I had the chance to interview Tim V the now Lead Singer for the legendary SHAM 69...
Thanks to my pal Tara Rez lead singer for The Duel.
Tim joined Sham 69 right after the now legendary fallout between Guitarist Dave Parsons and Lead Singer Jimmy Pursey... It has proved to be quite a challenge for Tim. But it seems he has proven himself to the audiences....
Here is my interview with TIM V:
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview Tim. Can you please give me the current line up for Sham 69?
Tim V: Hi! Yes the line up at the moment is myself- Tim V on vocals; Dave Parsons -- the original founder and song writer; Ian Whitewood on drums..(the longest at 24 years); along with Rob Jefferson on Bass Guitar.
The line up has changed several times in the thirty years, but Dave has remained.
Punk Globe: So, Dave Parsons is the only original member of Sham 69, am I correct?
Tim V: Yes…Dave is and has for a longtime been held in the shadows and never really been given the recognition he deserves.
Punk Globe: In what year did you take over on lead vocals for the band?
Tim V: Blimey it seems like centuries ago, it was Jan 07- I think…but like I said it seems ages ago…
Punk Globe: Did Dave and Ian just ask you to join the band or did you have to do an audition?
Tim V: Haha! Well I have always been in the Punk scene and there's the inner core and outta as many know you either take a nibble of Punk of you live eat and breath it..pretty much like yourself..so it wasn’t long before the rumors were flying. Unfortunately I was there the night it blew with Jimmy and I was with another band just hanging. I have known Dave and Jimmy (Pursey) for sometime anyway. It was weird really when Dave said come down to the studio and try it…I have been a fan of the band for sometime and I also have known Jimmy for longtime, however it has never always been amicable. I went down and gave it me best shot and the rest is history as they say.
Punk Globe: Are you doing any of the old Sham 69 material?
Tim: Yes how could we not, the demand for the old stuff is at a critical high right now and I think all bands should play the stuff their famous for, however I do get angry when fans just want to dismiss the new stuff. We always try to make sure we get enough new and plenty of old.Punk Globe: How do you compare the audiences from the 70's / 80's to today's crowds? As I know in the early days you had an oi following.
Tim V : Hmm good question well having been there the first time yes of course things change and so do attitudes. I noticed more when we played Europe in 2007 when we had kids from all backgrounds…kids you would likely find at a Nirvana gig than a SHAM show…still that’s healthy. I get this question a lot and I find a lot of this stems from where people live. I find in areas where Punk is fairly raw you tend to get the types where they have read about punk/oi and so follows the requisite fashion and actions…good in some ways but bad in others. But I find where we have zines like yours and and ,ore people producing books and radio play the kids soon snap out of the need for being negative at shows.
Punk Globe: What had you done prior to joining Sham 69?
Tim V: God….well I had a band when I was 16…many years ago..haha..and that packed up in 79/80 and in the mid 80s I had another band called Darc Attix..that was a Dark Punk outfit..I don’t know what it was to be honest. That had some assembly of success, but soon fucked up. I started to get more pissed at the Tory Govt and got politically active and for many years was heavily in anarchist stuff as well as backing striking miners and Print workers to which I was one. My heart was always in punk though and have never left the scene. I wasn’t really into the Crass style stuff, strictly old school I'm afraid. I did a lot of TV work as well as writing several books. It was at this time I started to work with Mark P from Sniffin' Glue/Alternative TV. We got a agency running and did that really up to SHAM 69.
Punk Globe: Our mutual good pal- Ms. Jayne County was so excited to hear we have been shooting the shit back and forth.. She mentioned that you two had worked together. Were you in one of her bands?
Tim V: Haha..no I used to do some bookings for Jayne in the UK and Europe and I found that once Jayne got to know and trust you it was an honor. Jayne is an immense character with more charisma you could shake a stick at…shes a fucking legend. However with that comes responsibility's and you had to know Jayne's fears and likes and so when you do you’d better stick with them..I love Jayne to bits but shes no fake you piss her off your fucking dead meat…..as I said a fucking legend and rightly so!
Punk Globe: Tell the readers about your latest CD and who released it?
Tim V: Hmm..the boring bit…well the latest came about by the fans really it was muted about doing ‘another’ Greatest Hits album..and like many I said WHY..WHAT THE FUCK FOR!!!!! There's 1,000s of SHAM 69 hits albums, it becomes a joke when you have all these reruns of the reruns and and and. But the fans said to us but we wanna hear you sing it. So there you go, but in some ways its great as the kids that are just getting into SHAM are hearing me and I hope they like what they hear. But in the end its their right o pick what and who. The album was released on Bad Dog records, they are a part of Coretex in Berlin . The good thing about this album is that we have done some old songs on there that have never been inside a studio before…so in a way it’s a piece of history your getting.
Punk Globe: Does everyone in the band write the songs?
Tim V: Well before it was always Dave and Jimmy but in Jan 2009 we start working on the new original album and so it will be the band. The thing for Dave is that for him its and exciting time but also virgin territory as he has to work with me for the first time in 30 years, but I can assure fans that the new stuff is back to basics and coming from the east end of London what your get is the meat and potatoes..boots and braces. I want SHAM 69 to go back to its roots and we are gunning for the anthemic stuff that people know and love!
Punk Globe: Which song is your favorite and why?
Tim V: Blimey…well its hard to say..I will be boring and say "If The Kids" which is great to sing but I love "Borstal Breakout" and "Family Life"…so many really. But I want to say that when I am in full flow every word that comes out of my mouth is sung with belief…and sometimes I get carried away..especially if someone has pissed me off and the relevance of the words hit that mark. I know it maybe cheesy to some but I think songs SHOULD be about you…them etc otherwise its pointless.
Punk Globe: I have read that Sham 69 have toured the USA . How many times?
Tim V: Haha…well when I took over I did throw my weight around a bit and said if we are going to beat the doubters we have gotta get out there and fucking play play play and give them a show to last a lifetime. So we did and the months to date have flown by. We first did the US in 2007 August/Sept time. The tour was against a backdrop of criticism over the Jimmy shit and despite the fact we made an agreement we wouldn't kick the shit on why Jimmy left. He decided otherwise, so it was hard for us. People and fans in the states were getting the poor lost Jimmy routine and I was hailed as the devil incumbent…fuck it... give me fire and I’ll kick your fucking teeth in…was my attitude and that’s what I did. The expected backlash didn’t happen and they loved us. We had probably 4 people in the entire US tour who made their feelings plain and 2 of them have since written to me apologizing…so fuck it..bring it on. We came back in March but it was a fucking joke the ex agent fucked up wholesale and needless to say he's history. Then we have had the world crash economically so times are not good for a return. Believe me I and the band would be out there tomorrow if things could work out. We have new agency now and they have been straight with us and said things are not good…so d rather that be told to me than lies. I write to fans as much as I can and it breaks my heart not to be able to get there…still fingers crossed for a 2009 return.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about some of the highlights of your USA tours?
TimV: Christ…well for me touching down at LA airport think fuck I'm ere.THE FUCKING USA !!! So being met by the label boss was a relief. So when the tour started playing in the House Of Blues in Hollywood was a gas. It was very uncomfortable as we was being supported by The Dickies no less so outside of ‘SHAM 69’ for me it was an honor- as I love the Dickies…still…that was the first anti me event and it was a bit of white card with SCAM 69….haha! I thought yeah right you know everything you mug! And you paid to get in…in London he’d get a fucking slap for that. Still his board quickly came down so I thought bring it on. That’s was my first highlight…I d promised myself I’d try to taste the thing I have seen on the TV like grits and Twinky bars and shit…so I did….and no thanks. I looked at photos back then and I couldn’t believe how fucking lardy I was jesus…. . My other highlight was taking a ride in a Yellow cab in San Francisco…well getting it was legendary…still not realizing you have to tip em I got a load of abuse from the driver who was Vietnamese or something so he copped some cockney lingo from me. Meeting up with guambo a tomtom player in New York and old African friend of mine who used to live in Notting Hill way back when. Seeing the sights really meeting new faces and people and fans across the US …it was great and great people. One thing I did remember and will forever was an incident in a restaurant we stopped at crossing the states. I was sitting with the band and I noticed this man and woman and there grandkids I presume and for me please or offend im sorry they were ‘typical’ latter aged Americans….she had the winged reamed sunglasses and he had the khaki shorts and sky blue denim hat and camera…see em everyday at the Tower Of London near to where I live. Anyway she kept leaning over to me earwigging my chat to the guys and it was ..any minute ..any minute….EXCUSE ME….your English aren’t you…yes I replied…and then came a torrent of info about how she and Burt(the husband) were going to London for the first time etc etc….lambs to the slaughter I thought..tourist traps and plastic Big Bens will be the order of the day. But her major concern was the food….FUCK ME I thought the fucking food…your having a larf! The fucking food….5 weeks I have been in this country and I have seen more excess of fat and waste you could fee the 5000 on..Jesus…so that has always stuck in my head….I have now calmed down….next question!
Punk Globe: Has Sham 69 played any shows with Jayne County ?
Tim V: No - not as far as I know…but of course would love to!
Punk Globe: Tell us about some of the Festivals that you have been playing?
Tim V: Hmm, well first one we did was Concrete Jungle…jesus best forgotten it was a baptism of fire X10…we have done loads since biggest was Masters Of Rock that was 45,000 people quite intimidating..but I thrive on that! The best I think was the Exit Fest in Serbia we had 5,000 just to see us…so that was cool and we went over with Primal Scream who are fans of us…great guys…met Paul Weller…hmmm the word TIT comes to mind..still!
Punk Globe: Sham 69 recently completed a tour with one of my favorite bands from England- The Duel - with my Sister Friend Tara Rez! How did that go?
Tim V: Fuck, that was tough as is the UK I have known Tara for many years and she is one of the last true warriors she does speaks and thinks from the heart and what you see is what you get….shes old school and I love her. The band is one of these bands that is continually evolving and I hope that what she does brings greater success as she really deserves it. The tour itself was hard and we had several ups and downs but logistaclly mainly…still it was a blast and we hope to see them in Berlin supporting us on the Euro leg!