(added November 2007)
INTERVIEW WITH LORD HERBERT SARONGSTER III
( GENIUS OF ROCHEE & THE SARNOS FAME )
made by Wildhank
What was your main inspiration to
start Rochee & the Sarnos back in 1982?
I am not really sure why we started the band, it just
seemed to evolve really, I do remember thinking at the time though that we
weren’t to take ourselves too seriously, something that we still keep to
today. In the very early days, it was me on guitar, the Phantom on tea
chest bass, and a guy called Bud on bongos. We started playing with Rob
Glazebrook’s band at the Goldsmith’s Tavern in New Cross near
London, and one night Rob asked if we could perhaps have a
rehearsal with us, as he had some tunes he had worked out… the rest is
history! Originally we played mainly to Rockabilly crowds, as the Psycho scene
didn’t really latch on to us until about 1985 or so.
Tell us the story of the "Hot
Rod". Why does the Phantom use a one-stringed bass?
A lot of people ask us about the bass, we found this
in a junk shop in Penge, South East London, we were just looking around and the
guy asked us if we knew anyone who might be interested in a “Rock ‘n’
Roll” bass that he had out the back. The Phantom and I went out
to have a look and we nearly died when we saw it! The minute the Phantom
started to twang at it, I knew we had something, and we had to buy it, which we
did - for £7.00! It is part of our sound and I don’t know how we could do
The earliest release of the EP -
"Have you got ... Sarno Fever ?" has gained cult status
over the years. How did you get the record deal and who came up with the idea of
covering a Stan Laurel / Oliver Hardy song from the
The record deal (there was no deal really, we just
agreed to have an EP put out) was with a wonderful guy called Ray Frensham,
who used to sell records around the clubs. He just thought it would be funny to
put us out on vinyl and we agreed. I think that it was on a very limited
release, maybe 200 or so, and a few of those were signed by the whole band, I
still have a few of these, so they must be super rare by now! As regards Trail
of the Lonesome Pine, I think we had all just seen “Way out West”
with Laurel and Hardy, and somebody suggested that
we did our own version of it, the result was pure stupidity!
Do you have any memories on
recording the album for Nervous Records? Please tell us some
details of the Understanding Sarno sessions. There are also
rumours of a naked man!
It was such a long time ago, I remember it all seemed
very glamorous as it was recorded in Tin Pan Alley studios in Denmark
Street in London, which dates back to the 1950’s. The sessions were held over
various weekends, and it was all new and exciting for us back then. Dead
Dog Blues is just me and a guitar and the bit where I laugh during the
track is when I looked up into the control booth and couldn’t see anyone,
because they all fell on the floor laughing, and it was me who was naked during
this track – to get in touch with my inner soul, to produce a work of true
artistic merit! We had a great deal of fun during the recording, I think mainly
because it was all brand new and we didn’t really know what we were creating.
We also had several crates of beer written into our contract, which helped
your favourite track of the album and why?
My favourite track is Sarnos in Space, I
think I like it because it is a fairly unique song, and I like the “la, la,
la, la, la, la, la” bit in the chorus! Always a crowd pleaser too!
Rochee & the Sarnos
also enjoy the reputation to be one of the most spectacular live acts of
the genre. What was your most memorable gig?
I am not sure that “spectacular” is quite the
right word! I think we enjoy ourselves on stage, and that is only reflected by
the audience, so the more they have a ball, then so do we. There are many
memorable gigs, Isle of Wight in 1984, the Klub Foot
days, Berlin 1997, Speyer 2004 and recently Antwerp,
which was fantastic!
Speaking of gigs. I always
wondered why you have not received a prize for being the best-dressed
musician onstage. Do you have any explanation for that? And who’s your
I have all my stage gear hand made by a
superb team of tailors in Hong Kong, and Jean Paul Gaultier.
After a successful tour with Demented
Are Go! the band split up 1986/87-ish. What were the reasons for the
I will let you into a little secret, we never actually
split up, we have been quietly gigging for the last 20 or so years, playing
various working mens clubs throughout the UK, and a few oil rigs, just to keep
our hand in. We also have had extensive tours of Canada, Russia, Japan and China
(but have kept these all secret until now).
After talking so much about the
past, let’s talk about the future of Rochee & the Sarnos.
You have rocked the house in Antwerp a couple of weeks ago and more gigs for
2007 / 2008 are already confirmed. Are there any plans for more gigs or
touring in 2008?
Yes, we have several gigs lined up in Europe for next
year, Germany, France, and Spain – some of the big festivals. We may play some
more in the UK too, just need to see how it goes really.
The new album is recorded and
will be released soon. Do you have any details for us, about the album,
tracklisting, album title etc. etc?
All I can say is that the album is to be called “The
Golden Dawn”, and contains some of the songs that we wanted to put on
the second album way back when, plus new material. It is our way of catching up,
and will allow us to embark on our next project, which is already underway and I
am writing some new songs for it right now.
The album will only be
available from the band’s website. What’s the idea behind this? Is it true
that every disc will be autographed?
The idea is that as I am personally producing it, I
wanted a more personal feel for everyone who buys a copy. There will be a
limited edition of the signed version, which will be a personally dedicated
postcard signed by me. This is so the cover of the album won’t be spoiled, and
should be a nice memento! The album will also be available on iTunes
as well. We will also be providing limited edition T shirts as well.
AND THE SARNOS ON MYSPACE