“Nadine” By The John Moore Rock n Roll Trio ft The Loose Moorelles
“I thought you didn’t approve of covers bands” sneered a colleague at VP Towers. “Explain to me” he continued “What is the difference between this covers album and say , the X-Factor” as malicious glee danced in the dead, stagnant pools that passed for eyes. The album in question was “Roll Your Activator” by The John Moore Rock n’ Roll trio, and the colleague, well, he is obviously an idiot of the first order who’s name does not deserve to appear here. “The difference,” I explained to this pea brained oaf , “is that these people love and understand the music they produce, they understand rock n’ roll history, they respect it, but not in an overtly reverential way favoured by the joyless musical librarian. Nope, this lot know that rock n’ roll is made up of many elements, but the key is to have a bloody good time. They are not using it as an ‘expressway’ to fame and money. It’s a love thang baby ! ” And in many ways that is the essence of what The John Moore Rock n’ Roll Trio ft The Loose Moorelles is all about . They are not big or clever, they are not here to make profound statements, topple governments or lecture us about our carbon foot prints before flying off on their private jets. They are playing music for the best and most noble of reasons- the drugs, the bling and the groupies . … I jest of course , their only motivation is the joy of playing songs which they quite clearly adore and with which they have an emotional connection.
We could of talk of them providing a public service, of bringing songs that may have been forgotten back into the public consciousness once more, but that may sound too lofty, we could talk of them getting back to basics and playing rock n roll without tricks or gimmicks but that might sound too smug. What we can say is The John Moore Rock n Roll trio know their rock n roll, (which is handy given their name) and they appear to have a rollicking good time doing what they do . Formed in a petri dish at John Moore’s Germ Organisation HQ , mixing the collective DNA from members of Lush, The Jesus and Mary Chain , Black Box Recorder and the Guardian newspaper and featuring The Loose Moorelles, (who let’s face it, make the Pussycat Dolls look like Peggy Mount and Patricia Routledge) they are set to release their first album “Roll Your Activator” on Greaser 2000 records. To celebrate this defining moment in the history of popular culture and his imminent knighthood for services to music we spoke to Moore and to one half of the Loose Moorelles, Laura Barton about how the “ worlds greatest super group” go about the business of bring Rock n Roll to the masses…whether they want it or not ..and found that resistance is futile…
VP: What’s the thinking behind doing an album featuring rock n’ roll classics? Is it a wake up call to a world in which oblong headed reality show oligarchs acknowledge only two musical styles, the Mariah- warble- fest and the cheesy faux sincerity of the boy band …or not ?
JOHN MOORE: We’re reinventing the wheel – sort of. Year Zero without the genocide. A program of Cultural Re-Education for da ute innit.
More importantly though, we’re doing this because it’s a joy to do. Uncomplicated – theoretically, unbridled joy. I started playing rock and roll and blues when I was ten years old – the wild man of Wokingham. To hear my little unbroken voice proclaim that ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You Baby’ must have been a joy to behold. However, now that my voice has broken, I still want to – albeit, a little less frantically, and perhaps stopping for a rest now and then.
I am not particularly concerned about these TV music shows – all they do is sort the wheat from the chaff. There’s always been shite out there, and shite-peddlars like you know who. If Charles Dickens had written today, he could have done a great – destitute child enters talent show and is mercilessly exploited by terrifying abusive tyrant in titsters and his drunken WAG slattern. I did watch the Susan Boyle final, but only because I thought she was going to explode and take everyone out with her.
I have managed to convince my daughter now, that X-Factor is evil, and as long as she believes it, I am happy.
VP:Was selecting the tunes a democratic process with all members of the band having a choice or do you rule with an iron fist ?
JOHN MOORE: I’ll be interested to read what Laura says here…and will be careful of what I say. I think that like the best democracies, the selection was a natural evolution, based on mutual appreciation, and…Phil knowing the bass lines. It was completely democratic ‘cause if it hadn’t have been, I’d have had to kick some ass.
LAURA BARTON : What happens is this: Moore sends out a list of songs to which he has taken a particular fancy, and which he expects us to learn by the next rehearsal. However on at least six occasions during any given rehearsal Moore will appear to have been suddenly struck by lightning and declare that we absolutely have to play Gary US Bonds New Orleans (or somesuch). And then he’ll play the riff and try to recall the lyrics, until someone points out that we only have 20 minutes left and anyway Phil doesn’t know the bassline. We all love the songs though, make no mistake about that.
VP: I grew up with the influence of Punk and New Wave ringing in my teenage ears, it was only as I got older I started to appreciate the influence of latter day Rock n’ Roll and blues. What were your own introductions to what we now consider classic Rock n Roll ?
JOHN MOORE: The opposite actually. Having begun with Gary Glitter ( I still speak his name – his music can not be denied, even if Paul Gadd turned out to be a tosser ), Slade and The Sweet, I got Little Richard, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley at ten. My dad’s friend stored his record collection at our place due to a little bailiff situation, and I went through them as if they were brand new releases. He taught me how to play them, then at thirteen, he took me to my first ever gig – Muddy Waters at the Rainbow – in Finsbury Park – can you believe that? What a start. Later on, I took him to Ian Dury and The Blockheads at Hammersmith Odeon – he was my dad’s age, but when it came to music we were the same age – except he had to buy the drinks.
When punk came along, I was a bit unsure at first. When I heard of the punks and teds fights on the Kings Rd, I wanted the teds to win…until the Pistols went on the Today show. Rock and Roll and Punk are hardly any different. Check out Crazy Cavan – or even pre- Superstardom Shakin’ Stevens. Their shows look like punk shows, they were serious – they meant it Maaan.
LAURA BARTON : I was very, very fortunate because I was raised by parents who were absolutely besotted with music (and still are – my Mother started an email to me the other day with the words “Am listening to Yeasayer”). It was my Dad who was the rock ‘n’ roll fan though — he introduced me to doo-wop and blues and to rock ‘n’ roll, and I think there’s something to be said to learning about all three together – you sort of work out how they are plaited together. He was a teenager at precisely the right time I think, and has never lost his love for rock ‘n’ roll; he used to teach me how to rock ‘n’ roll dance in our living room (he’s a very good dancer) and our family car journeys were frequently soundtracked by Fats Domino and the Big Bopper and Chuck Berry. He also taught me how to curl my lip like Elvis, and that I should always carry a comb in my back pocket
VP: How did The Loose Moorelles get press ganged into joining this dissolute young gang of Rock n Roll rebels?
LAURA BARTON : I first met Moore at an NME Awards aftershow at a working men’s club in West London. I believe the Bravery were playing and I had just offended Gary Lightbody. After that, Moore and I became firm friends. And so when he called me up and asked me to sing backing vocals for him at his daughter’s school fete I did not hesitate. I also brought along my friend Miss Cecilia Fage, because she is a fabulous singer, and also a total hotcakes. I recall we got dolled up in the infant class toilets and calmed our nerves with a steady supply of Pimm’s.
VP: Obviously all the songs featured mean something to you , but if you had to pick an absolute favourite which would it be and why ?
JOHN MOORE: It would have to be a Bo Diddley one, although I am not certain which. ‘I Can Tell’ is great – heavy, moody and raw, whereas ‘Road Runner’ is fun…I love em all, but Bo is the best.
VP: Bo Diddley’s a hero of yours, how did you end up meeting him and what was the man himself like?
JOHN MOORE: When I was 16, I went on a Freddy Laker Fly Drive Holiday with my ma and my pal. We drove from New York to New Orleans and back, visiting all the places from the sleevenotes of my records. Knoxville Tennessee –home of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Macon Georgia- Little Richard, McComb Mississippi – Bo…even Wilmington Delaware – George Thorogood – I still love George.
Later that year, I went to see Bo play, and like the fan boy I am, knocked on his dressing room door for an autograph. He was busy, so I talked to this kind woman and told her I’d been to see where he was from. She turned out to be his wife, and she made sure we met and talked. The next week, he was playing in Reading, near where I lived, and he told me to get my ass there – say your name and you’re on the door, and come and see me before I go on. So I got there early, ate sandwiches with him, and he let me play his guitar, showed me how he did some of his tricks, and told me if I was ever in Florida, to come and stay – and if I even looked at his daughters, he’d have to arrest me…he was the sheriff.
I met him a few times in New York after I’d moved there to be a rock and roll degenerate. He laughed at my bleached hair and told me I looked like I’d been electrocuted.
He was a beautiful man. Kind, extremely tough, and very funny – and the best of all.
VP: What does “Roll Your Activator” mean?
JOHN MOORE: You would have to ask the ladies that. They seem to have imbued it with some filthy meaning that I could hardly even begin to describe.
But if one takes it, that Moneymaker refers to a lady’s callipygous regions, activator might possibly re….no, I can’t continue. Put it like this – Prince will be green with envy that he didn’t think of it first.
LAURA BARTON : How can I say this without blushing? Let us just describe it as something akin to “A wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom” but a smidgen Frutti-er.
VP: Who would you consider to be the most “Rock n’Roll performer of say, the last 20 years ?
JOHN MOORE: Need you even ask? Me of course…even when I was a stiff upper lipped English cynic, I was still bopping inside. I am certainly enjoying The Jim Jones Revue – now there’s a man that can sing, and a band that can play. I was about to say the Mary Chain, until I realized that it was more than twenty years ago. Nothing from dreaded Brit Pop springs to mind. Kurt Cobain – although not exactly known for drapes and crepes, he was about as rock and roll as it’s possible to be.
LAURA BARTON : Aside from Sir John Moore esq, I’d have to say Jack White. He’s just an extraordinary performer and an extraordinary musician, and his music changed my life. Everything that could be said about the White Stripes has likely already been said, but that noise they make, that collision of blues and gospel and bluegrass and metal and yes rock ‘n’ roll is just a juggernaut, a wrecking ball. And live they are so compelling, so powerful; you can get whiplash from one of their shows.
VP: What’s the plan, will there be other albums? Will you try other styles, for example you could morph into the John Moore Glam Rock Trio or will it remain strictly rock n roll ?
JOHN MOORE: More Rock and Roll albums. And Blues albums. I want to growl like Howlin’ Wolf, and I am the man to do it. He didn’t record until his forties – an inspiration for us all. We must keep on recording these wonderful slices of fun and insanity – keep the flames burning. Subsequent volumes will have special guests – To be asked to appear on a John Moore and The Rock And Roll Trio featuring The Loose Moorelles album, will become the ultimate career accolade.
VP: If The JMRNR Trio and the Loose Moorelles had a motto what would it be ?
JOHN MOORE: Don’t Rest In Peace.