Gimme a pizza ya time. The Heavy Metal Kids are back and rarin' to go...
Our little story begins at Luigi's Pizza house in downtown Chelsea.
"Hey, you no likea my pizza? Whatsa matter with my pizza huh?" "I'm pizza'd off. I wanna play in a rock'n'roll band again." No let's be truthful now, it wasn't really like that. Not far off mind you, but totally you dig? No? Well let Mr Jay Williams take up the tale: "It all started in Luigi's Pizza house in Chelsea..." Yes, yes, we've had all that. Now c'mon spill the beans on how you got invlved with those horrible Heavy Metal Kids. "Well, I'd only been in the country about three weeks and was in a pub talking to drummer Keith Boyce. He was on about forming a rock band and said let's get some booze and pizzas and go round to Ronnie's. So, being typically American I bought the booze and pizzas and we went round to Ronnie's house. When we got there Keith hid behind the wall and left me standing at the door holding the pizzas. So when Ron answered the door I asked him "Did you order pizzas?" He said no but come in anyway. It turned out that they were looking for a slide player and I just happen to be a slide player. So the next day we had a blow together and I found myself a job."
Our story, in fact, starts beyond Luigi's, some seven months back when the surprise news that Gary Holton had left the kids, which shocked at least part of the world. The Kids declared they were to continue and Gary mouthed about big solo prospects. Not a lot was heard of either until the recent reunion news brings the story almost up to date, and almost back at Luigi's. "We auditioned about 80 to 100 singers and we could not find what we were looking for" basist Ronnie Thomas admits. "There were singers driving down from Scotland and so on. One guy smashed his car up coming to an audition and broke his thumb - and still did not get the job. We were still pretty close to Gary, he lived around the corner and we saw him down the pub. He said "lets get together again" and we said "go away" (rough but clean translation) but he seemed to have learned his lesson and eventually it seemed a good idea". Ronnie explained that the split had resulted not purely through Gary's differences "We've been in a rut for about the last two years," said Ronnie "Then we could pack the Roundhouse but it was just kept at that level. The music was changing from energy rock and roll through keyboards and stuff - it was getting a bit like Rick Wakeman jamming with the Sex Pistols".
But they haven't been lazy for the last few months, working on a new stage set, new numbers and rehearsing with Jay who has replaced keyboards player John Sinclair. "There's a big change in our approach now, we had this punk image before the current punk things - Gary had coloured hair and were going out in boots and braces. But the press criticised us, saying the image detracted from the music, which was brash and naive. Like Cinderella on bloody ice". "The new band really boogies" Jay wades in "We have the humour that Zep and Blackmore don't have. They're my heroes but we're different. I consider myself lucky to be in this group. Wait until you hear us live - it'll kick your socks off!" "We've been rehearsing very hard. That's something we've never done before" adds Ronnie "We're waiting to try out the new material on a live audience. Half of the stuff is off the "kitsch album and half new, written by the band collectively. In the past the music used to be almost incidental to the action on stage, It was more like a chimpanzee's tea party. Gary used to be busy juggling oranges - or jumping on my back. Now there is more emphasis on the music - but we're still entertaining. The new show is designed to make people sit up, of course we can't strap Gary to the microphone. The band has a great cynical humour and it would be silly to try and stamp that out. There are some great characters in the band, in the past this has tended to cause problems. Now we've sorted out the ego thing, we're directing our energies within the band instead. We've always been a live and and are thinking of cutting a live album try and get what we're about on vinyl. Of course, in a few years every kid will get a video machine for Christmas, and a lot of good live bands will come over well through that".
The new boy, Jay, has obviously made a big difference to the reformed band, giving them a second guitarist and a change of sound. He came over to Britain from America shortly before he joined the Kids, a trip he's been going to make for years. "I wanted to come over when I first heard Zeppelin. I've seen so many English groups go down like gold in the States, most of them can get an audience on their feet over there. Seven years ago I was in the Velvet Undergound, but when Lou left they went nowhere. I was making a living as a session musician". "Lou Reed was one of the first punks and the Velvets the first punk band. Nothing's new" says Ronnie "And Lou was just ripping off people he saw in New Jersey." Jay corrects him. "I think the punk thing is getting stale," retaliates Ron "You can't stand there in your Dad's demob suit singing out of tune for ever. A lot of them will get fed up with that. The police check us out at gigs. We were on Panorama once - on a program about teenage violence. A lot of people wouldn't book us. If you start saying something politically in your music it's getting too far away from the rock and roll. I'm not slagging off this new thing, but it does seem funny that everyone is suddenly praising something that we got slagged for doing for four and a half years...is there anything else you want to know?"
Yeah, what's the pizza like down at Luigi's?