Old School Music

dealing with punk rock, speed/thrash and other music styles of the 80ies and beyond, a webpage connected to Red, Black & Green

Saturday, January 06, 2007

It will be fast and short, Second Cro Mags album for all supporters, first ( ok for the rookies, this album is called "Best Wishes", understand the joke now?) , Then I put for you an interview with the band PURE HELL..lets'go !

1) How did you get Lemmy Kilminster (from Motorhead) as producer for your album ? Did you know him or you just met a day before entering the recording studio?

As you know, Los Angeles is the entertainment industry capital of the world and accomodates many successful artists. Our first encounter with Lemmy was through the Road Rats(British Biker Club)during our debut European tour in 1978. A Pure Hell/Motorhead show at the Greyhound Club was contemplated. He was enthused to work with Spider and I at 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, Ca during the winter of 1993.

2) Bad Brains quotes you as a big influence, as being the first black punk act, how do you consider their carreer (or lack of )?

I think the Bad Brains' fusion of thrash and reggae was phenomenal. Fusion, I beleive is the style of music Gary(Dr. Know) practiced early on. Their infuence was dominant on people like Dave Grohl during the reign of hardcore in the 1980's. But, business can be turbulent, fickle and fades some of the brightest lights. Aren't they named after a Ramones song?

3) Why a come back of Pure Hell, and how did it happen (as it seems you didn't even release your first album before splitting) ?

PH is already in history. We are simply exploring avenues and the information superhighway to exhibit knowledge and material people may not have experienced.

4) Who did what back in the days, in Pure Hell, and now who plays which instrument in the band ?

Morris, Boles and I have collaborated in the past. In fact, all of us contributed in some sort of way. Nowadays, I write with multi-track recorders and drum machines. I layer bass, and vocals myself. Spider was definetly the most socially active of us. He was our "Keith Moon". Also the guitar work is mostly done by my guitarist/co-songwriter that replaced Morris, his name is Carlos Kamakaze and his loyalty has been a part of Pure Hell since nineteen years of age.

5) let's talk about the beginnings of the band, how did the people around you (friends, family...) react when you decided you play rock instead of funk, soul or disco, after all Philadelphia is famous for a special kind of soul music( Gamble & Huff sound) ?

There is an article about us in Musical Express, Nov. 25th 1978. In which we explained being from Philly. But let me say, I'm originally from Georgia and my family here has an estate of a few hundred acres. Philly did not dictate our musical interest, music did. We were academic and listened to mind-altering bands like Frank Zappa, Syd Barrett, Hendrix as well as hearing the Delphonics and the Intruders etc. Our taste was sex, drugs and rock-n-roll like Chuck Berry and Little Richard the "originals".

6) Did you listen to Bunny Siegler, MFSB, The O Jays and other stars ? Did you even meet and/or play with acts like Rick James, Slave, Parliament/Funkadelic, O Jays, Ohio Players ?

Of course we did at one time or another, but we never played with them. I beleive Spider ripped off Rick James for some coke once(laughs)

7) How did you meet your then manager Curtis Knight ?

He came to one of our shows at a club called the Rock Bottom a few doors down from Electric Ladyland in Manhattan's Greenwich Village NY. Later, he preceeded us to Europe to arrange our tour.

8) In your biography you talk about Max Kansas City venue, did you play CBGB ?

Actually no. Max's was our spot being we were from the "school of the NY Dolls." But I did meet Stiv Bators for the first time there. The weekly Dead Boys shows under Hilly Crystal were devastating!

9) A question about the late Spider, how did he get the job of being Tommy Lee's road tech ?

I can't speculate that he was his drum tech, but he was definetly in hot pursuit of Heather Locklear at her bachelorette party at the Rainbow in Hollywood.

10) You played with icons such as Johnny Thunders, so how do you consider bands who are obviously influenced by New York Dolls or The Heartbreakers like Motley Crue, Kiss, WASP, Guns' N' Roses?

I think you would have never heard of them. Hollywood dosen't lead. It follows what is already in the air.

11) Until now my two faves are "No Rules" and "Noise Addiction" (on the album released by Welfare records), what do these songs (especially the lyrics) mean, why and/or for whom were they written?

I wrote "Noise Addiction" and I aimed it at anything in my way. It depicts what was going on in our heads while living in the Dolls loft and vandalizing the scene in NYC. No Rules I wrote as a simple warning to any girls passionate enough to fuck with me.

12) If you had to achieve an article or obituary note about James Brown, what would you say?

As I stated, I was born in Georgia. Brown lived within thirty miles away in Augusta. Everyone born from the 60's on was touched by his music, as well as Motown whether they knew it or not. People like him reflects periods of time.

13) In the 70ies, in Philadelphia there was the BPP, then MOVE (and Philadelphia famous police crews), were you aware of these political movements back in the days ?

I was never a civil activist but I certanly recall electrical power failures in Anti-Rizzo neighborhoods that affected the ballot during elections.

14) Would the singer still wear a T shirt with a swastika? What did it mean for him at this time?

You would have had to be in London during 1978 to understand the effect. But the motto on the swastika t-shirts designed by Malcolm McLaren will always mean just what it said: NO FUTURE FOR ANY KIND OF DICTATORSHIP!!!

15)According to you was there a difference between US first punk wave ( Ramones, Dictators, Heartbreakers...) and UK one ( Sex Pistols, The Clash, Damned, Buzzcocks...) ?

The Brit punks of the 70's loved their US counterparts and vice-versa. The Pistols recognized Thunders as well as he did them as The Clash did Ramones and the welcome that they gave us.

16) You were there when bands like Blondie, Dictators, Television rose and played at CBGB, did you play with them or watch them play? Any story?

Between our 78-79 tours of Europe we were brought to LA by the request of the Dead Boys. We played a show at "The Masque" with The Germs, Cramps, and had an audience that included "hollywood-ites" like Joan Jett. In Philly and NY, we played and hung out with almost everybody at that time. Same thing in London. Phil Lynott(Thin Lizzy) would come to our flat. So would ex-Rolling Stones Mick Taylor's wife, Rose and their daughter Chloe. I'll never forget Debbie Harry(Blondie) coming up to me and kissing my cheek at Max's Kansas City. I knew we were the "in-crowd" then.

17) About the New York Dolls, were they really "too much too soon"?

---How many are still living(smiling)?

18) You are featured in the movie "Afropunk", what about the Black Rock Coalition documentary "Electric Purgatory"?

Unfamilar to me.

19) Do you own your masters?

I have DAT's and copyrights to everything that I've written.

20) Plans for the future..anything I should have dealt with and forgot...?

We are mingling with several ideas from writer Alan Parker in London to Ian Mackay and Henry Rollins in both LA and Wash D.C. That's all we will comment on for now. :)


Well and it's only the beginning.... by the way, for those interested and curious here are some links PURE HELL Official Page and another page devoted to the band , related to the record label Welfare Records


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