Interview › Kevin Mooney › 2005
Back in 2005, Kevin Mooney released Mike's Bikes with his experimental alternative outfit the Lavender Pill Mob. Featuring Adam Ant's first officially released recording in ten years, Black Pirates, it was seen by some Adam & the Ants fans as exploitation of their hero who had been of a well-publicised fragile mental state at the time. Joined by Craig Burton, a long-term Ant Lib member and supporter, long-term Kevin Mooney aficionado and expert on all things Wide Boy Awake and (Lo)Max, we headed over to Barnsbury, north London to get some answers from the Ants' L'Enfant terrible...
So Kevin, give us the rough guide to your latest project, the Lavender Pill Mob...
Lavender Pill Mob is basically Gary Asquith and me. We've known each other since 1977, when I supported Rema Rema with my little band called the European Cowards, at Mayhem Studios in Battersea which was a place owned by Toyah Willcox. We've been friends ever since then and done our various projects, like Gary went on to do Renegade Soundwave, and me, Adam & the Ants, Wide Boy Awake, and Max. And after many years away I came back to England and met up with Gary in about 2002 we recorded our first album in 2003 - which was a very quick affair. I've described it in one of our press releases as our "collective breakdown", which it kind of is, like in the sense of break beats, and mental breakdowns in a way. And it's basically two old fellas who've stuck together over a long period of time and we're just putting our heads together and going back to our roots.
What sort of philosophy comes from that?
Well, the reason we're doing this... Le Coq Musique is like our umbrella organisation, but we've got to get it off the ground somehow, so we're like the front line of Le Coq Musique, but we're hoping that we're gonna write some damn good songs, be rewarded for them, with the proceeds from those rewards we wanna to go on to do more stuff, like management type stuff. The long-term goal is to get a couple of much younger bands and to basically build them from the ground up. I just want to put a band, not us but another band, into two months of rehearsal, write the songs for them, help them out. We don't just want puppets, we'll just use our punk rock experience to promote some younger bands and get them on our label, and try to really set things off.
And that's where the collective idea comes in?
It's just me and Gary. When I say a "collective breakdown", I say all the shit that's been going on in Gary's head and all the shit that's been going on in my head, put it together, write songs about it. I really like the first album, but I'd describe it as sort of rambling in a way because we'd go off in a lot of directions. But the second one, Mike's Bikes, I think we kind of nailed it. Like it's much more to the point. You stick with it from the start to the finish. At the end of the day the basic influences are punk rock, rock 'n' roll, hip hop, and reggae. Those are like our basic influences. But I think seeing as we are a pair of old punk rockers - like our second album Mike's Bikes - that's really the area that we're more into. But not of the 20th century, of the 21st century. We don't look at our new album as a retro thing. We ain't trying to duplicate stuff we did 25 years ago or something. We think that's a very modern album. And hopefully other people agree with us, that's our goal.
What's the difference between Lavender Pill Mob and previous outfits?
Well, Adam & the Ants, when I joined it it was a very real thing. Later on, everybody knows I fell out with Adam. All the Ant fans know that anyway. But that was a long time ago, and we've since patched it up. I love Adam, I do, I love him. But the other bands I was in, Wide Boy Awake was totally manufactured by RCA, and it was steered into a very small pop corner, they didn't really let us do exactly what we wanted to do. So, where as I do like some of the songs to Wide Boy Awake, some of the actual A-sides of the singles I still feel they are much more RCA than us really. Max, on the other hand, started out as a very real band and it was just such a shame that nothing happened with it. Basically they just said "oh yeah, bunch of junkies, blah blah" and that's all anyone ever said about it. But in fact I think it was like a really vital band, at the beginning. But if you go towards the end of Max, when it was Trevor Horn, again, it wasn't our album. Like Silence Running, other than the fact that I'm singing on it has got absolutely nothing to do with me. Because although those are my songs, they are somebody else's version of my songs. Now the great thing about Le Coq Musique is nobody can tell me what to do. And fuck... if I want to record a song a certain way, that's exactly how I'm gonna record it. And that's exactly how I'm going to do it with other bands too. I don't wanna stunt anybody who signs to our label, but I want to take a really active part and encourage them to make the kind of music which we like.
I think it's quite funny that the record companies are now in the position that I was in. Because now the major record companies are all struggling because they haven't got a clue what to do anymore. Now they just depend on their back catalogue and pop. Adam & the Ants used to sell hundreds of thousands of records to get to number one. You could sell 10,000 records now. Do you know what I mean? The whole industry has changed. So in a way, now record companies are in the position that bands used to be in because record companies can't do what they want to do because no one's buying it. I like the idea of downloading off the internet, I think it's really good. But they don't have a structure set up yet. The music industry doesn't understand the music business anymore, it really doesn't.
Originally you talked about releasing the Mike's Bikes album as download-only. What made you change your mind?
Well it's just simpler right at this minute. As you know our web site isn't that good yet! I don't see why you can't do that as well. We can print it and it's done, so we're putting it out as a CD, but we're still selling it largely over the internet. You can now buy it in Sister Ray and at Selectadisc on Berwick Street, but really if you want to get it you just gotta come on our web site. Later on I think the idea would be to just have the whole collection of songs on the web site and then you basically say right, for a nominal fee, like a tenner, you pick your own album. And then you get the graphics straight off the internet as well, so you get an actual physical thing with it. We might have 40 songs up there, and then say right, you can have any ten for a tenner or something along those lines. So that's definitely something for the future. We're going to try to set up a platform like that but you know, Warner Brothers, all of them, BMG, they haven't figured it out yet. Chasing the wrong tails...
But I'm kind of upbeat at the moment. I've been pretty much hibernating. If you give everything you have and you get nothing for it that's very depressing. I have been quite depressed over... I wouldn't say depressed, I'm not a suicidal person or anything like that, but just like "oh, what's the point?". I've had that kind of attitude. These days I'm feeling quite upbeat because I think we've made a pretty good album. And between Gary and me we've got some pretty good ideas for the future, and we're going to try to act upon those ideas. It's easy just to sit on your thumbs and let it all go by. Then again, having a kind of wilderness years is sometimes just as good as having a successful time because it gives you time to reflect and time to readdress things. You come back to it fresh. And I kind of feel like that at the moment.
How did your new label Le Coq Musique come about?
It was Gary's idea – Le Coq Musique. I didn't actually think of that. He released some Renegade [Soundwave] music – there is one other release but that was before I got involved, and we just kept that name. We thought, "well why not?". He's living in France and it's got that kind of European thing going on. And Europe is like our main field at the moment. We done a couple of very small gigs in London, but the best ones we've done have all been in Berlin and stuff. For me, I like Djing in London, but it's not that much fun to go to a club that you've already played 100 times and play in front of 20 people or something. It's fun but it ain't that much fun. So that's where we're kind of limiting our field at the moment. It's just Europe. We just want to do that and hopefully we've got a gig coming up in Moscow.
Was this to get away from the major label claustrophobia?
The bands have problems, the A&R people have problems. The directors of the companies have problems. I guess it's just as claustrophobic being independent as it is being mainstream. If you're in the mainstream you just get presented with a different set of problems, but it's no easier. I feel sorry for the record companies through and through. They are totally losing out to video games...
When and where was the first album recorded? Any teething troubles?
Not really. It was recorded at the Eton Rise project which was where Gary was living in London. And I've got a whole bunch of computer equipment, slightly antiquated now, Pro Tools and what not. We just did it ourselves. It's great because now you can have a studio in a box – it'll do so bloody much. I remember when we did Kings of the Wild Frontier it was four times bigger than this garden – huge systems everywhere. Now, it's all digitalized. We basically do it ourselves.
What happened with Rammellzee and Tokyo Monsters?
I liked Rammellzee, and yeah, we had fun with Tokyo Monsters. Tokyo Monsters was three guys who we met that day, recorded that day – who was it, Yoshi, Kymyo, and I can't remember the other guy's name, but it was just three guys and we just got them in, wrote out some English lyrics for them, and they sang them in their Japanese wording. I've got lots of recordings of them. But we didn't put on their stuff – some of them are quite unprintable, some of them are quite good though. But I love Rammellzee and what we did with Rammellzee was in the Chrysalis days of Max I did some tracks with him in New York and they were never released, never used. So what we did with our own little set up was lift some of the lyrics from those old Max sessions and put them into our album Lavender Pill Mob. I haven't actually spoken to him. He probably doesn't know that's been recorded. One day, somewhere over the rainbow, when they sell, he's certainly entitled to claim royalties on them. He did put an album out about a year ago that was really scarey, really good, I liked it. He's into this kind of Kabuki. He dresses up like a Kabuki guy – a robot with like flares flashing out of his sleeves. He's made some great records and, as far as I know, he continues to.
We'll move onto the new album Mike's Bikes. What were the processes involved?
We had a bit of help with the new one, notably from The Mekon, who gave us several drumbeat backing tracks that we put guitars over, and vocals, and came up with the ideas. Especially Put Up Your Hands and K Blues. The Mekon gave us a lot of help with that. And there's a new album coming out in January featuring Bobby Gillespie, Alan Vega from Suicide, Afrika Bambaataa, and me, singing K Blues. My version of K Blues is a kind of sketchy, little tiny version, it's just like the idea of the song itself. But his version has really expanded upon it and it really does sound good. Also, on the track Mike's Bikes, there's a band called Film 2, who are our friends from Berlin, and again they did the music to that and we expand it, you know, spanned stuff on. The Adam Ant track we wrote, and then Adam vocalised over it. And what was the other one? The Detroit Sinner, again, he gave us the track and I came up with the lyrics for it. All the rest of the stuff we've written ourselves, using the same studio we used for the first album.
Wall of Sound produce some very similar sounding stuff to what you do. Would you ever consider working with them?
I saw Johnny Gosling [The Mekon] just a week ago, and he's taken a copy of Mike's Bikes down there. Apparently one of the guys there likes Adam & the Ants so that's why he wanted it. I don't know anyone from Wall of Sound, I only know Johnny really.
Where did the title Mike's Bikes come from?
That's a good one. I had to go to America to pick up my kids and bring them back to England, and there was this kid there called Mike. He kind of spoke like... you know that movie Blow, that cocaine movie? He's only a kid, he don't take cocaine or nothing, but he talks like that character "Whoa hello, how you doing?". Anyway, I had his bike and I used to go down to get food every day in like the hot hot sun, so there's me peddling along in Massachusetts, going down to the market, getting all my stuff and coming back. At the same time, Gary was in Thailand, and he was driving along one day on his bike, going past this Buddhist temple, and a dog came running out from the Buddhist temple, bit him on the leg, and he went flying out over the cliff and half killed himself. He was in hospital for about a month. So it's just like the idea of us riding along on these silly little bikes trying to escape from our fate. That's what the song's about.
What's the difference between the first album and this one?
I think we've definitely improved, because we nailed this one. The last album was sixty minutes, and we were drawing upon all of our personal influences. That was like the idea of it. But it's mind of like... I wouldn't say shambolic, but it's rambling. It goes from one place to another. It does have a kind of train of thought going through it, but it's spread out. I think Mike's Bikes is much more focused, it's very direct. You turn the album on, it's like 38 minutes long. I think from start to finish it has a storyline, or a vibe if you like, right from the start to the end.
The first album has a compilation album feel to it...
I think of it as like Valley Obscured by Clouds by Pink Floyd. It's just all over the place. I don't think it sounds like that album, but it's obscure. We'll continue to do that. I really wanted to get Billy Idol to do a track but we couldn't find him. I was trying to track him down. I used to be like a crazy Generation X fan, used to go see them all the time. I used to know Perry, his girlfriend, and stuff like that way back in the day. I'd love to do a track with him. I think Gary might have a little bit of a connection with Kevin Rowland from Dexy's and I'd love to do a track with him.
So does that mean you're up for wearing stockings and suspenders on the sleeve?
Yeah definitely, I'm up for it, sure!
The Mount Everest Smoke-a-Thon featured on the Mike's Bikes cover art, was this your skiing holiday?!
Originally. We've got a film of it. It was more of a skiing holiday. I was thinking that tobacco companies need friends. And I was thinking, if we were on top of Mount Everest smoking cigarettes, maybe we could get sponsorship from big tobacco in America or something like that. Originally, we made a video of it where we were smoking away, saying "Yeah, we're at seventeen thousand feet, the Italian team are trying to catch up with us, the Chinese team, but we're still puffing away, we're gonna do it." So it was this little idea I had in my head. Actually, there was a guy named Mallory who may or may not have made it to the top of Mount Everest, but the thing that really got me was as he was going up he was smoking a pipe. I thought "Hey, if he can do it, we can do it". That was my idea but it was like thinking "oh hopefully cigarette companies will sponsor us" – because basically we were a walking advert for alcohol and tobacco! We were smoking them for fucking years and like I ain't dead, Gary ain't dead, so...
So you're not going to get an extra part on the NHS anti-smoking campaign...
No, I don't like that scare-mongering tactics. I mean, we've all got to die sometime. I've given up a lot of things, but cigarettes ain't one of them.
Can you and Gary ski?
I've never skied! But I do like going to ski lodges and sitting in front of the fire and drinking and having sex and stuff like that. But the actual skiing part, I'm not into that at all really, no.
Who did the artwork for the albums? Can you tell us a bit about that.
The first album, the fast food gun images, were done by Dan Macmillan, Harold Macmillan's grandson. He's a really nice guy actually, I really like him. And he allowed us to use them. Then I did the middle, the other half of the graphics if you will. This album, I did it.
So did Dan sing on the album as well?
He sang on the classic track Manbreast.
When we last interviewed you, we'd just actually seen Adam on the way to your house and he asked us to say "Hello" because he seemed really into wanting to meet up with you. Did that lead to you guys getting together?
Not really, it was a complete accident. I went into a little barcalled The Engineers down near where Adam lives, and he just happened to be in there. And I went up to him and said [puts on cheesy American accent] "Hey, do I know you", like joking, and he goes "No, no" and then he recognised me and then we just started hanging out for a few days. It was just nice, really great to see him.
Did you go over the old days?
Yeah, I think we did, yeah. It was alright. I had met him a couple of times since the olden days.
You must have had a lot to catch up on, because it had been 20 years hadn't it?
I'd seen him when I was doing the old Max album which Marco was producing for Chrysalis, I did meet Adam once or twice. I had seen him, but it must have been at least ten years before, I hadn't seen him since then. It was really good to see him. All that stuff, when we had our rows, that's just in the past, it don't matter. Life's too short. At the time, I hated his fucking guts when I left the band. I was quite up front about it, he was quite up front about it too. He didn't like me much either.
What led you both to doing a song together?
We [Kevin & Gary] were putting the album together at that time, it was taking us quite a while, it's taken about two years but we were putting it together. We got a studio just around the corner, up at the Eton Rise project, so "Do you want to come down?". Next day he was there. Boom boom.
Did he quite know what he was getting into though?!
I think so, yeah. We said we wanted to do a track and he said "OK". First of all he said he wanted to be called Johnny Kerouac, then he said "Nah, just call it Adam".
So he was originally up for going under a different name? Not having it as part of his Adam Ant canon?
I guess so, yeah. It's like a cousin, it's like one of your cousins show up. He was doing that Save the Gorilla thing at the time, with the Dian Fossey guys.
We're trying to gage why it's Black Pirates, and he's singing Chicken Outlaw. How did that come about?
When I met him, he said "Let's reform Adam & the Ants". I thought, "Ok, yeah, I'll have a million quid, no problem" because D**** D**** have just done it, Spandau, Ballet have just done it, so I thought "Fine, we'll do that". But I said to him, let's make it scary, let's make it like Motorhead. I suppose this is our little version of it on the album.
Howabout The Ad(d)am's Family?
Adam's Family was another one you know. I could imagine Marco in all like white make-up and stuff looking scary, and I thought that would be a fun thing to do. So the Black Pirates encapsulates that idea I suppose.
So that's the name of that collective?
Yeah, it's just like a little one-off.
How many takes did it take to record the track? Was it a one off?
I think it took two takes. There was two vocals and whatever else people may say about him, Adam sure can sing. He did all that stuff just a few weeks before – he did all that stuff with Boz, like Save the Gorilla stuff. Every single track like Stranded in the Jungle, all that stuff, you know, his voice is good. Didn't take hardly any time. Two hours. The backing track was already done and he just came in and sang over it, and Chicken Outlaw just seemed to fit with it. That's the one he wanted to do. It wasn't really my choice to do that song, but that's the one he chose to do. So I said "fine."
It sounds quite abstract. The two vocal tracks don't sort of blend together. Was that intentional?
I think he just did the regular vocal similar to the Wide Boy Awake one, then he just did another one slightly higher. And that was about it.
It's a really odd key that one of them is in...
That's just more of a vibe from start to finish, that track. It's nothing like the original one, other than the lyrics. And the tune he sang is pretty similar to the Wide Boy Awake one.
Do you think his direction is changing a lot? Because he seems to like Nine Inch Nails and groups like that with a darker edge.
I love Nine Inch Nails, I think they're great.
The original Chicken Outlaw's quite a ‘up' pop song...
An RCA pop song innit. And this one ain't. That's kind of in a way what we said: Nine Inch Nails. I love the way they edit. They're using very similar equipment to the kind of equipment I use, on Downward Spiral especially. That's the one that I really like by them and just love their editing technique that they use. There is a little bit of Nine Inch Nails somewhere in there I suppose. In a very vague kind of way.
We know you can get quite animated Kevin, and I know you like to speak your mind...
Go on then, set me off!
Right, this is one big blurb that someone wrote on our forum: "Do you really think that putting Black Pirates on there [Mike's Bikes] was a good idea? It is absolutely awful and sounds very much to a lot of people that Adam wasn't himself (i.e. unwell) when you recorded it. It also sounds rubbish when compared to the Wide Boy Awake version. Can you hand on heart really say that you believe that it was a good recording?"
Well it's obviously taken that person a long time to sit down and write that. But we're kind of spontaneous and so is that track and it's just what it is. You know what I mean, it's like it wasn't really thought out before we did it. The idea was "I ain't seen you in ages, let's go in the studio and make some music!" That's the name of the game innit? Making music. So we just tried to do it track, and if you don't like it, sorry. Go buy Coldplay!
Let me say something right here right. I don't want to talk about any of Adam's personal things because they are Adam's personal things, right. Before I met Adam I had read about the Prince of Wales event and all that, right, but when he said to me "Right, let's reform Adam & the Ants" I took it really seriously. A week later I realised that was never gonna happen. I love Adam and I just want good things to happen to him.
His life is his business and I hope that he has a happy life and I hope that he lives to be 150. That's all I'm going to say about it. And I don't want to say any stories about 'he's done this, he's done that' – he's got to sort his stuff out, and I think somewhere in his heart he will sort his stuff out. But that's none of our business, that's his business.
The Xfm interview was quite spontaneous as well, wasn't it?
I had no idea, honestly, I swear to God, I had no idea that I was going into Capital. I went and met Adam up at his hotel where he was staying and about ten minutes later I was in Capital Radio talking to that guy off Blue Peter! I had no idea, again, it's like, things happen. Do you know what I mean?
You get caught up in the moment as well...
Yeah. When I did that radio interview he goes "Right, we're going to reform Adam & the Ants" and believe you me, I honestly 100% believed we really were going to reform Adam & the Ants. I even went 'round to Marco, and I said to Marco "Let's reform Adam & the Ants!", I was going "It's not a problem". OK, I was wrong. When I met Adam, to me, having not seen him, I thought the situation was the same. But I realised, after a week or so, that things are different now. I began to understand, kind of, what's going on.
Relating to the Xfm interview, someone's asked: Did you ever eat that top hat?
No, it's still in my wardrobe and I ain't gonna eat it because the jury's still out.
How do you react to the accusation that you were just trying to leech off Adam's stardom to further your own career?
If you want to look at it in a cynical way then go ahead and say that. I can't really defend myself, I've only done what I've done. What I've tried to do is make a good album and Adam Ant's on my album. I plead "Not guilty" to any kind of leeching. If you want to think like that, fine, go ahead. It's not.
Someone's asking here, why is Slang Teacher a rip off of Don't Be Square (Be There) and did you use the same bassline/rhythm as a little dig at Adam?
Umm... that one's knocked me for six! The way I remember it is I think Slang Teacher is the first time, to my knowledge, is the first time white boys ever did a hip hop track. Slang Teacher got to Number One in the US dance charts, which wasn't a big deal then, it just meant the DJs were playing it. And I think we were the first whiteys to anything remotely hip hop.
Malcolm McLaren was doing it...
It was out before then. So yeah, I plead totally "Not guilty" to that one. Not guilty to all charges so far!
Do you admit that there was a connection between Chicken Outlaw and Puss 'n Boots?
In the Wide Boy Awake days we weren't listening to no one. We just done what we done, we didn't try and copy. The only people I copied in Wide Boy Awake were Cajun musicians from Louisiana. Especially the Balfour Brothers, who were like an old time Cajun band. And if the truth were known, that's where we got quite a large part of Bona Venture/em> and stuff like that. We were really into the Cajun music back then, we were getting our inspiration from there.
Do demos of the Max tracks that appeared on the Wonderful Adam Ant LP actually exist?
Somewhere they do, yeah. I haven't got a clue where. Those were written towards the end of the ZTT Warner Brothers deal for Max and then I left the country. I'd had terrible things because John Keogh died and all that, I wasn't coming back to England. Then, about six-eight months later, Adam and marco did those two songs. But I didn't even know they'd done them until afterwards. I haven't actually got them I don't think, but there are definitely versions of them at Chrysalis.
Boy George covered Little Ghost as well...
Little Ghost, yeah. I never got no royalties from that, I don't know why. Maybe it just ain't sold, I don't know.
Talking of royalties, someone's asked here, "How do you feel about not receiving a credit for playing the bass on Beat My Guest?"
I never done it, that's why!
Can you remember which tracks your bass actually appears on?
Definitely Antmusic. All I remember is going off to Rockfield and being in a big studio for the first time in my life and having a great adventure. It's a great studio, Rockfield. I don't really remember who done what. We were playing bits of wood, all kinds of stuff, backing vocals...
Have you seen the remastered version of Kings? There's a nice picture of you in there!
Oh yeah? Good. I like the Kings of the Wild Frontier track, I think it's great. I love that one. That's my favourite one. We recorded that one somewhere else, at Matrix, near Tottenham Court Road somewhere. And I think that was pretty much my first time in a real studio. That was really exciting.
That was the first one you'd actually done?
I think so, yeah.
And you don't remember the story about Don Murfet's men coming round to your Mum's house and...
They never came round my Mum's house. I mean, I didn't like Don Murfet very much, I must admit. But I've heard that he's not very well these days.
He died in March.
Did he? God bless him. I'm sorry to hear that.
We asked him about the guitar strap for the Children's Royal Variety Performance.
Oh that, yeah, I did think they might have set me up a bit for that.
It was a really honest interview – he had nothing to lose, he was dying. We took the opportunity to ask him for the real story behind the incident, and he said he didn't do it.
I never liked him from the first day I met him, right. But, he had his job to do and I had my job to do and it's just one of them things. I'm from South-East London myself, and I know a lot of fellas like that. He was very sort of baronial, like "You're under my banner now" and all of this. I just wasn't having it. It was just a clash of personalities. But I certainly don't wish any ill on him and all that. I hope he's up there in Heaven...
And you were a lot younger than everybody else, going through your rebellious teenage years, hormones going...
I don't know, we just never hit it off, that was all. For me, that was the end of it really with Don Murfet - it all started going down hill after that. I just didn't want to be part of it any more. I was like "Why don't we just get a taxi driver to manage us as well?"
Did you ever play pranks on each other on the road?
Me and Terry [Lee Miall] used to have a few laughs, we'd do some silly things. It was quite fun. I think the saddist bit was at the end of the tour. We were just going full-steam you know, we'd done 25-30 gigs or something and then... I'd never been on tour before. When the tour ends it's so de-flating. It's like "What am I going to do now?" It was really weird.
Is that where the drugs came in?
I started dabbling in drugs towards the end of the second tour. I've always smoked a little bit of puff, but I started getting into heavy drugs towards the end of that tour. I'd come from nothing, I'd never really been in a band. Adam had been doing it for a few years, and it was all new to me. In a way, I think I've still got a bit of post-traumatic stress from it now because it was like "boom!" you're in front of thousands of people, then "boom!" you're all on your own. It's weird. But with me and the drug thing, I wanted to do that. I was into William Burroughs, things like that. Now I think it's a bunch of shit, I think it's a bunch of crap. But in those days I wanted to be like a romantic artist, like De Quincey and the Opium Den. Lord Byron. Most of my friends died, two members of Max died. And I didn't. It's the luck of the draw. It's like a game of roulette.
When you left the Ants and formed Wide Boy Awake, were all the record companies blinkered to the effect that all they wanted was an Ant clone / clothes horse / no balls band, which pop had become in the 80's?
Yeah, the only thing that those companies were interested in was pop. We had our ideas and they had their ideas. The result is what you get. I think the songs and the lyrics are pretty good. It does sound a little bit too Bucks Fizz for my liking, but at the same time that's just the way it is.
There was talk of a Wide Boy Awake LP called All Night Long. Is that locked in the vaults somewhere?
No, the only recordings of Wide Boy Awake are pretty much the ones that are already out there. RCA ran the whole show so we didn't get that much time to experiment. We did a few demos in Soho but mostly, what's out there, that's all there really is. There's not much in the archives of Wide Boy Awake – other than what people have heard. There are a few songs though.
Some of the B-sides could well have been A-sides...
Yeah. I prefer Ravers Red Light and Whooping on the Roof, that was more what we were trying to do really.
Was the concept of Wide Boy Awake far too advanced for the audience, who by that time were busy looking at each other than the band on stage.
I think we were trying to do ideas that were a little too advanced for the A&R departments. But that's the problem everybody had, it wasn't just me. All bands have to face up to that once they sign on the line.
You were lucky enough to be able to dress yourself, where as a lot of bands can't.
Well Jordan did help a little, I must say!
How many gigs did Wide Boy Awake play?
Too stoned to remember! I would say probably maybe 10-15. Something like that. I remember doing some down at Brixton, I remember doing what was then the Camden Palace. We did a few. I couldn't put a number on it, but probably 10-15.
Will we see Wide Boy Awake recordings come out on CD?
I think that's a possibility, yeah. I've got to speak to the people who own the recordings, which I think is BMG. But we'll have to see. If they let us use them, then yeah. I would like to do it because I plan to form a band of four people. I want to get four people and form and manage a band in the style of Peter Grant and Malcolm McLaren, and I would use the Wide Boy Awake sales, if there were any, to finance that.
What's the next venture with Lavender Pill Mob? You've talked about a new album already in preparation...
I'd rather not say the name of the album yet, or any of the tracks on the album. But the next venture is to be recorded with Asquith and myself in Berlin in January. The songs are being written as we speak, but we're going to actually record them in a three week period in Berlin straight after Christmas in January.
And you're trying to get a tour organised around that...
I wouldn't call it a tour. I think we're doing four gigs around Berlin. Hopefully, I pray, one in Moscow, with Film 2. And there's also talk of one in Lille, but we're going to need 3 or 4 other bands to do that one in Lille. There's a 2000-seater in Lille which some people let me know about, they want to get British bands out there. So we'll see. I don't know if that one will come together, but I'd like it if it did.
Any more London gigs lined up?
Not at the moment, but I'm definitely up for doing a bit of DJing. We've got a little Punk Rock DJ set.
You were lucky enough to be at the Sex Pistols boat trip for God Save the Queen. Did you look at the Sex Pistols and think "that's the clothes I want to wear if I'm ever in the band, I want to dress like the Sex Pistols".
I already did. I used to go to the SEX and Seditionaries. The first time was 1976 and I bought a white Peter Pan shirt with the red dirty scribble print on it, and it had vinyl sleeves. It was my favourite shirt ever. It's disappeared now, but yeah, I had lots of stuff. I must say, of all the photos I've ever seen of myself, I really glad that I've got a picture of me at that event because that is to me when I was really excited about music as a fan. I was 14. Those times to me were just magical. I loved the old punk rock times.
Future collaborations with Adam: would you do it? Would you approach him again?
If he wants to I will.
Looking back on that controversial period with Adam, around the time of the Xfm interview, what are your thoughts now? Adam was claiming he was going to reunite the Ants, cook burgers to make David Blaine come down, get the heavy metal men to come and get Blaine etc...
In the olden days right, all the punk rockers were doing things that weren't what you might expect people to do. But there were so many punk rockers in those days that you didn't really notice. You didn't think it was strange. Strange things used to happen, and you didn't think it was strange. In today's world, when strange things happen, people criminalise you for it. Going back to the old days is really going back to the Red Indian days because it's got nothing to do with today's society. Punk Rock Britain has nothing to do with 2006 Britain. Or 2005 Britain really. I don't want to be thought of as exploiting Adam. I tell you something, in my heart I don't feel as if I am.
The Ant Liberation Front would like to extend thanks to Kevin Mooney for his time again and for the previously unpublished photographs donated especially for this interview from Kevin's personal collection.