The Pissed-Off Roadie from Hell
Roadie, Soundman, Engineer, Producer
FIBM: What's new, what have you been up to lately and what's in the future?
Charles: Currently I'm Working out of a Blues Club here in Houston, The Howling
Coyote, Doing most of their live sound,
as well as recording alot of the shows live. We're currently gearing up to
start Webcasting , The logistics of which are ridiculous.
I started My own label, PsudoMystic Records and actually have distribution,
If only I had someone signed.
Other than that I'm just hangin' out doin' That Texas Thing.
FIBM: Where and how did you get your start in the music business?
Charles: My first gig was in Austin, I carried in the bass players bass, and tuned it
between sets. I Couldn't tell you the name of the band.
I got all the beer I could drink, and I got laid. Found out real fast what
Mom and Dad we're keepin' me from.
Plus Austin was a groovy place to have grown up. Armed with a fake ID,
requirement for anybody wanting to check out who was playing where.
I haunted many a now famous Bar . I would sneak out and head for the
Continental to catch Stevie Do his Hendrix thing.
There was Bugs Henderson, Joe King Carasco, Taj mahal. The B-52's. You
wanted bad ass music, Austin was the place in 1980.
Who were some of the bands that you worked with in Houston? Were there any
that you were surprised did not make it?
Charles: Too many, Jonah Hex for 1, Big Trouble, Diamond Romeo, Vision AD4, I did
lights for OZ Knozz for a couple shows
No, the ones who we're to make it did it.
Being from Texas, you must have seen Pantera in their early stages? What
were your memories of the band at that time?
Charles: The 'Pantera' Factor. Yea I remember Pantera, when Terri was the Vocalist and
a then young Diamond Darrell's ( R.I P.), I want to be
Eddie Van Halen Vibe, he had going. Phil was in another band from Louisiana,
Called Razor White. Then I remember Razor White Breaking up.
You also worked with the bass player from Phil Anselmo's Pre-Pantera band, Razor White.
What do you remember about the Razor White days? Any shows come to mind?
Charles: Yea I think they played Houston a few times,
I do remember seeing them in New Orleans. Judas Priest cover band. I have one memory of Phil doing Realms of Death and
Sad Wings....it was ungodly..did it better than Rob himself, and thats coming from a hardcore Priest fan. What was scary was, later, watching Rob become Phil
Razor White, with Phil Anselmo in the middle
What was your relation to the bass player for Razor White?
Charles: He Joined the band I was running sound for ,Jonah Hex, just as they were
disbanding. So The Guitar player Lex Cochren, teamed up with Roger
And recruited a lead vocalist from Dallas, Ronnie Trent. He was playing in a
band Ruby Rocks. But thats another story.
What do you remember about the Sweet Savage days with Joey C Jones?
I saw them play a few times before they headed out to LA. Most of my
association with Joey was the Shock Tu/ Bashin Passion days.
I alway loved to hang with Joey when he came to town.
Any Rigor Mortis memories?
I think i ran sound for a LOW budget metal fest type thing which included
then fellow nobodies as Ministry and Watchtower,
I might have mixed them or tried to.
FIBM: In Bobby's pre-Vinnie days, you worked with him. How did you meet Bobby and
what were some of the bands you & he worked with?
Wow, How I met Bobby Rock. First of all he was Bob Brock, not bobby, and he
was the shit. The real deal and everyone in town knew it.
When I met him he was With Lex Cochran(Guitar) in a band called Worlds. How
I hooked up with those Two is an ODD twist of fate.
I returned to Houston in May of '84 and through a musican directory hooked
up with a band AD4 running lights. This is back in the day when
you carried around 50 to 75 Par 64's and a buttload of Radio antennas That
passes for trussing. Back when you could blow a club up with pyros
without burning the place down or anyone getting hurt. Anyways the
relevant person from that ban, Steve Steel. Bad ass bass player / man about
Steve had it goin on, So when AD4(which changed its name to Vision) disbanded
he went looking for another gig. He'd Heard from our booking agent That
The singer For Diamond Romeo had fired his entire band and was wanting to
start fresh, He also was looking for a light man.
So Steve calls me up and tells me to come over to his house so we could pick
this guy up from the airport th next day.
He informs me after I get to the house who would be coming over the next
day and this was not to be discussed, as these two
were in Worlds and they didn't want rumors to spread.
So I agreed to keep my mouth shut and we went out to some disco where
topless dancers like to hang.
The next day Steve And I are fried when we go pick up The singer from Little
Rock, Clint Allen.
From the moment we picked him up he was pitching his Super group concept to
Steve, He had the gear and the money.
We get back to Steve's parents house and wait for the arrival of the other
two characters in this plot, Lex Cochren and Bob Brock.
These two were on top of their game back then. Quite simply at that time and
place the best Guitar Player and Drummer in Houston.
Steve was no slouch himself. He was a monster Player in his own right. So
they all talk the talk of a group of guys who are starting a band.
Set lists are made up, tours are discussed. A rehearsal schedule is made up.
and whala. Diamond Romeo Pt2. Or so I thought.
We all went to a club here on weshimer, Cardiews to hang out, A 4-piece
Motley Crue cover band was playing called Lillian Axe.
I proceded to hang out and get drunk and the next thing ya know Steve Steel
is splitting. And he's pissed.
Seems Bob And Lex had their own plans for who was going to play bass. Clint
said it was still on and he'd call me in a couple of months when
they got ready to gig. So I figure I'll never hear from the guy and grab the
first band I could get a gig with. Houston based Archer...Yea.
They had a beatup old school bus that served as both transport for the gear
and the band. I remember it breaking down on the way back to Houston
and I had to MacGyver the distributor to get us home. Just as I'm trying to
figure out how to pick up some other gig, Clint hunts me down and they are
So I jump ship to join Diamond Romeo's road crew. And find out on the way to
our first gig in Kaleen Texas at the Woodstock,
That amongst my other duty for little or no pay... I was now Bobs' drum Tech
and Lex's Guitar tech and would be setting up the stage and hauling all the
He didn't care if I didn't like the way he wanted lights run he was
picking up a light man in Baton Rouge. So I could take it or go home.
Bastards had me by the balls and they knew it. Thus I became the first tech
Bob ever had.
|FIBM: What was he like before he made it? Was he always as healthy as he was in
VVI and to this day?
Charles: Not only was he healthy he harped on me about all the sugar and booze,
burgers, I ingested on a regular basis.
Bob always has been and always will be BOB.
FIBM: How did you end up doing the Vinnie Vincent tour? Describe the process
leading up to the day you began the tour?
Charles: I went with Bob to Los Angeles when he auditioned for Vinnie. He was loyal guy, and
I was his trusty sidekick. He wasn't going to leave me out.
Not after all the hard miles he and I had done in Diamond Romeo. So I went
with him. After the audition Bob got the gig and I went home until It was
Time to tour.
Unfortunatly I was on the road when the call came in from Bob, and I missed
my shot. He'd hired another guy.
BUMMER. I was depressed, and to make matters worst the band I was working
for broke up a month or so
later stranding me in Little Rock. With no gig and no place to go I called
the 1 person I knew would let me crash at his pad for the night, Clint
Clint wasn't going to let me go down like that so the next morning he called
his former sound guy Kevin Ines, who was living just south
of Fayettville and had become a Bee keeper. I was to go stay with him and
work until something got figured out.
I was there about 3 weeks. Manual labor Dawn to dusk, and I had just about
settled into being a Bee keeper, When the phone call came.
You go to bed early in the country, not much else to do. Kevin and I didn't
even have a phone. The nearest one belonged to our boss,
who's property we lived on, about a tenth mile up the road.
I remember Kevin waking me up saying Bob had called the main house and was
going to call back in 10 minutes, And he wanted to speak
to me. I remember thinking it was a dream as I stumbled up the dirt road that
led to the main house. Sure enough I get inside and no sooner
than i get a cup of coffee handed to me the phone rings. Still half asleep I
hear Bob saying "this is it homes". I was to drive down to Little Rock in
morning and catch a flight that Clint loaned me the money for to Denver
Colorado. Next thing ya know I'm standing on the stage behind Bob
In Mcnicoles Arena in front of a full house. Trip.
FIBM: Didn't you have something to do with Bobby's first instructional Video?
Charles: Yea That was after the whole Vinnie Trip and before he joined Nelson. Bob called me up and said
he wanted to give me another shot. He's always told me he likes the way I tune his kit, whether or not he was just being nice only he could tell you, but I do take pride in my drum tuning. The thing that sticks out the most in my mind is My coffee mug, which appears from nowwhere in whats supposed to be a continuos shot. He called me up after the tape was done and had me fast foward my copy, and low in behold there was my favorite black mug sitting on a Rack behind his left shoulder. OOPS
| Vinnie Vincent Invasion
Bobby Rock, Vinnie Vincent, Mark Slaughter, Dana Strum
Actual test sheet for Bobby's video
FIBM: Knowing your love for Iron Maiden and the fact that Vinnie was opening for
them; please share some Maiden stories?
Charles: Maiden Stories, Hmm. Well there are far to many to tell here. And I
wouldn't want to incriminate certain insane members of the rigging crew
who might have remodeled a hotel room or 2. Kinda like Vegas what happens on
the road should probably stay there.
I will say my fondest Maiden Moment was sitting up in the light rigging with
pyro pete and watching the show from up there.
Those are the moments guys like us live for.
FIBM: What was the general crowd reaction to VVI opening for Iron Maiden? Any
night stand out from the rest?
Charles: Well, That too had it's moments. Roaring crowds to dead crowds to bottles
being thrown at us. Ya gotta consider most of these people
were here to see Maiden. At that point the undisputed Heavyweight Champs of
Metal Touring Acts. We were lucky to even be there.
But some people didn't dig the glam Trip.
The memory I'm most fond of happened in Long Beach Arena. With all that go's
on while the band is playing there are few moments in
the heat of battle that you get to take it all in. I'll never forget the
guys had just kicked in to the ballad and out came the obligatory bics.
I know how Cliche' that is, we've all done it. But to see it from the stage
FIBM: What was your job on the tour and what did it progress into?
Charles: My Job was Bobs' Drum Tech. Keep them clean, tuned, and ready. Set them up /
tear them down.
Make sure Bob had whatever he needed to throw down. That was pretty much it.
FIBM: What are your memories of Vinnie Vincent? What was he like to work for?
Charles: I'd rather not Talk too much about Vinnie, Judge not least ye be judged sorta
thing. Let's just say he made life difficult for himself and everyone around
I tried to stay out of his Radar, so to speak. With limited amounts of
FIBM: What was it like to work for Bobby Rock?
A labor of love. Bob Brock AKA Bobby Rock has worked my ass harder under
some of the most ridiculous cirumstances in the farthest
reaches of north America. Always under the most grueling drive schedules and
conditions you can imagine. Yet the show always went on.
And I've had to pull a rabbit or two out of my hat so to speak to make it
happen. I take great pride in all the good things that have happened
in my life because I was Bob's Tech and later his Sound Man. Becuase of him
I toured with Maiden. Watched an album go from 4 track demo
to Finished product. I met Dana, and Mark. I learned a lot about drums and
how to tune them, very well. Big pay off in the studio later!
Not to mentioned all the wonderful people I got to meet along the way. It
was always an adventure with the Rockster.
FIBM: Please tell us about the time Bobby whacked you in the face
with his drumstick. Describe that night. What did that feel like?
Charles: You had to Bring that one up. I can't remember exactly where we were when it
(FIBM response: Now that's funny). But Here's the story. Bobby was endorsed by Sonor
at the time. The kit he had at the time was his Black sonic Plus'. To this
day my favorite set..anyway Sonar had come up with a hi hat mounting bracket
So one could remove the legs from the stand and mount it to the rim of the
kick. Great Idea, but for one thing.
Bobby Frickin' Rock and his thunder the barbarian power strokes. The guy has,
take my word for it, the softest single stroke role period.
But he's also one of the natural Heavy Hitters I've ever seen. He's not a
basher by any means, it's just the power in his sroke.
Well needless to say, he had a way of rattling his kit apart, Hence the
necessity of someone like me. Keeping a kit
under Bob is a full time gig. Anyways the hi hat mount was starting to get
loose and Bob signaled me to fix it. I was just waiting for
my moment to come when Bob would do his tom roll and end up on the ride
cymbal. Giving me ample opportunity to tighten the part and get the hell out.
The roll came, I dove in to tighten the mount, but instead of going to the
ride like i had anticipated, he came across his body with a right hook
and layed his stick flat across my face so hard it shoved my head into the
hi hat....in time. Knocked me clean out for a minute, Next thing I know
I'm hanging of the back of the riser with Bob looking over his shoulder
shouting "you alright Homes?"
To add insult to injury, I not only had a huge welt on my face and it hurt, but the sound
guy had recorded the show and later, kept rewinding that part over and over again.
What was it like to be Dana Strum's bitch? How did you become his bitch?
Is he really the ass that everyone claims?
Charles: Being Dana Strums bitch. Sad how accurately that describes my relationship with
Dana. I'd love to puff my chest out like Cris Lamarka and say I
was the producers Assistant. But thats just a fancy way of saying I was
Danas' Bitch. If he needed it done, I went and did it , regardless of ethics
or restraint. I became so by Volunteering. I was hired to set up the Kit and
take care of Bob during the recording. Haul shit in and out of storage that
sort of thing.
Dana sorta took me under his wing. I'm convinced he made shit up for me to
do, just to keep me around. He got me side gigs tuning drums and
helping with other shit he was producing. He taught me how to listen to the
sound of things. He, through demonstration, taught me the ins and outs of
Even though My tutelage was cut short, what I learned from him shaped my
Was Dana an ass? He was a Rock Star! They're all asses. Did he take advatage of
a naive boy from Texas? Probably.
But thats just payin' dues man. I screwed that up.
3 nice things about Dana Strum.
Has more tricks up his sleeve than anyone I've ever met
Coolest guy to hang out with in a topless bar
FIBM: Did he ever make you wash his car?
Charles: What part of Dana's Bitch didn't you understand. Of course I did. Several
times. Had the oil changed too. He had a nice volvo.
FIBM: Your best Dana Strum story.
The time I played wingman for him at The Rainbow. He ended up picking up
this chick and her friend, who was very hot, I might add.
We all go back to Dana's parents in the Valley and hang by the pool. One
thing leads to another and Dana's in his room doing his thing and
Gettin' it on with her friend. So next morning they say goodbye, The chick I'd
been with is now wearing my VVI Staff sweat pants.
It was then that Dana informed me she was either the wife or the fiance of
a famous Guitar player.
FIBM: Three most fond memories of your time with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion.
The Maiden Tour
The Vegas trip
Hangin in LA
FIBM: Three worst memories of your time with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion.
Vinnie's mood swings
Dana's bad moods brought on by Vinnie unnecessary dramas
FIBM: What was a typical DAY in the Life of
Charles England, during the recording of "All Systems Go"?
Most of my Day revolved around moving equipment, running errands, that sort
Most of my time was spent waiting around for Dana to give me something to
There at least a dozen guys who could have done my job, for some reason Dana
kept me around.
FIBM: Why did you leave the VVI, in the middle of recording the album? What did
you do after that?
I was fired right after the vocals were laid. I got strung out on coke and
Heroin. I fucked things up. they couldn't trust me. End of Story.
Definitely one of my biggest regrets.
FIBM: Have you ever shit your pants, in an attempt to not shit on the tour bus?
Any good stories come to mind?
No, but I once stunk up the bus so bad the driver pulled over and made me
empty the holding tank. I had the stomach flu....it was either that or shit my pants, I had to do it.
FIBM: What is the life of a roadie like while on tour? Did groupies ever pleasure you to get backstage? Did you get laid as much as the band?
Life on the road is insane. Your doing the same thing every night, With the
same group of people. Just in a New location.
Add drugs and sex and things really get weird. Yes , Women on occasion performed
felatio among other depraved acts for a backstage pass.
No one got laid as much as the band, But the rejects rocked
FIBM: How quick were you able to tear down the VVI set?
Iron Maiden had very strick rules about how long we had to load. From last
not to lock on truck 15 minutes. Or you had to wait until Maiden got the
last of their shit out before you could load up
FIBM: You worked for a production company that did a show with Ozzy during the Bark at the Moon tour w/
Motley Crue opening. Anything stand out from that show?
I worked for a sound company in Ft. Lauderdale that rented Pa or lights or
something to Ozzy for the Miami show, might have been Orlando.
Anyways Motley Crue had just finished their set and I was sent to turn the rest
of the PA on for Ozzy. Just as I get to one of the racks there's Nikki Sixx
some chick right on top of the amp rack. So without a word, or Nikki missing
a stroke I fired the amp, gave him a nod which he returned and went about my
FIBM: Tell us about your time with Yngwie Malmsteen in Gulf Port MS
Sad tale actually as it would repeat itself at least twice later on.
I was living with a girl who tended bar at the local Rock club call the Shy
Ann Social Club. The night before Maiden and Malmsteen are to play Buloxi,
Yngwie shows up at the bar, just wanting to hang out. So I play a few games
of pool with him, a video game called crystal castles and had
a few drinks. Well before long he was into the chicks more than hanging out with
a bunch of fans so it wasn't long before he disappeared.
Or so we thought. Were closing down the bar, Me , My girlfriend, Her boss,
and her boy friend. When low and behold we find Yngwie
curled up behind the toilet in the girls bathroom. Passed the fuck out. So
I throw him over my shoulder and get him to his rented Mustang.
Where he proceeds to puke all over me. So we get Yngwie back to the hotel.
The manager of the band gave us all passes and thanked us.
And we went the next night to see Maiden. I remember it was Yngwie's new bass
player, Wally was his name...I think.. It was his first show with Yngwie.
Funny thing about it is it wouldn't be the last time I carried that man over
my shoulder, and he doesn't even know me.
FIBM: How did you meet Chris Holmes and who has his jacket? Please explain.
I'm not touching this one. Ask Wayne Sweeny of Saliva. It involves binge
drinking at a tittie bar. Needless to say a drunk and biligerent Chris Holmes
slipped out of his jacket while being carried to his hotel room. He passed
out cold in the gutter leaving Wayne holding the Jacket.
The place was New Orleans and Blackie can tell the rest of that story. (FIBM response: Or we can. Chris Holmes was arrested that night and Blackie had
to bail him out of jail the next day, not to mention, Chris Holmes never saw his jacket again, or knew what happened to it....until NOW....
FIBM: VVI was recording their album in the same place that Yngwie was recording
Trilogy and Lillian Axe was recording their debut, which Robbin Crosby
produced. Did you ever sit in on any of the Lillian Axe sessions.
Oh yea, I loved Robin he was a real cool guy. Sad to hear it when he passed. I remember hanging in the back for a couple of tracks. First time robin invited me in to check it out he rolled a big fat joint
on the console. I remember misery loves company being laid. I knew John Stir the other guitar player and the bassist from the band they were in before lillian, called "stiff". So I could pop in and out unnoticed. At one point I was kinda like a piece of the furniture at at the studio.
It was like being a kid in a candy store.
FIBM: Did you sit in on any of the Yngwie, Trilogy sessions? Did you get to
meet Joe Lynn Turner?
Well he was recording trilogy at cherokee studios the same time Vinnie was
there. I snuck into a few of his sessions. I shared a pizza with him
and watched the very first Star Trek: The next generation with Yngwie. I did
meet joe, very reserved and polite individual.
FIBM: Who else was recording there at that time.
Lillian Axe, Rod Stewart, Lou Reed, the Monkees I think Jeff Beck but I might
FIBM: Charles England is transported back to the year 1986, is there anything you would do
I regret having hurt the people who counted on
Mark, Dana, and Bobby Deserved better from me than to let them down like I
did. Especially after all I got out of it.....and NEVER TOUCH COKE.
| THE FAST 5
FIBM: What is your most disgusting habit?
Charles: I've been know to go a few days between baths
FIBM: What is the most feminine thing you do?
Charles: Condition my hair
FIBM: If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you arrive?
Charles: Nothing I'm hoping to get in unnoticed
FIBM: Greatest Rock band of all time?
Charles: Led Zeppelin
FIBM: What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?
Charles: Doing a bong hit, listening to ZZ tops first Album.