1. Tell us about your punky life so far and the bands you have been in, played with etc. Where did it all begin mate?
Well it's a long time ago now and the old brain cells have taken a battering. I can remember playing a record that got me into punk in the first place. It was The B side to the Stranglers single 'Something Better Change'. The track is called 'Straighten Out' and is one of my favourites to this day. It belonged to my big sister who was old enough to be on the punk scene right from the start. She was a Manchester regular as far as I know and hung out with the Buzzcocks and all that crowd, so she had a few records which I had a listen to, but that was the one that did it for me. I was 11 at the time so it was 1976 and the Sex Pistols were causing Chaos. I listened to what I could get hold of and whatever was on the telly. I remember the Rah Band doing 'The Crunch' on Top of the Pops wearing black bin liners. I thought that was bloody fantastic and wanted to go to school in a bin liner held together with safety pins. Of course the Sex Pistols were my favourites at the time and Sid Vicious had a large influence on me and the way I wanted to look. There seemed to be tons of punks around in those days. There used to be a brilliant record shop in Bolton called Edwin P Lees. On the corner of Newport Street and Great Moor street. Opposite where the Punk clothing shop Deaf Fan Ugly is now. They used to have all the latest Punk singles and albums in there. There was a great lady in there we used to get on with. I wish I knew her name. There were others like Sounds and Derek Guest's. Another thing that left an impression on me was seeing my first mohican. A lad was walking across Moor lane bus station with a black mohawk. Not one of these long ones that most people had but a short one like about an inch high and 2 inches wide. I wanted one immediately but couldn't get that one past Mum and Dad. Of course during all this time I was at school so didn't really see much of the 'scene' for a while until I was old enough to get in the Bus Inn (15. I was. I was tall. haha. Cheers Neil " yeah he's 18") which was down a back street in Bolton. Soon enough Discharge came along and blew me away. Discharge had a massive effect on music. Not in the same way as the Sex Pistols, but Discharge equally changed the face of music. They are the platform that a lot of metal music is built on. There would be no Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot, Nile, Anthrax without those guys. I saw them a few times back in the 80's in Manchester and they were ferocious. What a f***ng noise. It's no secret that Phobia is influenced by Discharge. Can't help that. I still have the ambition to play the same gig as them. So any promoters getting Discharge on in the north west, give us a shout. We'll be there. We were half way there I suppose when we supported Broken Bones at the 100 club in London in 1986. Saw some other great bands around that time as well like GBH, Exploited, Subhumans, English Dogs etc. Around this time I had managed to gain enough experience on a guitar to at least make a stab at playing a tune so I set about looking for victims to form a band with. A chance meeting with Davvy in The Rec (Bolton Recreation Club) at the regular punk disco started us off. I had been chatting with his girlfriend Lisa apparently and she got us talking about it. Anyway we had a few practices at their flat with various other people in and out just jamming with us. We finally got a full band and wrote and rehearsed for what seemed like ages until we were happy that we could pull a gig off. We only had one line up change which was Ratty coming in in place of Paul Makin. (Paul puts gigs on in the Blue Boar in Bolton these days). We lasted about a year and a half then split. At the time we split in late 86 or early 87 (we played our last gig in December 86), I didn't consider starting another band because for me, the punk scene was dead and there was no point. I know that other band members carried on in other bands but I completely lost touch with the scene and left it. Then I got married and started a family. Did all the nice family stuff, but have never really been far away from the music as a listener. My musical tastes have broadened widely and I can lisen to anything from classical music to Slipknot, and loads of different styles in between. Some stuff I can't stand, but I'll keep that to myself so I don't alienate anyone ha, ha.
2. Musical Influences please? List em' all.
Bleedin' ell. You ain't got room. Here's a few:- Discharge. Sex Pistols, Broken Bones, Exploited, The Damned, The Clash, GBH, English Dogs, The Stranglers, Menace, Sham 69, Buzzcocks, Opeth, The crazy world of Arthur Brown, Anthrax , Anathema, Apocalyptica, The Adverts, Arch Enemy, Black Sabbath, Biosphere, Clawfinger, Conflict, Crass, Cavalera Conspiracy, Conception, Dream Theater, Dead Kennedies, Extinction of Mankind, ELO, Faith No More, Flux of Pink Indians, Motorhead, Fishbone, Foo Fighters, Galactic Cowboys, Stanley Holloway, Hawkwind, Gong, GBH, Iron Maiden, Ivor Cutler, Phil Keaggy, King's X, Locust, Living Colour, Lords of Acid, Mass of Black (local Bolton band of the 80's), Machine Head, Mrs Mills, Megadeth, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, The Orb, Pantera, Prodigy, Porcupine Tree, Queensryche, Queen, Rammstein, Rolf Harris, Rush, Slayer, Soulwax, Judas Priest, Joe Satriani, The Sweet, Slipknot, Sepultura, Viv Stanshall, Stiff Little Fingers, Sepultura, Strapping Young Lad, The Tubes, Tool, UK Subs, The Sweet, Slade, Steve Vai, Frank Zappa.
3. The world war/anti nuclear stance adopted by Phobia was perfect for its time. How do you feel it holds up today in this murky political environment?
The situation has changed from that of the big two super powers baring their teeth at each other. It was genuinely worrying back then that some pillock might press the button and all hell would be let loose and we'd all end up fried. The songs were written at that time describing some of the feelings of that time which were pretty strong. A lot of it was aimed at the governments telling them 'Who the f*** are you' to put us through all this. Fuck off and fight your own bloody wars. It's all about politics and material gain. I think the songs still have a relevance even today. The situation might have changed a bit but there is still the threat from places like China or Iran or wherever there is nuclear capability. Just look at the news. There is someone kicking off somewhere all the time. Think about when you have a petty little argument about something and nothing. How much does it take for that to become a shouting match, or if it's two blokes out on the pop disagreeing about something then soon enough there's fists flying. That is what is worrying. A small conflict could end up being another world war. It would obviously be a different war as the methods and equipment have changed. It will probably be a bunch of playstation guys doing it all by remote control.The (old) songs don't need to be perfectly relevant for today. They are a piece of history that I am proud of. We don't stop playing or listening to songs because the world has changed.
4. Jumbo Jaffabag - Africa's first quadru-balled man uses his 4 triangular testicles as mystic visionary temples in which to forsee the future. He claims the world will be invaded by yellow tadpoles and shrouded in a pubic veil from which the Grand Overseer Crabsucker will rise. For me Jaffabag is a crank but the 2 questions that come from this erection of a question are - if you hold your testicles up against the light what do you see and would you star alongside Keith Harris in the new porn film about a flying Skoda 'Clitty, Clitty, Bang, Bang'?
Sounds like a geometry conundrum Dave. According to the quadrilatriangulation theorem of 1686, the Tri-style quadru-nad not only see's, but creates the future. The future's bright, the future's everything under one roof. Bingo, solarium, slot machines, karaoke, everything. I see nothing but darkness, I blacked out trying. Burned my arse on the bulb. As far as the film goes, I have principles so I have to draw the line somewhere. No duck, No show. Get the duck and we'll talk.
5. Best and worst gigs to date with Phobia please. All the details are essential.
The best for me in our early days was playing at the 100 club in London in 1986, supporting Broken Bones. I had never been to London at all until then and I had to find Oxford street in a Volkswagen transporter van with a broken clutch. Stooge had driven the motorway bit for us so I could get some kip, but they woke me up as soon as we got near London cos Stooge didn't want to drive through. So up I got into the drivers seat tried to put the bugger in gear. Cruunch. What a nightmare. We got there eventually. It is a bit of a distant memory now but I remember standing on the stage thinking this is where It all started with the Sex Pistols. I'm playing on the same bloody stage. We were not allowed to use Broken Bones drum kit, so we got ours out which was bigger ha, ha. It was not a bad gig either. I broke a string, which was usual back then. It was apparently a bit of a jaw dropping moment for some of the lads from down south. To quote one Johnny, (You'll find him in our myspace friends) Him and his mates watched us get on stage and play. "And we just thought WHAT THE FUCK". Cheers Johnny. So we made an impression. At least for Johnny and his mates. I recorded the gig, as I did for most of them back in those days, and when I can get round to it I will have it available on CD again. There are one or two copies out there.
These days there is, like many other areas, a ressurgence of interest in the old Punk. The Blue Boar is hosting a lot of Punk gigs at the moment. We've had some great all dayers . We recently played with the Inner Terrestrials there. Also the Soundhouse, which is affiliated with the Alma and Booths Music shop have hosted some great gigs. Most recent was the City Invasion. Just before Christmas we had GBH playing there. Yer Man Fungal Dave is doing gigs at the Dog and Partridge. The turn-outs to these have been a bit dissappointing considering the talent on show. There hve been some great bands on there. Saw the Scabs there last night. Getting better every time I see em, and more dangerous. The bouncers moved in when Ste got going. Nice one Ste. Still nuts. Fungal Dave was almost unconscious, as was Punk fer life Tim. (hope you got em home safe Dean ha, ha)
7. Whilst walking home the other night I was attacked by two refridgerators who were obviously out for trouble. The two cooling devices were obviously out of their heads on mercury and electrical currents and so the beating I took was severe. They had a pedigree toaster on a lead too and this bit me several times on the backside. Have you ever been attacked by an electrical device and would you toast your own penis for a slot on 'Celebrity Squares' alongside Willie Rushton.
Never been attacked by an electrical device personally but I once witnessed a group of neo nazi's being bothered by a pack of wild lean mean grillin' machines.
If I had to go to those great lengths (ahem!!!) to secure a place, I would be holding out for Blankety Blank. Celebrity Squares my arse. Les Dawson, legend in his own lunchtime. Brought that show out of the depths with his charming wit and face like a placenta.
8. Heroes and zeroes in life and music.
Don't know really. Not really got heroes as such but I admire people for what they have achieved. Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Babbage. Artists like H.R. Giger and M.C.Escher. Anyone with incredible talent. People who battle on, despite severe handicaps, people who fight for justice. Peace makers. Zeroes = Politicians and Ministers, Liars, cheats, theives. Anyone who tries to force their opinion on you, be it religion or otherwise.
9. The good and the bad about being in a band. Feel free to ridicule your colleagues.
Ridicule! I wouldn't do that. I'll get battered. Not sure I would survive an attack from the twin testicles that we call frontmen, and our bass and drums can deliver a good pounding, so better not. The best thing is having someone enjoy something you have created or performed. If someone says "thanks", or "I enjoyed that." it means a lot and makes it worth doing. The worst thing is trying to co-ordinate everyone to do a gig. We all work and have family commitments so it makes it hard to get dates where we are all free, and I hate turning people down when they have asked us to play. Lugging bloomin' equipment around is not so good either.
10. And carrying on - describe your fellow players in 5 slanderous words apiece - one of which must relate to footwear?
How can I slander those guys. They are Sterling lads, every one of them. But to a man we are ageing, aching, balding, tough old boots who are still friends after all these years, so that aint half bad.
11. Complete this rhyme:-
Who the fuck gives a duck, nothing rhymes with arse!..............cept Farse
12. - Tell us why we should check out Phobia and give us all contact details etc.
Cos' you should. We might be getting on a bit but we can still make a nice loud racket. Someone recently described our Twin vocal attack as mesmerising, so you get a bit of hypnosis thrown in for free. If you enjoy loud fast angry music, then you should get a buzz out of us.
We enjoy what we do and hope you do too.
You can find us on Myspace at www.myspace.com/phobia86
You can email us at email@example.com
or you can just come and say hello if you recognise us. We won't bite ya.