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Episode 48.  The Satoshi Tapes Pt. 2

Part two and by now the beer is flowing well and we have had a selection of music playing Satoshi loves and some of my rather obscure choices. On with the show...

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A very happy Satoshi (actually, he's always happy) with Girlschool


The Girlschool Barmy Army


SH: This part for me is very important. I watched the Girlschool Channel 4 TV program, Play At Home and I saw you were eating breakfast with Girlschool…


GW: That was Ash, myself and Pete Jupp who wasn’t in the Barmy Army but the drummer in Samson. Now of course he’s in FM.


GW: Really?! Wow! I didn’t know. The Barmy Army is credited on that program as well as Greybrey Management. You wrote that there were twelve original members, please tell me about them and what you did. In 1979, you met Ash and Newcy for the first time at the Raven Hotel and you all formed the Barmy Girlschool Army…


GW: It was about twelve, it’s difficult to put an actual number on it because some came and went early on. The first of us were Ash and Newcy and they started the Barmy Army chant at a gig I wasn’t at; it was a few days before the Raven Hotel gig and they adopted the name at the same time. They started singing it at the Raven Hotel and I thought ‘Oh that’s good!’ and I joined in. Then of course, the others who I hadn’t met yet, joined in as well at different gigs and we sort of fell together at some point. Ash was from Kingston, Newcy from Norbiton, both in Surrey. I was from Leicester, there was also Jeff from Morden in South London, Jabz and Doug from West London and Ken who was a milkman from Abbey Wood which is in South-east London. Mick and Flash, two absolute lunatics from Tamworth started coming early as well but they became bigger fans of Tank than Girlschool and so started following Tank around instead. You have to remember that the girls were not in the slightest bit famous back then so we used to travel around the country on trains or hitchhike to the gigs, turn up early, help Tim and Pete who were their road crew carry the gear in and then they’d put us on the guest list. We all became instant mates from Day 1 and remain so to this day. Incidentally, Jeff is now the bass player in Sacrilege. In 1980, Mark joined us from Derby and Shane from Gloucester; he rode a motorbike to the gigs. That was pretty much the hard-core of it with others coming occasionally but they were all honorary members we recognised. As the band got bigger, more and more came and a fair few travelled every weekend but it was the guys above that really were the centre of it and the girls always acknowledged and appreciated that. They still do. It was always just us singing though, never the rest of the audience.

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Jabz, me, Enid, Ash holding an empty bottle of vodka on Enid's head and Mark in Chelmsford, 1981

SH: How many people in the audience in the early days?


GW: Fifty sometimes, a hundred maybe.


SH: And five or six Barmy Army singing?


GW: Yes. When the girls got bigger, signing to Bronze Records and doing larger venues, it was Sue Manley who was Doug Smith’s assistant who suggested we do a Barmy Army Fan Club. Sue was really sexy, short blonde hair, great figure, wore short skirts, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels.


SH: A Metal Queen?


GW: Yes, before Metal Queens were invented! Anyway, Sue asked me after one gig if I’d like to run the Fan Club but I couldn’t because I had no time and I also had no idea how to run a fan club. I did offer to help and ended up doing some bits and pieces to get it off the ground, hence my membership certificate 002. Ash was 001, Newcy by this time had stopped coming to the gigs and we didn’t really know where he was.

My Barmy Girlschool Army membership certificate


SH: Wow! I am so moved! So nice! So the Barmy Army became the official fan club?


GW: Yes. Those are the girls’ real signatures on it as well. They signed every certificate.


SH: Did you make badges or do you have any other original pins or t.shirts or anything?


GW: I don’t but the BGA member Doug I mentioned above, has kept everything. Doug has kept every badge, scarf, t.shirt, ticket…everything. You won’t find him on social media as he lives on a farm, miles from anywhere and hates the 21st century so if you want to talk to him, you’ll have to fly to England, rent a car and go to his farm. You’ll be there for a couple of days though, his house home is a museum of the 60s and 70s.


SH: In an article you mentioned John who designed the original winged logo and had a flag at Reading with the design on it. What can you tell me about him? Was he a BGA member?


GW: My memory of John is very vague. He used to come with a friend from St. Albans and he was one of those who was not there at the start of the BGA but came soon after but he also dropped out of coming to gigs quite quickly. I think he was around for a year or so. He was a very good graphic artist and he only had one arm. He designed the winged logo for badges and then turned it into the curved winged logo for the backdrop as well but I don’t know if he did anything for any other bands. I don’t think he did. We lost touch with him in 1982 and he was a lovely bloke.


SH: The BGA followed Girlschool from 1979 to Screaming Blue Murder in June 1982. How did you feel about them when they went to America in 1983 and got success with Scorpions and Iron Maiden and other bands? You couldn’t see them in the UK.


GW: I was happy for them, very happy for them. By then I had moved to London and was working as a roadie and the original members of the BGA had all moved on in their lives so none of us really had the time to travel around the country anymore. I remember being at Reading Festival with Ash in 1981 when Girlschool headlined the Friday night and there were flags being waved that said ‘Barmy Army Manchester Division’ and ‘Nottingham Barmy Army’ and we had no idea who those people were. 30,000 people watched them that night and I think we both thought that life was moving forward for all of us.


SH: It’s false Barmy Army?


GW: Not false because it’s just a name but we thought ‘What happened? Why are we not part of this?’ Of course, we were part of it – we started it – but it was an odd, almost uncomfortable feeling to see it being taken away from us. From 200 people in a small hall to 30,000 at Reading was just two years but two years of great fun and friends made for life. We all went to a lot of gigs on the 1982 UK tour but by 1983, we had other priorities in life. Ash had formed his own company, I was with Rock Goddess, Jeff was married or about to get married…life moves on. I still saw Girlschool socially whenever they were not touring and I’d go to the London shows but the original BGA didn’t meet up unless it was at a Girlschool gig in London. Girlschool changed as well of course. Bands back then had to move on to survive and they went for a more polished American production on Play Dirty which is a great album and should have really broken them big in the USA but it wasn’t the Girlschool that I used to go and see. That’s not a criticism, just an observation and most NWOBHM bands were going that way to try and survive as the British market wasn’t big enough financially. So in answer to your original question, I thought they did the right thing and was glad that they started to get some recognition over in America.


Leader Of The Gang


SH: In 1986 you were a Girlschool roadie. Gary Glitter is in prison now but he was a very big Pop star. Leader Of The Gang was a No. 1 record for him in the UK in 1972 and then Girlschool recorded the song and released it as a single in 1986. I like the promotional video because it is just fun.

Leader of the Gang PV. At 2:17, that’s me at the back on the left with my arms folded watching the arm wrestling.


SH: You wrote there was some trouble. What happened?


GW: There was no trouble between Girlschool and Gary Glitter – they all got along fine. I was a fan of his in the early seventies when I was a kid and bought his records so when they said they were going to record with him, I got quite excited. One night after recording, Gary was going to a nightclub and asked if anyone wanted to go. The girls all declined for various reasons but I said yes because I was a fan and you must remember of course that this was over a decade before anyone knew he was a sex offender.


SH: Nobody knew?


GW: I’m sure some people did but the British public didn’t. There was no way anybody would have worked with him if they knew. Anyway, we go to this nightclub, I think it was Legends or The Limelight or somewhere like that but anyway, we go in and Gary gets the star treatment. We are escorted to the VIP area, bottle of champagne and all that and I’m just tagging along having fun. Beautiful ladies coming over and saying hello and I’m talking to one of them when suddenly this guy comes over and starts shouting at Gary. The guy was really drunk and I couldn’t understand what he was shouting about but Gary was cool and just tried to ignore him but the guy just kept shouting at him. Then Gary said we should leave and as we stood up to go, the guy hits Gary on the chin. Gary falls over and three bouncers immediately jump on the drunk and drag him away. We leave, Gary is ok, laughs it off and we get taxis home. It was reported in the newspaper that Gary started the fight but that was a complete lie. He told me to forget it; that was the British media for you.


SH: I read your travelogue of the European tour and was very moved when I read the story between you and the Eastern European crew. He cried with happiness when he received guitar strings from you because he could not buy them there and it was then you started to understand what the Iron Curtain was.


GW: Yes I did.

SH: At that time, Girlschool had signed to GWR records and they were doing a lot of shows in 1986 and 1987. They did shows with Motorhead and released Take A Bite in 1988 and toured with Gary Glitter and in 1989 they toured Europe with Dio. Where you on all those tours as well?

GW: No, I left Girlschool in 1987.

SH: Why? It was your favourite band?


GW: Back then, when you were a roadie, you were self-employed.


SH: Freelance.

GW: Yes so you go where you think you can progress in life. I had been with Girlschool for a couple of years and their manager had never increased my wages even though he kept promising he would so when a better offer financially came along, I took it. I really didn’t want to but I had to. I only got paid by Girlschool’s manager for rehearsals, studio time and gigs and that totaled about half a year so for six months of the year, I didn’t get paid by the management. When someone comes along with a better offer, financially more stable albeit, Vow Wow or Scott Gorham or whoever, you take it. It’s no different to a normal job. If another company offers you a higher salary, with better prospects, you change companies.


Scott Gorham


SH: How did you meet Scott Gorham the first time?


GW: I first met him when we did the Phenomena II album which would have been 1986 or 1987. You know, all people in the music business have the same problem in that we can’t remember years. If you say to Paul McCartney ‘Revolver’ he probably can think of that era but if you say ‘1966’ he would have difficulty recalling events of that year. Anyway, back to your question, Phenomena II I think was 1987. I was with Vow Wow then and Kyoji and Toshi played on that album.


SH: How did you come to work with Scott?


GW: I think it might have been Tony Bateman who I did a few tours with who called me and told me that I lived near Scott – we were only about 20 minutes’ walk apart – and he said Scott had a problem with a guitar and could I go and have a look at it. As it happens, someone sent me the guitar, I fixed the problem and sent it back and then, only a few weeks later, when Tom Galley who was the producer of the Phenomena records was preparing to do Phenomena III, someone put my name forward for the gig to Tom. As Scott was the main guitarist, Tom asked Scott if he knew who I was would he be ok with me being the equipment guy in the studio and Scott replied ‘Yeah, he’s just fixed one of my guitars’. Tom then asked me if I’d like to go to Denmark to do the sessions.


SH: How long did you work with him? One or two years?


GW: Much less than that. I did the Phenomena III rehearsals and sessions and then he formed Western Front. I was with him for some studio work and a few rehearsals on that but the band never got going. It eventually sort of morphed into 21 Guns. I was probably with him a few months on and off.


SH: Scott told you about The Greedy Bastards, Thin Lizzy and the Sex Pistols. I have never heard of this band…


GW: Really!?


SH: No, I’m not a big fan of Sex Pistols. What kind of a band was it?


GW: It was a very short-lived group around Christmas in 1978. Phil and Scott from Thin Lizzy and Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Pistols but there were sometimes other members who played with them live. They only did one record, a Christmas single and the name of the band on it was The Greedies because the BBC wouldn’t allow the word ‘Bastard’ on the radio. Brian Downey is credited playing drums on that and I don’t know why as Paul Cook was the Pistols drummer and he’s also credited. For gigs – and there were not many gigs, probably three or four – Gary Moore sometimes played as did Chris Spedding, Jimmy Bain…some others as well. It was a very loose band. The name, The Greedy Bastards was a joke and they put the ticket t.shirt prices really high never really thinking that people would pay it but of course they did. I think the whole thing lasted two months. I never saw them play but I wish I had.

The Greedies play on The Kenny Everett New Year Special 1979.

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