INTERVIEW WITH THE ENFANT TERRIBLE OF PUNK ROCK JOCK McDONALD
SIU - How did it all start for you Jock?
Jock – It all started I suppose in the old days in the sixties I was the DJ at the Marquee the minor DJ the major two were Andy & Jeff. Jeff got very lucky he found a couple of college kids playing in a coffee bar in Soho they called themselves 'America'. They got a big hit worldwide with the song ‘A Horse with No Name’
I learned a lot from Jeff he was also a DJ at the original Roundhouse. That’s how I kicked off as a DJ.
Didn’t you buy some Banshee’s stuff off me in Beaufort Market? (Earlier conversation about the old days)
SIU-How did you manage to juggle all the roles, DJ, Promotor & Band Manager?
Jock - ‘Adrian and the Outsiders’ there is a lovely story attached to that one. He said Jock we need a break through and this is the worst bit about management is you have to come up with something every time. I just could not this time, so I went down the pub to have a drink. This was down the Roxy and while down there I met Iggy Pop, I said you wouldn’t do us a favour would you I am managing a new band could you jump up and do a number with them and he did. He did ‘No Fun’ with them at the Roxy. That propelled me into other things. You have to be really on the ball as a manager its tough. The bands expect you to create miracles for them and get the gigs, record deals, money , etc.
SIU – Can you please tell us how you managed to open the famous Roxy club for one night only with The Straps, Blitz, UK Subs , etc.
Jock – Well Kevin St John the big Scottish fella running it at the time was a gangster which I did not know at the time. Just luck and took a chance to try to do something and got the chance and made a complete bollocks of it, but done it. The police raided it they came from no where.
By the way Ian I think your player Townsend should be in the England team and Zaha too but what is wrong with Southgate?
SIU – Can you tell us about the other nightclubs you managed such as ‘Bills and Studio 21’.
Jock -Ultra famous studio 21,3 DJs, Boy George, John Lydon and Ralph from Kraftwerk.
I had a gay friend in Surrey who died got bless his soul he done this. Studio 21 was run by an old Jewish family and when we put on DAF live they were wearing German Uniforms and Bernard freaked out but his son said its hip he said hip the nazi bastards!!
It was funny taking them back to Peckham so see them is shorts dancing to ‘Dance the Mussolini’
It was really funny to see but bizarre. Billy’s was the Sex Pistols night with Charlie Harper you're bringing memories back now.
SIU – Do you see a big difference between the venues in Europe to the UK?
Jock – Oh yes its much better in Europe. We are treated like how can I say it Oasis type stuff.
Hotels/bar all paid for. It happens in the UK but only if you’re a major band. In Europe we are one of the biggest bands. Back here its small dressing rooms warm beer, one gig we did in Brighton we had to buy our own beer.
Don’t mention Brexit as it's a massive mistake. The Europeans love the English music and the clubs but you know the Englih cannot hold the drink, when your in Europe you cannot go around touching up the girls you have to hold back if you know what I mean.
SIU – How did you get the punk football team together?
Jock – Difficult Ian difficult. The first thing to tell you is what became easy was they were all good players. Take Paul Cook trials for QPR, Billy Idol Bromley early days in Bromley,
They were all good players it was just knitting them all together. Phil Lynott at the time was injecting himself,we did not know that but we did wonder why he was last to come out of the dressing room. It was brilliant we played a lot with Spurs. Steve Perryman was the captain in those days and Keith was the manager. Together we raised a lot of money for the charities. I am proud of that well proud of that. You really had no time you just had to get on with it, it was like lads Paul your in midfield. They were great games competitive otherwise they would not have played.
We played at Chelsea Chopper Harris testimonial, we done Steve’s testimonial. We played everywhere Middlesbrough everywhere. If it was not competitive they would not have played got to stress that. It was difficult getting them together with tours dates/recording schedules but I did it.
SIU – You did a bigger game with a 1000 player Soccer match?
Jock – That was in Brighton again, Didn’t the old bill make a crucial mistake that day. They did not watch the videos of the rockers from the old days. What they did is they got on the sea front and withdrew their batons and they are ready to charge right there Is going to be a charge. There were so many on the beach and there was me in the middle with the ball and there is no trouble here. There was 500 that side and five hundred the other side and I was going to kick the ball in the air, it was going to be like the bull run in Spain.
When the punks saw the police with the batons out and the beach was full of stones. Oh and the stones rained in so they had to retire. We were just having fun. The police wanted to stop it as normal.
SIU – Like Beaufort market when The Clash were going to play?
Jock – I will tell you about that, there is more to it. John Rotten was living around the corner in Gunter Grove literally around the corner. I had John primed to come in as well as the Clash. The Clash were going to play on the roof if there was no hassle. Can you imagine for the closure of my shop John and The Clash. It was the first time they used the SPG on a London Street. You bring back some memories. The conversation we just had you hit it on the head they are closing everything just everything we have, live music venues everything and its everything the Europeans want. This is what I am trying to get across I bring this to them in Europe.
SIU – I would think after the 500 a side football game and Beaufort Market you must have felt like public enemy number 1.
Jock – I think it was funny, because when you don’t expect that and when you get it, its kind of weird when all you're doing is wanting to play football. They did not say anything about Fat Boy Slim in years to come when he filled the whole of Brighton beach and they got away with that one. Different times. You know my side to it all was the bloody football I was trying to do was get the lads all involved in playing football. Just happened to do it with the punks. That’s really what it was all about there was nothing else. No trying to do this or that, football brings people together like those people we were just talking to (Father and Daughter sitting next us we talked about football) they are trying to find ways to destroy it stop you having a little bit of fun.
It was a bizarre time so I thought I would get away from it all and go with John Lydon to Dublin and it happened a bloody again. This time my brother Jerry simply took John into a bar they did not know. The local police were in there and they did not know who John was and they just spat on him. It was meant to be the Punks spitting on them but they did not like the red hair and the earrings so Jerry whacked the copper and off course John got the blame. Then the NME came over with all their big guns and come out with all the you caused this McDonald I was not even in the bar I was in the house with my nan god rest her soul. What was not reported was my Dad who is very Scottish he was in the Highlanders during the war? He did 5 years in a camp in Poland before the red army freed him.
They got my dad in the box and they did not telling him who he was going up for. They gave him the bible and the oath and they brought in John and dad said I don’t know that cunt you know the Scottish way “Who’s that cunt”. John got 3 months and it broke our friendship we have not spoken since. What can you do, I never did a thing John said I engineered it, I didn’t? He said you wanted publicity for a gig that was not selling well.
SIU – You managed to promote so many different things including gigs how did you generate so much publicity you were even in the then popular The Sun & The Daily Mirror tabloid newspapers.
Jock – Memories, did you know we got Michael Fagan to sing ‘God Save The Queen’. I think it was about 1984 and I think we got every front page in world for that one. At that time Keith our bass player was at Alaska studios they were the first indie studio in the UK. Jesus and Mary Chain, Robyn Hitchcock, etc.. It was down Waterloo we took Fagan down there and all down the road was a queue of the worlds press wanting to come in which we charged everyone 50 quid we did well that day.
You know I am a big fan of Malcolm and from the swindle he said look for the current event, if you studied what he said you can find ways to do things. Being a huge fan of the pistols and Malcolm to be honest with you I could not believe what those guys had done. I knew what ever we did we could never enter that domain and be a brilliant band like them but did learn from it, I did learn I did pay attention. The reason why I was angry with john and it had nothing to do with the Dublin incident it was he broke with Nora who he is married to now, I put the two of them back together again.
Just before we left for Dublin Nora was living over in Battersea and she told me John has taking something all wrong with Steve because Nora was dating Steve before. I went over to johns and said Nora wants to talk to you , but he would not have it I sad ok fuck it then do what you want, he said shall I go over and I said yes. He did they became friends again and are married now.
SIU – You had a famous tussle with Danny Lane once.
Jock – Jimmy Lane & Jim Davidson just a punch up. It was just an old fashioned one in a bar in Berkeley Square it was when we were doing the Spurs managers testimonial it was related to that we were all drunk and it was just a punch up.
SIU – Did you give ‘Infer Riot’ their first ever gig.
Jock – I was speaking to Lee about this, you have been going your homework. Lee and I were discussing that the other day, isn’t it funny you should ask me that. It was bizarre because the first ever gig there was this girl trying to get in but she couldn’t we let her in and it was Samantha Fox she was a huge fan of ‘Infer Riot’ she followed them everywhere, she was just starting out as a model then. Great band loved them loved the boys they are all Spurs fans. The first gig was over North London I cannot remember how it came about but it was to do with the football. Lee looks really well.
SIU – How was the band 4B2 formed?
Jock – Well that’s a sad story in a way because it sad for me because coming down from Glasgow being a Celtic fan I ended up this syndrome between Arsenal and Tottenham where let me give you an example the times newspaper wrote an article where they called me anti-semitic in fact every anti you could think of I got, because there was a record released called ‘Crack Away on the Beano’
It was record by Arsenal directed at Tottenham by young and them and some of the lyrics were anti-semitic but again I got the blame. They did not look at my one why don’t rangers sign a catholic. The times gave me the chance to reply so we went into their office and they were sharpening their knifes thinking we have this guy by the bollocks and we will finished this once and for all. I said can I introduce you to the band he said by all means. I said this is Jeff he works for the Jewish Chronicle and Jeff goes yeah I fucking hate Tottenham I am Arsenal I hate them with a vengeance Jeff is now in the Israeli government.
John Lydon's brother got his eye taken out by a piece of 4b2 so that’s where the name came from.
We played with lots of bands such as ‘Joy Division’ at one gig they said they would leave after their show and once they saw the girls from ‘Bananarama’ who were singing with us they decided to stay and watch.
John Lydon produced the first record and I got to say Martin Glover AKA Youth from ‘Killing Joke’ learned everything that day from John. Youth went on to produce The Verve and Paul McCartney.
Youth is now one of the biggest producers in the world and he learnt it all from John Lydon as John is a genius in the studio.
Where we would find it boring sitting in a studio for hours for Lydon its heaven.
SIU – How did the Bollocks Brother form?
Jock – That came about with Island records in Island studios when we went down after a football match it was meant to be a jam session. I remember it well cause Brian Ferry was upstairs Don Letts was there I think he was living in the studio. So John did not turn up and we needed someone to do the vocals. So I reluctantly did it and we did the bunker. You would not believe how popular we were in Europe.
SIU – What made you record an electric version of the classic Sex Pistols album ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’?
Jock – Well this guy called John had a studio and no one ever grasped what he did. The studio was set up by EMI they recorded and updated their old classical music there, it was really a record player wired up to a computer and allowed them to re-work a bit like cheating. When I saw this I was fascinated basically I spoke to John and I took the Sex Pistols album recorded it in the same format and took down Johns voice and updated it a few years later and thats how it came about.
SIU – How did you manage to involve Vangelis on the LP and the Zai Cleminson from The Sensational Alex Harvey band?
Jock – Great question, I used to love the Alex Harvey band and see them in the dressing room killing each other as Zai and Alex were Rangers fans and the other two were Celtic fans. The old Scottish way of banter. Vangelis I lived in Greece for a year and there Is no other way to live than the Greek way. So we got him involved it really is the Sex Pistols meets the Greeks that’s the Bollocks Brothers.
SIU – How did you come to meet Serge Gainsbourg and re-write one of his songs?
Jock – Brilliant question, this is an honour for me that you have asked me this. I loved the old French films back then. The image of driving through Paris in a sports car with the wind in your hair. Didn’t we get it wrong as we tried that in Cannes and it pissed down, we were fucking drowned and the inside of the car was flooded? I was with my friend Paul he could speak French I could not talk a word of French. Thereza Bazar from Dollar took pity on us and got us a room. She went off to do her business then Paul pulled a girl and I was left on my own. I got found a couch to sleep on in one of the hotels. I never knew it would change my life I skidded on the hotels marble floor and hit this gentleman’s leg who was coming out of a taxi who told me to fuck off. I said to him why don’t you fuck off he said where are you from I said London. He said wait I thought here we go the same to blokes who throw me out of the hotel are now holding the doors open, all I know is I am in and having a nice glass of what ever. He asked is there were your staying I said not really sure.
Hit the deck next morning the balcony is open I am in the carton hotel on the balcony over looking the med with the sun glinting of the water with a French breakfast. I said thank you and whats your name he said call me Serge he said meet at 7.30 I found and told Paul. I said you will never believe this I have met a painter and he wants us to go to dinner at 7.30 he brought his French girl and when they arrived the French girl froze to the spot. It was Gainsbourg who I had stayed with and who had invited me to dinner. We became friends when I went back to Paris he was breaking with Jane. That’s how that came about.
SIU – You have had various record label in the past have they treated you well?
Jock – No absolutely insane never get any money out of them. You see when your called the Bollock Brothers you have to take what you get. We don’t get any royalties we tried taking them to court but they brought out the big guns. If we did I would be in a nice Ferrari.
SIU – What have you got planned for 2018?
Jock – Everything we have about 5 open gigs in Europe we have the Hope and Anchor coming up in London and we are in Dublin for the Grand Social. Its never been better and I thank god and long may it continue, and we still help out a lot of other bands we still help out and give them gigs which a lot of other bands don’t do anymore.
We have not forgotten whats its like. Its very sad they we don’t get any royalties we get the money now from merchandise.
SIU – Thanks Jock great to meet you again.
Jock – Thanks Ian it was great.
INTERVIEW WITH LEGENDARY CROYDON PUNK DISC JOCKEY PETER FOX
What made you want to become a disc jockey in the first place?
One of my earliest childhood memories is of sticking bare wires from my parent’s record player into the plug socket to make it work as we couldn’t afford a plug and I wanted to play music. I then progressed to making my own pirate radio station in my dad’s garden shed by procuring one of the first FM transmitting microphones and increased the aerial on it by running a copper wire down the washing line and transmitting to the whole street. As I got older I built my own disco decks and speaker cabinets, which I then loaded onto a wheelbarrow and took to Broomhill Road youth club once a month to play at their disco. I remember being stopped outside the club one week by an old lady who, after looking at the contents of my wheelbarrow asked if there was a jumble sale happening that day! The rest as they say is history.
How did you end up being the resident punk rock DJ at the late great Croydon venue, The Greyhound?
I was doing the rounds DJ’ing at weddings, parties, pubs etc. but wanted more. I approached a local successful rock J called Del Stevens for advice and he recommended I join an agency. I submitted a demo tape (made in the garden shed!) which they liked and came straight back to me with an offer of work at The Red Deer in Croydon which I took on. After my first night there I got the Wed and Sat night residency, initially playing rock, supporting Little Nicki Horne a Capital Radio rock DJ (who hated punk). The agency sent me on the circuit playing at all their other clubs up and down the country. Someone from the agency really liked the ‘different’ stuff I was playing such as Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, and The Tubes and offered me the job at The Greyhound to develop this type of music.
How did Howard Bossick, the former owner of the Greyhound manage to book such amazing punk acts to appear (I hear he wasn’t a fan of the whole punk scene) ?
In 1977 The Greyhound was a major venue in South London so everybody wanted to play there. After playing one night there for a fiver a previously low key support act such as Generation X would then find themselves headlining there two weeks later to a massive crowd. It was the time when punk really took off and people wanted to hear all the new bands. It was definitely a time when history was being made night after night and I was very lucky to be involved in such an exciting time as The Greyhound was a breeding ground for many new iconic bands.
Was it true he cancelled a gig by The Sex Pistols?
I’m not sure about that but I do recall someone from the agency allegedly sending a telegram to the landlord of the Red Deer on the night that Siouxsie and the Banshees were due to play, saying that Johnny Rotten was going to be there too. This had the desired effect of freaking out the landlord who, on hearing this, hired a lot of extra security staff to avert any trouble!
What gigs can you recall in detail and which ones were your favourites?
I can recall most of them, too many to list here. One amusing one was when The Stranglers played at The Greyhound and asked for the stage to be temporarily extended and made bigger which was done with plywood. This proved to be a recipe for disaster as Hugh Cornwall invited the fans to join the band on stage for the final number. This resulted in hundreds of frantically pogoing fans crashing right through the floor in a sweaty heap! The Stranglers were not amused and thought the promotors had deliberately stiched them up.
Do you remember the memorable Dammed gig in 1978?
At the time The Dammed were Croydon’s local idols. Captain initially told me they couldn’t play The Greyhound because they would then be contractually obliged to play all the other clubs on the circuit and which would not have been possible due to the size of their following. However this situation was overcome and they did later play at The Greyhound. On one occasion, billed as The Doomed, I distinctly remember Captain playing the final encore dressed in nothing but his guitar and strap, lifting the instrument repeatedly over his head to the promotor’s absolute horror!
Please tell us about you and Spizz hanging out in the DJ booth at the Zig Zag club, Westbourne Park, London circa 1982.
Spizz and I go back a long way, to The Music Machine at Camden (now KoKo). The Zig Zag club was formerly a cinema and the DJ booth was the old projectionist room at the very top of the cinema. A lot of people used to come and visit me in that room, including Billie Duffy (guitarist with The Cult) and Spizz. Anybody who visited bringing a video was very welcome and Spizz with his Soldier Soldier video would have definitely been played on the big screen.
What are you up to these days?
I am still gigging - I recently DJ’d at the Sensor/Weird Things/Drowned Out gig in Croydon, thank you Martin Parrott, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had to do some research prior to this gig, going to see Sensor at The 100 Club as I was not familiar with their style of music. I am an enthusiastic bass player and practice whenever I can to play with other like-minded fanatics rockers at local jam and open mike nights. I recently asked Glen Matlock for advice for someone his age who had recently started playing the bass guitar. His reply to me was “get a time machine and a nice shirt”!
Thanks for allowing me to reminisce like this, let me know if you want any other stories.