Perfect Sound Forever

The King Of Oblivion Slings Mud

Guess The Correct Number Of Drug References Here & Win A Pony
Interview by Tony Rettman (June 2002)

Some legends never die, they just wait around for last call. Such is the case with Larry Wallis. To those with savings accounts, careers, and snot nosed brats running around, this name means probably nothing. Poor saps. To the pot huffing, vinyl-hoarding dateless wonders of the world, this name is known for repeating belch-like through out the underground of British Rock for the past thirty years or so. Wallis led The Pink Fairies (the U.K.'s heaviest and hairiest band in the late '60's/early '70's) through their most recognized period and wrote the bulk of the material on their classic Kings Of Oblivion album from 1973. He was also involved in the original amphetamine fueled line-up of Motorhead, plus he was the house producer at Stiff Records in the late '70's, making him responsible for sides by the likes of Wreckless Eric and The Adverts.

This is just the tip of this mans' iceberg and he's still cooking with gas my friends. His new self released solo CD, Death In The Guitarfternon shows the man still has the same spit and gravel that sent so many flower powering love children screaming in electrified horror from open air festivals in the days of peace and love. Larry's story ('cause the guy sure ain't history yet, dig?) is a very long and humorous one. The last time any one sat him down for a good, long chinwag was back in the glory days of Forced Exposure magazine when Brit Rock Historian (and current Wallis biographer) Nigel Cross interviewed him for the mag. Since this new CD is a total scalp burner, I figured it was time for his story to be looked upon with the respect it deserves. Although most interviews conducted via e-mail come off about as exciting as the back of your hand, I think this one came out pretty decent. Then again, we could have done this with two paper cups and a piece of string and Larry's responses still would of been aces. Lets' dig in...

PSF: What first allured you to the guitar?

LW: The first time I was hit by the sound of a guitar was with 'skiffle' as played by Lonnie Donegan whose guitar player was his brother Les. When I heard Hank B. Marvin on the Cliff Richards and The Drifters album and saw the pic of him with a Vox solid body guitar, all was truly lost. As I moved into my teens, Duane Eddy made his presence felt and I was an avid seeker of instrumental records and then I was in my first band, The Saints. I then became aware of an incredible noise, this being Bo Diddley's single "Mona" with "Road Runner" on the flip and things started to change in a big way. I changed the name of the band to The King Bees and added a singer. The Stones became a big thing to me. I used to go see them at Club 51 on Great Newport Street on a Sunday afternoon, then help them get their gear in the van and jump on a train to go see them at The Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. They didn't even have a record out yet.

PSF: Was this around the same time you were working at Selmers' Music Store?

LW: Yeah. Selmers' was in the Charing Cross Road in London in the '60's and it was the Mecca of beat groupery and the hippest music store in London. Liverpool might have been the birthplace of beat, but London was where it was happening and they ALL came through Selmers'. Every band you can think of had their pictures on the walls accompanied by autographs. I was later given these photos, and when I broke up with my girlfriend at the time, she threw them all in the garbage.

PSF: Youch!

LW: I know, I know. We had a show here called Top of the Pops and the roadies would come asking what they could use 'on trial' for a day or so. I remember it was a big deal when The Stones did TV, showing off our Gibson Thunderbirds. Albert Lee was in Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds at the time and always had to be tricked into playing. We'd say 'Here Albert, hold this a minute, would ya mate?' as he was handed a Telelcaster that was already plugged into an amp.

PSF: Let's talk about your first psychedelic band you formed back then, The Entire Sioux Nation.

LW: I wanted to form a (Hendrix) Experience/Cream power trio. but I was introduced to the first of many loser managers, this one being named John Cooke. He took me around to a load of auditions for bands who were going to Germany to tour. We went along to one for this band from Newcastle called The Gas Light, who had a singer named Bryan Ferry. But more to the point, they had a drummer who looked just like me. His hair was all frizzed out, he was skinny- he looked like Mitch Mitchell and he looked real bored and out of place in a soul outfit. I pulled him to one side and said 'Hey! You look just like me!' He knew a bass player named Tim Taylor and the next week both of them came to my parents' house where we stayed and tried to get famous. We were fucking sensational, but none of us could sing, so we got this guy who is now a 'Fashion Guru,' well at least that's what the newspapers tell me. His name is Terry Nolder, a great guy. He was also in a group named The Eyes. He kinda went and we got Steve Collier from The Misunderstood. We recorded, but nothing ever happened with it. We played The Speakeasy and all those places a lot. We got hold of another tossy manager, this one being Tony Hall, who ruined our chances by sitting on us. We wanted to be managed by Ronnie Lyons and Bennet Glozer. They wanted to take us to San Francisco and turn us into gods. Eventually Paul Nichols (the Mitch Mitchell looking drummer-T.R.) went on and joined Lindisfarne, and me and Tim went on with Steve and Mickey.

PSF: O.K. good... let's find out how you met Mick Farren and Steve Took

LW: Mick and Took came down to the Speakeasy one night when we were playing and I was doing my best Hendrix that night. Afterword, Mick and Took cornered me and asked if I wanted to join a bigger league. Mick had just broke up The Deviants and Tookie had just been booted from Tyrannosaurus Rex.

PSF: And this was initially supposed to be The Pink Fairies, right?

LW: Oh yeah, but then Mick and Steve had a row and Steve took me and Tim Taylor with him to form Shagrat.

PSF: Let's talk about Shagrat

LW: Well, it wasn't so much a band as it was me and Tooks' own world. If we coulda harnessed what we had, it woulda been awesome. But it ended up just us sitting around in rooms, doing drugs.

PSF: I dunno, you guys got it together enough to record those songs and do the Phun City festival (Shagrat recorded some demos back then that surfaced on vinyl in the early '90's when Nigel Cross released them. They are currently available on CD from the Captain Trip label. Phun City was a three day festival that was put together by Mick Farren and held in Sussex in the summer of 1970. It is most well known for providing the United Kingdom with its first live glimpse/earful of The MC5-T.R.)

LW: Phun City was pretty far fuckin' out. As I stepped out of the van on that Saturday afternoon, the very first thing I saw was a creature straight out of a Gilbert Shelton nightmare wielding a chunk of fence post with a big steel spike sticking out of it muttering about 'Killin' dem fakking 'ippies' which scared the living fuck out of me. Backstage was a dream. Now, I'd been around the Ladbroke Grove circuit, but this was a major gear shift in the transmission of my life dude. I was in the underground comic book I loved so much, and ya hadda get hip fast let me tell ya. We of course were munching, smoking and snorting anything that came out way. I remember sitting around, getting higher and higher, looking into the jaws of our first gig, knowing we had the crowd on our side, but one foot put wrong and the fuckers would eat us like a plate of brown rice. It was a weird feeling and it was only alleviated by the fact that we knew there was nothing like us. As Steve put it, we had 'trip'... a direction... a thing. We weren't just rockers, we had 'trip'. With all that in mind, the gig pretty much came and went. The sound was bad where we were. It had rough patches, in fact you could say it had some good patches, but I think they liked us. I guess you would need a member of the audience to give you the real skinny, dude. We stuck around though. We tripped out of our minds and when The MC5 erupted with "Kick Out The Jams," I had an epiphanic moment, and I was never the same way again.

PSF: So Shagrat sorta fizzled out then. Is this where you joined Bloodwyn Pig?

LW: Alan Powell form Hawkwind joined Bloodwyn Pig just when the dust settled from that geezer from Yes leaving (Peter Banks-T.R.) and he put my name in. What a fucking nightmare! Chrysalis reckoned we should go a bit up-market and drop the 'pig' form the name... so we did. Then they realized the frontmans' name was Jack Lancaster, so they suggested Lancasters' Bombers. After a while, that wasn't classy enough, so they decided to just shorten it to 'Lancaster' with a rose in the logo. This is where I exited. Jack Lancaster used to piss me off anyways 'cos he wore Dr. Scholls' sandals... NOT VERY ROCK AND ROLL!!!

PSF: After Bloodwyn Pig, you answered an ad in the Melody Maker that read 'Gigantic Rock Band, No Names, Needs A Guitarist. You've Got To Look Great.' Am I correct?

LW: It was all very secretive for some reason. Eventually I found out it was U.F.O. It was the winter of 1972. I toddled off to the audition. When I got there, Andy Parker (drummer for UFO) and Pete Way (bassist) were there, along with a video camera. No Phil Mogg (singer). He probably had a plumbing job that day. Now, at the time I had the full set up... the long hair... the cool hippy garb. When I came in, Pete said 'He looks like a star.' We plugged me in and the day before I heard Hendrix on the John Peel radio show and he'd whacked out something called "Drivin' South," so I just started playing my version of that. And that was that. I had never heard of UFO, but I didn't tell them that. Mark Hannau was our manager. He had just parted ways with the successful Curved Air. We thought the Curved Air pedigree was great until we figured out they must have fired him for a reason. He signed us a publishing deal for 8000 pounds, which was a respectful amount in those days. We were about to go off on a tour of Germany, so naturally we spent the money on a sound system bigger than anyone else's and a second hand Bentley. The tour ended when the German gangsters running one of the shows nicked the Bentley. Apparently Mark Hannau made them believe we were going to stay in Germany and tour for them. It was then we figured out Mark wouldn't be giving Peter Grant (Zeppelin manager) any sleepless nights.

When we got back, Chrysalis got involved and gave us a chap named Wilf Wright to look after us. They kept us busy touring Italy and these were great times. One night, I got drunk and told Phil Mogg what I really thought of him and he kicked me out. Pete and Andy were real upset, but whatcha gonna do? The roadies hated me leaving so much they dropped my amps off at my parents' house. This caused Wilf to have a meeting with me where he said the amps weren't mine and I would have to give them back. I said 'No' and Wilf pointed out it would be a great shame if the police were told anonymously that dope was kept and smoked at my parents' house. I called him a string of names that I felt suited his behavior and made an exit. Fuck him and the stolen horse he rode in on!

PSF: And right after that was when you were asked to join The Pink Fairies.

LW: I wanted to be a Pink Fairy more than anything in the world. Mick Wayne was the singing guitarist in the band at the time and I was called in to flesh it out a bit. We rehearsed, and quite frankly, I was a bit disappointed that I was being asked to join a rather crap version of The Pinks. I was used to seeing Paul Rudolph (Original Fairies guitarist) shake the joint with his mighty dope axe of lurve with his renditions of "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "I Saw Her Standing There." Here I was with Mick 'Mr. Nice Guy' Wayne hearing him go on about how he'd walk ten miles for his big legged woman. What a fucking drag! Our first gig arrived at one of the bigger pubs on the outskirts of London on a Sunday night. We did it and I enjoyed it. In the dressing room, Russell (Hunter, Pink Fairies drummer) says 'Either Mick goes and Larry takes over, or I quit.' Apparently everyone agreed. The Fairies were booked into Chipping Norton and I was told to write the songs I was gonna sing on the album. I hadn't sung nor wrote music before. For two weeks I stayed in Chipping Norton, writing and singing the songs and playing all the guitar tracks. And that's how Kings Of Oblivion was born.

PSF: I find it amazing you just picked up and wrote those songs. Not to come off like a sycophant, but that record is amazing.

LW: Tell Polydor that. They cheated me out of royalties by not producing a contract. They told me "No worries son, it's in the works" and once it was released they pretended like I didn't exist. It's being released as a digital experience for the umpteenth time, but I won't see any of it. It's a shame, because a lot of people consider it to be a rock classic.

PSF: Oh yeah! So The Fairies broke up in the Spring of 1974, but kept getting back together here and there through out the mid 70s' for live gigs.

LW: We broke up because we couldn't get work, then after a while, someone somewhere would think 'It's time to do The Fairies thing again,' make us an offer to do some gigs and we'd do 'em. Then we'd fade away again.

PSF: So when did you get a call from Lemmy to join Motorhead?

LW: I wasn't really doing anything at the time. I was a Pink Fairy, and I guess I'll always be, but at the time we were resting. So, one Friday afternoon I got a call from Lemmy. He wasn't really a chum so it was strange to hear from him. He'd been dumped from Hawkwind for being naughty at the Canadian/American border and he was forming Motorhead. He wanted to know if I wanted to get myself over to Chelsea and test our collective guns as the power trio to end all power trios. How many answers can you come up with for that? I was in a cab and headed towards Chelsea like a speed freak on his way to a speed booth. I was excited by the turn of events. I got there and met Lucas Fox (original Motorhead drummer) for the first time. Lemmy drew us aside and whacked out something that looked like Vim (English equivalent to Ajax) and asked 'Wanna line?' I asked him 'What is it?' 'Amphetamine Sulphate' was his reply. Ah, speed! I was in friendly territory. When I hovered the gigantic line of drug up my nose, I thought I'd really snorted kitchen cleaner. My nose was blowtorch city, but this soon ceased to bother me, as I wanted to run around the room as fast as possible whilst taking in detail every event and idea that had ever happened occurred to me. Lemmy knew what to do with this batch of happy nerve endings. 'Let's make a noise,' growled The Lem. We plugged in, left the amp settings where they were, as they were already turned with a monkey wrench, and went nuts. In hindsight, it would of been great to dump Lucas Fox right then and there. We never really spotted that being Keith Moon on a busy day wasn't his forte. I guess exuberance, noise and dope made us blind to the fact. We commenced rehearsing and that could be a real drag. I often sat in a room alone for two hours or more waiting for Lemmy. That got old real fast.

We wanted to pride ourselves on being the fastest band in the world and it got the best of us at one of our first gigs. We were doing a Sunday night gig in Croydon. We rushed on stage and off we went. I remember Lemmy and I were shouting at Lucas 'Faster, you fucking idiot, FASTER!' We went down real well, and triumphantly strode off the stage. As we were sitting there contemplating an encore, a purple promoter erupted in to the dressing room, demanding to know why we'd done 25 minutes instead of the agreed hour. We were amazed/amused/astonished to find out we'd played the entire set in half the usual time!

PSF: So why leave Motorhead?

LW: The problems eventually took over the fun. Recording the first album, On Parole was trying enough on its own. We had to get down to Wales to record at Rockfield. Lem turned up a day or two late and then Dave Edumnds bowed out of producing it at the last minute. Then we took Lucas' drum tracks off and replaced them with Phil's (Taylor). Then UA made Lemmy record the bass tracks again. And after all that, they refused to put it out! The game didn't look as if it was worth the candle. I wanted another guitarist to flesh it out, but once Eddie Clark came along, it was apparent he would be the man to replace me. He had the enthusiasm that had been eaten away from me by circumstances. I get a ton of e-mails every week asking if there is any chance of me working with the 'Head again. I'd like to do an album with Lemmy again. I can actually write good things with an electric guitar these days. You hear me, Lem?

PSF: Didn't you play some all star jam show with Rat Scabies (The Damned) and Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) around this time?

LW: No, I didn't play that show, but I did watch it. It was at The Hope and Anchor and was yet another benefit to prevent closure of London's most successful rock pub. I remember being in the dressing room and Phil sending his personal Charlie out to his Rolls Royce to get some smoke. He came back with the largest lump of hash I'd ever seen. Phil kept his stash in the hubcaps of his Rolls Royce.

PSF: Woah... did you ever hang out with Phil on a regular basis?

LW: Not really. I went to a Saint Patty's day party at his place once though.

PSF: Good enough for me. So is this around the time you fell in with Stiff Records?

LW: The Fairies reunited and did a single on Stiff ("Between The Lines"/"Spoiling For A Fight") and for some reason, the punks really liked us. Johnny Rotten is reported as saying we were on of his favorite old new bands, or something to that effect. Anyways, I'm at the bar of Dingwalls' and Jake Riviera (Stiff head honcho) and Nick Lowe say to me 'Get into this new thing' and I did. I did a solo single on Stiff ("Police Car"/"On Parole") Nick was the house producer for Stiff, but one day Jake told me I was going to produce a punk single by a band called The Adverts. I felt sick- this was a responsibility indeed. Jake chucked me in the deep end, but I came out alive, so all was well. I did a load of work without a contract though, so no royalties for me.

PSF: Any favorite as far as producing goes?

LW: To be honest, it's all kind of a blur. I liked some of The Members stuff. Since most of the bands did one single for Stiff and faded away- it makes them even harder to remember. Wreckless Eric was funny and eccentric. Terribly grumpy and enormously talented. Incredibly easy to offend and blindingly insightful. Barely understandable and his own worst enemy.

PSF: Did Nick Lowe pass any advice to you as far as producing goes?

LW: Oh, what can I say about the Basher? Nick was nicknamed the Basher by Dr. Feelgood. When he would record them he used this line often "Alright, let's bash the bugger out and we'll tart it up later." And a sobriquet was born. He completely changed my attitude to music. I'd been hanging out with bands who thought that it was all life and death shit, but Nick got me hip to the 'It's only a bloody pop tune' way of looking at it. I gotta tell ya buddy, you dump a lotta headaches when the truth hits you. I'd spend hours worrying 'Is the repeat echo okay? Should it come in at .015 seconds or .016?' Nick would say "They're just gonna hear a pretty echo, don't argue about the bloody delay." He of course was right.

PSF: So you joined up for the 'Live Stiffs' tour...

LW: It was a marvelous sharing of time and space with some truly interesting people. It's a pity I was mad as a hatter at the time of it. Jake took the idea from the Stax revue, whereby a label would package all its' major stars and use the same band for the lot. No messing around for an half an hour changing everything around, just BAM BAM BAM, wall to wall music for the duration. Everyone used the same amps and drums. The stage set up was to accommodate any and all combination of the artists involved and there was no set running order of artists. There were to be no "We'll go late and miss the supporting bands" as you could arrive a half an hour late and miss Elvis Costello or Ian Dury. It really was the sum of its parts that made the whole thing what it was. Seeing Ian Dury and The Blockheads take the crowd to some wonderful, magical cosmic whelk-stall was an unforgettable experience for me. Of course I watched Elvis every night too. Have The Attractions ever been recognized as one of the greatest backup outfits ever put together? I don't think so pal. Peter Thomas, Steve Naive, and Bruce Thomas are hands down one of the finest things I've ever seen tear up a joint.

I fucked up my chance though. I didn't know that although we looked like a jolly bunch of troubadours, all the artists concerned ultimately wanted to win the fame race. One day, Jake said something to me that I never really took on board, he said "I get up every morning wondering where I can move all these Monopoly pieces of life so as to gain me maximum advantage without incurring too much bad karma. You wake up in the morning and think 'I wonder what's going to happen to me today?'" He was bang on the money. I missed that one while it sailed away. Maybe I'll get it right this time.

PSF: It was around the late '70's/early '80's you got to play with your idol, Wayne Kramer

LW: Whatta guy! The first time I met Wayne was when he was over for reasons that escape me, but the first time we met was when Boss Goodman (the Pink Fairies nurse and big brother) brought Wayne over to my place. I remember sitting in my kitchen and saying 'I can't believe I've got Wayne Kramer in my kitchen!' to which me replied 'I can't believe I'm with Larry Wallis!' and that knocked me out. I remember we were recording at Pathway studios and I didn't realize Wayne had a methadone thing goin' on. I kinda got the hint though when we took a break from recording by going over to the pub to shoot pool and drink a few beers. Wayne disappeared only to be discovered a while later asleep and unwakable under the pool table. Wayne came to stay at my place for a night or two, and I had a girlfriend of mine around to keep the scenery interesting and Wayne thought that if he got me out of it, he'd be able to enjoy my friends' company in a little more depth. We bought some whiskey and were happily guzzling away when Wayne asked me 'Fancy some methadone... Y'know the completely harmless form of heroin?' Sure! Color me adventurous! I took a swig, and a short while and a long whiskey later he asked me "Fancy a little more 'done dude?" Yeah baby! What could it hoit? Then the whirling started, followed by the vomiting and the terrifying travel sick feeling that just wouldn't quit. I started to slip into a somnambulistic state, which I'm sure Kramer would of let happen, as I guess his judgment wasn't exactly razor sharp. if you get my meaning. But my friend, God bless her, wouldn't let me sleep and we all came out of it alive. I hear Kramer has been clean and well for a long time now. Chalk one up for the good guys.

PSF: You kinda laid low for most of the '80's.

LW: I had a gang of chums that I'd hung out and played together with in that time. George Butler, Sandy from The Fairies and assorted nutters that came and went. Basically, if Farren wanted to play or record, we'd become his 'Good Guys' but I got a bee in my bonnet about not having the same (band) name twice. First, we were called The Death Commandos of Love and that became The Hot Dog Stands of Destiny and then we became The Loaded Decks of Despair. All our shows were small time and low key. It seems around that time, I'd only do a gig as long as nobody knew about it. It's the old "Aaaw, you don't wanna see me, I'm crap" kinda thing. I'm a fucking idiot.

PSF: There was that Pink Fairies reunion record in the mid-'80's.

LW: That whole thing is a goldmine of anecdotes, tall tales, nightmares and buffonery and most of them have to do with The High Priest of The Church of the Clouded Issue, 'Twank', our drummer (real name being Twink Alder) I use the sobriquet 'Twank' as it fits so nicely on the level of where double entendres live. It's a play on the English term, 'Wank' as in to masturbate. He is 'A WANKER,' geddit my American cousin? It was Jake Rivieras' new Demon Records label that used the much dreaded and much feared incarnation of The Fairies the ole 'We'll give you money if you make an album' deal and we were off! Russell gently brought up the question 'Might we regret including Twink, the most untrustworthy madman in the universe, in on this deal?' 'Naahhhhh' I said. We got a manager, and we got a good rehearsal space and we've got songs, but it was a case of 'too many cooks'. We had a couple of songwriters, and four blokes who liked to sing, so compromises had to be made. I feel that album (Kill 'Em and Eat 'Em) had no 'trip' (Remember that from Took?) It's safe, nicely recorded record. When we were recording, our manager had popped over with the contracts from Demon so we could sign them and get our advances. We whipped out our pens with the speed of James Coburn's Magnificent Seven switchblade accessorizing a bad guys' shirt when Twank piped up. "I must wear two hats. As Twank the artist I am all in favor of this venture, but as Twank, the managing director of this band, I have a duty to my stockholders to ensure that Twanks' artists' values are being maximized in the most advantageous way possible." A strange silence descended upon the proceedings as both despair and deja-vu took off their jackets and pulled up a chair. Twank had finally emerged in all his awesome splendor, as mad as a bag of spiders. I then told Twank he was completely fucking insane and I must have been nuts to even contemplate the possibility of this thing going smoothly. I should have listened to Russell.

The coach rides to the gig were a riot. Twank would sit up front and try to get the manager to give him his own dressing room complete with a shower, etc. This might sound like sour grapes, but trust me, his recollections of what actually happened in certain periods of rock history viz a viz his involvement in them are becoming legendary among those who know the truth and care about it, but that's another story I guess.

[TR: Twink Alder was the drummer for The Pink Fairies from winter of 1970 to summer of 1971. Prior to that he drummed in the mid '60's with Tomorrow and recorded an amazing solo LP Think Pink. Since then he's been nothing but a pain in the ass to anyone I've talked to.]

PSF: What's the deal with The Redbirds, the trio you had in the early '90's. That 12" you did ("Truth, Justice, And A Wholesome Packed Lunch") is the best thing you've done since Kings of Oblivion in my ears/eyes

LW: I got a call from Phil Mitchell from Dr. Feelgood to say he'd been shit-canned. So we got the drummer from The Enid and made an R&B record. I really liked the 12" too. We recorded it at Phils' house. Unfortunately, we never recorded anything else and we never really did anything.

PSF: You have a reputation as being a heavy drinker. Do you still indulge?

LW: Ah! The demon has stepped into the spotlight. Drink has played a very large part in my life, but I didn't realize where it was taking me until I got there, and by then it was too late. There's nothing worse than a guy who hates himself because he's a drunk with a fairly cool line of royalty cheques dropping onto his doormat at regular intervals. For a while, I became a hermit. I didn't go anywhere because it interfered with my drinking. Folks who weren't aware of my new career move would call with all kinds of offers. I'd agree then let them down because drinking makes even the most mundane tasks really hard work. One day, I stopped doing everything. I'd been boozing in fifth gear for about a week, and was easing off into withdrawal. For a good 72 hours, I had the shakes, the sweats and was freezing all at the same time. Everything I'd seen smack freaks do in the movies. So, one particular day during this withdrawal I was filling a glass from the faucet when I thought I'd been hit over the head by a burglar. I went down on the kitchen floor amidst A LOT of water and blood. I couldn't control my limbs. I was alone and in trouble. It was then that I figured out I was a fully paid member of the club of drinking. I tucked my shirt under the bleeding hole in my face and realized I'd fainted or something. I managed to call a chum and told him to get my spare flat keys' from my mother and get here pronto. I spent the night in the E.R. with stitches in my chin and mouth, about thirty in all and I was still withdrawing very badly. Around 2:30 AM, a guy in a white smock with a clipboard stopped by my trolley to have a chat. He was a neurologist and he said he chanced upon me on the computer and went over my medical records. Some years ago, I developed a limp that I ignored. This guy told me it was Peripheral Polyneuropathy. This is caused by cancer, diabetes, and, you guessed it, alcoholism. He told me that even a pint of beer a week would have me in a wheelchair in three years and dead in five. That was March 29, 1997. I have just entered my sixth year without booze. I still smoke as much pot as the traffic will bear.

PSF: Thank god! I thought you'd completely sold out! So what brought you back to recording and playing?

LW: My family had a christening. It was unusual for me to show up to something like this. It was even more unusual for my cousin, Gary Wallis (Pink Floyd sideman), to show up. He turned to me, knowing I was sober, and said 'Have you ever thought of buying a Mac with all the bells and whistles and recording at home?' Twelve thousand pounds worth of life savings later, I was in possession of my recording studio, Fido West. It was like a flying saucer had landed in this old analogue dudes' room and he had to learn to fly it. It took two years of obstacle jumping. Truth be told, if I could have looked into the future and seen what computer based recording entailed, I would have lost interest and given up, but I didn't. Lucky me.

PSF: So, will you be going out to play live?

LW: The truth is this: I can't bring myself to fuck around in a half-hearted fashion anymore. If the CD creates some interest, and I'm asked to gig, I will. I don't want the cotton candy filled Caddy to get me to the gigs, but I want to do it properly. I want to have two axes, bass and drums and possibly a guy with samplers. I ain't doing smoky basements either. I want to do festivals or something similar. I'm not trying to come off flash, but it's a big sounding CD, and I want to do it justice, y'know?

PSF: Uh huh.

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