Supersnazz the longest you've ever spent doing a record?
Roy:Yeah, Supersnazz was the longest. uh we were in L.A. for a month cutting that record, we spent about 64, 000 recording that.
Mike: I actually heard it was around 80,000!
Roy: It may have grown to that by the end.it was a first time producer, this guy Stephen Goldman. He wanted everything just absolutely perfect. And we spent days and days making sure the harmonies were totally right, and didn't allow for any mistakes or anything.
Mike: So overall are you happy with it?
Roy: Well yes, and no.I think it sounds a little sterile actually.I like it OK.well, I mean it was GREAT to be in Hollywood and we were being paid for studio time. It was good...it was great, we had a ball hanging out and everything. We were in studio A of CBS in Hollywood, you know? Like around the corner Paul Revere and the Raiders were recording, or Simon Garfunkel bumped into us one night. It was pretty exciting. I think the record.it's just a little poppy and a little thin I think.
Mike:How did you get signed anyway? Did they hear how well "Sneakers" was doing?
Roy: I think basically it was that period, where every label wanted a San Francisco band. They signed us and they signed "Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks"
Mike: You played with Blue Cheer and the like back then, right?
Roy: Yeah, actually we played with Blue Cheer back when they were a 5 piece band, they had a harmonica player and everything
Mike: Before the first album?
Roy: Oh yeah, they were pretty much a straight blues band, then I think what happened was Hendrix and Cream kinda came in.the "Power Trios" came in, so they just kinda dropped the other two guys
Mike: What did you think about the change from the psychedelic folk stuff to the heavy blues stuff?
Roy: Yeah, there was a change in the music back then, I mean we were really kinda out of place..we did these two minute songs, not long jams..and we weren't really psychedelic. We just played little two minute rock and roll ditties, ya know?
Mike: Do you think you appealed mainly to record collector types?
Roy: Yeah, I think it was always sort of that way. We never sold many records back then at all.we had a real cult following and I think the PRESS liked us.we got a lot of great reviews.but I'd have liked to make some money too though!
Mike: What happened with "One Way"? I picked up a copy of "Teenage Head" one way some years ago.
Roy: As far as I know One Way is sort of a Bootleg label, I don't think anyone is getting PAID. I know I don't see any money.
Mike: I don't think they're around anymore, but they had released some great stuff
Roy: Really? Cause someone said they hard a copy of it on one way and it sounded like someone had a semi mint copy of the album and you could actually hear pops. But I don't know what the deal is with one way, I've often tried to figure out if I could get any money from them.I think it'd be one of those things where you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who claims to work there, you know.but at least Teenage Head was OUT, before that you could only get it through import.now it's been reissued on BMG just a couple weeks ago..Flamingo AND Teenage Head
Mike: Really? Are they remastered?
Roy: Yeah, they sound real good, they really cleaned up the sound..they're excellent. there are extra tracks, a lot of the bonus tracks are those "Still Shakin" tracks.. and some newer ones! They dug some ones up like. there's a version of "Baby Scratch My Back" which is a Slim Harpo (King of the "Swamp Blues"! -Mike) song, that I haven't heard since we recorded it in 1970!
Mike: Who had the tapes?
Roy: Buddha owns them, and BMG was just putting out a lot of Buddha catalog.the old Captain Beefheart. It's nice to have them out in the States again after all this time.
Mike: So after you quit the Groovies, how was it working on the other side of the business?
Roy: Well, I was sort of disenchanted. I had been in the Groovies for about 5 or 6 years Teenage Head had just come out and it got superb reviews it just didn't sell, it didn't make us any money. I don't think Buddha had any plans on picking up our option or anything. and there was conflict within the band as well, Tim Lynch had already left the band and Cyril wanted to move into a different direction.
Mike: Cyril wasn't an original Flamin' groovie, was he? I mean, I know he was on the first album but.
Roy: No, he was always been there with the Groovies, we had like something going before him. the original guys that put it together were Tim Lynch and myself. Then we brought George Alexander into it. We went to high school with George. That was the beginning of things, but Cyril was always pretty much the lead guitar player in the band. You know, Cyril's main roots are the Beatles and I'm more of a Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Elvis kind of guy. It was kind of a combination of him kinda wanting to run the band, and me being kinda fed up.
Mike: so that's why they went real pop after you left?
Roy: Oh Yeah, they totally did, they went into that sort of Beatles sound. So I sort of gave up on the music business for a while, I ya know have been working in records, first for a record store, then for a record label. I got married, I moved to Marin, I kinda lived a real normal life.but it wasn't to be! I couldn't hang on anymore, I couldn't do it. So, eventually I cut this little ep called "Artistic as Hell" with the Groovies backing me up on it, and I put that out and thought "well, I'd really like to do some life shows", so I put the Phantom Movers together and we signed with Solid Smoke.
Mike: And people considered it "new wave"!
Roy: Yeah, well I think it's because we played like the Mabuhay Gardens and things like that. We were right in there with the punk bands like the Dickheads and the Mutants. but still if you listen to the first Phantom Movers album, it sounds like a continuation of the Teenage Head album. You know, primitive rock, and I think it fit right in with the new wave stuff.
Mike: Why did you dedicate 100 miles an hour to Sissy Spasek?
Roy: Well, I had a big crush on Sissy Spacek at one point (laughs). I basically dedicated the whole "Artistic as Hell" ep to Jackie Morningstar (AKA Willie Morrell -Mike) the guy who originally did "Rockin in the Graveyard" cause, I don't know why, HA! I was going through a 50's/Spacek PERIOD I guess! (laughs)
Mike: Do you still feel the same about San Francisco Girls?
Roy: How's that?
Mike: Like the Movers tribute song "San Francisco Girls"?
Roy: Uh, yeah I like San Francisco girls
Mike: Not too stuck up?
Roy: Eh Well, I don't hit on too many girls anymore (laughs) I've been moving on to women! So I suppose San Francisco women are different than San Francisco girls
Mike: Where's your favorite place to tour?
Roy: Spain! I love Spain
Mike: Have you seen any of that Groovies tribute safety Pin Records is putting out?
Roy: Yeah! I saw the track list, it's pretty good! The Young Fresh Fellows are on it doing "Second Cousin" ..Actually scott called me to see if I wanted to sing on it, and I thought it should be the young fresh fellows doing it, not me.. we do that song in our set. I think it's great, I know Kikay (sp??)
Mike: Yeah, everyone says Spain, Japan and Amsterdam are great
Roy: Yeah, Japan I like a lot, never done Amsterdam. I like going out of the country when possible, though I do like New York a lot.
Mike: Speaking of Japan, how did you come to write the liner notes to the Muddy Frankenstein album?
Roy: My friend Joey Kline, who is a member of the Longshots, my band up there (in Washington) knew the guy that ran their label, I'd seen em play and I liked em, and I know the guys and so they asked me to write the liner notes and I said sure, I'll be happy to, just send me a copy of the tape. I don't know what's happening to those guys, the lead singer dissapeared off the face of the earth, the band doesn't know where he is or anything!
Mike: Maybe he finally moved to DETROIT or something (the singer for M.F. is a Japanese IGGY! -Mike) You've sung onstage with Teengenerate too, right?
Roy: Yeah, I know the Teengenerate pretty well and when I went to Japan they were in my band.the guitar player was the girl from supersnazz, and it was a good combination of people
Mike: Did the songs sound different?
Roy: A little bit, their attack is a little different, but they sat down and learned the songs off the albums pretty much note for note. but they have their own style of playing, ya know? It was pretty crunchy sounding we had like 3, 4 guitar attack at times
Mike: You play an acoustic live, right?
Roy: Yeah, I usually do, I play an acoustic with a pickup
Mike: How did the Longshots come about?
Roy: Uh. it's funny, the Squirrel's were down here touring, and somehow everytime the Phantom Movers played Seattle, the Squirrel's ended up being the opening band (Okay, unfortunately this is where I started having problems with my tape recorder! ARGH!! In any case somehow both the Squirrel's and the Young Fresh Fellows were wanting to do something with Roy.they started off being called the "Northwest Movers" and they did a tour called "Wackyfest '92" ) so we had a great time, and we said well, let's keep in touch, let's get together, cut a single. So, a little time passes and the fellows are doing a tour down here. So I gave Scott and Jim a tape, I said, here are 6 or 7 songs I'm working on, well they liked ALL of them, so it ends up Scott and I are trading tapes of his originals, and my originals, then we ended up recording like 29 songs!
Mike: That was at egg studios, right?
Roy: Yeah, it was great! It was just a fabulous experience! We just couldn't stop recording, things just kept coming out. We recorded for weeks, and it was just great stuff. (I think we're going to) keep working at Egg, Conrad's fantastic to work with, it was one of the most comfortable situations I've been in. the one that came out was called "Full Grown Head" that one was on shake, and we had enough left over to start another one, so not there's another one in the can, it's called "Drunkard in the Think Tank", and hopefully it will be out before the year's out.
Mike: So that's on Cargo, right?
Roy: Well, what happened was that when I signed with Shake, but just the minute. just at the EXACT moment, they split with Cargo. So we were without distribution right as the album was coming out. and they finally got a distribution deal together. Shake is now not actively acting as a label, so we're shopping around. It's not too easy to get a deal with the indiesthese days, they're a little bit "scared". They're afraid to commit or spend any money. Everyone seems to LOVE it ya know and they're really excited by it, but when it comes down to putting money down, it's getting harder and harder to get them to do that.
Mike: You play in band here too though, right?
Roy: I work with a group locally called the "Fondellas" (sp?)that's got members James Farell and Danny Mihm, both of who were Flamin' Groovies and Phantom Movers
Mike: Are you still banned from the Fillmore?
Roy: No, I'm not "banned". I was never really "banned". There was a period though when Billy Graham kept telling my manager "I don't know about THAT guy. he's a punk and he's got a bad attitude." He didn't book us for the longest time, but finally he did. I'd actually love to play the old Fillmore again, you know cause the Groovies actually booked the old Fillmore for about a year after Bill Graham moved out. We took over the place, took over the lease for about a year. The famous one was when we brought out the Stooges, Alice Cooper, Commander Cody and the Groovies played. We saw the Stooges and Alice Cooper on the road, and we thought, "These guys are AMAZING! I can't wait to bring them to San Francisco!" Well, nobody was ready for it. NOT AT ALL. Very few people turned up and those that did, the people just didn't know what to think of it at ALL. Iggy doesn't even REMEMBER that show, he must have blocked it from his memory or something (or SOMETHING! -Mike) cause when he played here years later, it was his "debut" in San Francisco (laughs) But the poster of that is really famous, sothere's no way he can really deny the show. It was just before "Funhouse" came out.
Mike: Are you a record collector anymore, or have you burned out on that?
Roy: Well, I'm at a record store, and surrounded by records all the time.so no, I'm not a collector anymore. I'm happy to FIND stuff once in a while, there's a couple Black Sabbath records I'd like to get.(my tape recorder is getting all screwy again)
Mike: What's the BEST record you got here (Jacks Records) in your opinion?
Roy: (thinks for a while, then can't really decide) It'd probabaly be an early jazz 78. Man a lot of people don't realize how great 78's sound. If you find a nearly mint 78, it's better than CD's it's better than anything.
You feel like you're right in the same room with the band. There's just so much presence. I'm a big fan of the 78's. I don't think I could even name the best record we have in here right now.
(The tape gets really fucked here, but he talks of the Flamin' Groovies doing a few shows to promote the BMG reissues! Let's hope it happens!) Visit Roy at Jacks Record Celler in the Lower Haight!
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