Eddie and the Hot Rods, Friars 1976. Photo
Well deserved Friars
Heroes Eddie and The Hot Rods are still rocking in 2009 and making new
records. Frontman Barrie Masters spoke to us in August 2009.
Barrie, thanks for talking to the Friars Aylesbury website. You're
gigging at the moment and just about to head to Wakefield. How did the
Wigan gig go last night?
It was very good. It was a
well run club and a good crowd.
You first came to the
attention of the discerning Friars Aylesbury audience early in 1976
supporting Jack The Lad.
That's right, that was a
long long time ago!
Then in October 1976, it
was your first headlining appearance and then again you played the 1976
Christmas party. All sold out...what do you remember of those gigs?
They were very good ones.
We got to know a lot of people around the Aylesbury area. Dave Stopps
was such a wonderful guy. You wanted to work with him because his
organisational skills were so great. There were people who would forget
things, but he took care of every little detail. With Friars, it was a
perfect hall to play in - the acoustics were great and you were well
looked after. When you saw Friars on your tour list, you always looked
forward to that one. Really fond memories.
Many artists are very
praising of Aylesbury! The Jack The Lad gig got you noticed and after
the 1976 headlining gigs, you came back in 1978, one of the fastest
selling gigs in Friars history. Between the 1976 gigs and coming back in
1978, you had really hit it big...that must have been an interesting
It was great! Everything
picked up and kicked off big time for a band. We were young and it was
very fast. We were constantly knocked off of our feet and there wasn't
much time to relax. But when we did get some time off, I would go to
gigs...a bit like a busman's holiday! One of my favourite gigs of all
time was the Iggy Pop and David Bowie gig at Friars in March 1977. One
of the best gigs I ever saw.
I imagine that was quite
The Maxwell Hall was a
great place to see a band. It wasn't too far away and you knew the sound
would be good so that was why I went to that gig.
As opposed to having seen
them at Hammersmith Odeon or wherever...
That's cool! The Clash
turned up at Friars on more than occasion to see bands as a punter too.
That 1978 gig looked at in
a 2009 context...you were headlining, but Radio Stars and Squeeze on as
well! And then in 1979, The Members supported you as they were on the
It's a small world...we're
playing with the guitarist from the Members tonight!
Sadly you didn't play
Friars after 1979 and then you went on a long hiatus...from 1981
We had a few changes and
things didn't work out right.
What did you do in the
I worked and helped out
The Inmates for a while and did a couple of albums and tours with them.
I did some of my own thing for a bit of fun as well. The band (Eddie)
had an aura about it and it took a lot time to get that back. I've
worked with some amazing musicians but if it isn't right it doesn't
work. About ten or twelve years ago, it finally started working again as
we had the right people in.
The band chemistry and
camaraderie has to be right rather than having musicians who are just
That's right. You have to
have competent musicians but there has to be that telepathy...
I mean that in the sense
of a band spirit rather than just having hired musicians behind you..
Yes, I worked with some
fabulous musicians but the chemistry wasn't right.
I've heard this before in
the sense that if the chemistry and the creative spark goes..
Yes, I was reading only
yesterday an article about U2. They are still together as they know what
the other is going to do. You can't replace any one of them.
Something has worked right
for them for 30 years!
At one point before your
hiatus you shortened the band name to The Rods. Why?
It was a chant at gigs. It
went from Hot Rods to The Rods. People thought we were a completely
different band. We changed the logo as well. Whether it was the right
thing to do is open to debate.
It's not uncommon. Maybe
if you are moving forward perhaps with a different style of music, then
the change of name may signify a shedding of the skin....
It could be good, it could
How long were you The Rods
for, wasn't that long was it?
A couple of singles I
This is bizarre - even one
of the Friars news-sheets made a reference to this and asking to bring
You've had a settled line
up for some time. And you're still gigging and enjoying it...many bands
who played Friars around your time and are still gigging today because
they simply enjoy it so much...this has been pretty much your life?
More or less, in the
leaner times, I've had to do other work, but yes we do enjoy it. We
still look forward to the gigs. It's always been exciting. Just as last
night's gig was and we're looking forward to tonight's gig. It is fun
and hopefully always will be. When that stops, it will be time to stop.
Do you find as Eddie and
The Hot Rods in 2009, fan base wise, have you retained a lot of your
original following and are you picking up fans on the way? I'm mindful
of the fact you still make new records.
What amazes me, back in
the early Friars days, when we had a punk following and now we have two
or three generations of fans. It's all friendly and no trouble. There
are some guys who have followed us all the time and there are some who
come up to us in the last three years having only seen us for the first
time wondering why they never saw us before! Then they start coming to
the gigs. OK, it took them a long time to catch on, but now they are
regulars. You get to know people as well who you see every so often. We
talk to our fans after the shows too.
That works well as it
gives me an idea of the setlist!
OK, dull unoriginal
question alert. You've a wide body of material from over the last 30
years in terms of all the albums you have made and you want to be
playing your new stuff. Presumably you haven't got tired of playing Do
Anything You Wanna Do every night? I do mean that in the nicest way!
No, not at all! Some of
the songs over time have changed slightly. We do an eclectic set and try
to cover most albums even if we only do one song off of a particular
album. We get very few complaints. We do quite well. I've spoken to many
bands on the road (like us) and they say that they can't play any new
stuff as people don't want to know. We have the exact opposite as we
have four or five new songs in the set which have become the favourites
now. The biggest cheers are for them. We've been lucky enough to be able
to change the set and move on. I don't know why other bands have this
problem because we don't.
It goes to show that
people take you for the music you are making and people don't see you as
a retro act, because you're not, with making all the new records and
that's the stuff you're playing. You've made a very good point in that
some bands are forced to play sets entrenched in the past.
If you have a band that
has to do that, they will get bored of it. We have a set we can pick and
choose. Every night is fresh and new as as we swap things round and add
things as we go. You won't see two gigs the same on our tours!
Good point - I've seen
bands that have a 'tour set list' and there is no deviation for the
whole tour whether it's the first or 100th gig. It's nice to mix it up.
We will, if someone shouts
something out, throw something in during the middle of the set. They
appreciate that because we did it because they shouted for it.
That speaks volumes for
you as a band that you can adapt like that.
Back to the late 1970s, I
don't know whether you saw yourselves as part of this, but there was a
big Essex scene...you, Dr Feelgood, The Kursaal Flyers. What else was
coming out of Essex?
There was Depeche Mode on
the next Essex wave and Alison Moyet. Mungo Jerry! They were Westcliff
based. Fleetwood Mac (laughs). Peter Green still drinks in the same pub
in Southend he drank in during the sixties.
You surprised me when you
mentioned Fleetwood Mac, as an entirely different image of Malibu and
big houses on the sea in America came to mind! Aylesbury also tried to
build up its scene with Marillion and others.
Yes, and that is down to
the venues and the people around Aylesbury. They loved their music
there. Just like Liverpool in the sixties. People always seemed to have
heard of Aylesbury and were willing to travel there.
We've also unearthed some
photographs of you at Friars from 1976! There's a great picture
backstage of you with Pete Frame and Kris Needs!
I remember them! I'm going
to have to have a look at these!
I last saw you on TV for a
documentary on Anglia doing something about Essex?
That was a piece about a
band called Cougar.
And of course, you came
back to Aylesbury last year headlining the Hobble on the Cobbles. Great
that you came back and maintained the Aylesbury link!
I have fond memories of
Aylesbury and always will do.
Barrie, thanks for your
Eddie and the Hot Rods
This interview and its
content are © 2009 Mike O'Connor/www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk and may not
be used in whole or in part without permission.