"One of the tightest 4-piece bands you'll ever hear"


Private Dicks: The Bristol punks reformed thanks to people power
Published By Steve Mellen

BBC News  4 January  2021 

Click here to read it all 

Interview with singer Gavin King for Blogspot Rocknoliceu

Read the interview online here or below.

sexta-feira, 16 de novembro de 2007
Private Dicks : Directamente de Bristol , a entrevista (Interview)

É com grande apreço que publico hoje uma entrevista em exclusivo para o Blog de umas das bandas de culto do PowerPop Inglês. Estou a falar dos Private Dicks uma das bandas (da primeira leva) que continuam a estar em voga. Com um single editado em 1979 , "She said Go" , e com um futuro promissor , acabaram demasiado cedo , para o potencial que tinham. Passados mais de duas decadas , com a febre do powerpop , a editora Japonesa 1977 records , pega nas gravações dos PD e editam o cd "Homelife" (cd esse já há tempos esgotado). Essa mesma editora iria editar outro cd dos Private Dicks "Live at Marquee" , constatando-se à primeira audição , que os Private Dicks eram mesmo uma banda de palco. No decorrer deste ano de 2007 , ainda acabado de sair da fábrica , é lançado o Lp dos Private Dicks , "Homelife" , edição exclusiva em vinil. Entrevista foi feita ao vocalista dos Private Dicks,Gavin King. Thanks Gavin. Myspace :

1- How was the last concerts ?

Gavin King (Private Dicks) -- Ummmm . . . our last gig as a band was January 1980 which was bloody awful we never played live again for another 22 years. Since then we played four songs about five years ago for a friends birthday, the launch party for Avon Calling CD in Nov 2005, a local warm up gig at the end of Oct 2007 and Bar Fiacre in Bordeaux for Frantic City on Nov. 3 2007. Sooooooo . . . that aint many really. To take the ones we have done since 1980: the friends party was very good and we were very tight considering how long it was since we had played. The Avon Calling was disappointing. We really hoped for a much better soundand we looked and sounded stiff, only coming alive when Jon Klein joined us (see the video on our myspace site). The local warm up gig was ok first set, then the PA people dismantled the PA and took it home thinking we had finished so we put the vocals through a 100 watt marshall stack and it really really rocked. It was so good to know that we still had it. Bordeaux? Bart from Frantic was really pleased, said we sounded just like the record. However, I was very disappointed personally. I intend to make up for it at The Road to Ruins in Rome Dec. 14. That may sound like I'm being a bit harsh considering we've only done three and a half gigs in 28 years but fuck, if you've got standards you don't drop 'em just cos you're an old bastard.

2- How new technologies (internet :myspace,mp3) influenced Private Dicks reunion ?

Gavin -- If it hadn't been for Kidnap from The Not Amused we wouldn't have done anything. It was him who badgered me into getting my Son Kahn to set the page up for me whilst I was in the States March 2007. To be honest I couldn't really see the point. Who the hell would want to visit a page about an obscure band from the seventies? Well sod me . . . quite a few actually. Consequently, here we are having a great old time.

3- Where did the idea "Private Dicks" name come from ? Any hilarious stories with band name ?

Gavin -- The name came about, I'm afraid, in rather a different context than most people understand or expect. I was a big fan of Philip Marlow and made the guys watch Bogie in the title role. At one point he is asked 'what are you some kinda cop ?' He says 'Me ? I'm a Private Dick'. We were searching for a name, we'd had a few, and it just seemed to jump out of the screen at us - we all looked at each other and said 'We ARE Private Dicks'. That's it. The song Private Dicks was based around another Bogies movie which we thought drew some threads together where Lauren Bacal says to Bogie 'If you want me just whistle . . . you know how to whistle dontcha ?' That answers many people's questions about the 'whistling' lyric on the song Private Dicks itself. There aren't any hilarious stories really, just young kids nowadays sniggering behind their hands. Back way then, everyone else knew what a Private Dicks was . . . how times change. The band didn't really become the Dicks until March 1979 when a second guitarist left and we became a four piece: Huw 'Shugs' Davies Bass, Mark 'Sybs' Seabright Drums, Paul 'Guivey' Guiver Guitar, Gavin 'Ol' Man' King Vocals. The band was 'really' formed in the summer of '78. I'd left my previous band Uncle Po - which included Helen O'Hara later of Dexy's Midnight Runners - and one night attended a gig by the Wild Beasts, whose bass player Andy Franks became Robbie Williams and then Coldplay's tour manager, while the drummer, Kenny Wheeler, owned Sound Conception Studios where we were to record most of our material. "I was watching the Beast when a couple of guys I knew slightly carried this bloke over to me - he was drooling and couldn't stand up. They asked if I was still looking for someone to write with. 'This guy's brilliant'. They said he would come over to see me next week. Sure enough, next week I saw this bloke with a guitar outside my flat. I thought, I'm not letting him in, he'll soon go away. But he didn't. And I let him in and he stayed till about three in the morning, and we wrote half a dozen songs that night, including 'She Said Go'. That was Paul Guiver." We needed some collaborators though. Uncle Po's ex-drummer, Jimmer Hill, ended up playing in Sneak Preview, who also appeared on Avon Calling. The main man behind that band was Neil Taylor, now Robbie William's lead guitarist. "Neil often played with the Dicks live and on a few recordings. Jimmer's girlfriend cautiously mentioned that her young brother was in a band called The X-Spurtz and that they had parted company with their singer. They were very much a three-chord punk band, 15 or 16 years old. They recorded one notorious single I believe, 'Rape', about a serial rapist at large in the Clifton area of Bristol. Guivey and I drove down to see them in Somerset but weren't particularly optimistic. However the rhythm section blew us away. They were shit hot. Sybs - the drummer - was stunning, even though he was only 16. And Shugs, the bass player, played a Gibson Grabber with the treble turned incredibly high, like Jean-Jacques of the Stranglers. The guitarist was a bit arty, and he was more into Siouxsie And The Banshees - which was ironic because later on, one of the guitarists who used to jam with us a lot was Jon Klein. Anyway, we rehearsed down at The Docklands in St Paul's, Bristol - the site of the Riots in 1981 - and the other guitarist decided to move to London. The rest of us were sat in the bar and Guivey said, 'Look, we've been trying to accommodate this guy, but Gav and I have a ton of material that foesn't suit him. Do you want to give that a try? We finished our pints and went downstairs and gave 'She Said Go' a shot. Twenty minutes later we all went, 'Wow, this is shit hot'

4- What influenced you to be a singer and what bands or artists did you grow up listening to?

Gavin -- According to me mother I was singing before I could talk. I was recruited by my headmaster into the choir at Malvern Priory in Worcestershire UK at the age of six and sang monday, wednesday, friday, saturday and twice on sunday's with them until me balls dropped (of course some people say that aint happened yet) and it was through those early years that i gained the ability to harmonize. I also had an elder brother Robb (God rest his soul) and as he was five years older than me I was listening to people like Ray Charles and Sleepy John Estes very early on. The Beatles and Stones came along and I was a big fan of Jagger and then when I saw the Pretty Things on TV - especially Phil May's hair - that was me hooked. Then the mod scene took off and we were listening to Motown/Stax etc. There were a number of British soul cover bands who were big at this time. One of the best was Zoot Money's Big Roll Band whose party piece was Barefooting. They were such a great band. But for me best of all was The Alan Bown Set. Their singer Jess Roden - who sang for the Butts Band later (the band formed by the surviving members of the Doors) - was my hero. The guy had such a fantastic voice. I really just wanted to be him. He was far better than his replacement in The Alan Bown Set, one Robert Palmer. Oh, and as for influences let's not forget alcohol. I was at a gig at the Malvern Winter Gardens where the support band was called Tarmac. I was very drunk and was told that they needed a singer. After they had played I walked up and told them I was a singer and they said right, audition Tuesday. I forgot all about this until they turned up to pick me up, but I must've been OK cos three days later I played my first gig with them, three hours of covers for which I made up every word - a skill i still use today.

5- "She said go" single had a good reviews in 1979 , Why PD didn't continue ?

Gavin-- 'She said Go' was the first song we recorded, about eight weeks after writing it. We recorded two other songs, Green is in the red and Forget the Night. We took the demo to Simon Edwards cos he was putting out a compilation of Bristol bands, (just about the first city compilation in the UK). After Avon Calling every city put one out. This one caught the attention of John Peel who included it in his his top 20 records of 1979. Somehow we heard this was happening, knocked on Simon's door - he lived opposite Guivey - and we gave him the demo tape. He liked it immediately and said he would put a track on the album. He rang back about two days later and said he had fallen in love with 'She Said Go' - now available on ebay for $150 - and wanted to put it out as his next single. It sold over 2,000 copies which for an indie wasn't bad but we had much higher hopes for it. We were due to record a follow up - Don't Follow My Lead - but a certain Mark Dean - the guy who discovered and was sued by WHAM! - caught us at a gig in Bristol (with Jon Klein from Siouxsie and the Banshees jamming with us - and thought we were the next big sensation. Indeed, he told George Michael he was lucky that he (MD) had screwed up otherwise we would have gone worldwide first (whatever!). Mark Dean had ideas above his finances and couldn't see that management was also about investment. We refused to sign the contract he offered after our legal advice was that it was crap. Dean got angry at this and walked. I think our heads dropped at that moment - even further into our beer and the plentiful breasts on offer - and we soon decided that it was time to move on. It was only three years after the Dicks decided to take their (extended) break that he got back in touch. By that time he had lots of dosh via WHAM and he wanted us back in the studios but even then he buggered the studio time about and me and Guivey decided that it just wasn't worth messing with the guy. He came back later by the way with MDM Records on which the Mighty Wah scored their 'Story of the Blues' track - a great record.

6- What is your favourite PD song ?

Gavin -- Interesting question - cos I know all the band have different ones. For me it is probably All I Want is You, not only because I wrote it for the girl who became my wife (25 years and counting) but also because of the session when we rehearsed it to such a great height. I won't tell you what was happening in the studcio that night but it was one of the best evenings we ever had. The excitement of the track was so much we just kept playing it and playing it. Sybs the drummer really doesn't like the song tho'. My Son Harry loves 5 Star Freezing, the singer from The Lavas in the USA wants to do a cover of Want Some Fun, whilst Astrid from The Nasties is hopefully singing Green is in the Red with me In Rome (if she can stand up by then). Green is in The Red really seems to be the one that most people latched onto . . . perhaps because of what they saw as the strange lyrics.... or as I think because of the stunning drumming on it . . . people can't believe that a 16 year old kid actually did do the drumming on that, live, and in one take. Mostly, though, I just wanna record the new stuff.

7- What do you think about new interest in old Powerpop bands ?

Gavin -- Is there new interest? I know that we've had a few hits on myspace but it's nothing compared to other bands on there. It does appear to be an esoteric calling. I suppose it's gratifying that people have listened to GreenDay etc and then gone back to see where it came from (apart from the obvious references). I have to say that we've never been mentioned by any name band as being worthy so we can't really claim anything. We were just a small part of something and have managed to last the distsance better than most. As to 'powerpop', I never have seen Private Dicks as a Powerpop band. That was such a derogatory term back then. We were always a New Wave band. Some people even put us in the 'Mod' category but dear God, if you had ever seen us play on the same bill as the Purple Hearts you'd know that we were anything but. However, it seems that all these terms have merged into Pop Punk which , if we have to be categorised, does it for me.

8- What has PD best memories ?

Gavin -- Best gig The Granary in Bristol Nov 1979 . . . I just wish that had been filmed. Playing the Marquee . . . one of my favourite ever albums was 'Live at the Marquee' which features one side by the Alan Bown Set and the other by Jimmy James and the Vagabonds (f you've guys have never heard it search it out) and to actually play the same place was very very special. But the best memories . . . it was the Summer of 1979 . . . man we had such a fucking GREAT time.

9- Have you ever had any regrets about first period of PD career?

Gavin -- Anyone who says they aint got no regrets is either a fool or a liar. However an even bigger fool wastes his time thinking about them.

10- I know that "Homelife" CD released by 1977 Records has sold out , and PD has a new release by Rave Up , any reason for this success ?

Gavin -- Haven't a clue. The 1977 Japan thing came completely out of the blue - we had no idea that there was anything happening out there. We were just so pleased to be able to get the stuff together. Paul Guiver (Guitarist) did such an amazing job with that album, remastering the whole thing. The work he did on the live album was even better. You would not believe the initial sound of those tapes . . . bloody hell, they had lay about someones attic for 25 years and part of the tape had rotted away and yet, and yet, he got what I consider to be a better sound that the studio album.

11- Are you writing new material ? Have plans for new recording ?

Gavin -- As sad as it may seem for some, we are in the midst of recording a new Album called 'EXILES IN NEVERLAND'. We have half a dozen new numbers written and pre-produced. We hope to ge these recorded in the new year with Neil Taylor producing. Part of the album is also going to allow us to record some of the songs that we never got around to doing in the studio such as Incest, Take Her Home, Michael from the live album. Also, perhaps, one from our pre-dick days called 'Crippen' which we all have very fond memories of. So I have a feeling it's going to be one side old and one side new.

12- Any final comments ?

Gavin -- Life is so awful . . . and so short.