are proud to present The Bailey Brothers in depth interview with GIRL
founder member Gerry Laffy, including exclusive photos!
Lewis (La Guns) was the central focal point flanked both sides by
blonde bombshells Phil Collen (Def Leppard) and founder member Gerry
Laffy. This was the arrowhead that pierced the heart of the NWOBHM. Girl
burst on to the scene all glammed up but, it seemed, no where to go.
The Baileyís first encounter with Gerry and the boys was way back around
1980. We held a residency at the infamous Retford Porterhouse (The
north of Englandís version of the London Marquee) You could still see
the snot on the walls from the punk rockers who were there the night
before! Back then, Motorhead were the Ace Of Spades, Saxon had their
Wheels Of Steel, Iron Maiden released their debut album and Def Leppard
roared On Through The Night.. AC/DC were Back In Black with new vocalist
Brian Johnson after the death of Bon Scott in February that year. The
Monsters Of Rock was unleashed at Donington where Ritchie Blackmoreís
Rainbow were still Rising.
Against all the odds this band would stand out from the crowd and
later go on to produce some really catchy songs and also introduce some
really classy musicians including Def Leppardís Phil Collen. We talk to
his partner in crime and GIRL founder member Gerry Laffy.
Gerry, letís go back to the beginning, how did you all meet up and decide to put a band together?
met Phil Lewis through a session my brother did for him. We became
mates and started hanging out. That was late 1971. Several months later
under a haze of hash in an Amsterdam bar we decided we should put a band
together. It had several line up changes and name changes including
Girls, Hot Knives, Lovelost but by early 79 we had become...Girl... We
intended to mix rock and glam but with our own stamp on it. We wanted to
Who came up with the name Girl?
I think Philip Lewis can take the credit for that.
Who decided on all the glam image with all the make up?
were very into Aerosmith and the Stones, and we kind of dressed that
way everyday, trying to be all rock star like, live the life, that
seemed fun. Philip bought an old Aston Martin and we swanned around like
we WERE rock stars right from the start. By the time we came to release
a record we had already had some stick so we pushed the boat out even
further, to be different, to stand out from the crowd.
Was everyone in the band comfortable with this image?
the front line was. It was always the drummers that steered clear of
it, especially our first drummer Dave Gaynor. He was a drummer from
Dublin, a bit rough and ready; he didnít much care for the image but was
well into the music.
Describe the scene at that time what clubs did you hang out in and what bands were you listening to and seeing live?
were hanging out at all the London clubs like Billyís at Blitz that
Steve Strange ran, and Maunkberryís that was more up market. There was a
load of other places on different nights, Legends, The Embassy, The
Music Machine. We were listening to bands like Tom Petty & the
Heartbreakers, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Queen, New York Dolls. You can see
where we were coming from by those choices.
Where did you rehearse and how did the song writing develop?
first we had a floor of an old warehouse in Old Street. I went past it
recently and itís now a very flash NY Loft style complex. Then after
that we rented an unused restaurant in Camden Lock. That was where Girl
really came together, that was where Phil Collen came to audition with
us. The writing was mainly Philip and me especially at first, then soon
Phil came in with some stuff he had. Basically the comboís were
Laffy/Lewis, Lewis/ Collen Laffy, or the two Philís came up with songs.
Can you remember the first song that came out of those early rehearsals?
earliest songs were My Number, The Things You Say, Little Miss Anne and
a song Phil Collen wrote called Spiders Web, but that was dropped for
some reason before the album was recorded. Iíd love to hear that again. I
bet Phil has a copy tucked away somewhere?.
How hard was it to get a record contract looking like you did back then?
and I used our posh or manager type phone voices and called a number of
labels and blagged our way in there. We did actually do quite a few
meetings but always got the elbow when the A & R guys realised we
had blagged our way in, we had no real manager, no heat. as we had
claimed. It was tough. For a while we had Simon Napier Bell interested
in managing us but he also had Japan (and Wham) and ultimately thought
they were more his taste
Didnít you do a low budget video to get noticed first?
we decided to do a cheap video so we could send it to several people at
once hoping one of them would take a bite based on the songs,
performance and the look. The video was done at a porn studio in Muswell
Hill, two or maybe three cameras and we just mimed to our demos then
did a live cut between the cameras. I think those first five songs were
shot in an afternoon and cost us £100. Money well spent as it did the
How did the UK audience react to the band initially?
first show we did was a sell out show at Camdenís Music Machine (now
KoKoís). It was to coincide with the release of My Number, our debut
single for Jet Records. It went down really well, especially with The
Melody Maker and Sounds who raved about it. A really good start
actually. The next gigs were opening for UFO in Europe. They went really
well too but we got a load more stick when we did the UK part of the
tour - a much tougher crowd to please, us Brits. They tend to go more
for the headliners and get irritated with most support acts. In Europe
they go for the whole RockíNíRoll experience. They just judge the bands
on their performance and also they hadnít seen any press on us so had no
How did you find the whole recording experience of your 1980 debut album Sheer Greed?
late 1979 we had about half the album done with Chris Tsangerides
recording at Morgan Studios in Willesden. We were all really happy about
the way it was going. Then we did the afore mentioned UFO dates and
after that went back in to finish the album in early 1980. We wanted to
finish the record with Chris but our label had been approached by Nick
Tauber he suggested we do a Kiss song ĎDo You Love Meí as he thought it
would get us a US hit, so we went with him. We finished the album with
him, recording at The Marquee Studios and Olympic but in hindsight we
should have stuck to our guns with Tsangerides.
say any publicity is good publicity so having Babe delicious Britt
Ekland knocking off Girl vocalist Phil Lewis must have helped?
was a bit of a babe magnet ever since I had met him (and still is). He
dated Ballerinas, a Baroness, film starlets and heiresses and so it was
no great surprise when he was hit on by the freshly single Britt Ekland
one night at Maunkberryís. For a while at least they were very much in
love but the press stuff about them did overshadow the music. It put a
lot of people off, made them jealous and envious. Not a great way to
endear yourself to a rock audience really.
Ekland had just been out with Rod Stewart; in fact many said she
changed him into a softy hence the Night On The Town album with him
wearing a straw hat. Did she have any influence on Phil and the band?
did have an influence on Philip at least; she was very loving to him
and wanted him to look cool. She has great style Brit; she helped turn
Rod from a rock n roller into a sophisticate who collected Lalique and
Art Nouveau. It was inevitable she would preen Philip too but it was
always for the better, she was never tacky.
Hollywood Tease is always a fan favourite. How did this song rear its sleazy head?
was written by the two Philís. It may have even been one of the songs
Phil came in to the band with, maybe even from his Dumb Blondes days? It
is still the fans and probably my favourite. Although I do hold a soft
spot for My Number too.
struggled for gigs in the early days was it much easier once you had an
album and some press behind you to find venues willing to book the
didn't really try to do gigs in the earliest days, we thought it was a
waste of time slogging up and down the M1, paying our dues...fuck that
shit. We wanted a deal and to play a Wham Bam sell out show to showcase
our first record. Itís what we did really. After the first album came
out we had ITB as our bookers, getting gigs here and abroad seemed no
real problem. But touring is expensive and we only really wanted to tour
where the money spent would have the best effect, so support tours
seemed the best way to get noticed until we got our name out there a bit
so for the large part thatís what we did.
Did having promo videos for Hollywood Tease and Do You Love Me help secure more work?
we signed to Jet they sent us back to the same studio to shoot another
few songs and re-do Hollywood Tease mainly for Japanese TV, and yes they
used it for promo internationally. It was a big help and it certainly
got us very noticed in Japan. Our first tour there was 2,000+ seaters
with a No1 import album and a gold album.
Which song is your favourite on the Sheer Greed debut and why?
love The Things You Say; I think Phil's solo in that is still amazing.
It is a simple song but had such a wide berth to showcase Phil as a
player. There was only Eddie Van Halen and Al Di Meola that played like
that. There are several 2-3 minute pop type songs that I like, Lovely
Lorraine, Little Miss Anne types. Looking back I donít much care for the
would be reggae stuff and even at the time it was always a little
uncomfortable and I donít think we played it that well. I like the
quirky stuff like Strawberries, My Number and Whatís Up. Maybe we should
have explored that quirky rock style more?
Were you supporting any major acts at the time?
did a ton of support stuff. UFO (for 3 tours). Pat Travers, ZZ Top, Ted
Nugent, Kiss, Ozzy Osborne. We liked support slots, call me a snob but I
liked playing theatres and arenas more than clubs where you stick to
the carpet and the dressing room doubles as a toilet. That said, your
own gigs are always partisan, they paid just to see you so supports were
always harder work but that pressure is good for a growing new band. We
did play a load of club dates in the UK in 1980-1982 and theatres in
the Far East, so we had the best of both worlds.
(pictured left: Richie Blackmore's surprise guest appearance at a Girl gig)
Did you manage to get out of the UK to promote your debut, say Japan?
but we did so much press, we were bombarded with photo shoots and
interview requests, especially in Japan. Monthly we vied with the band
Japan, Queen and Bay City Rollers for the covers and main features in
Music Life, Rock Show and Ongaku Senka the 3 biggest rock magsí there.
We toured in December of 1980 and it was a blast. We did Hong Kong on
the way and got mobbed at the airport; it was wild for us and a new
move onto your second Girl album Wasted Youth and I must admit Iím not
convinced we have heard it so was it as good as Sheer Greed in your
started with good intentions but soon into the recording we had
troubles with our label again. We had taken on the worst managers we
could find for some insane reason, both real 60s throwbacks who
convinced us that we should piss off Don Arden and they would get us a
better deal (mainly as they werenít in for any of the meagre advance
from Jet). It was a disaster and they are prime targets for the "Who
fucked up Girl" question? Anyhow eventually we finished a pretty good
album. Then to our horror we had heard that Nigel Thomas (the would be
co-producer) had taken the album to Stockholm and remixed the whole
thing in a weekend and handed it over to Jet. Thus the shit recording
that is still around today. Decent songs (some of them) but totally crap
production. Good old Nigel, he threw away months of work and a large
part of our potential as a band.
Had the band progressed musically as songwriters and musicians?
because of the drugs and the constant war with the label and managers I
think we had deteriorated as a band. Strangely though there is a third
album which consists of several masters and a dozen or so demos that I
think pisses over the second album. This third album was finally
released as Killing Time. in 1999. There is a Girl Anthology... a 37
track double CD that Sanctuary Records has out called My Number. That is
chronological and shows the heartbeat of the bands progression and its
There was a line up change -you brought in Pete Barnacle on drums. How did you find working with Pete?
was the drummer for Broken Home, a band with a singer called Dicken who
supported us on a UK tour. We got on well with Pete and at the end of
the tour we asked him to join us as our days with Dave Gaynor (or was it
Bryson) had come to an end. Pete is still a good mate; he lived in my
house in 1992 and 1993 while we did the Sheer Greed project together. I
got an email from Philip Lewis yesterday saying the LA Guns are playing
in Tokyo in Feb 2007 and that Peteís band are the support act. He said
you, Si & Phil should pop over and we could do it properly....well
Tokyo isnít exactly Birmingham so the jury is still out on that one. I
saw Pete in Osaka in 2000 when I last played there with John Taylor and
heís happy there with his wife and daughter.
Did you also use some of Bryson Graham's drumming on the Wasted Youth album?
Bryson played on all of it I think although Pete is credited as
drummer. I think it was because he was a band member by then and it
seemed dumb to not credit him. Bryson didnít care; heíd been paid for it
and didnít want to be in the band anymore anyhow.
How was the camaraderie with in the band at this time were you all getting along?
all got along really well. I sometime found the dynamics difficult with
Lewis after Phil joined. Philip and I had been inseparable for 2 years
and Phil had the wow factor with his playing that occasionally led to
insecurities on my behalf, but I loved Phil too and he always gave me
credit for my input so it was dumb of me really. As a rule we always got
on fine but if there was ruck it was sure to be between Lewis & me.
you tell us what you felt like when Def Leppard asked Phil Collen to
join because that seemed to coincide with the end of that phase of Girl?
the summer of 1982 I had already taken up the offer to manage Russell
Mulcahy and try and get him his first feature. Phil had been offered the
gig with Iron Maiden to replace Dennis Stratton (who co-incidentally
ended up marrying my ex girlfriend The Baroness Fiona de Fex Janier).
Philip & I begged him not to, not for our sake but for his. He
agreed with us but within a month or two the Leppard guys (who were pals
of ours, well Steve in particular) turned up at a gig we did at
Londonís Zig Zag Club. We were buzzing about, Phil you KNOW why theyíre
here? You got to do it if they ask you....they did, within a day or so
he went to meet Mutt at the studio in Willesden (where we had recorded
the Sheer Greed album) banged down a few first take solos and as they
say...The rest is history
Did you not feel a tad jealous that he was on his way to international stardom with out his partner in crime for so many years?
some ways yes but Phil was a man who held a guitar for 10 hours plus a
day, for years he had lived and breathed the guitar. Not me, I wanted to
paint, to be a rock star, to travel extensively, to make movies, maybe
act too, you know I wanted to do it all for me the music video explosion
was becoming way more interesting than Girl. Russell was really the
king of MTV videos and as he knew that Lewis and I were by then managing
ourselves and pulling off Far East tours etc he asked me to manage him,
so really I was more glad for Phil than envious, Iíd had a great new
gig fall into my lap after the last Girl tour in Dec 1982 I went to live
in Australia for 2 years and helped Russell get and make his first film
called ĎRazorbackí. It was stylish horror thriller about the outback.
From that we were offered Highlander, which was a $100 million worldwide
hit. In 1991 Phil asked me to seriously consider the gig with Def
Leppard but I had just signed a 5 year management deal with Russell so
that never panned out and I think a better man for the job was found in
Did you sit down with Phil and your brother Simon to discuss a replacement for Phil or did you all decide to call it a day?
to be honest we had Bryson back after Pete had moved on and he knew a
guy Pete Bonus who was a good laugh and a really good player. He played
for Pete Murphy from Bauhaus; they were on hiatus so we just asked Pete
to step in to fulfil the contract we had signed to do the final Far East
tour. I knew I was leaving the band straight after to move to
Australia, so we thought no further than that last Far East tour it was
December 19822, we did two shows in Tokyo, 1 each in Nagoya, Osaka,
Bangkok, and the last 2 shows we did were in Hong Kong in December 1982.
How disappointed were you at the time seeing the band break up?
I said not very, frankly Iíd had enough by then and the MTV and film
thing was really happening. I felt bad for Simon though but he soon
found a band and lived and worked in New York for a while. They had a
deal with Virgin US so he fell on his feet too. There is a scene in the
DVD at the end in the interview in HK where individually they ask us
whatís next; when they get to Si his response breaks me up to this day.
1982 you worked as personal manager for film director Russell Mulcahy
and formed the company LeBad Films together. You also served as
Mulcahy's personal assistant on his first three features: Razorback,
Highlander, Arena (An Absurd Notion). You managed Mulcahy through the
pinnacle of his career, including ten feature films and dozens of
award-winning music videos (including Duran Duran, Billy Joel, Elton
John, Queen, Rolling Stones. That was quite a career move and a
successful one what made you decide to go down this road?
my time working at London Weekend TV as a graphic artist I had met a
load of people who were working on music videos... one of them was
Russell Mulcahy. He was Australian and had made a big name for himself
directing videos for new bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet,
Ultravox, The Members, the Vapours, Sex Pistols, and XTC etc. He was
Richard Bransonís pet and he was also lucky that a number of these bands
took off. He did a woman called Kim Carnes who had an enormous hit with
Bette Davis Eyes that launched him big style especially in USA. He also
directed Video Killed The Radio Star the video that launched MTV. At
that stage the Eltons, The Rods, The Stones, Fleetwood Macs all came out
of the woodwork and we were a hot as the new MTV video business got.
But he really wanted to make films, so he devised a plan to shoot mini
films really to try to blag a big one. He was the first to use a cropped
screen, he always shot on film, never video etc it worked as it was
the Duran Duran Sri Lanka videos of Hungry Like A Wolf and Save a Prayer
that got him his first $5 million budget film.
Do you still have Le Bad Films and do you still work in this field?
we disbanded Le Bad in 1992. I set another company
Laffy/MichaelsFilmworks in 1994 and we set up and financed a movie
ĎVampiresí but it got made by John Carpenters company eventually so I
went home to the UK in late 1995 having been stung by Hollywood greed
and treachery, itís a merciless place Hollywood. I still managed Russell
until July 1997 (thatís a 15 year stint). I had a young child and a new
house outside of London, I had jetted between London and LA since I
moved back in 1995 and that was OK but my contract was due to expire in
July 1997 and Russell had intended to move back to Australia and that
was not something I wanted so we both realised it had run its course. As
they say nothing lasts forever. Just so happens though 2 weeks before
that contract expired I had a phone call that would span one gig over
the next 3 years.
What role did you have regarding the making of the videos?
my role was simply to get Russell as much money for a fee and for a
budget. But by the nature of these mini films I was often utilised for
production roles, I co-produced a few, as band liaison (schmoozing with
rock stars. tough job), as an extra, as script writer, costume
assistant, whatever was needed. Occasionally the deals would be
intricate i.e. the Wild Boys for Duran Duran. Russell owned the film
right to the William Burroughs book, so I set up the deal where he got
to make a 10 minute stylised version of the film he intended to make so
long as the boys were featured in it. The band retained all rights to
the song. That became a 12 minute part of the Duran Duran ĎArena - An
Absurd Notioní feature film.
You still kept active with your music career with some unusual projects like the London Cowboys. Werenít they a punk band?
really punk, more like early Stones, Iggy or New York Dolls. There was
Steve Dior and Barry Jones from The Idols, Jerry Nolan from NY Dolls on
drums, Glen Matlock on bass and me on guitar along with Barry I worked
with the London Cowboys on two occasions. Once in 1985, when Russell was
off shooting Highlander in Scotland and New York, I shot up to Leeds
where I played most of the solos on a studio album they almost had in
the can. We recorded a live album at the Milkweg in Amsterdam and we did
various gigs in France, Holland, Germany, Finland and Japan. Spanning
about 6 weeks. Perfect timing. Then again in LA in 1989 I did about 6
months with them schlepping around clubs in California trying to get a
deal. Second time was nowhere near the fun of the first time. I soon
heard you played guitar on demos of Duran Duran's 1986 Notorious album.
That must have been quite a buzz.. How did you get involved?
knew the guys since 1981 when we met on the set of Planet Earth. John
and I in particular became pals, so when Andy left in 1986 he asked me
to come into the studio and play on a few demos. He asked me again a few
months later but I was back in Sydney so I said I canít unless you are
offering me the gig. He wasnít, they wanted to stay a 3 piece which they
did. Their producer Nile Rogers played guitar on the album, some stuff
Andy had already done was kept and then Warren Cuccurillo blagged his
way in there, although they kept him on a wage for ages I hear.
later went on to play with John Taylor and record with him. Your guitar
playing must have hit the right chord with John? (A pun intended)
hit it off from the start. While Russell was filming Razorback in
Australia Duran Duran ended up there trying to finish their tricky third
album. Russell, me, John, Andy and Simon hung out a LOT there. In 1997
John called and said I have left Duran Duran, I got a gig to do in
Stuttgart headlining a festival in a football stadium, wanna do it with
me? I said sure, In reality it was more like a muddy field of pissed
German students and they introduced him as JAMES TAYLOR....but the gig
was good, we were a 3 piece, he dug it and said ď letís do the Nams Fair
in NYC next month, oh and then a gig in LA, oh and the Gap party at the
Sundance Film FestivalĒ etc and it just carried on for 3 years of
touring and I ended up playing on 10 various CDs with John. He also
played on my debut solo album Money & The Magic and later worked
with Sheer Greed too. I donít see him now though, we may trade emails
every once in a while but since heís been back in Duran I have fallen
out of his Rolodex. It happens and I donít lose sleep over it. I wish
him well. While I played in his band he and his family took me into
their home and life and I am always grateful for that.
How did you find working with John? Did you learn anything different than say working in an out and out rock band?
he has a very strong and very professional work ethic. It was also the
first time I had worked with the mentality that you must have the best
gear, the best studio, hotel room, road crew etc that you could afford
to be at your best. Johnís idea of slumming it was my idea of pro-muso
luxury. Not once in 3 years with him did I ever string a guitar, have to
put gear away or get driven in a car without leather seats etc he
wouldnít. dream of it, heíd been a huge rock star for 18 years, so
although he has no pretensions he was fairly grand (thank God). But the
same goes; he had no time for booze or drugs or anything that would fuck
with the work. He was fun, he was musically very generous especially to
me (in his first call re leaving Duran he said ďHey G how do you fancy
being the Ronson to my BowieĒ?....I was like YEAH man I am there) he
never told me how to play stuff; we arranged the material together, we
collaborated. musically it was great. Living in London being in an LA
based band was less great, especially as I had a little boy who burst
into tears every time I ordered a cab, him thinking I was going to leave
for weeks again, even if I was going to the shop, plus in the end I
fucked my back up so I would have had to call it a day soon, but that
really coincided with his decision to rejoin Duran Duran in 2001. We did
a gig for Juicy Couture in New York in 1999 and they flew in Simon Le
Bon to guest with us (the video of The Reflex is on my myspace site
http:myspace.com/gerrylaffy. As Juicy is co owned by Johnís wife you
donít have to be a genius to realise she was planning a reformation even
if he wasnít. Within a year we had split up and he had rejoined Duran
Duran. Plus as a band we were called John Taylor Terroristen, and after
911 that just wasnít going to work anymore, especially in USA, it would
have been way too insensitive.
have to mention a band you put together called Sheer Greed. You took
the name from the Girl album but the music was totally different. What
direction did you want to take Sheer Greed musically?
Greed was the bones of Girl but it wasnít rehashing Girl. It was
myself, my brother Simon and Pete Barnacle initially. I had the use of
Russellís large house in London so I put a studio in it, we all lived
together and I financed the album. I got a load of slagging for that
band / album; most people just didnít get it. They thought it WAS Sheer
Greed.. Talking of puns.. but I got to tell you I put about £40,000 into
that project of my own money, you donít do that to milk the fame of
Phil Collen.. I could have bought a fucking Aston Martin or a boat and
had more fun if I was such a self absorbed wanker as some claimed.
Eventually I made that money back, mainly in Japan, but for us all it
was a labour of love. The album guests Phil Collen on four solos and
Philip Lewis joins us for one of those songs, Everybody Wants that he
also co-wrote with me, John Taylor and Tony Fenelle from Ultravox. I
played all the guitars (except Philís stuff) then we got Neil Gabbitas
in to play live with us. He was great, a lovely guy and a really great
player. He has a lot of similarities to Phil Collen, he has all that
twiddle diddly stuff down, but he has a sense of style and at that time
VERY long hair. He plays on the Sheer Greed Live in London album 1993,
check out Burn It Down, Thatís my favourite although it was written
after we finished the studio album.
How did you first hook up with Neil Gabbitas and what did he add to the mix apart from having the longest hair in town?
think he came through a contact of Simonís, although to be honest I
canít really remember. I think he would have had a lot more influence on
Sheer Greed had we had have done a second album, we had started to
write together but never really went very far with it. The next album I
wanted to do was another solo album, with more acoustic type stuff as I
had discovered open tuning stuff on the acoustic and was nuts about Joni
Mitchell at the time. I went into it with the intention of how would
say U2 approach Joni Mitchell style songs? I brought Simon in on it to
help me out and it became the Lying With Angels album and was credited
as Gerry & Simon Laffy. Sheer Greed wasnít very well received so I
thought it best to move on; not working with Neil was a casualty of that
Gerry, you have a very long and credible career but letís get bang up
to date with the releases of the Girl DVD and the Live In Tokyo Japan
1980 Bootleg. Why release a bootleg?
February (2007) Rock Candy Records are re-releasing the first two Girl
albums with loaded 16 page booklets and some bonus demos that Simon and I
dug out for them at their request. We realised going through the
recordings we had left that most of them had, or were, disintegrating.
We found this one recording, a bootleg that a fan had done standing in
front of the mixing desk at a Tokyo show with the original line up in
1980. It isnít the best recording but it has the Girl vibe and it was a
whole gig of us in our prime in a place where we were hot. There is two
other Girl Live recordings out there but both were recordings from the
desk, better recordings but no audience and so no atmosphere. I remember
Girl gigs as being fun and frantic and this Tokyo recording captured
that in a recording of that gig, so we decided to put it out as the
Tokyo Bootleg 1980 CD. I had load of video stuff too and we decided that
as it is all over Youtube (where there are some 20,000 hits on Do You
Love Me alone) and myspace but they are copies of copies and look and
sound crap that maybe it was time to put the masters out there. So I
digitally mastered the video footage, re-laid the stereo track (where
possible) and collated an hour or so of decent quality Girl stuff. It
has several of the demo videos that got us the deal, the promo videos
for Girl, Sheer Greed and Gerry Laffy and a behind the scenes mini
documentary of the last ever Girl interview done at the Hong Kong Hilton
suppose with a bootleg at least you get a true historic account of Girl
live. Are you happy with the quality of the recordings?
Bootleg is definitely my favourite Girl Live recording but I do wish it
was better recorded but it was recorded on a stereo Walkman circa 1980,
what can you do? I am really pleased with the DVD; the stuff is so
superior to the youtube etc stuff. You can really be in the moment.
There were no home video cameras in those days and the cassette Walkman
had only just arrived, certainly no digital or CD media to be had in
those days, and we were no mega band that had film crews following us
around so this stuff really is the closest you will ever come to
discovering or re-discovering Girl. I have been the keeper of most of
this stuff over the past 25 years, recordings, videos, press stuff so
this is my collection of stuff in its entirety (along with the http://www.myspace.com/girlsheergreedofficial & http://www.myspace.com/gerrylaffy myspace sites)
some bonus tracks on the bootleg that were recorded at the Hammersmith
Odeon in London. Itís a great venue, how did you acquire the recordings
for this album?
are 4 bonus tracks from Hammersmith Odeon the same year on the Tokyo
Bootleg CD because we wanted to use up the remaining good UK tracks we
had left. We had four from London and five or six from a Liverpool gig
but we could only fit on the London tracks. The band did the recording
from the desk.
Did you do anything in the studio on these recordings to improve the sound quality?
mastered both the Bootleg CD and the tracks on the DVD. No remixing or
re-recording was done on any of it. I did relay the digital stereo track
on Girl: Hollywood Tease, Do You Love Me, Gerry Laffy: Money & The
Magic, Mandy & Sheer Greedís No Way Out.
What memories do you recall on your visits to Japan and particularly this show?
loved Japan and they seemed to dig us. We were treated like rock stars
and paid well for what we loved doing. Def Leppard got a slagging for
deserting UK for America but if you are wanted somewhere, appreciated
and well remunerated for your craft why the fuck NOT go there. My
feeling is if you are only big in Finland move to Helsinki (at least to
earn a living). This show was an afternoon show on (I think) the second
day of the tour. We did three shows in Tokyo in a mid-sized theatre and
as I say this was recorded in the audience in the stalls in front of the
desk. I donít remember any particulars about the show do I do remember a
girl fan getting her hand caught in the limo window as we drove away.
The girl wanted to give Philip (I think) a gift, someone wound down the
window, she put her arm in just as the car took off, she was dragged
along several yards with her window squashed into the glass, it was
really scary. We didnít open the windows in cars there anymore while
there were fans about.
have also released a DVD featuring promo videos, early demo videos and
behind the scenes with Girl during their last interview together in
Japan. Itís a great visual trip down memory lane but how come you
havenít smoothed it out in the editing suite?
the demo stuff and the Hong Kong stuff the video footage is 25 year old
Betacam video tape, if it was film it would still be immaculate but the
tape had worn away and disintegrated (something to do with the glue
they used back then on tape) I didnít have any reason to pretend it was
something more pro than that, we did sharpen the images a bit. The
promos are all master tape and crystal clear footage. I guess I could
have got the footage from the HK TV show to inter cut it on the
documentary bit but I thought why bother. You can hear the interview
being done, what was going on around the band was much more interesting
than do you have a message for your fanís in KH? or whatís your
favourite colour? What I did want to put on there was the Girl
performances on Top Of The Pops (with a classic Jimmy Saville intro) and
three tracks we did on The Old Grey Whistle Test but the BBC wanted a
£1,000 a minute buy out, total £17,000. This DVD will never make that so
I had to resist from ploughing a load of money into something that
wonít recoup. Like I say itís all over youtube and myspace if you want
to see what we are missing.
over 25 years since we first saw Girl live and the DVD brought back
some great memories. Do you think if Girl had come around later during
the 80..s you would have had a bigger impact as fans really got behind
Poison, Motley Crue and other glam acts?
is everything. Who knows what may have been, it doesnít much interest
me to be honest. I have lived my hey days in music and film and continue
to live my life knowing Girl was just one facet to it. It was all great
fun and I am obviously proud of our catalogue and legacy otherwise I
wouldnít have put this out there. There is definitely a Girl renaissance
going on at the moment, I feel it all the time, its great fun. I have a
lot of people drop by the myspace sites saying how much Girl influenced
them and thatís nice to hear. On reflection it would have been nice
that we had one killer song at least that still earned us all an annual
Hawaiian vacation say like My Sharona or Smoke on the Water But somehow I
canít see Nike or Pepsi using Hollywood Tease,
Are these releases self financed by you and released via distribution companies or have you got record labels involved?
Laughing Records is my company. I have had various distribution deals
for all my albums but I own all my masters. Yes I do finance all this
but I am currently talking to a label about the Girl DVD and the Bootleg
CD too. The Girl catalogue was bought by Sanctuary Music, Rock Candy
has licensed the first two albums from them. Who knows maybe we can use
the BBC stuff too at some stage, but Iím fucked if I going to pay for
it. As I said Philip Lewis emailed me this week saying he was playing in
Tokyo in Feb 2007, and that Pete Barnacleís band is the support act. He
suggested that me, Si & Phil meet up with them and play a club or
something, but my guess would be if I said yeah great idea.. I would end
up putting it all together you know organising gear, hotels, contracts,
flights, schedules uuurgghh no thanks, I think it more likely we will
all meet up on stage in the UK My bet is at a London LA Guns show, Si
& Phil will be Man-Razing here and it will just happen, or it just
wonít.. Where can the fans purchase the DVD and live Bootleg?
live album features the classic Girl line up so in a few words sum up
the individual members as people and performers starting with your
brother Simon Laffy?
is the quiet one. A deep thinker, sometime procrastinator. Si is my
soul mate, I can always totally rely on him but we are polar opposites
and we have a minor rivalry as siblings do, ours is creative, we both
like things being done our way. I have done 8 or so albums with Si and
would do another one tomorrow if the circumstance was right.
is a brother too. A classic only child, with a need to be loved and to
be the centre of attention, he found the perfect gig for himself. I love
Still a sweetheart, that man has changed only marginally since the
first day I met him, and those changes are only for the better i.e. he
has been toxin free for 20 odd years, a black belt in several marshal
arts, he looks as fit at 50 as at 25, an amazing guy really, so
talented, so funny and so humble. I love him too. (And I miss his Mum
Connie; she was the Mother figure to Girl back in the day in
Pete: is a rock solid drummer, funny as well, complicated too as we all are but a great mate.
guess I should say a few words about Bryson too. Dear Brillo, sadly he
committed suicide by jumping in front of a train, thatís not a cry for
help, thatís desperately needing to get the fuck out of here. Bryson
took the dark ride with us in Girl, through the entire heavy grade A
drugs era, he was a young wayward talent that ultimately lost his way.
We miss you Bry ( I canít hear the bass drum Tom..) The title song of
Lying With Angels is for Bryson, in fact he plays on the track as we
used the backing track from Mandy on the Money & The Magic CD and
put a drum loop to it.
(Pictured above: The Girl reunion 1999)
What made you decide to release these recordings now?
the disintegration of the tapes and the imminent Rock Candy releases,
it seems the right time. If we didnít do it now I doubt they would still
play in a few years or even months.
What will you be doing for Christmas this year?
going to spend Christmas Day at my house with my girlfriend and her
son. I will see my kid Conor on Xmas Eve I guess, or Boxing Day. Iíll
eat too much, watch a ton of crap TV and play with the kids toys. But I
guarantee there will be no hangover on Boxing Day.
What will you be doing musically in 2007?
have worked on 27 released albums and my accountant says if Iím not
careful I will have made more albums than Iíve sold. But with that in
mind early in the year I am going to release the Icebox Studio Session, a
collection of demos I have made in 2006. There about 20 songs but I
will pick a dozen or so. They are songs I like, recorded well enough for
me, I play all the instruments and do all the writing and singing, and I
know, me, me, and me. But hopefully some people will dig them too..
I have had a few thousand myspace hits on some of the tracks and they
have been well received. They are nearly all first take performances and
often were written on the spot in the studio. I will never halt my love
for music but I am past the days of paying studios a fortune to put
down ideas for people to hear. Re: other stuff? I am well open to
suggestions and offers too, Iíve had a few crap bands ask me to play
with them doing the pub / club circuit but Iím over all that. Iíd love
to work with some like-minded London based musicians so any serious
thoughts drop me a line. But please no demo tapes looking for a manager.
My ex manager Mick Webster who now manages the Kaiser Chief tells me I
should get into band management but I told him I opted for route canal
work instead!!! Really.
love the title of your record label, "Die Laughing Records". Is this
just for Gerry Laffy recordings or do you put other artiste out on it?
have released a couple of things for my brother but other than that it
has only been my product. I think we are up to double digits on releases
We have the original my number single on a clear disc and the Love Is A Game white disc. Are they worth anything?
have no idea to be honest. I do know that my Japanese stuff often sells
on ebay for $40+ which is a joke, it pisses me off actually. Also there
is a load of rare record shops that sell the Girl stuff for a small
fortune but who wants vinyl anyhow, not me. Personally I would get our
new stuff or the Rock Candy CDs, which should be cool or buy the
Sanctuary Anthology CDs.
would never sell them they are in the vinyl vaults. It's great to know
you have brought Girl material back in the public domain but left it as
we all remember them, a great entertaining band with more lip gloss than
Dorothy Perkins but great musicianship as you have all proved since
those early days. Good luck with the releases thanks for the interview
and we leave the final words to you!
any one of you who still cares about Girl a quarter of a century later.
We thank you and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Please come
and visit us at myspace site http://www.myspace.com/girlsheergreedofficial leave us a message and tells your friends about us. God bless you and thanks a lot. It's been a blast.
The Bailey Brothers,
Photos provided by Gerry Laffy
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