UK Drummer Martin Parrot
Interview by John Wisniewski
Ok. Here we go. Diving into the memory banks..
Martin, what was the first band that you were in? Prior to Case.
The first band ( if that’s what you can call it) was Captain Fantastic and the Electric Banana’s.. I was about 15 I think. It was Paul Flynn on Bass and Neil Faulkner on Guitar and vocals and myself on Drums.. Neil was the Drummer of a band called Nuffin but liked to play Guitar once in a while and Paul was the Bass player of the same band. They had played at the Roxy back in the day and was also interviewed by Janet Streetporter for LWT when she went to make a short documentary for the channel..
We played mainly punk covers, Bowie covers, the odd Black Sabbath track.. Neil also could write really good short punky songs so we used play them. We never played a gig but this was my introduction to working with other musicians in a working band unit..
What attracted you to punk music?
I was at De Stafford School in Caterham Surrey and in my year was a mate that I’d been to school with since the age of 5 which was the one and only Roger Bullen.. Who became Dee Generate the young drummer of EATER.. To say it was an exciting time for people like myself that needed another type of music and an open attitude to life would be an understatement.. We had then likes of SLADE, DAVID BOWIE, ROXY MUSIC, ALICE COOPER, T REX and many others but they were like other worldly beings. So when Punk came along and also having someone you knew making music and being in the papers it opened the doors for anyone who was brave enough to have a go.. So that was a very attractive opportunity to me and many others to have crack at being in a band.
Could you tell us about forming Sensible grey cells with captain sensible?
How did you meet Captain? What was the idea for the band?
The Sensible Gray Cells had already been up and running when I was asked to Drum for them on their second album..
Anthony Thickett was the original drummer for the first album. I have no idea why he wasn’t asked to do the second record. But it was a big plus for me that they didn’t I must say..
I got asked to play on ‘Get back into the world’ after spending time with Captain and Paul on the last leg of the ‘Evil Spirits’ tour. Johnny Moped had the pleasure of being the support band and they liked what I was doing and asked if I would be interested in recording an album with the. It was an offer I had to take.. They are both really amazing musicians and can write brilliant songs.. I feel very lucky to have worked with them both..
As for the idea behind the band ? I just think Captain and Paul wanted to do a side project away from the Damned and play a different style of music..
Please tell us about forming Case in 1979?
CASE were formed by Robert Brook, Matthew Newman and Marc Adams… They were looking for a drummer. They had put an advert out saying something along the lines of ‘Fast Drummer needed. Can’t be into Genesis’ I didn’t see this ad I must say.
I was on my way to work one morning and Rob got on the train. We hadn’t seen each other since school. Rob was a year younger than me. We got talking and Rob said that he had a band and was looking for a drummer. Well that was my chance to offer my services.. So we arranged to all get together and it was just instant harmony.. We were all made for each other.. The band had an innocent energy. It was a great chemistry the four of us had as a band. We were only kids. 16 and 17 years of age. It was a very exciting times.. It was my introduction to wanting to really do music.. How’s that for starters John?
Could you tell us about The Weird Things, Martin? Produced by Dick Crippen. Please tell us about the new album.
The Weird Things were formed by myself and Mr Jan ( Real name Paul Senior ) Jan and I meet through mutual friends and got on like a house on fire. He’s a great bass player and later on I found out what a great riff writer he was.. I asked him if he would be interested in writing some songs together. I hadn’t really written lyrics or vocal melodies before but wanted to give it go.. Jan and I got together and started work and it all came together very easily to my surprise. Once we had a few songs I called on a very good friend to see if he would be interested. And Simon Peet became our guitarist. I’ve known Simon for years and he is a brilliant versatile player. Extremely talented. Then we needed a singer and cut a long story short called on a friend of my daughter to see if she would be up for the job and she said yes. So Leanne Bentley completed the band. We pulled 12 songs together really quickly and booked ourselves into Panther Studios in Reigate Surrey and I knew it had Dick Crippen at the helm.. It was a pleasure to work with such knowledgeable pro. And who has since become a really close friend.. The first album ‘TEN DIGIT FREAK’ was a real mish mash of styles but not a bad record and got some decent reviews.
We got gigs and added Dick Crippen on rhythm guitar and got my daughter Leila and young lad on backing vocals.. The gigs all went very well and we started to get a little following. Then we started on the second album. This time Dick was a full member of the band and Leanne had moved on and Leila took over on vocals. This album was more coherent.. It was called ‘CODE 533’ and was more like a garage guitar-based record..I’m very pleased with this record. We all worked really hard on it.. We did a few gigs but really the band ran out of steam.. All good things came to an end..
Can we talk about another band you are in, Maxine? How did they form?
Max and I meet through Panther Studios really. We were facebook friends and Max noticed I was in Panther recording with The Sensible Gray Cells. She sent me a message asking if it was the Panther Studios in Reigate ? I said it was. It so happened to be the first studio she ever recorded in when she was just 16 years old. So we meet up in the pub opposite with Dick and are now a couple. Max is a fantastic singer song writer and a brilliant piano player.. In the past Max has been within a whisker of stardom. She had her own show in Vegas for 2 weeks and worked some really big names. But alas things didn’t turn out how they should..
Max wanted to try and get her musical carrier going again so we started working on songs together..
All together I think we recorded 16 tracks and have chosen 11 for an album. We managed to get some amazing people to appear on the album. Dick Crippen is all over this record. His help and playing ability has been second to none.
I managed to talk Captain into doing a guitar solo for us. Pau; Gray played on 3 tracks. Matthew Fisher from Procol Harem is on another. Baz Warne from The Stranglers and many other brilliant musicians..
The next plan is to get out there and play some gigs.. Maxine is a solo artist. I’m just there giving all the support I can.. Like anyone else. She just needs that break. And she deserves it. She very talented..
Could you tell us about the punk/goth band Blood and Roses, Martin?
I was playing in a band with Rob Brook from CASE. Ralph Jezzard who produced the first Blood and Roses ep and Lisa Kirby the singer of Blood and Roses. It was a band called SHINE. We recorded about 6 tracks with Ralph at the desk producing . We did a few gigs that went really well. In the meantime Bob Short from Blood and Roses was asked if the band would like to do an album..
The original Bass player had passed away and Ralph who played Bass was a perfect replacement..
So Bob , Lisa , Ralph and Richard the original drummer started work on recording the album..
Not long into the recording things with Richard wasn’t really working out. Ralph suggested that I took over on drums to which Lisa and Bob were happy about..
So I went in the studio and learnt the songs and recorded them in one 26 hour session. It was extremely challenging and really hard work but the end result was very satisfying.. Bob was particularly happy with my work and the energy I brought to the songs..
The band went on to play some great high energy shows and the album sold very well.
We also released a 7” and 12” single with B sides that didn’t appear on the album..
It’s a shame that the band didn’t go on to produce more work. And now alas it’s too late for us to do so with the very sad passing and far too early of Lisa Kirby who was a great vocalist and a brilliant lyric writer..
I’ll always be proud of that album and thankful to Ralph for believing that I was good enough for the job..
Will you be playing live with sensible grey cells?
I really don’t think so. Which is a shame because the album was strong and I think as a live act we could have done some outstanding gigs. But never say never.. Things can change. If we recorded another album and The Damned were taking a break then maybe we would go out live.. I would like to think so.. I can only hope..