The Vibrators

Eddie from the Vibrators Q&A.

Play: The Vibrators – Judy Says ( Knock You in the Head ) 

A little insight into what it’s like being a Vibrator for 41 years with John (Eddie) Edwards.

Q – The Vibrators have been around since before time began, can you explain the origins of the name and do you think it may have held you back getting mainstream media attention

A –  Since Feb 1976. There was lots of time before that !! We sat around trying to think of a name and lots of suggestions were put forward John Ellis came up with this one and I remember saying about radio play but that wasn’t a consideration then so The Vibrators it was. Maybe it was a slight problem for radio but elsewhere it was a headline writers dream and very memorable so it hasn’t done too bad. Better than some of the other suggestions. One was Terry Lean and the trousers, John was going to be Jack Offalot and Pat was Poly Styrene. No-one would want a daft stage name like that !!

Q – You play all over the World with the Vibrators, can you give us an idea what’s involved in organising this throughout the year. Where are the most difficult gigs you have set up in the world?

A –  We have played all over . we have agents in USA and Europe and UK and just deal with these or wherever the Agent is.  It’s not too tricky but is time consuming, usually USA has some dodgy local promoters that have Roz ,our agent there , tearing her hair out but we get through it  On the plus side , playing Disco in Mosco in Moscow and finding everyone going nuts, and it is a massive song there, gives you a massive dose of pride. I never thought in 1976 we would ever play there. The world ,thankfully, is much more tolerant these days.

Q – Not that I want to mention the bands age, but does this take its toll every year or do you still get a buzz out of playing in a different venue each week?

A –  If you don’t enjoy it don’t do it. Of course it is a huge buzz. (check Q1 Re headline writers dream)

Q – The Band never seem to be mentioned when a list of early Punk Bands are reeled off, but you go through most music collections and there will be a good few Vibrators tracks in there. Do you feel that this is a true reflection, and are there many bands who have sited the Vibrators as an Influence to their music to you?

A –  I don’t agree with this. You must read the wrong mags!  We were given lots of press at the time and still get a bit and were probably a big influence on a lot of bands. Bands influence at first thought are Stiff Little Fingers, Die Toten Hosen,   The Briefs, Sator, etc etc. We have met a couple of  tribute acts both called Pure Mania and get told about how we have been an influence almost every gig. Especially in the USA. So we haven’t done too bad.  

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Q – Pure Maina and V2 were 2 classic albums that everyone should be encouraged to listen to growing up, how different was it putting an album together then compared to the new one “Past, Present and into the Future”?

A –  When we did the first album it was basically getting down the live set on tape and we had a fair few songs in the set from V2 before we recorded it but these days it is  worked out and done in the studio before we get it in the set. But recording these days is soooo different from the 70s due to digital recording. Until recently the whole drum track was one take, now you can drop in and patch things up, but I still try and do it in one take. We still try and get that live spontaneous feel to all we do .I think that all playing together is important. The Garage Punk album was done with very few over dubs. Even solos and vocals done live.  So some things stay the same. It very much depends on the song. Please Mr Cancer on the new album was pretty much one take with everything at once. Sounds like it too.

Q – You went down the road of funding the album through a pledge campaign, how did you find this way of working. Was there a pressure to produce an album of quality as people had paid for it before release, rather than buying the finished article?

A – It was a new experience and pretty time consuming as you have to come up with ideas to keep the campaign going and as it is the hard core fans mainly, at first , it had better be good. I think it was and so has all the feedback. In the studio it was same as ever really.    

Q – How did the idea of collaborating with past members come about, was it a difficult idea to put together and do you think it worked?

A –  I figured we needed something different and as it was our 40th Anniversary this seemed a good idea and everyone was keen. Pat must take a lot of credit for his enthusiasm in getting it together and coming up with ideas. He has always been a staunch fan and ally even if he is studio bound. We should be getting him up on stage for next May’s 42nd anniversary show though. I am very happy with the album as it has great melodies and feels and lots of variety. A proper Rock’n’Roll album.

Q – The Vibrators to me always had a strong Rock N Roll influence in many of my favourite Punk songs, and it comes over again in some of the new tracks like “Rock N Roll Rescue” and Mr Cancer. Is this an intentional part of your song writing or just the way it comes together.

A – Pretty intentional I would say. We started out to be a loud ,snotty R’n’R band and that still applies. There  was no Punk then we formed, we were one of the bands that started it and the label came later. Probably after the 100 club Festival in Sept ’76.  

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Q – Which songs on the new album are you particularly pleased with, are there any specifically meaningful lyrics we should look out for.

A – As the drummer I tend to look out more for the feels and arrangements  more than the lyrics but Knox does write great lyrics. Check out  Loose Change and Please Mr Cancer and Pete and Darrell came up with some good’uns too. John’s Egyptian stuff on Wrapped Cat is fun. My favourite at the moment is You’re The Prize. Very basic lyrics that hit home and a fantastic feel and  solo. It will be something else next week. 

Q – Darrell Bath seems to have moved on now even though he is featured on the new album, is this permanent or is he taking a break for solo work.

A – Sadly we had a parting of the ways with Darrell but we are still on good terms. Sometimes in groups you have to have a change when you reach an impasse so that point came and Nigel Bennett is back and doing great job. I think the break helped him too and he is back full of enthusiasm.  I think Darrell has a new band as they played with us at the Hope and Anchor a while back. I’m sure he’ll do well.  

Q – The Vibrators have shared the stage with so many bands over the years , who would you consider to be worthy of every accolade laid upon them, who are punching above their weight and who should we look out for that new on the scene.

A – We never played with The Ramones but they were the best along with the Clash . We played with them and of course with Joe when he was in the 101’ers. Most of the groups are very good. The year 76 was a spectacular vintage  eh?  There are some cool girl groups in the USA . I like The Flytraps and The Wild Ones. They go more for feel and melody and less for that overpowering testosterone thing that some male groups do. But that is just personal preference.

Q – The Rebellion Festival brings together bands from all round the world for one weekend, how does it compare to other festivals around the world and do you meet up with other bands or is it a case of play and go.

A – Well it’s indoors for a start so you don’t get wet or muddy !! It’s always good fun, I just go for the day now but Pete is there for the duration. Catching up with friends ,bands from all over is definitely one of the best things. We see people from Europe , Brazil, everywhere. Very friendly and no big egos. I like it a lot.

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Q – Is there one Punk Influenced entertaining story you have been involved in that you could share with us, would there be enough stories to fill a book and have you considered this.

A-  A lot of people have suggested a book so maybe I should do that before the Alzheimers sets in !!  Just once; someone nicked a guitar and the promoter phoned the support group’s manager to see if they had picked it up by mistake, and one of the bands ‘friends ‘ was showing him his new guitar , strangely , with the same serial number as the one we lost. Cue loud swearing down the phone and the sound of someone having his legs smacked. We picked it up in the morning. The groups on the circuit are very honest and no one nicks guitars, ever. As I said a one off.  Very funny down the phone though.

Q – How would you describe your time in the Vibrators when its all over and you can put your feet up, is there one song from the past that says it all and which one of the new album is up there with the classics.

A – I’ve been lucky to have been all over the world and played to such great, honest, fans. Our music and bands of our ilk get precious little airplay but keep the spirit alive. It’s, very hard work, hence the turnover of group members over the years , but we have achieved many of our dreams so I am grateful for that. Still playing after 41 years, what more can you ask. I’ll never put my feet up. Each year is the last till the next one. Hopefully the wont take me offstage in a box though.  Favourite songs  ‘Jesus always let me down’  From the new album put me down for You’re the Prize and Please Mr Cancer.  

Q – I know The Vibrators will be touring extensively as usual the rest of the year, but is there anything else the band will be up to we should look out for.

A-  Yes look out for a single in the USA Restless b/w She’s the One you Need and Hound dog.  Also 42 year Anniversary at the Islington Assembly rooms Sat May 26 with all the old boys and the current line-up. Mucho fun guaranteed.  Hopefully a total return to vinyl and the end of Simon Cowell and all those exploitive TV shows. Put real R’n’R back on the box !! Thank you and Good night  !!!!!!!!! Eddie.

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