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(added October 2007)
INTERVIEW WITH GARY PUDNEY
( VOX OF THE GRISWALDS )
made by Wildhank
How and when did you get into Neorockabilly / Psychobilly ?
I had always been into Rock & Roll. One night I went to A friends 18th Birthday party and someone put a record on the player that really got to me. I found out that this was The M3t3ors and the track was Wrecking Crew. The next day I went and bought the album. I was so impressed that I then bought everything possible by them. This also lead me to investigate Rockabilly, which was something I was also new to as I had really only listened to main stream Rock & Roll.
When did you make the decision to become a Rock star?
I was 18 and had just discovered Psychobilly. There was not much to do in the town where I lived except get up for work, then go down the pub and get drunk. The idea of this bored me so I decided that I would start going to gigs to see the bands that I had just discovered instead of propping up the same bar every night drinking my life away. It was while attending one of these gigs, getting punched about in the wrecking, that I thought to myself how great it would be to be the one up on stage making people jump around to music that I was performing. I decided that as I could not play an instrument, that I would give singing a go. . .
You had been one of the founder members of The Nitros. So tell us a little bit about your stint with the Nitros.
Well, as I said I decided I would give singing a go. I answered an advert in NME for a singer and went for an audition with a band called Well of Souls. I The band was happy with my voice but wanted a more experienced singer, however they put me in touch with Mark Swain who was putting a band together with his cousin John. We got together and advertised for a guitarist. John O'mally joined us and The Nitros were born. Our first gig was supporting The Guana Batz in Greenwich, We did about 5 gigs together until I left and John O'mally took over the vocals.
Reggie Rabbit has started to add the detailed Griswalds history on MySpace. So can you tell us the short version of the Griswalds story?
Clive Howling the original Bass player with The Frantic Flintstones was a friend of mine and we answered an advert in "Sounds" magazine, and the rest is history.
Who came up with the band name? I guess a Warner Bros. movie has something to do with it?
We were all fans of the movies and the 2 Jasons ( Jason Barnham, Jason Loadsman) had already thought of the name, Clive and myself liked it and agreed.
Who came up with the idea to add a cover version of the Housemartins UK Top 10 hit single Happy Hour in the set?
I believe it was Jason Barnham who thought of it originally, but again we all liked it and agreed. It seemed like a good idea to do something different to the usual covers like Brand New Cadillac or Bad Moon Rising, don't get me wrong , the bands that have covered these songs have all done very good versions but we felt that we could not add anything different. We wanted something that would stand out as a cover and it I feel it is a great tribute that another psychobilly band has decided to cover this also.
After The Griswalds eventually gained recognition with appearances on the Gipsy Girl and Psycho Tendencies compilation albums and the release of the Do The Hucklebuck EP, the band signed an album deal with Nervous. How did it happen?
Basically we had become friends with Roy Williams as he went to the same club as us. We had been offered a contract with Lost Moment that would have tied us in for a long time with no guarantees of recording. Roy helped us to understand the contract and helped us understand that this would be a mistake to get locked in for so long. He arranged for us to go on tour with Torment for 15 days and upon returning offered us an album deal.
Who Framed The Griswalds does not only include fourteen wild rockinī tracks, but also features one of the most awesome front covers of that era , designed by Martin Clark. Who came up with the idea to add " the bastard son of a famous cartoon character" ?
It was martin who did the front cover, but the idea actually came from my mother, R.I.P. I believe though that Martin did come up with Reggie. We were worried that we might get sued but Roy said that that would be great as we would get lots of publicity.
If I remember correctly The Griswalds also toured on the continent to promote the album, supporting one of my favorite bands. Do you have any memories touring Europe?
The album actually came after that but I will say that the tour was great fun, the audiences were brilliant and I have a lot of great memories of Simon Brand. He was a good friend and a nice guy, in fact all of Torment were. My greatest memory though was playing in Belgium and having the audience throw T-shirts onto the stage while we were playing, this we found out later was a sign that they liked us.
When did the Griswalds split up? What were the main reasons for the split?
Martin left the band to pursue his tattooing, and the scene in U.K dried up and we basically just drifted apart.
A couple of years ago there was a song contest on a very popular Psychobilly forum and it was told that The Griswalds were looking for a song and a new recording is in the making. Why did it never materialize ?
It was my plan to get the band back together and get people involved who would not normally be involved in the music business. I have had a lot of great times being involved in music both with The Griswalds and when I was playing Guitar with Bad Manners. I had always shared the experience with my friends by taking them to gigs and getting them involved. I wanted to extend this to others. people who wrote songs but had no outlet for them, musicians who wanted to experience recording, artists who wanted to get involved. Unfortunately due to personal problems the planned return did not happen, however once I still would like to be able to get others involved and give them the opportunity to contribute.
You told me earlier that The Griswalds will be back next year to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Are there any concrete plans for next year?
Yes, at present the wheels are in motion, the band is in rehearsals and I am in talks with several promoters. The Griswalds will be back.
GRISWALDS ON MYSPACE