Updated: Aug 24, 2020
When Ritchy first got in touch with me about something him and this producer guy called Ralph were doing it was called 'The Infidels'
He drunkenly described it as 'Punk rock with samples and beats ' .. which to me in the the lurid block rocking, fat boy slim climate of music at that point , hardly filled me with enthusiasm.
I knew Ritch from touring together and considered him to the be the Brummie Drumming 'Slash' - a big bouffant of black curly hair, Malboro always hanging out his gob and a Jack & Coke permanently in his paw, he seemed much too 'rock' for anything like that.
So I was quite taken aback when I played the cassette he posted me a few days later with an early version of 'we Luv u' on it , which I instantly thought was great - I mean it ripped off 'Clash City Rockers' for one , so I was sold on that alone - and it was super fucking catchy .
I agreed to go to their studio in Kentish town to try and put some vocals down on some tracks - see if anything gelled.
You had to walk up the 2 flights of pissy concrete steps and through a steel door with an eye hole cut in it like a drug dealers den , to get into their studio.
The recording room was full of the usual studio gear– Guitars , old amps , bits of equipment, a couple of care worn armchairs and microphone stands – along with countless patch leads - A green silk parachute had been suspended from the entire ceiling to deaden the acoustics
Judging by the dirty plates, empty cans and thick fog of Marlboro smoke you could tell they spent a LOT of time in this place. Like two old dirty foxes holed up in a den.
Sat behind the desk when I walked in was Ritchy’s mate and writing partner Ralph.
He was kind of frowning which gave him a pissed off look exhaling smoke slowly out of his nostrils as he looked me up and down -
I could see, Like Ritchy, he was no stranger to either the cowboy Killers or the booze.
“Ahhh Jay is it? “
His bellowing voice startled me a bit, I totally hadn’t expected him to be well spoken but he really was – sounding a bit like an Army officer who’d come straight from Sandhurst,
via the off license that is.
We spent the day in that weird semi polite atmosphere you get when the room is full of people working together but not wanting to show their hand yet.
When the takes were done Ralph stood, turned everything off and said one word
Now sat down on more neutral ground We chatted about music in general and Ralph gave me this long animated pitch, he sounded part genius and part despotic dictator – he came across like a slightly better humoured Kim Jon-un who wanted to dominate the music world.
Not an entirely innacurate description of him actually.
Ralph Then went on and pushed me further, wanting me to commit to being the frontman for this project at the exclusion of everything else I was doing.
After several feeble excuses from me as to why I couldn’t commit to concentrate solely on this, an exasperated Ralph downed his pint swiftly and lighting a Marlboro red, leant across to me a spoke in a slow conspiratorial tone.
“Yes yes .. That’s all very fucking ‘nice’
I’m sure you will eventually be THE most credible person on the dole queue..
...But ask yourself this my man..
Do you want to fuck about until you run out of time?
Do you want to piss about in some shitty band that a few journalists like until being skint finally makes you give up?
Or do you want to get some shit fucking job working in an office hating every second until you finally kill yourself? “
He paused dramatically.
“OR DO YOU WANT YOUR OWN FUCKING ISLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN?"
A huge smile cracked upon his face and, satisfied he had pronounced the definitive word on the matter, He stood quickly and marched off to the bar.
Something in Ralphs manic eyes said to me that he wasn’t joking.
Ritch sat opposite me staring impassively at the smoke trail Ralph left behind him , then he nodded slowly before adding in a solemn tone –
“He’s fooking right isn’t it?”
“I’m having a golf course”
I was surrounded by fucking lunatics.
Within a week I had joined them.
Lunacy can be very infectious.