Paul Gray (The Damned / Professor And The Madman / The Sensible Gray Cells)

The Damned / Professor And The Madman / The Sensible Gray Cells / - Paul Gray

  • November 2020
  • home in lockdown

Despite the coronavirus decimating the live music since worldwide March it’s been a busy year for Paul Gray, he’s remained active with The Damned, including the release of their latest EP “The Rockfield Files“, he’s also seen the release of the “Séance” album with Professor And The Madman, who include The Damned’s freshly reunited drummer Rat Scabies amongst their number, as well as releasing “Get Back Into The World” with The Sensible Gray Cells, another album with an alumni from The Damned in the shape of Captain Sensible. All of which means that 2020 has been a productive year for the man who has been an ever present in the worlds of punk and rock music since the mid 70’s, The Punk Site‘s Gary Hough grabbed the opportunity to get to (virtually) sit down with Paul and talk the trio of releases, all things bass related and lockdown with him

GH:  Hi Paul, Gary from The Punksite ringing you to chat about the new Sensible Gray Cells album.

PG: Hi mate are you well?  Ok well it’s fucking great, next question. LOL

GH: I believe you know some friends of mine, Debz Lewis and David Sheridon from the band, ‘Army of Moths’.

PG:  Oh yeah, they’re fucking great, they sent me their last work, incredible that they’ve done all that on a 12 track really.  

GH: You’ve been very busy touring with the Damned, working on ‘Seance’ with Professor and the Madman and writing and recording ‘Get Back into The World’ with Sensible Gray Cells, the latter two albums that I must say are fantastic.  How have you adapted to working under the current restrictions that this pandemic has created?

PG: I’m not the most tech savvy bloke in the world erm, you know computers kind of drive me bonkers, but when we did the first album Captain came down here to my place and we did most of it on a MacBook on my kitchen table, so I went out and bought a MacBook, which I’ve still got and I just used Garage Band you know, it’s not much different to what the Moths couple do, it’s pretty basic and I’ve tried using Logic and all that but it just befuddles me, I don’t need all that just to put down bass and keyboards and a bit of guitar you know, I’m not creating a masterpiece I’m writing songs and recording bits of it. 

And when the madmen guys got in touch with me you know, I knocked out some bass for them, a nightmare sort of thing in about 10 minutes and said ‘Will this do’ to which they said yes more of that please, so I did all the first album ‘Disintegrate Me’ with them just sending me the stuff they’d done, Rat had already put the drums down, Rat never listens to the bass much anyway (Laughs).  We have got a way of working its kind of a series of happy coincidences I think, but it’s one of those pretty rare situations that its kind of, you know, our two styles are very compatible, so that was a piece of cake.

And then we just got, I don’t know maybe…. most of the drum tracks down, some of the bass and a bit of guide guitar for the SGC album and then the fucking plague hit us, and rather than do nothing we thought well we can finish this at home so, all this year really has been spent playing away on the old laptop either way with the Madman or writing songs or doing the SGC stuff and we tracked some stuff where I did some guitars, Captain did some guitars,  I did some keyboards and Captain did some keyboards and then Captain put all the lovely icing on the cake, you know we did a bit of vocals each, Marty managed to sneak in and finish off a couple of drum tracks so it’s not stopped us at all.

And I think the way that we understand each other, Captain and I understand each other musically, and Marty Love has been a godsend because he’s got almost any kind of err, references, you know pretty much the same as we have, so he knows where we’re coming from, the same with the guys in America. 

So, it’s one of those things where we all trust each other and it’s very easy because we’ve got a pretty good idea of what each of us are going to put on it.

And we swap the files so it’s not been a hindrance at all and it’s probably saved us a fair bit in studio fees, and we then got to the stage of mixing it. I can’t mix stuff you know as I’m just using garage band, Captain’s by his own admission aren’t the best and so we handed it off to a couple of people, Richard Crippen who used to be in Tenpole Tudor who has his own studio down in Reigate, Surrey he did a couple, Captain did a couple and I think his son did one, a mate of his over in Holland he did one and then we sent one of them to Sean and Alf in the madman Coz, I think they do a fucking great job and Alf’s got a really great home studio setup better than some of the professional studio’s I’ve been in (Laughs) and they did a cracking job so they end up mixing I think, eight tracks on ‘Get Back Into The World,’ so there’s a nice bit of a crossover with the two projects, you know.

None of that would have come about if it hadn’t been for Covid-19 so you know, it’s that small silver cloud that come from that pretty tragic lining really so you got to be thankful for small mercy’s haven’t you.

GH:  Have you found it has helped you become more creative or is it much the same given that you don’t have the other band members to bounce ideas off of like you perhaps would if you were all in the same room/studio?

PG: Personally speaking I’ve become more creative, because there’s been so little to do and we were supposed to be touring but that all got cancelled so there wasn’t much else to do apart from go out in the hills on my bike in wales and write more songs, so you know I’ve written a whole bunch of stuff and probably did more of the Sensible Gray Cells stuff than maybe I would have done, we probably all did as if we’d been in the studio there may have been more time constraints, so it’s been quite liberating. 

And even though I don’t really enjoy computers per se using garage band is pretty easy, so I thought what else is out there and I knocked up a website to see if I could get a bit more work in, you know session work and see what else is out there, and that’s worked you know.

I’ve probably had about four or five really quite interesting bits and pieces come in from that so it’s kind of kept me out of, kept me from getting too bored.  So yeah, in answer to your questions I think it’s undoubtedly by virtue of the fact you’re not doing anything else, it’s kind of forced me to, well just given me the time really to explore, doing other stuff, things that I wouldn’t normally have done and get used to recording maybe a little more carefully than I would normally have done (Laughs) and freshen it up, so yeah, it’s been ……. well, I’m fed up now though of course, I can’t wait to get back and play again, I’ve had enough of doing it now.  but it’s been an interesting year for that so, had I not done that I’d probably have ended up smashing walls.

GH: And I guess when you are out recording and working with other band members there’s a whole different vibe to it than having to use technology via Teams, Zoom or similar.

PG: What I do miss of course is the interaction you get in the studio, you know and the larking about and the let’s try this, the happy accident to happen when we all play together and when somebody just plays something and you just catch it and if you go off on one you know, that’s more difficult to do obviously, remotely when you are stuck in your own little bubble in your own little world and you haven’t got those external triggers that you get when you’re in the studio or sat down in somebody else’s house.  There’s plus and minuses to it but what I think is quite funny is hearing what…… I mean like the B-side of the single that’s just come out, er what’s it called ‘World of Confusion’ I knocked that up as we needed a B-side for the single and we had recorded one before the lockdown so I did all that at home and then sent it to The Captain, and he put a kind of, great backwards guitar solo on the end and left my vocals on it, all the bass was done at home, the 12 string and the keyboards and then it actually ended about 3 minutes and when he sent it back to me, he’d looped the end with this quite magnificent psychedelic ending which was a total surprise and then when it was sent off to Marty to put the drums on, he did this sort of wonderful rise cymbal and some bongo bits so you get these nice little surprises come whizzing in that you didn’t envisage in your own little bubble happening. 

So, there’s you know, good things and some not so good things about working at home.But to be fair that’s the way the first sessions we did all the backing tracks in the day and then finished off the bass at home and Captain finished off all the vocals and guitars at his so there really wasn’t that much difference except we probably took a bit more care over this one sonically, we had Marty involved who is such a godsend, he’s such a great drummer and so enthusiastic about everything so he was jiggling things along nicely, so it worked out actually really well in the end.

GH: That’s great Paul and I must say that what I found remarkable on both the Sensible Graycells and Madman albums is that you just couldn’t tell on either of them that they were written and recorded during this difficult Pandemic because they sound so professionally done, the quality was just so good.  I referred to this in my recent review of the Madman album for the Punksite, that for me it was not only one of the best albums this year it was the best album in such a long time and again, a remarkable achievement 

PG:  It’s funny…. I mean, thank you for saying that but, I mean I kind of think the same.  I’m just the bass player on it you know and with SGC Captain and I swap instruments about all the time, with PATM I’m very much the bass player in the same way that Rat is very much the drummer and it’s Shaun and Alf’s baby and the stuff those guys create I absolutely agree with you it’s phenomenal and the funny thing about that is when I get the tracks they’re more finished than when Rat gets them, but often I’ll get them and there’ll be no lyrics on them or a bit of hummed melodies so I don’t really know how they are going to end up and when I put the bass on sometimes they take their cues on that because it may not be what they were expecting, and then they’ll change.  So, when I actually hear it back…. I mean when they sent me a promo copy of the album, I emailed them and said I don’t remember playing on that because it was like a completely different kind of, erm you know (Pauses for thought) not structured but dynamically it was really quite different and they’d put so much stuff on it since it was almost like hearing it for the first time.  

And I’ve got to say to you, that particular album on a purely sort of selfish basis the bass line on that is just fucking incredible, and that’s done through one of the plugins in garage band and they just routed it up and it just sounds glorious.  I’m very lucky that I’m involved in those two projects in what has been a very shit year.

GH: You should be very proud of both of them and as I said for different reasons these albums are just two standouts that when you look back on 2020, anyone listening to those records will know that you guys set the standard high which is testament to your professionalism.

PG: We probably set them too high, where do we go now LOL

GH: And you mentioned Marty Love getting involved, how did that come about? 

PG: Well, he was with the Mopeds and Captain and I used to watch them a lot and he’s a great drummer, lovely personality really nice bloke, no heirs and graces, totally down to earth. And he’s got a really great drumming style and when we were talking about doing another album last year, the thorny subject of drummers came up and Captain said ‘What about Marty’ which is brilliant because he only lives just down the road just outside Croydon and he knew of a studio that he got us into which Richard runs and he’d worked there before so it was a nice little kind of you know family job.  And I have to say I can’t rate the bloke highly enough, he’s been an absolute godsend not just in getting where Captain and I were coming from with the music, but  has the right background, references etc. and he knows exactly what to do and he’s been the driving force getting us hooked up with damaged goods, the guy who does all the artwork and he does all of the updates on the social media things and he holds down a full time job, and he’s in about 10 other bands (Laughs) I don’t know how he does it, he’s just one of those operators and he’s been absolutely brilliant.  We were lucky that he made a bit of space for us.

GH: Do you find that it differs much working with Captain on Sensible Gray Cells as opposed to Professor and the Madman with Rat or indeed The Damned?

PG:  I’m not working with Rat because when I get the songs, he’s already done the drums on it.  All I’m doing is putting the bass to what the madmen send me.  What I ask them to do is send me one drum track, one track, one with everything, one with and without a guide bass, one with just vocals and guitars and one with everything except drums and a click, something like that then I mix them all together in various combinations to figure out what I’m happiest bouncing off, so I’m kind of reacting to what’s already been put down and create the bass line to it but it’s totally reacting to what’s there but with the Sensible Gray Cells its more of a joint effort, we write songs independently and the Gray Cells stuff is more of a group effort as we figure out stuff and ideas whereas with the madman it’s a band but it’s really Shaun and Alf the songwriters and they give Rat and I the raw materials to work with, and the SGC stuff we kind of pretty much work on it all together mainly because we are all in the same country, and we don’t rehearse but maybe Captain will come down here and we’ll get a few ideas together and we’ll bounce a few song ideas off each other and if we like them we’ll record them.

We did a gig at the 100 Club a few years ago with Madman and we only rehearsed a couple of hours and it just worked, I’d never played with Shaun and Alf before and I’d met them a few months before when I went to America with my Girlfriend on holiday and I hadn’t played with Rat since about 95 you know but it just worked, clicked.  And I think that’s why it sounds so good everything clicks especially with the Graycells.

GH I couldn’t help notice some similarities on one or two tracks that could have come from the earlier Damned albums or Captain’s Revolution Now solo album. Where any of the tracks redeveloped from those sessions or are, they all new compositions?

PG: One of them I think Captain had in the drawer for quite some time, ‘DJ with half a brain’ I think, he did that a long time ago, many years ago but nothing happened to it and I remember him playing it to me at the time and it had a really catchy chorus and when he mentioned it at the beginning of the year I said ‘yeah I remember that’ so we redid it I think it was more of a dancier version that we did, you know with a bit more electronics on it.  All the other ones as far as I know were all kind of written over the last year or so, certainly all mine we’re on that.  I think what Captain does, everything he writes he sort of puts in a pot for the Damned and then you know, Dave and that will listen to it, maybe a producer and if its good they then get done, so it might get done for The Damned if not then let’s see what else we can do with it.

A couple of them er, it’s the same with that ‘Manipulator’ and ‘Spider’ tracks on that Damned E.P. that I wrote them,  actually Spiders quite old but Manipulator was initially done with Captain and Marty then it was put into the pot for the Damned and then that was one of the ones that was plucked out for the e.p. so you know it’s quite organic with Sensible Graycells really and if it sounds alright for one project we’ll give it a go and if it doesn’t work then it will end up on another project.  

There’s still a lot of stuff wasted and I mean Captain especially is very prolific, the great thing is that, with any project of the projects that we do we never have to scramble about for songs, there’s always tons of material kind of in the background and if it’s ever rejected its never really used.

GH: I guess that again is testament to the creativity that you all have as musicians that you have all this great material that you did and have lying around that years later you can just pick up and start working again to pull out some cracking songs.

PG: That’s Talent, eh.

GH: And talking of similarities, I have to ask you this.  I often hear other bands or styles in music that I listen to and in ‘Jam Tomorrow’ I hear a band I know has influenced you and one who I am a big fan of, Hawkwind, that track has a real HW vibe to it for me.

PG: Which one?

GH: ‘Jam Tomorrow’.

PG: Oh yeah, well that was a jam I played it on the keyboard in the studio and that was actually was a one take Jam and it wasn’t meant to be that long but it was taped and we thought we’d cut it down but when Captain came the next day, I think he had a lot of fun with the Hawkwind stuff on the end of it so we ended up just using the whole fucking thing.  You know I grew up with that band and it was one of the main reasons I’m a Bass player.  I had all the albums up to Mountain Grill and I still used to go see them and I’m quite matey with Alan Davey when he was in the band so yeah, it’s not conscious, I was quite chuffed when people mention that, it might have even been you that mentioned it in your Madman review.  So yeah, if you grow up with these things you’re going to be found out at some point (Laughs).

The whole way that I approach the bass came from those albums such as ‘Space Ritual’ and it’s deeply engrained with me that wonderful style of play more so with Lemmy than with Motorhead.  Hawkwind were kind of the first band I really got into.

GH: Hawkwind always had that punk attitude about them even when I was watching the punk bands of 76 like Buzzcocks and I always thought they aligned themselves well to the movement and possibly why we saw some of those rock fans back then who were getting bored with the likes of Sabbath move over into the new emerging punk scene.

PG: Yeah well, they were weren’t they, they were always anti-establishment the whole way they approached playing with no frills and just going for it was absolutely the whole basis of what was then came to be known as punk.  I can never rate that band highly enough. 

GH: I get the sense that with Sensible Gray Cells there was a lot of tongue in cheek, fun elements to some of the songs for example ‘I Married a Monster’ and you seem to have an almost comedic approach to how you guys work than you would perhaps with professor and the Madman.

PG: Ha, ha, ha, ha (much laughter) I couldn’t possibly comment on ‘Married a Monster’. That just came about when I came up with the bass for it and the chorus just came straight to my head and rhythmically it just fitted.  I always liked those 50’s kind of spoof cheesy horror films and it just kind of wrote itself, and when Captain came down here and he said ‘It’s great we can get all the chains and the clanks on the middle bit and all the screams’ and it was like carry on version, it’s certainly not serious.

A tiny bit of me thought oh god I’m going to be called a bloody misogynist now or something, a lot of us have probably been there at some point where relationships haven’t quite gone to plan.  But yeah it was kind of a fun thing really same as Andrew was really, don’t say I didn’t warn you, that was absolutely about you know like in our 20’s on tour where there was always laughter “Ooh my gawd Frankie Howard’ my lumbago, my backs gone’ and of course were now all like 65 and we recall all that shit happening, it was quite literally like my old man used to say ‘You’re going to go deaf’ and of course you think, silly old fool what do you know, and of course I’m half deaf now and of course it’s all those things that you kind of joke and take the piss out of when you’re young and foolish and stupid but it comes and bites you on the arse at some point, so it’s that but it’s saying it a humorous way rather than an Oh god, woe is me and I’m falling apart.

GH: And it shows that you can move from something light-hearted and fun and into tracks like a ‘postcard from Britain’ and Get back into the world’ which are great tracks, and I’m thinking what are they trying to say here, are we spending too much time online with Social Media and do we need to get offline and back into the real world?

PG: It’s absolutely not about that, it was written before COVID-19 so it’s nothing about…. certainly nothing to do with that, the same as the cover, Mart came up with that image last year we looked at it and thought that’s just perfect for the title of the song, and we thought ok that lends itself to the album title, but it was also a bit of a happy accident for when the pandemic did come along because it actually looks like that fucking virus  doesn’t it (Laughs) and again ‘Get Back Into The world’ it kind of just absolutely fits in with all that now.

I think some of Captains lyrics on this are phenomenal, very clever and a lot of thought ‘Black Spider Memo Man’ is about another one done, Royalty, Prince Charles.  They are just great and the feel of them there’s a lot of work gone on behind the scenes that we didn’t do on the first album, the first one was a bit more kind of basic if you like, because of how we were at the time but this one, I think again maybe because of the lockdown thing we had more time to try things out and maybe what we’ve put down is more electric, Marty plays quite hard so it ends a little bit more driven than the first one.

GH: I love a bit of controversy in a song Paul and let’s face it there is a lot you could pick up on of late, so it was great to hear ‘What’s the Point in Andrew’ why that subject given you could have gone for Boris, Trump or the pandemic why the reference to Andrew?

PG:  Yeah, I’d just saw that interview about him with, Emily Maitlis was it?  and I just thought, what a cunt, what an absolute fucking arsehole and I’ve got no time for royalty anyway and I was just mooching around on the old piano and that song just came into my head with the Chorus and everything so I thought rather than stick the knife in let’s just get a bit of humour in there, that was kind of written in an afternoon and I only wrote it as a joke and I sent it to Captain, not as one for us to do, i just sent it to him but he said whack it on the album, Monty put the lovely little kind of middle section to it and you know again that was quite a nice surprise hearing that coming back, so yeah you could have a go at any of them really but obviously Andrew was right to be the target, I just think a good subject to write about this year.

GH: Garage and Psych is clearly close to your heart and that of Captains who recently said we need more Garage/Psych music and bands.  Are there any current bands in that genre that you listen to and for those not familiar with that scene who would you class as garage/psych.

PG:  I’m sure there are but I’m not familiar with them as I don’t really go chasing new music.  I wouldn’t even know where to look for it, there’s just too much choice on the internet.  So, I have to confess I kind of stick with what I know and love.  My girlfriend got me a digital radio last year for my birthday and its perfectly set on this radio channel called Psychedelic night and there’s no talk on it, no adverts all they play is 60’s stuff from UK and America and it’s phenomenal.  I keep running to it to see whatever it was that was played.  It’s pretty much all I listen to really and I used to love that sort of music and I still have a fairly big old record collection and I find stuff on Spotify sometimes; I don’t like Spotify for obvious reasons so tend to try and avoid it I just like the real deal 60’s stuff. Is there a new psychedelic scene?  I’ve got no idea.

GH: Yeah some bands that I go and see especially when you are photographing events throw up a mix of styles and some of those I do think do it justice and clearly influenced by the Psych/Garage scene.

PG: What’s their names?

GH: Bands like Pigs x7 ‘Viscerals’ and The Wytches who themselves don’t claim to be a Psych band.  I’ll send you a few suggestions later. Did you (Pre lockdown) get much time to go out and watch some of today’s underground bands like we did back in the day of the Roundhouse, Electric Circus and who has impressed you?

PG:  No, I tend not to because my hearing is so shot with really bad Tinnitus, and horrible increased sensitivity to high frequency land noise which is quite torturous for me to go and see a live band.  

So, I don’t as it’s quite stressful, whereas with the Damned I can use in ear mics, earplugs in rest of the time etc.  I do occasionally go but find it hard to enjoy as when I get home its hard to sleep that night.  It’s like that song says ‘Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You’ (Laughs) One of the reasons why I live miles from anywhere as I can’t deal with all the traffic. 

And I have to be careful in the studio and on tour it’s pretty stressful when you have that kind of hearing damage.  But what do you do, go home and think Woe is me or just fucking crack on with it, which is what I do?  But I didn’t do that for quite some time and I got in a very dark place with it because it’s really bad and it’s still really bad and has been for the last 25 years.  You got to deal with it best you can and I did by keeping myself to myself and be careful of where I go.  

GH: I know you’ve done a lot of work with young people in community groups down in Wales.  Do you think that today we are back to where we were in 1976/77 where the prospects for young people was pretty much non-existent given the high rate of unemployment and the political landscape as bad as it was.

PG:  Very similar isn’t it, I’m still awaiting the next rebellion to come along, it’s long overdue, I think?  I don’t know though do people kind of bottle it all up and you know and get together and release all their frustrations through music or doing it all online now, the internet has almost taken over for people to have a pop at each other about their political beliefs online or whether they believe in conspiracy theories or not and whether they’re pro this and anti that. 

It’s strange isn’t it because would we have had the punk thing if the internet had been around 40 years ago?  I don’t know, you just don’t know.  The difference is now there’s far less places to play, all them great pubs and clubs.  You can get your own scene together and the whole punk thing really came about by happy accident by a whole bunch of people doing roughly the same sort of music at the same time though it wasn’t really called punk then and Caroline Coon or someone said “to re appropriate the term punk from the stooges and then all the 60’s garage bands before them” so I think the last sort of angry regressive this is what we think stuff has been the Idles, I can’t think of much else since then. 

But its funny when you get to a certain age you think well, punk only lasted about a year before it turned into a fashion thing and then it turned nasty and it got all right wing and it turned into Oi and that’s really when I deeply went off the whole thing.

You think how would it manifest itself these days, you can’t re-create that, as it came about over a bunch of frustrations and of course musically it was different as we’d had the glam rock thing and music was pretty boring either Disco or the big triple album type bands and I really liked Yes in the early years I thought they was fucking brilliant and I liked a bit of Emerson Lake and Palmer in the early days, I was 12/13 and it was what your mates listened to at school. 

I don’t wholly subscribe to that you know listen to Yes and drive them all away, I quite enjoyed a lot of it, it’s all music to me and I like it.  Which is one of the strange things about musical genres where you get these little tribes and it suddenly becomes really uncool to like the music of another tribe, but why not (Laughs) it all comes to rock and roll it’s all music at the end of the day.  I can Schubert one minute and the Who the next, it’s all music. How would it manifest itself these days?  Because the angry stuff has been done so how can you make it different, but then I suppose when you go back to 76 where people say you can’t do all the angry stuff well all that was the same with Rock & Roll back in 58, so I suppose it’s now done with rap which I confess I don’t understand at all, though I keep playing my sons rap stuff on Spotify which drives me bonkers and I just one thing I can’t get my head around.  

It would be great wouldn’t it, but then again the people that reported all that and published on the front page of all the papers we haven’t got them anymore, we got none of that Press we’ve got no people to stoke up the confusion and horror erm, we got all the big TV news companies doing stuff with what’s going on in America and all that but it’s kind of different to what we had going on some 40 years ago. 

It would be interesting to see how it could be, not recreated but how such youth culture said and how it would manifest itself, everything musical being done now, hasn’t everything kind of like rebellious been written about, I suppose you could kind of reinvent it but that’s not the same as when it’s coming from that grass roots, rising up that we had back in the mid 70’s.

GH:  I find young people just don’t seem to have the same appetite to challenge the authority of Government in the same way we all did back then.

PG:  Absolutely.  And the world is such a different place now that the internet has changed everything, EVERYTHING.  It’s what ‘Get Back in The World’ is about really, everybody is living their lives through the fucking internet and not for the better I would say for a lot of it. 

My sons 16 and he hardly ever sees his friends and they hardly ever go out together as everything is done online.  How would that even work, people arguing it out not in a sweaty rehearsal room they do it all online and that’s a real shame.

GH: And you worked for the Musicians Union for a few years representing the industry and lobbying MP’s which is not that far removed from my day job as a regulatory manager for an internet company.  Have you seen much support from our MP’s to the struggle’s musicians and the arts face?

PG:  30 or 40 years ago you toured at a loss to support the album, the record company would give you tour support to underwrite the cost which you always had to pay back of course you paid everything back but it seemed like free money at the time (Laughs) nowadays you put out the music to support the tour so with all that going down the tubes you can’t make any money from selling music unless of course you happen to be in the 1% of bands in the world, you just can’t do it, it’s impossible. For me it’s just awful as I’ve no idea when I’ll entertain live again, next autumn maybe that’s two years without any money coming in, a dribble of royalties but there’s a lot less of those than there used to be. And everything is pretty much for free and that’s why downloads you can’t make any money from it and because people can access it all for nothing, diehards and thank god for those people that, I mean in a way because the Damned have that die-hard fan base who will buy vinyl, I mean it doesn’t pay for recording costs, it didn’t pay for ‘Evil Spirits’ it doesn’t, so you try and claw back some of those costs from touring which is the opposite of what happened 30 or so years ago

GH: Given there was a 7-year gap between ‘A Postcard from Britain’ and ‘Get Back Into The World, What next for Sensible Gray Cells?

PG: Well, I’m pretty sure there’ll be another record at some point, it’s what we do.  Write songs is what we do, and whoever they end up with they’ll end up with.

Marty is a great pleasure to work with, and of course I’ve always got on well with Captain musically and in other ways, so I’m sure we’ll, well we are keeping on writing.  So, I dare say at some point maybe a few years down the line there’ll be some more stuff with us, whether it’s an album or perhaps an e.p. who knows.  If you are a musician you can’t help but write songs and you just hope some of them are good enough to play to your band mates and if they are, brilliant and if they turn out ok after everyone’s put their bits on then even better, it’s just what you do, you don’t write with any aim you write because it’s in your blood so yeah, I’m sure there’ll be more in future in fact I think it would be hard to stop us (We both laugh at this point).

GH:  So just one last question before I let you go and it’s this.  Evil Blizzard are a 5-piece punk/prog/psych band from Preston and have 4 bass players in fact on occasion as many as 5 when former Hawkwind singer and bassist Mr Dibs joined them. So, as a competent and some might say legendary bass player yourself, what one tip would you give them that would improve their musicianship for those of us daft enough to follow them?

PG: That’s a bit of a mixture, but ‘Drink More Beer’ (Laughs). Who am I to tell anyone how to improve their musicianship you know it all comes from the heart and if it does you can’t go far wrong, never over think anything just fucking go for it.  That’s the great thing about the bands I’ve been in even UFO which was a hard rock band, they had the same approach so I’d just say listen to your heart and do what it tells you to do and with Four bass players (we both laugh and I can’t make out what Paul said but it was complimentary).  

And with that I thank Paul for giving up his time for me and The Punk site and I have to say that Paul really is so passionate about all he does and the musicians and bands he works with, it was an absolute joy for me to chat to him about Sensible Gray Cells and some of the other projects he’s been working on. You can check out his various projects or even book him to work with you at very reasonable rates too by going to his website here

Additional Photography by Steve White and AJ Phink