The Flamin' Groovies in Paris in 1972 with James Ferrell at right.
Long obscured in the Flamin’ Groovies behind Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney, Chris Wilson and even tight-lipped man of mystery, George Alexander, guitarist James Ferrell is a key player in the band’s story. Along with his best pal Danny Mihm, James served in both the Loney-fronted and Wilson-fronted incarnations of the Groovies, and in Loney’s brilliant subsequent band, Roy Loney & The Phantom Movers.
James climbed aboard the Groovies train, replacing Tim Lynch, in Roy’s final days – he plays on the classic 1971 Fillmore recording that’s been released on both Voxx and Norton as well as other labels – and lasted through to 1976. He took part in the early European sojourns, their time with UA in London and the prime days of their relationship with Dave Edmunds and Rockfield Studios. That relationship produced game-changing 45’s, including “Slow Death” and “You Tore Me Down”, as well as the landmark and hugely influential "Shake Some Action" album.
James was there for the band’s legendary shows with the Ramones – on the 1976 Bicentennial bill in London and in LA - before departing the band and ultimately falling back in with Roy and Danny.
The ruling class, powers that be took good music off the public airwaves years ago and replaced it with insipid lifestyle programming, fake news, and bullshit unreality shows. They tried and tried to kill authentic rocknroll, but the latest Godfathers side, "Wild & Free", bursts boldly outta your shitty headphones fulla wide awake, bristling and lacerating Stooges riffs, tempestuous Thunders leads, irrefutable energy, and a pulverizing, powerhouse vocal: "Gonna start a war against ignorance and hate!"
This is essentially everything you can ask for, from a never say die, present day rocknroll band you can trust. Even after all these years, vocalist Peter Coyne and company are still conquering the forces of negativity and oppression and banality of evil with anthemic truth, and fully alive soul power. Play it now!
The bootboys and pint hoisters of the world already know what you get with the Godfathers. Memorable melodies, scream along choruses, visceral, passionate emotions, sneeringly defiant lyrics, and a heavy beat you can dance to. I dunno the names of the other guys in the Cure right now, but I'm pretty certain I know what they're all about. Same holds true with the Godfathers, who have always been about critical thinking, fierce independence, breaking the chains, the underground railroad, fully committing, and holding fast to your own guiding principles, even and especially when it means trudging against the ravages of time and hard winds and useless trends and popular currents of manufactured consensus.
Throughout the many storied incarnations and always evolving reinventions of Godfathers lore, many of the top guns in the business have flown under the proud Godfathers banner. "I'm Not your Slave" is golden pop you're gonna love. The "Hey Hey Hey Whoos" were made for you and me-it's gonna stay in your head for days. Peter's got a freshly rejuvenated lineup of reliably stone cold hit-men, but it's honestly like he has never missed a beat. The new Godfathers sound a whole lot like the original Godfathers, and that's almost maybe more than we should even hope for, in these perilously volatile and turbulent and unpredictable times, when there's so little to believe in.
Last weekend was marked by sad news that the founder of French label Skydog Records MARC ZERMATI had passed away.
Zermati is owed a huge debut by fans of the Stooges, in particular. He kept the memory of the Stooges alive for decades, releasing the live "Metallic KO" album and other material when nobody lse seemingly cared. He was the promoter of France's first punk rock festival and a driver of underground culture. We thought it was timely to extract this 20-year-old interview he gave to KEN SHIMAMOTO.