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Goldblade Interview

24/01/2007 - 2nd interview

John Robb - Vocals/Guitar (JR)
Keith Curtis - Bass/Vocals (KC)
Johny Skullknuckles - Guitar/Vocals (JSK)
Rob Haynes - Drums/Vocals (RH)
Pete Brychmore - Guitar/Vocals (PB)

As for factual stuff; Goldblade were formed in 1996 when ex-Membranes front man, journalist, and some time TV pundit John Robb met up with a like minded musician in a local gym. They were joined by ex-Membrane Keith Curtis on Bass, and ex-Hounddog drummer Rob Haynes. The initial line up set about shaking up the then stagnant live music scene. Signed by Ultimate Records, they released a couple of low key singles before 'Strictly Hardcore' hit the UK national charts in March 1997. 'Hardcore' was taken from the album 'Hometurf', and the Blade set about a relentless and still continuing tour schedule. A follow up single 'Hairstyle' was released which was made Single of The Week on BBC Radio 1, the band were invited, and appeared on Saturday morning TV; A second album 'Drop The Bomb' was also released before the bands label collapsed scuppering any chance of capitalising on their initial success. A couple of line up changes took place, with Pete GEORGEUS and Johny Skullknuckles being brought in on dual lead guitar.

The band signed to a small Scottish indie, who released a ltd edition single 'AC/DC' as a taster for the follow up album 'Do You Believe In The Power Of Rock 'N' Roll', but once more fate took an unhealthy interest in the Blades activities, as this second label went bankrupt, thereby making 'Do You Believe..' virtually unobtainable.

However none of this dented the Blades passion for the live spectacle, as they toured the UK, America and Russia, being invited to appear at festivals and the like the world over. At one of these festivals; Wasted, the Blade were seen by the label bosses of Captain Oi! Records. In a break with there usual style of putting out re-issues, they signed Goldblade on the spot. 'Rebel Songs' was released in 2005 to enormous critical acclaim, and basically has not stopped selling since, becoming the bands biggest release. In addition Goldblade have been signed to SOS Records in the USA, with distribution by Sony, which is helping them gain exposure in the States. 'Rebel Songs' has just been picked up by German label KB-Records, and we are currently negotiating with a number of labels for a Japanese release.

2006 saw Goldblade release their first live DVD 'Testify' (Cherry Red Records) filmed in Blackpool during Christmas 2005, it ideally demonstrated the experience that is Goldblade live, the energy, the chaos, the entire audience on stage!!

Goldblade then toured with Stiff Little Fingers, The Misfits and The Damned, in addition to performing all over the UK for their own headline sets.

Due to the unavailability of the three early albums Captain Oi! took the decision to issue a compilation CD 'Strictly Hardcore' and bundled on a couple of tracks from 'Rebel Songs' - This release has been very well received, though its caused the Blade to be in the enviable position of being forced to make all their albums available as digital downloads in an effort to meet demand!

As the year comes to a close they are writing new material, a few of the songs already making it to the live set, in preparation for a new album in 2007. The album will be supported with a single release and a full UK headline tour, plus a tour of America. Dates are already booked in Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, so things are certainly not slowing down for Goldblade, quite the opposite as they are tipped to break through to a much larger audience in the coming 12 months

Please update people on what the band have been up to since the last Punk & Oi UK interview five year ago? Is the line-up the same?

JR – No, Wayne and Jay are not in the band anymore, Jay left to run a venue in Manchester (Night& Day Café) full time and to do his band Bone-Box, Wayne left because he wanted to concentrate on his photography (which is great - he's putting together an avant-garde book of photos of myself which looks fab - like computer generated graffiti art with yours truly poncing about in the middle of it all), they were replaced by the demon twin guitar attack of Johny Skullknuckles and Pete Gorgeous...Goldblade is an idea and ideas cannot be destroyed! We are punk rock, we are the revolution!

JSK - Jay and Wayne have gone and Pete and Johny make up the twin guitar assault - full throttle, full power Rock 'n' Roll - never looked back Goldblade really ROCK now!!

How has the bands ideals, lyrics and sound changed over the years? And how do you see it continuing to progress in the future?

JSK - Its got far better, the songs are now consistently good where as there are some weaker songs on the first two albums interspersed with absolute dynamite songs, by the 3rd album there was a stronger and more coherent approach to songs and style and by ‘Rebel Songs’ it was cemented into what people think Goldblade to be. The new album will go even further to do this.

PB - The band has toughened up, turned the volume up and in my opinion shifted the quality of material up a gear. We're like a bloody Landrover, just when you think you're in top gear you discover there's another higher one to shift into - we're just gonna keep driving this thing hard. With Johny and myself coming into the band in 2001 it was bound to move on a bit, and it took some time to evolve but now, in my opinion, the old band was a different entity completely. Great, but different.

RH - Each album has been faster, louder and more musically streamlined than the one before, but the arrival of Pete and Johny and the twin lead guitar line-up really took us to where we wanted to be. Soon after they joined we hooked into the whole punk scene via our first Holidays In the Sun / Wasted festival and that has helped us massively.

JR – Well the sound has got faster, that’s the most obvious difference, plus we have stripped it back to our punk roots; we still have some of those early influences – going right back to James Brown and stuff like that; it’s just not as obvious. We dropped the horns, as to be honest outside of the studio; they were just getting drowned out at gigs. Then with the line up change, in came Johny and Pete – and that brought about the twin lead barrage that is Goldblade now, I loved one review which described our sound as ‘a full on beach assault’ just about sums it up.
I still like to get in to the mosh pit, so we are currently looking at the possibility of video feeds onto a projector to keep a Goldblade gig both a visual and physical event.

How have you seen the audience change over the years, and where are Goldblade best received? What do think of today's punk scene?

JSK - This years Wasted shows were stunning from audience response - really good. There are many, but I enjoy virtually all live shows; I can count the ones I have not on the fingers of one hand.

JR - It was great playing in Russia, we played in huge stadiums and the audiences were wild, massive and crazy, but to tell you the truth its great playing everywhere, to be on stage is so fucking exciting, the music gives you such an adrenaline rush, and we have met so many great people all over the world from America to the UK to Europe, its all amazing...

Where does the 'brother' thing come from?

JR - When me, and former member Brother Wayne started the band we were into being a gang, we were rock ‘n’ roll guerrillas; come to save the world like the MC5, ha ha ha. We decided to make it a brotherhood - a soul power brotherhood, a secret punk rock society, we just didn't want to be a bunch of blokes in a band ha ha ha! and, err, it just carried on from there!

RH- It’s kind of a gospel thing. When we started out, one of the bigger influences (less noticeable now, but still there) was funk stuff like James Brown, the skewed gospel-soul influence of The Make Up, and the mission statements of The MC5. Also it can be taken as a general punk solidarity thing.

PB - Well, when you get to our age you can't remember peoples' names so calling everyone Brother and Sister gets round this nicely.

JSK - I don't know, it was happening before I joined the band – it’s pretty silly; but I like it.

Your website has had a makeover in the last 12 months. What are you thoughts on the internet revolution for bands?

JR - The internet has been brilliant for punk rock, it’s the only way you can actually communicate with anybody who is interested in this kind of music. This kind of music is pushed away from the mainstream all the time, and ignored; the internet has made a big difference for us. Take myspace, even though its owned by the evil media fuehrer Rupert Murdoch its great, instead of having to grovel to get on the radio people can come and listen to your stuff online, some days our myspace page will get more hits than some well known late night radio shows that ignore us, and that always makes me chuckle. I know a lot of punks are distrustful of the internet, and a lot of people can't afford a computer but you can get online free at your local library....its well worth doing...there's loads of really cool websites like this one keeping everyone informed of what’s going on; and we need to know what’s happening!

RH - It’s an amazing development and I don’t think the music scene as a whole, or the public, has quite kept up with it. It’s changed absolutely everything. It’s given everyone a chance to be heard, although it makes things so diverse that it can be difficult to be noticed.

PB - Anything that helps bands get a wider audience can only be a good thing.

JSK - The internet is a great and cheap way of publicising gigs and making your music available to a potentially huge audience. It’s good! - of course the internet is evil as well, but there you go, all good things have a dark and unpleasant side, just like me really

How did providing some of the soundtrack for the gangster film Hell To Pay come about? What track do you have on there? Do you have any more similar projects coming up?
JR - It came through Steve Whale who used to play guitar in The Business, I got to know him through Lars from Rancid, they asked me to sing on a couple of tracks on their upcoming punk super group project, The Masons - along with Mensi, Steve Ignorant, Charlie Harper etc...The album is fucking great, I wish they would hurry up and release it; Steve wrote some great songs and Lars is brilliant at producing stuff- really on the ball.
While we were there Steve said he was compiling the soundtrack for the film and asked for a track, so we said “take what you need” and he did! There is another film, this one is currently at the story board stage; its based on a typical British council estate and involves group of kids escaping through their dreams of being pirates – Its not quite Johnny Depp in Pirates of The Caribbean, but I have been asked to appear in this one, as well as contribute a song to the soundtrack; will let you know about that.

PB - It's ‘Psycho’ that was used on there, think we just got asked; probably via our publisher. Nice to be wanted! We keep getting offers to contribute to extreme sports DVDs and such like - fine by me, and I think the American version of ‘Celebrity Come Dancing’ were gonna use 'Power Of Rock n Roll' or some other tune but that fell through. Shame, that would have been a proper larf.

JSK - I co-wrote the screen play and insisted that they use Goldblade music - "I'm a liar liar, I never tell the truth" - name that tune Rebecca.

Do all the band members do other jobs as well as being in the band? If so, what? Has John's media profile helped or hindered the band?

JR - Everyone does bits and bobs of stuff just to keep from starving!
Sometimes having a high media profile can be help for the band, and sometimes it can be a hindrance- most of the time it’s irrelevant; it depends on the mindset of the person your dealing with! If they find it a problem then it shows that they are narrow minded and that’s their problem!

PB - Well, you can't separate one from the other really can you! I guess fans of the band think it's great and people who don't like us think 'oh no, not that cunt again'. I personally think his face on telly can only help our profile, besides which it makes me laff. I think the Punk booked helped us loads too, though I don't like it when I'm asked to sign it - nowt to do with me, wouldn't expect him to sign a GORGEOUS or Nightingales CD would I ?

RH - We all have jobs. It surprises some people, but it’s near impossible to earn any sort of living at all from a band of our size. I’m a freelance journalist, which gives me the flexibility to fit in the touring.
And John’s media profile helps us, I would imagine.

PB - Keith restores vintage bicycles, Rob is a Journo, Johny has his shop – Rockers England, and I teach the guitar and do session work. I think you know what JR does.

JSK - Ha - we all have to do stuff to make ends meet, Goldblade make no money. Johns media profile on the whole is neither here nor there but I have met several people who dislike John just from his TV appearances (that’s not appearances as a TV)

Please tell the readers 5 facts about the band they will not know?

JR - Brother Rob collects meteorites, and broccoli.
Brother Keef collects old bicycles, and broom handles.
Brother John collects trilobites, concrete, and the insides of old fish.
Brother Pete collects 1950's jam-jars, and fresh air.
Brother Johny collects old tattoos from dead bodies.

RH - Under the right conditions I can say “Archbishop of Canterbury” in a single belch.
John has a formidable knowledge of small Eastern European countries and republics, and, of course, of trilobites.
Pete once shared a taxi ride with the crown prince of Denmark.
Keith has furnished his flat with chairs made from rusty bike frames.
Johny has completed two 147 breaks in snooker.

PB - Everyone in Goldblade started out as a bass player except Keith who started out on the Guitar.
We like dinosaurs (that’s 'like' not 'are')
Although John and Rob don't drink, Keef, Peter and Johny are very fond of a pint.
John supports Blackpool FC, Rob supports Man City, Keef supports Millwall, I support Stoke City and Johny doesn't like football but loves Formula 1.
We don't like the fuckin' Killers

JSK - The majority of the band are well into Prog Rock
All band members started playing bass in bands apart from Keef (our bass player) who started off on guitar
Johny Skullknuckles used to be in a band with Simon Wright who next became the drummer in ACDC (now in Ronnie James Dio's band)
John Robb is interested in dinosaurs because he has one thing in common with them - an incredibly small brain compared to the size of his body.
Newer readers may not know that Goldblade were once on CDUK!

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2007.

JR – I suppose the main aim of the year will be to get the new album out in the autumn. We’ve got loads of songs piled up at the moment; can’t stop writing the damn things, some of the songs are in the set now, ‘Jukebox Generation’/ 'Outer Space Girl’/ ' Riot (Riot)’/ ‘Rude Boys’...its hard to say what the theme is until we’ve finished! We are trying to make an album of riotous songs that you can sing along to and set the moshpit into party mode; every song should create a stage invasion and mass sing along. I think we have succeeded with songs we have got so far!

PB - Can't speak for John's lyrics yet - though on 'Jukebox' he seems to be continuing with the themes of 'Rebel Songs'. Music wise, it's gotta be big catchy verses and even bigger catchy choruses. We do have a couple of slightly different tunes this time, a kinda slow brooding thing, (with a big chorus), and a Pirate song called 'Mutiny' which is gonna be a real mosh-pit classic.

RH - It’s a distillation of all our usual musical influences – as with 'Rebel Songs', we’re going for a classic punk sound, powerful and musical, with a few left-field influences – Clash, Pistols, Stranglers, Subs, Kennedy's, Ruts etc.

Any final comments?
JR – Be yourself
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