Episode 47. The Satoshi Tapes Pt. 1
In the first part of this special, my good friend and NWOBHM expert, Satoshi Hasegawa interviews me about my previous articles. We talked for four hours and drank lots of beer.
Satoshi and Glenn
SH: How long did you work for Rock Goddess?
GW: A few years. My first gig with them was in January 1982.
SH: To 1984 or 1985?
GW: I don’t remember exactly but yes, the middle of the eighties.
SH: Did Rock Goddess always open with Satisfied Then Crucified?
GW: Yes. I think there was one show when they tried another song but the fans and band found it a bit strange and the atmosphere wasn’t the same so they went back to it.
SH: You were living at 118 Wandsworth High Street in the 1980s and many band members came there after live shows. You wrote Bruce Dickenson, Neil Murray, members of Motorhead came there, what else can you tell us about it?
GW: The rehearsal room was on the top floor of the house and my bedroom was next to it. The neighbours didn’t matter as the left side was a café which closed at 6pm and the right side was a funeral director so there was never any complaints about the noise. Now if Rock Goddess went to see a band at the Marquee, I didn’t go every time. I’d stay home and watch films sometimes and then occasionally, everybody would roll back to 118 at midnight or 1am and start having a jam. Sometimes it would even just be Rock Goddess who had an idea for a song and they wanted to try it out. One night, I woke up and heard the sound of drums, bass and guitars starting to warm up and then there was a knock on my bedroom door. ‘Come in’ I said half asleep thinking it was one of the girls and the door opened and through the dark someone asked if I was Glenn. ‘Yes’ I said realising it wasn’t one of the girls and the voice said ‘The mic’s not working’. I turned the light on and it was Lee Aaron standing there looking stunning!
SH: Really?! (laughs)
GW: Yeah so I got out of bed and fixed the mic. We had one of the early four-track recorders as well - I think it was a Teac 144 but I could be wrong on that – so a lot of the times we would record those jams but the tapes are long gone unfortunately. Vic Maile came there and recorded Rock Goddess playing the songs that would go on the first album and he told me years later that the cassette tape he used was Marillion’s demo tape he had been sent! He didn’t like it so recorded over it. Pete Jupp came down with Merv Goldworthy a few times, they were both in Samson at the time, Paul came as well. Bruce as you mentioned earlier, the guys from Terraplane, I think Dumpy from Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts came as well but my mind could be playing tricks on me there. Jody and Julie might have better recollections than me so ask them if you ever meet them. I’m sure there were many others but I’d have to trawl through some gig dates to jpg the memory. Chris Hunt from Seducer was there a bit as they supported Goddess a few times at the Marquee.
SH: How far was it by car from the Marquee to 118 Wandsworth High Street?
GW: 30 – 40 minutes. The gig usually finished about 10:10pm. We could pack the gear up and load the van within 20 minutes, be back in Wandsworth by 11pm and then 15 minutes to unload. I’d be up at the St Moritz, across the road from the Marquee, well before midnight.
SH: I’d like to ask you about Vic Maile because of his history with Led Zeppelin, The Who, Hendrix, Dr Feelgood and my dearest album, Ace Of Spades as well as Girlschool’s first two albums and Rock Goddess. All of those were recorded by him. He’s a Rock ‘n’ Roller and there are very few people who have been praised by Lemmy who said ‘Vic knows Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Did you get a chance to talk to him during the Rock Goddess recordings or Girlschool’s Nightmare At Maple Cross?
GW: Yes, I did. Vic liked to tell stories actually so it was always quite easy to get a story out of him. Rock Goddess was my first time in a proper recording studio and although I knew how a mixing desk worked, I didn’t know compressors or limiters or other effects and it was Vic who showed me how those worked. The other producer who taught me a lot was Chris Tsangaridies but Vic was the first producer who taught me anything. He taught me that when you go into a studio, the album you end up with is never the album you have in your head before the tape rolls. When you write a song and then play it live, it’s in your head how the sound should be but when you go into a studio it’s different. A good producer will try and capture what you have in your head, capture the right performance and also make it better. Coming from a Rock ‘n’ Roll background and having worked in the Pye Mobile recording Led Zeppelin and Hendrix and all those, Vic was incredibly good at that. When we did the Girlschool album in 1986, it was when computers and synths and everything electronic was taking over and I remember Vic commenting that the feel had gone out of records because producers were now trying to create rather than capture a sound. That’s true to this day of 95% of the music in the charts; there’s no feeling, only layers of sounds. We talked a lot about the history of popular music as well as he was there! You’re talking to me now because I was there in the eighties, I was talking to Vic because he was there in the sixties. He was always generous with his time to me.
SH: He taught you?
GW: Yes but he never said ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that’. He always explained what something did but also always said you don’t have to follow the rules and that feeling was more important. When they had finished recording the tracks for the first Rock Goddess album, we were doing the running order and in those days you had to splice pieces of tape together to decide the running order, to see if the end of one song matched the beginning of the next and also how long the gap should be. It was already decided that the first track was to be Heartache and that track ends with a heartbeat fading out. It was me who suggested that the second song (which on the album is Back To You although we actually tried In The Heat Of The Night first) come in instead of the next heartbeat. Vic tried it and it worked perfectly. He encouraged me to make suggestions like that.
Vic Maile at Jackson's Studios
SH: What do you recall of the Iron Maiden tour? Was it a long tour?
GW: No, very short. Maiden did just eight shows in Europe as they had to go to America and we did five or six of them because at that time, Julie was fifteen years old and there were legal restrictions on how often she play. I think she could do three nights in a row but then had to have a day off. We did do the last night which was particularly memorable because on the last night of any tour, it’s traditional for the bands to play jokes on each other and we pied the band during the last song. They knew it was coming as we had arranged it before. I did Dave and Eddie as I was stage left and I used to watch the guy put the Eddie suit on every night so I knew where not to pie him otherwise the guy inside couldn’t see to get off the stage. I had to jump to make sure I got him in the face and not the chest.
SH: Could you go sightseeing on that tour or was it just stage and tour bus? Did you go to the pub with Iron Maiden?
GW: We couldn’t socialise much with Maiden as we both had different schedules in the daytime but we stayed at the same hotel on the first night of the tour and drank with Bruce and Nico and in Copenhagen there was a football match.
SH: Football match?
GW: Yeah, against Rainbow. I’ve never forgiven the guy who was our tour manager because he didn’t even mention it to me so I missed it. I would have loved to have played in that. Maiden won 5-4.
SH: Next, you wrote that you were with Audiolease as P.A. crew and did the Motorhead Hammersmith shows for Iron Fist (March 1982). You told the story of Lemmy and you backstage, what other memories do you have of this time?
GW: Not many to be honest – we drank a lot back in those days. (laughs) P.A.s back then were very different to now in that now, they have 3-way array cabinets which simply put means they have the bass, middle and treble speakers all in one cabinet and you just have as many of the one cabinet as the venue needs but back in the eighties, they didn’t exist. We used to have the subs (low bass), bass, low-mids, high-mids and tops all separate which was called a five-way system. The high-mids we used on those shows were known as an ‘82’ which sends out that frequency that really hurts your ears (about 3KHz) and we put a row of them across the front of stage which blasted the front ten rows. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen an audience push back because the gig was so loud.
SH: Wooagh…you’d need big earplugs!
GW: Well, nobody used earplugs in those days.
SH: Everybody got a headache? It’s like a torture…very dangerous.
GW: Yeah. I think we just did it for the first couple of numbers. We turned them down after that.
SH: At that time, they were one of the loudest bands in the world.
GW: They were. Phil Taylor’s drum monitor was a P.A. on its own. He used to have a bass, mid and horn for his drum fill. He had 5kW just for the drums. Lemmy had his own as well and we would have to build it and then turn it until he said stop and that would be the loudest and best position for him.
SH: Their ears were strong.
GW: No. They all suffered hearing loss later in life. I have as well, my right ear is down about 12% because I used to stand stage-left most of the time. Standing on a stage for two hours every night in front of a Marshall stack without earplugs will damage your ears.
SH: You found a lot of merchandise and tapes and treasures when you were clearing out Doug Smith’s basement. Did you take home any of the t-shirts or badges or caps?
GW: No, only the tapes. The t-shirts and merchandise were from old tours but Doug had to keep them for his tax records. Back then, if you ordered a thousand t-shirts and sold 950, you had to keep the others for a certain amount of time for tax and then after that, you had to destroy them and prove that you destroyed them. They gave me a couple of course but most of them went into storage and I never saw them again.
Lifestyle of Headbangers in the 1980s
Newspaper clipping of me, Ken and Lee.
SH: This is you and Barmy Army members…
GW: Ken (middle) was a Barmy Army member, one of the originals but Lee was an amateur photographer actually who went to lots of Rock gigs. He’s the guy who took me to my first Rock Goddess gig actually and introduced me to the band. Hold on…(Glenn goes and brings back his old cut-off)
My 1978 cut-off
SH: Wow! It still exists?
GW: I first had this in 1978. This was the first Girlschool Barmy Army badge. Very rare now. (pointing above)
SH: Where did you buy or trade in England at that time? In 1990, I went to Camden and Carnaby Street and there were some shops but they dealt with only patches and badges. Where there those shops in the early eighties?
GW: In the early eighties I was still living in Leicester there wasn’t much.
SH: Only concerts?
GW: Pretty much, yes. There would be bootleg stall outside gigs and then the official merchandise inside. There was one shop in Leicester you could go to that had patches but they were usually bands you didn’t like or that you had never seen. The Girlschool ones on here all came from Girlschool, the others came from gigs or maybe a shop in Soho. It was the mid-late eighties when shops started to open up and sell more Rock patches and stuff. If you watch any gigs from the 1970s, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin or any of those gigs, the audience were not wearing jackets with lots of patches on, they were only wearing t-shirts.
SH: It’s a good point because in the early eighties, it seems that there were many people doing embroidery themselves.
GW: That’s right. The big Girlschool logo here is from the first single and my Mum embroidered it for me. On the back, I painted the Yes Tormato album cover for the two shows they did at Wembley on October 28th, 1978. They did two shows in one day – I saw both – and the ‘Ten True Summers’ across the top is because it was their tenth anniversary.
Girlschool Take It All Away single
Mum embroidered Girlschool patch
I painted the rear for Yes’s 10th anniversary shows in 1978
SH: I did the same with my jacket! Every stud the same! (big smile)
GW: I know you did and it’s a work of art.
SH: Thank you! Was this British culture from 1960s? There were many Motorcycle clubs with embroidery and patches and also Mods had badges.
GW: They did but they were not band badges. They would be the Union Flag or places or something else but not bands. It was more about the image for those people but you raised a very interesting point that I’ve never thought of before and that is that the NWOBHM really did escalate the patches and badges on jackets fashion.
The 7” cover of Girlschool’s Nothing to Lose and Satoshi’s jacket
Part II next month