The Flamin´Groovies: “Spain has a special place in my heart”

Hi Cyril. I enjoyed your show in Madrid at the Astoria Club in 86 so much. Really fantastic! I´m very excited with your next gig. I´m a total fan!!! How does it feel to be a rock and roll band in the hippie Frisco scene in the mid-sixties?

Very strange! We were stoners just like them (hippies). We wore boots and corduroy just like them. But man, we weren´t like them at all. We were more like The Stones and The Beatles.

I don´t like massive big dinosaur shows with crowds of people surrounded by really poor sound. I prefer to see my favorite bands in small clubs full of smoke with people who love music. Is this very different for the bands? Do you like big shows?

No, I’m like you. I like the clubs. The big shows are for hoards. (People who are not obsessed about music, as people like us are). People that go to clubs are crazed and love the closeness of the club environment.

Elvis or Buddy Holly? Beatles or Stones? Powerpop or Rock´n Roll? Is it possible for you to choose?

No, it depends on how I feel each week. One week it´s the Stones, the next week it´s The Beatles. It changes all the time. Depends on my mood.

What kind of music do you listen to today? Old bands? New bands? What do you think about the new generations?

Lately, I´ve been listening to a lot of 45´s, Cradle of love, Running bear, both by Johnny Preston (one of my faves), G.T.O. by Ronnie & The Daytonas, Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran. I´ve got an original 45 on Liberty Records of Summertime Blues which has no echo on the track. It´s gotta be worth a lot of moola. Hey!  

This is very normal, unfortunately, but, why are top bands like Flamin´ Groovies better considered here in Spain or Europe or Australia than in your own country? Tell us your opinion about the USA scene.

Europe has a fondness for it´s culture and vice versa. America has become too modern and it also likes to exploit things in her own way. Which is what we call “straight”. You know like a telephone pole. It won´t bend. Europe bends. Ergo- Hip!

Tell me your feelings about playing with Roy Loney after more than 45 years. It´s really amazing! Fab Four together again!  

It was a very nice feeling. We are such dear friends, cause we go back so far. Hang on to your old friends (is my advice to young people).

The Spanish crisis is really hard and culture has almost disappeared together with the middle classes. How is the situation in Old Europe and other countries, like Australia or the USA?

There are little pockets of the old culture everywhere. You just have to look for them in the nook and crannies.

Supersnazz was the image of a famous old record shop of cool music in Madrid, Escridiscos. Madrid loves the Flamin´ Groovies. You have known the city well for a long time. What do you think about Madrid and Spain in the eighties? How do you feel when the band returns here?

Spain has a special place in my heart. We´ve always loved it here. My feeling about Spain is “you cats are livin´ in paradise!”.

Finally –if you don´t mind- give us a little playlist for your Spanish fans (me included).

Some of my favorite artists are: Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Bill Hallley, Mance Lipscomb, The Coasters, Nashville Teens, Unit Four + Two, and the list goes on and on…THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GOOD ENERGY!

Foto: Chester Simpson / Rock-N-Roll Photos

Cover Photo: Barry Simons