||Thursday 11th November 2010
INTERVIEW WITH KRUSHER FOR 'ALL PENS BLAZING VOLUME TWO'
Here is an extract from the forthcoming book 'All Pens Blazing Volume Two'. This is a definitive interview Krusher and really needs no further intro or comment.
When did you first start covering rock music?
If you mean when did I write my first professional piece about rock music, then that would've been August 1983.
If you mean when it changed my life, that would have been Saturday 20th September 1969 when I saw Taste and Deep Purple at Malvern Winter Gardens. The cement to this foundation was cast May 30th 1970, at the same venue, when I saw Black Sabbath, the first time that they dropped acid before going on stage.
Which albums have you designed artwork for?
Hawkwind 'Live '79'
Ozzy Osbourne 'Diary Of A Madman', 'Speak Of The Devil' and 'Bark At The Moon'
Black Sabbath 'Born Again'
Iron Maiden 'Live After Death'
Japan 'Tin Drum'
Girl 'Wasted Youth'
Gary Moore 'Dirty Fingers' and 'Live At The Marquee'
Huang Chung 'Huang Chung'
Vardis 'Quo Vardis'
Jaguar 'This Time'
Stratus 'Throwing Shapes'
Richard Thompson 'Daring Adventures'
You have also been involved with the artwork for various rock books. Which ones?
Iron Maiden, Running Free
Twisted Sister, The First Official Book
Motley Crue, The First Five Years
Ozzy Osbourne, Diary Of A Madman
The Kerrang! Year Book, Volume 1
The Kerrang! Year Book, Volume 2
Which piece of illustration are you most proud of?
It's almost impossible to say as I change my mind frequently, but at this moment in time if I had to choose I have three.
The first is the Black Sabbath 'Born Again' cover. Then an illustration that I did to run with a review that I wrote for Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Soul To Soul' album in Kerrang! 107, 1985.
And finally an unpublished piece that I did of Keith Richards, sometime in the 1970s.
What was your initial involvement with Kerrang!
I started working on Kerrang! in February 1983. The first issue that I did was number 35 with Tony Iommi on the cover, to accompany an interview about Black Sabbath's 'Live Evil' album, ironically the last issue I ever designed. No 394, also featured Iommi, as well as Geezer Butler and was for a piece about the Black Sabbath album 'Dehumanizer'.
I got the job by phoning the then editor (and one of the finest men to ever draw breath) Alan Lewis and telling him that I was a freelance designer and had worked for Motorhead, Girlschool, Hawkwind and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few, and asked if he would be interested in seeing my portfolio, and to my great surprise he said yes he would.
This would have been December 1982.
We arranged a lunch time meeting in The White Lion pub, near their offices, which were above Covent Garden tube station, and after several pints and a few rock 'n' roll tales he asked me to go away and redesign the mastheads (the regular headings that they used) and to come back in the new year and we'd take it from there, if he liked them.
As it turned out he loved them and asked me if I'd like to work freelance as their designer and I, of course, said;
"Too foooookin' right boss! When do I start?"
When I did the mastheads I also redesigned the Kerrang! logo, which for some mysterious reason never got used in its full glory until issue 36 and wasn't used the way that I'd designed it until issue 38, which had Rock Goddess guitarist Jody Turner on the cover.
Was it fun to work for?
Shit, apart from the last year I was there it was the BEST job I'd ever had.
I couldn't believe how much we were allowed to get away with. Just as long as the magazine came out and there were no major fuck ups in it, we could do ANYTHING that helped our creative streaks.
Bottles of Jack and Mescal were everywhere, drugs, spontaneous air guitar freakouts on top of the desks could occur at any given moment, pub lunches that lasted days, a party or gig to go to seven nights a week and every goddamned rock star that you'd ever wanted to meet walking in and out of the office, and not because they wanted to be interviewed but because they just wanted to come and hang out with the Kerrang! gang.
Here's a perfect example. When I first joined the mag I was well behaved for the first couple of weeks, just finding my feet and observing just how far one could go. So when it came to lunch time I would eat my home made sandwich and stay in the office and get on with my job, whilst everyone else headed to the pub for their alcohol fix.
So there I am, alone, munching on my cheese and pickle sandwich when who walks in?
Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, along with the wart encrusted, Mr Potato Head, photographer Gross Halfwit. After several of Halfwit's odious and obnoxious questions, Gross finally, and no doubt grudgingly, introduced me to the great man. Before they left Billy asked me if he could take a few Kerrang! compliment slips as souvenirs, which I obliged him with, and in return for this minor favour he gave me a badge that read 'I MADE IT TO THE TOP!'
Who were your peers at Kerrang!?
The big boss Alan Lewis, Chris Welch, Pete Makowski, Dante Bonutto, Malcolm Dome, Howard Johnson, Steve Gett, Dave Dickson and Mick Wall were all people who I felt privileged to have as friends.
When did you stop working for Kerrang!?
The morning of the 21st May 1992, almost as soon as I'd finished designing issue 394, Managing Editor Geoff Barton invited me to join him at the office's local pub The Old Coffee House. As it had only just gone 11.00 in the morning I thought it was a splendid idea and off we went.
On our arrival he bought me a pint, and no sooner had I sat down and taken my first sip, he told me that my job position at Kerrang! was being advertised that week in various publications, and that I shouldn't bother applying for it. To add insult to injury he informed that as I had no contract with them, something that I'd never thought necessary, they were under no obligation to give me any redundancy pay, but as a gesture of goodwill they were prepared to give me three month's pay.
So, after nine years and 359 issues, I went back to the office, packed my bag and headed off to the Astoria, where I was on MC and DJ duties for, what I believe was, the first European KISS convention that was being held there that afternoon.
By the end of the day I was shattered, titanically pissed and had been offered the job of Art Director on Metal Hammer at almost twice the wages I was earning at Kerrapp!
Out of interest I thought I'd dig out that final issue and see what it looked like. On browsing through it several interesting things caught my eye.
Firstly the cover, which incorporated a picture of Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi to go with the feature inside about their new album 'Dehumanizer' and the return of Ronnie James Dio. Remarkably the first ever Kerrang! cover, (issue 35) I designed in February 1983, featured a picture of Tony Iommi accompanying a feature on Black Sabbath after Dio's departure. Spooky.
The second thing, one of the letters on the 'Kommunication' pages, under the heading 'IT'S A COVER UP!', which to be totally honest I'd never read before as the letters pages were designed by sub editor Clare 'Mrs Slowcome' Dowse, was positively freaky, and I reproduce it here for you to read;
YOU COULDA slapped me down with one of Inger's feathers! Last week I walked into me local noiseagent and teetered straight past me weekly fave Kerrang!
What's happened, guys?
Kerrang! used to look different from all the rest - lately it looks like a regurgitation of Just Seventeen! I nearly missed it, betweem Bodybuilders Biceply and Draindiggers Daily. Gone are all the trademark spidery Krusher headlines - in their place boxes of boring Letraset. Aargh!
I hope it is not a coincidence that the infamous diddly ring appeared at the same time.
Could this be a bad taste jinx, Mr Krusher? Please rectify the situation, before I revert to scissors, sticky-back plastic and old copies to make recent issues more bearable.
Anonymous Inter-Kerrang! Sweaty Shirt Fan.
As I say, I'd never read this letter before, in fact I don't think that I've ever actually looked inside this issue as it held so many bad memories for me. But now that I've read that letter, I'm almost positively sure that it was actually written by members of the staff.
You, see Kerrang! had had a new editor for a short while, some woman called Robyn Doreian, who had been imported from Australia, and because she'd studied design somewhere, probably Woolloomooloo School of Art, instead of getting on with what she'd been employed to do, she stuck her unwelcome design ideas into the big K! equation as well, and quite a few people at Kerrang! had noticed and didn't like what they saw.
So as I say. I'm almost positive that this was a staff protest.
By the way, I have no idea what the 'infamous diddly ring' was.
The real villains of this dastardly act of removing me from the mag were in fact general manager, Dave 'Kiss Of Death' Henderson and EMAP ubermeister/managing director Herr Tom 'Adolph' Maloney, quite possibly the two greatest arsechickens to ever walk this planet.
I'm glad to report that Maloney Baloney has been sacked!!!
What are your thoughts on Kerrang! of the noughties?
Corporate arse licking piece of shite that don't even have the decency to invite me to their Kerrapp! Awards!!
What do you think of modern day magazines like Classic Rock, Powerplay, Metal Hammer and Terrorizer?
I haven't seen Terrorizer for some years but I always had great admiration for it, especially the quality of writing, however I thought that the design sucked big time.
As for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock, I honestly think that they're the two best magazines on the market and have quality design.
Who was the first artist you interviewed?
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, shortly before their performance at Reading Festival, 1983.
I'd heard Texas Flood on cassette whilst out on holiday in Ibiza, which was part of my payment for Robert Plant's 'Pictures At Eleven' Tour programme that I'd designed. This was before it became the decadent island of dance music that it is today.
Mr Carson had an Elvis Presley themed club out there which you really did have to walk down Lonely Street to get to, but I digress!
Having heard the cassette and SRV's contributions to Bowie's 'Let's Dance' album, I was more than impressed with this man's guitar prowess, so when his name came up to be interviewed I asked if I could possibly do it and my proposal was accepted.
Not only was it my first interview but it was also the first interview of the day at 10am at the Epic offices and not only did I have SRV but also Double Trouble bass player Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris 'Whipper' Layton.
All I had to do was ask a set of questions to SRV about guitars that would be printed in one of our sister publications 'Guitar Heroes', which didn't take him too long to answer and I found myself with time on my hands so I asked if they new anything about the Reading Festival that they were going to be performing at as 'Special Guests from the USA' in a few days time.
They told me that they new very little, so I informed them of the great Reading tradition of throwing large plastic bottles full of stinking piss at the stage if they didn't like you. SRV said that they would take that on board and I suggested to them that they come out all guns blazing and don't give the audience a chance to even think; take them by their hairy bollocks and rock them HARD! HEAVY!! and ANIMAAAAAAAAAL!!!!
And that's exactly what they did by playing Scuttle Buttin', Testify, Voodoo Chile, Pride and Joy, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Love Struck Baby and Texas Flood.
After the set I was invited by Tommy Shannon into their dressing room to have a line and a shot of Crown Royal and toast their success.
Which artists have you interviewed over the years?
Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin manager), Robert Plant, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Uriah Heep, Dave Lee Roth, Aerosmith, Motorhead, Black Crowes, Skid Row, Pearl Jam, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, David Coverdale, Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, Soundgarden, System Of A Down, Slipknot, Pantera, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Sepultura, Machine Head... to be honest it would probably be easier to say who I haven't!
Can you recall a couple of rock 'n' roll anecdotes?
Being banned for life from the Astoria whilst waiting for a backstage pass to see Down. The historic venue has since been pulled down and let that be a lesson to them for fooookin' with the Krusher!
Also take heed, supposed rock bar Crobar, who have banned me for life for apparently telling people what to put on the juke box aggressively.
What a bunch of arsechickens!
Your daze are numbered! HAAAAAAAARRRRGGGH!!!!!!!
This is an exclusive alternative ending that I wrote in this year's website diary about Ross Halfin.
January 10th, 2010
I awake during the 'pissing hour', not because I need to urinate, but because I've been dreaming that I was sharing judging honours with His Royal Magus, Jimmy Page, where we were putting our great knowledge of all things piggy wiggy to their full potential during the pig show at the Ledbury Young Farmers annual fair.
It's a sign from His Empiric Lord of Darkness, Mr Page, punishing me for forgetting that yesterday he celebrated his 6,666th birthday.
I know I'm doomed to spend the day being visited by demons and spirits that the Master will have summoned as suitable chastisement for my sin!
In fact that's probably why I fell on my arsebone yesterday.
Oh Great Crowned Prince Of Hades, forgive me, I know not what I've done!!
I'm doomed I tell you, DOOOOOOOOMED!!!!!
Eventually get back to sleep and have no further disturbing visions, until I awake and find Milly's (my heavy metal hunting hound) arse pointing at my delicately, chiselled, Olympian features.
I leap from the pit as if hot pokers had been shoved up my elephant and castle and prepare for a day of listening and watching Led Zeppelin, in order to make up for yesterday's misdemeanour.
Outside it's a bitterly cold morning.
A biting wind penetrates from the east.
I make a hasty circuit of the park, and head to Joe's. Even Milly seems determined to get back indoors quickly, and doesn't do one of her disappearing into the undergrowth chasing squirrels acts.
Back indoors I put on Led Zeppelin 1, feed the beast, and myself, and leaf through the Scum newspaper. Nothing of interest to report.
As well as forgetting the Master's birthday yesterday, I also forgot to tell you that I had a call from Olde John, Milly's former owner, a Glaswegian with an accent so strong that I often have to get him to write down what he's saying to me so I can understand.
He wants me to drop in on him, as he's a favour to ask.
I pop down to his block of flats, which is next to mine, and find the poor old bugger is not in a good way. He's well into his 70s, and has been a hardened drinker most of his life, and sadly I think it's starting to catch up with him.
In fact that's how I came to own Milly. I used to see him going to and from the Ancient Foresters public house that he used to frequent, and usually, on his return, when he was a bit wobbly on his olde legs, I could see that he was struggling with Milly. Even though she's small, she's pretty strong, and I used to tell him that if he ever needed someone to take her out, I was more than willing to do it.
One day as I was returning from a shopping mission at the Blue and passing the pub, Olde John came out offered to buy me a drink, over which he asked me if I could pop by his flat later that day, which I did.
It turned out that he was finding it a struggle to keep up with Milly's demands for exercise, and with a tear in his eye, asked if I would take on responsibility of her.
I didn't have to be asked twice as I'd been dog-less for almost a year after the passing of Smudger, son of Bullseye, on the 18th December 2007 and I knew that a dog, or rather in this case a bitch, was just what the doctor ordered, and I her took her on the spot. Although it was obviously a heart breaking decision for Olde John. And that's how the hooligan became part of my being!
Anyway, back to the reason that John had asked me to visit him. It turns out that he was more or less house bound by various illnesses and conditions, although his neighbour Pat, a lady who herself was pretty old, was getting him food and necessaries from Joe's, and he wanted to know if I could pop down to Surrey Quays the next day to pick up his prescription of the necessary drugs that he needed. I told him that of course I would and after breakfast that's exactly what I did, and delivered them to him.
When he offered to give me money to get myself a drink, I told him I was on the wagon for January. He muttered something in his strong Glaswegian accent that I couldn't understand, but guessed was something like;
"For fuck's sake. pull yourself together, you great hairy Sassenach!"
I laughed, and told him that I had to go, and that's exactly what I did.
Once again indoors I continued listening to the collected works of Zeppelin whilst flagellating myself, trying to remember the few times, that apart from when he was performing on stage, I'd been in the presence of the Great One, Mr Page.
The first I can recall was at the premiere of 'How The West Was Won' at the Empire, Leicester Square, on the 15th May 2003 where all three remaining members of Zeppelin were in attendance.
During the playback of the soon to be released DVD my weak bladder let me down once more and I had to make a visit to the toilets.
In the area at the back of the cinema, where they sell popcorn and drinks, I was amazed to see Jimmy Page playing with his young son who was dressed in a mini version of the famous dragon suit that Jimmy had worn on the stage at Madison Square Gardens in 1973 when they filmed 'The Song Remains The Same'.
I was too in awe to say anything, and it was probably best that I didn't, because I was so desperate to get to the toilet that I'd probably have pissed myself, which somehow I don't think would have been very cool.
He was still playing with his son when I returned, but I just couldn't pluck up the courage to say hello.
The next time was October 20th 2004 when I went to see Whitesnake at Hammersmith Odeon.
As I'd written the notes for the tour programme I had all the necessary passes to ensure a good night. I don't really remember that much of the show, apart from almost being blinded by the whiteness of Coverdale's teeth.
On one of my visits to the bar, two absolutely stunningly beautiful young women came up to me and asked if I remembered them. I looked them up and down, my kidney-buster starting to rise in my pants, when I realised that they were the daughters of an old girlfriend's sister. I immediately stop the naughty thoughts, talked to them like a gentleman should, and invited them up to the VIP bar after the show.
I tell you, the faces in that bar were a fooookin' picture when I walked in with the two ladies draped on either arm.
There were quite a few people that I knew, and I could tell they were all thinking, "How the fuck did that old fucker pull that one off?"
I got them a drink and then told them to go and enjoy themselves.
As they mingled, one of my very old and dearest friends, Simon Sessler, came up to me and asked me if I'd ever met Jimmy Page. I of course replied that I hadn't.
Simon grabbed my arm, dragged me across the room and introduced me to the legend, then fucked off, leaving me to make polite conversation with the Magus, which actually was made a lot easier when Mr Page asked me if I'd like to join him on the sofa that had become available to sit on.
In the few minutes that I got to talk to him I told him my story about the 'Diary Of A Madman' sleeve that I'd designed for Ozzy, and how the scribbles that I'd done on the inner sleeve had been attributed to the very hand of Satan himself.
Sadly, as I was getting to the end of the story, photographer Ross Halfin comes mincing over, obviously jealous that I'm talking to his boyfriend and tries to drag Jimmy away from me but Mr Page tells Ross to hold his horses and let's me finish the story, which I did, and which he chuckled at.
I felt very honoured.
Now, let's talk about Ross Halfin, or Gross Halfwit as everybody who worked at Kerrang! used to call him.
Now I'm not a violent man, but there's something about Halfwit's face and attitude that I would quite gladly take a cricket bat to, and then when he's sat on his podgy, sorry arse, wiping his bloodied nose, whimpering like a stuck pig, I'd just have to take advantage, and kick him in his Betty Swallocks.
I know for a fact that Michael Schenker and Spike from the Quireboys have both done the decent thing and punched his lights out.
Now for some reason, he seems to take great pleasure in telling anyone who can be arsed to listen to his "me, me, me" witterings that I'm a drunk, which only strengthens my belief that it's him who is bitter.
Bitter about anybody who can actually drink and enjoy themselves at the same time, which sadly Halfwit never could, as was witnessed by myself and others on many occasions. He was quite possibly the worst drunk I've ever had the misfortune of having to imbibe with. Quite pathetic really.
Anyway, it was actually at the Kerrang! office in Covent Garden during the early '80s that I first encountered the wart encrusted Mr Potato Head look-alike. I'd only been there a very short time and was still on my very best behaviour.
So there I was, sat quietly, dilligently working at my desk, when in waddles what I can only describe as an overweight hobgoblin that had obviously been sat in the sun too long. After making conversation with some of the journalists, he wobbles over to my desk, and his first ever words to me are "Oi you! So why do they call you Krusher?" Instead of replying, "Because I take great pleasure in killing sad twats like you in car compacters!", I politely told him that it was just a nickname.
Now I suppose there's no doubting that Gross is an average rock photographer, but he's certainly not up there with the greats like Fin Costello, Robert Ellis, Mick Rock, Pennie Smith, Jill Furmonovsky, Robert Altman or Annie Liebovitz, but he is DEFINITELY number one when it comes to being the rudest, most obnoxious and arrogantly odious photographer to ever draw breath, and on this occasion at Hammersmith Odeon he really had got up my nose. As, incidentally, had a rather large amount of cocaine, and sadly I let myself down by taking him to one side and giving him a few regrettable opinions, one of which, was that he was nothing but an East End barrow boy who'd had a lucky break with a camera.
Silly stuff, and as I say, regrettable, but somehow very satisfying at the time.
However some days later when I was drinking in the Crobar, before they enforced my life ban, several mates came up to me saying how pissed off they were with what Ross had written about me in his diary, which I now reproduce for you;
"I have the misfortune of having to save Jimmy from Steve Joule, a third-rate designer and drunk who's bitter about everything (he looks like Catweazle, a scarecrow and down-and-out who stank).
"It's alright for you, you aren't any good, you're just fucking lucky and you know it", the sad bastard says as he waves his fist in my face, trying to intimidate me. I don't know what it is, but I seem to attract these emotional cripples. "No, I work very hard Steve, now fuck off!" He hangs round with the dregs of the music industry, so people buy him drinks.
Now, I ask you, was that necessary? Especially coming from the man I worked with on several Iron Maiden programmes, the sleeve of their live masterpiece 'Live After Death' and their first official biography 'Running Free'.
Does that mean that they too are third-rate?
Somehow I think not.
But more importantly, is this shite he writes about me not libellous?
His more recent slanderous remarks about me appeared in his diary last September, when he wrote;
"I can say with authority that Krusher was a drunk and a zero as a human being. He's still sad and bitter and full of bile - I had the misfortune of seeing him at Download this year."
Ah well, everyone's entitled to their opinion. But it would seem that some think they are more entitled than others.
Oh, by the way, he seems to take some perverse pleasure in spoiling band's performances by wobbling around on stage during their sets in shorts, whilst snapping away on his Brownie camera. He's got a penis the size of a walnut, and his ex-wife used to complain to me about him constantly wanting to fuck her up the arse.
Is that bitter and bilious enough for you, batty boy?
Do you have any tour bus tales to tell?
This is an exclusive extract from my 1999 Ozzfest diary.
Thursday 27th May 1999
Show over I grab my bag and head for Bobby's Bus, wondering who I'll be travelling with. When I get there it's locked but fortunately a chap named Yusef arrives on a golf buggy laden with bags of groceries that have to be loaded aboard. He lets me on and after depositing the bags disappears into the night.
It's about 11.30pm and I sit watching the TV until someone arrives. I dare not change the channel as the remote control looks as if you have to have a degree in technology to use it. The first person to show is Bob Thomson, one of Ozzy's inner circle. I'd spoken to Bob a few times on the phone before I came over but this was the first time I'd met him since I'd arrived in the US. He asks me where I'm sleeping and I point out the bunk with my bag on it that I'd picked earlier in the morning.
"You can't have that one", he tells me in his broad Scottish accent.
Fuck me sideways with a drumstick - it turns out that for the next two months I'm travelling on the same bus as Black Sabbath's legendary drummer Bill Ward.
The truly weird thing though is that when I was about 15, the house I'd grown up in since I was 11 was sold by my parents and we moved to a village a couple of miles down the road. The couple that bought it then sold it to Bill Ward. The world was all of a sudden becoming a very, very small place.
Friday 28 May 1999
Shortly after midnight Bob asks me if I smoke. I assume that he's referring to tobacco and I tell him no. He points out that Bill is a vegan, as well as a recovering alcoholic and junkie and therefore has to drink and eat only certain things, and it helps a lot if he's surrounded by people who don't smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs.
I tell him I curbed my excessive drinking some years ago, although I do indulge in the odd medicinal snifter now and again but it would be no problem travelling on a dry bus. He looks relieved and says he has to go and complete some unfinished business and tells me to start sorting out and putting away the food and drink that Yusef had left.
Bob leaves and I find myself alone once more on the bus. As I start to put drinks away in the fridge and the ice box I wonder if I should have mentioned to Bob that I do actually enjoy smoking a bit of pot now and again, but remembering yesterday morning's memo. I think it's best I kept my mouth shut.
Suddenly Bill Ward, the man I'd just watched bashing seven shades of shit out of his drums on stage, is standing in front of me dressed only in his shorts and sandals with a towel wrapped around his shoulders. I introduce myself and Bill in turn introduces me to his manager Mike.
They're both carrying large baskets, one filled with fruit the other filled not only with fruit but also exotic juices, biscuits and expensive looking crisps. They are gifts from Sharon and Ozzy. The baskets are deposited on the table in front of me and Bill says his farewells to Mike.
All at once I find myself on a bus with the drummer from Black Sabbath who is busy putting away the contents of his baskets, drinks in the fridge, fruit into one basket, biscuits and other snacks into the other. Suddenly he discovers that lying at the bottom of one of the baskets is a bottle of soap. He momentarily seems upset, sighs heavily and mutters something under his breath and puts the soap by the kitchen sink.
Within seconds he seems to have put whatever it was that he'd found upsetting behind him.
I remember reading somewhere that when Tony Iommi had first met Bill he had nicknamed him 'Smelly' and I wonder if the soap is meant to be some sort of reminder.
He tells me that if I see anything that I fancy just to help myself.
Bill seems an incredibly easy man to get along with and before I know it we're talking about Somerville House, the place where both of us had spent part of our lives.
Bob makes an appearance and offers to make us a cup of tea, only to find that there's no kettle. A tea addict's panic fills his eyes but Bill comes to the rescue by retrieving his own personal kettle from the luggage hold beneath the bus. Bob makes the tea and again disappears into the night.
Bill spots Rob Zombie and his entourage out in the parking lot, excuses himself, takes his tea and goes out to talk to him.
I desperately want to go out with him and introduce myself to Rob Zombie as I'm a great admirer of not only his music but also his illustrations and design work and I would love to talk to him about both. Especially as I'd spent many years of my life doing the same things including designing Ozzy's 'Diary Of A Madman', 'Speak Of The Devil', 'Bark At The Moon', as well as Black Sabbath's 'Born Again' album sleeves.
Instead I stay on the bus and wait for the rest of the people who I'll be travelling with to turn up. They include tour accountant Keith 'Kash' Keller, Trojan Condom representative Melvin Baker, Head of Security Val Bichekas - who I'd met before when he was working for Skid Row and Pantera and a man I would never want to be on the wrong side of - and also lighting man extraordinaire Dave Hill who amazingly on New Year's Eve is going to be responsible for lighting up one of the greatest follies Britain has produced this century, the Millennium Dome.
With everybody on board we eventually hit the road and I find myself in the back lounge of the bus talking with Bill. I tell him how much I'd enjoyed the show. He thanks me and tells me that it was good but that there were a few things that could be ironed out to make it even better.
I soon find myself chatting away and opening up maybe just a little too fast, too soon about relationships, drink and drugs. Bill has made it very clear that he no longer indulges in the last two and hasn't for 15 years. Even though I indulge modestly in both I wonder if this would be a good time for me to try to stop using. I'd done it some years ago when I gave up drinking for almost two years. along with drugs for six months, but in all honesty I'd become so boring that I was about as interesting as a snail on valium.
Eventually I hit the sack and I can't help feeling that I've given Bill the wrong impression regarding my personal beliefs on smoking and drinking. I feel I've come across as someone who no longer indulges in either and let's make no mistake, I do indulge and when I do I fucking enjoy it.
I know it's often said that cannabis leads to harder drugs, but personally the only thing I've ever found it leads to is the kitchen.
As the events of the day tumble around my head and I try to fall asleep I realise that not drinking or indulging in the odd doobie whilst on the road with 16 of the most happening bands in America today is not the way forward. To the sound of the wheels turning along the highway I get my first night's sleep on the road, which Bill has reliably informed me, is the only way to travel.
Can you tell me about your BBC Radio show 'Krusher's Metal Mayhem'?
To be honest, AS I HAVE NO RESPECT WHATSOVER FOR THE BBC or how it's run or funded so I'd rather not!
Of course if they were to commission 'Krusher's Komplete History of Rock and Metal' I might bite my lip.
Which artists did you interview for that show?
Peter Grant, Uriah Heep, Dave Lee Roth, Aerosmith, Motorhead, Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Terrorvision, Skid Row, Zodiac Minwarp, Derek Smalls (Spinal Tap).
What was it like hosting a rock night at London?s Hippodrome Club?
In 1989 I was approached to host and DJ the rock night at the Hippodrome club in the heart of London's West End, owned by the legendary Peter Stringfellow.
It was a club night that would regularly see eighteen hundred people crowd into the venue to rub oily chests with the stars, watch new talent strut their stuff on stage whilst the likes of Bon Jovi and Metallica fought each other with handbags over who was to have use of the VIP balcony box, and again not forgetting some quite unbelievable jam sessions, where we would be treated to impromptu live performances by the likes of Bon Jovi, Skid Row and Motorhead who all frequented the club on a regular basis as did Metallica, Motley Crue and Iron Maiden or whichever rock band was passing through town that week.
Unfortunately, like all good things, the club came to an end, but not before becoming a landmark in the history of London rock.
Happy daze, indeed!!
Can you tell me about Raw Power?
Raw Power was a TV show that I co-hosted with Ann Kirk shortly before it became Noisy Mothers in the early nineties.
It was basically a rock/metal show that went out on ITV, one of the major players in UK terrestrial TV.
It had previously been called 'Powerhour', which I would occasionally co-present with a woman called Nikki Groocock, cough, who went on to marry the manager of U2.
Did I get an invite to the wedding?
Did I foooook!!!!
But because 'Raw Power' was associated with the Emap published RAW magazine and I worked for the enemy Kerrang!, my services were no longer required, and I was replaced by the then editor of RAW Phil Alexander.
It was only after Kerrang! had sacked me and I was working for Metal Hammer, and surprise, surprise after Emap had purchased Kerrang! that Phil Alexander got promoted to be its editor that I was reinstated.
This all still leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, especially the way that Noisy Mothers was taken off air, but that's a different story.
Which gigs/festivals have you compered?
1994 'MONSTERS OF ROCK' DONINGTON FESTIVAL
Aerosmith, Extreme, Sepultura, Pantera, Therapy?, Pride & Glory
1995 METALLICA 'ESCAPE FROM THE STUDIO' DONINGTON
Metallica, Therapy?, Skid Row, Slayer, Slash's Snakepit, White Zombie, Machine Head, Warrior Soul, Corrosion Of Conformity
1996 'MONSTERS OF ROCK' DONINGTON FESTIVAL
Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Sepultura, Biohazard, Dog Eat Dog, Paradise Lost, Fear Factory
1998 OZZFEST MILTON KEYNES BOWL
Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Therapy?, Pantera, Soulfly, Slayer, Fear Factory
1999 OZZFEST US 28 Date Tour
Black Sabbath, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Slayer, Primus, Godsmack, System Of A Down, Slipknot, Fear Factory
2000 OZZFEST US 30 Date Tour
Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Godsmack, Static X, Incubus, Methods Of Mayhem, P.O.D., The Queens Of The Stone Age, Soulfly
2001 OZZFEST, THE NATIONAL BOWL, MILTON KEYNES
Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Tool, Papa Roach, Soulfly, Disturbed, Amen, Raging Speedhorn
2001 'TATTOO THE PLANET' UK 4 Date Tour
Slayer, Biohazard, Cradle Of Filth, Raging Speedhorn
2002 THE CLIVE BURR MS TRUST FUND TOUR
3 NIGHTS (19, 20, 21 March) BRIXTON ACADEMY - Iron Maiden
2002 XTREME June 29, RDS Main Hall, Dublin
Motorhead, One Minute Silence, NoMeansNo, Raging Speedhorn, Soil, Danko Jones, (spunge), Dukes Of Nothing, Number One Son, Breed 77
2002 'MONSTERS OF ROCK' UK 9 Date Tour
Alice Cooper, Thunder, Quireboys, Dogs D'Amour
2003, 2004, 2005 'THE BIG BALL' WREXHAM
1996 -2005 'THE BULLDOG BASH', LONG MARSDEN
Hell's Angels biker festival.
2009 HARD ROCK HELL III, Prestatyn, Wales.
2010 HAMMERFEST II, Prestayn, Wales.
Are there any rock writers you admire?
Nick Kent, Mick Wall, Pete Makowski and Chris Welch.
What is your record collection like?
Large and very varied.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Sweet FUCK ALL!! HAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!!!!!!!
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