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Sab Grey (Iron Cross) & The Royal Americans

Is the Royal Americans a band or a project? When and how did it all come together?

R.A is definitely a band, its actually pretty much everything I’ve been trying to do since I.C. broke up in ’85. All it is is a gumbo of different musical styles that I like and mixed up and thrown together. It really came together in London round about ’96 when I started working with Stu Devillier who you might know as Stu. P. Didiot from the old punk band Charge. We started playing together acoustically and then moved back to the US and added more instruments. Stu moved to San Francisco when he married his wonderful wife before he passed last year and I carried on and moved back to Baltimore and then came up with the line up on the CD.

What can people expect with your new album ' Third Right on the Left’? What is your favourite track on there and what is it about?

Well it’s sure different from the punk stuff, at least on the surface. For me punk was all about finding good music, which is why it came about. Pop music sucked so folks did something about it by knocking down barriers and changing things up. We’re trying to do the same. Basically the last thing I wanted was four guys in pompadours singing about cats and shoes. I wanted guys who were hot musicians who didn’t have grounding in rockabilly or country or blues. I wanted them to NOT know the styles so they could add their own chops to songs that were honky tonk and rockabilly. I got a bunch of hardcore punk, ska and reggae playing guys and threw them the curve ball. And it works.

We play to punks and skins mostly and they go nuts and really like it and of course there’s some punk songs in there too, like crucified. I mean I gotta play that song, right? Pretty much we’re looking for the folks with the wide ears, the ones that just like good music and don’t care about labels. And there’s shitloads of them.

Oh yeah and my favorite song? It’d have to be the last one on the CD- them crazy blues. Actually I think it’s the best song I ever wrote. And it’s about a girl.

Where did the title 'Third Right on the Left' come from?

My girlfriend came up with it. We were kicking titles around and it just came out.

How have gigs gone? Have you found people coming to see Iron Cross, and if so have you won them round by the end?

Gigs have gone great. Like I said there’s a lot of people ready to listen and just cause its not all distorted guitars all the time (that comes later in the set!) it still has a punk rock intensity. Its really not such a big challenge but we like it and it’s a lot of fun to be sitting at the bar later talking to someone with a Mohawk or a shaved head and they know all about Hank sr. and Townes Van Zandt and Clarence Carter. Like the skinhead who came up after a show in North Carolina where I’d just called out Johnny Too Bad by Jimmy Cliff, and told me that “Jimmy Cliff didn’t write that song it was the Slickers.” Well I know that and my bass player knows that (cause we’re dorks) but who the hell else does!!! Ha ha!

If you could take a vocalist, guitarist(s), bassist and drummer from different bands to make your perfect band who would you choose (can be deceased)?

Tough one, really tough one. Ok first I’d have all of Booker T and the MG’s and I’d also have all of the Skatellites. And all of the Bad Brains

Vocals- Hank Williams Sr. Otis Redding, Sandy Denny and Patti Palladin too.

Guitar- maybe Keith Richards, Mick Ronson and Wayne Kramer, T-bone Walker and David Ayres from Red Snapper.

Bass- Alvin Gibbs, Harley, Charles Mingus.

Harmonica- Charlie Harper.

Drums- Rat Scabies definitely.

Horn Section would be the Marsalis brothers Wynton and Branford with Rico on trombone and maybe Courtney Pine on tenor sax to go real high sometimes.

Id have to have Dan Penn and Spooner Oldhan in there too.

I have no idea what the hell it would sound like but I better stop cause the possibilities are doing my head in.

If you could be any age again, what would it be and why?

Yeah sometimes the eighties look real good but I’d have to be way smarter than I was back then.

Do politics and music go together?

Oi vey another tough one. Yes and um… no. Personally I prefer politics with a small p in music. I’m not real big on the system sucks save the forest and the trees and the small woodland creatures and all that crap type of songs. I just think the guitar ain’t that big you know. Keep it small, keep it local, keep it tight.

What changes have there been in the US scene recently?

I really wouldn’t have a clue although we know have the pleasure of another four years of right wing Christian fundamentalist government. On the bright side it’ll be good for punk rock. Ha ha!

What young bands would you recommend?

STOUT. It doesn’t get any better than Stout!

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004 / 2005.

More gigs more records, more good times! And a damn web site too, it’s about time. For both the Royal Americans and Iron Cross

Any final comments?

Yeah we’ve had some problems at the post office so if you’re ordering the CD make sure you address it to:

Sab Grey
PO box 25819
Baltimore, MD 21224

They forgot to put skinflint records on the box and stuff has been returned as Undeliverable. Make the checks and M.O.'s payable to Skinflint Records though. And see you at the shows!!!!!!

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