A lot of people ask me why I quit what is known as the greatest rock band ever to grace the planet, The Filthy Vampires, and I feel that now is probably the best time to come clean about that sad episode in my glittering career.
Thirty years ago, the only requirement for being a God of Rock was to have a catchy stage name and a bottle perm. I was born with flowing hair of the finest ginger and I just didn’t wash it so it became naturally curly. Of course, after my transformation, it became wire wool but I still have it and it’s all my own. I remember back in ’79, when myself and Lemmy were comparing face melanomas, he said to me that my hair was my true gift. Insulting bastard. Not to get too far off the point, there were a few of us genuine rockers who wanted to form a band that showed the real, haggard and warty face of rock. Zack Nazi, of Ruined Scrotum who became the drummer in The Filthy Vampires, wanted to call the band, Silk Pussy. Although I never liked the name we eventually arrived at, I’m glad that he was overruled on that one.
I was still called Dirk Himmler at the time and I guess no one really came close to me in terms of being the poster boy for filthy rock. So there we were; Zack Nazi on drums, Zippy Ironwood on keyboards, Narky Dave on bass, Vlad D Impala on rhythm guitar and yours truly on guitar and vocals. We were The Filthy Vampires.
Our first album, Never Bite The Hand That Fists You was an immediate hit and our first single, Lap it Up became an anthem for a disenfranchised generation of cellar-dwelling, misunderstood rockers. We went on the obligatory stadium tour and everything seemed to be going well. We had the world at our feet. At one gig in Eastern Europe, I was giving an interview to MTV and, Pippa Lovecrack from the Moaning Sisters of The Dead was giving me head under the desk. She later went on to become minister for foreign affairs for Mondavia. Pity that country didn’t last too long. The point is that we were kings of all we surveyed. We had an entourage the size of a small country. Why would I leave behind such a rich tapestry of success, excess and wealth? Well, every silver lining has a fucking cloud and the cloud that descended upon us was our own manager, Sydney Starling.
Syd didn’t belong in a rock environment. He was too strait-laced. Once, at the Hammelfleischkasten Festival in Germany, I was snorting a line of Charlie off of Suzy Quatro’s pants and he flew into a blind fit. He told me I was nothing but an animal and that there were certain standards which should never be dropped. His face went purple with rage. If Suzy had been there at the time there would’ve been skin and hair flying. Later that night, he came to my room with warm milk and jaffa cakes and apologised for his outburst but he didn’t mean it. You could just tell by the lad.
When our second album, Sticky Passion was released, Syd decided that we needed to exploit our success. Before too long, we were endorsing hair products and playing on cheesy charity singles. This was not what I signed up for. He organised stuff for us all through our second tour so we wouldn’t have time to party. I stuck with it because I knew that the spirit of Rock – a deity I like to call Bambooensueza – would see us through.
We finished playing a blistering set in Madison Square Gardens and I went back to the hotel to get Zack. If anyone could get the party started it was Zack. He was the only one who even came close to me in terms of rock purism. I brought four strippers with me and kicked down the door to his hotel only to find him painting a picture of a bowl of fruit. Immediately I assumed he was tripping but he wasn’t. He told me that he wanted our next album to be a concept album dedicated to the writings of Enid Blyton. Zack had a crippling addiction to horse tranquiliser so I tried to put it down to that for a while. I thought things would change. I prayed to Bambooensueza to help Zack.
The final straw during shooting for an ad for Milk of Magnesia. Syd announced that he had signed a deal with Marks & Spencer and they would be providing us with uniforms. We had our look, man. I mean, seeing Narky Dave without his Aran jumper and leather pants just didn’t fit the Vampires. It wasn’t us. We were becoming something else. A big corporate monster.
After our final gig of the tour, I announced that I was leaving. Zack immediately called a band meeting. I got drunk and didn’t attend.
So why am I telling you all of this? People see successful bands and they think they have it all. People think that these bands have the best lives in the world. Really? Narky Dave now runs a crèche in the Cotswolds. Zippy now plays with the Rock Evangelists. They try to convert some of the fans we originally tried to corrupt. Maybe they’re corrupting the fans we had converted. I don’t know. Vlad D Impala now goes by the name of Steve Crombie. You might know him. He stars as Dr Victor Spleen in the popular daytime soap, All My Surgeons. And Zack Nazi? He now goes by the name, Felicia Pollard and he has his own morning cookery show on Loving TV. I’m the only one who survived the demon that was Sydney Starling. He now works for SPAMA, the bad bank in the former Republic of Mondavia.
If you lose your will to rock, you lose your will to live. There you have it. Like Lemmy, that complete bastard, if you want to know about my life, you’ve got to see it, warts and all.