Here is another re-print of an old interview we did some years back – this one with French rocker Freddy Lynxx. This interview was conducted with Freddy in 1998 and was originally published that year. Freddy has a rich back-catalogue of cool rock n roll waiting for you to discover. You should start by visiting him on MySpace. We love ya Freddy !
Freddy Lynxx is a name familiar to Vicious Kitten readers. This gifted Paris singer/songwriter continues to create memorable rock n roll despite music industry indifference. Vicious Kitten long ago discovered the magic of his rock n roll – and this issue we speak to the man himself. Read on cats !! (interview conducted July, 1998)
Rockbrat: Freddy, you just got back from a European tour as guitarist with Jeff Dahl’s touring band. How was the tour ?
Freddy Lynxx: It was fucking brilliant ! The owners of the clubs and the audiences were really into it. Many people said it was the best Jeff Dahl tour they had ever seen. It’s a shame that rock n roll is almost dead in some parts of Europe, but it’s still working pretty well in Spain and some parts of Germany and France. Slovenia was really good but they still have problems with the cops.
RB: Who were your influences when you were growing up ? The Faces ? Johnny Halliday ?
FL: Not at all. I came to The Faces later on but the first record I bought was ‘Tommy’, the movie soundtrack by The Who. Then I discovered Bowie, Lou Reed, The Stooges, Mott The Hoople, Alice Cooper Band, Kiss etc.
RB: How did you get into rock n roll ?
FL: A friend of mine introduced me to a singer of a French band called The Fanatics. I became their official roadie. It was in 1982, and they introduced me to the Heartbreakers stuff. We went to London, ’cause at that time CBS Records asked them to record their second single there with producer Steve Parker, (who had produced the first Trust LP, and later went on to do ‘Dirty Work’ with the Stones). The Fanatics’ manager came back one day with The Heartbreakers ‘Live at Max’s’ LP, and the ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ single. I was addicted to it and in love with the music like never before ! So the next day I went along to the same market and found the pinky 12″ version of the single for £2.50, even though they had paid one pound more for it. When the Fanatics split some of the guys went to play with Henri Paul (a notorious friend of Johnny Thunders), and I became the roadie of that band too. Then later on I started my first band and met Johnny, but this is another story. As an anecdote, one of the guitar players of The Fanatics was Le Baron, who also played with Syl Sylvain.
RB: You spent the mid 80’s with the Watchmen, before forming the Jet Boys – is that correct ?
FL: Yes. It was in 1989, the same time as The Jet Boys. It was during the days when I used to live half of the time in Lille, and the other half in Paris. Lille was kind of dead but my girlfriend introduced me to El. Rotringo, a famous and notorious graphic artist. He still is. He used to sing and play bass with The Watchmen and they asked me to join them after a jam. I said ‘why not ?’ Then we had a lot of things goin’ on, and I decided that it was time to start a label of my own (Sucksex Records), ’cause nobody was really interested in signing bands who were singing in English. But the Jet Boys were a bit jealous, so I had to stop with The Watchmen.
RB: The Jet Boys one and only LP, 1989’s ‘Larger Than Life’ is classy Dolls/Stones inspired rock. The quality of songs has seen it become an underground classic. Can you single out a couple of highlights from those Jet Boys days ?
FL: The best ones are those when we played with Johnny Thunders. All the time we were trying to play with good rock n roll bands like the Vibrators, the Inmates and the Dogs D’amour. It wasn’t easy to convince promoters, but after we did the first single and got many good reviews for it, it became a piece of cake. One of my best memories was for the review of that single in one of the best French magazines. It was the middle of August, 1989 and usually the magazine would come out on the 20th of each month. I remember going to the library to buy another issue of the mag with Lou Reed on the cover, ’cause somebody had lost the first copy I bought. It took me ten minutes to find out that they had just put out a new issue a day early. When I started to read the mag I immediately saw a fucking picture of our first single but couldn’t find any review of it! Then I saw a big blank space in the page, and I said to myself “as lucky as we are (to get the record in the mag), this space belongs to us !” Then the woman from the library asked me if something was wrong ’cause I was getting nervous. So I explained to her and finally, she found the review! I read it for three fucking days like a kid.
RB: There was a 1994 US tour as well. Why did the Jet Boys call it a day ?
FL: Just because of problems between the drummer and the bass player. I was tired being in a school yard, so after ten years I left the band and have no regrets.
RB: The last line up of the Jet Boys featured the rich vocals of chanteuse Gieselle, whom has been a feature of your recordings ever since. Frankly I think she has the sweetest voice in rock. Where did you find her ?
FL: She’s born in New York but is a native of Serbia. She knew a friend of our drummer at the time, who was also the drummer in Shakin’ Street, a famous French band. We were looking for a bass player and he introduced me to her. She was living in Paris and was trying to play and sing with a rock n roll band, which is hard to find over here.
RB: Sky Dog Records have just re-released the Jet Boys debut album (which has long been sold out), plus added bonus tracks. Will the old band be reforming to promote it ?
FL: I don’t think so. Firstly, because I don’t know where the others are, and secondly I’ve got so many things to do right now that it’s impossible.
RB: 1995 saw the release of your debut solo single ‘Zip Your Lip’. How did you get former Pistol Glen Matlock to produce the record ?
FL: I met Glen while he was touring with the London Cowboys, and he also played with Patti Palladin. A few years later, Marc Zermati was looking for a producer to produce the second Jet Boys album. We asked Glen, who liked the band too. For some reason I can’t remember, we decided not to make an album for Mr. Zermati. So after a couple of phone calls to some Parisian studios I found out that it would be less expensive for us to book two flight tickets for Glen and Julian Standen (producer of London Cowboys, Siouxie and the Banshees etc). Plus the money they did ask for the work was better than using a shitty French engineer. And of course we were 100% sure to get a good result.
RB: You have recorded and toured with many of today’s coolest bands…Jeff Dahl, Nikki Sudden, Japan’s Golden Arms, the Kevin K Band from NYC and Boston’s Ballbusters to name some recent examples. It must be a real buzz playing with so many different artists ?
FL: Yes it is ! I like them all ! I like their music even though there are some differences, but it’s still some fucking good rock n roll and they’re all really nice people ! In fact, I will say that the biggest thing we all have in common is the roots – Johnny Thunders, the Rolling Stones etc.
RB: You have also begun producing bands. The Senders from NY ?
FL: Yes, they’re really good ! They’re so real ! I can’t believe that nobody has been interested in them. Flip, the singer, is from Paris but he has lived in New York since 1974 I guess. He used to be a good friend of Johnny Thunders too. You should see how good Wild Bill, their guitar player is ! He often plays with Robert Gordon. I saw them live at The Continental in NYC four years ago and it was magic. So when I came back to America last year to record some new songs – with the help of Jeff Dahl, The Golden Arms, Zepp Oberpichler, The Ballbusters, Mr. RatBoy and Kevin K, I still had a bit of money left in my pocket. So I decided to book the Tin Pan Alley studios again to produce two songs for the Senders and two songs for the Kevin K Band. The Senders songs will appear on a Sucksex compilation CD to be released later on this year, and the Kevin K songs will be released as a single next September. I’ll go back to New York at the same time to record and produce more stuff with both of them.
RB: Readers may not know of your close association and friendship with Johnny Thunders back in the 80’s. I know you have many special memories of Johnny. Is there one you would like to share ?
FL: One of the good ones was when Johnny was always bringing me something, like presents. He was very surprised to see how big my Thunders record collection was, so sometimes he used to bring me rare stuff like test pressings. It was really cool coming from him ! Sometimes he used to be very sad. When I asked him why, he said that he was not allowed to see his kids anymore. It was terrible for him !
RB: Between touring, recording, writing and producing, you still find time to publish your Johnny Thunders mag a couple of times a year – it is a great publication which keeps Johnny’s memory and music alive. Johnny’s legacy continues to grow and grow….
FL: Yes, thanks that you like it. The thing is that now he is dead, I would like to see him alive and spend more time with him. When he died it was terrible for me. When I started to play rock n roll, it was because he stirred it up. To see him go was just like a part of me was going away too. So I could say that this mag is to keep his flame alive and think that he’s always there with us. For me it is more of a kind of therapy.
RB: What does the remainder of 1998 hold for Freddy Lynxx ?
FL: Many things. There’s a bunch of singles coming out, as is the next Nikki Sudden album. I have to find a record deal with someone ’cause I’ve got an acoustic album with Nikki Sudden, and two of my own in the pipeline. A Finnish label will probably put out a 7″ of Jyrki (69 Eyes) and I, under the name of The Dead Souls. Plus in September, Skydog Records are going to be re-releasing the Jet Boys album with six bonus tracks.
RB: What was the first concert you ever attended ?
FL: It was David Bowie in 1978 for the ‘Stage’ tour, I still have the ticket.
RB: Name your five ‘Desert Island Discs’
FL: Difficult question ’cause I wouldn’t want to offend someone with my answer ! But anyway, if there’s a chance for a plug, I will take:
1) ‘LAMF’ by the Heartbreakers (the lost 77 mixes version sounds cool to me)
2) ‘So Alone’ by Johnny Thunders
3) ‘Exile On Main Street’ by the Rolling Stones (or maybe ‘Some Girls’)
4) ‘Here Comes The Snake’ by Green On Red
5) ‘Ziggy Stardust’ by David Bowie (the CD with the bonus tracks makes me crazy !)
RB: A message for the Vicious Kitten readers/Freddy Lynxx fans out there…
FL: No message in the bottle, only one question. If for some reason le fucking President Hiro Chirac wants to drop a H Bomb on both Australia and France, (if he’s got something against wine !) who wants to come with me on that island with just those five albums to listen to ?!!!