Vintage UK punks The Members are currently on tour and will be visiting New Zealand in November for three shows. The touring band (who have not been down this way since 1979) consists of original membersJC Carroll and Chris Payne, together with the legendary Mr Rat Scabies (ex The Damned) taking control of the drums.
I had the chance recently to sit down and have a chat (via phone interview) with the man himself, Rat Scabies, about his long career as a drummer and what he is up to currently.
First up, I asked Rat about his recent grail-hunting trip to France - sounds fascinating, I said. For those of you who haven't followed Rat in recent years, a book called Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail was released in 2005 which is the story of Rat and his neighbour on their hunt for, you guessed it, the Holy Grail. Rat told me he has just returned from a few weeks in France participating in this "grail-hunting". Bats were mentioned. And caves. Sounds like just the sort of story that would make for great TV, I said. Sadly, lack of funds thus far has prevented this gem from being filmed.
It seems Rat still loves to travel (whether while on tour or hunting grails). He said he has been to New Zealand a few times throughout his career; my first memory of seeing him live was at the Galaxy in Auckland back in the 80s with The Damned. He is really looking forward to spending a bit of time here in NZ on this tour, especially if it involves the drinking of wine. Interestingly, one of the reasons he agreed to this tour was so that he could explore the country a bit more.
But the person I really wanted to ask him was about Sid Vicious. Rat was in a band back in 1978 with none other than Sid himself, Glen Matlock and a certain young lady named Nancy Spungen on backing vocals. They got together to help raise some much-needed funds to send Sid over to New York and to revive his career after he left the Sex Pistols. It was also a way, Rat said, of showing the press that there were no hard feelings between Glen and Sid. The band was called the Vicious White Kids and they played a one-off gig at the Electric Ballroom in London. Their repertoire was so short, Rat noted, that they played their set, and then played it again. All the way through. Sadly both Sid and Nancy were never to return to London, both of them passed away within six months of this event.
Next up I asked Rat about his recent music career. He told me he had also been on tour with Brian James(another original member of The Damned) playing as Scabies & James. Their last show together was in early October in France. We have proved our point, said Rat of this recent tour, and now its time to move on to the next thing.
The next thing is, I believe, a tour down under with The Members. Rat has been touring with the boys since 2010 and is certainly enjoying theexperience. I asked him about the reaction they get from the fans at their gigs and he said it is an interesting mix - there are always the older crowd who love to get up and dance to the old original Members' numbers (Sound of the Suburbs, et al). "But there are loads of younger kids coming along as well, a new generation to impress. Sometimes it's hard to believe punk rock is still going strong after all these years," he said.
"To be honest," Rat said, "I'm still happy to be out there making music and being able to play drums with various bands - this has been and always will be my life." In fact all his children, he has two sons and one daughter, work in music/creative industries, his daughter is an aspiring actress. "Perhaps I should have talked to them about getting normal '9 to 5' jobs" he said. Oh no way, Mr Scabies, great to hear that they are following in their father's footsteps and can make money doing creative things that they love.
I checked with Rat to see if he is still in contact with the other members of his original band, The Damned. Obviously he still sees Brian, but he also said he is still in touch with Dave Vanian, and his wife Patricia (ex-Sisters of Mercy). He has great memories of touring with them both in past years.
And then my time was up - could probably have come up with questions all day if permitted, but rules are rules. So cool to be able to chat with such a legend - someone who has been in the music business for 35+ years and has known/played with many of the original punk rock greats. Thanks again Mr Scabies and looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks at the Kings Arms with The Members boys. I'll have that glass of wine ready as promised - red or white?
THE MEMBERS FEATURING THE LEGEND OF THE DAMNED - RAT SCABIES NZ TOUR
November 7th: Dux Live, Christchurch November 8th: Bodega, Wellington November 9th: Kings Arms, Auckland
Tickets on sale from www.undertheradar.co.nz; Real Groovy Records Auckland; Slow Boat Records andRough Peel Music, Wellington; Cosmic, Christchurch
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
The wait is almost over as Auckland City Limits is set to take place this Saturday (March 3rd) at Western Springs Stadium. Included on the bill are one of France’s most famous four-piece band's Phoenix.
“I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But it’s really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews
John Butler Trio announce their return to New Zealand in March to play Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre on Saturday 2 March and an afternoon set outdoors at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, Auckland on Sunday 3 March.
British rock royalty Arctic Monkeys have ushered in a spectacular new era with their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and it has now been announced that the band will return to New Zealand for a mammoth arena show in March 2019.
Californian rock legends Jefferson Starship will join TOTO and Dragon on next year’s ‘A Summer’s Day Live’ series, which will take in some of the most picturesque locations and popular concert venues across New Zealand.
In celebration of the highly anticipated November release of their fourth studio album Delta,English folk conquerors Mumford & Sons today announced details of a massive 60 date world tour which will include a very special one day event in Auckland this Summer –their first New Zealand show since 2015!
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Following the release of her critically-acclaimed My Design, On Others Lives in April this year, Estère teams up with the poetically tongued NZ/Rwandan MC Raiza Biza, to take on the myth of an infamous figure in cross-continental African folklore, the Tokoloshe.
If Anika Moa was feeling ready to kick back for the remainder of 2018, then things haven’t really run to plan. In fact it’s about to get a whole lot busier for the multi-talented entertainer with a new album release, tv series and live shows all on the way.
Since achieving international recognition from Rollingstone.com and Billboard.com for hit singles Too Strung Up and Stone Cold, and amassing over 3 million Spotify streams for their releases to date, Alae now unveil All Gived Up.
'Call Me', the latest track by Wellington electro-pop singer and producer Josie Moon made last week's New Music Friday playlists from Spotify Australia/NZ and Japan and influential UK blogger Popjustice.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.
The 13th Annual Doc Edge, International Documentary Film Festival opens today - Wednesday 9th May at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema followed by Auckland’s Q Theatre on Wednesday 23rd May, bringing an influx of prestigious directors and documentary subjects from all over the world.