Andy Selway: Where we discuss The Wildhearts, Silver Ginger Five, The Yo-Yo’s, Sugar Snatch and other interesting stuff…
Andy drummed on Silver Ginger Five’s ‘Black Leather Mojo’ LP and was a member of The Yo-Yo’s as well as thumping the skins in many other bands. He now lives in West Palm Beach Florida with his wife and child.
After several days of messaging I arranged to conduct the interview via a voice call through the power of the internet. At 3pm UK time, 10am Florida, we finally got things underway for an hour long chat.
Andy: Can you hear me?
Yeah I can. Good to talk!
Andy: Yeah, you too man.
Not a week or so before Andy received a copy of my Wildhearts book Zealot in Wonderland.
Andy: I’m halfway through your book already and enjoying it very much.
Have you got up to where I saw The Yo-Yo’s in High Wycombe?
Andy: Yeah, I remember playing gigs at that place, they used to have strippers on beforehand as well. I think I remember the show that you were referring to where we were standing around playing pool because none of us had any fucking money when we were doing any of those shows. We were lucky if we had enough change for a game of pool!
I’ve just got to say, I was talking to Carrie McMillan (a friend of Andy’s from The Yo-Yo’s days) the other day about interviewing you and she reminded me that you’re on the front of the book with her.
Andy: Yeah I didn’t notice that, my eyesight’s fucking shot to shit! Until she pointed out that I was on the cover of the book I would never have seen that.
I asked her if she had any questions for you. She said, ‘well not really because I was there back in the day’. Fair point. Already knowing herself of course, the one thing she did say was, ‘Ask him where the name Bladz comes from?
Andy: When I first moved up to London I was in some fucking god-awful band and we were living out near Hounslow, Heston area out in West London. We did like silly little tours: we opened up for Wishbone Ash of all people. I had this horrific bladder infection, so I was literally stopping the van every five minutes for a fucking piss! I think it was the singer from that band at the time who called me Bladz… short for bladder. That kinda stuck for a few years yeah.
Nice one! I just wanna quickly say, I was in West Palm Beach the end of February. I was staying at a friend’s place for a few days before the Monsters Of Rock Cruise.
Andy: Yeah, all the cruises leave just down the road from here. Until I moved down to Florida I’d never been on a cruise in my life but now I’ve been on more than I can remember.
The discussion then went on to The Wildhearts pulling out of the cruise then somehow segued onto the interviews I’d conducted with various members of the band for the Zealot website.
Andy: When I spoke to you the other day regarding setting up this interview I went onto your website and read a few: Bam, Danny, Jef and all that, just to get a gist of everything. Jef was my next door neighbour for the last six, seven years that I lived in London. There were two blocks of flats in Acton and they were full of musicians. There was another band I was playing with called The Men They Couldn’t Hang, kinda folky punk stuff. Their bass player lived in the building next door and I was drumming for them at the time, amongst other things; Dunc lived in one of the buildings; Jef lived next door to me and Mark from The Bluetones lived next door to us. I guess it was just like the three buildings left on that street that any musicians could afford so we all ended up living next to each other.
What were your first memories of hearing music as a child and maybe what was the first band you were obsessed over? I know you come from a musical family.
Andy: My dad was a drummer back in the sixties. I think he taught himself to play from a book and listening to records, then I guess when he was starting a family they were off playing the hits of the day in their local music establishments for a bit of extra cash and whatever. I think he went on a work trip to the States in about nineteen seventy three and brought me back a proper little drum kit; it was kid’s size but it was a real drum kit, not a toy. So I had that drum kit from when I was about three. As far as I remember it never had a bass drum pedal so I just used to kick it! My dad was a drummer and he was always out playing but my mum was the one that was always listening to music. My first big musical influence – sorta crush I guess – was Elvis. I always kinda knew who he was as a kid but you’re not really paying that much attention, then my Grandma was ill so me and my mum were staying up with my grandma and she came up in the room one morning with a cup of tea and said, ‘I hear that young Elvis Presley fella’s dead’. For some reason I was horrified! I was like six I guess and from that point on any little bit of pocket money or anything I had all I bought was Elvis records.
That’s nice because my dad was obsessed with Elvis and I mention it a couple of times in the book.
Andy: That was just a big sorta thing; it was what is this larger than life thing and of course the music was great and what a cool looking bastard this is. You couldn’t really pinpoint why I liked it or was so into it but that was my first real musical influence I suppose then Status Quo was the next big one… then from Quo I got a copy of ‘Quadrophenia’ by The Who when I was probably about eight and that’s still in my top five favourite albums to this day. Then I found a copy cassette of ‘If You Want Blood’ the live AC/DC album and was like, ‘What’s this!’ It just all went off from there.
I want to talk about the bands you were in before The Yo-Yo’s and Silver Ginger Five: tell me about Big Boy Tomato, how was it supporting Stiff Little Fingers and U.K. Subs?
Andy: We played with everybody back then. That band I mentioned earlier where I ended up with the bladder nickname, we had a mutual friend who was the bass player in Big Boy Tomato who ended up being the bass player in Sugar Snatch as well, which is another thing I did with Tom Spencer. That lead directly to me and him being involved with Danny and the whole Wildhearts connection I guess. Anyway, that guy Nick who was a mutual friend he was playing in Big Boy Tomato and they wanted to poach me from the band I was in which was playing cheesy, bad, glam rock kinda stuff. So I made a move to Acton and started playing with Big Boy Tomato instead.
I’ve been checking Big Boy Tomato out on YouTube – it’s bloody good stuff! I’ve ordered the album ‘Glaswegian Kiss’.
Andy: Funnily enough we recorded that at Pete Winkelman’s studio where some of The Wildhearts’ stuff was done, Great Linford Manor in Milton Keynes. It was Simon Efemey who produced it, ha ha! The connection just keeps getting deeper and deeper. But yeah, because we were doing ok at the time we’d end up getting all the juicy support acts that came through town. We were selling out gigs on our own at decent size venues across London a lot of the time, then we went out and opened up for the U.K. Subs on their UK tour and we ended up with The Toy Dolls across Europe which is one of the best tours I’ve ever been on to this day. Toy Dolls were fucking amazing live! So good! It was Tom and Danny doing Toy Dolls backing vocals on a record that got to The Yo-Yo’s point.
Ha ha, it’s quite good, you’re answering all my questions before I’ve asked them, so I’ll have to skip down. I assume you’ve seen it, but there’s a Sugar Snatch video up on YouTube from 14th June 1997 from Berlin, is it Punk im Park Festival?
Andy: Yeah, we’re all wearing orange t-shirts on stage! I only recently stumbled across that myself. I vaguely remember someone being there with a camera at the time; we were all hungover to shit and playing at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Basically Sugar Snatch was formed out of the ashes of Big Boy Tomato; we just kind of self-combusted for one reason or another. But we really liked all the touring we’d been doing in Europe when you are playing all these shows and you’re actually appreciated as a band over there. There seem to be these magic refrigerators that keep on filling up with beer once you’ve finished. So we were like, ‘We wanna play over there more!’ So we literally formed Sugar Snatch; we sat around watching cartoons and smoking weed. We thought, ‘We’ll just write songs about this’ so we can form a band, make a record and get back to Europe and get free beer – that was the philosophy behind that, ha ha!
You mentioned when you messaged me the other day about the parallels between yourself and The Wildhearts before The Yo-Yo’s formed: you spoke of CJ’s house in Chelmsford with his mum and dad and that you opened for Tattooed Love Boys, who of course CJ was in?
Andy: Yeah, it was a sheer fluke! I mean, I grew up in a little seaside town called Felixstowe on the east coast – I lived in a little village called Kirton which is four or five miles out of Felixstowe and I went to school in Felixstowe. I was already drumming; I was out and about playing with bands and doing as much as I could at that point. Even when I was playing at school and I was still quite young I knew my way around a kit. But I couldn’t find anybody at school that was up to par to play with, but there was one kid in my school and his big brother had a full Marshall Stack and could play Dio riffs and all that shit and I’m like, ‘Wooow, what the fuck!’ There was a village hall down the bottom of my road where all the local rock bands would rehearse, because there were no rehearsal studios out there. I used to go down and like peep through the window, then I got brave and asked if I could come in and watch; then I asked if I could have a go on the drums. Then they’re like, ‘Fuck me he can play!’ So I can keep up with all these guys who were like a decade older than me at the time.
So yeah, this kid in my year, his brother was sorta the guitarist at the time in the area, so I ended up in a band with him. Being a bit older than me he used to drive up to London and see gigs: he was into the Quireboys and all that stuff and knew those guys from the scene in London and I guess he met CJ from that. So we used to hang out together and we drove up to Chelmsford where CJ was living at the time with his parents and went round to his house briefly. Through him I met CJ and I was in a local band at the time; I only vaguely knew CJ before, as like I said I went to his house but then I ended up in another local band who were round the Felixstowe, Ipswich area. We were called Krazi I think with a ‘K’ and an ‘I’ at the end… very, very bad band. I guess, through the same mutual contacts that those guys who were a bit older than me had, we ended up opening for Tattooed Love Boys in Chelmsford and I think it was their first show. I remember them setting up the stage and stuff and CJ was just a mound of hair back then with some legs poking out the bottom. I remember Mick Ransome the drummer set up a big drum riser with black and white chequered racing flags sort of draped around the bottom of it and they put on the full sort of glam rock show.
I think not long after that is when I realised that all the guys I was playing with there, I’d just got as far as I was ever gonna get in that little corner of Suffolk. I was in all the bands that were known in that little area and I realised I had to move to London. No one would come with me: all the guys that I was in bands with were like, ‘Yeah we wanna hit the big time, we wanna make it!’, but when it came to it it was only little old me. I answered an ad in Melody Maker and thought ‘If I get this audition I’ll move’, and I got the audition and moved up two weeks later. Within a couple of years I was in Big Boy Tomato and one thing lead to another.
Do you remember your first meeting with Danny?
Andy: Yeah! It was late ninety six, early ninety seven that The Yo-Yo’s started. I’d been off touring the States and Japan with an industrial band called Pig and we were doing great. Pig got a big US tour opening up for the band that I’ve been in for the last seventeen, eighteen years, KMFDM. I’d just came back to England from doing all that stuff and Sugar Snatch was done and I didn’t have much else; I was doing bits and pieces with other bands, I can’t remember anyone notable. Obviously I’d been working with Tom for years before that and Tom through the Sugar Snatch connection had been asked to do the backing vocals on The Toy Dolls record, which is where he met Danny. Tom and Danny got The Yo-Yo’s up and running – Ritch Battersby drummed on that first demo. They recorded ‘Keeping On’, a version of ‘Too Lazy To Bleed’ I think and… ‘Rock City’ maybe. At the time they got that together and Ritch helped out on drums but they didn’t have a line up outside of that at the time so I expressed that I was interested in doing it. I still had my long ringlet hair at the time and I remember Danny saying, ‘That’s gotta go!’ I remember going up with Tom and Danny to Camden one time and popping into some barbers up there and cutting my hair off, I was in a real panic – I actually had it in a little bag afterwards. So yeah, I got my hair cut and we started doing some rehearsals and stuff.
What was the vibe like within the band?
Andy: It was good; really good! I mean Tom I’d obviously known for years from the Big Boy Tomato stuff and when we started jamming there was ‘Too Lazy To Bleed’ and ‘Time Of Your Life’: they were songs that Tom and I had co-written and worked on before The Yo-Yo’s with a really good bass player and singer called John Hogg, who was playing in a band called Moonhead at the time and later went on to form Moke. There was a few songs we’d carried over from things we’d done previous to The Yo-Yo’s because obviously when it was brand new we didn’t have much. Then there was ‘Keeping On’ which Danny had and ‘Rock City’ which were the early ones we started jamming with. We didn’t have Neil, the guitarist at that point; I remember some entertaining guitar auditions, that’s how we found Neil – Neil was such a fucking relief after the other dudes we saw, you wouldn’t believe it. Neil had also coincidentally just happened to bump into Chris McCormack in Camden market and gave him a demo of his old band B-Movie Heroes, so that’s how we got him at the auditions. We had an ad up explaining exactly what we wanted and people knew who Danny was and word was getting around at what kinda thing we were trying to do and the exact opposite of what we were looking for was about ninety percent of the guys that showed up. We had the dudes spinning round on the spot wearing skintight jeans and Lycra pants and trying to spin their guitar strap over their shoulder and stuff – just everything it wasn’t gonna be.
Were you a fan of The Wildhearts before The Yo-Yo’s came to be?
Andy: Not massively – I became one. I’d known of them going right back to when they were forming, through my friends that were friends with CJ, which he probably doesn’t even remember – I mean he was just hiding under his hair practising in his mum and dad’s house.
CJ used to get mistaken for Slash apparently.
Andy: So did I at some point because I had this sorta really long ringlet hair! A bit later on my hair was like that, I think at the time I met CJ I was trying to have a big sorta back combed glam rock hairdo. I’ve got naturally really curly hair so I think what I’d done is tried to bleach it blonde, and I’d just turned it into a larger orange afro… ha, ha, ha! So yeah, shit went wrong there.
Through my mates that knew CJ I kept hearing snippets and remember them saying they’re putting together together a rock band and it’s gonna be heavy but have Beatles harmonies and things like that. This was the early Wildhearts they were talking about. I remember listening to stuff around ninety three or four, and, I liked bits of it but wasn’t super impressed. Then ‘P.H.U.Q.’ came out and I picked up a copy: that’s the one where I went, ‘Fuck me, that’s fucking good!’ Then I went back and listened to ‘Earth vs’ and acknowledged that it was a great album as well. ‘P.H.U.Q.’’s a better album in my opinion, even though there’s a ton of good songs on ‘Earth vs’. One thing for me that made the difference between ‘Earth vs’ and ‘P.H.U.Q.’ though was the change of drummer; obviously being a drummer I notice those things. As much as I love Stidi and Stidi’s playing, he’s a little bit scrappier and more a punk rock drummer. Ritch is just a solid, full-on fucking intensional rock drummer which is the way I like it more. I immediately noticed the difference between the two records and it was Ritchie’s drumming that made the whole thing better for me.
What’s your opinion on ‘Endless Nameless’?
Andy: Oh, I’ve listened to bits of it. They’d just done ‘Anthem’ before we were doing The Yo-Yo’s thing. Sugar Snatch were asked to be in the ‘Anthem’ video which was a big fucking party or whatever and at the time we annoyingly couldn’t make it, because that would’ve been fucking amazing I’m sure. We had a couple of gigs in Germany or something like that so we missed it which we were all kicking ourselves about. I mean ‘Anthem’, I kinda listen to it – it sounds like a good record with a bad drug addled studio idea on top ya know, ‘Let’s distort the fuck out of everything!’
I adore that album. I’ve never had a problem with it; it instantly clicked. I fucking love it!
Andy: Since I’ve got into other stuff later I’ve appreciated it a bit more, I guess it was just a bit of a shock at the time, which I guess it was for a lot of Wildhearts fans. I remember Danny saying they went through a few sets of speakers in the studio with the subs on ‘Anthem’ blowing out speakers. I remember thinking, ‘Now that I can get behind’.
Back to The Yo-Yo’s, so how was the recording for ‘Uppers and Downers’?
Andy: We’d done a bunch of recordings beforehand up in Nottingham when we put the initial ‘Out Of My Mind’ single and ‘Rock City’ together. We got to recording the album proper and I was happy with the album. I can’t say those were the best times we had recording it as Danny wasn’t at all well: There was a lot of frustration in the studio, just trying to get things done a lot of the time. We’d got everything that we’d been trying to fucking get and work towards; we were in Trident Studios down town; we had Terry Thomas our manager producing; this was our chance to make a good album but unfortunately Danny wasn’t at his best, which had a knock-on effect on the rest of us and made the album recording a bit more problematic and stressful than it otherwise should have been.
Yeah there’s a lot of dark memories in there but I know intrinsically underneath he’s a lovely bloke and the guy’s fucking hilarious and he’s a great friend. I’ve only spoken to him once since The Yo-Yo’s split. Everything held bad memories; I couldn’t even listen to the album for years to be honest. When it split up it all went a bit tits up. My whole thing was just like, I don’t like to look back and dwell on stuff, I just moved on and got on with other things and every time I looked back it just kinda pissed me off so I didn’t… and I didn’t stay in touch. I still speak to Neil but me and Tom stopped speaking for entirely different reasons for a while but I have no particular grudge against him now, it’s just that I’ve lived in a different country for seventeen or eighteen years as well so it’s not like I bump into them very often. Neil was always really easy going and laid back as well and I’ve spoken to Neil a few times on the phone since I’ve been over here as well; I last spoke to him by phone just before they played the Download shows with The Yo-Yo’s in two thousand and twelve. I must have spoke to Neil since then as well then as I remember him talking about something… I think they were offered something again but he wasn’t into doing it and I think there was brief talk of did I wanna do it, and it’s like, not really. For me if something’s done I like to leave it there done, I don’t see any point in going back and digging it up. I have no problem with them carrying on and doing it; they got Rich on guitar and whoever was on drums and made that other record in two thousand and five. Some bands come back round full circle, as with the Wildhearts new record which sounds like a doozy from what I’ve heard – ‘Dislocated’ sounds fucking great!
A light-hearted question: can you remember shooting the video for ‘Sunshine Girl’? It looked awfully wet with the rain bouncing off your drums.
Andy: When we were touring the States we were signed to Sub Pop and we did a couple of tours, one was opening up for The Murder City Devils and the other was with the Backyard Babies. Because we were signed to an American label they wanted to break us over here, but I don’t think they realised what kind of a band they signed; they didn’t realise quite how dysfunctional it was. On one of those US tours Sub Pop had sent some videographer guy out who made videos for REM and Christ knows who; he followed us around several cities and had a camera in our face and that’s how we made the video for ‘Time Of Your Life’, with that guy. We got it back and we knew roughly how much it cost and the budget they’d spent on it, then we watched it and we were like, ‘It’s fucking shit!’ It’s this grainy looking shit and this guy was following us half way up The West Coast and through Texas and stuff and that’s all he’s got! Then when it came to doing the video for ‘Sunshine Girl’ we were like, ‘Give us a grand, we’ll do it in my mate’s garden’. So yeah that was recorded in my friend’s garden in Acton West London, the place I said that Jef lived next door. We pulled some favours from mates, got a little budget from Sub Pop, which was a fraction of what they’d spent on the other guy, hired a rain machine and that was it! It came out ten times better than the one that cost fifteen grand and was filmed across major cities in the USA.
So with the demise of The Yo-Yo’s did you do anything before drumming on the Silver Ginger Five album?
Andy: When I recorded drums on the Silver Ginger Five album I was still in The Yo-Yo’s. See you jogged my memory when you asked about The Yo-Yo’s and I told you about getting my hair cut in Camden, because around that time I’d just had my hair cut and I was still mightily depressed about it. Ginger had said do you want to come drum on something up at Great Linford Manor Studios in Milton Keynes again? So I recorded a song or two with him but I can’t remember what the fuck it was. That was relatively early on in The Yo-Yo’s, then at a later point I went into another studio in Willesden in North West London that was owned by Dave Ruffy the drummer from The Ruts and I recorded another song with Ginger called ‘If I Were You I’d Kiss Me’. Dregen was there in the studio too and I think he played guitar.
I was gonna ask you about that. There’s a few demos floating about on the internet: ‘Beer For Breakfast’ and ‘If I Were You I’d Kiss Me’ that I think were recorded for a second Silver Ginger Five album that obviously didn’t happen.
Andy: I dunno but if you’ve got them could you send them to me as I want to hear if it’s me drumming on them or not. I can always tell my drumming when I hear it.
I sent the tracks to Andy and he said it’s defo him on ‘If I Were You I’d Kiss Me’. He wasn’t sure about ‘Beer For Breakfast’ but said it probably is him as well.
There’s also: ‘Walk Like A Motherfucker’, ‘More Is The Law’ and ‘Last Bastard In Heaven’ which were extras on the UK release of ‘Black Leather Mojo’.
Andy: Those were out-takes from the Silver Ginger Five sessions. When I went in to record the Silver Ginger Five album it was just me and ginger in a studio – Jon came in and done the bass later. So for all of the rehearsal period it was literally just me, Ginger and Tim Smith the producer. There was no bass player or anything, it was just a drummer and guitarist; Ginger was showing me all the riffs, I didn’t have much of an idea how the melodies went or anything else at that point. We rehearsed up at Fortress Studios where my industrial band Pig were kinda based. We didn’t have a bass player and I remember at one of the rehearsals we had Ginger asking Tim if he knew of any and Tim saying, ‘Well, our guitarist in the Cardiacs he plays bass. I can’t really describe how he plays but if I grab a microphone for a second’. So while me and Ginger were playing Tim was kinda running round the room with a microphone up to his mouth making this bizarre noise *Andy makes a noise that can only be described as a horse drowning underwater*. Then Tim said, ‘He kinda plays bass like that’ and Ginger went, ‘Well, we’ll ‘ave him then!’. So that’s where Jon Poole came from, that session. So yeah, we rehearsed up at Fortress Studios then we went in and started recording it and I guess to keep him company we ordered a lot of coke as well. So yeah it was quite fun doing that session, ha ha! I remember towards the end of the session as we’d got all the album tracks done, Ginger was like, ‘There’s a few others I wanted to try’, which I’d sorta forgotten until I found ‘Walk Like a Motherfucker’ and the other ones you mentioned.
So is that you playing on those?
Andy: I’m pretty sure yeah, because there is one of them where I thought is this Tomas Broman, the guy who did the live drums. But I’m pretty sure it’s me because you’ve got your library of drum fills you pull from, so I can usually tell when it’s me. Then when I listened to it I remembered Ginger saying, ‘This riff goes like this and wye aye man’ and all that, talking me through all the songs. I’m pretty sure those three we recorded once we finished the songs proper for the record – they’re tracks that just didn’t make it onto the album. Up to that point I think I pseudo agreed to be Silver Ginger Five’s drummer but my loyalty to The Yo-Yo’s was something we’d started and I wanted to see it until it was finished, so I had to go back on that. I said to Ginger, ‘Sorry, I’ve got to stick with what I started’, which I think pissed him off a bit at the time but The Yo-Yo’s was our thing and we had to see it through. And there was a bit of competitiveness there as well… if Ginger ended up taking the drummer from The Yo-Yo’s, they wouldn’t have had a drummer – not that I think that was the intention or anything but you never know. It all just ran in parallel: ‘If I Were You I’d Kiss Me’ I’d done before the Silver Ginger Five stuff came about. I think Ginger came to a Sugar Snatch gig at the Borderline one time, that’s how I got talking to him initially.
OK, tell me about the band you are in now, KMFDM? I checked some videos out on YouTube – the live show looks insane, kinda a cross between The Prodigy and Ministry. Were you involved with the writing process?
Andy: Yeah! I mean the band goes back to nineteen eighty four so I was only fourteen then, but like I said the industrial band Pig I was in Japan with in ninety six, they were formed by a British guy called Raymond who actually also did backing vocals on on ‘Too Many Hippies In The Garden Of Love’. You know the middle section where it breaks down and you can here all those creepy voices in the background? Well, that’s all Raymond. That guy Raymond was one of the old singers in KMFDM, so that was the connect there and then Pig got to open up in The States for KMFDM in ninety seven – when KMFDM were at their peak – then we went home. It was like two thousand and two when KMFDM had kinda like reformed and a couple of the original guys didn’t wanna do it and Sascha the main guy from KMFDM was like, ‘I remember the Pig guys being amazing so let’s get those guys in’. So that’s when I got the opportunity to move over here and start working with them, so I did! When we got here he set us up in an apartment in Seattle and gave us some recording gear and said, ‘Go for it! Do what you fucking want!’. There’s been albums where I’ve contributed more and albums where I’ve contributed nothing, it changes overtime and it’s very much Sascha’s thing but he’s very much open. Sometimes it’s not drums; I’ve contributed and wrote other stuff and thrown in a bunch of synth bass lines and loops. Sometimes I’ll do drum programming and other times play live drums, it just depends – the records are a lot more electronic. Some tracks have got programmed drums and some are a mixture of the two; some of them are live drums where I’ve played it but then we’ve changed all the sound so much that it sounds completely programmed – it’s all completely arse backwards to how a regular band works. We make all our records by email then we meet in one place a week before a tour and learn how to play it then go on tour, ha ha! It’s fucking weird! We’ve been doing it that way for the last seventeen years now. So yeah I contribute to the writing, in varying quantities. There might be a few tracks I’ll get involved in on one album then the next album I might do very little.
I’ve heard some of the KMFDM stuff and it’s insane! What was the transition like for you from like Silver Ginger Five and The Yo-Yo’s to KMFDM? I know some of the Silver Ginger Five stuff was fast paced, but…
Andy: Easy. I’ve always liked Motörhead and stuff anyway; I’ve played fast before but then ended up in the sort of hair metal bands and played steady paced stuff. When I joined Big Boy Tomato that was a whole faster, funkier thing when I kinda had to step up my speed a little bit. Drumming for me was a way to get rid of all this excess energy I seemed to have and playing faster just come natural; it’s easier for me than playing slow-paced stuff sometimes. I’ve always been very across the board musically; listening wise and drumming wise. I can, adapt – as long as you don’t ask me to play jazz because I haven’t got the subtlety for any of that, or the technical skills. I can flip from one style to another relatively easy… or I think I can when I put my hands up and say, ‘Yeah, I can do it’ then I find out later if I can or not, ha, ha. You usually have to dig it out of you from somewhere, else you just make a fucking arse out of yourself. But I did actually have to sorta dumb down my drumming a bit for The Yo-Yo’s stuff; I had to stop doing as much stuff as I did in bands I played with previous and just play the song a lot more. It took me six months or so when we first started The Yo-Yo’s to tone it down a bit to get into the right mode. I loved playing The Yo-Yo’s songs and playing in that style but it was easy to then go and do the Silver Ginger Five record and Ginger was like, ‘I wanna bunch of double kick here and all these really fast fills here’ and I’m like, ‘Right-o!’ That’s the stuff that comes natural to me. And that’s one thing I liked about doing that Silver Ginger Five album: Ginger kinda knew where my strengths were drumming wise and that’s exactly what he wanted me to do. Of course I was very happy because that’s the sorta stuff I was comfortable playing.
Ok mate, we’ve reached the end. I was gonna ask you what you will be doing straight after this but you’ve already said you’ll be doing some drum programming…
Andy: Yeah I’m working with a lady called Charlie Drown! in Seattle. It’s some little side thing she’s done but KMFDM produced an album for her back in two thousand and three and I play drums on it; it’s kinda a goth kinda affair. So she needed some live drums and I’m just doing that. I mean a lot of my time now since I’ve had the kid I’m only really touring with KMFDM and that’s usually every other year at the moment. We’ll go out for six or seven weeks in The States and maybe a bunch of festivals in Europe. Then we come back and make another record and do it again the following year. Outside of that I was playing with The Dwarves on and off since two thousand and three, so I’ve been touring a lot with them over here. If you wanna hear some fast drumming, listen to the fucking Dwarves! It’s fast as shit mate! In the last line-up of the Dwarves I was playing in we had Nick Oliveri on bass who used to be in Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss and stuff – he’s great to work with! It’s mainly now just KMFDM as I haven’t been touring with The Dwarves since I had my kid. Now I’m just mixing and recording drum tracks for people from my home studio and working on KMFDM stuff that I get sent my way. The music scene in South Florida is fucking awful! A lot of the work I’ve been getting is from local bands who think they sound great: they’ll send me something and I’ll be like, ‘What the hell is this?!’ I spend a lot of time polishing turds and trying to make it sound as good as I can. It brings in a bit of cash though.
At this point I told Andy the interview had ended but luckily I was still recording: as is the always the way with interviews, things were said afterwards that just have to go in. We discussed the content of the interview, specifically Danny. Andy wanted to clarify a few things…
Andy: I’d just like to say that even though I haven’t spoken to Danny for a long arse time now I have nothing against him and I wish him nothing but the best. I hear he’s doing ok with his leg these days and I’m glad he’s back in his spiritual home. I don’t have a beef with anyone; I still chat to Ginger every now and then. Jane reached out and asked if I was over in England to maybe play at his Birthday Bash, the one that just went, but unfortunately I wasn’t in England at that point; but I would love to do something like that in the future. Ginger got in touch a few years ago to see if I’d be interested in doing a Silver Ginger Five bunch of shows.
Really?!?! Damn that would’ve been good!
Andy: That was back around the anniversary of it I guess; the ten or fifteenth I can’t remember. He just put the idea out there to see if I would be up for doing it if it was to happen. I was like, ‘Yeah, of course’. Unfortunately I didn’t but should it come up again then yes I would, I’d totally be up for that yeah. I was kinda bummed I didn’t do it live in the first place, to be honest!
Yeah, they were some fucking insane shows! I turned to my girlfriend and said, ‘This is fucking better than The Wildhearts!’ It blew me away!
Andy: Yeah, like I was saying, the timeline after I did the Silver Ginger Five album and stuff I was still with The Yo-Yo’s and we were signed. So I’ve always been kinda like, if we’ve put something together you’ve got to see it through otherwise you’re just wasting everybody’s time including your own. The Yo-Yo’s came to a bit of a sticky end and didn’t amount to much but we did it and I liked and am proud of what we did: there was good times along the way, there was bad times along the way but I had to see that to its end before I could commit to anything with Ginger. With The Yo-Yo’s the breakup was always blamed on this lump in my arm – an arm injury or something. I was reminded myself when I read it in your book. I had like a cyst come up on my arm that got removed not long after but it just happened at the time The Yo-Yo’s were breaking up and stuff so that was what was given to Kerrang! as the reason we were stopping. I’m pretty sure that most people who knew anything about The Yo-Yo’s knew better.
I went on to ask Andy if it’s ok if I used a photo for the interview that he sent me of him holding Zealot? He told me it was cool to use then he went on to talk some more.
Andy: I went out and had dinner with Bam last week as well. It’s funny the timing of all this.
And even more so… I met Bam on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. Vixen were playing so he was there with Share. He was selling his jewellery.
Andy: When we were doing The Yo-Yo’s tour in The States we toured with Bubble as well. We did one show in LA where the Quireboys were headlining and us and Bubble as well… that was a fun gig I seem to remember. But I haven’t seen Bam or Share in years; they’ve moved down here so I knew they were in South Florida but we’ve never hooked up. They were going to come down and see a band I was briefly playing in and then that gig got cancelled so we just never hooked up. They’ve been here ten fucking years and they only live five fucking minutes away and I haven’t seen them! But then the guy that actually signed The Yo-Yo’s; a guy called Dana Sims who used to work for Sub Pop up in Seattle, he happened to be coming down here for his girlfriend’s fiftieth and I catch up with him when he comes through this way… he’s like, ‘Well I want to catch up with Bam and Share as well so we’re all gonna meet at their place’. I’m like, ‘Fucking great!’ We all met there and Bam made us a bit of dinner, fish and vegetable stuff. We sat down and I saw a bit of Bam’s silver stuff that he’s making and saw their little studio setup – it was really good to catch up!
Yeah it’s all really strange because I sent Bam a copy of Zealot the same time as I posted yours.
Andy: Yeah it’s so weird, the timeline of this again. Like I said before, I have these parallels with The Wildhearts all the way through, irrelevant with if I’m doing anything with Wildhearts members or not. Yeah so just at the same time we both get the book I end up round Bam’s place for dinner. I need to hang out with them a bit more as they’re only forty five minutes away and they’re good people.
Ok mate we’ve come to the end. Thanks for your time it’s been lovely!
Andy: Ok cool, it was nice chatting! Take it easy…
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