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KAISERKILLERS

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW KAISERKILLERS WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Probably growing up in a Beatles household! Music was always a ‘thing’ when I was growing up. Then punk came along and it seemed that it was possible for literally anyone to be in a band and make music (whether you could play or not). Hell, the first band I was in – the Extraction – we didn’t even have any instruments! Actually, that’s not strictly true, Iggy told us he had a guitar that he got out of his mum’s catalogue, but I never saw it…

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

Johnny: The first band I was in was the Extraction, where (as we have learned) instruments were at something of a premium! Then I was in the Chaos Bros. with Tim Bricheno, later of All About Eve and Sisters of Mercy, who guested on bass and his brother Toby on guitar. Miff Smiff was on percussion before he left to become a full time professional cat burglar! I then joined a band doing a curious mixture of prog rock and funk, hated that. 

Then I got itchy feet and moved to the smoke in search of fame and fortune. I saw Fame on the telly and it cost me a fortune, so a partial success! I was in a Generation X inspired band called Revenge Rockers and cut a demo. London was interesting, we rubbed shoulders with some cool people: the Clash were regulars in our local boozer, so chatted regularly with Joe Strummer and Kosmo Vinyl, still not sure what Kosmo did for the Clash, he seemed to be like their manager or something. It was the Clash post Mick, so I didn’t really know the other guys, except Paul Simenon, though I never spoke to Paul, I found him a little scary! We knew Mickey Foote quite well, he produced the first Clash album, it was his mate’s studio that we cut our demo in.

Mickey Finn out of T Rex must have lived local, we’d see him often and buy him a drink or two. We lived just off Westbourne Grove, an area steeped in punk history, so there seemed to be musicians or artists on every street corner, I had an American mate, Mick Lexington, that I used to knock about with He’s some kind of big shot movie producer now, but he had the habit of coming across famous people, engaging them and inviting them to the pub, that’s how we got to know Mickey Finn. Huw Lloyd-Langton, ex of Hawkwind, was another guy he introduced me to, he must have lived locally too, I used to see him around all of the time, he was a really nice fella.
Andy: It was after then that Johnny and I got together to write music back in Yorkshire. I had been in a few bands and played at a famous venue for local punks, the Huddersfield Friendly & Trades Club. The first band we were in together was the Isolationists, playing pop up gigs here and there. Then later after a brief hiatus, we got together with Mick Stead, who had previously been in the Luddites with his brother, Dave Stead – later of Beautiful South – the Luddites had some success and did sessions for John Peel. The quartet was completed with Martin ‘Syko’ Sykes, a hard drinking, crown green bowls playing nutjob on drums.
Johnny: We had a brilliant sound and energy and I thought we were about to go on and rule the world, I had plans for us to move to LA, play gigs and ride around on vintage Triumph motorbikes, like Twenty Flight Rockers that we had met in London. That’s when Andy dropped the bombshell that he had decided to move to Bristol to learn how to be a dentist. A dentist for fuck’s sake! I effectively retired from music at that point and went back to university to be a car designer. You can’t keep a good musician down, though and I came out of retirement, took my Les Paul out of the cupboard and started making music again. I was in Krankhaus for a good while before forming KaiserKillers with Andy and Sticks (McIntosh, drummer).

What was life like for you before music?

(Johnny) I don’t really remember a time before music, it was always in my life and I was in my first band when I was still at school, so…(Andy) Yeah, music was always there, really. My older brother was really into his music, so I had a lot of records and stuff passed down or borrowed from him at a young age. I’ve collected music, in various formats, ever since. (Johnny) Yes, they had to reinforce the floor of Andy’s flat with steel girders to stop his record collection collapsing into the floor below! (both laugh)

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

(Johnny) In terms of listening, it would have to be the Beatles, but in terms of thinking I could make music myself, it would probably be the Spiral Scratch EP by the Buzcocks, they recorded and put out the record on their own label, it was unheard of and it made you think that maybe you could do the same thing. In terms of a song then, Boredom, off that EP
(Andy) Beatles again, for me and then T Rex, so perhaps Get It On?

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

Knackered and still trying to get off the first rung!

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry? 

Joe Strummer taught me that you can be a nice guy, engage with the people that like your music and have a great empathy with your followers. He was a good fella, Joe; he’s sorely missed.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

(Johnny) I designed a seat fabric that was used in London Black cabs, I am deaf in one ear. I won a set of Crackerjack pencils (one for the teenagers there…) (Andy) I once met John Peel and had my picture taken with him. I gave Uncle Albert out of Only Fools and Horses a filling in one of his premolars. I still own an obsolete digital audio tape player.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

(Johnny) A free Rickenbacker bass (pretty please). (Andy) A lucky break!

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

(Andy) We’re all for equality and fairness for all, but there is a definite problem in terms of whether it is possible to talk openly about some subjects without someone unreasonably taking taking offence (Johnny) And the gate as well, boom boom!

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?
(Johnny) Like, they didn’t really land on the moon, it was a film set? No I don’t, though Lee Harvey Oswald and the.JFK assassination doesn’t quite add up. That’s more a facts-based observation, rather than a conspiracy theory, however. Andy, on the other hand, is the chief purveyor of conspiracy theories of all kinds, especially if there’s a medical angle. Or how the state is trying to control us, or countless other themes. I think it’s actually Andy that makes these things up and spreads them around the internet like a virus… (Andy flounces off, huffing and puffing at this point)

What was the worst experience on stage?

(Johnny) For me, it’s always forgetting the words, usually to songs I have actually written! I would love it if gigs could be more like karaoke!

Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about. 

(Johnny) I think people would be surprised to discover that Andy enjoys sticking his fingers in peoples mouths! (a newly returned Andy) Or that Johnny is never happier than when he’s drawing with his felt tip pens. (Johnny) People may also be surprised to learn that Sticks is a noted international jewel thief!

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?
We need to get out on the road sooner, rather than later, I think that is a priority. Plus, a new album, on vinyl, though that may be the straw that broke the camel’s back and be the tipping point that sends Andy’s record collection plummeting through the floor, much to the surprise and chagrin of the neighbours below! 

Whats your thoughts on Elon Musks contribution to the world?

A very strange fellow with a very strange name. His Cybertruck looks like it was drawn by a five year old with a school geometry set. And he’s ruined Twitter. I’d be perfectly happy if he took a one way trip in one of his rockets.

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

Our new single, Gun Crazy is out on Friday March 22nd. The song came about when I (Johnny) was visiting a girl in Connecticut and asked her about crime in the sleepy New England state, with it’s proximity to New York. She said that it was certainly creeping in and that, “Only last week, a guy was found dead in the trunk of his car down by the shopping mall.” That’s the first verse right there.

What was the recording process like?

We tend to start with a guide guitar and guide vocal and then overlay various guitar tracks and vocal harmonies before our mixing engineer works his magic and makes it unrecognisable from the rubbish we just laid down! Simple, really.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

We had a big learning curve in terms of the mixing. The song had a very long gestation period, but we just couldn’t get the mix right. We brought an outside ear in and I think it’s probably now our best release to date, in terms of quality

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Johnny: My socks.

Andy: I would bring my guitar playing to the fore, so you can’t hear Johnny singing.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Peace and love (© Mr R Starr). Love is all you need (though shelter, food and warmth are quite useful, also and there are plenty of people that don’t have enough of some or all) 

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