Can you please give a brief history of English Dogs?
Oh my god, what a fucking boring question! Okay formed in 1981in Grantham by four punks who were half decent musicians but looking back now there wasn’t a great deal of friendship but an awful lot of jealousy. Things went very well for us very quickly. Signed up to Clay Records, Mad Punks was released and put us on the map. Porky men came out a year later and went through the roof worldwide. In fact it was the 19th best selling independent album of the year. We outsold Elvis Costello, Cocteau Twins and all other UK punk bands…. big headed? Maybe. Proud? You better fucking believe it. Going down the paper shop every Thursday eagerly anticipating our latest chart position…. exciting times. The problem was the other three were growing their hair and wait for it, crimping!! Journeys in the van having to listen to Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden were intolerable. It was clear to me these bozos’ were on the change. Around the same time my wonderful girlfriend Sally fell pregnant, oh yes we were making love!! So I bailed on English Dogs in ’85. They continued by adding Butt and Bailey and were okay for a year but then that huge ugly sack of egos produced an unlistenable row; I paid no more attention to the fools. ’93/’94 produced a short reunion resulting in the most embarrassing recording of my career Bow to None. God I hated that line-up!! I reformed the Dogs in 2003 and made quite a few bad judgement calls until finally settling with the current line-up. These guys I’m with now are punk rock brothers. There ain’t a bad word said between us. You may think there being 25ish former members of English Dogs that I’m a hard man to work with but that ain’t true. I just cannot tolerate working with wankers full of selfish intentions. There you have English Dogs brief history all true.
Could you give a discography?
Mad Punks and English Dogs
Invasion of the Porky Men
Bow to None
Tales from the Asylum
Get Off My Fucking Moon
We Did, We Do, We Always Fucking Will
Wrecking Temples and Barking Spider as The Wernt.
Any other English Dogs recordings have no significence….ha ha ha ha ha
Where did you get the title ‘Invasion of the Porky Men’ from?
Do you know what Mike that’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that in an interview, good one. I’ve always been a big fan of the Stranglers and you know how certain songs can conjure up wonderful imagery, well We Are The Men In Black by the Stranglers was the inspiration for Porky Men. “Human flesh is porky meat eeeeeeeee” what a mad fucking song.
You originally left the band after some German tours if I remember correctly, something about the violence, what exactly happened?
There were many reasons for leaving back then. My bandmates turning into grebos and as anybody will tell you by ’85 that amazing surge of punk spirit that had occurred in the previous five years was rapidly dropping like a foul turd from a fat mans arse. Thirdly, I was about to become a father and felt it was time to hang up my glue bag and finally, yes the violence on that European tour with One Way System sickened me. Don’t get me wrong, I understood why it was happening. The punk family especially back then were not going to tolerate the foul right wing factions so it kicked off! Every night! To see an ambulance being called to tend to a punk rocker with half a bottle stuck in his face whilst on acid, man alive that ain’t nice. Three gigs from the end of the tour after a gang of heavily tooled up Hells Angels joined in; I’d had enough and came home on the train on my own, happy to leave the misery behind. I ain’t proud that I bailed on my band but I am proud that I’m a man who stands by his own convictions. Pinching sang for the last few gigs and Tommy drummed. When they got home they informed me I was sacked, I informed them that no I fucking wasn’t. It became obvious to me that their attempted grebo coup was the writing on the wall. I left English Dogs on my terms a couple of months later. All my respect for them gone.
What did you make of the path the band took after you left?
To The Ends Of The Earth ain’t too bad but everything after that I listened to once out of curiosity and never listened to it again cus it was utter rubbish. The most laughable being Where Legend Began. The egos had gone through the roof here, they actually thought they’d invented a new way to write rock n roll. The trouble was, except for them five, no-one else agreed and Metallica duly sacked them. Credit where credit’s due, at the beginning they had the bottle to cut their own path. Even though it wasn’t my bag I respect this. What I most certainly did not respect was them reforming a couple of years ago but they ain’t no threat to us. How can I take seriously a band fronted by Uncle Fester, the caretaker at Hogwarts and a weird midget with laggy-bands round his eyes?
There are two visions of English Dogs at present, how do you feel about this?
Listen to track 2 on our new album We Did, We Do, We Always Fucking Will, it’s called Death to the Dogs and I think I’ve covered every base there.
Pig Dog Killer has to be one of the best punk songs ever written but how did The Wernt come about and what happened?
Thank you for that. The Wernt came about in ’97 or ’98 I don’t remember, when Pinchings girlfriend at the time, Claire a punk nut-job from Glasgow who shares my birthday, upon hearing some early, un-recorded Dogs songs suggested they were too good to gather dust. We got history with GBH; it seemed the most natural alliance. That Wreckin Temples album was knocked together over two or three rehearsals and four days in the studio, job done innit!! I talk dude. Five of the songs are old Dogs songs and one we nicked off Avoid. Don’t get me wrong we only brought the skeleton songs to the table, Ross n Jock gave them quality. Pig Dog Killer was originally Scum and is in fact a true story. Two massive bumpkin brothers called Ablett from a village outside Grantham would regularly come to town to crack skulls. One of them was stripped naked, thrown in a cell with an Alsatian and promptly gave it what for. Sadly both brothers have been dead for some time. I couldn’t believe my luck when i realised no-one had ever used those classic football chants from the ’70’s. I wrote the whole lyric in less than 20 minutes. Fact.
You reformed the band in 2003, why did you do this and how was this received?
Why? Cus i’d just spent a year writing and recording an album with a couple of cunts from Peterborough who led me to believe they were serious. In fact, they only wished to use my own ideas to boost their own profiles. I won’t mention names but one drums for the Destructors and the other plays bass for the Damned … cunts! My disappointment at being lied to spurred me on to do something, reforming the Dogs was my natural way. Tales From The Asylum and the two songs we did on Rats comp, I’m pretty proud of. Sadly i had to ditch the fools, there’s a patten here yes? I’ll say it again mind, why the fuck should i work with wankers.
You’ve just brought out a new album, are you pleased with it and how does it compare to say ‘Invasion of the Porky men’?
Yes we have Mike and thanks for bringing it up. It’s entitled We Did, We Do, We Always Fucking Will. And why not quote me on this, it’s the best album I’ve ever been involved with. There ain’t a bad song on it, each song is individual and if I may be so bold, I don’t think there’s been a better punk album written in the last ten years! I don’t much care if you think I’m a big-head, I’m just supremely proud of how my band have worked over the last 14 months.
If I were to ask you why someone should part with their cash for a copy of ‘We did, we do, we always fucking will!’, what would you say?
I think I covered this in my last question, no? Fifteen songs, a DVD, all neatly packaged for £10? What more do you fucking want?
You’ve never covered the usual topics in punk songs, so where do you get your ideas?
Erm, you see to me punk rock ain’t just about corruption in politics or police brutality, or even the images we witness from around the world in terrible wars. I am constantly on the look- out for fresh ideas. For example, when we recently played Melbourne there was a flyer promoting the M.C.G., it read Melbourne Cricket Ground … We did, we do, we always will. All I did was add “fucking” and there we are. Ten years ago a Chinese man returned home to discover the ultimate bloodbath. His wife with post-natal depression had butchered all five of their children. This happened in Birmingham and i have never forgotten how witnesses had described the agony of the fathers screams in the street (see Pynk and Judy on the new album) I spend all my waking time looking at the world around me, it’s full of injustices and sadness. However i do struggle to get passionate over love and joyous things hence I’ve murdered Sally three times in songs even though I love her to death. I tell you what hacks me off is a lazy fucking lyric, you know who are, you shoddy twats!
The word punk seems to mean a million different things to a million different people, but what does it mean to you?
Now there’s a fucking great question. I was born in 1961 and as long as I can remember I’ve loved music. Brought up on the Kinks, the Beatles, the Who and the Doors life as a child was okay. Although at the age of four I was kind of sectioned by my parents for my unruly behaviour. The doctor’s results were quite favourable mind, one of the few times my mother praised me was that i was 1% off genius. The seventies had its moments; puberty bought excessive wanking but musically not a lot. On one hand Bowie, Dr. Feelgood, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Alice Cooper and Status Quo, believe you me brother early Quo rocked the kasbah! But it weren’t enough, none of it was. Look at Julien Temples Pistols film, Britain was a shit ‘ole. It had to fucking change. When punk rock evolved it changed my fucking life. I had direction. I was meeting people who thought like me and just by simply ripping my jeans, skinny tie and don’t give a fuck swagger, the boy became a man. There was a fucking army of people just like me. And although since some have conformed, some have died, me and Sal have remained true to the brutal honesty and defiance that is punk rock.
How would you say punk has changed since you got into it and how healthy is the scene at the moment?
I don’ t think it’s changed at all, the morals and principles are exactly the same as they were 37 years ago. Although the numbers have dropped why should that be a bad thing. I’d rather stand next to the real McCoy than pogo with a thousand wankers.
Is punk still relevant today and what can it offer today’s youth?
Of course it fucking is, it’ll always be fucking relevent. Without it there would be no Nirvana, Oasis, Prodigy, Libertines and on it goes! The influences of punk are everywhere. It was punk that enabled small independant labels to pop up everywhere, Joy Division, The Fall, Dead Kennedys, Radio Birdman, the fucking world of music should be eternally grateful for what punk rock did for it. The ungrateful cunts… Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, nah!
What gigs have you got coming up?
I dunno. Look on the websites you lazy fuck.
Any final comments?
Why the fuck should we take shit from anybody? I would rather die fighting injustice, bullies and wankers than live in a comfortable chair with a neatly trimmed lawn and saying yes sir twenty times a day cus my mortgage depends on it. Fuck that! Up the punks brothers and sisters. As long as we remain strong and together we will never be beaten. WE DID WE DO WE ALWAYS FUCKING WILL. Wakey X