Chris of

The Pyratz


1. So Mr Rockson give us a brief history of your musical journey so far - bonus points if you mention pomegranate in a sexual kind of way!

My first memory of rock 'n' roll was my dad, who was fortunate enough to have been a teenager during the early 1950’s, and he was a huge Eddie Cochrane fan, as well as Elvis and all of the greats. I remember hearing Duane Eddy playing ‘Because They’re Young’ and the twangy guitar and whole emptiness of those old recordings…it was like magic to me. I knew that was what I wanted to do from that moment on…and when I was about 7 years old, I discovered the Beatles and that was my future defined. I grew up in Salford and was a teenager when Punk exploded on the scene. Immediately drew to the energy and creativity, I cut my long hair and did the whole ‘teen-fan’ thing, got a leather bike jacket, a Ramones tee shirt and a pair of 99p baseball shoes (Converse they’re called nowadays and cost far more…). I played in all sorts of garagey bands, none of which made an impact on the scene back then, but we had great aftershow parties that sometimes involved strippers doing comedy acts with pomegranate’s…ha, ha, you should have seen it! Sticky Vicky had nothing on these girls!

Around 1984, I was playing in a rock 'n' roll band called ‘Viper’ when I was approached by Warren Heighway, who managed various trash bands, White Trash, Sacred Alien, and he asked me if I wanted to play bass in
a punk band. I was like ‘oh….go on…tell me some more…’ and when he told me, I was like a kid in a candy store. Jayne County was making a comeback and had apparently been to one of our shows…so, I got the gig. That was fun! After that, I created the ‘Pirates’, but we were told to change the name, as the ‘Pirates’ had copyright on it…that was 1985. We did some great shows and supported some great bands, but fell apart due to musical differences….reformed again last year under the name ‘The Pyratz’, and have released an album of rock 'n' roll covers, called ‘Rock n Roll’ strangely enough….next!

2. The passion of playing the 6 stringed weapon - tell us the vibes you feel, what's the addiction dude!

Well, originally I was a bass player…I couldn’t handle the additional two skinny strings, but as needs must, and with a lack of like-minded guitarists around at the time I formed The Pyratz, I decided to switch. I was a big fan of Chuck Berry and more up to date, Johnny Thunders, whom I met a few times when I was in Jayne’s band. So, I had Brian
Eastwood make me a Les Paul Junior and went to work. I love playing, although I am very limited and really class myself as a Rhythm guitarist anyway, but I know the basic three chords, and as far as I’m aware, that’s all ya need!

3. The best and worst of your CD collection, DVD collection and book collection - honesty is a must!

CD is a form of media, it’s an ALBUM, ok??!!! Worst album in my library would have to be something that I received to review in SoundCheck….to be fair, I wouldn’t like to name and shame, but it’s basically some guy, with an abundance of money, who created this ‘band’ and it’s like almost an hour of pure self-indulgent bullshit….y’know the type of thing…bed-room guitarist makes good….on his knees, wailing through a thousand Marshall Stacks to the masses at Madison Sq Gdns….just utter smegma! The best? Hmmm, there are lots that fall into that category..Sarah Blackwood’s latest album is killer, anything by Texas Terri Bomb, the Dolls first album is a classic…'Road to Ruin', 'Rocket To Russia', 'It’s Alive' by The Ramones….too tough to answer that one Dave. DVD wise, there’s the porno classic ‘Polly Does Pomegranate’s’ from 1974, that has to be a classic (that’s 2 points right?) and ‘Walk the Line’ story of Johnny Cash. Book collection, ‘I Swear I Was There’ is in there, just above ‘Rogers Profanisaurus’…

4. Lobolo Leafcutter the peddler of clitoral chestnuts and devil dicks of the congo (both fascinating tomes) has started cultivating chinese bottom cherries that can not only clog the rear orifice to hell but also open up new pastures of poetic poo! Several accusations of satanism and imperialism have been cast at Mr Leafcutter but what do you feel - is this a valid growing technique in this modern age and can Lobolo really make a move in the agricultural market?

Now, you see, I was pondering this very question myself only last night…. I say, if Mr Leafcutter wants a piece of the action, let him!

5. You are promoter for 1 day and have 7 slots to fill - whose on board man and who is on the guest list?

Well, in keeping with tradition, I would split the bands 50/50 into local, unsigned but talented and more mainstream acts. I appreciate that you guys favour the ‘underdog’, but without a shot at success, that’s all they’ll ever be…and you could ask any of them, if they’re true to their hearts and not simply following fashion, they'd all agree. There is nothing worse than working your ass off in a mundane, boring day job, rehearsing a band to play live in front of three people and a stray dog. So, to answer, I would pick the following acts for this one-of
extravaganza…in no order...

Bad Taste Barbies – Great fun and rock 'n' roll vibe
The John Player Specials – Bit of Ska never hurt no-one
The Quireboys – for old times sake
Mad Juana – exactly…Who?? Go check ‘em out….punk doesn’t have to wear
One Man Stand – They are honest….’nuff said!
Social Distortion – that would guarantee the door money and give the rest of the smaller bands something to remember for life…
BB King – ‘cos you need some blues in your life

Guestlist – the Cheeky Girls and the guy who invented Vodka & Red Bull,
man, I’d have some questions to ask that fucker!

6. The faces, places, disgraces in your local area man and the best local bands on the block please!

I’m not really one for scenes, never have been, and there certainly isn’t anything like I knew back in the late 70’s in Manchester…I think the rock 'n' roll scene/Fashionbilly scene thrives ok, but I really couldn’t say. Bandwise, it depends….there are some that I’ve seen and think…Hmm, well, that sounded like the last three songs….lot’s, too many bands trying to play ska-punk and haven’t quite grasped it….too many punk bands that can’t write melody….the thing is though, none of that really matters, ‘cos they are out there doing it….and it’s THAT which
matters most!

7. The best Pyratz song to date mate and to be slightly cruel, the worst. What are they about and who penned them?

Well, we had a ‘mixed’ reception when we reformed, as I think certain people were expecting a ‘punk rock’ band, Mohawks and studs…we decided to do an album of my favourite rock 'n' roll songs, to test the water and
try out some live shows, the fans either got it or they didn’t. The plan was always a longer term one, and writing new material as well as reviving our old numbers was the goal. I guess ‘Tango Down’ is my favourite at the moment, as I wrote and arranged all of the parts…it’s the one we open our shows with….AND, its our forthcoming single too. The worst one would be ‘Garage Band’ which was an attack at the 1980’s hair metal bands who took themselves far too seriously and probably still do….Writing has been something that I mainly do, but its an open door when we get together..there’s no ‘stars’ in this band…and we all contribute.

8. Flatulence O PomPom is thinking of using the skin of a thousand Mick Hucknall look-alikes to build the worlds first ever tomato-coloured hot air balloon. Her goal - to travel the circumference of fatman Fontana's rear end. Fontana - the two ton twat from Pimlico wants to use the adventure as a way to peddle pubic cross-thatching and the anarchy of leek growing. Explain how you think this episode in time wasting will go?

I think you should lay off the Mushrooms for a while….try the Priory,
they have a ‘shroom room….ha, ha, ha

9. Give us your personal views on punk rock man. Did it ever exist, does it still exist, is Stuart Hall a lush? Be brutally honest man!

Punk has always existed, it’s not about a boy band from London, put together by a self-proclaimed ‘creator’….I’m talking about the Sex Pistols, they were manufactured, clothed, told how to behave, told how to act in public, clothes horses for Vivienne Westwood and McLaren….is that punk? Well, we all fell for it didn’t we? Is CRASS punk? Well, not to me…its yet another bunch of hippies that saw the ‘movement’ of Punk as a vehicle to ‘sell’ their idealistic ideals…punk is a state of mind, not a fashion, you’re no more punk than the guy sitting next to you on the bus….why? well, do you know him? Do you know what he does for a living? Does he even play in a band that you are unaware of? What are his politics? Does he eat pomegranates or just buy the carton’s of juice from Aldi? [ 3-0 to me….] You know what I’m saying…it doesn’t have to say ‘Converse’ or ‘Lucky 13’ on your jacket to let me know you’re cool……next, I could go on for sometime here…..ha, ha

10. Heroes and zeroes in life and if you had one motto to live by what would it be?

Heroes – Johnny Cash, Sid Vicious, and the Cheeky Girls dressmaker….
Motto - Lead Me Not into Temptation, I will find my own way they there!

11. What do you think of the techno age of music - the on-line pushing and availability, CD's, the general wired up fiasco many of us get dragged into. If ye mention ex-Golden Shot Presenter Norman Vaughan you will win a life times supply of Rodox Christmas Specials.

I own them already! Music has changed, we’ve had to move with the times…we’re doing this interview via the Internet, we download bytes by the Gigabyte of ‘compressed’ music bytes, to our ‘i-pod’s’ and listen to them on our ‘wireless’ headsets….I tell ya, back in the day of Norman Vaughan, we did interviews in a pub, with a cassette player twirling, choking on cigarette smoke, listening to the Jukebox play scratched copies of our favourite bands, that jumped if someone walked too close to it… has it’s place, but I’m still very old school towards my music…..I play a Les Paul directly into a Marshall or a Fender Twin…no effects apart from reverb. I never grasped those pedal things, and they drop the tone of your guitar like you wouldn’t believe anyway….and who wants that??

12. And finally what does your near future hold and tell us a bit about your SoundCheck magazine - I'm sure there are many out there who need to wake up to this rock 'n' roll zine.

Well, my friend Steve Conte is touring the UK, so I have been busy with that, and I painted a backdrop for him too, which was very cool. The Pyratz are going to record a single in January called ‘Tango Down’ and another of our own ‘How Low Can You Go?’ on the reverse…then plan out some more live shows. SoundCheck Magazine is now in it’s fourth year, and has grown massively each month…we had over 21,000 hits last month alone. Again, it’s the fine blend of local, unsigned acts, the same unsigned acts from anywhere in the world, as well as show reviews and interviews with some pretty major stars….Misfits, Bebe Buell, New York Dolls, Walter Lure to name but a few…the next issue is on-line on xmas day @ 3pm, it’s kinda tradition, that we do something to stop people from listening to that fucking thing we have as our head of state….now…that’s punk? Cheers everyone and have a Happy Winterval!!! Oh yeah, and come see me play guitar with Emergency at The Witchwood on December 28th too….ha, ha