Interview: Johnny Moped and Slimy Toad
..First off, can you tell us how you all got into music originally? And what inspired you to actually start/ join a band?
..Toad) Totally brought up on JOHN LENNON/ BEATLES ..first album was 'With The Beatles' then '...Pepper'. Always had to be in a band don’t know what originally inspired me.
..Johnny) I was inspired by STATUS QUO, AC/DC, SAXON, SABBATH
..Having been around before the UK Punk explosion, what do recall of those days? Were you accepted by the art-school/ Bromley Contingent crowd - or was there a degree of elitism? More to the point, did you wanna be accepted by that crowd?
..Toad) Had no idea that there was a Bromley Contingent at the time .. I was busy with Prog Rock and growing my hair.
..Coming up-to-date, you’ve just released the album ‘It’s A Real Cool Baby’ on Damaged Goods. It’s the band’s first new album since 1978’s ‘Cycledelic’. What made you decide to record this album now? Are the songs all new, or are there any old songs?
..Toad) Johnny’s band are so bloody fantastic that I just had to record an album with them. It was great to get through the audition and contribute to Johnny’s fab album. New New New except for the Old Old Old ones that were written by Fred Berk.
..Among the songs on the album, there are a couple of name checks - ‘Bert Bullethead’ and ‘Simon Can’t’. Who are these people? Pretty sure ‘Simon Can’t’ is about Simon Cowell - what are your thoughts on the likes of Britain’s Got Talent etc?
..Toad) 'Bert...' is about a character from a sixties black n white television show… no… not The Black n White Minstrel Show… On The Buses! ..it’s been Mopedized… Brought up to date with a little psycho sensitivity in it. Modern behaviour!
The Voice, X Scraptor and The Britain's Got Something or other is contributing to keeping the public in Nostalgia Rock mode ..which is good for us.
..Where have you all been, and what have you been doing, in the intervening years - besides the odd reformation?
..Toad) I’ve been wandering around gathering wood like a hobbit for years now. I recycle it and that is jolly green of me. Ha!
..The album sees Moped reunited with Slimy Toad on guitar and Dave Berk on drums, but tell us a bit about the new guys - Rock ‘n’ Roll Robot on guitar and Jacko Pistorious on bass. They been in other bands - how did you recruit them?
..Toad) Robot used to walk around Caterdoom Valley with a bleached white Billy Idol hair cut until he formed a band with Marti Love called DIRTY LOVE and they also Ska rocked with a band called CASE. Robot had to be liberated from that lot. Jacko Pistorious is a grooverbus... Just solid on that bass. Berk is consummate professional; he only enjoys working with JOHNNY MOPED.
..How did you hook up with Damaged Goods? I know the label released ‘The Bootleg Tapes’ album back in 2007. How does the Damaged Goods operation differ from that of Chiswick - the label that released your late 70s stuff?
..Toad) Dam mad ged Goods Guru came to Brighton for a meeting. We sat in the Pond Public House and it became clear that he was committed to JOHNNY MOPED when he told us " it is not a joke". It differs from Chiswick in the way that Ian Damaged is the Boss where as Chiswick had a lot of chiefs to discus things with.
..What differences did you notice/ experience between the of recording ‘Cycledelic’ and the new album?
..Toad) Ha! It’s a whole new world of recording since 1978 and we rocked up and showed 'em what we have then went down the pub. It was a great experience. I look forward to recording another album .. not sure what year though.
..How has the band been received in a live situation? There are some great live photos on the new album’s sleeve. Has the new material been well-received, or do people only want to hear the older stuff? I think you played Rebellion last year - any thoughts on that?
..Toad) It’s all been received really well. It’s a fantastic feeling playing to an audience; some of them are as old as us and the cloakroom is full of simmer frames and walking sticks. I know why they don’t pogo coz i can hardly get off the ground myself but I love the way they chant "Slimy Toad's a wanker" and shout "Save the baby seals" at Johnny. Rebellion was amazing. The stage was a mass of live wires with TV screens behind us on the left and right side of the stage... and Blackpool was one big episode of The Prisoner (60’s TV show).
..What differences have you noticed about playing live now as opposed to the late 70s? Do you still wear tights and shave your legs???
..Toad) Ha ha ha! I’m gonna nick the sieve from the kitchen and get right back to those police helmet wearing days.. The difference from those live gigs then is some one actually pays us now.
..Going back a bit, there was a close relationship with Captain Sensible. Was there much animosity when he buggered off to the DAMNED? And, the album he released, ‘The Search For Xerxes’ - was that approved by you? It’s virtually impossible to find now - was that all old stuff, or newly recorded?
..Johnny) There was no animosity when Captain left us and joined the DAMNED, 'The Search For Xerxes' album was a joint venture between the Captain and Dave Berk and became the second JOHNNY MOPED album by default.
..Incidentally - where is and what happened to Xerxes? Was he approached to record on the new album?
..Toad) Xerxes was on Bert Bulletheads bus going across Putney Bridge. He was gonna throw his sax in the Thames but Captain stopped him. Damn.
..What was the score with Chrissie Hynde? The Roxy book states she only played one Roxy show and then had to take Xerxes to hospital - can you elaborate a bit on that?
..Johnny) Chrissie at the time was rather tempremental to rehearse with, she was a perfectionist who knew how she wanted things. If we rehearsed and it wasn’t coming together we were all getting bad earache - Period.
..And talking of The Roxy - what are your thoughts and memories - both good and bad about the venue, its patrons and Punk at the venue? What about the band’s performance on the ‘Live At The Roxy’ album?
..Toad) Escaping from a marauding bunch of Millwall skinheads is a vivid memory of the Roxy Club. After the gig it all kicked off out on the street and we had all the band and the gear in the Morris traveller ready to go with one shot on the starter motor. People were battering each other across the bonnet, broken bottles, cans and missiles. Johnny was gonna have to get out and crank it if it didn’t stat first time. It did and we left
..I believe you supported MOTORHEAD - and most of the crowd hated you, booing before you even hit the stage!! Tell us a bit about that. You got a Lemmy tale to tell? Even odder, I believe THE BUSINESS played too - now that IS a mismatch! How did they go down?
..Toad) All I remember is we played and at some point the audience started shouting "shit shit shit." It built up into an incredible crescendo and at that point I thought we are going to die... but Mr Sensible popped up on stage with a mandolin and did an impromptu Buddy Holly song with Johnny a-cappella style. "Well All Right", "Well Allright". Those hard rockers started clapping along and we quickly finished the set and buggered off!
..Tell us a bit about the film, ‘Basically, Johnny Moped’. I believe it was directed by Captain Sensible’s son, Fred. How was he to work with? Has that film brought you any new attention?
..Johnny) Fred was easy to work with, it was absolutely brilliant how Fred put together the archive material and co-ordinated it. He pieced together with in-depth research and came off a winner!
..Coming off the band a bit, what are your thoughts on David Cameron’s Tory government? Better or worse than Thatcher’s - and why?
..Toad) I think that a hard rain is gonna fall
..Johnny) I prefer to remain neutral on this one; I find talking politics a waste of time.
..A fun question... You’re gonna be placed in a time-capsule and released in 200 years time. What will be your final drink, the final record you play, the final drug hit and the final ‘dream’ shag? And, when that time-capsule is reopened - what are you gonna say?
..Toad) London Pride! 'Groovy Ruby'! Fruit Spangles! Saint Margret!... "I’m a Spazm !"
..Tell us a Johnny Moped story that hasn’t been told before.
..Toad) Every time we go to a gig we have to say, "Johnny have ya got yer teeth?"
..What do you think would be a fitting epitaph to go on the band’s gravestone?
..Toad) 3D Time.
..What’s next for the band? You planning on doing another album soon? Tours?
..Toad) A whole load of stuff is coming; you better believe it!
..Anything you want to add?
..Toad) Hiya Tomcats!
..Johnny) 1 2 Cut Your Hair!