Time & Matter proudly presents...
An Interview with...
Dedicated to the memory of Tommy Wallace
Ricky McGuire is perhaps better known to U.K. Subs fans as 'Plonker Magoo', the nickname given to him for the Subs albums he appeared on, namely 1985s 'Huntington Beach' and the following year's double 'live' album 'In Action'.
Ricky also plays on the 7" EP 'Live In Holland', which in turn was taken from the semi-official 'Left For Dead' album.
T&M editor Mark Chadderton chatted to Ricky about his time in the Subs as well as his other musical experiences, which have ranged from playing with 80s punk band The Fits to being a member of the legendary folk-punk band The Men They Couldn't Hang since 1986.
MC: Okay Ricky, to start off with, tell us a bit about your early life?
MC: And how did your interest in music start, did you have musicians in the family maybe?
RICKY: My first interest in music began with me delving through the old plastic bread bin full of my Mother's old vinyl singles.
MC: Which artists?
MC: And apart from your mum, any other relations music mad?
RICKY: Yes, my grandfather was a musician and he taught piano and played a variety of instruments including accordion, trumpet, tenor sax and clarinet. He bought me a recorder whilst I was at primary school, which I duly gave up owing to the fact I was shite!
...but you still followed the latest music?
Yes, I listened to the radio a lot and kept up with what was current in the charts, particularly David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Slade. In the early to mid 70s my Uncle Bobby would buy a new album on a weekly basis, which we would listen to, amongst these were… 'Dark Side Of The Moon
' and 'Wish You Were Here
' by Pink Floyd, 'Billion Dollar Babies
' by Alice Cooper, 'Band On The Run
' by Paul McCartney & Wings and 'Tubular Bells
' by Mike Oldfield… considering my friends of the same age were listening to Gary Glitter, Alvin Stardust and Suzi Quatro, I certainly felt I had entered the world of grown up music at that point.
MC: And how were you getting on at school?
My education started at Glengarnock primary school and although I enjoyed it there and did pretty well academically, by the time I went to secondary school - Garnock academy - I started losing interest and found it stifling.
MC: Any particular reason for this?
RICKY: There were certain teachers who didn’t take kindly to myself and a few friends showing up at school in ripped jeans, Doc Martens and spiky dyed hair… I believe this is the school uniform these days! Unsurprisingly, this did not go down well and we were continuously thrown out, as this wasn’t the image they wanted to portray. It’s safe to say, I hated school!
MC: So by this time I take it you had gotten into punk?
RICKY: Yes, my real breakthrough in music was when I heard 'Pretty Vacant' by The Sex Pistols, it just leapt out of the radio and I was instantly hooked!
So which band did you see for your first gig?
Well, the following summer, just after my thirteenth birthday, I went to see my first band, it was The Stranglers at the Glasgow Apollo
on their 1978 Nice ‘n Sleazy tour, not only was it a brilliant gig, but made all the better by introducing a stripper
when they played the aforementioned 'Nice ‘n Sleazy'…
MC: So that was a real 'musical' eye-opener for a wee nipper of 13 then?
RICKY: Rock and Roll indeed!
MC: So when did you take up bass guitar and was there any other instruments you played?
RICKY: I started playing bass when I was 14, I borrowed a Gibson EB3 copy and played along to various Stranglers songs and found it fairly easy as opposed to messing about on a six string which incidentally I'm useless on (along with every other musical instrument) so, eventually I bought a jazz bass copy, but it didn't have a case, instead it came with a cardboard box which I suppose was the flightcase and considering the rather inclement Scottish weather, needless to say, was bloody useless!
MC: And so how did you get into playing in bands?
RICKY: Around this time whilst visiting Aunty Cathy in Beith, I bumped into a couple of guys who were her neighbours, they were sat by a wall playing Punk music on an old tape recorder, probably a recording of the John Peel show. They turned out to be brothers, Tommy and Ian Wallace, who I later went on to form my first band Chaotic Youth with.
MC: Tell us more about Chaotic Youth then?
We formed Chaotic Youth at the beginning of late 1979 early 1980 if my memory serves me right. Tommy and Ian Wallace were previously in The Social Dogs with brothers Allan and Andy MacLauchlan, they also appear on Bullshit Detector on Crass Records as Caine Mutiny & the Kallisti Apples of Nonsense
, which was recorded in Tommy and Ian's bedroom on an old tape recorder... Allan would later move into music journalism and write for NME and Sounds under the guise of Tommy Udo.
Above: Back in the day.... Ricky at the top, Tommy Wallace and Colin Johnston,
a friend of ours but not in Chaotic Youth - click image to enlarge
Anyway, myself and drummer John Hamilton had started rehearsing with Tommy and Ian in the scout hall in Beith, Ayrshire on Wednesday evenings, where we quickly knocked a few songs into shape for recording. We recorded our first demo at Sirocco studios in Kilmarnock and included in these recordings was 'Whose Bomb' and 'No Wars', although we had only just started playing a couple of months previously, it all sounded pretty good.
At the same time, we would go into Glasgow to hang around the record shops, mainly Listen Records and Bloggs and also a recently opened Virgin megastore on Union Street, where on the top floor they had a shop selling T-shirts and punk clothing.
One day whilst browsing the wares, we were approached by the guy who ran it, Brian McKeich, who later went on to manage Chaotic Youth. He asked us if we were in a band and if we had a demo, so we duly delivered the tape to him the following weekend, he stuck it in the tape player, really liked it and offered us a tour supporting Anti Pasti there and then!
MC: And on to that seminal No Future Records' compilation too?
Yes, Ian had been sending out loads of demos to various labels that supported and released young bands' material and No Future was one of those that was interested and they chose 'Whose Bomb' as one of the tracks for release on that compilation 'A Country Fit for Heroes'.
MC: So how do you view these early recordings these days then?
RICKY: Well, although those recordings were rough and ready they still have that vital energy of youth. Of course, we also felt we were going to be the biggest band in the world at this point, but alas, not to be!
Click above individual images to enlarge
MC: Tell us more about your involvement in the Fits then?
Along with External Menace, Chaotic Youth had an invitation to record in Leeds for the Beat the System label, there we met The Fits and Uproar, who were also recording for the label, eventually these sessions would end up on the 'Total Anarchy' album.
Chaotic Youth disbanded around six months later, but during that time we had formed a friendship with Bill Grumpy, The Fits' roadie, he would frequently correspond with Ian and let him know The Fits bass player Andy Barron had left and suggested I should team up with The Fits. I had met and gigged alongside them many times, so the transition between the two bands was pretty seamless, I met up with Mick Crudge and the guys in Blackpool, where I rehearsed/auditioned and decided to move south to Blackpool or as Rab C Nesbitt put it...Las Vegas for Scum!!
Shortly afterwards we went to a residential studio in Norfolk to record 'The Last Laugh
' EP for Rondolet records with Knox from The Vibrators drafted in to do the production.
Around this time we had met Charlie from the U.K. Subs and we managed to get a support slot on their British tour, all very exciting and also a perfect opportunity to promote the Last Laugh EP.
We were pleased with the results, this was something we could push to a wider audience on the tour. This proved to be the only recording I did with The Fits until the recent 'Lead On' EP.
Above: The Fits circa 1983 - - click image to enlarge
MC: So what about your move from The Fits to the Subs?
RICKY: I continued to gig with The Fits for another few months, but it wasn’t a particularly busy period for them, so I decided to move back to Scotland, where I found a job and saved enough money to buy a Fender Precision and Trace Elliot bass combo.
Whilst there I joined a band doing mainly cover versions, they were called JCB and we did songs by Bowie, The Ruts, AC/DC, The Ramones and The Rezillos.
I had met Rab Fae Beith when he was drumming with The Wall some years earlier and had recently joined as drummer for the U.K. Subs.
I also knew Kenny Harris from The Screaming Blue Messiahs, who also hailed from Beith and had moved to London in the late 70s.
I remember discussing the pros and cons of a move to London with Rab and Kenny at a JCB gig and came to the conclusion that it would be a good move for me as the opportunities were there for joining a band.
I decided to move to London in 1985 and stayed at a flat in Clapham, it was nicknamed the 'Scottish Embassy', as it seemed like half of Ayrshire was living there!
It was around this time that the Subs had parted company with bass player Deptford John and Rab asked me to audition with them, this entailed a visit to Charlie Harper’s flat in Clapham, where I played along to a recording of Tomorrows Girls… Charlie seemed to like what he heard and I was welcomed into the U.K. Subs there and then!
So the new Subs line up was: Charlie Harper (of course!), Jim Moncur on guitar, Rab fae Beith on drums and myself on bass.
My first gig with the Subs was at the Sir George Robey in Finsbury Park and I remember meeting Arthur from The Lurkers there… who incidentally ended up being my next door neighbour some years later.
The bookings had started to come in for the Subs and I was soon off on tour, travelling round the UK, America and Europe.
I had never visited America before and found it a to be a great experience, I was 19 years old at the time and I found I was continually refused and hassled for I.D. by various bar staff when trying to get a drink, much to the amusement of the other guys in the band.
The European tour was a great success too and I remember an interesting interlude whilst playing in Germany.
We had played a gig and went on to a club afterwards for a few drinks and somehow Rab had procured a starting pistol from somewhere.
The following day en route to the next gig, we were motoring along the autobahn, this being February it was snowing quite heavily.
Most people were sleeping in the van, due to the heavy night before.
Rab had decided it would be a good idea to wake us all up by firing the starting pistol, little did anyone know the pistol actually fired CS gas pellets, the bang of the pistol rudely awoke us and instantly there was a cloud of choking gas burning our eyes and throats!
Thankfully Davy slammed the anchors on and we bundled out the van door and took a header into the snow rubbing it into our streaming eyes which only seemed to make it worse!
Ah, the joy of touring… never a dull moment with the Subs!
We also toured the Northern part of Spain around the Basque territories as a support to The Exploited, who coincidentally had Deptford John playing bass for them.
I spent my 21st birthday in Bilbao on the last night of the tour.
But little did I know by way of a celebration for me, that I would be thrown in to a minging old skip on route back to the hotel, get wrapped up in a ton of gaffer tape, have half a bottle of vodka poured down my throat, but…the pièce de résistance… getting my feet flushed down the bog!
A birthday celebration indeed, Exploited and U.K. Subs style!
Rab had left the band a few months earlier and Pete Davies had rejoined for a brief period and things were going well, but I felt I had to try something different musically and decided to leave the U.K. Subs towards the latter part of ‘86.
MC: Backtracking a bit here then Ricky, tell us your recollections of recording 'Huntington Beach', what sort of process was involved in the songwriting, were you pleased with the results at the time (as your first full length album you’d recorded) and how do you view those songs and the album as a whole now?
RICKY: My recollections of recording 'Huntington Beach', were, that we would run through ideas for songs at Rab's, he had a couple of amps set up and that was the way we got the bare bones of the songs together and would finish them off at Alaska rehearsal Studios in Waterloo.
We went into record the album at Raezor Studios in Wandsworth, it was a contact of Rab's who owned the studio.
It was a fairly straightforward process, setting up in the same room and recording the songs as live as we could, the vocals were done as a guide and replaced afterwards.
I was happy with the recording and sound of the album, though I seem to remember that we used a producer from Polydor to do a remix, as the studio engineer at Raezor was fairly inexperienced and we felt it needed a more professional touch.
MC: In what way was the recording different to what you’d experienced before in Chaotic Youth and The Fits? I note that James Moncur, Rab and Charlie are credited with all the lyrics and music on 'Huntington Beach', but not you?
RICKY: As much as I get involved and throw ideas around for the song writing process, I can't actually write a song start to finish, it's definitely a gift that certain people have!
And in comparison to the U.K. Subs, recording with Chaotic Youth wasn't quite as rehearsed, we would get a load of beers in and it was just one big party, so perhaps we weren't quite so precious about the recording process or end result.
The Fits though were always very well rehearsed and the recording of The Last Laugh EP went pretty quickly and smoothly, I suppose all that rehearsing payed off in the end, although admittedly it has a fairly tinny production on it.
MC: Any funny stories to share regarding 'Huntington Beach' Ricky?
RICKY: Well I remember during the recording of 'Huntington Beach' there was the usual piss taking in the studio and whilst I was attempting a bass part for about the fourth time, I heard the collective shout of "Magoo ya Plonker" and a banana skin came flying my way and slapped me on the face, thankfully I got the part right or who knows what would've come my way next?
MC: Okay, here's one to test your memory maybe, and one for us Subs geeks, can you shed any light on the 'Huntington Beach' run-out groove writing: SARAH GIVE BUBBLES A BLOW JOB & RACSTON GET A SHAVE YOU TRAMP
RICKY: Easy! There was a neighbour of Rab's called Bubbles who also helped as road crew and he fancied a girl called Sarah, therefore... Sarah Give Bubbles a Blowjob!
Ralston Get A Shave You Tramp was directed at Big Davy our guitar roadie who's middle name is Ralston, all Rab's idea I think?
MC: So what’s the story behind the nickname Plonker Magoo then? Did you hate/tolerate/like it?
RICKY: The name 'Plonker Magoo' came about shortly after I joined the Subs. Back in Scotland my Grandad would always be calling me Mr Magoo when I was young and I guess it stuck with friends and family. Rab always called me Magoo as did the rest of the band, one time we were in a pub somewhere with a few mates and Rab would get the usual quota of "Magoo ya Plonker" in. Our mate Norman suggested that as I was always being called a plonker, then why not call me Plonker Magoo, Rab of course thought this was a great idea and from then on that name stuck, oh and by the way I never liked it!
MC: So how do you look back on your time as a Sub now Ricky, what did you learn from the experience or from the people involved – both good and bad?
RICKY: I now look back on my time in the Subs as a massive learning curve, through recording my first album with a band and then touring Europe, USA and the UK. It was a great way to actually learn how to play and interact as a musician, a lot of musicians never experience this in their entire careers, I was quite spoiled really to have done all that in the space of a year and a half!
MC: So nothing bad at all really?
RICKY: No I can't really say there was a down side to my time as a Sub, in all probability I was using it as a springboard to joining another band, which I did, but I suspect I'm not the only ex Sub to have done this!
MC: What would your more experienced self nowadays tell the young Ricky to do differently in the Subs? I take it you have no regrets from being in the Subs, due to subsequently joining such a great band in The Men They Couldn't Hang (TMTCH)?
RICKY: Looking back my more experienced self would tell the young Ricky to stop taking yourself so seriously, you're not in the fucking Rolling Stones, enjoy the moment!
MC: What were your favourite Subs songs to play live and why?
RICKY: My favourite songs to play live with the Subs were, C.I.D... a great build up at the beginning and into a rock solid blues style riff, hyped up to the max! Warhead's another favourite live, starting off with that classic bass line driving it, slashing guitar and drums thundering in, also a political subtext that is still relevant today.
MC: What then is your favourite memory or memories of Charlie, James Moncur, Rab and Pete Davies and how often do you keep in touch with your ex-Sub collegues?
RICKY: I certainly have a few memories of my fellow Subs from back in the day:
Charlie is a very friendly and welcoming guy and still is, I've met him recently and it's as if we could be back in the 80's when I first played with them!
Jim Moncur was always easy to get on with and is a brilliant guitarist, but somehow I think he doubted that and was forever practising and getting lessons... Jim, you don't need to!
Haven't seen Jim for a long time, he moved to America a number of years ago.
Rab actually encouraged me to move to London to give the music thing a go and also pushed to get me into the Subs and I'm certainly grateful for that.
I haven't seen Rab for even longer and he too has moved to the USA.
Pete Davies, last time I saw him was at the Ritz rehearsal rooms in Putney, I heard the shout of Ricky Magoo and there was Mr Pete Davies in the rehearsal room to say hello. Pete's a great solid drummer to play with and a friendly guy.
MC: Okay, let's talk about your move from the U.K. Subs to The Men They Couldn't Hang. When Arthur Lurker got you the details of TMTCH bass audition in November 1986, how much did you know of TMTCH?
Well I had known Arthur Lurker from when I first moved to London and through him I got the details of TMTCHs management and contacted them to get the details of the audition.
I didn't know a great deal about TMTCH at that point, I had seen them on a TV show doing ‘Shirt of Blue’ and had read an interview in the NME and also heard they were a cracking live band through Arthur.
MC: You were obviously having great fun with the Subs mid-80s, but what memories do you have of turning out as an Urban Dog with Charlie? Maybe the ramshackle nature of Charlie’s side project had an influence on you wanting a more stable environment within another band?
RICKY: My memories of Urban Dogs are hazy to say the least, I remember playing the 100 club and Gossips nightclub with them and although I get a credit on the album I didn't actually play on it. When we played The 100 Club it was Charlie, Knox, Turkey on drums, Anthony Thistlewhaite from The Waterboys on sax and Rebecca and Melissa (Rhubarb Tarts) on backing vocals.
I'm not sure we ever rehearsed much, so I guess you could say it was a little bit ramshackle!
How did you prepare for TMTCH audition, and what were your first impressions of the other Men?
My preparation for TMTCH audition was to listen to the albums and run through the songs so often that they were drummed in. I was talking to Paul Simmonds about that fateful day recently, he had asked me at the audition what songs I had learned and I replied... “all of them of course!”
They just seemed relieved that I wasn't another halfwit with a five string bass strapped up round their neck, who hadn't learned any of the songs, never mind the name of them... Green Buttons indeed!
Swill made me laugh when I first met them, he quizzed me in the canteen to find out if I was rich or a Nazi or something equally non pc and offensive. Paul was the friendliest and welcoming, Cush and Jon didn't say much at all and seemed wary.
I suppose they were fed up with the previous idiotic applicants and wanted to go to the pub, so I joined them for a drink at the Royal Oak round the corner from Nomis studios and that seemed to seal the deal.
So what was the reaction of Charlie and the rest of the Subs when they heard you’d joined the Men?
RICKY: I had already left The Subs when I joined TMTCH, so I'm not sure what Charlie and the boys thought of me joining them, although I can say that when Charlie and Jim Moncur came to see TMTCH at Guilford Civic hall they really seemed to enjoy the show and Charlie pointed out that he'd heard us on the radio, but wasn't that impressed, but he thought we were great live that night and has seen us many times since.
MC: Once you had the bass position within TMTCH, you rehearsed for a couple of weeks before embarking on an 11 week tour, which sounds as if it was a real baptism of fire. What do you recall from those early days rehearsing with the band, and how did it all compare to being with the Subs?
RICKY: Having got the position of bass player, we rehearsed for two weeks at Nomis, this was one of the big rehearsal studios in London, where the likes of The Who, Johnny Thunders, Spandau Ballet and Jimmy Page rehearsed at and that alone felt like a jump into the major league!
As for the rehearsals, the band was very easy going and the rehearsal would generally end up in the Royal Oak round the corner. Back in those days the pubs closed between 3.00pm and 5.00pm and we would head back to Nomis after last orders at 3.00 with a few pints of lager that the pub had kindly let us take and would continue our rehearsal.
Usually by 5.00pm we would head back over to the pub with the empty glasses and continue our drinking session, TMTCH had formed around the same time as The Pogues and they certainly enjoyed a drink as much as the aforementioned... this was much to my approval!
When I rehearsed with The Subs, we would spend one or two days working on the songs at Alaska Studios in Waterloo before a tour, so I suppose that with TMTCH we spent a lot more time running through the material, shaping the songs in readiness for touring, but that as I would soon find out, was entirely for my benefit, they actually hate rehearsing!
MC: Ha! So do you recall your gig debut with TMTCH, how you felt, what you played, where etc?
RICKY: Yes, it was at Birmingham University, this was a warm up for the European tour we were about to undertake. I felt nervous but excited to be trying out a whole new bunch of songs. The set at the time comprised of the likes of ‘Ironmasters’, ‘Shirt of Blue’, ‘Greenfields of France’, ‘Rawhide’, ‘Donald where's your Troosers’ and even ‘Teenage Kicks’!
Shortly after this, as you mentioned, we went on a massive 11 week tour of Europe. By the time we had finished, I had all of those songs locked into my brain, what was left of it anyway!
The first TMTCH album you played on was ‘Waiting For Bonaparte
’, what do you remember about those times, the evolution of the songs and that particular album as a whole?
Firstly that we went into Nomis studio to set to work on the songs, some we had already been playing on the tour and were in pretty good shape, but the others needed a fair amount of work. Our producer Mick Glossop came in and we started pre-production over the space of the next fortnight, by the end of this we had the songs ready to record.
I recall it was the Townhouse Studio in Battersea (The Who's old studio) for the initial batch of recordings, a great studio in a slightly odd location, amidst a council estate.
Mick was a fastidious and sometimes dictator like figure during the recording process, I certainly upped my bass playing working with him. He was also the in house producer for Virgin in the late 70s, where he produced the first Public Image single, The Skids and The Ruts to name a few.
We spent a lot of time playing and getting the right takes for these songs and no doubt money to boot!
MC: So how did that first recording experience with TMTCH feel, especially in comparison with what you’d done on Huntington Beach with the Subs. Another level?
RICKY: The next recordings were at The Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, this was Richard Branson's old house which had been turned into a studio in the mid-70s, it was where Mike Oldfield recorded Tubular Bells. It was a real difference for me to be recording in such surroundings and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really felt it was another step up!
MC: How did you feel to finally start having your work reach the Top 75 in the singles chart and what do you recall from the video shoot for ‘The Colours’ etc – nervous?
RICKY: The first single to be released from the album was ‘The Colours’, which reached the dizzying heights of number 61 in the charts, it made the top 40 breakers on Radio 1, but never quite pushed through to become a hit single. We even made a rather good video to accompany the single, it took almost a full day to shoot this and it was fascinating watching the process of how the whole thing came together.
Below: 'The Colours' video
MC: ‘Island in the Rain’ is one of my favourite TMTCH songs, what are your favourite songs from that album and why?
I would say my favourite song from the album is ‘The Colours’, it has a great chant along chorus and even a mini bass solo, which for me was essential... ha ha!
MC: Well what I find has been essential listening for me with the Men is the strength of the songwriting and storytelling on Paul, Swill and Cush’s songs must have blown you away when you were first part of the band, did playing in the band feel like your spiritual home?
RICKY: Yes, the band has a really strong storytelling narrative running through a lot of the songs, Paul Simmonds in particular is fascinated by certain periods of history, mainly nautical, but also champions the strife and struggle of the working classes.
Being from a working class family myself, I could certainly relate to this and quickly felt I had found , as you say, my spiritual home. TMTCH were all from a punk background and Paul and Swill even supported The Clash in their previous band Catch 22
, so I could easily identify with this.
MC: It seems like another age now, so I’d like to ask about record company involvement/meddling at this time, again – for you – it was a real change, going from Rab’s label to WEA with ‘Waiting For Bonaparte’– what do you recall about the label and the band interaction with them at that time?
RICKY: As for the record company WEA who released ‘Waiting For Bonaparte’, we were an extremely small fish at the bottom of their extremely big pond and were told we weren't commercial enough and should change our name and do a cover version! We failed to comply and were duly dropped by them!
What are your memories of the ‘Silver Town
’ era, the recording of the album and do you have a particular favourite song, there are some real stand-outs on it such as ‘Rosettes’, ‘A Place In The Sun’, ‘Company Town’ and ‘Rain, Steam & Speed’ in particular for me.
Above: Ricky and Swill filming the 'Rain Steam and Speed' video - click to enlarge
Below: 'Rain Steam and Speed' video
RICKY: My memories of the ‘Silver Town’ era are of a band working flat out on the new songs at Nomis studios, once again juggling this with a full on touring schedule. Once we had the material ready, we went in to record at Black Barn studios with Mick Glossop on production duties. This being a residential studio, we were booked in to stay there for a few weeks, so no excuses for being late!
We would generally start recording at 11.00am, pretty early for Rock &Roll!
Above: Ricky, Cush and Paul at Black Barn studios. Click to enlarge
One vivid memory of the recording process was when we gathered in the courtyard and Mick Glossop used a DAT recorder (digital audio tape) to capture us as the fighting, baying football mob as heard on ‘Rosettes’. It turned out well and if you listen carefully you can hear Cush shouting "come on you wankers" over the end.
My particular favourites on ‘Silver Town’ are ‘Rosettes’ and ‘Lobotomy Gets 'em Home’, the latter being a sad tale about the actress Frances Farmer and her incarceration to a mental hospital, she had also been accused of communist links after visiting Russia. It was alleged that whilst being treated in hospital that she was given a lobotomy which was denied by the authorities.
A Mr Cush classic, once more highlighting the suffering of the underdog!
So were you still going all out for a hit single at this time, despite signing to a smaller label with Silvertone – talking of which, was the album title inspired by the label, a play on words maybe?
RICKY: I guess we were subconsciously still trying for that elusive hit single, but unfortunately the Hillsborough disaster happened the week before the release of ‘Rosettes’, which in turn received very little airplay.
Yes, this was our first release on the Silvertone label but it’s sheer coincidence that it was called ‘Silver Town’, not a play on words.
MC: So if not that then…?
RICKY: It was that Paul was writing a lot about this particular area of London, Docklands and its changing role as the centre of banking.
MC: There was also a new member in Nick Muir on this album. What did Nick bring to the band at this point?
RICKY: I think we were certainly trying to broaden our musical horizons with the introduction of Nick on keyboards; he had previously played with Jake Burns and the Big Wheel and Fire next time. He brought a genuine musical flair on the ivories and the Hammond organ.
For me, my favourite album by TMTCH is ‘The Domino Club
’ - the next one after ‘Silvertown’. I think the LPs first side is faultless, and it still brings the hairs up on the back of my neck every time that I play it. ‘The Lion And The Unicorn’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘The Family Way’, ‘Handy Man’ and ‘Kingdom Of The Blind’ were the opening 5 tracks and would all still make my TMTCH top 20! I’d therefore love to hear your feelings about this album, your memories, funny stories you can recall maybe, and was there a ‘restless highway’ (sorry!) you were all setting off on that led to the band splitting in 1991?
RICKY: For ‘The Domino Club’, this time we switched producers and roped in Pat Collier at the suggestion of Andrew Lauder the head of the label. We worked on the songs at Nomis with Pat for a week; it was a less intense pre-production process, with less ripping songs apart and re-arranging them.
We started recording the album at Battery studios; going for a straight ahead no nonsense approach, laying down the backing tracks fairly quickly, then layering vocals, guitars, other parts and overdubs. As per usual we would end up in the pub round the corner which is an essential part of the recording process I would say!
MC: Always an influence with the band!
RICKY: Well the cover of the album was based on photos taken in the aforementioned pub and transposed into the finished artwork by a guy from the 2000 AD comic.
MC: So do you share my love for this particular album Ricky?
RICKY: I'm actually still ambivalent about this album, I thought we should be doing more material along the lines of ‘Waiting For Bonaparte’ and ‘Silvertown’, but I know it's still a firm favourite with our fans to this day... and what do I know, eh?
MC: So with your feelings not exactly in sync with how things were panning out, were there other tensions?
RICKY: I recall Cush had a song called ‘Walking to Wigan Casino’, which was a homage to Northern Soul. Whilst working on a drum pattern, Jon Odgers suddenly threw down his drumsticks and proclaimed "I'm not playing this fuckin shit"!!
Not a big soul fan then Jon?
During the recording, Cush would hit the wine every day at midday, much to Pat's disdain. I could tell Cush wasn't enjoying the process of making this album and I noticed things were slightly unravelling at this point. Cush kept on about training to be a bus driver and how he would be much better off doing that and he eventually did just that! As you indicated, yes, we did split up some months later after being dropped by Silvertone.
MC: How do you view the break up now, was it inevitable do you feel Ricky?
RICKY: Looking back, it wasn't a great decision, personally I think we would have been better to take a year out and come back to it with a different perspective.
MC: And funnily enough, around this time you had a pretty big support slot with David Bowie! What do you recall of supporting David Bowie at the Milton Keynes Bowl?
Yes it was in July 1990 that we were offered a two night support with David Bowie at Milton Keynes Bowl; these were huge shows, 45,000 and 50,000 people on consecutive nights. I remember we travelled to the show in a twelve seater white transit van; however Mr Bowie arrived by helicopter and was picked up in a black limousine and rushed to his own backstage area, a slight difference in travel arrangements you could say!
Ha! So the men they couldn’t fly! I have to ask Ricky, but did you chat with the Thin White Duke
about the Subs? ;-)
RICKY: Sadly, we never got to meet The Thin White Duke himself.
MC: SO what was it like to play in front of so many people?
When it was time to hit the stage, we were introduced by the Radio One DJ Mark Goodier, we ran onstage and as we were about to launch into the first song my bass fell off the strap, which resulted in an almighty clang as it reverberated round Milton Keynes Bowl, the audience were holding their hands over their ears and looked in genuine pain!
As you can tell I like to make an intro! Mr Cush decided to do an impromptu version of the ‘Laughing Gnome’ towards the end of our set, knowing full well it's Mr Bowie's most hated song!
MC: Oh no! Ha ha ha, he he he?
RICKY: We thought the plugs may be pulled by his crew, but perhaps he'd seen the funny side and it went down a storm, better than any of our own material, all things aside we had a thoroughly enjoyable time and it’s something I'll remember for a lifetime.
MC: Moving on then Ricky, and as previously indicated, the TMTCH split in 1991 after releasing the live album ‘Alive Alive O’ – tell us about that?
RICKY: Yes indeed, we decided to split, initially after being dropped by Silvertone Records, although there were other contributing factors. The band planned a meeting with our manager Andrew Cheeseman to try and see if there was an alternative.
Cush simply didn't want to do it anymore, Paul seemed to have lost interest and wanted to do something different musically, however, Swill and Jon most definitely wanted the band to stay together.
MC: And you?
RICKY: I would gladly have continued, but I knew it would be impossible without Paul and Cush, I also thought it would be fairly easy for me to walk into another band, but looking back that was naive thinking!
: So what did you do after the split and reformation five years later? Did you persue other musical projects - The Killer B's
for example, tell us about those non-TMTCH years?
RICKY: Well after the initial split, I simply took a break from music. I managed to get a part time driving job through Jim Moncur (ex U.K. Subs) at a music hire company called Peter Webber Hire. I still kept in touch with Kenny Harris (Screaming Blue Messiahs), they had recently disbanded and Kenny called me to ask if I was interested in doing some rehearsals with him, Chris Thompson and Tony Moon and all had also been members of Motor Boys Motor.
Tony had a worked for Albion Management and was in charge of The Stranglers fanzine, 'Strangled'. So we booked into Alaska rehearsal rooms with a batch of songs Chris and Tony had written after the break up of The Messiahs.
I also had approached Andrew Lauder at Silvertone knowing he was a fan of The Messiahs and he agreed to fund a 4 track demo at Alaska's recording studio.
We made the demo and Andrew agreed for us to go into Battery Studios during down time in order to keep the costs down and essentially after these recordings, we had enough songs for an album. Andrew in the meantime had left Silvertone and set up another label called 'This Way Up' but it never resulted in the Killer B's
being signed up.
Sometime down the line Chris decided to revive the recordings and we went to Pat Collier's Greenhouse Studio. He mixed and produced the album, this was a self release by The Killer B's on 'Cat Records' under the title of 'Love is a Cadillac, Death is a Ford'.
Although the band never toured, there were various gigs in and around London, some of these included a support at the Mean Fiddler with Wilko Johnson, then a short while after supporting Wishbone Ash at the Mean Fiddler 2, followed by a Thin Lizzy support at the Astoria on Charing Cross Road.
MC: But you were still in touch with the other Men during the split weren't you?
RICKY: Yes I was also playing with Cush in a covers band called Folkfinger, this certainly wasn't a serious venture by any means!
We would play some pub gigs and a few Sunday afternoons at the Mean Fiddler and The Bar in Harlesden, both owned by Vince Power whom Cush was friendly with.
We were offered a trip to Prague by our friend Mark Johnson - who booked the acts at the Mean Fiddler - as they were looking for a band to play a few shows over new year 1995.
We played a gig supporting a band called The Dirty Pictures, whom Joe Strummer had guested with whilst residing in Prague. Unfortunately Joe wasn't around that night.
The gig was at an old theatre where the Nazis commanded their campaign and had used it as a head quarters during their occupation of Prague in the Second World War.
It wasn't exactly a sold out show and people were coming and going from the venue in the run up to midnight and the new year. This didn't seem to impress the over zealous security who had stamped everyone's hand on leaving so they could check who had paid or not. After midnight a lot of people had tried to get into the building as there had been a race riot in nearby Wenceslas Square between the Vietnamese community and the local fascists.
The security decided to close the iron gates at the top of the stairs and things got out of control very quickly, one security guard drop kicked a reveller in the head after an altercation, the guy went flat out on his back and started turning blue, the panicking security had to give him CPR to revive him and shortly after opened the gates and let everyone in to continue the celebrations.
Happy New Year... Prague style!
: Wow, sounds scary, another gig you'll never forget that... So just over a year later TMTCH made their return. What are your memories and feelings about the comeback album ‘Never Born To Follow’ in 1996 and the mini-album a year later ‘Big Six Pack’? Why reform? What brought it all about?
RICKY: Yeah, in 1996 we reformed and set about the process of recording 'Never Born To Follow' for Demon Records, which was of course, our second signing to that label!
We booked into Ritz studios in Putney to rehearse the new songs with Kenny Harris drafted in to play drums. I already had a connection with this studio through my driving work with them.
Once the songs were ready, we went to The Greenhouse to record with Pat Collier producing and mixing. Personally I think this album and Six Pack are the weakest things TMTCH have released, there doesn't seem to be a narrative or natural flow to the songs and unsurprisingly, there are none of these songs in our current set.
It had been a few years since the split and it didn't quite gel, after we first reformed,
'Never Born To Follow' didn't sell very well either, but it served the purpose of kick-starting our journey as a band again.
Our next time in the recording studio was at Falconer Studios in Camden, it saw us replacing Kenny Harris with Andy Selway (Big Boy Tomato) on the skins!
It was decided that we'd do a six track mini album, I think basically because we didn't have enough material for a full album!
This was to be our last recording for Demon Records and we were dropped fairly quickly afterwards!
MC: And as you just mentioned - it didn't turn out as strong as you'd no doubt hoped for?
RICKY: Yes, for me, the whole feel and sound of Six Pack is under rehearsed and shabby.
For production and recording duties we brought in Ben Kape who had previously worked as an assistant engineer on 'Waiting For Bonaparte' and had done a fine job on that, he was certainly up against it as he was working with an ancient mixing desk and an untogether, out of it and shambolic band, he did his best considering what he had to work with!
Even the original samples of Robert de Niro from Taxi Driver on the song Henry Krinkel were replaced, due to Demon Records panicking in case of a lawsuit from the film companies.
Once again we were a band without a record deal!
: And so it turned out that it would be another 6 years before your next recorded output with ‘The Cherry Red Jukebox’ in 2003, why such a gap and what are your thoughts, feelings and memories on this album?
RICKY: Onwards to the Autumn of 2002 and straight into Ritz Studios once more with a batch of new songs to work on. We felt pretty confident about these songs and were ready to record.
We decided to go into Fortress Studios, which had previously been The Greenhouse, Pat Collier's old studio. Using the in house engineer Dan Swift to record the album, it felt like we were a more cohesive unit and I think it shows with the strength of the songs and the natural flow of the album.
My favourites on 'The Cherry Red Jukebox' are, 'Singing Elvis', 'Silver Gun' and 'Ride Again'.
During the recording, we found a great watering hole called The Wenlock Arms and
spent equal amounts of time in the pub and studio.
A few years later we decided to have our 20th Anniversary celebrations there, albeit 21 years after we formed, only TMTCH could be a year late for an anniversary!
: Well time don't matter at all as Charlie once sang! And it was another 6 years that passed before the next long-player ‘Devil On The Wind’ in 2009, what reasons do you think there are for these longer gaps between albums, and what do you feel about this particular set of songs?
RICKY: Yes it seems the gaps are widening between album releases, I suppose this is down to the songwriters schedules getting busier with day jobs, family life and other musical projects contributing to the slowing output.
Although we employed Pat Collier to record and produce Devil, the album seems thrown together, it was unfortunately under rehearsed with some of the songs being worked out twenty minutes before recording them, we seemed to have taken a step backwards with our approach to this album.
Subsequently I think it's a fairly weak set of songs, with the stand out being the title track 'Devil On The Wind', being more of a classic TMTCH song.
MC: So between one of those long gaps in TMTCH activity, you've also been involved in the recentish reformation of The Fits, how did that transpire, what's it been like, what did you get up to with them and do you still have plans to carry on with The Fits?
Yes it was back in 2011 that The Fits reformed after a break of almost 30 years. Mick Crudge posted a message on TMTCH Facebook site to try and track me down, so I got in touch and arranged a meet up. Mick had been approached by the organisers of the Rebellion festival asking the band to reform for a one off appearance. I thought why not, as I felt The Fits was an unfinished page and was up for playing some fast loud punk music again. We booked into Vatican studios in Bethnal Green with ex Pure Pressure drummer Dave Broderick and Kerry Waite on guitar. Once rehearsed and ready, we set off for Blackpool and The Rebellion festival. It was a decent slot on the main stage just before Chelsea and it turned out to be a really good gig. Elated with the success of the show, we decided to do some more gigs; these covered the UK and even a one off show at the Wild At Heart in Berlin. We’d also written some new songs and revived a few old ones, so we decided to go into Vatican to record, later on releasing the ‘Lead On
’ EP with ‘Son of a Gun’ as the main track. Below: The Fits - 'Son of a Gun'
Kerry Waite left the band due to family commitments, so we put feelers out for another guitarist and we found Carl Engelmarc who had previously played with The Members. This in turn led to further shows being booked including another show at The Rebellion Festival, and I recall, watching in the audience for that one were Charlie Harper, Alvin Gibbs and Jet. We also released a live album through Punkerama Records
, which was recorded at the Voodoo Club in Belfast and came under the title of 'Offerings at the Altar
'. Carl left the band at the end of 2014 due to work commitments and since then, The Fits has been put on hold for the immediate future.
MC: That’s a shame as The Fits seemed to be building up some momentum again; the ‘Lead On’ EP is particularly good I thought. Aside from that of course, you’ve continued to work on other TMTCH side-projects such as Swill and The Swaggerband / Stefan Cush & the Feral Family etc - tell us about these, any memories/thoughts of these you’d like to share?
Okay, so yes I've been involved in those TMTCH side projects, with Swill he’d originally approached me to play some bass on his solo album ‘Elvis Lives Here’, for which I decided to use my acoustic bass on that particular recording, as we wanted a more simplistic and spontaneous sound. We went to Bush Studios in Shepherds Bush to record and the whole thing was done pretty much live with not many overdubs, so it was a fairly basic production but it did seem to catch the energy of the performance.
As for The Feral Family, I didn't play on the recording ‘Brough Superior’, but played bass on the ill-fated tour, which was originally two weeks long but was cut to three gigs after poor ticket sales! Cush's solo project seemed to be over as quickly as it started.
MC: Again! That’s a shame! Let’s refocus on all the positives of your musical journey then Ricky! What then would you consider are your highlights of being in TMTCH over such a long period?
RICKY: For me there are so many wonderful and exciting countries that I've had the privilege to visit, including Egypt, Iceland, Japan, Canada, Australia and the many European destinations we've been to. I did particularly enjoy playing the Reading festival in 1989, the David Bowie supports at Milton Keynes Bowl 1990. Also recording at The Manor Studios in Oxfordshire and the fact we got to celebrate our 30th anniversary at Shepherds Bush Empire, a real privilege and milestone!
Above: Ricky outside the Empire Shepherds Bush - click image to enlarge
MC: So aside from Mr Bowie, has being in TMTCH brought you into contact with anyone else famous outside or inside the music business?
Well, during our frequent visits to Scotland and Edinburgh we struck up a friendship with a guy called Ralph who worked in a local bookshop, he also knew the author Iain Banks and after finding out Iain liked the band invited him to our gig, both myself and Swill were big fans of Iain's writing and I had read ‘The Wasp Factory’ and ‘The Bridge’, so it was an honour to meet him.
It was a particularly cold and snowy night when we played at the Calton Studios in Edinburgh, but we played a great show and afterwards we decided to party after someone had supplied us with some cheap amphetamines - undeterred Iain joined us in the consumption of the crap drugs.
So during our aftershow shindig, Iain found a kids plastic policeman's helmet and truncheon and doing his best Dixon of Dock Green impersonations decided to 'arrest' us all outside the venue, after much hilarity and a snowball fight we decided to end the evening with a visit to an all-night bakers for a bridie (a type of Scottish meat pastie)
Above: Swill and Ricky with the author Iain Banks at Galashiels - click to enlarge
Below: TMTCH in action 2015 - click to enlarge
Tasty! Okay, let’s bring things bang up to date and talk about your last album ‘The Defiant’ and the Pledge campaign which turned out to be a phenomenal success, resulting in much critical acclaim. This seems to be the way forward to get new material out, it brings fans and band closer together, and opens up all kinds of possibilities I believe, tapping into the old punk DIY ethic too, what are your thoughts on the success of The Defiant, how pleased are you with it and what are your favourite memories of the recording of it, funny stories etc, how do you think the 'Warhead' version turned out?
RICKY: In late 2013 we decided to nominate ourselves for a Pledge Music campaign, it's essentially a way for your fans to help fund the recording of an album, involving them in every step of the process. We knew we had some really strong material to go in with and make a successful album.
Above: TMTCH Pledge campaign photo - click to enlarge
We were accepted by the Pledge people and quickly reached 100% of the target to get the go ahead to make the album, it eventually reached over 200%!
I think it's a great way for a band to connect with its core audience and gives the audience the same opportunity with the band, I truly think it's the way forward for bands with a loyal following to continue making music without the control of a record company.
We booked into Bush Studios and worked hard on rehearsing and bringing the songs to life, this time we were confident and knew the songs were ready to record.
We went with our instinct and booked into Perryvale studios with Pat Collier, whom we've known and trusted over many years.
The decision was made to book into a hotel closer to the studio for the initial part of the recording. We found an interesting place called The Queens Hotel in Crystal Palace, it seemed to attract all types of itinerant and ne'er do wells, it was certainly cheap and had a late bar so seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
We then found some great pubs round Crystal Palace and celebrated each night after a successful days recording.
I recall after a night at the pub and a few shandies back at the hotel, Tom Spencer decided to call it a night and headed for his room, The Queens is a massive hotel and a real rabbit warren, so whilst hunting for his room, Tom saw a person stumbling about the corridor in his pants, arms outstretched zombie style! Slightly alarmed, Tom asked if he was okay and realised the guy was steaming drunk and now heading straight for him! Tom managed to duck into an alcove and the drunk zombie went flying past and only then did Tom witness and also smell that the zombie was covered in shit! Tom sprinted in the opposite direction found his room, jumped inside and quickly locked the door!
We don't know what became of the 'shit zombie' but guessed he had been booted out of the hotel to haunt the streets of Crystal Palace in his shitty pants... Yeuch!
Above: TMTCH Pledge campaign photo - click to enlarge
Moving on swiftly! I'm really pleased with the finished album, the songs are strong and I think it's a return to form, akin to the Bonaparte and Silvertown era, all in all, a great success.
Alongside The Defiant we were also recording an album of cover versions which became 'Al Green Was My Valet'… and yes, among the suggestions for possible covers from pledgers was Warhead by the Subs, suggested by a certain Mr Mark Chadderton!
I ran it past the other TMTCH members who were more than keen to do a version.
I know this version may not sit well with some of the Subs fans, but we deliberately didn't do a note for note copy and recorded it acoustically with no drums, I think it turned out well and puts a different slant on the song, but I still prefer the original Subs version!
Above: The Men They Couldn't Hang laying down their version of the
U.K. Subs classic 'Warhead' - click images to enlarge...
Below: The Men They Couldn't Hang's ultra rare Pledge campaign bonus CD, including their version of the U.K. Subs' classic track 'Warhead'. Inside the booklet this interview's interviewer can be seen, wearing a TMTCH t-shirt in 1985 and 2014. Click images to enlarge...
MC: Well of course you do Ricky, diplomatic and correct answer that haha!
Above: 'The Defiant' reviewed in 'Vive Le Rock' magazine - click to enlarge
Below: Exclusive T&M footage of TMTCH recording their version of 'Warhead' supplied by Ricky
MC: So it’s been an amazing journey for you Ricky, looking back at all we’ve discussed, so how do you think you’ve developed over the years as a bass player, musician, song writer, live performer?
RICKY: Since my initial days of picking up the bass guitar at 14, I believe that I’ve developed as a musician and have picked up a few different styles along the way. I enjoy playing a Fender Precision through an Ampeg SVT belting out loud thumping bass, but I've learned to play more subtle and gentle pieces which I've incorporated into some TMTCH songs.
I don't want the bass to be in the background, it has to be solid yet melodic and even play the odd lead part too! I also feel I’ve more confidence as a live performer and try to be more dynamic onstage these days. I'm gaining confidence in collaborating, writing and suggesting different parts for songs, although not a songwriter as such, I still throw in ideas where I can.
MC: and away from music, what does Ricky enjoy? Many hobbies or interests?
RICKY: I do have other interests away from music and I'm keen on astronomy and all things of the night sky, I'm hoping to buy a telescope soon and start to discover more about the cosmos.
I also enjoy cooking and have made a lot of different recipes over the years including, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Italian and enjoy going to restaurants for a nice meal and some good wine.
I used to read a lot, but find I don't have the time these days; this really is something I have to rectify... soon!
So what does the future hold for Ricky, what would you like to do/achieve inside and outside of the music scene?
RICKY: As for the future, musically I would like to tour Europe again and perhaps North and South America, but unsure that it'll be with TMTCH, so I'm open to suggestions and offers! Ha Ha! Personally, I'm also unsure how much longer I'll stay in London, so perhaps a geographical change is in order. One thing I do know, is that I want to continue to make music for as long as I can!
MC: Hurrah to that Mr McGuire! Cheers Ricky - that’s about it I reckon, it’s been a real pleasure and honour to delve into your musical life so thanks so much…
RICKY: Phew! Well it's been epic, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
RICKY McGUIRE INTERVIEW FIRST PUBLISHED 9th OCTOBER 2015
Grateful thanks for some of the above punk archive images from:
- THE MEN THEY COULDN'T HANG WEBSITE: click here
- THE MEN THEY COULDN'T HANG FACEBOOK: click here
- TMTCH INTERVIEW - FOLK RADIO UK: click here (Oct 2014)
- THE FITS FACEBOOK PAGE: click here
- THE FITS - SUSPECT DEVICE FANZINE INTERVIEW: click here (Mar 2013)
- THE KILLER B'S - THE ARTS DESK.COM REVIEW: click here (Aug 2011)
Whilst in the process of being interviewed for the Time & Matter website,
unfortunately Ricky heard the shocking news that his friend Tommy Wallace
had sadly passed away, this interview is therefore dedicated to Tommy's memory.
Ricky recalls his great friend in the following article...
An Appreciation of
On the 10th July 2015 my life changed forever.
My best friend Tommy Wallace passed away after suffering liver failure.
Tommy was a great listener, who had natural empathy with people and would always put others before himself.
As well as being the singer with Chaotic Youth, Tommy also briefly sang with External Menace, before relocating to London In 1983.
I had lost contact with Tommy when I moved to Blackpool to join The Fits. We bumped into each other again after a surprise reunion was organised by Swill and Neil Murphy at Nomis Studios in W14; our friendship was forged once more, but this time in London Town!
Neil was the guitarist with The Duellists and Tommy had been their roadie for a couple of years, this band also featured Mick Rossi of Slaughter & the Dogs fame and Mick took Tommy under his wing for those initial years in London.
It turned out Tommy also frequented a pub in called The Bushranger in Goldhawk Road W12; this was also the pub of choice for TMTCH. We would often end up there after hours for a lock in, usually after we had played a gig and were looking for a late drink, it was a great pub and we would normally find Tommy and a few other regulars propping up the bar into the early hours.
Tommy and his friend Colin would often go to the Punk bars Sound and Vision and The Moscow Arms in Bayswater, it was here Tommy met Tracy Marshall who was to become his lifelong partner for 30 years.
Tommy briefly worked with TMTCH as a Guitar Tech and joined us for a couple of festivals in France and Belgium. It was in Belgium the promoters took us to a bar that had been open for a week as part of the local beer festival, it had a great jukebox and they supplied us with Duvel beer all night, when we finally got back to the hotel we played snooker and drank the bar dry, as they had foolishly left it unlocked. Tommy eventually headed for his room, crashed out and 10 minutes later was awoken by the driver to drive back to the UK with the band’s equipment!
Back in Scotland after we had first met, we would often rehearse in Tommy and Ian’s bedroom, borrowing their sister Senga’s small P.A. system. I would borrow a battered guitar with two strings on and that was my bass, so in essence, that was the beginnings of Chaotic Youth.
We became friends with a number of Punks who would hang out in Glasgow at the weekend, often meeting at Listen and Bloggs record shops, this is where we’d stock up on our vinyl. One time we ended up at a party in a squat, we had brought our carry out, usually cans of Harp lager and bottles of Buckfast wine and it was all going fine until the cops showed up and threw everyone out. We wandered about the streets of Partick for most of the night as we had missed our last train home. We found an old car parked in a garden of a rather posh looking house and dossed there for the night. We were eventually spotted in the morning by the owners and scarpered.
We decided to head back to the city centre, but were intercepted and lifted by the police, they didn’t take too kindly to me whistling ‘Police Car’ by The Cockney Rejects in the back of the motor. They were also convinced that we had broken into a nearby factory and stolen a load of frozen chickens, but as Tommy ‘kindly’ pointed out to the police, ‘Where was the evidence? Did we use a box of matches to cook and eat the chicken?’ This did not go down well and Tommy was later punched in the face at the police station for his troubles!
Tommy hated bullies, particularly in the form of authority and this was something he would stand by for the rest of his days and I think any right thinking person would wholeheartedly agree with this philosophy!
Tommy is sorely missed by all who knew him. I feel privileged to have known him and been his friend.
He will be remembered as a genuinely funny and compassionate guy.
17th March 1965 - 10th July 2015
Ricky McGuire - September 2015
The below photos were sent to Ricky by Ian Wallace - click images to enlarge
Above: Chaotic Youth at Coatbridge Community Centre.
Above: Ricky, Ian, Tommy and friends.
Above: Tommy and Ricky in Barrington Avenue.
Above: Tommy, maybe Coatbridge again?
Above: Sneddy (External Menace), Tommy and Ian.
Above: Tommy, Ricky and Ian, Barrington Avenue.
Above: Ricky and Ian drinking.