Johnny Moped Interview

Captain Sensible described Johnny Moped as being tailor made for punk rock. If the good captain says so you better listen. The Captain should know as he played in the Johnny Moped band alongside Chrissy Hynde, Shane MacGowan described the band as better than the Clash and the Pistols. Johnny Moped recorded the LP Cycledelic in 1978 and for me is one of the five best punk LPs of all time. Johnnys fourth full length LP Lurrigate Your Mind is out soon through Damaged Goods Records. Ian from DG was kind enough to hook me through to the great man while on tour

Munster: As I write this you’re on tour in Germany and you’ve got some more shows coming up later in the year, how has the tour gone so far?

Johnny: Tour is going great, the audiences have been mental. Playing in Helgoland (a sand dune in the middle of the north sea) was interesting, I think the baby seals liked us.

Munster: You don’t hit the road much so how is it touring after all this time?

Johnny: Its an adventure, something I enjoy, I like to give it all I’ve got.

 Munster: Your new LP Lurrigate Your Mind is out this month, what process went into making the record?

Johnny: The lads laid down all the backing tracks, then I did all the vocals. Some of the songs hadn’t been rehearsed so I hadn’t even heard them before I sang on them.’ You Kill me’ lyrics were basically written in the studio just before I had to sing on it.

Munster:  Who are the members of the Johnny Moped band today? J

Johnny: Johnny Moped. Slimy Toad. Jacko Pistorius since 1983. RocknRoll Robot since 1991. Marty Love since 2017.

Munster: Your last LP It’s a Real Cool Baby was released in 2016, but your last LP before that was in the early 90s, and your debut LP was in the late 70s, you’ve had hutias and breaks in between but how do you go when it comes to writing and recording an LP? Is it something you can do in a short period and comes naturally or does it take time and patience?

Johnny: A combination. Some of the songs had been kicking about for some time, where as some of them were brand new. Catatonic was an old riff Robot wrote when he was 16 in his first Punk band at school, Me and Jacko wrote the lyrics. Yeah, once you start getting songs together they seem to come naturally.

Munster: I read an interview where you were asked what it was like growing up in Croydon in the 70s and you said you didn’t get caught up in the hippy/flower power stuff too much, so what was it about punk that you embraced?

Johnny: Like Captain Sensible said in the film, we were perfect for what was coming (Punk rock). Our first gig was supporting The Damned 2nd Jan 1977 at the Hope & Anchor in Islington London. Captain played guitar for us and The Damned as Toad hadn’t joined the band yet.

Munster:  What was the feeling like recording Cycledelic in the 70s, this was round the height of punk and the birth of indie music but recording back in those days was more expensive so what was it like recording as an indie artist back then?

Johnny: Fairly straight forward, I had to be kidnapped to get to the studio, Roger Armstrong done a good job although Dave wasn’t too happy with the drum sound, sounded like he was playing through cotton wool.

Munster: What was Chiswick records like to work with at the time, and how did you become associated with Damaged Goods in recent years?

Johnny: Chiswick were great especially Roger Armstrong, he had the patience of a saint. Damaged Goods put out The Bootleg tapes and suggested doing a single. We did the single and had a good time getting it together, so we carried on writing new songs for Real Cool Baby. The band had to wait 6 months for me to get a new set of knashers coz I sounded like Harold Steptoe.

Munster: Back in 2013 a documentary Basically Johnny Moped was released, where you happy with the doco and how you were portrayed?

Johnny: Yeah I was happy with it, Fred did a Stirling job piecing all the archive stuff together.

Munster: The director of the doco Fred Burns said “He was written out of history despite having had my dad and Chrissie Hynde in his band”, do you agree with that statement?

Johnny: I do agree with that.

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Munster: When did you first meet Captain Sensible and how did you feel having him in the band even during his run with the Damned, and how does it feel being labelled a genius by the good captain ?

Johnny: I’m flattered. I met him in Apsley Rd, South Norwood outside a friend’s house we were teenagers. He gave me his address and I went round there for a jam, Dave’s mum bought him a drum kit which he couldn’t play yet.

Munster:. In a review for Basically Johnny Moped, the reviewer mentioned 30 years ago Shane MacGowan told him Johnny Moped where better than the Clash and the Pistols. Do you agreed with that?

Johnny: Yes of course definitely, we are for real.

Munster: What does the rest of the year hold? Any chances of coming to Australia?

Johnny: We are basically promoting the new album which kicks off at the 100club London June 8th. Yes we’d love to come out to Australia, if you know anyone who wants to put us on and pay our fair, let us know.

Munster: Standard final question, what’s your favourite LP by the Fall?

Johnny: ‘The Best of’

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