40 Years of Mania with The Vibrators: Past, Present, and into the Future

Wow! Here’s a straight-up EXCLUSIVE… and only a couple years late, but hey, we’re all on punk rock time anyway.

We caught up with Eddie from The Vibrators at Three Links on their 40 year anniversary tour. We talked music, tacos, debauchery and bamboozling David Bowie fans back in the day after the shows. Great stuff! Read more on the past, present and future of the band below.

 

DS: I just want to start this off by saying ah man, this is fucking awesome. Thanks a lot… You’ve been together forty years.

Eddie: Yeah.

DS: That’s a long time, you guys have had the longevity.

Eddie: Yeah, well it’s, you know if people keep coming to see you and the audiences are there and you can keep going out and playing then you kind of keep going. You’ve got to pay the bills. You’ve got to, you know, it’s a job. That’s my job. It’s what my job has been for forty years *chuckle* People always think oh it’s just fun and party but it’s not, it’s a job and if you work at it and make sure everything goes right and then you can keep it going, but if you go at it as just fun and a party then it will last a year or two and then that’s Bye-Bye. So you’ve got to be professional about it and do a proper job when you get on stage and when you make the records. Talking of which we’ve got a new record out now.

DS: New record yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. What can we expect?

Eddie: Well it’s called “Past, Present, Into the Future” and it’s got past members, you know, Pat Collier our original bass player is producing it. We’ve got Garry Tibs who was on V2 on it, and John Ellis and Knox, and we also got Darrel and myself and Pete from the current lineup so its kinda combination of past, present and uhh… going into the future. It’s out on Pledge music so if you go to the Pledge website it’s www.pledgemusic.com, you can find it on there somehow. I don’t know how, but somebody (you) will work it out because you are all young and you know about computers and all that, and then you stick your money in the line, and it’s all finished, it’s all done so it’s just a matter of getting it pressed up. So it will be out on vinyl, colored vinyl and you can get all sorts of different signed copies, have your name on a copy and all this kind of stuff so there’s lots of different options and we’ve already had a bunch of people come down to the studio when we were recording, but it’s great. It sounds very, very good. It’s a very good album, I think. If you get it, you’ll like it.

DS: And Knox is on the album, he’s not on this tour though.

Eddie: No he hasn’t been on tour with us for about six years now because he’s a bit old and fragile so both me and him are getting a bit ancient so we got younger guys in and they can take the strain.

DS: So you carry on and lead the band. Have you seen filmage? (Really? That’s what I ask the guy?*)

Eddie: nah, I don’t know that…

DS: Bill Stevenson? Descendents… ok, yeah so Knox is just not here he’s just ummm?

Eddie: no, he’s on all the records, currently. He’s on the last album, the Punk Mania Back to the Roots album, so he’s writing songs and he’s recording.

DS: He did play the London show?

Eddie: Yeah, he will turn up and then play half a show or something or sing four or five songs but he can’t go out on tour, we would try and drag him out and get the original lineup on the road but it’s just not possible. We’re not fit enough.

DS: So you had some shows cancelled from the hurricane?

Eddie: Yeah, unfortunately. Fayetteville was very quiet and we had to do a massive skirt all around and we were supposed to go to Sanford which is near, what’s the town where (Mickey mouse is dead? Wrong Brit weirdo!*) Orlando. I should know that, it’s my ex-wife’s name. Yeah, we were supposed to play in Sanford and that was cancelled cause the hurricane hit and then we were supposed to play in Jacksonville and that was out as well so we did a massive detour all down the west coast of Florida to get to Miami. Fit sixteen hours over night and then played in Miami and then had to go all the way back up and out of… oh where did we play next… Mobile AL, so it was all a bit of a disaster that little Florida trip this year. It was a bit screwed up.

DS: So you just had a big detour then, did you run into any inclement weather?

Eddie: No we avoided it all because it looks too dangerous to get fucked around in.

DS: Yeah.

Eddie: I mean the problem for us was everybody from the East Coast had moved to the West Coast and we were going through the west coast (East) and you couldn’t get a hotel room or anywhere to stay for love nor money so we just went through the whole way to Miami and stayed there. The fun and joy of being on the road, driving for sixteen hours through the night.

DS: Yeah, sounds like a lot of fun… Is that your bus out front? (Their van parked in front of Three Links… only a little bit dwarfed by the TBS bus across the street at Trees)

Eddie: Yeah, we just travel light here and we use back line from usually a support band so with The Hormones (Austin) tonight, no worries, we’ve played with them before so it all went very good.

DS: Did you play with them in Austin?

Eddie: No, we played last night in San Antonio and then we are up to Tulsa tomorrow.

DS: I just interviewed Parasites the band in this magazine (zine, I mean, sorry guys*) and they played with you in Chicago.

Eddie: Oh right. Yeah, yeah.

DS: They are on their thirty year tour and you guys are on your forty year tour, did you ever get to pull seniority or anything like that?

Eddie: What? Oh, no I never think about it. You just meet them and you don’t worry about how long you’ve been around.

DS: Have you played with them before?

Eddie: Yeah, I think we have. Yeah, it’s hard to remember, you know, with so many dates every year, and like, and then in America you have four or five support bands every night. “aw we played with you in summer time” “Aw well goawwd I can’t remember that.”

DS: *chuckles* yeah, you guys tour, yeah I mean you have been touring for forty years. How have things changed when it comes to booking and playing shows?

Eddie: Ehhh, it’s changed quite a lot, I mean, in the early days it was all young people came out. It was barely anyone over 25, if anyone at all. The oldest people were us. We were in our 20’s, mid-20’s at the time and now you get people all the way from sort of 15 to 65/75, so you get a much broader spread of crowd and yeah, that’s cool. That’s good, but we’ve always been a band that gets lots of girls down as well so, you know, when you used to go out and see bands like Sham 69, you think God that must be depressing, every night going out there and you know, 95% of the audience are male. At least that doesn’t happen with us.

DS: So you guys have done well in that department?

Eddie: Yeah, girls like The Vibrators, you see?

DS: *chuckles* yeah! Excellent.

Eddie: We are one of their favorites, as it were. Well we had a line of vibrators for awhile. We had a company in England that made The Vibrators’ vibrator for us. We are responsible for giving lots and lots of girls orgasms.

DS: Fucking A! Speaking of giving girls orgasms… In my mind, I’m 28, but I’ve read books like Please Kill Me and things like that where they document some of my favorite people. Lou Reed, and David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and you guys played with them. Is there anything you could share about your experiences on tour with those guys?

Eddie: We played with Iggy Pop and Bowie when Iggy Pop came over in ’77. He was just… I think he was in the Last Chance Saloon then. David Bowie picked up Iggy Pop and said “Come on Lets do this and we can make it big.” This is when they had the Lust for Life album out, and we did that tour with them, and for Iggy it was like shit or bust, you know, if he fucked that tour up then it was probably the end of his career, but if he did well and got people interested then he would have a career for the rest of his life. And he put his heart and soul into it and played really well every night and that was very good. He is now still going. He’s playing the same night we played in New York, on the Wembley.

DS: Oh, Yeah?

Eddie: *chuckles* Yeah, that’s alright. Good for Iggy, but yeah, the weird thing about that was just the nuttiness that used to go on around Bowie with kids. You’d come out of the hotel and there would be kids turning up with like, you know, the lightning flashing red across their face a la Aladdin Sane, looking like a total prat, and they’d say, “Oh, do you know where David’s room is? We’ve come to hang out with David.” And you know, pal, you have got NO CHANCE of hanging out with David looking like a total dickhead like that. What is the matter with you, you know? He is not gonna talk with someone who hasn’t got a personality. Anyway, but you know, it was nutty around David Bowie. I mean at venues, people used to say, “Oh, can I buy David Bowie’s beer can that was on his piano?” “Ah sure, give us a ten-er and I’ll go and get it for you.” David Bowie didn’t drink 25 can of beer every night. He didn’t sit on four chairs. He only sat on one. They never even got the one he sat on. Some people are just crazy and they bought all this crap backstage from the roadies, and the roadies are going “Great.” You know? Selling all these broken old chairs.

DS: LOLOL

Eddie: empty beer cans. Ten Quid a pop.

DS: Wow. That’s nuts.

Bar Back: Are you guys waiting on food?

Eddie: nah, I’ve eaten, thanks. I think the other guys have maybe not ordered so if you go and find them and tell them they need to order, they will. (They didn’t, judging by the liquid contents of Darrel’s offstage pukola!)

Oh shit, I don’t have to put that in the interview.

DS: It seems like the times have changed. Punk music had its day in the 70s, and in the 80’s we had hardcore.

Eddie: It died down quite a lot in the 80’s. It became a lot smaller in the 80’s. We kept going through it with bands like UK Subs, and 999, The Exploited, but there weren’t many others around that kept going at the time. Most of them split up and then reformed when it all… you know, those four or five bands like that kept the whole scene going.

DS: Do you notice any differences between the London scene and the American scene in the present, and past?

Eddie: It’s hard to tell for me really. You know, you just do the gigs and people turn up and you have a good time. It varies from town to town more than country to country. The food’s better in England.

DS: Wow.

Eddie: Well the food here was good, but sometimes you get pizza or…

DS: Well we have Mexican here.

Eddie: yeah, that’s what we had tonight and that’s good.

DS: What are some of your favorite things about Dallas? (I sound like a fucking fifth grader!!*)

Eddie: Sorry, about what? Dallas?

DS: It seems like you guys come here a lot.

Eddie: Yeah, I know, we’ve always played Dallas. It’s right in the middle of Texas. It’s kind of the place you go through to go to everywhere else. So you got to play here. It’s always a good crowd. People are always friendly and fun. It’s a nice little town. It’s a popular American town. They all speak rather funnily, but you know we get used to that. Ya’ll? Ahh they’re good. It’s a good crowd here. It’s good fun here. Ya’ll? Ya’ll?

DS: So what do you say? It’s you all then?

Eddie: You all? Well I don’t know, we just say you I suppose. Alright you?

DS: Alright. I’ve got a question for you (triumphantly!) about Corpus. What happened in Corpus Christi?

Eddie: Corpus Christi? Well, oh we played there night before last.

DS: Oh, you did play the show?

Eddie: No. We turned up at the club and the club was closed and nobody had bothered to tell us or our agent. So we find the bloke up and he said “Oh, I’ll try and find out what’s happening.” And he couldn’t find out what’s happening and then he stopped returning our calls so we went back. We had a nice dinner and we went to the hotel and put our feet up, watched a movie and went to sleep. A bit pissed off. It happens in America. It doesn’t happen anywhere else. It wouldn’t happen in Europe. How hard is it to pick up the phone and say “Look, I’m terribly sorry. The club is closed. We’ll have to cancel the show.” Then at least we wouldn’t have driven all the way down there. Anyway, it wasn’t a massive detour so it wasn’t too bad. Everything is cool here. (Dallas)

DS: How long have you been booking shows with Scott Beggs?

Eddie: I think we have done been here about four or five years on the trot. We’ve done other venues. Whether that was with him or not, my memory fails me but yeah, four or five years, something like that we’ve done it.

DS: Did they every refund you for the tickets to paradise? (DWEEB*) …you have an old song…

Eddie: Oh Halfway to Paradise?

DS: *sings

Eddie: Oh right, one of Knox’s. I can’t remember.

DS: It’s a B or C side. For some reason it’s my favorite.

Eddie: We had a single out, Halfway to Paradise which is a cover of a Billy Fury song which is pretty cool. I can’t remember the one you are talking about. Maybe you are thinking of that one. (nope.*)

DS: Did you notice the football scarves hanging up in Three Links?

Eddie: Proper Football? Association football? None of this silly stuff running around in helmets and uniforms and throwing a ball and grunting and groaning. No, I didn’t notice them, I have to say, but I’ll have a look at them when I go back. The good thing about the internet is you can check out the football results and Arsenal won today so I’m a happy man.

DS: So you’re a fan then?

Eddie: Yeah, I like football. I used to live in North London for a long, long time and that was my team. That was my father’s team, so even though I live in Essex now I still follow them, and they beat Swansea 3-2 today.

DS: That’s really all I have.

Eddie: Good.

DS: Unless you have anything to say about…

Eddie: Nah, just keep coming to the shows. www.pledgemusic.com Get the new album, it’s very, very good. Cheers!


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