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Animal - Anti-Nowhere League - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Matt Phelps   
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 05:00

animalheaderuse

 

As 2010 draws to an end Anti-Nowhere League are preparing to see out the year in style. Celebrating thirty expletive laden years of punk rock excellence the Tunbridge Wells hellraisers have lined up an explosive end of year party in their home town on December 18th at the Forum. I got to meet up with the living legend that is frontman Animal ahead of the League's recent Bristol show to talk about early influences, future plans and just what Lemmy thought of the whole League goes new wave phase in 1987.

 


Animal, Thanks for meeting with me today. Big question first. Thirty years of Anti-Nowhere League! How does it feel?


Um... well it's funny cos last week I went to see our old manager. Back from thirty years ago. Went up to London to see him, hadn't seen him for probably twenty five years so went up and was reminiscing about what it was like when we started. Remembering when we all turned up on motorbikes and set ourselves up in his office and how we were so unusual at the time being bikers and Winston was a sort of thug for the National Front. About how we captured the moment then....but I always felt, and I still do, that because we were pushed out really quickly we were not ready. We were not ready musically, we were not ready in ourselves and I feel much happier thirty years on that I now feel ready for anything where as thirty years ago I didn't, everything feels better now. We walk on the stage now confident that musically we're gonna be spot on where as in theanimal1 old days we were lucky if we could just finish the set. Obviously we were drunk and out of our heads and everything in the old days and we had fun but it wasn't musically much to enjoy. The difference now, answering your question, is that I feel everything has come on and I'm happy with everything I do.


I've heard you say there's more of a camaraderie these days between yourselves and the other bands.


Absolutely. It's more fun now instead of fighting with everybody, which we used to do in the old days. Everyone was sort of geeing for position of who was the best punk band, you know? Who was best, who was shit, who shouldn't be there. To us that was the fun of it, music was like oh fuck we're in the middle of all this we'd better write some songs, it wasn't important at all. Fighting with the bands was as common as fighting with anybody. But now the people who've done the test of time like Colin from GBH or Beki Bondage, we do chat now about good things (laughs). We'll sit down for half an hour or so and genuinely chat about good times. Being an old man punk has its good side.


How do you feel seeing all the younger generations of punks coming through.


I personally think that the punk stage is fantastic to get up on for everybody up and coming. If you haven't got a punk stage you haven't got any stage. To be honest the kids all pick up a guitar and suddenly think they're gonna earn a million pound, that's quite normal. They think ah shit I'll play a couple of chords and I'll be better than anyone else in the world and that's the normal attitude. And on the punk stage it gives you a chance to learn your stage craft you know? People will be like Oh fuck off you're shit and that's how you learn your craft, you have to do that, you have to roll with the punches of the hecklers. It's not easy, you're not gonna get up on stage and suddenly someone will say shit you're great here's a million pound, there's hard work involved. I think if kids pass the test of time and carry on then I think there's a good chance that they'll enjoy it like we enjoy it. But if you're after money don't get on the punk stage. If you want fame and money then go to the X Factor because you'll never get it in the punk scene. On one hand it's good because you can get on a stage and get up with your band and play places like Blackpool with the Rebellion festival and all these other big festivals, get with a band like us travelling around and play as support, but on the other you are damned. You are damned and to rise above it you've gotta be fuckin' good and the only way you're gonna get fuckin' good is to work hard. It ain't gonna drop in your lap nowadays, every man and his dog's in a band, it's simple it's just work work work. I mean my one hour on stage is 23 hours fuckin' workin' for this band. It's not a given right. I love playin' in a band, I love walkin' on the stage, I love being with the guys, I've always been in gangs but I don't think it's easy and there's certainly no money in it, easy money. You wanna earn a quid you gotta fuckin' earn it. (laughs)

animal2
So what other things do you do for money? I heard you're a builder?


Yeah I build. My old man was a builder. I do anything to earn some money. I write books, I write albums and I write a lot of stuff at home. Anything I can do to earn some money I will do. To be able to keep goin' with the band. I'll build walls, do roofin' jobs, anything so that it enables the band to keep going.


Going back to the word 'books' there. Are you writing your book?


Absolutely, yeah.


Well when will it be out cos we've heard about it for so long and it's never been finished.


Yeah I know. I actually got back into it the other week. I said to the missus that I've really gotta move on it. I keep making notes all the time every few years, notes notes notes, but now I've actually started putting it down in form. I'm right into it now at the moment. All the memories are flooding back. I'm gonna try and do half the book before I even come to the band. It's gonna be how I grew up, what it was like in school and what I rebelled against. It'll be a bit like the 'Road To Rampton' album, which was our last album. The story of growing up in this new age and at the moment, in my book, I'm in prison (laughs). I'm enjoying writing it as well. Obviously I've written fuck loads of songs over the years and albums and stuff and that gets you in the mode to write. I've always liked writing. I can't speak very well, and I shout a lot but I actually do like writing. I like writing songs. I like writing everything in my head instead of getting really angry about things cos obviously that got me into trouble in the past. Ended up in Her Majesty's service because of my mouth getting me into trouble. Things are easier now for me, the band has always been therapy for me anyway. I've always used it as that, get on stage and chuck your anger out you know? The band actually burns me out and satisfies me to the next show. And I do that with writing, if I get frustrated I sit down and write, and I'll write possibly a couple of songs in just one session. I let it out and the book's gonna be something like that. It's gonna be a fuckin' long book I know that (laughs). There's another couple of things I wanna do after, a couple of fiction things I wanna write. I think what I'll do is once I got through the life story thing is I'm gonna start some fiction books. So yeah I do like writing, for me personally it's therapy.


So 'Road To Rampton' for those who don't know is pretty much a concept album based on your life, growing up, family troubles, drinking and run ins with the law etc. How did you decide you wanted to do something so personal so openly and when did that idea really start to take shape?


Well you know I actually started writing the Rampton album in the early eighties. It was always in my mind so that's when half of it was formulated, back then. But obviously it didn't have much commercial use. Nobody really was gonna give a fuck about what I did when I was younger but I wanted to let it out, I wanted to do it. Obviously starting our own record label like we did, which I happened to run, I said right we'll do this. Obviously it's an expensive project to take it into a studio. I knew it was never going to set the world on fire just that it was a release of something I wanted to put down. The story of Johnny Punk, right up to the end where he ends up in Rampton, which is where all the screws said I would end up, they said I was violent and criminally insaneAntiNowhereLeague-TheRoadToRampton (laughs). They just didn't understand me, like most people. When I left the last lock up I had they said "You'll be back" and I knew I wouldn't. But they did say that I was gonna end up in a violent mental institution. So Rampton, the end of the song, is the place I never actually got too. All the court room scenes, everything that happened is exactly the way it was all through that album, but I knew it wasn't a commercial thing. It was just one of those things that's done and dusted now.


I did want to do a live show of it. I did want to do one show, somewhere in the centre of England. Just go full works you know? Full light show and all the different people, different stages of everything, the bike gangs and the punks. I really wanted to just do one big stage show, but finances don't support it, we looked into it but they don't. If the album had sold and did more then who knows. I think people like it but would they pay a serious amount of money to go and see it live? I'm still not sure. But I would love to do just one big one with all backing vocalists and stuff. One big punk, massive sort of like stage show that would take about five hours. That's what I would like to do but who knows?


I was going to ask what you thought about that idea because Green Day have just taken 'American Idiot' to Broadway haven't they? In a kind of 'We Will Rock You' show.


Oh have they? I get pipped at the post always mate (laughs). I didn't know that, I've always been pipped at the post. Johnny Rotten's got a book out now, all his life story, ah fuck you you cunt just getting into mine now and I've gotta follow your fuckin' arse again. This is the thing, an old saying Magoo always used to say, if something ain't been done before it ain't worth doing. I think we're all individuals and we'll all do our own bit but Green Day will have a fuck load more money to put into animal3it and it'll be magnificent and fantastic where as ours would be on a shoestring. You never know they may look at it one day and give us a few quid. Metallica might look at it and give us a few quid (laughs)


Going back to the Rampton album and you talking about being misunderstood when you were younger. I like the bit in the sleeve notes where you thank you music teacher who told you to go and feed the pigs. Did music play much of a part in your life back then?


Well it's funny, In my book I wrote all about the teachers at school and that but my music teacher did understand that I liked music, he did understand that, but he knew I couldn't do it. I tried desperately but he thought I was tone deaf. Singing 'Row Row Row Your Boat' doesn't light your fire so singing that doesn't do anything. He did though understand that I liked music. In my book I've actually said that the first time that I really got involved with music was through a Jamaican friend of mine. We used to work on a farm as kids to earn some money and this Jamaican mate of mine used to obviously be into reggae and he used to stand in front of the tractor and say "Can you feel that?, Can you feel that?" I'd be like what the fuck's he talking about and he'd say "That's rhythm! that's why you're a dumb white boy" (laughs). I'd think what's he talking about, fucking rhythm, and then he'd sing to the tractor ticking over. He'd sing to it and say "That's rhythm." I learnt that standing in front of that tractor. I find lyrics come very easily to me, I can get angry about something and just write it down. I can instantly sing a song to a rhythm, to a beat, I've always found that easy. It just throws a little picture up in my mind, I just see something and then just say what I see. So any music, anything, even a tractor ticking over will suddenly throw a picture up and that's due to my Jamaican mate. I couldn't bear being called dumb white boy any more (laughs).


Do you actually play any instruments yourself then? I heard Magoo tried to teach you guitar but you couldn't get it.


I did try but my hands are too big and I'm too stuck in my own world. To look inside my brain is a bit of a dustbin of rubbish.  I think, and I don't mean this against guitarists, but they're in their own world. I think guitarists are usually people who don't sort of get on with other people and they fold back into themselves and become great guitarists. I'm quite open with people. I tried the guitar for a bit, fuck my fingers are too fat put it down I'll try something else you know? I've always had an imagination that's the thing. I've always been a bit scared of what pops up in my head sometimes. That's the way it is.


Going back to running your own label. You set up Nowhere Records back in 2006 because Captain Oi wouldn't release 'The Day The World Turned Gay' and 'The Adventures Of Peter Vile'.


Yeah that's right. Mark from Captain Oi said that if we were all young and didn't have any houses and troubles we'd take it on but he said I can't, I can't afford any sort of legal battle. I said well I can't really but I'm not saying anything nasty am I? He said legally, there's a term or something, that I was being unsociable to minority groups or something I dunno. Some fuckin' thing. He couldn't take it on so yeah we did start Nowhere Records and that was going to be our flagship. We had backers, financial backers, and we were gonna put our own albums out as well as young up and coming kids. But the age we're in, everyone downloads everything for nothing, you start making animal6albums, one goes out and then the whole world's got it. Financially a disaster you know? I've still got shit loads of albums sitting at home, I sell a few albums at the live shows but it's all downloads now, everything's downloads. It was a bit of a non starter really. I think if the financial backers hadn't have pulled out because of modern age we could've kept it going but it's too much grief. Too much grief with the tax man and accountants and everything just to sell a couple albums. I've got more to do with my life than talk to accountants and fuckin' tax men.


It's a double edged sword I suppose the internet isn't it? It gets the name of the band out there but doesn't guarantee an income.


Yeah, hopefully people will come along to the shows and if they like the album they'll buy it, that's what you do it for if only to keep the iron hot. We put the last thing out, 'Skull And Bones', up on the site with a little video and that and we plan to do another one and just keep things live and hopefully people will come along just cos they like what we're doing. I still think there's still a shit load I gotta do and I'm not ready to give up the ghost yet.


How about a DVD? You must have plenty of footage put away.


Yeah we'd like to do something like that one day, maybe put all the singles on a DVD. I did also want to do the 'Road To Rampton' album a lot more, do some more videos from that. 'Never Drink Alone' was one I desperately wanted to do as well as the court room scene in 'At The End Of The Day'. The Judge actually did say to me that in all his time he'd never seen anything like it and the prosecuter did say that this man is positively mad put him away you honour, you may as animal400well put him down. It was quite real and that's the way it happened and I wanted to do that in the video, I desperately wanted to do the court room scene with the Judge looking down his glasses at me.


So do you feel that having the band saved you? Kept you away from that path so to speak?


I think if I didn't have the band and I still hung out with outlaw bikers and stuff I could have very easily gone the other way and ended up doing life. I'm not saying I would've done it but it easily could've be done. You can slip very easily away from yourself before you put your hands up and go whoa I'm out of control.


So the band is like therapy in a way. Gives you somewhere to release that anger and aggression into something positive?


Absolutely. When Animal walks on the stage I stay way back. Believe me. I was always confused in the early days, thinking shit what's all this about. Then I remember hearing Alice Cooper saying you don't think that's me who walks onto that stage do ya, that's Alice. After hearing that I could put very easily Animal and Nick side by side. I don't have any mental problems. But in my younger days, my fury days, I felt like my head was exploding. Like what the fuck is going on here? I kept getting into trouble and getting into fights and I didn't understand why I was so aggressive. I say it's a dark side and it is a dark side, a lot of people have got it you know? But now I don't get into those postitions, Nick doesn't get into those positions but Animal is let loose. That's how I've always handled it from the early days, since about a year into the band when I heard Alice say that then I understood. But in the beginning I didn't understand so was just taking more drugs to try and calm myself down. And you know, drug scene is obviously something else. Getting well out of control but it's not now. Nothing now. One of these now (laughs and tosses an apple in the air).


What are your memories of the whole 'Perfect Crime' era then?


Well it was a point where we were all spaced out I suppose, washed up with nowhere to go in a way. We'd been selling millions of albums but we were still skint. The record company was keeping us skint so all of a sudden we suddenly thought wow, new wave thing that's where the money is. We did a silly thing, we started thinking that we were new wave. Bad bad move. Lemmy fromCrime Motorhead said to me "Your album's shit!" I mean we were mates Lemmy and I and I said what do you reckon of the new album? He said "It's shit isn't it, fucking shit! You never used to be but you're fucking shit aren't you now." Thing is he was right. So we did that and then wondered why we had nowhere to go. Where as Motorhead have stuck where they stuck, the Ramones stuck where they stuck and everybody else stuck where they were we decided that we were gonna head for the money. But it got very boring and very stale very quickly and I didn't realise that. The punk side was so exciting but we ended up being boring, that's why we quit. After that we just quit.


We were saying before about you balancing your character like Alice. Your years away from the scene then, from '89 when you did your farewell show until '92 when you joined Metallica on stage at Wembley Arena, Were you off stage all that time?


Yeah.


How did that feel? How did you cope with it?


Well believe it or not I went back to college. Went back to college, I never went to college, I went TO college. My old man had a building firm and I wanted to learn man management skills and stuff so I went to agricultural college to learn Grade A man management. Without getting too personal obviously I'd just recently married, I had a family and stuff and I had to bring an income in. The building trade is not the easiest trade to guarantee being able to pay a mortgage or support the little mouths you have to feed so I thought I'd teach myself something. I tried it for a few years, was the manager of a company and it was alright, but then the rot comes in again you know? I tried, and I said to my missus look I have tried, I tried to do everything but then I went back to bouncing in night clubs cos that was what I was good at (laughs). Sitting behind a desk? I did try, I desperately tried. I had a company car and I had , you know, a "career" shall we say and I tried but the rot does start creeping in again. It's not the fact I didn't have the band and not being able to release myself on stage it was the fact that I knew I couldn't be normal. After a couple of years I said to the missus I cant do this any more, I just cannot do this any more. She said well who's gonna feed the kids and how are we gonna pay the bills. I said don't worry about that, I'll do that, but I just can not do this life any more, I can't be normal. Then I got back into the building trade, got back into working in night clubs and I got back into the thuggery side of things a bit more and then Metallica popped up covering 'So What'. The rest is history. They redirected me. It was them that said what the fuck are you doing. I said I've quit now haven't I, I don't do stage work any more. "Getcha band back on the road man!" That was it really. I had the taste, the bug again, but more strong than I did before. Before there was no future but now you could see the future, the future was just being in the band. Before you kept reaching for the stars and thinking everybody else is doing these wonderful things why the fuck am I scrumaging round in a shit hole, well we are what we are aren't ANWL_2we. So I did take time out to try and be normal. I put on my site that I went mental, but it was just that I went normal. I tried desperately to be normal. I tried for the sake of feeding my young offspring to be normal.


What are you memories of that show with Metallica then? Was it the crowd that got you or just being up there playing music again?


What turned me on again? Well I must admit being a bit of a bread head, that's why I work and stuff, I suddenly saw these guys and I didn't really know Metallica, it's well known that I didn't know them, but going up there and being involved with it, they've got chefs and they've got money and great big set up. I mean I had played at Wembley Arena before, I played there with Big Country and I felt like this is where I belong. Not necessarily there of course, although I'd love to be at Wembley cos their sound system is fantastic but just on stage you know. This is my life, I've always just enjoyed the fact of being on stage. I must admit the money was tempting. They wanted me to go on tour with them. Go around on their jet and be a guest each night around the world on their tour. I thought well I don't want to out stay my welcome but I was tempted. I thought silly old fucker, go up to Wembley and stand on with them but I still had memories of punk days with people shouting "Fuck off you tosser!" and I didn't really wanna be stuck over in Japan with everyone shouting tosser or whatever and me thinking fuck, what am I doing here I should be at home (laughs). But you know it did turn me on again and they are a good bunch of blokes, I mean I didn't know them but they were just a bunch of rock 'n' roll guys. I don't like that many people in this business, there's not that many people who I'd say I really enjoy the company of. On our circuit yeah but not on the world stage. I've always been looked down on by them, they've always thought I was a piece of shit and I've always thought they were tossers so never the twain shall meet. Metallica though, taking us on board, under their wing so to speak, telling us that they couldn't put the song down and they fuckin' loved it were just a great bunch of blokes. It was Slash who told them first to do it as a cover because Guns N' Roses had just done 'I Hate People' but Axl dropped that cos he couldn't sing it properly, well Axl can't fuckin' sing anyway can he? (laughs). It was nice that they were all talking about us. Also about that same sort of time, just before I think, I was up in the snow cutting some roofing out on a building job, hood on and everything up in the snow having to get this job done and I had the radio on. They were talking on there about collecting records and this guy calls in saying Oh I've got Anti-Nowhere League Live in Yugoslavia is it worth anything? I'm thinking what's this guy on fuckin' Radio 1 gonna know about Anti-Nowhere League and he starts going Well it depends, if it's the one with the bleeped version....or if it's the one with the...blah blah blah and he knew everything about the bloody album and I knew fuck all. (laughs) I thought this ain't right, they're all talking about my records and I'm sat here on a fuckin' roof in the snow you know? There was a few things that lead me back, obviously Metallica was the main influence but there was a few things. I tried beinganimal9 normal, couldn't be, the stage was calling me again. The writing side of it too. I still like writing songs. There's still times when I jump up and in the middle of the night with things going through my head and I have to write them down. I don't sleep soundly a lot of the time. Voices in my head. (laughs)


Do you still see new fans getting into the band today then because of Metallica? Or has your crowd changed at all because of it?


No No, I don't think it means anything to the crowd at all that I wrote the song. It means fuck all. The only badge it gives me is if I'm somewhere in a pub and some people will go, 'ere, the bloke shared a stage with Metallica, he sang at Wembley with Metallica. That is the only badge of honour I get from it. I remember standing in a bar in Germany and this bloke was going Yar Yar Metallica zey do So What and I said yeah I wrote that song. He was like yeah but Metallica did a song called So What, I said yeah I wrote that one they did. He goes yeah you did a song called So What but Metallica did a song called So What also. I told him about 5 or 6 times then thought oh fuck it forget it yeah you're right Metallica wrote it (laughs). It doesn't register that an old punk can write something for their heroes, their rock gods. It doesn't give me any free passes anywhere, I'm just a bit of a novelty around the town for the young metalheads who say fuckin' hell that bloke sang with Metallica. That's about it really. It's not something I wear as a badge.


There's plenty of other bands that have covered your songs over the years. Wolfsbane - 'For You', Sodom - 'Let's Break The Law'. What do you think of that?


Yeah Yeah over the years there's been loads. I do like Lars Frederiksen's one of 'For You'. I do like them when they do them really good and I do think shit, that ain't bad is it? I get a buzz out of it but as for the money side of it you'd drive yourself mad if you tried to collect royalties and chasing people about. It's just the fun side of it you know? Every time somebody covers your song, well, it's cool. We were having joke on the way up here today cos Robbie Williams drinks down our local now. He's come to Tunbridge Wells now, they're all coming down to Tunbridge Wells for some reason. The Presley girl, Lisa Marie, she's got a house near there, Robbie Williams, there's fuckin' loads of them. Paul Weller was in the pub the other night, some reason they're all coming to Tunbridge Wells. So we said I'll be in the pub one night and have Robbie Williams come up and ANWL_1say you know I really love your song 'Unwanted', me and Gary are gonna cover that. I said then I'll be a happy boy. I'll probably end up saying fuck off Williams go and write your own fuckin' song (laughs)


How do you choose your covers then? You've done a fair few. 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves' Why that one?


It's just a fun song really. Putting the Anti-Nowhere League mark on it.


So it doesn't mean anything to you?


Only that I don't like fuckin' gypsies much, I've had enough fights with them and that "OI GYPO!" really means something. I've had enough fights with the fuckers and they with me. Being on the night club doors I had quite a reputation so was often in conflab with them (laughs) It was just the fact that it was another type of folky song and was just a bit of fun. Most of the covers we do are just a bit of fun, nothing more, nothing less. A five minute wonder, do it, record it, play it then drop it never to be seen again.


You talked a bit about your early influence from reggae but what would you say are the top five records that went into shaping who you are musically?


Well the first record I bought was 'Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys' by The Equals. I was really into reggae after that. I was really into reggae. Most of the time I had the Tighten Up albums and Edwin Starr amd stuff which I really did love and in a way I think they forged me musically. You can't see any reggae in my stuff but musically they forged me. And I think when glam rock came along I saw there was a stage. I think if we'd started earlier and I wasn't so foul mouthed I could've been a glam rocker cos I did love that whole thing. I loved Bryan ferry, T-Rex, Bowie and all that, I loved all that, that whole music time. I was a young biker and when you're younger music is like magic ain't it, you can just see yourself on the world stage there. Obviously as we got heavily into being bikers the music got heavier but it didn't really turn me on, Black Sabbath and things like that, but I still got off on Status Quo and things you know, being a grebo, biker. I didn't really turn on to all the metal music, I didn't really do that. Then I heard The Clash, The Stranglers. I think The Stranglers was probably the first one, 'Hanging Around', we had that on our club jukebox, that really did cut. Toanimal5 me I think 'Hanging Around' was what really got me thinking I can do this. It wasn't the Sex Pistols, I didn't really like them, it was The Stranglers and The Ruts that really made me feel I could do it.


With me though I don't really think the music is the most important thing. Although when I play live it's most important cos people come along pay their money but for me personally it's emptying my brain. Whether I do it in poetry or books or write it in songs I have to empty it somewhere. I never sit back and think wow that's a great song I wrote, I just think it's another little bit out the door. Just another bit which is gone and I don't think I really love music. I'm trying to think now whether I do really love any type of music, depends what mood I'm in. I think Johnny Rotten said something similar to that as well the cunt (laughs) You don't ever sit there and say right I'm gonna listen to Abba and not listen to anything else cos Abba's the only music. You don't do that you just say Oh I like that, what's that? Oh fuck me I shouldn't tell any one I like that (laughs) It's whatever you know, like any other person you just like music, a good song's a good song init.


I don't sit at home listening to my stuff, then again I don't listen to most stuff really. I don't really listen or use anybody as any guide. It doesn't help me as a song writer to listen to other people. I'll just end up writing their songs again won't I, but just a bad version (laughs)

 
So at the end of the day when your epitaph has been written, what would you like it to say?
 

Here lies Nick Culmer...So What! I think that sums it up, that's what it'll be on my stone. I've told my kids that, I just want you to put "Here Lies Nick Culmer...So What!" I do think I will be remembered in the town possibly when I'm gone not while I'm there. In our local bit I'm still sort of known as the bad boy. I'm never written about, I'm not allowed to be put up on any pedestal. In Tunbridge Wells they don't really want a hero of a yobo, motorbike riding, punk rock singer. Although Sid Vicious came out of Tunbridge Wells, he was a Tunbridge Wells lad, he was schooled there. I knew him in his school days. Shane from The Pogues, he's a Tunbridge Wells boy. He was born in Tunbridge Wells I think, he used to be drunk up our local grounds when we were grebos. There's a lot of people around who they do use as sort of like heroes but not us. animal8Even though I think we're the longest band to ever come out of Tunbridge Wells, biggest and longest band, we're not allowed to be talked about. It's all hush hush. I do think when I'm dead and gone they'll probably think Oh we'd better mention him somewhere. Name a pub after me, even though I'm not allowed in most of them (laughs)

 
You're having your big end of year party/gig to celebrate your thirty years of the League there in December. Do you have any special plans since it's gonna be a special night?

 
Well I've gotta go and see the guys there and see what's possible. I don't know whether you've ever been in the Forum but it is a dirty shit hole. I thought we'd have some food in and stuff and they're saying you sure, you don't wanna eat in there, you usually come out ill. So I don't really know what we're gonna do, I gotta talk to the guy in there. I wanna do something for thirty years. We've got a big metal plaque up there on the wall. A big iron work of our fist logo which was made by a local metal worker. It's always sort of been our hang out but I don't know what to do. Whether we're just gonna have a lock in or whether it's gonna be comedians, strippers, something to make it a little more fun. It's gonna be Christmas so let's have some fun, you know? Depends on what we can get away with and what they'll allow us to do. We nearly had down there the Circus Of Bondage or something. Where these people pull themselves to pieces and make you all sick. Being an old man I wasn't too sure about it but they obviously stopped it anyway. It wasn't the Forum it was Tunbridge Wells, they weren't gonna have this travelling freak show come down and hang themselves up and bang six inch nails up their nostrils you know? (laughs) Anyway we'll come up with something. It's just what Tunbridge Wells will allow. It's always been like that which is why we are. I'm sure if I was born anywhere else there'd be no Anti-Nowhere League. Brought up in that environment, where you don't fit in, the old square peg in a round hole, you're gonna kick back ain't ya?

 
Last question then. You don't like many people in the business but who is the all time number one biggest, most arrogant cunt you've ever met?

 
It's gotta be Sting! He really is a complete cunt. We were tied up with their record label at one time and we were in America many years ago with them. But saying that, saying about my musical tastes, I do think he's the most fantastic song writer, his lyrics and the way he puts songs together, it's just that he's a complete cunt. I could never possibly tell people, tell him, that I think his song writting is one of the best. I do think he's a very clever musician, it's just a shame he's such a cunt. He is such a cunt. If anyone has the misfortune of actually talking to that arrogant cunt they will see it. We nearly beat him up one night. He was already on stage, we were waiting to go on stage, this was years ago, early days, and this girl stood up in front of him from the audience and says "Sting this is for you" and then cut her wrists in front of him. Slashed her wrists open and he just stepped over her and said "get this cleared off". Winston went for him and it all kicked off. He really is a...... I don't know. I'm glad I don't know people like that. I was brought up on the biker scene so I'manimal7 glad having met all these complete arseholes I'm glad I never had anything to do with them. I really am. If there's anything I'm really proud of when I look back is knowing that I hung out with some really good guys. Really good guys. And not had to bow down and kiss arse to any of these fuckers who really are pieces of shit.

 

I've always been anti social I suppose but it's not out of the blue, I don't make it up. I don't suddenly think Oh I know, I don't like you you know? They prove themselves long before I tell them. Yeah, so he's the worst one but there is a few who I have met who just think they are just so fuckin' good. They write a few songs and they think they're fuckin' Gods. I've never understood that. I've always thought you've gotta earn respect. It ain't your given right just cos you write a fuckin' song.


There's a few people I do like as well really. Roxy Music and people like that. Used to hang out with them in London years ago. Andy, the sax player from Roxy, he was a good ol' boy. Lemmy obviously. Him and I used to scrape around the streets of London for many a happy hour getting illegal substances. It's funny. We went to a Damned gig one night. He said "Fancy going to a Damned gig?. Now obviously Lemmy and I were a little bit worse for wear and (Dave) Vanian says come up on stage. Everyone was there, I can't remember who but there was loads of people from different bands there. Anyway we all got up there and he says we're doing 'Silver Machine' and I grabbed the mike and started singing, snatched it off of Lemmy cos I didn't think he knew the song (laughs). I'm there going "C'mon Lemmy, do you know this one?" He's looking at me as though I'm a complete cunt but I didn't know he had anything to do with the writing of it (laughs). It was really quite funny afterwards he says "You cunt, I was fuckin' in Hawkwind!" Oh yeah I forgot that (laughs). We used to have a lot of fun like that. That's the fun side of it, if you're lucky enough to be in a band. I mean there are a lot of genuine bands out there, you just don't wanna look too high up the ladder, they're not very nice up there. I've had a lot of good fortune to be involved with a lot of good people too. I don't know what they think of me though. I don't really think I care too much what people think of me though. Never have really. I learnt from a young age you gotta look after yourself. Look after your mates as well cos they're the ones who look after you.


Photo kudos to Tim Evans, Cyril Anand, Dod Morrison and Aleksandra Hawryluk