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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world Interview-Gary-Twinn-International-Swingers-Nov-2011

INTERVIEW – GARY TWINN, The International Swingers


By Shane Pinnegar


Gary Twinn on the right


The International Swingers are:-

Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols / Rick Kids / The Faces)
Clem Burke (Blondie / The Romantics/ Eurythmics)
James Stevenson (Generation X / Chelsea/ The Cult / Gene Loves Jezebel/ The Alarm)
Gary Twinn (Speedtwinn / Twenty Flight Rockers / Supernaut)


2 December - The Barwon Club, Geelong, VIC
3 December - Corner Hotel, Richmond, VIC
8 December - The Metro, Sydney, NSW
9 December - The Zoo, Fortitude Valley, QLD
10 December - Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast, QLD
11 December - Kings Beach Tavern, Sunshine Coast, QLD
14 December - The Governor Hotel, Hindmarsh, SA
15 December - The Blvd Tavern, Joondalup, WA
16 December - Fly By Night Musician's Club, Fremantle, WA
17 December - Charles Hotel, North Perth, WA


Who haven’t these guys played with ?


Glen, founding member of the Sex Pistols, wrote Pretty Vacant and God Save The Queen the two songs that turned the music industry upside down and inside out. Formed The Rich Kids with Midge Ure, Steve New and Rusty Egan, played bass on Iggy Pop’s Soldier album and The Damned’s Not of This World album and is now playing with Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan and Mick Huchnall in The Faces.


Clem, founding member of Blondie and still with the band today but has found plenty of time to play or recorded with the absolute legends of the music industry. Imagine having Pete Townsend, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, Nancy Sinatra on your CV and a few others like ‘The Romantics’, The Tourist’ Eurythmics’, ‘The Fleshtones’, ‘The GO-Go’s’, Hugh Cornwell Band and is known as Elvis Ramones when he plays with The Ramones.


James is the teenage wonder kid from London who joined his first punk band as a teenager in 1977. Chelsea was the band and their punk legacy was the song Right To Work. After Chelsea James went on to play with a host of UK Artists including Kym Wilde, Generation X, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Cult And The Alarm.


Gary’s first recording sessions was a song called I Like it Both Ways which resulted with his Australian band Supernaut having a top 5 single and album the song was banned by many radio stations across Australia because of the songs contents and title. Gary moved to London in 1980 and formed bands like HoneyDrippers, Twenty Flight Rockers, Speedtwinn and Dead Horse and played with the likes of Rat Scabies, Glen Matlock, Mark Laff and Derwood Andrews.



Hi Gary – thanks for talking with The Rockpit

It’s my pleasure Shane.

Whose idea was it to put The International Swingers together?

It came about late last year, mainly because of a proposed Supernaut reunion. I had other commitments and besides I didn’t see the point after we‘d ended on such a successful high at the Countdown shows in 2007. At the time of the call I was hanging out with James and I asked him what he thought of putting together a new band and heading to Australia. We called Glen and Clem and the ball started rolling

Where did the name come from?

We threw a lot of ideas around. I’ve got three pages of names right here now. We didn’t want to sound pretentious or full of ourselves. James suggested The English Swingers but I said, Clem’s American, so let’s make it International.

Between the four of you, you’ve played with most punk, new wave and rock bands worth a damn since the 70’s – surely you could just sit on stage and tell stories and it would be as interesting as playing music together?

I’m sure there’ll be some stories, but it’s the music that really tells the tale.

How did you come up with the set list? Were there any songs from each of your back catalogues which you tried and couldn’t make work?

The set list has changed a bit since the tour advert. I’ll attach a copy for you. Once again it was James and me throwing songs around and then checking in with the others. Obviously we are playing songs from our various bands but we’ll be doing songs those bands covered too, like 'Something Else' and 'I’m Gonna Love You Too'. Some of the connections are a little thin but it’s all rock and roll in the end. For example; Glen played with Iggy, so 'No Fun' is in. My old band, Twenty Flight Rockers backed up Johnny Thunders a few times, so 'Born to Lose'. I’m sure you get the picture. James has played on many records but we decided not to do 'Kids in America' [laughs].


How was the feeling in the room when you first started jamming?

Relief. No I’m kidding. We have all played with each other before, just not in the same band, so we all kind of knew what to expect. Clem played with me in a rockabilly outfit called the Honeydippers, and we’ve performed live on other occasions. Glen and I have written and played together quite a bit. We’ve all been around the block a few times, but this tour is really about having a great time playing songs we love and sharing them with the folks who show up to the gigs.

Is there a chance of some original songs from The International Swingers?

Well, yes, I hope so. Some years ago Glen and I got together with Rat Scabies and Derwood Andrews to form a band called Dead Horse. I wrote a tune with Glen called Fool’s Holiday, and we’ll be doing that. I’ve got a bunch of new ideas, so let’s see.


How do the four of you get along personally?

Great. We are all friends and see each other socially when ever. At the moment Glen and James live in London. Clem and I are both in Los Angeles.


Apart from some great music played by four seasoned professionals – what can Australian audiences expect from The International Swingers 2011 tour?

Great rock and roll played from the heart with songs you love and a few surprises. For the Perth shows my mate Nick Sheppard (The Clash, Cortinas) will be supporting with his band the DomNicks, and hopefully we can encourage him to join us for a few tunes too.

If you could have been involved in the creation of one song or album which is special to you, which would it have been – and why?

Well my favourite album is probably London Calling but there was no spare seat in that band. In my time I’ve had two bands that meant a lot to me. In London, Twenty Flight Rockers, with my old mate and soul brother Mark Laff. The group did OK in the UK but never hit Australia. We’ll be playing some TFR songs on the tour, so I hope people dig them. My current Band is Speedtwinn, which is me and Derwood Andrews. It’s kind of rockabilly/punk/country. Our album is being released in Australia soon, so with a bit of luck you’ll be seeing us sometime.

Finally Gary – what for you is the Meaning Of Life?

Peace of mind, love, family, good health, gratitude, and never take the piss.

Thanks again for your time, we’re looking forward to seeing you when the tour hits Perth!

I love Perth. Have lots of friends there and my mum, so really looking forward to it.



Some of the movie soundtracks that Gary has appeared on include:-


• SPEEDTWINN'S song 'That's The Way' and DEADHORSE'S song 'Fools Holiday' featured in the film RICKY! THE MOVIE

• SPEEDTWINN'S song 'When The Dust Clears' featured in the film AFTER GRACE

• 2 Honeydippers song's featured in the film The Marsh starring Forest Whitaker

• The Honeydippers - 'Hoy, Hoy, Hoy (Rockin On Christmas Eve)' featured in the film Ladder 49 starring John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix

• Twenty Flight Rockers - 'Fall In Love With You' featured in Sharing The Secret

• The Honeydippers - 'Rock Santa Rock' featured in the film I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus starring Connie Sellecca and Corbin Bernsen

• Honeydippers featured in Roswell episodes and the film Last Exit To Earth

• Supernaut - ‘I Like it Both Ways’ featured in the film Sample People starring Kylie Minogue


The Tour Set List *(subject to change on the night)

Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol
Hanging On the Telephone - Blondie
I Like It Both Ways - Supernaut
Ooh La La - The Faces
Fall In Love With You - Twenty Flight Rockers
All The Young Dudes - Mott The Hoople
Call Me - Blondie
Union City Blues - Blondie
Burning Sounds - Rich Kids
Jealous - Gene Loves Jezebel
Spaceball Ricochet - Speedtwinn
Fool's Holiday - Dead Horse
Out Of Control - Twenty Flight Rockers
Stay With Me - The Faces
Pills - New York Dolls
Born To Lose - The Heartbreakers
C'Mon Everybody - Eddie Cochran/Sex Pistols
God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols
I'm Not Your Stepping Stone - Paul Revere & The Raiders
Brand New Cadillac - The Clash
No Fun - The Stooges
Something Else - Eddie Cochran/Sex Pistols
I Fought the Law - The Clash