Gary Lammin – Bermondsey Joyriders Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 15:46

Gary_Lammin_2When I got the call asking if I'd be interested in an interview with Gary Lammin, I was rather spookily just about to put on the brand new self-titled CD from his band the 'Bermondsey Joyriders'.  This debut album, boasts the talents of three musicians who combined have a musical legacy that others can only dream of. 

 

Quickly thinking about my reply I keeping muttering to myself I'd be a fool to turn down an opportunity to converse with an ex member of Cock Sparrer who's band features members (ex and current) of Chelsea and the Heavy Metal Kids in their line up...right right? 

 

Too right I'd be a bloody fool, so here I am, and how are you Gary Lammin?

 

Hi John, I'm feeling good thanks, It's my birthday today, 20th December, So I have just had lunch with Marty Stacey, The Bermondsey Joyriders bass player, in our favourite cafe in The Old Kent Rd, South London. Marty will answer a few of these Questions as well...and later we will be later going out to drink the finest wines known to humanity. Depending on how long our money lasts...

 

Tell us the story of how Bermondsey Joyriders came about.

 

Marty and me have been friends for over thirty years.  In fact, my Dad Harry Lammin was a friend of Marty's Dad, James Stacey before we were friends as they both worked together in the London docks

Me and Marty started to learn to play guitar together after school and we dreamt of being able to play guitar in a well known band one day, as the years went by me and Marty stayed friends so when I got an offer to play in The USA I said to Marty "Hey listen those child hood dreams we shared could about to become real" and so we formed The Bermondsey Joyriders especially to tour The USA which we did 4 times in one year the last tour being a total tour of The USA which took two and a half months and clocked up over 12,500 road miles

 

keithJoyceYou've recently added to the line up Keith Boyce from Heavy Metal Kids on drums, how's he working out?  Doesn't he live in France these days, hell of a commute for practice (laughs)?

 

Keith Boyce is the greatest Rock n Roll drummer in the world bar Charlie Watts or Kenney Jones therefore the fact he lives in The South of France isn't a problem... if he lived in Russia we would still have him as our drummer in fact though Keith has only been with The Bermondsey Joyriders for about a year he is already becoming a close friend. We never practice as we consider practicing takes out the spontaneous edge out of a band so what The Bermondsey Joyriders do instead is we send a song to each other we then rehearse at the sound check and if it works then we play it live that night its a gamble but that's what The Bermondsey Joyriders do. We are a totally in the moment band and that's what we consider to be exciting and where its at.

 

I interviewed Keith (for an old website Glitzine I used to write for) back in May and he seemed well up for the stuff you guys have committed to as a band. What's it like having him on board, and why did Steve (Godoy) leave?

 

Yeah Keith is well into what The Bermondsey Joyriders and we are gelling as a band its very exciting.

Steve Godoy helped to get the band established in The USA but made it clear from the start that he had his own band and artistic projects and could only help out initially.

Steve is a cool guy.

 

Bermondsey_AlbumWhich brings me nicely onto the CD.  What are were you thinking you'd like to achieve when you recorded this ten-track debut CD?

 

What we wanted to do was to capture exactly the attitude of The Bermondsey Joyriders playing as I say totally in the moment and in the here and now. Consequently The CD was recorded and mixed in a total of 12 hours. If there are any rough edges then that's as much part of the CD as the stuff that really worked well...The Bermondsey Joyriders therefore having given the people on CD what can be expected on one of our live performances.

 

And are you happy with the outcome?

 

I'm not the sort of person that sits around listening to his own stuff but I got to say I played the CD the other day for the first time in ages and it actually made me smile because it was so brazen and audacious. We really did exactly what we said we were going to do, i.e. make a true street punk Rock 'n' Roll CD...yeah its a cracking debut CD and I'm very happy 

 

Gary_Lammin_4_My initial reaction is that you manage to somehow blend the aggressive edged story telling of punk with a bluesy sound and somehow come out sounding like no one else in the UK right now.  (Ok perhaps Dirty Strangers and Jim Jones Revue do something vaguely similar)  How do you feel about this description and would you add anything to it?

 

Wow The Jim Jones Revue! ...That's what I call one hell of Rock 'n' Roll man! ...The Jim Jones Revue could actually be better then The Bermondsey Joyriders there's not much in it but at the moment Id say they have just about got their nose in front but only Just! But we are after them and they know it! We are good friends with them of course and we are always on The Jim Jones Revue guest list at gigs and they are always on The Bermondsey Joyriders guest list at our gigs. The Dirty Strangers are a bit older than us and they are also good friends of ours and often try to help us out by letting us use their recording space over in Shepherd's Bush in West London. In fact it was their frontman/leader Alan Clayton, (who is Keith Richards mate) who introduced me to Pierre Du Beauport (Keith Richards guitar tech), who on hearing me play a solo slide guitar set in Notting Hill Gate then invited me to record in his studio in The USA.

 

Tracks like 'All The Darkness' and 'Who Are Ya' also boast some excellent slide playing that immediately make me think of Pete Wells (RIP) from Rose Tattoo who are your guitar influences Gary? And while we at it what about singers who influence you?

 

Thanks for that John I'm glad you think my slide playing worthy to be mentioned in conversation with Pete Wells...a truly inspired player indeed...Ok my first knowledge of slide guitar was of course Brian Jones on Little Red Rooster so Brian Jones will always be special to me but I just love slide so much that anyone from Sea Sick Steve to Ry Cooder does it for me. Singers...? Well Stevie Marriott Roger Daltrey, Rob Tyner and anyone spontaneous who is trying to break through a steel plate door with his voice   

 

And tracks like 'The Café Racer' and 'Genuine' have a certain spirit and vibrancy to the writing that is also not often heard these days.  How do you capture that?

 

Ha Ha there you go, that's what we were talking about earlier, spontaneity!

 

garymalcolm1You also do a reworking of 'Runnin' Riot' on this CD, how did that come about?

 

I wrote 'Runnin' Riot' even before I was in Cock Sparrer but it never got in the set at first and it was turned down by the band. When it finally did get accepted into the set the punk movement was well under way.  In fact 'Runnin' Riot' was the song I played on my beaten up acoustic guitar to Malcolm McLaren in his shop in the Kings Road Chelsea that prompted him to travel to The East End to a Cock Sparrer rehearsal. Thing was as I say 'Runnin' Riot' wasn't in the set then and Malcolm was pretty pissed off that he had made such a long journey and wasn't able to hear the song that he was actually interested in.

Steve Godoy our original drummer in The USA said he loved the song so much and to play it with the person who wrote it would be a great highlight for him and I took that as a real accolade after how much Steve Godoy had helped The Bermondsey Joyriders so it got in the set.

 

Cock_Sparrer_DeccaAt which point I cannot gloss over your time in Cock Sparrer, what do you think about that period in your life when you look back at it now?

 

It was a up hill struggle all the time to get my songs in the set, stuff like 'Runnin' Riot' and 'Chip On My Shoulder' were all turned down by Cock Sparrer several times before they were accepted into the set and now? Now Cock Sparrer claim that those songs were band compositions and state this on their sleeve notes, but take my advice man check out with The Performing Rights Society who those songs are registered too and you will see that it clearly states Lammin/Burgess.

 

So, were you around at the time of the legendary Roding Pub/Malcolm McLaren meeting? That must have been a moment to savour being a NY Dolls fan.

 

Well I may have already answered that as you can see from the prior answer/question but yeah I remember saying to myself it wasn't so much that Malcolm was managing The Pistols that interested me but more the fact he once managed The New York Dolls.

 

And how long did you stay with Cock Sparrer, had you left by the time they had parted with Decca?

 

I left Cock Sparrer in 1979...it was over.

 

Was that around the time they also started to get popular at the Bridge House and the rise of the East End Oi/Skinhead movement?

 

No, they asked me to reform with them as they wanted to now be known as an Oi band but I'm a Rock 'n 'Roller I ain't got nothing against Oi but its slide guitars and punk and glam that does it for me. That's my thing

 

Cock_Sparrer_with_GaryI was really surprised when I first heard Cock Sparrer way back when, as I certainly was not expecting a Rock 'n' Roll band verging on glam in places.  And that video for 'We Love You' must haunt singer Colin McFaull to this day. it's a bit of a mascara massacre isn't it...laughing?

 

Well yeah that's what I'm saying that period of time I was getting Cock Sparrer to shape up into my vision but it was real hard work as they didn't like where I was at...nothing that doesn't hurt anyone should haunt you or anyone else. Mascara? Well what about Ian Dury what about Johnny Thunders Keith Richards? I actually think that blokes who can dabble with that sort of shit have to be quite together in the first place and its a boundary pushing experiment that is well known in certain areas of rock music so nah...Colin should be proud that he was brave enough to do that in the first place.

 

And are you still mates with the rest of the guys?

 

No.

 

Gary_LamminAfter Sparrer you did Little Roosters and took up acting professionally?

 

Yeah I tried to do with The Roosters what I was trying to do with Sparrer then all of a sudden every thing that I was experimenting with came together in the acting it was like I didn't realise that what I was doing was actually knocking on the door of some other world and when the doors just opened up and said enter your are welcome I said Ok

 

So why now for the Bermondsey Joyriders?  Was it an itch you just needed to scratch?

 

So many people were telling me that now thirty years or so after the punk era that they could now see what I was trying to do that it convinced me that now perhaps the time was right.  It wasn't therefore an itch that just needed to be scratched but a repressed part of my life that was now about to be let less but this time with people cheering me on rather then trying to hold me back.

 

And the links into the old football scene still seem important to you (especially as you have a track called 'Football' on your album). Do you still go?

 

Football is a state of mind and the true fans know that no matter how crass the corporates try to make our game no matter how much they try to hijack our football there will always be the spirit of the working class...surviving...somewhere.

I go to Millwall with my Dad and his old mates from when he worked in the docks

 

MartyStaceySo what's next for Bermondsey Joyriders, I notice you have a show booked at the 100 Club for New Years Day, what's after that?

 

Marty Stacey has always had a great reputation as a person who puts on events other then just run of the mill gigs. For instance It was Marty who booked Spandau Ballet before they made it to play a party on HMS Belfast on The River Thames that day was complete with fire eaters and dwarfs on bicycles...not to mention dancing dogs which ended in a food fight...so eat your heart out Mr. Rolling Stones and your Performance art via Beggars Banquet because all that was well surpassed by Marty The Bermondsey Joyriders ace bass player! So it's Marty who will come up with something a bit interesting...always!

 

I also have to ask this before I finish, where exactly did the name Bermondsey Joyriders come from?

 

It was graffiti on a wall in London Docklands at the time the docks were be redeveloped into yuppie warehouse apartments. At first I actually thought it was a name of a band but later found out that it was a vigilante gang of young lads who were pissed off about their neighbourhood being carved up by these property developers who sold the places (i.e. the docks) where their community existed for vast profits and what the Bermondsey Joyriders would do was steal top of the range yuppie cars, that were the cars of the yuppies moving into the area. and race them at speed before ceremoniously burning them out...enough said !

 

And to finish off we'd like to do the usual Uber Rock Ten random either/or questions quiz. All that we ask is that you answer with your first answer with a brief explanation and not necessarily think too much about the answers.

 

OK? Lets go

 

Sylvain Sylvain or Johnny Thunders?

Both. What do you need more water to drink or air to breathe? 

Football or Music?

As above (again sorry)

Small Faces or The Faces?

Faces

Garrie or Gary?

Gary

Stick Of Rock or 100 Club?

That's really made me laugh...are you kidding?

Ray Winstone or Robert Carlyle?

Peter Sellers

Les Paul or Godin Radiator?

Godin's of course! The creative guitarist choice don't you know.

Pie and Mash or Jellied Eels?

STEWED eels on the side of pie and mash loads of Chili vinegar and white pepper

MC5 or The Stooges ?

MC5...they were proper bonkers!

Janus or the Elite ?

What's the Elite...never heard of that/them

 

And with that we'd like to thank you Gary for taking the time to speak with us once again.  It really is great to speak with you.  We wish you all the best for the gig on New Years day, say hello to Keith for me and have a great Christmas.

 

John, God Bless man and keep rocking...

 

You can order copies of the Bermondsey Joyriders album along with Tshirts here.

 

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/cherryred/artists/bermondseyjoyriders.php

 

http://www.myspace.com/thebermondseyjoyridersofficial