Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bob Patton: Pumping Political Irony

Drawn exclusively for the Bigfoot Diaries by Bob Patton 2012
(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Message From Nick Saloman

Limited Edition Single for
Record Store Day 2012
In response to the messages I have had recently, I held back 180 copies of this single. I realised that many aficionados wouldn’t be able to nab a RSD 45, so I only supplied the distributors with 300 copies of I had 500 pressed. I’ve kept 20 for the archives. So once these 180 have gone, that’s yer lot.

The single comprises 2 previously... unreleased tracks recorded at home about 4 years ago. They are ‘Hard Meat At The Midnight Court’ c/w ‘Number One Defender’. I play everything. The single comes in a nice picture sleeve featuring 2 photos I took, and you can buy copies direct from me for £5 a copy, plus P&P (which is as follows: UK £1.50, Europe £3, USA & Elsewhere £4). Sorry about the higher postage costs, but the Post Office has just put up all their prices!

You can pay via Paypal, using my email address, which is:

Or you can send cheques (made to N. SALOMAN) or cash to me at:
TN35 5LZ, UK.

If you decide to send foreign currency, remember it costs me to exchange it, so could you add a bit to cover that please.

 By the way, Mojo Magazine has asked The Frond to contribute a track to their July issue CD, which is based around ‘Yellow Submarine’, and we’re recording an exclusive version of ‘Hey Bulldog’. So that should be interesting!

 And as usual, thanks so much for your continuing support.


Related Links:

Bigfoot Diaries interview with Nick Saloman

Bigfoot Diaries review of The Leaving of London

Thursday, April 19, 2012

3B Entertainment Presents: Right in the Cloaca

A couple of weeks ago I met with some of the crew of 3B Entertainment to discuss the latest film that they are working on, a skit-infused production called "Right in the Cloaca." It's the fourth movie this crew has produced together, and if enthusiasm is any indication, this one might prove to be the most successful one to date. If nothing else, it was definitely the most fun.

Cloaca is a sketch comedy, in the same vein as Kentucky Fried Movie.

"Sketch comedy has been really what we've done for a quarter of a century now, because it's easy," admits Josh Brown, one of the 3 B's in 3B Entertainment. "It's short, it's concise, and there is just alot of stuff to make fun of."

"There's an obscure movie nobody will remember," he continues. "It was from our youth, that we probably shouldn't have watched because it was very rated R and we were little kids, but it was a National Lampoon movie called Disco Beaver from Outer Space. It's kind of like what we are doing here with Cloaca. It's like channel surfing, but what you are surfing to is all the crap we have cooked up in our disturbed little minds."

"It's sort of akin to watching Saturday Night Live," adds Lewayne White. "You're going to see alot of the same faces doing different things. There's not a whole lot of recurring characters in it, but you've got a lot of the same faces you're going to see in different scenes."

White is the president of the Iowa Script Writer's Alliance, a six panel membership club that exists to provide support to playwrights, screen writers and other folks who put words into action. He joined  3B during the filming of  2009's unreleased zombie epic, The Wait. While his forte is obviously in writing script, he has also taken on several acting roles in Right in the Cloaca.

"I am not an actual member of the LLC," Lewayne says of 3B Entertainment. "But I've done some script work, and props and some costumes, you know a little bit of everything."

The LLC belongs to brothers Josh and Dan Brown, and sister Kate. Growing up, they realized that they had a penchant for entertaining, and decided to incorporate it (literally) into a full time hobby.

3B Entertainment founders Dan, Kate and Josh Brown
"We led a twisted childhood, states Dan. "My parents were pretty lenient in letting us absorb everything that we could absorb. They wanted us to experience everything that they could experience, so we really had no rules when it came to music or movies, or whatever it was. I mean my mom didn't mind taking us out and buying us KISS records when we were eight, nine, ten years old."

This paved the way for an active imagination, and as one might expect an outward personality. Josh and Dan realized that they were showman from a very young age.

"One thing Josh and I used to do was put on KISS concerts in the neighborhood for everyone. We'd hang a speaker in our window, and we would put on records, and we had two other buddies and we'd put on the whole show... Everything. We had lights, pyrotechnics, the whole nine yards. So we found out that performing was just something that we were in to."

Kate might not have had the opportunity to perform KISS concerts with her brothers, but she has always been privy to their show-off shenanigans. Ever since they were all young, the Browns have worked as a trio, feeding off of each other's ideas and creativity.

"Our 3B creativity meetings can get pretty wild," she explained. "But there is lots of laughter and sharing of ideas. So far, I have acted, directed, written, held light and microphones, set designed, costumed, held cue cards, ran the camera, created fake props, and more. We have had so many helpful people involved with this project and I would never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Each of us is unique and talented and part of the fun of our productions is being surprised by the talent others bring to the set.

"I have always enjoyed working with my brothers. Each one of us has our own 'style.'" She adds. "But the styles meld together well and all of us have a knack for making people laugh."

A recipe for laughter. L-R:  Matt Curtis, Allie Yungclas, Josh Brown,
Daniel Brown, Steve Kirby, Jessica Bell, Kate Brown
Right in the Cloaca is a recipe for laughter. It is a series of individual skits put on film, each one a parody of what we as a culture have settled for in televised entertainment. Reality TV is ridiculous enough, but 3B has taken it to the next level by exposing it for what it actually is... Unrealistic. It's a product dreamed up in a corporate board room that's presented to the public for mass consumption. It's sold as reality, but it's actually situational choreography. Whether it's Survivor or Meet the Kardashians, it's a product carefully scripted to meet the low levels of consumer expectation and then it's force fed into society like poison candy.

It's almost impossible to escape it... Reality TV is on the magazine shelves at the supermarket, and it's the topic du jour at the water coolers in our office buildings. It's discussed on local radio shows, and lines of product are sold in bulk at toy stores and all the trendy retail outlets. It's become such a vital cog of our society and it's become so extreme, that it couldn't be further away from what is true reality.

That's what epitomizes Right in the Cloaca. It exposes this (un)vital cog for what it is and turns it up a notch or two.

Dan Brown explains his film as, "...One man's journey through late night TV. The gist of it is that a guy just bought a new satellite... Has never had it before, installed it, and now he's going through the 8000 something channels that he has, that he's never seen before. So he's exposed to all of these things he didn't know existed beforehand."

So yeah... It's like Reality TV on psychedelic steroids. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Grab some popcorn.

The title for the production comes directly from a scene in the movie.  The character in the scene, Lance, is clicking through the channels and keeps coming back to this bad '70s B monster flick called "Manphibian". It's one of two or three channels he keeps switching back to during the night. One can pretty much suspect that hilarity ensues... And it does.

And in case you slept through biology class, a cloaca is "essentially the anal part of amphibians and reptiles," according to Lewayne. So, essentially the title of the movie is, "Right in the Ass."

"Most of our stuff is pretty innocuous for the most part," adds Dan Brown. "We are picking on some of the trends you are seeing right now. If you go on TV, the Learning Channel for instance, everything is so extreme, everyone is some kind of freak or whatever it is, so we are kind of picking on those things that are going on. None of us are too fond of it, so we've created Extreme Janitors, Extreme Bigfoot Hunters, and Extreme Librarians, etcetera.We are making fun of all these things."

So in the movie, Lance is switching through the channels on his new satellite dish, taking in a whole new world for the first time.

According to Dan, he clicks to an episode of Time Life Records, lots of advertisements, and lots of satire, some which is quite extreme. "We definitely went a little past the envelope for us." Dan points out. "We went to some of the bluer stuff." There is an episode called The Sex Games which makes fun of ESPN's The X Games. It's the same type of thing, but all the games involve sex.

Josh explains the sexual components of the movie with careful thought. "There's some pretty... How can I put this nicely? Um... specialized portions of this movie that we certainly weren't going to be comfortable asking our own sister, or someone like Jessica or someone, something to do. This movie has got nudity, it's got a lot of sexual content, it's very grown-up... It's sort of like a National Lampoon thing... So I don't wanna make it sound like we are out here shooting hard core porn, but we are doing a Kentucky Fried Movie kind of thing. So, it's dirty but it's not so over the top that people will die or anything.

Matt Curtis, who is working on his 3rd film with 3B Entertainment, knew the right person for the job: His wife, Michael, who normally does make up and hair, and helps with set design.

"I do some of the parts that um... other people are like, 'I don't want to do that.'" Michael explains. "I'm like, OK I guess I'll do it."

She admits that she is very shy when it comes to being on camera, so in this sense she is really taking on for the team. She has known the 3B group for several years, from back when they were still putting on their (then annual) haunted house during Halloween. "I helped with the scenery... My husband and I helped even putting up walls." She noted. Her husband Matt has been much more active in the visual production of the movies, whereas Michael prefers to stay behind the scenes, except when a part comes up that nobody else feels like doing.

Jessica, Lewayne, Dan, Matt, and Josh
Jessica Bell is another actress who is enjoying her first venture into film making with 3B. Like many of the cast members she works at Meredith Corp, where she met Josh and expressed interest in helping out.

"Josh is a little ADHD." she said, laughing. "You gotta reel him in sometimes!" Still though she is having fun. She plays an extreme librarian in a fun-poking skit about competitive librarian skills. She's been involved in a scene involving Bigfoot, and a tornado chasing scene, amongst others.

"I expressed some interest in just helping out behind the scenes, and the next thing I know I've got lines. I started out with it just so I could have some fun, hang out and it's grown from there and if something comes of it, awesome... If not, it was fun!"

3B Entertainment officially took it's name in 2010, and creates much more than just movies. "For the longest time we called ourselves Cheesy Productions, Says Dan Brown. "We actually have a production hopefully coming out this summer into the fall called Cheesy TV that we're going to do for a web series." With so much going on, obviously it can get expensive. The budget for Right in the Cloaca is in the "low thousands," according to Dan. Some of the funding for these projects comes from donors but most of it comes out of their own pockets.

Matt Curtis sees this as the biggest obstacle they face. ""Our big thing is funding," he explains. "You see these other movies that come out on Netflix, internet stuff and whatever not; it's complete garbage, and it's like, 'how did they get the money funding to do that?' We have original stuff that's neat... It's funny, there is actual genuine quality there, and we can't get some of the money we need to buy the stuff we need for some of the props, building some of the sets, and just upgrading some of the camera and lighting equipment that we have. It's not like we have a huge budget. Some of the stuff costs 1500 to 5000 bucks. That's chump change to some of these other productions that we see."

Money is never easy to come by, let alone for an independent film company who is trying to strive despite the state reeling from a horrible film scandal that rocked the Chet Culver (Governor) administration. Film makers were inflating their film budgets by millions of dollars to cash in on tax money that was offered by the state of Iowa. It left a bad taste in alot of people's mouths, and some of those people are influential art types who have donated big money to film projects in the past. Now they are thinking twice about donating money and the film business in particular has taken a huge hit.

"It's just like anything you are trying to get money for," Matt explains. "Whether it is a small business or whatever, it's sort of like pulling teeth from people, and until you can kind of prove that, you know... We're not new at this. Josh has put on three or four full feature films and we're on our second or third that alot of people haven't seen, and it took a lot to put together, and until people see that we're not just a couple of guys down in the basement with an old VHS camcorder recording stuff and wanting to play that... And are genuinely wanting to step it up to the next level and trying to put Des Moines on the map for some of the local filming stuff. I just don't know how to get us there unfortunately."

Josh Brown tends to disagree.

"It's not money," he said. "You'd think that wouldn't ya? The biggest obstacle we've had on these is everyone is doing it for free and so... Everyone has jobs... Everyone has schedules, and so it's not like, 'Let's take five weeks, hammer this thing out and we're done. No, you're two days here, one day there and 4 hours there so you've got to piecemeal it together. So it's the people really 'cause you are coordinating a bunch of different schedules. When you are paying them, they HAVE to show up and you can get it done in a short space of time."

On the set of Right in the Cloaca
"Every movie that we've done has produced a few gems and this movie was no different," he continued. "Jessica and Lewayne have been little troopers. I mean, you get some people that have only showed up once, twice or never... They keep saying they are going to, but never do. Then you get people like Jessica and Lewayne who, if we say we are shooting, they are there. It is difficult to get people to commit to something that they are not getting paid for. But we've had enough people show up enough times that we are going to have a complete movie."

Filming is done and the movie is now in the final editing stages. June 9th is the tentative date for the premiere party. It will be a private event reserved for friends, family and the press.

"I don't want to just call it a release, because we are going to make it an absolute zoo. Heaven help us, and Hell prepare to welcome us..." Josh said with a huge smile on his face. "It'll be here at Meredith in late April, and then our plan is to probably show it at the Fleur Cinema here in town if they will have us... You never can tell. They may tell us, 'Up yours!'"

Then, after a moment of thought, he adds, "Our plan as well is to distribute on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and Voodoo."

Kate Brown sums it up perfectly. "I am not ashamed of anything I’ve done in this movie. This was  the most fun I’ve had in my entire life. I want the rest of the world to catch that when they see it."

Sounds like a cloaca kicking time.


Pertinent links:

To Donate contact Josh Brown

3B Entertainment Official

Monday, April 16, 2012

Glen Campbell: C.Y. Stephens Ames, IA 4/15/12

Last night legendary Country and Western music star Glen Campbell played to a full house at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames. It was one of many stops on The Goodbye Tour, which is showcasing the legendary performer's life in song while bringing awareness to the debilitating disease which is eating his brain. Having suffered from memory loss for several years, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in January of 2011. The Goodbye Tour is an acknowledgement to this horrible disease and one final chance to perform for his fans across the United States.

Joining him on tour is Instant People, a band which features three of his children, Cal, Shannon and daughter Ashley. This band, in addition with his long time keyboardist T.J. Kuenster, joined him onstage for what was a wonderful performance from a play list that spanned throughout a long and established career.

For someone who is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, Glen Campbell put on a hell of a show.

Right out of the gate he tackled what is perhaps his most lyrically-challenging song, "Gentle On My Mind." He handled it with ease for the most part, only experiencing a brief stumble on the third verse. However, as quickly as he forgot the lyrics, he picked them up again, and caught up with the song in mid flow. It was an occurrence that would happen throughout the evening.

It would probably be a safe assumption that most of the 2600 people in attendance were aware of Campbell's handicap, and he was given a free pass. The times he did mess up and forget the words to the songs were treated with respect and dignity. He himself made light of the situation by constantly talking to the audience, relating stories, and even making fun of himself. At one point while his daughter Ashley was tuning her banjo, he suggested to his bandmates that he tell some jokes to keep the audience entertained.

Then he turned to the crowd and said, "I probably know 100 jokes but I can't remember any of them."

Everybody had a good laugh, including Campbell. One can only imagine that having fun with the symptoms of his disease works as therapy for the 75 year old crooner... Especially when he is able to share these awkward moments with those he loves the most doing what he's always done.

Campbell singing "Lovesick Blues". Photo by Bigfoot Diaries
(Click to Enlarge)

His band was there to pick him up as needed, which surprisingly, really wasn't as often as one might think. Without fail he handled "By The Time I Get To Phoenix." Same goes for "Try a Little Kindness," and the Don Gibson classic, "I Can't Stop Loving You." He didn't miss a beat with his rendition of Hank Williams "Lovesick Blues," and he handled the yodelling parts of the song with ease. His voice seemed to get stronger as the night wore on.

One of Campbell's greatest attributes is his affinity for picking the guitar. It literally was his bread and butter early in his career when he was a session musician playing alongside the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Dean Martin, Jerry Reed, among many others.

He didn't disappoint tonight as he ripped off  one blistering guitar solo after another throughout his play list. During one particular highlight of the evening, he pitted his black Fender Stat against his daughter's banjo for a jaw dropping battle of the strings on "Dueling Banjos."

"Dueling Banjos" Photo by Bigfoot Diaries (Click to Enlarge)
He offered a tribute to Jimmy Webb, the lyricist with whom Campbell wrote most of his hits with, mentioning his name a few times before performing a certain song. Examples were "Where's the Playground Susie," "Wichita Lineman," and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", a song made as famous by Linda Ronstadt and Joe Cocker as it was by Campbell. "Lineman" was perhaps the highlight of the night, taking honors as the crowd's favorite. Four times throughout the evening the audience rose to it's feet and offered a standing ovation. "Witchita Lineman" was one of those times.

The final song of the night was a moving number from Campbell's latest release, Ghost on the Canvas called "A Better Place." It was a nice ending to the evening, and in a lot of ways a summary of what could only be described as his legendary existence. Once again Campbell faced his disease head on, grabbing it by the horns.

"Sometimes, I'm so confused, Lord," He sang. "My past gets in my way. I need the ones I love, Lord. More and more each day."

This time the standing ovation lasted until the lights came on.


Set List:

"Gentle on My Mind"
"By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
"Try a Little Kindness"
"Where's the Playground Susie" Jimmy Webb
"Didn't We"
"I Can't Stop Loving You"
"True Grit"
"Lovesick Blues"
"Dueling Banjos"

"Hey Little One" (Without Glen Campbell)

"Any Trouble"
"It's Your Amazing Grace"
"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"
"Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)"
"Wichita Lineman"
"Rhinestone Cowboy"


"Southern Nights"
"A Better Place"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ritchie Teeter Dies: Circumstances Unknown

Ritchie Teeter, former drummer for The Dictators and Twisted Sister has passed away. He joined the Dictators in 1976 and played on two albums, 'Manifest Destiny' and 'Blood Brothers' before departing from the group in 1979. He continued to play with the Dictators off and on for several years.

He joined 'Tators band mate Mark Mendoza in Twisted Sister briefly during the early '80s, but never appeared on any recordings. Details of his death have not yet been released.

Teeter was 61 years old
For updates check The Dictators Official Web Site.

Monday, April 9, 2012

RIP Stinkweed

Kindred McCune known to most as as Stinkweed passed away recently. He was most known for being in Grindcore bands Plutocracy, Agents Of Satan, and No Le$$. They all ruled. Plutocracy canceled their tour last month (which I had plans going to) 'cause Stinkweed had a leg infection. That may have to do with his death but no one is sure. RIP Stinkweed. You will be missed.

Despise You-The Black Castle-Los Angeles,CA-4/6/12

As some of you may know ACxDC front man Sergio had twin daughters a few months ago. One of his daughters, Savina, has a small pulmonary vein as well as a small hole in her tiny heart, which means she only gets 94% of the oxygen she needs. The surgery for that is gonna cost a lot and the Powerviolence/Grind scene has been donating, throwing benefit shows, and other stuff to raise money for little Savina.

And this isn't just in California... All over America people are throwing shows for her. This show was another benefit show, but a big deal since Powerviolence legends Despise You where headlining. 

Now seeing DxYx live is sort of rare. So you must really jump at the opportunity to see them, especially if they headline. This show was moved 5 times since it was announced. From 5 Star Bar(always got raided and not enough room) , to some hall in East LA(Not enough capacity), to Self Help Graphics(ended up needing construction), to Salon De La Plaza (the cops got involved way before the show even started). They day of the show it was moved to the Black Castle in L.A. Luckily it was still happening.
The first band was Fontana's own Vomitbastard. They are a new underground Powerviolence (not so known band) that I've seen twice, that rules. They set up on the floor and played they're usual set and gave it their all. First time playing in LA, and the crowed liked 'em a lot. They ended with a cover of their buddy's in xMayonnaisethebastardx. They passed out demos but I lost mine. Check em out tho.

Then was Inland Empires Hordes. A good ol blend of Hardcore, Crust, Grind, Doom, etc. Ive been wanting to see these guys for a while and they did not disappoint. Kids starting moshing back 'n forth for these guys while the band's front man was doing it as well. Tho they played a short set I need to see 'em play again and longer. For fans of Nails, Trap Them, Early Graves,etc. Download Abargonisis EP here!

Hoy Pinoy recently got added on the bill. Which was cool cause two the times Ive seen em headline a show they were great. They played and the whole freakin place turned to a huge ass pit. Some of their drums symbols were knocked down and kids were falling everywhere. This time is the first time I see Hoy Pinoy open up a show and they still make the audience go nuts over them. Hoy Pinoy in my opinion is too underrated. ACxDC and DNF  are known all over. HP needs to as well. Download their stuff here!

Local Grinders Syntax also had a crazy set. Which is obvious since this band has ex members of Bastardass. Raw, nasty Grind. Check em out here!

One of the highlights was ACxDC as always. Sergio thanked everyone,especially for helping to save his daughter's life. They started playing and as expected the room went more wild then it already was. They played all my favorite songs like Milk Was A Bad Choice and Turtle Power. With all the kids going wild this had to be one of the best time I've seen the band live. They then did the unimaginable. They brought out Chris Dodge of Despise You (also of Lack Of Interest, Low Threat Profile,etc) to sing Sword Of The Lord by his old legendary band SPAZZ. The crowd went nuts. I mean nuts. People where jumping everywhere, pushing, pitting. That's probably the closest you'll ever get o a Spazz reunion. And it ruled hard! To help donate to Sergio's Daughter (if you cant make it to a benefit show) you can either:

Buy ACxDC merch here.
Buy ACxDC music here.
or just donate straight to Sergio by emailing him at

Last opener was Inglewood's Final Draft. Another band I was excited to see. They play very good and Powerviolence. Angry Pissed and Fast. Nuff said! Check out their S/T EP.

Finally it was time for Despise You. Most of the show The audience was around the bands and the left room for the pit. This time we all got up front right next to band. They where probably suffocating with us. They started and the place went nuts. We were all jumping and singing along and screaming lyrics. Lead singers Chris Elder and Cynthia were in a tight spot singing with us. Drummer Rob (also from Evildead, Winterthrall, etc) was pounding the shit out of his drums right next to us (I always see him on a stage), and Chris Dodge was once again mixed in the audience trying to play guitar. Like last time they threw a skateboard into he crowd and kids went like hungry wolves to get it. Sergio even crowd surfed using an ACxDC deck as if he was surfing. It was one crazy ass show. You obviously have Westside Horizons in your collection. If not you need it. Plus their split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed,And On And On.... Until further notice, Despise You wins show of the year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bob Patton: American Potpourri

American Potpourri: Artwork by Bob Patton
(Click to enlarge)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Five Questions with... Liam Grundwell

No other band can boast that they have had a more prominent slew of guitarists amongst their ranks than The Yardbirds can. Formed in 1963, this British rocking blues band introduced to the world the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, three guitarists who are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But I'm guessing that one you haven't heard of is Liam Grundwell, who for two months was Clapton's replacement as the Yardbirds lead guitarist. It didn't go very well. Never before was a band on the cusp of spontaneous combustion as the Yardbirds were with Grundwell, who's guitar work was very much underscored by his affinity for bickering, drinking and fighting. Often he showed up at rehearsals drunk out of his mind, and just as often he was apt to start a fight with the other members in the band, or anybody else who happened to be in the room.

Liam Grundwell as he looks today.
(Photo from Grundwell's private collection)
Born and raised in the Hotwells area of Bristol down near the river in the southwest part of England, Liam became a trained jazz guitarist at a very young age. He played at the world-famous jazz pub The Old Duke when he was just 15 after the owner saw him playing in the street and invited him in to play onstage. He convinced the owner that he was old enough by producing an ID he had made from a picture of his father, that he had stolen from a war locket his mother wore around her neck. Liam was very hot under the collar, and that gig ended almost as soon as it started when one drunken night he punched the owner for mispronouncing his name.

He immediately beat it out of town and settled down in Chelmsford, a city located on the commuter belt in Essex, England. Once again he became a street musician until he caught the eye (and ear) of Nigel King who owned a music store called Spokes. King, who also had a strong fondness for whiskey, took a liking to the young Liam and offered him a job in his shop. It was a move that could have (and probably should have) changed rock and roll as we know it forever.

Liam's drunken revelry has become stuff of legend. One night he got so drunk that he punched the city constable in the nose... Through the glass window of the Constable's automobile. And the late great Keith Moon once said of Grundwell, "I'd just as soon get trampled by a bloody horse than to enter an ale pub with that blimey bastard."

Through tenacious searching and a huge stroke of luck, I was able to get him to talk to the Bigfoot Diaries. Without a doubt, gaining this interview is my greatest achievement to date.

So... Tell me about how you came to replace Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds.

Well mate, one thing you should know right now is that I taught (Clapton) everything he knows on the guitar and he would have never become the international superstar he thinks he is had it not been for my instruction. I was working at Spoke's Music Shop on Sudbury Lane in Chelmsford during the summer of '62. Eric was on holiday from studying at Kingston and happened into the shop one day. Nothing really peculiar about him at the time really, just a normal bloke. He picked up a double-cutaway Gretsch 6120 and started fingering the neck looking at me as if to see if I was impressed. I returned a look that said I wasn't and asked him if he needed a lesson. Well I gave him one alright... For six hours he toiled on that thing, but I was able to teach him the basics of what I knew. He left that day a better musician, I can tell you that. We kept in touch and I was able to see him perform a few times when he was still with The Roosters. He was a nice enough guy and very eager to learn the craft, but he was kind of boring really. I liked to drink myself bloody back then, paralytic really, and always sort of thought of Eric as a scarper... One who always left the pasture before the balloon got off of the ground so to speak. To make a long story short, he did eventually convene with The Yardbirds and I guess as his mentor he assumed that I was the perfect fit to replace him when he decided that he had had enough.

So... You stepped right into the Yardbirds. Was it a smooth transition or did you need some time to learn the songs?

I stepped right in, but one thing you must know about me is that nothing in my life has ever been smooth. I got a lot of integrity, but I didn't always manage myself in a professional manner. Still don't actually. Responsibility was never on my priority list as much as drinking whiskey and going apeshit was. I don't think that rest of the band knew what to expect from me, as my reputation hadn't exceeded beyond me yet. But one thing is for certain... Instantly the band sounded better than they ever did before I joined them and even after, really. They were never as tight as they were during the time I played for them. That's what Chris Dreja once told me years later... But I always knew it all along. The thing is, I hated playing the blues. It's such a simple method of guitar; any plank can play it. But the blues were in style in the UK at the time, and I DID want to be in a band, so I did my best to be a giggle. It didn't last long, as history will tell you. Keith (Relf) likes to say that he "threw me out of the band" but the truth of the matter is, I quit on my own terms... Which meant burning a few bridges and leaving the place in shambles. I figured I'd give them some new blues material, fuckin' codgers.

So it's safe to assume that you and the other Yardbirds are not in a friendly place?

Mate, let me tell you something. Me the Yardbirds never really were in a friendly place, as you put it. I have had a civil encounter with Chris (Dreja) once or twice in the past decade. I never really minded him as much in the fact that he didn't try to fuck with every guitar lick I was laying down.. I wanted to be the driving force that took the Yardbirds out of being a blues band and into more of a psychedelic rock. He was on board with that as any good rhythm guitarist would be. Keith was certainly not for that transition at all, and either was Jim (McCarty). They, like Eric, were hopelessly stuck in that "blues thing." And look where it got 'em! Ha! You mention Keith Relf's name in any sort of music capacity in the States, and they will look at you like you are a buffoon. The only musicians of prominence who came out of the Yardbirds were the lead guitarists, and only because, as I slightly implied earlier, I taught them every guitar technique that made them famous. If it hadn't been for me, there never would have been a Derek and The Dominoes, Eric Clapton wouldn't be a household name, and you would have never heard of Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page came to be a Yardbird only on my instruction, and like Clapton, he learned his stylings from me. Notice that only well after I left the band did the Yardbirds began to dabble in psychedelic music, something that I pressed on them early on.

Grundwell at Spokes in '62
(From Grundwell's private collection)
So you were an influence to Jimmy Page also?

I think that's fair to say, though you'll never hear that wanker admit it. In all the interviews he's done over the years I can't think of a time he's even spoken my name. Jim simply combined old delta blues riffs with a "heavy" sound. The thing about Jim is that he's often referred to as an innovator, but that's just a bunch of blarmy. If you listen to a bunch of those old Chess blues records you can hear nearly everything Jim did before he ever did it; and the rest of it, the whole power riff kind of thing, that came from me.

So after your split with the Yardbirds did you continue on with music?

I kept playing guitar to keep my chops if you will, but as far as playing in a band I really started to lose interest. I dabbled here and there with things but I have to be honest, I was much happier just hanging around on the scene than actually playing in a band. The whole thing was really starting to explode; and around '66 I think, the whole psychedelic thing was really starting to take off and things were pretty fun and interesting. I just started to think that lugging my gear around and going to rehearsals was a real chore. The other thing that was off putting was having to deal with all of these fucker's egos. I found my time better spent chasing some bird around than listening to some tanked up bloke tell me and everyone within earshot how great he is. It was more fun to be out in the crowd and lob beer bottles at the band than it was to be playing with most of those wankers.

So... What are you doing these days?

Ah... Not much really, at least in any form of production. It used to be I'd get up in the morning and pour myself a whiskey pop and normally find myself pissed by noon. But not lately as it's gotten a bit old. I'm certainly not the young man I was even ten years ago. My reputation has been tarnished beyond belief but all and all, I guess the tarnishment was well deserved. I've never claimed to be anybody other than who I am, and now I guess I am cursed to have to live with it. These days I'm content to hanging out with my wonderful lady, April and watching the sun move across the sky. Not in a hurry for anything really. Never been a person who engaged in social activities... In fact, you should feel lucky son, as your website, The Bigfoot Diaries, is the first interview I've allowed in about 40 years. I'm still not sure how you found me, as there is very little about me on the Internet from what I can tell.To the fools with whom I shared the scene with back in the day, I am a mere footnote, a forgotten piece of dust that has since been wiped clean by the winds of time. And that's ok.  I kind of like it that way.