23rd July 2020
23rd July 2020
23rd July 2020
Life in Spain
Q: You live in Spain. How long have you been there?
TL: It will be twelve years in August. There were a couple of times I wanted to go back but it just wasn’t feasible financially because of all my animals and transportation. I would have had to get all their passports up-to-date, get them all vaccinated and everything and I wanted to do it at a couple of points but not now. (laughs) It’s just changed so much – a different world. It does get too hot for me here though in July, August and half of September it’s unbearable but I’m prepared. We didn’t even have a Spring this year, we went straight from our rainy and windy Winters to hot weather.
Q: How many animals do you have?
TL: I have four little dogs and a cat. Three of the dogs are mother (Fender), father (Ricky) and son (Marshall) – the father was my father’s dog and I promised I would look after him when my father died and then I rescued Badger and Ampeg, the cat. I also have thirty fish and I trained a parrot in a local bar who used to bite everyone. I wouldn’t be without them; they are my kids.
Q: You mentioned you’re a vegetarian since 1993...
Q: …but I seemed to recall you were vegetarian back in the Goddess years. Is my mind going?
TL: Oh we did dabble me and Jody! Yes we did dabble for quite a long time because we were involved in the animal club at school and when we left school at sixteen we didn’t want to eat animals but then we lapsed back into it when we couldn’t get anything else. (laughs) You’re right, I had forgotten about that.
Q: Spain was one of the first countries to go into lockdown and still coming out of it. What did you do to stop going stir crazy?
TL: Well thank god I had my animals because I didn’t see anybody for nearly three months. I couldn’t go in a car or anything. I have a dog-sitter and I used to pay him to come up here and he would leave the pet food at the fence. We both had masks on and I’d give him the money and he’d get me tobacco and things like that. They were very strict here, there was only one person from one household allowed in a car unless it was an emergency. I could only walk 200 yards outside my house to take my dogs out but luckily I have a mango orchard here that runs down the mountain hill so that was good exercise for the dogs and me going up and down that every day.
Japan 2019 and return to Girlschool
Q: Your trip here last year, not the best for your first time in Japan with the airline losing your luggage…
TL: Oh right! (laughs) That’s one we won’t forget but thank you for coming to the rescue. It was strange how we all filled in identical forms together but mine and Denise’s never turned up. This is what I couldn’t work out but amazingly you tracked it down because at one point I really thought we were going to Australia with nothing.
Q: Happy to be of service and the important thing is, it got done. Despite all that though, a terrific show and you mentioned to me that you and Denise do seem to have a musical telepathy.
TL: Yes it’s so strange because from the very first time we played together which was way we’ve had this musical chemistry. I have it with Jody and Julie as well but this is more off-the-cuff like when you jam with somebody, unrehearsed.
Q: When was that first time?
TL: I went to Israel with Girlschool in ‘83. Gil had to go to her sister’s wedding so I stood in. This was after Rock Goddess and I was in She at the time. Denise tracked me down in Newcastle (laughs) to see if I had passport. No rehearsal even back then and I had one week to learn set (laughs). It was amazing. First time I'd been on a plane as well.
Q: That chemistry was evident when you actually joined then.
TL: Yeah it’s amazing; it’s solid. I first joined band in ‘87 and that hasn’t changed. As you said, Denise is a ‘pounder’, she pounds the drums and she really does hit them and sometimes at rehearsals it really goes through you. Especially at sound-checks because she hits them when you’re not expecting her to! (laughs) As for the show though, yeah it was fab and we were all so excited to be there.
Q: It was also my first time to see you play with Girlschool as well…
TL: I know! That’s amazing…you’ve seen me so many times with Goddess and you’ve seen Girlschool many times and seen videos and heard vinyl of course.
Q: You do look very comfortable up there on stage with them. You had only been back in the band a matter of months, did it take you long to come up to scratch with the songs?
TL: We had only had one proper rehearsal since I rejoined! (laughs) We had one proper rehearsal before we did Spain last year and then we were trying to do a rehearsal for Japan…we booked a hotel and rehearsal room near the airport but we were walking around for two hours with all our gear trying to find it! (laughs) We gave up in the end and did it n out hotel room acoustically just to remind ourselves – especially me being new – and we did quite a few songs the other girls hadn’t done for a while and Bomber of course which we hadn’t done at all.
Q: Bomber was quite a special moment for me…
TL: It suits us so well with the double-bass drums and it’s manic. It’s good to have a few powerful songs in the set; another similar one is Take It Like A Band with the same tempo and power. I love it.
Q: So was Japan what you expected?
TL:Well I didn’t know what to expect. I had been watching all these tourism videos and it was such a whirlwind in and out with no luggage but it was amazing. The people were brilliant and friendly and helpful, even people in the street were so respectful. We
lost our luggage and the hotel staff couldn’t do enough for us, the people at the gig, the crew and everybody involved was brilliant and in such a short time we met the whole operation and of course we didn’t really want to go.
Q: I must say, the fans outside the dressing room door were the most manic I’ve seen at that venue.
TL That’s great. They were great.
Q: So what’s on the horizon for Girlschool?
TL: We had so many shows lined up that have been postponed all over the world and we are just hoping we can do something at the end of the year. Coming to Japan would take all the pain away of not playing and thank god we did that tour of the UK at the end of January and early February! It was so successful and we had so much fun and that’s kept us all going for a little while but it’s just such a shame everything is postponed. We are hoping to salvage something but it’s down to the countries concerned and the UK being a major part of it because I have to go there to get visas and obviously I don’t want to go into quarantine for fourteen days which is what I would have to do if I go. We still want to do a new album as well so if I go over there to rehearse for gigs, hopefully we can tie in a recording. It all depends on the UK and flying.
Q: The next time you’re staying longer. Anything you particularly want to do?
TL: Anything really. I’d like to see Mt Fuji.
Q: I’m sure we can manage that Tracey. Good to chat and hopefully, yes, we’ll see you soon.
TL: Cheers mate, all the best.
Denise Dufort 23rd July 2020
Q: Keeping busy?
DD: No! This bloody virus! I can’t go out, can’t meet anybody, can’t see anyone…all I can do is Skype and now my camera keeps messing up! So I just sit at home and binge watch American TV shows and movies. (laughs)
Q: So, Japan last year, was that the first time your bags have been lost?
DD: In Japan, yes. (laughs) It would be me and Tracey as well wouldn’t it? It’s never Kim and Jax that get lost. (laughs) The whole scenario was hilarious really.
Q: Well in hindsight; I don’t remember it being very funny at the time.
DD: (laughs) Yeah! Oh dear…
Q: Was that one of the first shows with Tracey back in the band?
DD: No. We had played in Spain I think and France; we did quite a few before Japan. Tracey absolutely loved Japan even though she didn’t get to see any of it and I knew she would.
Q: We’ll make sure that it’s a lot more pleasant for everybody next time.
DD: That’d be great. We were supposed to be there in July but obviously that’s been put back now. You never know though, we may be there before the end of the year. I have a plan to stay for two more weeks if I can but I don’t know if the others will be able to.
Q: What difference does it make to your playing having Tracey in the band?
DD: I absolutely love having Tracey back in the band! She’s a fantastic bass player and we were always tight. Even when she used to be in the band before, I always knew what she was going to play and she always seems to know what I’m going to do next. We do play really well together and always have. We’re a lot happier as well. (laughs)
Q: It’s the first time I’ve seen you play Bomber…
DD: I played it on the EP originally (St Valentine’s Day Massacre) and it was really Kim’s idea because she always wanted us to play Bomber again so we tried it – actually I really wanted to know if I could still play it! (laughs) Anyway, I can and people love it!
Q: It’s a nice tribute. What do you recall of that recording session back in 1981?
DD: What I recall was being really really really nervous because Phil had broken his neck and I had to play all three songs on the EP.
Q: Phil was there though wasn’t he?
DD: Yeah he was there doing backing vocals; we were all partying and getting drunk – the usual. (laughs). I played all three songs but I was so scared because I had to play with Eddie and Lemmy. I was freaking out, shaking, wondering how I was going to do it but I did – probably because Lemmy gave me something to help me play faster. (laughs) I really miss those days.
Q: Me too. I’ve been enjoying writing these articles for the UPP-tone website about the old days and I’ve just done one about the Ritz…
DD: Oh I used to love it there – it was such a great place. I remember once and I can’t remember why I did this but for some reason, I put one of my drumstick or something into the electric fire and blew the electricity in whole place. (laughs)
Q: A Denise special – love it! That EP was recorded at Jackson’s Studios with Vic Maile – I must write about that place as well.
DD: Yeah we were there a lot. You know Vic used to get me to help him splice the tape on the reels?
Q: I don’t remember that…
DD: Yeah I don’t know why but he always used to ask me. Maybe it was because he thought I was into all the mixing and technical stuff.
Q: The first time I ever saw someone splice a 2” tape was Vic; I was gob-smacked.
DD: Can you imagine someone doing that now? Really weird how things have changed.
Q: Let’s get back to Japan. You’ve been here a few more times than the other girls, on holiday. Anything you want to do next time?
DD: As you know, I absolutely love Japan ever since we came there in 1982. I love Japanese food, Japanese culture, everything Japanese, then and now. I wish I could live there and the last time I was there by brother and Atsuko took us everywhere for two so whatever else there is to do. I’d love to see the Budokan.
Q: Oh well that’s easy.
DD: Is that actually in Tokyo?
Q: Yes it’s in the Kitanomaru Park.
DD: I’d love to go there and anywhere else. The main thing is the food though – I can’t get enough of it! (laughs)
Q: Denise, thanks for this and we’ll see you soon.
DD: I hope so and please tell everyone I loved the gig and also The Babes – I love them! Moni is really funny and a bloody good drummer and she’s great!
Q: Consider it done. See ya!
DD: Cheers Glenn and look after yourself. I’ll speak to you again soon
Jax Chambers 23rd July 2020
Q: What have you been doing since all this Covid 19 stuff started?
JC: Well we did the Girlschool tour which was brilliant because we haven’t done Britain for a long time as we are usually abroad. As soon as that finished, I had a day off to go home, get changed and go back out on tour with Syteria and we were on the tour when all this kicked off. There were talks on the Girlschool tour that there might be measures and then on the Syteria tour – I think we were about a week into it – and we were in Swindon but two people had died from it that day and nobody was going out. We had sold all the tickets but there was nobody there! So since then I’ve been writing and I’ve been doing a couple of charity singles and also a new Syteria video which means I’ve had to learn how to use a camera, edit and a load of other skills. It’s fun in a way.
Q: Your trip over here last year; I didn’t realize but you were celebrating twenty years in the band.
JC: Yeah and so this year is 21 years and the band has been going for 42 years so I’ve been in the band half the time. I actually met Kim and everyone in ’95 and they were always trying to get me to join from that point but I didn’t do any gigs until 2000.
Q: You had a guitar problem at that gig last year here…
JC: Oh it was one of the worst gigs I’ve ever had! (laughs) I don’t know what happened but we took the guitars on the plane and I dropped it and something happened and every time I played the G string it wasn’t as loud as the others so when we’re playing Bomber and Tush you couldn’t hear the trill and I was getting really upset – I thought I couldn’t play. I was getting more and more frustrated, Denise was saying I wasn’t playing it right and then of course I had to take it to Australia.
JC: Yeah! (laughs) It’s working now but there’s still something…it just seems to take a little bit of heat or cold and I just don’t want to take the risk and anyway, I’ve got a nice new one as I’ve been endorsed by Gordon Smith.
Q: Never nice to lose luggage and Tracey’s first time in Japan as well…poor thing…
JC: (laughs) Yeah that was a very interesting time wasn’t it? (laughs) Lucky we had a day off – although you didn’t, you were running round airports and luggage places – but we had a day off to do a bit of shopping. The hotel couldn’t have been nicer; they were giving us all cosmetics, toiletries and all sorts of things because we didn’t have anything, just the clothes we were wearing. I was ok because I always put stage clothes around the neck of my guitar so I’ve always got something to wear onstage but the others all had to go out shopping for stage gear. Everyone was so helpful, giving us what we needed. The Japanese are so hospitable!
Q: How long have you had Bomber in the set?
JC: We only did that when Tracey came back. Around 2005, Me, Tracey, Denise and Jody from Rock Goddess put a band together called No Class and we used to do it in that set with a few other covers and when Tracey came back, we thought we had to do something new in the set so we put in Action which Tracey recorded with us and she knew Bomber form No Class so it was an obvious one to do and it keeps it interesting for us as well. It gets faster and faster whenever we play it. (laughs) Denise!
Q: Are you vegetarian or vegan?
JC: I’ve been vegetarian for eight years and this year I went fully vegan. I always wanted to be vegan but on tour it’s almost impossible as I’m allergic to garlic and all I used to get was vegetarian cheese. I’ve cut that out now though as there are so many options for vegans.
Q: Problems finding vegan food here?
JC: Well that’s why I always say vegetarian on the rider as finding vegan food is almost impossible on some countries like Japan. Spain as well oddly enough.
Q: It was a bit of an in-gig-out trip; you’ll stay longer next time and get out and about a bit. Anything you particularly want to do?
JC: I want to wipe out the memory of that last gig! (laughs) Ermmm…well I’d like to go on a Bullet Train. I don’t know really…touristy things I guess. Just having the experience of doing something that I can’t do here.
Q: You will be back here as soon as gigs and tours open up again. Girlschool is on hold at the moment due to this and Kim’s Mum being ill; what’s happening with Syteria?
JC: Well the album has been getting amazing reviews, lots of airplay and as I said we were on tour but we had to cancel that so we are just releasing a new song and video called Talk Too Much. That will be out on Friday (22nd May).
Q: It’s different to Girlschool musically right?
JC: Yeah it’s Rock but has more of a Punky element to it and we do four-part harmonies. We’re not Heavy Metal but we are Rock. We cross a lot of genres.
Q: Jax, great to chat. Take care and we’ll see you soon.
JC: Yep – better let you go then. See ya!
Check out Jax’s other band, Syteria