Thursday, October 25, 2018

NFG….The Band From London Ontario Canada Part 2

NFG….The Band From London Ontario Canada....Part 2

Simon: I arrived in London in the fall of ’78 to attend Fanshawe College’s TV Production course. I had just come back from several months in England where I’d seen a plethora of bands including: 999, Buzzcocks, Patti Smith, Subway Sect, Ultravox (way before Midge Ure), Devo, Squeeze. I immediately found The Cedar Lounge. I started going regularly and saw these three freaks of nature: Scott, his buddy Sandy, and Larry
Gifford. They would regularly wear cowboy hats and assorted costumes to the bar. If
you didn’t notice them, your eyes were closed. Eventually I wound up at a party in an
empty store downtown (Records on Wheels??) where NFG were playing. I asked Larry
if they needed a guitarist. I was in. We rehearsed in Scott and Sandy’s basement. Scott sang through a Fender Twin, which was fucking awful. In those days I was playing an early 70s Fender Tele Deluxe through a Fender Vibrolux (later sold to Paul Wootton of The Sinners and Spiral Scratch) (Ed: The Sinners and Spiral Scratch were both early London Ontario punk/new wave combos that played at The Cedar Lounge).

Before I joined NFG, I rehearsed for a while with The Regulators (another early London punk/new wave combo that released one 7” record). I never gigged with them. Jeff Morritt, the leader decided he was going to go with Debbie Horowitz and her Fender Rhodes rather than a second guitarist.

What Wave: When you first started, you did all covers, is that correct.

Nick: Ya.  We did a couple of things by the NY Dolls, cause that was one of Scotty’s favourite bands… Honeycombs, ‘Have I the Right’, and we did ‘Wild Thing’ pretty good, by the Troggs, that was another of Scotty’s faves. We did ‘Sea Cruise’. We did a Dave Clarke 5 song.

What Wave: Where did you get your cover songs back then, like The Honeycombs “Have I The Right’?

Scott: Those were songs that I remember when I was growing up. I remember buying some of those Pebbles (60’s compilation LP’s put out by Bomp Records) when they came out. I’m still a huge fan of chick bands. I just like those songs from growing up.

What Wave: You had a lot of original songs, more than most of the other bands from around that time, who wrote most of them?

Scott: ‘Hijack Victim’, ‘At The Boot’, ‘Cyanide’ were written by Simon.  You can tell, they’re all sorta in the same vein. Same 3 chords. ‘After’, that’s Bob Gliddon. At that time it was mostly Simon and Bob. You can tell, Simon has that poppy, power pop sorta thing. Gliddon is a little more sorta hardcore, ‘Waiting’, that’s another one of his.

Larry: When Simon left the band, he gave the band all his songs.

Simon: Indeed, I did give the songs to the band on the condition that they send me any recordings they made and gave me credit for writing. (I remember writing my parents’ address into Scott’s notebook. No songwriting credits are on the records) It’s always been a burr under my saddle (see what I did? A Cowboy reference.) that they did neither. I have a copy of the NFG 63 Monroe EP which I bought myself on a visit back to London. I wrote At the Boot, Cyanide and Hijack Victim (correct spelling).
Hijack Victim was inspired by all the airliner hijackings that went on in that era. It’s just
the point of view of a passenger on one of those planes. I believe it was Pete’s (drummer Pete Lambert) idea to add the oohs to that one.
At the Boot was inspired by the Cedar Lounge. It’s a sketch of all the people and things
that went on at The Boot. There are Ramones, Demics and Joe Jackson references in
the lyrics. The opening choppy rhythm was stolen from Ultravox’s The Man Who Dies
Every Day. “Pogo pogo” always conjures up an image I have of that bar, packed to the
tits, the walls sweating, as the mostly male crowd on the dance floor pogoed shoulder to
shoulder to Teenage Head. This was before their first album came out. Picture My Face
backed with Tearing Me Apart was their 45 (first 7” record) at the time. At that time, a great live band.
Cyanide is all about the Jonestown, Guyana massacre. I loved it when we played that
one. During my solo, Scott would leave the stage with a jug of beer offering to pour it
into the crowd’s glasses. That was the Koolaid they all drank, laced with, you guessed
it, cyanide.
Other tunes I wrote were Weekend Punks, Media Junkie, and the music for Cowboy
Rock. Scott had the words for that. Bob wrote a tune called Bloodstains on the Carpet
which I always loved. A great lyric. “You fucked me around so often, so often I just got
bored. So I cleared the kitchen table and left you lying on the floor. The floor! The floor!
The floor!”

Scott:  Anyway, Nick was our drummer and we played a show one night, I can’t remember who we were playing with, maybe we were playing by ourselves at the Blue Boot, Nick was drumming, we’re in the 2nd set and Nick was speeding up and slowing down. Everybody in the band was getting pissed off and drunk. And they said either they were going to quit or we had to do something. So I told Nick, why don’t you sit down for awhile and Marcy Saddy (drummer for the B-Girls, Toronto all girl band) was there. So we finished the set and we said, ‘Marcy why don’t you come up and do a guest set with us?’ Marcy had never played with us before and I think we were playing some covers and originals and nothing very difficult. So anyways, she got up and played with us and it was awesome and we tried to get her to join the band, but she wouldn’t. I think that this was after the B-Girls, cause I’d already bought the B-Girls single (‘Fun At The Beach/B-side’ on Bomp Recs) and they were already done by that time, they’d already had their CBGB thing and maybe she was just home, I can’t remember exactly.

Larry: Ya, Nick used to get tired when he was drumming with us and he would get slower and slower throughout the set.

What Wave: Did you leave willing or do you want to talk about it?

Nick: Umm, Scotty thought that I was sorta not pulling my weight as a drummer cause I was drinking a lot in those days, so my meter was up and down, up and down and as I said, falling off my drum stool…but I had fun…There was no bad feelings, Scotty just came to me after the gig that night and he says, ‘sorry Nick, you’re just not cutting the mustard’.
And we’re still friends. I have the highest regard for Scotty, I think he’s a great singer/songwriter.

Scott: It was me and Simon and Bob and Nick and Larry. Then we got rid of Nick….I don’t really have any pictures of Giff (referring to Larry Gifford), Giff didn’t even play for a year (approximately Feb 1979 to Halloween 1979). Very temperamental guy, he was kind of hard to get along with, I liked him, but he was kind of hard to get along with. He just didn’t want to do it, he just said nah. So he quit (Halloween 1979), I think before we even had Pete (Lambert, the next drummer) in the band. Because that picture (looking at picture) is one of the 1st pictures I took of Pete and there’s no pictures of Giff in all of those ones walking around the Art Gallery and all of that stuff. That was all without Larry. I’ve got a couple of pictures of him in the Cedar Lounge there, just hanging out, but I haven’t got any pictures of him in the band. And then, like I said we got Pete…

     Pete Lambert in by Reg Quinton

What Wave: Where did Pete Lambert come from, obviously he’d played before?

Scott: I don’t think he played in any other bands, I don’t even think he’d played drums before he joined. I think he’s one of those guys who says he can play drums, even though he’d never played drums before. But he knew how to play other instruments, he knew how to play viola and he took music in school. His father is a very accomplished jazz musician (he played with Johnny Downs Orchestra). It’s kinda weird, Pete was only 15 (actually 17 according to Pete) at the time… He was way underage. I’d probably be about 21, 22 at that time…in 77 I’d be 21.

Pete: The first band I was in was Cruiser, who went on to become EQUUS. I was the singer. Then I joined NFG. After their set one night, I approached Scott, who I had only ever observed and never talked to, and told him I could play drums better than Nick and would he give me the chance to audition? Problem is, I really didn't know how to play the damn things!!! LOL! And I certainly didn't have a kit. I had just only taught myself a couple of simple beats in my basement because my previous band, Cruiser, was practicing at my house. So, Danny Allen's kit was the first kit I ever played on. Fortunately, there was something resembling a drum kit where I was invited the next weekend. Not sure where that was exactly. We smashed through a couple tunes, probably Blitzkrieg and whatever else and at the end of that practice I was in. It was February 1979. Not sure exactly how long it took, but we were quickly learning enough songs to headline (at least two sets). However, the first few months we spent opening for everyone and worked on getting the band tight. 

Scott: I remember going to play those Toronto gigs like sometimes we were playing in those battle of the bands, and we’d be playing like Monday nights, Wednesday nights and these were school nights for Pete. I had a job at times. And I’d go over to his place and I’d be driving a 65 Ford four door at that time. I’d go over to Pete’s house and knock on the door. And we’d have our gear in the car and a couple of chicks and the 4 or 5 of us and I’d go up to the door and say ‘Hi Mrs. Lambert, can Pete come out and play’. I’d have hair down to here (points to waist) and black leather and she’d say ‘Hi, come on in, Pete’s here’, and I’d say ’We’re going to go play Toronto tonight’ (Toronto is approximately 2 hours each way by car from London). And she’d go ‘Ya, that’s OK, just make sure he gets home in one piece’ and I’d go ‘OK cool!’.  And we’re drunk off our ass, and we’re driving bombed and I’m going ‘holy smokes, I couldn’t imagine my parents letting me get into a car with a bunch of geeks’… Not that they were bad parents, but they were surrounded by music all of their lives and apparently, they trusted me. So, Pete would go to Toronto with us and all over the place, at 15, 16 years old (actually 17/18 according to Pete).

Live at the Cedar by Reg Quinton

Pete: The story that Scott recounted about him picking me up from my home on St. James St. is absolutely true and my mom being as sweet as any person could be, just wanted me to be happy and follow my dream. Hell, I think having Marc Sahrmann (singer for Generics, another punk band from London Ontario) as our paper boy coming by every week to collect completely decked out in his fresh punk get up was scarier to my mom than Scott coming by. Lol!

What Wave: Did that (Pete’s age) cause any problems?

Scott; I don’t remember it causing any problems.

Pete: I was in grade 12 at Central High School one morning in March '79 when I was called down to the Office by the Vice Principal who asked me to leave and not come back. I was now a professional musician only a few weeks after starting to play the drums. Punk!!! Boom!
My dad sat me down the night of the day I got kicked out of school and we had a serious talk about getting into the music business. My dad left home in Gravenhurst when he was 14(!) and moved to London around 1941 with the same visions of grandeur that I had 40 years later when I left to live in England. London was a music hub, largely because of our beloved Guy Lombardo's massive international success at the time. So, history was repeating itself and my dad did not fail to see the irony. It was set in stone that night, I was fully committed to the band. 

Bob: There’s a saying “The best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with a passionate intensity”, and I have to admit to having been hyped up on all of that.  I felt the parts if I could not yet play them. Simon used to tear strips off me for one missed line or another.  We did steadily improve to where we were at least dancing with competency.   And that took us to Toronto where we won battle of the bands contests for an opening slot for the Troggs at the Horseshoe, and a headlining night at Larry’s Hideaway. I don’t recall if Simon was with us still with us then, but he certainly made us a much better band. (even if I had to play the Stones ‘Out of Time’)

Marky Scott (3rd guitar player): The first time I saw NFG was in 79, Pete Lambert was on the drums. The last time Larry and Simon played, was at the Polish Hall in October (Ed: actually Nov 2, Halloween show) of 79. It was a really good show, and they decided to do a Who, and everyone grabbed dimestore guitars and smashed them up on stage. Even Scott grabbed a guitar and was smashing it! It was great! And that was Simon and Larry’s last show.

Larry: That was going to be my last show, and I said that I would smash a guitar at the end of the night. Because it was a Halloween show, I decided I had to go out in style, so I got a gold lame Louis the 14th type suit and got all dressed up for the occasion. So, we did ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ as an encore and I had this old guitar that I pounded the shit out of on the stage. Someone once showed me a picture from the show of me on stage smashing the guitar and you can see Marky right up front in the crowd. I left because Scott brought Gary Kelly in as the manager and I didn’t get along with him. Simon played for a short time after and then he went out west.

Simon: I can still remember my first gig at The Boot without him. I was pretty nervous. Rob Demic (Rob Brent from The Demics) came up to me afterwards and told me I sounded great. After that I figured I could do it solo.
I left the band in the fall of 1979 because it looked to me like 2nd year TV Production at Fanshawe was going to take up all my time. My last gig was on my 23rd birthday, Nov 2, 1979 at The Polish Hall. I remember the gig was pretty intense. At one point a glass ashtray flew up on stage, just missed the neck of my guitar and hit me on the left forearm. There was also this blonde, pinned to the front of the stage by the crowd. She wouldn’t stop looking at me, but I couldn’t find her once our set was over. Funny what you remember. By the way, the only guy smashing a guitar that night was Scott. I remember that he had a junky acoustic six string that he pounded to bits.

Scott: Simon quit next.  Feb 1980 and Bob is still there (looking at picture to try and figure out the date). Simon was an MIA (Music Industry Arts program, ED: actually in TV Production, first year) student at Fanshawe (local college). He went out west…I contacted him once when we released our first EP.  Then Marky joined. Marky came up to me at the Cedar Lounge one night and said he heard I was looking for a guitar player. And I said ‘yep, Simon’s quitting, and I said are you any good’. And he said, ‘well, they call me Marky Ramone’…well I said ‘why don’t we start jamming then’. Pete (Lambert) would still be there at that time…

Marky Burnaway on guitar....Cedar Lounge. Photo by Reg Quinton

What Wave: How did you get in the band Marky?

Marky: Both of the guitar players left, Larry and Simon. And I approached Scott in October of 79 at the Cedar Lounge. And we went up there and had a rehearsal, it was above Records On Wheels (1st record store in London to carry punk records). They gave me a tape of like one set, and maybe three weeks later we had a show. And the very first show I played with them was opening for Willie English, the rockabilly band from Toronto.

Simon: Later that winter I remember going down to The Boot and seeing Marky playing with them. They played Teenage Kicks and it sounded great, although it was a bit like watching some new guy fuck your old girlfriend.

What Wave: Did you write any of the songs?

Marky: I don’t think I wrote a song for, it’s a bit of a crossover, the ‘Give ‘Em Up’ song but it was just sorta when one band (NFG was becoming 63 Monroe) was blending into the other. It was the first time I’d ever written a song. They said it’s your turn to write a song. I got all PO’ed and went upstairs at the practice place and said here (gave the band the song).
Gary Kelly was the manager at the time. He was a friend of Scott’s and he could have sold us to anyone. He’d make us out to be the greatest thing on the planet, whether we were or not. And he’d talk to bar owners and stuff and he was amazing.

What Wave: Had you played in other bands before NFG?

Marky: I was sorta fresh out of high school and had been in cover bands, like all high school kids. And every auditorium (at high school), I was involved in being in a 50’s grease band and stuff like that. I was just in a network of musicians in high school and we’d just jam and stuff like that. I was pretty well rehearsed. Like all the guys I was with, would sit down with their LP’s and diligently learn every note that Jimmy Page was playing.  And that was the way it was. I had schooled myself but it was mainly by ear.

Scott: And then when Bob quit and went out west to find himself.

Bob: My exit from the band had been brewing for a while, the debacle at Larry’s Hideaway was just one of the points in that process, another reason was that I began to feel really limited playing Ramones covers night after night and wanted to play something more challenging.  Through Pete I hooked up with his like minded brother Brian (Lambert) and we formed a short-lived duo. I remember playing a short set of our own stuff with me on guitar for one song at least, while opening for his other band, The Enemas at the Boot. (have absolutely no idea when that was) I am pretty sure we went by ‘Nach dem Tode’ back then as well as later on in the 80’s.

Scott tells the tale of me leaving to find myself out west, but the reality was I left to do a 1500 mile bicycle ride through the prairies and Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.  Peaceful nights and fresh air on an open highway beats late night alcohol fuelled frenzy with no financial rewards anytime in my books.

Scott: And then we had Marky Deroux. (RIP 2004 and posthumously awarded a Jack Richardson (now called Forest City London) Lifetime Achievement Award for his musical contributions to London).

What Wave: How did you get Marky Deroux into the band?

Scott: Good question. He was hanging out at the Cedar Lounge, I remember seeing him there and he came up to us and he was looking to play. I think he came from the VD Teens (a London band that didn’t release any records, Mark also played in Magic Binmen, Radio 4, Sheep Look Up, Prayers On Fire and others).

Marky: Mark Deroux, came in when Bob left. And that was alright, he was a great addition to the band, a good bass player. And then, that’s when it sort of fizzled out and there was the First Date (another name they went under for a short time) period that lasted a short amount of time, when we picked up Rooster (Jeff Rooth) and Peter Dekoker (and officially went under the 63 Monroe name).

What Wave: Tell us about the NFG/63 Monroe 12” record?

Scott: That probably came out in 1980. And they dropped Marky’s (Marky Scott, guitarist) picture off of the back of that, what a bunch of knobs…The inside of the album is just blacked out covers, spun around and then blacked out. But that’s how you get cheap album covers. There used to be some Beatles ones, you’d look inside and there were Beatle albums in there. Perry from Records On Wheels did this one, that’s him, Nardem (Perry’s record label). To my knowledge there was 1000 of them, vinyl only. We never really did anything, we used it for promo and then I remember finding a review in goldy oldies or something like that in Maximum Rock’n’Roll and it got reviewed in there. Like 10 years after the fact, and the guy that reviewed it, gave it an awesome review. And he said he found this thing somewhere and that’s when its stock went up a bit.

NFG at the Cedar by Reg Quinton

What Wave: How did you record this record?

Scott: We had some money saved up. I had already recorded the single, ‘Henry VIII’ with my own money, I spent $400 recording that, I know I was at EMAC doing something, because I knew  Rob (Nation) and Joe Vaughan, or maybe I went to EMAC (recording studio in London)  and tried to talk those guys into  doing a live record, think it was $1200 or $1000 to record that. In the middle of winter they had their van out back (of The Cedar Lounge) and all the cable, they snaked it into the main board right, and ran their mix off the main board. I remember we kept playing everything 2 or 3 times to try and get it right. It was 2 nights the same set, we’d do the same songs over and over again while we were supposedly playing a show. It was busy that night, but I don’t think it was all that packed.

What Wave: What happened to the rest of the tracks you recorded that night?

Scott: It’s still at EMAC, Rob has it. He’s talked to me about it before, taking it and re-mastering it. They’re pretty big now, and they don’t need my money. (Ed: asked Rob Nation about this recently, and all tapes were picked up by the band back in 1990).

Robert Nation (Listed as Production Assistance on the record): I remember running in (to the Cedar Lounge when they were recording live) from our van parked out back to check to see why there was so much cymbal in the vocal mic, to discover that Scott had leaned his vocal mic on the drum kit and was dancing around the stage! ½” 4 track tape recorded in a van out back!

What Wave: What other bands did you do shows with?

Nick: The Demics, and I think we might have opened for Teenage Head. And I think maybe the Viletones too. I think one night it was The Viletones, The Ugly and us. Good rockin’ night, what I remember of it. I remember falling off my drum stool several times while I was playing.

Marky: We played with all the local bands, like we played so many shows with The Demics. Even in Toronto we played shows with The Demics and they were already a huge name in Toronto. We’d go in with them and open up and the house would already be full. It was great exposure.

Scott: We played with the Fast in Toronto at The Upper Lip. Willie English (Toronto powerpop, later rockabilly-ish combo), all the bands that played at the Cedar Lounge. We played with all the local bands at least once or twice. I remember we played with The Ugly, The Horseshoe with The Troggs when they had sort of a resurgence in 79.

What Wave: Let’s talk about the biggest show NFG ever played.

Marky: The biggest international band was The Troggs. That was at the Horseshoe in Toronto. Pete Lambert had the worst drum kit, it was all duct taped together and The Troggs were traveling light and had to borrow his drumkit. And it fell apart on stage during the show…laughter…and they were just beside themselves. But it was a fun show, it was a packed house and it was good exposure.

Bob: Of course, under the Troggs, Pete’s drums suffered the final blow of their beat up life. Hand-me-downs from Jimmy Demic, with a sneaker holding up the tom-tom and wire holding the foot pedal together if I recall correctly.

Pete: The Troggs had all their gear stolen in Buffalo or somewhere and came across the border with nothing. We were to be the opening band at the Horseshoe, so were asked to provide backline and instruments as well, I believe. So, I don't recall much about the night EXCEPT, I do remember watching them from out in the bar when all of a sudden, my floor tom lost a leg and fell over. The Troggs music was largely tom tom driven. So I run up onto the stage and rescue my wayward tom, I believe, several times. Not my proudest moment.
That same kit was originally Jimmy Demics and after he had upgraded, my parents bought the old 60's pink sparkle Stewart set from the Weatherstones. Jerry Nolan from the Dolls had a pink kit, so I was very happy!

What Wave: Any memorable stories about NFG?

Simon: We entered a battle of the bands at Larry’s Hideaway in Toronto. We had been told that all we needed to do for that was bring guitar amps as drums and bass amp would be there. When we got there no one would let us use their drums. Apparently, The Viletones had put the word out that no one was to help us. Eventually, Gary Kelly (band manager) and I wound up talking to a couple of delightful young thugs, Sparky and Nip Kicks, both sporting leather motorcycle jackets and looking decidedly dangerous. They were, I don’t know, strikers, gang members, associates or something with the Viletones. The story was that two women had been caught defacing Viletones posters by crossing out the “T”. When confronted they said they were “NFG Girls,” whatever the fuck that was. Now we were being held responsible for something we had no idea about. Our conversation with the moonfaced and hulking Sparky and the lithe and lean Nip (Asian guy, into martial arts) went on for some time. For a while I was wondering if we were, like, that far away from having our asses kicked. Eventually, we got agreement from them for us to use someone’s drums. Over a beer Sparky told us how he was going into jail next month and how he was so proud the Viletones allowed him to paint their “Look Back in Anger” graphic on the hood of his car. “Awright, man.” We won the battle, landing a gig at Larry’s.

Pete: My fondest memories are our trips to Toronto to, typically, open for the Demics. Keith (Whittaker) was the greatest host at his place on Baldwin St. Always enjoyed seeing Keith. One time, driving up to Toronto on the 401, in two cars, we had what became known as Beer Wars. Scott used to always have an open 24 of beer sitting directly to his right when he drove, in the middle of the bench front seat. For some insane reason, we started whipping our empties at the other car and they were whipping their own back. Yes, in cars moving at about 120=130 kmh, on the 401!!! I guess that's Punk Rock!

Larry: I remember once when we were opening for Willie English, those guys used to like having us open for them, I think Scott was good friends with them. But anyways, it was in St Thomas at the Schooner (former hotel in St Thomas Ontario) and we got to use their equipment and we used to start the set off with an instrumental, I think it was that Dead Boys song we used to do. So, we started playing, and it sounded REALLY good. I looked over at Simon and he was smiling and I was thinking, ‘Holy shit does this ever sound good’, we weren’t busting any strings or making any mistakes…laughter… Then Scott came on and started singing and it was really rocking!

Simon: The second time we showed up (at the Schooner), one of the waitresses saw us coming in and told us the management would not be happy to see us. We still played, but I think that was when the band’s reputation as shit disturbers was developing.

Bob: Being forced to play with my back in a corner of an overcrowded room at a New Year’s Eve gig in a house that was due to be demolished the next year near the Silverwoods plant off of Horton.  I truly felt it was going to be destroyed that night by a whole room of pogo-ers jumping in sync with each other. We’d play a set and while on break I would hang out at my buddy’s car, take another bunch of mushrooms and then return to the bedlam inside.
Playing a studio for a benefit  for Childfind (or some such charity) at Beal (local highschool), which would really be cool to see and hear. (the photo of NFG in your Beginnings of Punk In London Blog was taken at that event).

Marky: Well, we played at the York (London’s first bar that had local punk bands play circa 1978 and later became Call The Office) one night and it was the first time I really piled on the makeup (some members of NFG liked to dress up like the NY Dolls). I was living with a girl, she was just my roommate, and she did all the makeup and stuff like that. And I had this tee shirt that must have had 100 safety pins in it and it said 69, and I thought I was just happening. We played our show at the York, but I went in afterwards around the corner to have a coffee and naturally I’ve still got the same clothes on and all of the makeup and stuff like that. And I started getting a little hassle from one of the patrons and so finally, I said, ‘OK I’ve had it, let’s step outside’. We started duking it out and I’ve got the guy in a front lock like this (shows what looks like a wrestling hold) and a paddy wagon pulls up and these 2 policemen step out, and the one policeman in the passenger side…I’m still holding the guy up like this (shows the same hold)…he runs up to the guy I’m holding and kicks him as hard as he can in the stomach…laughter…with these big combat boots ...laughter…and we both had to spend the night in the jail. It was a good lesson, because I said I don’t want to be behind these bars ever again. It’s not a place that I want to be…laughter…

 NFG at the Cedar Lounge....opening for The Demics. Photo Reg Quinton

What Wave: So, the cop thought you were a woman at the time?

Marky: Well, I was something…lots of laughter…

What Wave: I remember you guys playing at the York once, and when I got there it was just broken glass all over the floor.

Marky: Ya, it was crazy. Scott would start busting them (beer bottles) on his head and the place would go nuts. I don’t know how he did it, he must have been well on his way, because he’d drag it down his chest and stuff like that.  It was just a lot of fun. Experimenting with different little drugs and that sort of thing. One thing just ran into another because you played in NFG, it was just a roller coaster ride of social activities, great parties and stuff like that….

Simon: We had a gig at the York Hotel. Pete couldn’t make it because he was working as an usher at Famous Players. Nick, the old drummer I’d never played with, was going to sit in. Nick hadn’t rehearsed any of the new stuff we were playing and could not keep up… at all. It was painful. At one point I looked up to see Pete in his powder blue Famous Players uniform standing and watching on his break.

Pete: I remember playing outdoors at a party in the country, performing high on acid. The stage, I think, was built on scaffolding and there was a spotlight about 3 feet from my head. It was possibly one of maybe 3 lights that were shone on the stage when we played sometime in the night. So, being in the summer and humid, hot, awful, all I really remember is the June and all other manner of bugs crawling all over me for our entire set. Couldn't avoid them, I had the light right beside my head. It was entirely uncomfortable, but I think the trip kept me from over reacting. Somehow, I was able to block it right out. Actually, it was the power of music, more likely.
I remember playing the Biker's Picnic out in the country somewhere. When we arrived, somebody told us as part of our rider, we each get a case of beer to ourselves! Imagine hearing those words at age 18! Party!!! I remember being woken up by probably Scott. I was sprawled across the roof of some random car in the parking area.
We played to bikers pretty regularly and one night out Oxford West (don't recall the venue name), Bob was in a foul mood for some reason (probably fed up with our shit-show) and picked a fight with this one big fucker. The guy was wasted and surprisingly, Bob was so full of beans, he actually came out victorious. That same gig, Gliddon and I nearly came to blows on stage.

What Wave: Did you do any tours?

Scott:  Not as NFG. We just played around. We did a couple of outdoor festivals in Goderich, we played Lucan and Tillsonburg and just around here and Toronto. No tours per say, just playing on the weekends. I think we played Grand Bend. 

Bob: Early on in we seemed to play one week with the Demics, the next week with Uranus and back with the Demics again (referring to shows at the Cedar Lounge).
Playing a flatbed truck trailer at a barn party in Talbotville with the two headed guitar beast of Simon and Giff (Larry Gifford) and me running across the field with my bass in the nick of time.
The Viletones’ bass player uses my rented bass amp blows out all the speakers. Bugger still owes me over $80 for repairs! Grrrr. Tillsonburg, basement bar with slick linoleum floor.  I’m wearing flat bowling shoes which roll on my curly guitar cord and I fall flat on my back breaking my bass’ neck. Another expensive repair. grrr .

What Wave: What happened to NFG at the end?

Scott: I think we changed our name then because we couldn’t get hired as NFG because it was crazy, fun debauchery.

Pete: I guess I left the band after it was decided we would be more Glammy as 63 Monroe. I was very happy to play with my great pal, Mark DeRoux, who had joined the band in late 1980 after Bob had left very disgruntled. Can't remember the reasons or circumstances surrounding his departure, though I alluded to it in my answer above. But, nevertheless, I was more into the Post-Punk, darker music coming out of England and after leaving the band myself, my brother, Brian Lambert, Bob Gliddon, Maurice Carroll and Donna Turner formed the dark and twisted, but short-lived band, Nach Dem Tode. So, as much as I loved playing with "Louis", as he later became known by his friends, my interests lay elsewhere.
I did play in one last band before I left to England, Shakin' Jack And The Rattlesnake Jakes. Another short-lived but enjoyable band. There are videos up on YouTube of us playing at the Embassy Hotel. Anyway, I can't remember exactly when I left. Sometime in the late Fall of 80 most likely.

Marky: When we first officially played as 63 Monroe, it was at Sanders Tavern in Grand Bend. And you could actually swim in the lake, so it must have been in the summer (1980). And it was up on the marquee as 63 Monroe…
I think the official news story says that, due to all the bottle breaking and blood and stuff like that, trashing stuff, that we were having trouble getting shows. I think there was an element of bad chemistry starting to go on and stuff like that. (Ed: this would have been spring 1980, the band re-named itself 63 Monroe, then Pete Dekoker and Jeff ‘Rooster’ Rooth joined and it became First Date for a few months and then went back to 63 Monroe but that’s a whole ‘nother story for a later date. Drummer Pete Lambert went to England and eventually played in The Angelic Upstarts, The Spartans, Lash Lariat, and many other bands).

Pete: So, in February 82, me and my girlfriend, Suzette Daigle, who I'm still with, moved out to Banff to work to make enough money to move over to London, England. We arrived in the Motherland in November 82 and I quickly got to scouring all the weekly music papers (NME, Melody Maker and Sounds) in the musicians wanted columns and found an announcement in the MM that the Angelic Upstarts were looking for a drummer. So I arranged to have an audition at Alaska Studios (Pat Collier of the Vibrators studio) and on the strength of the recordings on the NFG/63 Monroe album or EP, or whatever it is, I got the gig with them. I recorded two tracks for their "Reason Why?" LP and did a 26 date British tour and an 8 gig tour of Holland, when after a misunderstanding, Mensi chucked me out of the band unceremoniously after only a brief few months. I continued my musical journey in England for the next 12 years, but that's a whole other thing.

What Wave: Let’s talk about the record that was just released in Italy (2007 Hijack Victim LP on Rave-Up Records).

Scott: Now that‘s Pierpaolo (Rave-Up Records, Italy), I don’t even remember what I sent him now. We started this project a year ago, and now it’s called Hijack Victim. It’s sort of a lucy goosey project you know, I’ve sent him the stuff and he said he was interested in releasing it and what have you got and I said ‘well I just don’t want to re-release that, that’s not my intention, I don’t want to do that’. I said ‘you can take a couple of tunes off of it, that would be fine and I’ll send you some other stuff that was all recorded in the same time period, with Monroe and NFG and everything’. I sent him a bunch of songs and he just picked the ones he wanted out of that, to be honest I don’t even know what he’s releasing. I’ve been to the web site (Rave-Up Records) where he has that little 
counter thing to see what songs people are listening to, and we were always at the top, so that’s good. I hope it stays that way. I think he’s only pressing 1000. I’ve bought some of his stuff and didn’t even know it was his stuff. (Ed: this record is long sold out)

What Wave: How did you get in contact with this guy?

Scott: He contacted me. I don’t know if it was through Myspace or something, or he just contacted me. So anyways that’s how that came all about. He’s supposed to give us money too, whether or not I get a cheque. It’s the glory of having a record out!

What Wave: What all has been re-issued ?

Scott: There’s Killed By Death, wasn’t there 2 Killed By Death? And there’s another one that sounds like Killed By Death, but I can’t remember the name. Then there’s The Stinkies on Oh Canaduh Vol 2 (Lance Rock Records, BC Canada), they did ‘At The Boot’ (original NFG song), it’s a good version. I used to have a little stack of all the covers on it. But ya, I can’t remember all of the other ones.

Marky: At first I felt like it (the song on Killed By Death) was kinda lifted and somebody just put it on a record. I was actually in communication with the guy. And then I thought about it, I realized it was a good form of exposure, this kind of music is getting out to a new audience. There was somebody pushing out the original NFG/63 Monroe album on CD, down in Australia or somewhere without permission.

Simon: I still play. From all the bands I’ve played in over the years, most of the guys have quit and only play in their basements. As far as I know, the four of us who were in NFG in 1979 are all still active. It’s unusual. It points to the fact that we were actually pretty good and seriously committed to being musicians and performers. I’ve got a live tape from The Boot and I have to say it rocks. When they had their reunion for Pete’s 50th I was unable to attend. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life. If they ever do it again, I’m in. A few years ago I stumbled onto a documentary (Stinkin’ Out The Joint ..Tby Mario Circelli) about the London punk scene. It blew me away that my song, Weekend Punks, was the opening theme!

To this day, 63 Monroe is still active with Scott Bentley on vocals (and now sometimes rhythm guitar) and Pete Dekoker on bass and sometimes vocals. These 2 have been playing together since 1980 as 63 Monroe. And that is a whole other story for another time!

Big Thanx to all involved in helping to get this all documented! Scott, Nick, Larry, Bob, Simon, Marky, Pete, Robert and all the others involved that I’ve talked with!

     Cedar Lounge Pics by Reg Quinton