The Larry Wallis interview by Nigel Cross
Forced Exposure # 11, winter 1987

Back in the days of being a college freshman, as you yanks coin the expression (you know, back when I used to shave even less than Steve Albini does now and before my hair started to fall out), I belonged to a vile drinking society known as the Kings of Oblivion and Friday nights to the raucous tones of an album with the same name cranked up to meltdown proportions on somebody's five bob hifi, we'd undergo the ritual of drinking pints of lemon mixed with port, get pissed out of our tiny minds, then go out in pursuit of female flesh or, as usually was the case, in search of more alcohol.
Now the trio responsible for said record was none other than the PINK FAIRIES who'd come into being at the roach end of British psychedelia in 1970 when most of you pups out there were either still a twinkle in your dads' eyes or at most making a mess in your nappies. The PF's rose phoenix-like from the underground's pile of flower power summer of love ashes and snuck out three gloriously unrepentant and snarling gobs of chromium plated psycho-metal that are still in print now, a mere thirteen years after the press hacks had written them off as jokes and told us to atone for our sins by going out to search for the latest Genesis LP. Coming on with all the slovenly grace of a stoned pipefitter or Jimi Hendrix, the MC5 and the Stooge rolled into one fireball, the PF's attempted to inject life into the bloated corpse of Brit pop music with their hot nasty vision of undiluted rock'n'roll.

The Fairies passed through various guises and line-ups in their short lifespan, but it's generally argued that their finest hour was KINGS OF OBLIVION when Larry Wallis was elected to the hot seat as their singer, songwriter and big guitar player. He replaced the razor-headed acid axemanship of Canadian Paul Rudolph who, via Eno, Hawkwind, etc., would eventually wend his way home to open a bike shop. It's recommendation enough to say that not one of my so-called friends likes this record and that for my wife it rates in the hate stakes only one notch lower than anything by Mr. Van Vliet - why, even acquaintances in my current circle poo poo the mere mention of the PF's (but then, most of them are REM fans): well, bollocks. They don't know what they're missing and to put it bluntly, anyone who doesn't rate the Fairies is a twat anyway!! Wallis of course was a veteran of such combos as Shagrat and the Entire Sioux Nation (record out on Bam Caruso soon) and went on to the prototype Motorhead and the ill-starred and ill-fated Bunch of Stiffs, courtesy of Jake Riviera.

However nobody has ever had the gumption to probe beneath the surface and wheedle out the "real" Wallis/Fairies story. So when Coley threw down the gauntlet, I was delighted to get on the case and nail old 'Arry Rock'n'RoIl down once and for all. Feelers were put out in 1984 via Ted CarroII who'd just issued PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED on Big Beat but it took a year to get some face to face contact. The ensuing conversations were conducted in Ladbroke Grove. the hippies' graveyard, on two separate occasions, in September 1985 and January 1986. On both I subjected myself to chronic alcohol poisoning in order to carry out the mission. As your esteemed editor, who transcribed the tapes, will vouch, as I neared the end of the first marathon, fuelled on snakebites (beer/cider cocktails) I lost track of the interview schedule, what day it was, my bearings, my marbles and even had the impudence to argue the toss over Lazza's own recollections and their accuracy.

After chucking out time at the Portobello Gold public house, we withdrew to the comfort of Wallis' current songwriting partner - the mysterious Norman Gordon-Pilkington's "pad" and I got the tape machine rolling. As we staggered through the streets on our way there, Lazza's cautionary remark seemed to make particularly good horse-sense: "Last time I did an interview was with these two young kids from a fanzlne - we had a few drinks and it ended up with me cleaning one of them up in the lounge whilst Anne, my girlfriend, looked after the other one downstairs in the bathroom." I held my liquor but felt asleep on the tube gong home and for the second time in my life had the experience of waking up in Cockfosters.

The Interview is respectfully dedicated to my former partners in crime, Ian Frank Povey and David Ewart and to kings of oblivion everywhere, you know who you are!!! -Nigel Cross

FE: Nigel Cross
Locale: Drunkville, UK 9/85 or l/86

FE: When did you start playing music?

WALLIS: When I was a little kid, Tommy Steele happened, He killed me. I wanted a guitar, so for my ninth birthday my dad bought me a guitar. But it was an acoustic guitar and sort of went, "Blit Blit Blit". I wanted an electric, but he said, "Fuck that, You learn to play this and I'll get you an electric."
Then my aunt took me, when I was twelve or something, to see Cliff Richard and the Shadows at the Palladium. I saw Hank B. Marvin wearing this red Stratocaster and that was the complete and utter demise of my education. From then on all I wanted to do was wear glasses and a red Stratocaster. So I got an electric guitar.

FR: Were you in a band then?

WALLIS: When I was fourteen I used to hang around with a gang of mods and this geezer who lived on my block --he must have been about sixteen --came around the corner with these two chaps. One of them comes over and says, "Could we have a word with you please?"
It was all very West Side Story --you know, chaps, keep am eye on me. If I get in trouble come help me out so I go over. So I go over and it's "You're Larry Wallis. You play a guitar."
"Certainly do."
"We've got a group. Can we rent your guitar for ten bob a night?"
"No!"it was unthinkable.
"Let that guitar out of my sight? You must be joking."
"Thirteen bob"
"Can't do it."
"Alright, fifteen bob."
"No, you don't understand..."
"OK. Our final offer, a pound."
"Alright. You want to join the group?"
"Yeah. OK."
So next thing, I've joined a band called the Saints. We were all Hank B. Marvin and the Shadows fanatics. We rehearsed above a pub and did weddings and all that business. But all the time this Chuck Berry stuff was creeping in and as I had the best guitar in the band, I sort of got to say what happened. So we got a singer and all hell broke loose. Everything changes and we're the King Bees doing "Route 66" every Friday night in some pub.
When we were still the Saints though, I remember I went away to holiday camp with two of the guys and their families.. So we got the holiday camp organizer and said, "Listen, why don't we play around the pool?"
We were going to be Cliff Richard and the Shadows, so they laid on a power source and there we are doing "Wonderful Lend" and "FBI" and all the kids are around the pool twisting. It was everything I'd always dreamed about and the lunch bell went, "BRRRRRRI" and there were three of us standing about this completely deserted swimming pool. All the pretty girls had gone to have their lunch ! (laughs)

FE: So what happened after the King Bees?

WALLIS: I joined a band called Home Grown Blues. I wasn't the kingpin of that band, they were all quite good.

FE: Were you working then too?

WALLIS: No,I never did. Well, when I was younger I'd worked for a few months in Selmer's Music which was the center of the Beat Boom. I was supposed to be a trainee soundman, but I was only there because I knew how to demonstrate guitars for people.

FE: You must've met a lot of people there.

WALLIS: Literally everybody in the fucking world. But that job didn't last too long because I was a raving mod at the time and they discovered that I was eating Purple Hearts like there was no tomorrow.

FE: Did you have a scooter?

WALLIS:I was always a passenger on scooters. I found that was best 'cause you could be the guy sitting on the back sticking his fingers up at the rockers. They'd have these huge Triumphs and we'd have these little lawnmowers with wing mirrors. Of course when Pete Townsend came along I went completely bananas. I remember I went to a record shop where you used to stand in booths and listen to records. When I was halfway through, "Anyhow Anyway", the lady there turned down the volume and said, "You're not really going to buy that, are you?" I almost bought ten copies of it. Then I learned how to flick the toggle switch on my Gibson.

FE: So you had another band going then?

WALLIS: I was always playing R&B; in some pub or another. Then Hendrix came along and I saw him on "Top of the Pops" doing "Hey Joe". I threw up, shit myself and didn't know what the fuck was going on. Seeing Jim Hendrix even put Chuck Berry out of my mind for a while. I immediately moved to Hampstead, forgot the mod business and started growing my hair and wearing beads and jeans that were frayed around the bottom...

FE: Paisley shirts?

WALLIS: The whole bit.

FE: You ever wear one of those white ones with the big frills?

WALLIS: Of course. I joined a band called the Ants. The next day I started sharing a bed sitter and free love with a couple of girls called Jenny and Kate. I was raving away like a maniac smoking banana skins like there was no tomorrow...

FE: What were the Ants like?

WALLIS: They were just tripe really. But we'd do gigs that would get me twenty pounds a night and in those days you could buy a block of hash for seven-and-Six.

FE: So you completely changed your style?

WALLIS: Yeah. Hair frizzed out and back-combed like Jimi Hendrix, taking loads of drugs. I was having the time of my life. Yoko Ono was having all her Be-Ins on Kite Hill and I was drinking a lot of cider.

FE: In Pete Frame's Hawkwind/Pink Fairies Family Tree, I think he lists Shagrat as the first real Larry Wallis band.

WALLIS: Well, before that happened there was The Entire Sioux Nation. That's when I really started to get real. Anyway, Bryan Ferry had this band called Gas Bolt and I didn't know anything about them, but I heard they were doing these auditions and that if you were any good you'd get to go to Germany. So I went down and there's Bryan Ferry and Gas Bolt and they all look like twits, except for the drummer. He had Hendrix hair, a mirrored waistcoast, red boots.. .So, I'm sitting back there, skinny as a rake, looking like Jim Hendrix in all the same gear. When they came off stage I got hold of the drummer and he said, Blimey. You look just like me". I said, "Yeah, I know. You wanna be in a Jimi Hendrix type band?"
He says "Excuse me Bryan, I'm leaving.
Wow. There and then he left. He went back home to Newcastle, got his drums and gear -- he was seventeen, so was I. -- Paul Nichols. He said to his mum and dad, "See ya later, I'm goin' to London."
He knew a bass player called Tim Taylor and we all lived at my mum and dad's house for two years. None of us wanted to be the frontman, so we got a singer from the Eyes of Blue --Terry Nolden. So there we were, the Entire Sioux Nation.
We're down at the Speakeasy one night -- we'd play there all the fuckin' time that they'd give us 'cause Hendrix used to go there --and this group of people came in. They're wearing pink velvet jackets, they've got hair over their shoulders. They're Mick Farren, Twink, Steve Peregrine Took and various other members of the Pink Fairies All Star Rock a Roll Show & Motorcycle Circus - which was a drinking club!
So I'm up there doing Jimi Hendrix OOH WHEE WHOO WAH WAH WHEE and they're all right in front of me freaking out. Ever time we finish,, YAAAHHHH !"
I'm thinking -- hey, they like me. Well, it seems that Mick Farren and Steve Took have always wanted to form a band, so they got hold of me sad said, LOOIC -- do you want to join a bigger league?" "Yeah." The Entire Sioux Nation sort of came to a halt.
So we formed this sort of group- Micky, Tooky, me, Tim Taylor and Phil Lenoir. We used to get together in a room -- maybe Mick Fare's or Steve Took's flat -- but ultimately we never did nothing together 'cause Mick and Took had a row.

FE: What about the early Pink Fairies gigs with those guys from Little Free Rock?

WALLIS: All that had already happened, then Mick and Took decided to start a real group. So we'd get together and they'd write songs and me and Tim would learn them, but nothing much was happening. We never did gigs, we never even had a loud rehearsal. Then one day, Mick and Took met us and Micky said, Look --what's basically happened is that we've had a row. We don't like each other anymore. Are you coming with him or me?"
Me and Tim Taylor looked at him and said, "Steve Took."
Mick Farren got the rave in him and funked off. We then formed a band called Shagrat with Took, me, Tim and Lenoir. And Mick Farren wouldn't talk to any of us for years. So we'd go to this place near the Tower Bridge called the Stone Hole and we'd rehearse all these great Took songs. But we only ever did one gig, which was Phun City...By then Farren didn't hate everyone nearly as much as he did before. And I think we'd made the right decision, but Steve was a space case really.

FE: Steve had already left Tyrannosaurus Rex?

WALLIS: Yeah. He'd been kicked out of T.Rex because he was in Ashford for drugs just as everything broke for them. If you ever want to listen to his account of it, Steve Took's track on Mick Farren's MONA album is him talking about being in Ashford Rehab Center while his record was #1 in the charts. He was in Ashford wearing pixie boots and velvet with hair down to his asshole. He was the flower child, the little elf and a vegetarian. . .his description of what it was like to walk into the dining hall every day for lunch was great.

FE: So who ended up being in Shagrat?

WALLIS: Took, me and Dave Bidwell. Bidwell's dead, so is his girlfriend Patty. Took's dead, Took's girlfriend Angie's dead. But the three of us used to rehearse in rooms and take drugs. When we'd walk around town we'd live Shagrat, we'd be Shag rat, but we never recorded as Shagrat. We just were Shagrat. Took was the wasted, drug-taking rocknroller. Which sounds great -- you turn up at a session and the lights have to be turned down low and you drink half a bottle of Southern Comfort and smoke some joints and all that. But when someone's paid for the day and at the end of the session there ain't any sensible tapes been made. Took lost his credibility. He was too out of it all the time.

FE: Did you actually record?

WALLIS: We did as couple of demos. We recorded in Strawberry Studios right after they opened. I was king of the wah-wah pedal then. But truly, we didn't do a lot of recording. Took's best song was called "Peppermint Flick Stick". It all came from this girl on the Cadbury's Flake advert. It was this great thing about this chap sitting in his fucking living room when he sees this girl come on the screen going, "Hey -- if you suck a peppermint lick stick say, 'Yes'."
So he takes all his life's savings and runs down to the local shop and buys thousands of Peppermint Flick Sticks and he runs back and locks himself in his flat. He sits there eating them and having sexual fantasies. Songs like that and, "Boo! I Said Freeze."
Took's hero was Arthur Lee Of Love. He turned me on to Love. but there's not a lot to tell about Steve. We used to go buy plastic cars from the toy shop on a Friday night and we'd go to my mother's house and take LSD after my mum and dad had gone to bed. We'd boil these cars in saucepans full of water and twist them out of shape and burn them. Took was getting up a collection of car wrecks. His flat used to have all these great plastic cars that were twisted and burnt and stuff�then I lost touch with him 'cause he got into heroin.
Once though, I was recording with Nick Lowe or somebody at Pathway Studios and as we finished our session, Took's band -- Steve Stook's Horns -- were coming in. Took asked me to stay around and help out. So they did the backing tracks which were great, but Took immediately said he couldn't sing a note unless he was a relaxed man. And relaxed meant half a bottle of dark rum. Well, by the time the bottle of rum was halfway through, Took was slurring his words, getting it all wrong and everybody knew it. I said I was just going to have a piss and I went outside, picked up my guitar and creapt away. It was embarrassing and that was the one time that I did desert Took. He thought that when you hired a recording studio you invited all your friends and it was party time.

FE: Did you go into UFO almost straightaway after Shagrat?

WALLIS: Well, after Phun City, where I think the only people who enjoyed us were the Hells Angels, Shagrat sort of fizzled Out. So I open up the MELODY MAKER one day and there's a box in the back -- "Gigantic rock band, no names, needs a guitarists Only the best need apply. You've got to look great."
I called and they said, "OK. I Can't tell you the name of the band 'til you come for the Interview."
I went down to Hampstead, met a chap named Mark who had just finished managing Curved Air. He let me know the big secret -- the band is called UFO. So I go to audition and there's no singer -- he doesn't feel he needs to be there -- just the bass player, the drummer and a video camera. "We're just going to video you. We've got seventy-five people to go after you."
I walked in and the bass player Pete Way, first word he said was, "Looks like a star."
I thought -- That's a good start.
"One Two Three Four" and I Jimi Hendrixed like there was no tomorrow.
When I finished, they said, "OK. Cancel all the other geezers. Nobody else need -apply. He's got the job."
So I went to a party the next day for the singer to meet me. About three weeks later off we went to Germany and we got ripped off something awful 'cause the manager was an asshole. Chrysalis signed us up, but we couldn't record because the band was signed to a funny deal with One Note Records or something. They'd put out an album, so they reckoned they owned UFO. Chrysalis took us around the world and we did massive fucking gigs, but we couldn't record until they'd gotten out of this thing. So I joined, but after a while I was going, this song's a bit naff. That song's a bit..." It was all "Whoaa, baby!" pose-pose-pose...! didn't like it.
Meanwhile, the drummer and bass player had turned me on to Southern Comfort with a slice of orange. So I started drinking Southern Comfort and I started realizing bit by bit that I didn't fucking like Phil Mogg. He was ~ violent petty thief as far as I could make out. I saw him steal some tables and chairs in Italy, so I can safely say he is a thief. He is also a big fucking asshole of the "I AM THE GROUP" variety. I used to tell Phil what I thought of him and he didn't like it. One night I just let him know what was going on and he told the other two members, "Larry Wallis is sacked. he drinks too much."
Years later, as all the press knows, Phil Mogg collapsed drunk on stage in America. The tour got cancelled and I saw him down at Dingwall's a few months ago with a couple of minders. I said to Boss Goodman, You know who that asshole is?"
He said, "No, but we nearly didn't let him in 'cause he's a fucking drunken mess."
So that's what happened with UFO.
About three days later I got this phonecall from Mick Farren --the mentor of the Pink Fairies. So Mick Farren and Russell Hunter and their girlfriends came over. "We want you to join the Pink Fairies."
I told them, "I've agreed to be in a band with this guy Mack. I've got to give that a whirl." They Sat in my mum's living room 'til the early hours of the morning trying to get me to join the band. Then they went away. But they needed a second guitarist. Mick Wayne was there and they had that single "Well Well Well', but they needed a second guitarist.
About three days later they came to see me again with drugs and drink in my mum's living room. Mum and Dad were in bed. It was all candlelight and incense, the same deal again. This time I agreed. So I go and have a blow with them -- it's quite good. About three days later we're, doing the St. Alban's Civic. Here I am, I've been in UFO and all that, but this means much more to me 'cause these guys are my fucking heroes. I like their music, like their lifestyle and they take drugs. Wow.
So I go onstage with them and we do things like "Going Down'. Mick Wayne's out front and he's singing stuff like: "Oh I'd walk ten miles for my big legged woman/I'd walk ten miles for my big legged woman/I'd walk ten miles/I'd walk ten miles/I'd walk ten miles/I'd walk ten miles/I'd walk ten miles for my big legged woman/Oh she's good to me my big legged woman..."
In the dressing room after the show, Russell Hunter says, "Either he [Wick Wayne] goes and Larry Wallis takes over as lead fuckin' singin' guitarist or I go."
I'm standing there going, "Uh, uh�"
Sandy says, "I'm with him Mick, you're fired. Larry, you're front man."
I go, 'But fellas, I've never sung in a band and I've never written a song."
"Well, you will now."
About two weeks later we enter Chipping Norton doing KINGS OF OBLIVION. Mick Wayne never did another gig with the Pink Fairies. We were all these razor-sharpo, loonie, velvet-clad monsters into "KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHERFUCKERI" and Mick Wayne wanted his big legged woman.

FE: Was there a lot of resentment from the audience when you first joined the Fairies?

WALLIS: No, I was right for the gig. The Pink Fairies would leave the stage for literally fifteen minutes and I'd stand there all on my own with my wah-wah pedal, fuzzbox and echo chamber playing completely unaccompanied. I was a good replacement but his attitude was better than mine 'cause he was more steeped in the underground.
Twink was interviewed by GORILLA BEAT two years ago and he said, "Larry Wallis was never a Pink Fairy."
WALLIS: Well the funny part about that is that Russell Hunter once said if he could, the Pink Fairies' history would have Twink erased, cause he was never a Pink Fairy. I'll tell you -- Mick Farren, Boss, Russell Hunter and Duncan all accepted me as a Pink Fairy. If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me. You can imagine what I think of John "Twink" Alder's opinion. John Alder -- he's a fucking furniture salesman in Belgium.

FE: So, were you immediately thrust into the KINGS OF OBLIVION album?

WALLIS: Straight into the deep end. Sandy, Russell and Boss Goodman said, 'Larry, you're gonna do the singing and you better write some songs." I was so scared I couldn't believe it. Not only was I in a recording studio for a fortnight with a real band, but it was, "OK Larry, what are we recording next?'
I'd be at the dinner table writing songs. I wrote all the songs. I only co-wrote two: "City Kids' with Sandy and "When's the Fun Begin" with Mick Farren.

FE: Had you and Mick had any Contact since the Shagrat days?

WALLIS: Well, I'd go to IT [an underground mag that Farren edited] and Micky never made any bones about:
"Hello! It's that geezer again who has long hair, wears velvet and says he plays guitar." But it wasn't until I was in UFO that he started thinking -- "Maybe he doesn't just say he plays guitar.' 'Cause he always thought I was a poseur. He thought I'd just go down to IT dressed like a rock'n'roll star.
But it was him who came over and said, "I've been keeping me eye on you -- you're alright.' I got the seal of approval from the British Underground from Mick Farren. I still value his friendship to this day.

FE: Where did you get the name for KINGS 0F OBLIVION?

WALLIS: We were coming back from a gig one night and we'd recorded the album and Sandy said, "If it's alright with everyone I think I've got a title for the album.' 'Yeah, what's that?"
"KINGS OF OBLIVION, from that song by David Bowie on HUNK DORY."
"What's that? Sandy's said something quite intelligent.
"And you know he mentions the Bewley Brothers in it? I' think we should say special thanks to them on the back of the album."
"What! Sandy's just said two things that work!"

FE: It seemed like you brought a sort of booze conciousness with you when you joined the Fairies. Whereas with Blackie [Paul Rudolph] it had all been very acid-drenched.

WALLIS: I never knew I was putting out a booze vibe that long ago.

FE: Well, we all looked at the pics that came in KINGS OF OBLIVION and just figured you'd all become booze-hounds.

WALLIS: I must take issue here! If you remember that foldout.. .they'd said, 'Alright, you're the Kings of Oblivion, what is your oblivion?"
Russell said, "I want it to be me in a dentist chair with a bottle of Benedictine being dripped into my arm -- 'cause he drank Benedictine all the time -- and I want to be green."
Sandy said, "I like to drink, so I'd like my oblivion to be on this bar with all this booze around me.
" For mine, we rented the Victoria Sporting Club and I wanted to be on a table with chips and cards all around me with my replica .357 Magnum in my mouth. When we got there, the hostesses said. "Uh oh. The two things we don't wish to associate with gambling are drink and guns"
So I couldn't use my gun. It was just me on a roulette table with all these Chips around me. I was the only one who didn't have booze in the photograph! But I was tarred with the sane brush!

FE: It was just the whole Kings of Oblivion thing...

WALLIS: Do you think it's a good album?

FE: I think it's fucking wonderful.

WALLIS: You know ? Polydor's never given me a baked bean for it. Not one fucking thing.. .We were in Chipping Norton and I wrote a song called "Raceway".
Polydor said, "OK, we got you a gig up in Scotland over the weekend. We'll fly you up there."
"Wow. What about the record?"
"Finish it when you get back."
So we flew up to Scotland, did a gig and got back. We went back into the studio.
"Oh, we mastered the album over the weekend."
"You can't have mastered it 'cause one of the songs doesn't have a vocal on it. it's called 'Raceway'."
"It's been mastered. It sounds good as an instrumental. It's going to be coming out In a few weeks time.
"Oh yeah? Well, you haven't signed me to contract yet, so I'm not going to let you put it out."
The guy in the room said, "If you want. we'll shelve it and it will never come out. Do you want to do that to your friends? Or should we put it out while we work out the contract?"
They never worked out the contract. They never signed me and their argument now is that I was never in the Pink Fairies. Polydor maintains that I was just a session man who never got paid. They want to give me a couple hundred quid for my "sessions" on KINGS OF OBLIVION. They've never even given me a fucking farthing.

FE: And they just put out "Raceway"?

WALLIS: Yeah. It was a fucking backing track and John Peel picked it as the best cut when it came out: "In this day and age, for somebody to put out an instrumental is adventurous and exciting." I've got all the lyrics for it. "I'm on a raceway/And I can't find my way out".

FE: I've always been intrigued by the "I Wish I Was A Girl" track.

WALLIS: Well, everybody thought I was saying, "I'm a homosexual. I'm a girl trapped in this man's body." Well I wasn't. I was just saying, "I wish I was a girl 'cause they get it so easy. Any girl can go home with a chap seven nights a week if she wants. That's why I wished I was a girl.

FE: I also really like, "When's The Fun Begin.

WALLIS: I'd had that chord sequence since UFO, then Mick Farren gave me a set of lyrics and it just worked.
Mick's lyrics are so fucking evocative. "Working out on Mercury/ Acetone and vitamins" I didn't even know what acetone was 'til I met Mick Farren.

FE: What is it?

WALLIS: It's the stuff you get in nail polish remover. This was in the pre-glue-sniffing period and if you sniff enough acetone you get high as a fucking kite. The only question we got about it from the publisher was, "Is the word 'When's' good English?"

FE: Whose idea was the Jean Cocteau quote on the album's sleeve?

WALLIS: It must have been a Russell Hunter idea. He was the erudite, well-read one of the time. Sandy was as mad as the March Hare and mostly drunk.

FE: I heard that Twink was called back into the band in 1973.

WALLIS: Right. Well he wasn't called back into the band at all. We were all feeling pretty good 'cause the band wasn't disintegrating, we were doing tons of gigs, making loads of money and having loads of fun. Twink got hold of us one day and said, "Look you're doing the Marquee. Why don't I do it with ya?"
We all looked at each other and we felt so fucking up we said, "Why not? We'll let you do it."
I walked out on stage that night and you couldn't get another sardine into the Marquee. I saw Hunter, I saw Sanderson and there was tbis empty drumkit sitting there. I remember saying, "They said it shouldn't be done, but here he is -- Twink,"
And the place went fucking apeshit.
We were playing this blinding set and I had all these huge fucking amps. So I'm thundering away like I'm the king of the world and I'm looking out at the audience, but they're all looking past me. I'm thinking - Look at me, but they're all gaping at something else. Well, what the fuck are they' looking at? I look around and inside the speaker cabinet there's this ring of fire slowly spreading. I was playing so loud and fast that the cone had gotten out of sync with itself and caught on fire. So as I'm standing there playing this guitar solo my gear is slowly burning to the ground. Boss Goodman did all he could do. He threw a pint of beer all over my gear. It burnt out. Completely burnt out. It was great.

FE: What about Twink?

WALLIS: Oh, Twink was alright. He showed off a lot. We did a few gigs with Twink and it sounded great, but he started his old act. We chucked him out again 'cause it was if there was a hundred quid to be split four ways, Twink wanted two quid more than anybody else. he always wanted the fucking edge. Nothing was ever what it seemed with Twink. I don't really know what the truth is, but there's a rumor that Twink, on one lunchtime, went around to three publishers and sold the Pink Fairies' publishing to each of them. Three may be an exageration, but there is definitely some truth there.

FE: When did the Fairies grind to a halt?

WALLIS: The first, second, third or fourth time?

FE: First.

WALLIS: Don't know. Sometimes we'd just have a row and then we'd drift off and not see each other. An awful lot of times, Russell Hunter ' said, "Fuck this. I'm never going to do it again." Then he'd go home, put his drums in the hall, then change his mind. He did that quite a lot. Russell is one of my closest friends and he was the sole reason I joined the Pink Fairies, but what a bastard. We'd be on stage and we'd finish a song and it'd be, "Thank you very much. Now we're going to do a song called 'Blah Blah'." And there's nobody sitting behind the drums! Russell decides he wants a glass of water and none of the roadies have had the foresight to read his mind. He has gone walking off backstage looking for a tap. About fifteen minutes later me and Sandy have run out of all our jokes, all our fucking around...
The shortest gig we ever did was Harlow Great Park. It was fantastic. We were top of the bill, it Was a lovely Saturday afternoon and there's twenty billion people. It was gonna be fantastic. There we go. All the gear's set up and we're strutting around backstage.
"It's them. it's the Pink Fairies."
"It's fucking wonderful.
The crowd goes mad. So I get up on stage.
"Hello. They say Harlow's a town! Well I say it ain't! I say it's a city! And you're all.. .CITY KIDS!"
It went 1-2-3-4, I look around and Russell Hunter's flat on his fucking back behind the drums. The old peter's out and Russell's unconcious. He's taken two Mandrax during the afternoon, drunk himself stupid on Jack Daniels and passed totally out. I never even got to sing one word. That was the end of the gig. Shortest one we ever did --about six bars of "City Kids".
FE: So, when did that version of the band really end?

WALLIS: I really can't say. Don't forget, the Pink Fairies did something like ten farewell tours. We'd all just go watch the telly for a year, then we'd be back.

FE: It that when it went from being agitprop to being a real rock'n'roll band?

WALLIS: Well, it was never a real rock 'n' roll band 'cause I could never get Russell Hunter to rehearse the way I wanted him to. And Duncan Sanderson is a certain kind of bass player. If I'd had my way years ago, we would've added another guitar player and turned us into a very slick two guitar rock band. But I could never get the discipline with Russell and Sandy. If I'd've had my way I would've cloned 'em and gotten some geezers who wanted 'to play slick stinkin' MC5-type rock'n'roll. They were content to get up their and jam for ten minutes. It got fucking boring.

FE: So how did you get into the prototype Motorhead?

WALLIS: That was easy. I was sitting in my kitchen one day. The Pink Fairies were, at that time, an occasional rock band and the rumor was around London that Lemmy had been chucked out of Hawkwind for smuggling drugs across the Canadian/American border. So, I'm sitting there and ring-ring,
"Hello Larry, it's Lemmy."
Now Lemmy was only an aquaintance, but he says, "I've been chucked out of Hawkwind and I'm forming a band called Motorhead. I'm in a rehearsal room, I've got a geezer called Lucas Fox on drums. Want to come down and give it a whirl?"
"Yeah "
I picked up my guitar, stepped into a cab and went over to Chelsea. Went in there, plugged into an amplifier, said One Two Three GO", 'and the three of us made the most horrible racket you've ever heard. We did that for fifteen minutes. When we were finished we all said, "Great! Aren't we wonderful? Let's all be in a band."
Then Lemmy put out a big line of white stuff and said, "Do you want some of that?"
I asked the dreaded question, "What is it?"
He said, "Amphetamine sulphate."
I stayed awake for the next three years. I didn't even blink for three years. Anyway, I gave it the biggest whirl 1 could.

FE: Did you enjoy recording the album that came out on UA?

WALLIS: Well, it was real hard work and there was a lot of funny stuff going on. Dave Edmunds started out as producer, but due to personal problems he burned out on it about halfway through and then Lucas wasn't that very good of a drummer. Meanwhile, Philthy Animal who was a friend of Lemmy's came down. He listened to the playback and said, "Not to put too fine a point on it, but that drummer's fucking garbage. I'm much better. Why don't you chuck him out and use me?"
Lemmy said, "OK."
So we shucked him out, Phil came in and replaced all the drums. They'd only spent six grand on it, but UA decided they'd spent too much money.. They shelved it. Me and Lemmy begged them to put out "Motorhead" as a single, but it all got shelved. And we were really fucking hot. We'd just been on the cover of the MELODY MAKER as the Best Worst Band In The. World. A couple of years later when Lemmy got a new deal and took off, UA went, "Fuck. We really messed up there."
They put the album out then, which earned me a lot of money, but they were so short-sighted. If they would've just put out a thousand singles in a picture bag, I probably wouldn't have left the band. But it just seemed like such a waste of time. For the record, though, I do regret leaving Motorhead.

FE: Even though it would've been in the way of the real final gasp of the Pink Fairies?

WALLIS: Well, at the time I was recording the Motorhead album, I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't sleep. I didn't blink, I didn't eat peanuts, I didn't do anything. I'd be down at Rockfield and a car would come get me. I'd leave Lemmy and Phil to do whatever they could and I'd go off to another part of England to do a Pink Fairies gig. And when the Pink Fairies were on their way back to London, I'd be on my way back to Rockfield. I'd arrive at four in the morning and say, "Hi. I'm here 'til half past eleven tonight."
"OK. We need some guitar breaks."
At one point I just went insane...

FE: What was that big Pink Fairies reunion with you and Rudolph and Twink?

WALLIS: That was at the Roundhouse, with Mick Farren also. How it started was Rudolph, Russell, Twink and Sandy got up and did a few Pink Fairies numbers. Then Mick joined and they did a few Deviants numbers. Then Nick went off and I came on. So there were two drummers, two guitars and Sandy.

FE: How did it work out with you and Rudolph being on stage at the same time?

WALLIS: I think it was alright.

FE: Did you know Rudolph very well?

WALLIS: Well, I did at one time, but now that he owns a bike shop in Canada nobody's in touch with him. Whenever we were playing together we did have a certain non-meeting of the minds though. At that gig we'd bought a load of this stuff called Perphadrine. You snort it up your beezer and it makes you go mad. So Sandy, Russell and I took as much of that as we could get our hands on and when Paul turned up for the gig he was wearing a track suit, was on his racing bike and had a thermos of tea.

FE: How did .the '76 Pink Fairies with Martin Stone come about?

WALLIS: Well, one day Boss Goodman called a meeting of the Pink Fairies and said, "I've got an idea that's so off the wall you're never going to believe it in a million years."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"Martin Stone's not doing anything. I think the Pink Fairies need a kick up the ass and Martin ought to join the band."
"You must be fuckin' mad."
"That's interesting."
We all looked at each other and said, "OK. Let's do it."
So we phoned up Martin Stone.
"Got a grand idea. Really weird. Why don't you join the Pink Fairies?"
"You must be..."
"That's interesting."
We nicknamed him Mad Dog immediately and when Jake Riviera found out he said, "OK. Stiff Records wants a Pink Fairies single now."
The next day I wrote "Between The Lines" and we went into the studio. That was it.

FE: What about the "Police Car" single?

WALLIS: I got tricked into that. This roadie came over to my flat and said, "Hey man - let's have half a Mandy each and hang out."
So we took half a Mandy each and he said, "I have a great idea - let's go over and see Jake and Nick."
I'm going, "I can't go over there. I've got half a Mandy."
He's going, Aw come on. It'll be easy."
So we get in a cab and go over. So we're up there and out of the blue he says, "Lazza's got a great new song. Haven't you, Lazza."
He passes me an acoustic guitar.
"Play them 'Police Car'."
Jake says, "Oh yes, Laz. Turn off the telly, we all really want to hear it."
So I sat there and played "Police Car" and Jake said, "Right. What's today? Sunday? Well, Tuesday night you're in the studio with Eddie and the Hot Rods doin' 'Police Car'."
"Uh, no, I can't..."
"Hello, chaps? Tuesday night? OK great. Laz -- it's all fixed up. What's on the telly now?"
"No. I can't make a record."
"Too late. It's already done." I was railroaded.

FE: How did the Bunch of Stiffs Tour come about?

WALLIS: Jake Riviera or Dave Robinson was wondering what had ever happened to those old Stax-style revues. where they'd have one let of equipment and the bands would just zip right out. Then they just figured, "Why not have a rock'n'roll revue?" So it happened. Just one bunch of equipment with a few variations here and there, a different person topping the bill each night depending on who wanted to be first and last in the pub, a different name for the band every night. It was a real show business affair. One night I didn't shave and I can remember one person saying, "It doesn't appear that we're paying Larry Wallis enough to afford razor blades".

FE: But how did it feel to be getting all those full page spreads in the papers?

WALLIS: I was pleased as punch, but I always thought that I was out of my depth. I never felt up to Ian, Elvis or Nick. To be put in their company absolutely blew me sideways.

FE: How did the press react to you?

WALLIS: Well, I was always aware of being the black sheep of the tour. I'd get up there and do Police Car" and "On Parole", but I was only in it for the laughs. I didn't realize what a good opportunity it was.

FE: Then you started producing.

WALLIS: How I came to produce was that Jake and Dave said, "We found a band called the Adverts. You're producing 'em. Go down to the Roxy and see 'em."
So there I am in patchwork boots and velvet jacket, with hair down to my shoulders, So I go down and there's Johnny Rotten & Co. stabbing themselves in the face with broken bottles for fun while they're dancing. But I met the Adverts and we got on like a house' on fire 'cause Tim Advert really is a fucking talent. He had these songs I couldn't believe -- singing about what it's like to see the world from Gary Gilmore's eyes. I was pleased to be a part of it. One Sunday night we went into a fucking eight track studio called Pathway and I was scared shitless. I went to the engineer, "Look I never done this before."
"Don't worry. Look confident."
So that's what I did. The next day the tape was delivered. Jake phoned me and said, "Lazza, you've passed through the submarine net."
That gave me the confidence to do that. Then Nick Lowe left Stiff and I became the house producer. I did things like Wreckless Eric, the Realists, Youth In Asia, all these bands. Then when me and Dave fell out, I stopped producing.

FE: How did the Deviants' SCREWED UP come about?

WALLIS: Once again, that was Dave and Jake just deciding to do a record. So we went into Pathways with Paul Rudolph and me on guitars, Alan Powell - who used to play with Hawkwind - on drums, Andy Cahoon on bass, and Mick Farren. Micky and me and Rudolph wrote a few new songs and we did a new version of "Let's Loot the Supermarket", it was at that point that Nick Farren decided that he wasn't actually an asshole.

FE: That was probably the last time Paul Rudolph made a record.

WALLIS: Probably. He'd turn up each day in his shorts and cycling shoes, but I think it was the first time that the Deviants were ever taken "seriously". I'd watch wonder grow on Mick fare's face every day as we'd twiddle knobs and he'd get to sounding better and better. People like Russell Hunter and Sandy got the needle because they weren't on it, but we wanted to do a Stiff-type Deviants thing. And for me, the Deviants were Mick Fare�He still is The Deviant.

FE: Was it then that the seeds were sown for doing Mick's VAMPIRES [STOLE MY LUNCH MONEY] album? WALLIS: Yeah, I think so. Mick considered Logo Records to be a bunch of young assholes with a bunch of money to spend. Which we did.

FE: Where did the title come from?

WALLIS: Mick, I think, took it from Linus in "Peanuts". I wanted to call it "Without Annette". Then, after a while we had to do the "Broken Statues" single, so we went into my father's studio to do that and I had a nervous breakdown about halfway through. I ripped the phone out my wall, smashed it to pieces and didn't leave my flat for three weeks. They all just had to do the best they could.

FE: The next time I saw you, you were playing with a certain ex-member of the MC5.

WALLIS: Wayne Kramer! Well, Stiff and Chiswick had just put out that Wayne Kramer benefit single, so we did a deal where Wayne came over and we all waived the money from the gig so he could be there. I couldn't believe when one Friday night Boss Goodman brought WAYNE KRAMER over to my flat. I'm sitting in my kitchen, there's loads of black dope and I can remember saying, "I can't believe I'm sitting in my kitchen with Wayne Kramer from the NCS."

FE: So you'd never met him when Shagrat played Phun City?

WALLIS: No. I can remember sitting in the car, out of my brain on LSD, looking at the stage and watching the MC5, just thinking, "God�everything that I could ever want to attain on electric guitar is up there."

FE: Were you still in with Stiff when you recorded the album with Deke Leonard and Pete Thomas?

WALLIS: That was recorded for Stiff. Dave Robinson used to say, "Lazza, you're producing bands and all that, but when are you going to do your own thing?"
I'd say, "oh, I'm. busy doing Wreckless or the Adverts or somebody."
One day he said, "Larry Wallis produces no more records. We want a record off of you. Everybody wants to know about guitars these these days. Reform the Pink Fairies and put out an album."
I said, "No. I don't ever want to be a Pink Fairy again, but I've got a load of songs on my own account."
He said, "Right. Come in and we'll talk about it."
I went in in and said, "I want Pete Thomas."
"You'll never get Pete. Jake will never let him go."
"Hey Pete, how would you like to make X amount of money tax-free?"
It was Andrew Lauder who suggested Duke Leonard. It all just came together and that's how we started to make the LEATHER FOREVER album. It was only Dave Robinson's chicanery and spawn pig-headedness that caused it to become a mere tax loss. Deke was great. We did a version of "Police Car' you just wouldn't tucking believe.

FE: What tracks did you put down?.

WALLIS: "We did "Crying All. Night", "Ever Forever Seeing Double", "Police Car", "I Think It's Coming Back Again" -- which has Mick Farren lyrics and is all about Godzilla.

FE: What came after that?

WALLIS: Well, from '81 to '83 I had a really healthy bank balance from the royalties from the Motorhead album. Enough to keep me in all the drugs and drink I wanted. I was still living in a shithole in SE London, but I thought the money would never end. Then it did.

FE: But '84 started off on a real bright note with the Deviants' HUMAN GARBAGE album.

WALLIS: Yeah, Mick is really good at business. He gets pissed as a rat and takes all the drugs under the sun, but when it comes down to business he really knows his onions. He worked it out with Psycho Records where if they paid for Wayne's fare and we all took blah blah amount of money that it was a feasible thing.

FE: Were you pleased with the gig?

WALLIS: Yeah, but if I could do it again, I'd make it even better. I was a bit of an alcoholic then and I'm better now. I've begun to think that my guitar-playing's more important than burning out my brain cells. I quite like the fact that I can play guitar and the more I drink, the more that disappears.

FE: Why wasn't Russell invited to do drums on HUMAN GARBAGE?

WALLIS: You don't take any fucking prisoners, do you Nigel? Russell - who I regard as one of the best human beings on the planet - is a bus conductor. We needed somebody who plays drums. Russell dabbles in it, but when you've got someone coming 3000 miles to do a gig and a record on two rehearsals, you need someone who does it every day.

FE: Some people were also muttering about Sid Bishop not being involved.

WALLIS: Well, Sid Bishop is someone I never met in my life. According to Boss, Micky and Russell, Sid Bishop is one of those people who was in the band 782 years ago. Nobody had even heard from him in seventy-five years. How can you get somebody like that, out of the blue, and say., "I know you haven't played for seventy-five years, but..."
The Deviants is the Deviants is whatever the Deviants is at the time. We had a quorum. I was never in the Deviants, but I know enough about 'em to augment the quorum, as it were.

FE: It's a fairly remarkable album considering how out of it you all look on the cover.

WALLIS: Oh, we fuckin' were. - Wayne Kramer was the most together of the lot. I was completely blotto.

FE: Did you guys switch off lead guitar?

WALLIS: Well, all the bad stuff is me and all the really good stuff is Kramer. That's essentially it.

FE: Then later in '84 there was the Pink Fairies' PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED album.

WALLIS: I wanted Ted Carroll to do a Larry Wallis album, but Ted said if we called it the Pink Fairies it would sell more. So that's why we called it the Pink Fairies. But I would only do it if it was called PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED and if the personnel weren't listed. I don't feel like a Pink Fairy anymore. When I was twenty-three and had patchwork boots and long hair I felt like a Fairy. But that's all history. Anyway, somebody in the music press spotted what we'd done right away. He said, 'Shouldn't this be called PREVIOUSLY UNRECORDED?"

FE: Who played on it?

WALLIS: George Butler and Duncan Sanderson.

FE: The record itself's alright, but the package looks like crap.

WALLIS: When it came out, me and Sandy went wild. I'll tell ya what's weird though - Ted Carroll's got a shop and he never even put that sleeve in his fucking window. That record wasn't released. It escaped.

FE: You also put out the "Leather Forever' single in '84.

WALLIS: Yeah. I produced an album by this great French R&B; trio called Fixed Up. So, I'd been talking to their manager and one day be just called me up and said,. "You've got twenty-four track masters from 'Leather Forever' and 'Seeing Double'. Do you own them?"
"If I pay for the mix and distribution, do you want it to be out as a single?"
He came over, we spent about three hours in the studio and that was it.

FE: Is that with Deke and them?

WALLIS: No. That record was recorded at Nick Lowe's studio with Big George Webley, Jim Toomai and a guitarist named Riba. He's a friend of mine who's a real asshole.

FE: So the latest thing is the Love Pirates of Doom?

WALLIS: Well, Dingwall's is an easy gig to do. Boss would put me on there every two months or so and we'd always use different names. The Pork Torpedos and the Knob Artists, was the first, but it was a mistake. I still wasn't doing it seriously. I've had a lot of one-off's: the Donut Dunkers of Death, the Pearl Divers of Pain, the Death Commandos of Love. We've used all those, but I liked the Love Pirates of Doom, so we stuck to that. I wanted to make a go of it, but then something happened and it was no longer viable. But the Love Pirates of Doom are coming back.

FE: Leather seems to be a recurrent theme though. Charles Shaar-Murray once called you and Micky the Lewis Leather Brigade.

WALLIS: That was just because we wore jackets from Lewis Leathers.

FE: Are you friendly with Charles?

WALLIS: Yeah. I haven't seem him in years. But he was on the Stiff tour and I thought he used great discretion when a nasty incident broke out there.

FE: What was that?

WALLIS: Well, on the Stiff Tour we had a tour manager who was an ex-Pink Fairies roadie called Dez. He wasn't a very good tour manager. As soon as we'd get to a hotel he'd say, Right. I want everybody up at nine o'clock. Anyone who doesn't get on the coach gets left behind. See ya later.' And he'd go off to his room. After he was in bed, you'd call the desk and say, "I want to speak to Mr. Dez Brown."
"Sorry, he's not be disturbed."
Well, Dave Edmunds had given him a few grams of coke and said, 'Don't give 'em to me 'til I ask for 'em."
One night me, Dave and a few others were sitting around and we decided to go get a gram of coke.
"Hullo? Oh, Dez ain't home."
Well, I realise that we've been away from home for five weeks now and that in all that time I haven't had a glass of milk. So I got hold of the nightporter and said, "Could I have some milk please? And some cookies?".
He brought us a big plate of chocolate biscuits and a couple of pints of milk.
Edmunds said, "Let's go up and wake Dez up. How can he argue when we have milk and cookies?"
So we go up and knock on Dez's door. Dez opens the door stark naked and me and Edmunds march in. "C'mon Dez, have some milk, have some cookies and please -- can we have some of that cocaine you've got for us?"
We're going, "Be careful Dez, you don't want to spill the milk. Come on, do us a favor."
Dez went, "Oh yeah?" WHAAM!
Well, I'm not a fighter and I don't know how I did it, but I jumped back and smashed the plate in his face and hit him on the head with the milk. The next minute he's standing there covered in milk, blood and chocolate. Me and Edmunds leave.
The next day I go downstairs and there's Edmunds with his cases. "See you later."
"What's going on?"
There's Dez, he's got plaster all over his face and he's wearing Nick Lowe's boots because he's trodden on broken glass and he's cut. And there's Edmunds saying, "Larry Wallis fucking defended himself and I'm leaving."
So I went up to Nick Lowe and he says, "You're off the tour."
I says, "I know."
He says, "Why don't' you fuckin' apologize to him?"
I said, "I already did."
He says, "You did?"
He went up to Dez and said, "Did he apologize?"
So we all jumped on the coach trying to get to the station before Dave Edmunds' taxi cab. As we got there, Edmunds' train is pulling out for London, 50 we just sent a cable, "Everything's alright. Lazza's OK. Come back on."
So he met us at the next town and rejoined the tour.
Charles Shaar-Murray described that as "an accident that turned into an incident." That's all he said. That's why I like Charles. You're not going to write 'about that are you?

FE: Oh no.

EDITOR: Oh yeah?.