with deadlines and stuff. The only good things I remember about record a company was they'd give you cash upfront! (laughing)
Do they give anyone money up front these days?
Not that I know. I think it's really hard these days to get a traditional big advance off a major record company especially for a new band it's tough.
Would a tour to promote an album be something you'd consider or perhaps the other way round a tour to pay for the album then another one to sell it?
Aye, I would think you'd have to tour to push a record these days so I'm sure if a record was to happen we'd go out and play yeah. But like I said we'll leave it open and there's no pressure and just see what happens. It's nice to be in that position where you can do what you want and if things are good just go with it you know.
Are you someone who writes and has songs lying around that you'd look to use or do you prefer to write with a band and see where it takes you?
Um I've got a lot of ideas for songs but I wouldn't say I write completed songs. The way I like to do it is if I had a date set where we'd be recording then that's the time to start writing and bouncing ideas off of others in the band.
Who's going to be in the line up for the Barfly and Download gigs?
Well it's going to be Neil (Philips), Tom (Spencer) a drummer called Simon because Bladz is in America so it wasn't really possible to ask him to come over and he's settled in America, He's been there for years now and doing really well.
What happened with the Chasers EP you released on Changes One? Tell us what the deal with that and why wasn't it a Yo-Yo's record? Was it just a name change away from being one?
Yeah well that was just a demo and to be fair it was a bit of a rush job, and I should have taken my time a lot more over those songs. I never thought it would be released but there you go it's one of those things.
What about this pledge thing that seems to be getting a lot of publicity at the moment. Is that something the Yo Yo's would consider to finance a recording?
Um to be honest I don't know how you'd keep track of all that shit! (laughing)
Get somebody to do it for you? (more laughter)
I'm not sure it's a good idea to start a band and owe a load of people thirty quid or something? I don't know? (even more laughter)
Don't go putting pressure on yourself and thirty quid is a bit steep for a CD for fucks sake it would need to be a box set for thirty quid (laughing)
Yeah you'd have to be a realist as well because if you didn't get enough people to pledge would you have to send all the money back?
I don't know, I think some bands have had pledges going for a few years and are still waiting to hit their target. What started out as a rock record might end up being some Val Doonican sitting in the rocking chair strumming kinda album (laughing)
It would probably be spent on smack or crack anyway by then. (laughing) It would probably be cut short and you'd get a single or something and spend all the money!
As long as it was a signed single and people knew a good time was had by all recording it every ones happy.
I don't know. It sounds like taking the mick getting people to pay up front without having anything I don't know enough about it really (just having a laugh)
Well I guess it's in the title really, with a pledge you'd be creating some pressure to deliver the finished article and I'm sure there are many out there who would be interested in having some new material from The Yo-Yo's, you might be surprised how many.
Yeah I don't know I guess it different strokes for different folks
Jumping back a bit tell us about how you got the job of being bass player with the Wildhearts.
Um well I used to play in a little thrash band and Ginger used to come and see us when we'd play in London, then the bass player left and it was through a mutual friend in South Shields who told Ginger he should get Danny in, and I went down and auditioned, but the audition was playing bass it was weird me audition. It was like taking loads of drugs and drinking (laughing) and to see if I could handle all that but it was nothing to do with playing the bass that seemed to come secondary at the time.
I suppose one of the most infamous incident in your time with the Wildhearts was when you did your knee in
Aye at Reading. That was fuckin' horrible that.
Do you have much of a recollection of that particular incident?
Yeah it was the first song. I think we had some stimulants (coughs) before we went on, and I was shall we say a bit excited and I jumped about four foot in the air and landed in aright awkward position and me leg just gave way and I can remember thinking what the fuck have I done? I can just remember it was an incredible shooting pain going up my leg, and I knew I had done something really wrong because as I tried to stand on it again they were trying to drag us off and I can remember saying I wanted to carry on. Then I asked for a stiff drink and a box! I just wanted to carry on and finish the gig. They said I should have gone straight to hospital but I wasn't having it and it was like for fucks sake I'd been really looking forward to that gig and didn't want to let the fans down.
So when you're doing Download will you be pushed on strapped to a wheelchair just to stop you doing anything stupid?
Aye ha ha! I might take some crutches on with me just in case then again I might need them afterwards - I'm getting on now! (laughing) It should be good actually part of me is really looking forward to it and then a part of me is dreading it....
Your playing one of the tents I believe, you'll have nothing to worry about, there will be loads of people excited to catch the Yo-Yo's live again and the tents is where the atmosphere is
Yeah yeah. I'm hoping it pisses down to be honest and everybody is looking for shelter in the tent we're playing in. If it's anything like the couple of London shows it'll be good
How did you feel after playing those recent shows?
Really really good because I haven't played much for six or seven years and the reaction we got was amazing and I really enjoyed it. It was great to knock the cobwebs out.
With hindsight you could have and possibly should have done a bigger venue?
Maybe, but it was literally one of those thrown together things. When Chris had the idea for me birthday we never knew it would go so well
Did you change the set up much between performances?
Well I've got a list of stuff to re-learn for the Barfly and Download to mix it up a bit.
We then went on to chat about this internet thing and how good it can be for bands who get ignored by the mainstream press these days and our conversation turned to when Danny toured with The Dogs D'amour.
I asked Danny what it was like touring with Tyla?
It was really really good, I did a bit of touring with The Dogs and I mean I was once the fifteen year old kid down the front jumping around to the Dogs, they are a great band and Tyla's a sound bloke. I really enjoyed playing those songs with him and even got to record a bit as well.
They eventually ended up on one of his CD's?
Yeah yeah they came out really well I was really chuffed with those songs they sounded really good and Tyla is such a great songwriter and an alright great bloke. A real character as well, good bloke to be around. It's good that his music is timeless and will stand the test of time a really talented songwriter.
What stuff are you listening to at the moment?
Um? Not a lot of new music actually. Um I'm trying to think there is one band from your neck of the wood called The Sick Livers whose EP I got and I thought it was fucking excellent really good songs like, brilliant but apart from that not a lot of new stuff I'll have to check out the website to see what's out there (laughing)
Always good to check with Uber Rock to see what's really hot you know (laughing)
You'll have to get a website and get some CD's up on there you could be missing out on a potential whole new audience of Yo-Yo's fans.
Yeah that's right, that's one thing we do have to get sorted.
Right Danny I'll let you go now, thanks for talking to us and we look forward to what happens next for you, and I hope something develops on the recording front and a tour.
Thank you for taking the time and I hope the site goes from strength to strength. Take care man!
And that my friends was that, hot off the presses the latest on what might be happening with The Yo-Yo's and Danny McCormack. The music world needs characters like Danny and he certainly sounded on good form and in good spirits and hopefully with his fans supporting a new Yo-Yo's record will become a reality and some champagne and nakedness wont be too far away. It was a real pleasure to chat with Danny and I do hope this week's gigs will only be the beginning of the next chapter for The Yo-Yo's so Danny can keep on keeping on.
Special thanks to Ali from Underkill TV for hooking us up with this interview.
Pics courtesy of Woolhouse Studios