Ol' blue hair (or no hair) is back

And besides - "Bleedin' monitors weren't workin' last night were they? I couldn't hear myself and went and strained my voice didn't I?" Holton croaks, downing a cup of coffee. By the time he's slurped through his fourth individual disposable plastic peel-off-top carton of soothing honey, his mood has brightened considerably. He's become less of the morose parody of himself and more like the brash, over-confident and outspoken chap we know - and perhaps - love.


Which is just as well. The Heavy Metal Kids, support act to Uriah Heep on their German tour, need to be at their very best, have to pull out all the stops and inflate their already gross egos to full size to succeed over here. The Deutsch kids, with their "seen it all, heard it all" attitude are becoming increasingly jaded, you see.


Some hours before the gig, Holton parades about the sunny hotel patio. Dressed in a black jacket with large white polka dots sown onto it, tight drain pipes, silver stilettos (yes, he even wears them in public), a glittery striped glove on a single hand, dark glasses with thick white frames, his hair tinted a dark blue, his cocky strutting about invokes cries of "Pooftah! Pooftah!" from a basking contingent of Uriah Heep. He grins...he loves it.


Munich's Circus Krone is the venue for the night. As the name suggests, it's a big top, albeit a permanent brick and mortar one. The stage encroaches half way into the ring where, at various times of the year, animals and acrobats perform. Heep's tacky and gossamer-thin "High And Mighty" backdrop almost succeeds in obscuring the large, elephant sized, chrome edged entrance to the ring. To get backstage you have to go through the side entrance, tramp across a dirt training square and thread your way through deserted and sawdust-sprinkled animal cages - and all the while the smell of the circus is in the air. A strange place for rock'n'roll.


As the dome fills up, a sort of civilised Roundhouse in fact, it becomes evident that the audience is only going to be allowed to gather in one half of it - the half immediately in front of and adjacent to the stage, ensuring a good view for everyone. If this was Britain, I reflected, as many kids as possible would have been crammed into the place; as many seats would have been sold behind the PA as in front of it. So much for winning the war.


The Heavy Metal Kids went down a storm. In trimming their set down to the required 40 minutes, dynamics abound. No rap, no long solos, no British audience-angled participation stimulants, just no-holds-barred rock, thundering out of the speakers and pummeling the audience into a palpitating mass.


The Kids really are very good and are improving all the time. Holton is the focal point, naturally enough, cavorting around the stage, twirling an umbrella or swinging a hefty chain, his portable penis dangling from a belt and hanging around the crotch region, charging into the PA column and sending it rocking, vibrating his tongue like Gene Simmons and snarling out lyrics with a good deal of vehemence and even with a sore throat. He's the epitome of the (not so) tough guy who yells "I'll bash anyone!" but underneath is really just a little scared.


The band is coming on leaps and bounds as well, especially bassist Ronnie Thomas who not only sets down a solid musical backbone with drummer Keith Boyce but also, with his gruesome golliwog check over sized three piece suit and compelling stage presence, is beginning to threaten to upstage Holton himself. Guitarist Barry Paul and keyboard player John Sinclair are both fine players. It was all, as I say, non stop, high powered stuff, highlighted by a rollicking "Bottle Of Red Wine", a musicianly "You Got Me Rolling", "She's No Angel" and "The Cops Are Coming" which, as always, received a wild reaction.


In the dressing room, post gig, Holton unzips his trousers to reveal a distinct lack of short and curlies, adding a touch of authenticity to the tale that opens this feature. The Kid was talkative and particularly enthusiastic about the band's forthcoming album, produced by Mickie Most. "It's the best thing he's done since Jeff Beck" Holton proclaims. "It's got a great sound. It's great. Most wants to get a reputation as a bleedin' good producer instead of just being a hit machine associated with Mud, Suzi Quatro and the like."


Although many people are convinced of the Kids' impending success now that they have signed to RAK, they are also of the opinion that the band's stay at the top will be short-lived. In the past, although Most has managed to push just about all of his acts into the public eye, they have sometimes lacked an amount of staying power. "We'll last a long time," Holton confidently predicts, "because of the quality of our material. The public will come to us, instead of us being thrust upon them. We're going to make it by being a bloody good band, because that's what we are. When we first signed to RAK people said 'What, the Kids and Mickie Most? They'll just end up being another teenybop band'. But that hasn't worked out to be the case has it? If anything, we're heavier now than we've ever been before. HEAVIER! After all, the boom is over. You can't be subtle these days. You've just got to go - WHACK! Right between the eyes."


But will Holton be able to cope with fame? "Cope?" he sneers jokingly "Being famous will just mean that I'm able to afford to live the way I do. Now, have you got any more questions to ask before I get out of it?"

 

Three days ago Gary Holton had a nasty experience. It had taken place during the early hours of wednesday morning while he was lying flat out, unsuspecting, alcohol besotten, for the most part dead to the world, wasted on top of the bed covers in his Munich hotel room.


Someone, or more likely, a group of people sneaked into his room and carted the unconcious Kid into the corridor outside and placed him, naked, on his back on top of a large oak table.


Then, they had proceeded to garb his feet in socks and silver stilettos and place a half-empty bottle of brandy in one hand and a bunch of wilting flowers in the other. Finally, they had shaved off all his pubic hair and had shoved a Uriah Heep sticker on the stubbled area.


Today is Saturday and Holton is still far from amused. Meeting up with him in time for lunch in the restaurant of the Munich Holiday - or should that read "Squaliday"? - Inn, he looks drained and still a trifle annoyed. As yet, no-one has owned up to instigating the above mentioned bizarre ritual, though Holton has his suspicions and they don't go further than the band itself.

Dedicated to keeping Gary Holton's memory alive since 2003.