Marin Real Estate

Bam Bam
PART II - Dogs D'amour Days

FIB MUSIC:  So you're completely clean now? You don't smoke herb, or anything?

Bam:  No, no. We never did really. Years ago, before I met Share, I used to smoke anything that.....

FIB MUSIC:  Anything that was smokeable.

Bam:  That was the thing; we were like four kids in the candy store. We got a record deal and got to travel around the world, so the world was our candy store. What you got? Yeah, we'll do that. Got any Blah, Blah? No, but we've got some Blah, Blah....oh, that will do. We never had any money, so, we weren't on that kind of money record deal, you know what I mean? It was always like the friends of the band sought us out. It was a pretty crazy fucking lifestyle. Whatever money we did have went to pay for the hotel rooms and shit. We actually believed in that..... mischief was our number one fuckin' game, you know? Late at night at a bar we'd always send the guy in the back, we'd say, "hey, you got a bottle of Napoleon Brandy?" and the bartender would say, "I've got one in the cellar, I'll go get it" So, when he would go to the cellar, we would take every piece of furniture in the bar and chuck it out the window and then just stand there nonchalantly when he got back and he would be like, "What the fuck?" and we'd be like, "What?".

FIB MUSIC:  Can you give us a little info on how Dogs D'amour came about?

Bam:  It was literally that classic thing; Tyla put an ad in the Melody Maker, which was a famous rock n roll newspaper, back in the day. I think it actually had Motley Crue in there, who I had never fucking heard of, at the time. He also said the Rolling Stones and the Who and I thought, oh, that's my kind of stuff. I remember walking into Tyla's pad, wherever he lived in Notting Hill Gate in London. He opened the door and I've never seen so much fucking hair in all my life. He had this great-big-spiked-up hairdo. We went upstairs and his girlfriend was there and she had even bigger hair, which she is entitled to, because she is a chick. He already found Karl (Watson) and Nick (Halls). So he had a guitar player and a bass player and you know, I just chatted with him that day and we basically went and rehearsed and that was that; I was in the band. Then we started auditioning singers, because Tyla wasn't the singer at the time, he was the guitar player. Then we found Robert Stoddard (Ned Christie) an American cat, who was our first singer in the Dogs, but at the time, we weren't called the Dogs D'amour, we were called the Bordello Boys, which was totally fuckin' gay. It was actually Ned Christie, which is what Robert Stoddard was called at the time, who came up with the name, Dogs of Love, Dogs D'amour. We wanted to be called the Dogs, then we found out there was already a band called the Dogs and Robert added the D'amour part.

Tyla & Bam

FIB MUSIC:  Did anybody else audition for the band?

Bam:  That was actually quite funny, we had some crazy people audition. This one day, this skinhead comes in, full on white-supremist skinhead......fuck me and Tyla were just terrified and thought the guy was going to kill us. Eventually, we sang a song with us.....we start playing this song called, "Sleeping Beauty" and I'll never forget it. He just steps up to the mic and we give him this lyric sheet. So, we're playing this kind of Stonesy, kind of jammy, Thin Lizzy type of song and he steps up to the mic and he goes, "ROOROOROOROOROOR OROROORORO ROROROROooR ROROROR" and we were just like, "Holy Shit!". At that time, the only way to get a hold of someone was by telephone, so we gave him wrong numbers, we also changed rehearsals studios after that, we wanted nothing to do with that muthafucker.

FIB MUSIC:  Any memories come to mind when you think back on your first gig with Dogs D'amour?

Bam:  I don't know if it was the first gig......I think it was the first fuckin' gig we ever did. I think it was at this pub in Kings Cross in London. We actually had this guy called Kaz, who was an A&R guy for a Japanese record label. He eventually went off to work for Virgin Records, he became a massive record executive. But at the time, he was the A&R guy for this Japanese label called Watanabe Records.

FIB MUSIC:  Which you guys actually sign with first, right?

Bam:  Yeah, well kind of yeah (laughs). What happened was Kaz came down to the first gig and, in true form, the band was stamped as this raucous crazy rock n roll band. Robert and Tyla were kind of banging and smashing into one another. I think Tyla banged into Robert too hard and Robert hit the PA stack and the PA stack started coming down. It was just a stack of cabinets on the floor, you know what I mean? So the stacks just come falling over and luckily, my roadie guy, my good friend Andre, who's this huge giant of a guy. He caught the PA stacks, but unfortunately Kaz was standing right next to this as it all went down, so as far as he was concerned, that was the first time and the last time he ever came to see the band. He was like, "I almost got killed by the PA stack". Good shit.

FIB MUSIC:  But I assume he was the one who got you signed to the label, right?

Bam:  Yeah, but it was about two years later. He was just at the end of his deal with them and he was about to leave the label. Periodically, Tyla would hassle him.....he knew where his office was, so he would go down there and hassle him every couple of months. "Come on, give us a deal.....Come on, give us a deal" and I think in the end, he had one deal to give out before he left the label, you know what I saying? How they work in Japan is really weird. So he just kind of said, "ok, here's a record deal, now fuck off and leave me alone....go away". He gave us the deal and then left the label and we were left high and dry with this record deal, supposedly with this Japanese label, but everything was in Japan, not in London, of course. But we had the paperwork, we signed, they signed and everything was cool and it was for a stupid amount of money, I think is was for 7000 pounds or something. We took the money and went to my friend Dan Priest, who we had actually used to record with Robert, we had done another thing called "On the Wire". We went to Dan and said, "we've got a bit of money, can you do the album for nothing, basically" and he said "yeah, alright". So him and me start running around everywhere trying to find somewhere to record the drums, because we wanted this massive drum sound. So, we went all around to these churches and houses, all around England in his fucking car. We went around with a bass drum, a snare and a hi-hat. So we went around and did soundchecks in all the different places and eventually settled on this church in London, a Catholic Church, whic we got really cheap. It was this huge old cathedral. That's where we tracked the drums.

FIB MUSIC:  Which album was it for?

Bam:  The Unofficial Bootleg.

FIB MUSIC:  You weren't on "The State We're In", right?

Bam:  No, I wasn't on that one. That was after Robert left the band....start backtracking ....Robert joined the band, blah, blah, blah, we did a few gigs. Him and Tyla couldn't write together, because they got into a bit of an argument, so Robert left the band......

FIB MUSIC:  Then you leave the band?

Bam:  Yeah. About six months later I left the band. Because Tyla came to me and said, "we have these gigs in Finland" and I said, "I can't go. My daughter is going to be born"....she's supposed to be born the same day as the first gig in Finland, "I can't do it dude". I'm not going to miss the birth of my first child, to go play in the snow, you know?

FIB MUSIC:  So you quit the band?

Bam:  I didn't quit. I just kind of said, "I can't do it" and Tyla was "ok, then fuck you" and I went, "ok, then fuck you" and that was that. Then Robert was writing his own material and he's just an amazing writer. I agreed to do some studio stuff with him and said I could do some live shows with him, but I had to be around for Charlotte being born, you know? So, I just hung with Robert for awhile and then one day Robert just disappeared, he did a Robert, we would call it doing a Robert, just one day, didn't turn up.....he was gone; he was back in America. So, I was left high and dry (laughs). But I started jamming with a few other people and I had my studio....I've always had a studio, you know, I was a busy bee. Then Tyla comes back from Finland with this drunken array of heroin addicted band members. Tyla phones me up one day and says, "are you still in that band?" and I said "yeah." and he says, "Do you want to roadie for us?" and I'm like, "you fucking cunt"......and I'm like, "yeah, alright, whatever". So, I just went and roadied for them, picked them all up and dropped them at gigs.....and uh (laughs), it ended up at the end of that gig, Tyla says, "Do you want to be our drummer?", I said, "yeah, alright, only if you get rid of the guitar player, because he's crap as well." and Tyla was like "ok" (laughs).

FIB MUSIC:  You roadie a tour?

Bam:  Well, it was just a couple of London.....that was the deal I made, I'll play drums again, I want to jam with you, but I don't want to fucking jam with that guitar player, he's a cunt, he drinks everybody's drink, he's an idiot, get rid of him and that was Dave Kusworth, who went on to play with Nikki Sudden. But Dave was terrible, if you put your drink down for ten seconds, you know, turn your back, it would be gone, he would just drink it. It was just morally fucking corrupt from the word go. But I think it was more about the drinking our booze than it was about his playing (laughs).

FIB MUSIC:  To backtrack, do you record the entire Unofficial Bootleg in a church?

Bam:  We started off in the church, did the drums in the church, took it back to the studio and finished it there.

FIB MUSIC:  And there were only 2000 copies pressed, right?

Bam:  Initially, yeah. If you want to tell if you have an original copy of that album, all you have to do is look inside the sleeve, inside the cardboard, on the inside of it, there's going to be a little stamp, you know like a little rubber stamp......and it's going to have a picture of a sun, there will be a rubber stamp of a sun and that means you've got one of the original pressings.

FIB MUSIC:  Does it get bootlegged later?

Bam:   I think it got bootlegged by the label (laughs). Our record label bootlegged us.

FIB MUSIC:  Which label was that?

Bam:  China Records. That was actually a weird thing that happened. When we signed to China, we signed to give them the one with "Debauchery" know, "Dynamite Jet Saloon".

FIB MUSIC:  But you release that like 4 or 5 years later, right?

Bam:  Four years, yeah. We were so pissed off because the Unofficial Bootleg album never came out, because the Japanese record company president died and blah, blah, blah. I could go on for's just this massive story. But we did a stupid thing when we signed with China Records. We said, ok, we'll sign with you, but you have to release our other album and they said, ok, we'll release your other album, but it won't count on your contract. We said, Oh, OK, which was just fucking stupid and our manager and lawyer should have taken care of that, but they didn't.

FIB MUSIC:  Why was that a stupid move?

Bam:  It was detrimental to us, because we didn't get an advance for that album that had been in the can for so long. So, basically, China got a free record out of us, they didn't have to pay for it.

FIB MUSIC:  Did you guys still receive royalties from the Unofficial Bootleg sales?

Bam:  Yeah, we received royalties, but we gave them everything off the record, it was the same as all the other records on the deal, we gave them half the publishing and all that shit. We really got fucked in the ass. We had a real dodgy manager, at the time, and I don't think he had our best interest at heart...he was an asset stripper.

FIB MUSIC:  Same thing happened to Quiet Riot. In our interview with Kevin Dubrow, Kevin said they signed away their publishing and weren't even able to renegotiate after the success of Metal Health.

Bam:  Right. They're just scumbags. I know China and the publisher sold our catalog to Warner Brothers, at some point. Last year Jo Dog got a royalty payment, he got some money. He forwarded the information to me, so I got a hold of these cunts in London, I emailed them and emailed them and emailed them and phone them over and over and never got a single penny. I just finally gave up.....I was just like fuck it....I've got better things to do, you know what I mean?

FIB MUSIC:  Why hasn't there been a re-release of "In the Dynamite Jet Saloon"?

Bam:  Well, they've taken songs from it and made other compilations and all sorts of shit in Europe.

FIB MUSIC:  Yeah, but people like to have the actual release, or have it remastered.

Bam:  I don't think it will happen, you know? We're like one of the biggest underground bands in the world. We were never mainstream; we never got that push from the major labels.

FIB MUSIC:  Yeah, but they're releasing all kinds of shit now. They have re-releases from bands like Shadow King, Baton Rouge and Tangier, bands that weren't even collectible to begin with.

Bam:  I suppose they might. Just from doing Rock n Roll TV for the last two years, it's pretty amazing to see how many kids are into the Dogs, you know, as a musical influence.

FIB MUSIC:  That's because Dogs D'amour music has a timeless factor to it. Most of the shit from the 80's, sounds like the 80's and is hard to stomach nowadays. You guys didn't seem to follow the trends back then.

Bam:  Well, no, you know, we were lumped in with heavy metal, or whatever you want to call it, but we weren't, none of us ever owned a fucking Black Sabbath album. We were into the Faces and older rock n roll like Chuck Berry and Robert Johnson. A lot of these bands that came up in the 80's, they only went as far back as Aerosmith, you know what I mean?.....that's what it sounds like to me. It's like they had never even heard, "Get off of my Cloud" by the Rolling Stones. The groove, the back beat, it wasn't there, it was all like double bass drum and a bit more in your face and a bit more angry, but we were never like that. We were more like a Stonesy, Faces type of band....Jo's guitar playing, there's a lot of slide guitar in it. He's the blackest......he still is, he's the blackest, white guy I ever met.

We worked a lot with a guy called Mark Dearnley. You'll see his name on several of our albums. He engineered AC/DC and a lot of other really big bands. He was really into the fact that we didn't want to fuck with the song. We didn't want a producer to come in and say, "ok, this chorus should be twice as long and this pre-chorus should just got together", you know what I mean? It was more like, "this is our fucking song, do you want to record it or not". Everybody we worked with really didn't have much leeway, we just did what we did and kind of went, this is rock n roll, fuckin' record it and shut up. Even some of the producers we had, we led them to believe they were doing something, but they didn't really get to do much.

Jo Dog

Like one day, we had this producer named Al Scott. We came into the studio one time and he's sitting there playing a fucking acoustic guitar.....recording an acoustic guitar part. I think Tyla took the guitar and smashed it up the wall, or threw it out the door, I don't remember. He was like, "What are your doing? You're the fucking knob twiddler." We were like, "if we want an acoustic guitar on there, we'll put one on" and he was like, "I suppose you don't want the strings on there either"...What? So, he took those of as well.

FIB MUSIC:  Just to make sure I have the right order on things. The Japanese label finances the "Unofficial Bootleg" and then...

Bam:  The Japanese label was way before China Records. The Japanese label actually paid for the recording of the "Unofficial Bootleg" that just stayed in the can for years. We took the money for the Japanese label, recorded the "Unofficial Bootleg". We were supposed to meet with the record label president Watanabe, whose name was Mr. Watanabe. He went to a meeting at a festival in France and was then going to fly to London and then we got a phone call from the label in Japan saying, "We're very sorry, Mr. Watanabe has died of a heart attack and will not be attending the meeting" So we were left holding this record deal with a dead guy, going what the fuck? About a year later we got a letter from the record company saying everything is null and void, there's no record contract.

FIB MUSIC:  But how cool, they let you keep the money, right?

Bam:  You get to keep the money and the tapes and that was the end of that.

FIB MUSIC:  That would never happen here.

Bam:  We could have used it for our advantage, but we didn't because we gave it to China Records. But it was important to us at the time, it wasn't about money. It was more about, the kids want to hear this fucking record and how can we get it out. So, we were like, here's Dynamite Jet Saloon, but you've got to fucking release this album too because it's just sitting around and driving us crazy.

FIB MUSIC:  When is it that you guys tour with Lords of the New Church?

Bam:  We toured with the Lords, before we signed with China, we toured with the Lords two or three times. Tyla met Stiv (Bators) and we started touring with them, we just kind of fit together.

FIB MUSIC:  Any good Lords of the New Church stories come to mind?

Bam:  Oh yeah, I mean, they were great, they were fucking great. Stiv was insane, he was one point, he was on so many drugs, he was going up, down and sideways all at the same time. One minute he's smacked out of his head, completely passed out fifteen minutes before a show and then the next thing you know, he'd be speedballing and bounding across the stage like fucking Iggy Pop, you know? It was like somebody flipped the fucking switch and he'd just do a two hour show, then he'd come off stage and just pass out again. It reminds of the stories that I've read about Keith Moon. Just totally being out of it and then doing a perfect gig and then passing out again.

Having said that, we met Stiv later on just before he tragically died. We were in Paris doing a show and we bumped into Stiv and he came down to the show to see us and we hung out.....I had never seen him look so good, he had cleaned up....he was looking really fucking healthy man, really good. Then about two weeks later, he got hit by a car.

FIB MUSIC:  What's the story on that?

Bam:  Yeah, he stepped off the sidewalk and got hit by a car and it gave him some weird concussion, headache thing, which he didn't take care of. He didn't go to the hospital or anything. The next thing you know, he has a huge brain aneurysm. He got some internal bleeding, or something.

FIB MUSIC:  Amazing. After all the shit he did and then die from getting hit by a car.

Bam:  He was really on a roll. This was after the Lords, he was doing his own thing, he had like Vom, the drummer, from Doctor and the Medics.

But the Lords were great, they were the first band that we toured with that were real good players, you know what I mean? You had Brian James in there and Jo's standing at the side of the stage, staring at him everynight. We were, once again, like kids in a candy store. I was standing there looking at Nicky Turner everynight, he was a great drummer, you know? He played in the Barracudas before that.

FIB MUSIC:  The Lords of the New Church were signed at the time, right?

Bam:  Yeah, they were on I.R.S.

FIB MUSIC:  What were the crowds like then?

Bam:  It was good, you know? It was a tough job warming up for the Lords, as you would imagine it to be. It was always full, the gigs we played with the Lords. There were a couple of weird ones, there always is on those fucking English tours. We played this working man's club, which is just like a big bingo hall, smelling like beer and cigarettes. Working man's club, full of out of work miners.....terrifying place, you know, horrible. I remember being there, opening for the Lords, and we played four or five songs and nobody clapped, nobody said a fucking word. Everybody just sat back and stared, drinking their pints of beer. They were all zombies, like Resident Evil 4 or something. At the end, they sort of clapped a little bit after the last song. We came off stage and I walked up to the bar and I was ordering a Newcastle, or something and this skeezer comes up to me and says, "You guys are fucking great, Unbelievable. What's the name of your band, mate?" and he's just over the moon, he just thought we were amazing. Suddenly, we're getting bought all these drinks, by the people in the club who sat there like fucking zombies all night. It was a real mindfuck, we thought you hated us. They thought we were brilliant and even wanted to buy t-shirts.

FIB MUSIC:  To backtrack again. How long does it take to record the Unofficial Bootleg?

Bam:  I think we did about seven or eight days in the church, recording the drums and then we took it back to the studio and then maybe a month in the studio finishing up.

FIB MUSIC:  You said you were given GBP 7000, which is about 14 or 15 thousand US dollars, right?

Bam:  Yeah, it would be today. We gave like half the money to Dan at first and then spent the rest of it on fish and chips, beer and cigarettes. Then we kind of ran out of money and when we finished the album, we kind of started borrowing the money back from Dan. "Come on, take us to the pub, Dan." Because we're such loveable rogues, you just have to do that, you know?

FIB MUSIC:  What's a typical day like for you, during this time?

Bam:  Oh God.....the thing with me was I was always the driver, nobody in the band drove a car, except me. So, my typical day was mostly taxi fucking driver. At that time, it would have been like, wake up with the wife and two kids. We wake up and roll out of bed, you know, Charlotte would punch me in the eye and I'd roll out of bed, I'd feed the kids and watch Barbarella with them, or educational film like that, you know?.....which I still love to do today. Then I would try to think of ways to calm my wife before I left, to fuck off and record with the Dogs, you know? Then it would be a case of grab the car and go and drive up to London and probably meet them at Jo's place and we'd all jump into the car and fuck off to Dan's studio, which is way out by Heathrow Airport. Then about two or three hours tracking in the studio and then it would be all down the boozer, for a quick dance around your handbag.

FIB MUSIC:  A quick what?

Bam:  A quick dance around your handbag, down the boozer, you know? A quick round of drinks, or five.

FIB MUSIC:  or five? (laughs)

Bam:  Maybe five pints for lunch and then back to the studio for three or four rounds. Then buy four or five pints for the long drive home because you don't want to drive sober and then maybe a couple of spliffs on the way home, you know, in the motor. Now my car would break down quite a bit and Dan would lend us his car, which was this real nice SAAB Turbo, one of those Scandinavian motors. I would be tearing around in that fucker, I remember, I was living up in Hampton Court at the time and we were late to getting to the studio. One of us had a joint going and all of a sudden there's a blue light in the rear-view mirror and I say, "throw it out, throw it out" and they were like, "hold up, we haven't finished it yet" and I yell, "throw it out the fucking window" and they throw it out and of course it falls on the rubber seal on the window, you know? It actually wedged itself between the window and the rubber seal. So, now there's the smell of burning rubber, to actually cover up the smell of pot. I roll my window down and start talking to the cop and he says, "you know how fast you were going" and I said, "I'm really sorry, blah, blah" and he says, "I think you better have your car looked at, it smells a bit". That was our luck......We got away with a lot of shit. I think it did have something to do with the energy of the four of us. We were very in sync with each other.

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