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John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Gary Boner, vocals/lead & rhythm guitars/'songs' - Bill Hobley, bass guitar
- Roger Hunt, drums & percussion - Danny Gwilym, lead & rhythm guitars
 - Mandie G, vocals - Suzie D, vocals - Kelly Marie Hobbs, vocals

Gary, Bill, Roger, Danny, Mandie, Suzie and Kelly thank you all for sparing the time.

How did you all get started in music?

Gary: I got started by nicking my first girlfriends classical guitar. This aligned with Melody Maker running a series called ‘How to play guitar in 6 easy lessons’ (they still weren’t easy enough for me!) and I’m still learning.
Bill: My mum got me a guitar (had a face painted on it) when I was about six. Been playing ever since (but not that guitar).
Roger: I first started at the age of 9, with knitting needles and biscuit tins and got my first kit age 14 after a friend learned guitar and asked if I could play drums, and have been playing ever since.
Danny: I was in the Merchant  Navy straight out of school and one of the first places I went to was Jacksonville where I saw Foghat and also tacked onto a local band (called Rum Creek).  I followed them about for the few weeks we were there and it was at this time I bought a guitar (because I couldn’t afford a drum kit!!).  The live thing was the inspiration for me, I loved the volume, and the freedom of it all.
Mandie G
: I started singing at karaokes when I was 24 and met another girl singer (Sinead Keating) doing the same, we decided to set up a duet called leather and lace and sang in clubs and pubs, Sinead decided she wanted to be a lead singer in a band, so I bought the Loot newspaper to see if I could find one too and Roadhouse were looking for a backing singer I applied and was told to meet them at The White Hart in Hammersmith where they were gigging, I sang Mustang Sally for my audition and it all started from there in 1993.
Suzie D: I have been singing since the age of 6 but didn't take it seriously until I was about 14, when I started writing my own material. I took music GCSE and then decided I wanted to sing so did a diploma in music practice then went on to do a degree in music.
I've always loved singing and went to a performing arts school when I was 18. I tried for every audition I could and ended up playing in lead roles at the Wimbledon Theatre playing Star to Be in 'Annie' and Jenny Lind in 'Barnum'.

Did you always want to become a musician?
Gary: I wasted my youth hanging out at the Marquee 3 nights a week. Seeing bands and buying records. I lived for music, I honesty never thought I’d get an opportunity. 
Bill: Ever since I can remember, its the buzz of playing "live". That what I love best.
Roger: Yes, when I found I had an ability to play drums, it was all I ever wanted to do.
Danny: From the age of about 16 (I never entertained the possibility before that time, I was discouraged from “showing off” so wasn’t “a natural” performing type of character).
Mandie G
: No I didn't have a clue I could sing until karaoke came in fashion, and people were coming up to me and telling me I had an unusual quirky voice. I wanted to be an air traffic controller!!!!!!!!!
Suzie D: I wanted to be a 'wild animal saver' as I called it, when I was really little, but I've always wanted to sing.
Kelly: When I finished university and went to work in London, music wasn't in my life anymore and I missed it. I had to do something about it and wanted to join a band.

What kind of material were you playing in the early days?
Gary: When teenagers Bill and I fell in with a bunch of Hippies and we joined their band .We were the only one’s who turned up for rehearsals, sometimes we were the only one’s that turned up at all. Neil Young’s Southern Man and Ohio were the order of the day, along with a version of Gimme Shelter that used to last about 3 weeks (including toilet breaks!) 
Bill: A bit of a cross between CSN&Y and rock.
Roger: My first band at 14 played mainly pop covers, but my first pro band, which I toured Germany with when I was 16, was a soul band.
Danny: Nearly everything I did was based around Peter Green (English Rose album), Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy, and a little Be-Bop-Deluxe with Bill Nelson before he went all “new wave” and early ZZ Top.
Mandie G
: I was singing covers from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s a mixed range of things.
Suzie D: I used to sing in musicals when I was at school, but when I left I sang soul and blues, maybe a little bit of rock.
Kelly: I sang theatre initially and at university I was a female MC to garage music and featured at the Students Union every week.

What first attracted you to the blues?
Gary: As I got older (and the divorces and health problems kept piling up) I felt I needed something more than rock.
Bill: Very much in to rock/blues but still enjoy the one man and his guitar blues. We can play the fast songs and then go into the slow blues so the tempo is never the same. So (hope) we and the paying public don't get fed up with the same slow stuff which a lot of bands knock out.
Roger: In truth I am not a great blues fan in the true sense of the word, as I try not to limit my taste to a single type of music, but I like blues/ rock because it is simple, straight forward music allowing expression and power.
Danny: One word “feel”.  Mainly I think down to Peter Green’s expressiveness.  I still love the tones and the phrasing of his guitar playing in those days. 
Mandie G: Joining Roadhouse, I had no clue about Blues before hand.
Suzie D: I didn't really listen to blues much in my teens until I met my ex's Dad Trevor Burton who I watched play on a Monday night in Birmingham. He really inspired me to sing the blues.
Kelly: When I was 9 years old my parents split up. Each Sunday my Dad took my sisters and I to see the GBs at the Grey Horse in Kingston. We knew all the words to the songs and even then, we saw the passion.

What does the blues mean to you?
Gary: In itself it’s the source of the river, so to speak. But if I watch a pure blues band, 4 songs is my limit, I don’t like Blues ‘purists’. For me they fall under the same category as anyone who limits expression. Now give me a mixture of Rock and Blues and that’s a heady cocktail. 
Bill: The blues can be a good way of getting things off your chest.
Roger: The expression of all that life throws at you.
Danny: See above, Peter Green could, to me, make the guitar cry.  It felt like his heart was breaking through this piece of wood with the six metal strings!  Don’t you think that’s amazing?  I rarely achieve it but it is something I always try to do, (communicate via the guitar).
Mandie G
: It comes from the heart, its deep and meaningful, its sad and honest, its lonely and caring.
Suzie D: The blues is my way of expressing myself. Singing the blues means everything to me, it releases any anger or hurt or even happiness that I keep built up inside.
Kelly: Expressing the soul.

Who are your favourite blues artists (both old and new)?
Gary: I really enjoy the guitar playing of Walter Trout and Joe Bonamassa and its been a privilege to open shows for these guys. I never did meet Jeff Healey before his tragic death through cancer, a real shame. 
Bill: Got to be John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton.
Roger: Don’t have any.
Danny: Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Derek Trucks, Gary Moore, Billy Gibbons (ZZ-Top I love the guitar playing on Blue Jeans Blues!) Robben Ford.
Mandie G
: BB King, Steven Seagal
Suzie D: Loved Louis Armstrong when I was a little girl, Billie, John Mayer, Ella. My ultimate is Adele at the moment, I think she is amazing. Also saw Walter Trout with the band which was amazing.
Kelly: I love the guitar of Gary Moore and
Gary Boner has just introduced me to Water Trout. Eva Cassidy has sung some beautiful blues.

Who has influenced you the most in your music writing?
Gary: Anyone good, who left a legacy/imprint in my Brain. I subconsciously plunder any inspiration. I’m delighted with the acclaim I’ve received as a songwriter. I just need some mega star to buy one and I’ll be rich and famous (What are you waiting for!!!!). I like the underated US rock Band ‘Live’. Pretencious, but full on in cinemascope. 
Bill: I only write the bass parts. The words I come up with are shit, so leave that to others.
Roger: A Bass player/producer friend of mine called Trevor Jones; I learnt most of my production skills from him and how to construct what few songs I do write.
Danny: Not too relevant to me in this band but just about anything I hear will influence what I come up with.  I try very hard not to come up with “same old – same old” stuff.  Sometimes I achieve that, sometimes not.
Mandie G
: Bob Dylan, David Gray and Gary Boner!!!
Suzie D: Errmmm, I'm influenced by lots but I can't specify, it's too difficult. Eva Cassidy, Alanis M, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Aretha Franklin, No Doubt.... Lots!!
Kelly: My mother.

What was the best album you ever bought?
Gary: Too many to mention, currently listening to Walter Trout’s new CD, Linkin Park, Joan Osbourne (Relish), And some US alternative metal bands, including Shinedown. 
Bill: Made in Japan- Deep Purple. Bob Seger Live.
Roger: The first album by “Yes” it just blew me away!
Danny: Very difficult one that.  It would be very hard to beat Rory Gallagher’s “Irish Tour 74” double album, packed with songs and the best version of “A million miles away”   I’ve gotta put Joe Satriani’s “Surfing with the Alien” album in even though not really blues.  Has been a big influence on my playing over the years.
Mandie G
: War of the Worlds by Jeff Wayne
Suzie D: I haven't got one. No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom is awesome, but Adele's album is amazing and I used to put Nirvana on all day..... and Alanis and Eva!!
Kelly: Rolling Stones – Forty Licks.

Are there any particular songs that you play that have special meaning to you?
Gary: Voodoo Queen and Blues Highway (am most proud of, but the recoded versions don’t come close to the live experience/sound), Slip Away and The Answer for lost health and love. Of course our epic closer Preacher Man, as I’m proud of that twisted, southern gothic, skynrd type ‘tribute’. Every time I play it, it  means I’ve finished a show, we have an encore and I have triumphed over my longstanding muscle and tendon disease (a condition which means I have to re-invent my guitar laying technique on a nightly basis). So basically it’s a screw you too fate and death for me – but we all know who wins in the end!! Sea of Souls, our new CD, is my fave all round Roadhouse album. 
Bill: Hard to say..... Songs can change to what's going on in your life....sometimes good others times bad.
Roger: No one song in particular, but I have my Roadhouse fav’s like “Voodoo Queen”, “Couldn’t get to sleep”, “Fire Walking”, “Don’t Point That Thing At Me” and “Voodoo Dance” (from the new album).
Danny: I like the songs “Blues Highway” and “Slip Away”.  In both cases I can kinda slip into a hypnotic trance and “ride” the song, so to speak.  Both songs can be approached either with passion, or anger, or a little each of those emotions.  Slip away, is a very beautiful, if not sad song that carries me away completely at times. I also like some of the newer songs, Voodoo-dance keeps me very very busy on the guitar and I always feel like “I’m hangin’ on to a roller-coaster” when I’m playing that one – love it!
Mandie G
: Preacher Man, The Answer, Tumbling Down.
Suzie D: Stormy Monday is one of the few songs that makes me want to cry when I sing it.
Kelly: The Answer and Lights on the Water on the new album ooze passion and meaning to Gary. I love singing these. I feel the pain. White Water from the album 'Broken Land' holds great memories for me.

What is your favourite guitar/instrument?
Gary: I play mainly souped up Stats (I have 5). Ace Luthier Tom Anfield hand built me a great guitar out of Swamp Ash and that’s great for certain songs like ‘The Big Easy’ on the Broken Land’ CD. I love my Martin acoustic which is integral to our recording process. 
Bill: Got 3 basses at the moment. The working bass is a Yamaha BB1100s which has a great all round feel. Also have a custom made fretless which I enjoy playing.
Roger: Drum Workshop kits, I would donate bits of my body to own one!
Danny: Well, it’s not a favourite with the blues purists but my best and fave guitar is my Kramer Nightswan.  I bought it around 1991 and it’s an American rock guitar with an upturned headstock.  But you know what?  I can’t find a guitar that matches it for tone and that matches my sometimes aggressive playing style.  I keep trying out other guitars but I still come back to this one.  Put it through a Fender Bassman amp and it sounds bluesy as hell.
Mandie G
: Acoustic guitar and piano.
Suzie D: Beyonce's vocal box and my Yamaha Clavinova.

Tell me about the band, when did you all get together?
Gary: 18 years go a good friend, Ray Murray, introduced me to hap Player Bob Roberts, and we formed Roadhouse to play a friends ‘ Rock & Roll’ wedding. Bill and Roger were in the original version, we were 50/50 whether we’d carry on. It’s over 2,000 shows now… 
Bill: Me and Gary have been playing together since we were about 15/16. A guy we knew hooked us up with Bob Roberts and Roger Hunt. The idea was to do a friends wedding who wanted a bit of blues/rock/rock and roll. That's how roadhouse was started.
Roger: I knew Bob Roberts very well, having played, and recorded with him before, he knew Gary, and asked if I would like to do a one off gig playing for a mates wedding I think! The rest, as they say, is history, or should that be agony??? !
Danny: I met this band about four years ago when I started going to their jam nights.  I really enjoyed those jam nights and made a lot of new friends there.  I also re-learnt to “improvise” and revisited some of my old blues roots.  Before long I was “depping” for Roadhouse.  I liked the people in the band and loved working with them so when a chance came up for me to get involved, I jumped at it.  I haven’t regretted that move, I have loved my time in this band working with a great bunch musicians and friends.
Mandie G
: I joined Roadhouse in 1993 when Gary was lead guitarist Bob Roberts was lead vocalist and harp player, Bill was bassist and Ivan was the drummer I was the only girl singer in the band at the time.
Suzie D: I only joined about 3 years ago. I did drunken karaoke at the Kings Arms in Acton which Mandie was running at the time. She asked if I wanted to join a blues band which I said yes to, then forgot about the next day!! She called me in to audition at the jam which is where I met the rest of the band. They were awesome and welcomed me with open arms. We're all a family now.
Kelly: I wanted to get into singing again and my friend's uncle passed away. There was a tribute night to him and I saw Roadhouse there. I fell in love with the band and they were looking for another female vocalist so I went for it.

Tell me about the making of your new album ‘Sea of Souls’
: We spent more time, took more care, improved the production and performances. Our new guitarist Danny Gwilym is a revelation on the CD (filling big shoes after Jules Fothergill and Canadian speed master Drew Barron). It also marked the emergence of Suzie. D and Kelly Marie Hobbs as major talents. 
Bill: Loved doing this album. 3 of the songs we only played 2 days before recording. Due to me not playing much because I had a op on my shoulder so we had less time than we had hoped to do new songs. But I think its the best one we have done.
Roger: This album is very special to me, as a lot of the production is mine, along with Gary, and Andy the engineer, and I really wanted a well produced, quality album, and with Gary’s great songs, and a brilliant new guitarist in Danny, I felt that with the three amazing girls all the ingredients were there. We all worked very hard for this one!
Danny: I found this very hectic personally.  First time in with the band, everything was happening so fast.  We had three songs that had literally only been rehearsed once and we were still changing the arrangements as we were recording.  I felt a lot of pressure not to let the band down, they’ve always had very good guitar players around and I wanted to try to make sure this album carried on that tradition but without losing my own style.  I’m hopeful that  if we do another one, that I’ll be better prepared and that I’ll be a bit more relaxed.  I think the end result is quite amazing, everybody worked so hard together, the girls came in and more or less layed their stuff down in one take - fantastic!  I’m pleased with the overall feel of the album and it was a highly rewarding experience.
Mandie G
: It was the most positive out of all the albums I have done with Roadhouse (Edge Of The Night, Runaway Train, Dark Ride and Brokenland) due to the great support of Suzi and Kelly they gave me the confidence to use my voice and not be scared of it, express my feelings and be positive and not be afraid, leading me to do my two solo songs House of the Rising Sun and Tumbling Down in one take!! which really surprised me!! and the rest of the band!! The girls have enormous talent, which has brought out my voice, showing that I have a big range, so it wasn't a surprise to me when everyone I knew who had listened to the album thought I was the low harmony, when in fact I’m the highest harmony on all the songs I share with the girls and this is due to working with great talent and being pushed to my ability. The atmosphere in the studio was fantastic everyone supported and helped each other!! no alcohol!!! - just a lot of chain smoking!!!!! I believe vocally this is my best album, even though I still nitpick things about myself and my vocals but I guess most vocalists do that.
Suzie D: A lot of work went into this album. Mand Kel and myself worked really hard to get good harmonies in the songs, we really wanted to make our mark on this one. The production was better and the playing was better too. I think we really gelled with each other as a band for this album, and I really loved working with Gary for my solo on the Lying Game.
Kelly: We've all put our hearts into this album. Everything has a meaning. The three part harmonies work so well together and the guitars make your hairs stand on end. The relationships within the band have grown too. We are practically family.

I hear your previous album ‘No Place To Hide’ sells on Amazon in the US for over £30, how much exposure have you had in the USA?
: I’ve played numerous open mike sessions and jammed and promoted Roadhouse across Colorado, California and Florida .We have significant Radio play across the whole USA including to radio station hits (based on listeners votes) in Telling Lies and Voodoo Queen. Right now UK Bob show in Atlanta has us on full rotation as does a lot of East Coast stations. 
Bill: We on a few radio stations but would love to do a tour. I think once they see roadhouse "live" they will be back for more.
Roger: From what I hear we get a lot of radio play there, would be great to gig there.
Mandie G: We have never played a gig there, Gary and Bob used to go to America a lot and played at jams out there so I guess they took albums with them and people got to know about us.

Suzie D: I hear we're played on some radio stations, but it would be good to get over there.
Kelly: We want to play in the US so badly as our music is frequently aired there and they love it!

Tell me about you famous London jam sessions.
: Been going for 10 years, currently at The Woodman, by Wimbledon Park tube. Just a chance to bring through new talent and do something for music in my local community. 
Bill: The Jams are a great way of meeting other musicians and get feedback (hope not guitar feedback) on new songs etc. Also great to see the kids of today coming up and playing. It makes you want to be young again.
Roger: They have been running a long time now, and are well supported, a great chance to see and play with lots of people new and old, and a good social gathering as well.
Mandie G: Some great musicians, a friendly atmosphere and great supporters and fans its like a big family.
Suzie D: It's a really great night where we can all get together and have a jam, a rehearsal for new songs, and watch other great musicians play together. It's also a great night for meeting other up and coming artists and really nice people.
Kelly: The jam is our rehearsal time. We mix things up and get the opportunity to play and listen to great musicians. Sometimes it is more nerve wrecking playing there than it is at major festivals. I have made some great friends there.

Having played over 1,500 gigs you must have some amusing stories to tell, please could you share some with us?
Gary: I crashed a 4x4 into a Moose after playing a gig in Jackson Hole with a major US Country Rock Band in Wyoming.  Kelly dressing as a giant penis when we were playing a Motorcycle News weekend festival.  A million stories about Mandie, when not ‘off on one’ she is a legend. 
Bill: Don't much like doing bass solo's but at a gig, been playing for about 2 hours and was up for it (drink didn't have anything to do with it) (must have been a lot of drink) and I was going to go for it.........then broke a string...... and the moment the lost....
Roger: Where do I start? The clean ones are not always that funny! And Mandy would never forgive me if I told you all the unclean ones! But there are lots really, like getting the tour bus stuck under a low bridge in Holland, having my drum stool collapse in the middle of a gig!
Danny: Well…..  maybe over a Jack or two!
Mandie G
: NOT A CHANCE!!!! I think I’ve had the most embarrassing situations out of the whole band put together!!!
Suzie D: I would love to tell but myself and the girls will never spill.....hopefully!
Kelly: We were featuring at the MCN show at Skegness Butlins earlier this year and got there a night early so went out for some drinks together, only to find everyone in the craziest fancy dress. Gary got chatted up by a he-she, Danny has his temperature taken by some nurses and Suz and I ended up in a giant blow up penis outfits. Mandie ended up on the floor!!

A lot of music styles are fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think that is?

Gary: A human being has the god given right to complain. 
Bill: I think with the blues, anyone can play a 12 bar so you get the people hooked, then build up to the more complex side of the blues. You are never too old to learn something new.
Roger: I guess because it is real music, played by real musicians, and it’s all about life, and Blues can cover a wide variety of styles.
Danny: In it’s essence, it’s very honest music and again, all about passion, feel, emotion.  It can be worked to express the full range of human emotions.  It’s also very “real” music that is quite a contrast to the very large amount of “processed” product.  It is good to just see a bunch of people working together, particularly live, and creating a “moment” of time that can touch your heart.
Mandie G
: Because its not a style its a legacy, its honest its written from the heart, its sung from the heart, and the only time it will ever die is when a vocalist uses it as a substitute for the fact they cannot sing any other type of music will it stop feeling.
Suzie D: The blues is in so many other genres of music, because the blues started it all. It won't disappear because it is our lives, it's the expression of how we are feeling at that point.
Kelly: It sounds so good but expresses the opposite. Beautiful.

How do you see the future of blues music?
Gary: There’s strong new talent coming through, but I fear for live music as a medium. 
Bill: With some of the kids I have seen coming up in jams etc, the blues will still be around well after we are in the ground....
Roger: It will go on forever, because it is still played by up and coming young players.
Danny: That’s a difficult one.  I think all genres of music have been watered down somewhat and the genres have now all got so many sub-genres that it can get quite confusing.  The sheer amount of music available now is stunning.  However, blues is a very large part of the history of rock music and as part of the “roots of rock” will never actually die.  As time goes on, the likes of BB King will get harder to find and people will look back to this tough but more honest time of music.
Mandie G
: Positive if it is used for the right reasons.
Suzie D: It will always be here.
Kelly: It's getting more and more difficult for live music to survive.

What are your future plans?
Gary: I’ve written 2 new great songs, we are in the high street press and in the shops (well the big ones) and have global radio play. But it’s uphill and health wise it’s a struggle. Mind you my perspective and values keep getting clearer. Can we/I continue, hope so.
Bill: More "Live" shows, bigger shows.....more new songs......
Roger: To continue to help take Roadhouse onwards and upwards, and play until my body say’s “No More”.
Danny: To stay alive, to keep passion and emotion in my playing, to try and improve as a guitar player. To drink more JD!
Mandie G
: I will stay with Roadhouse, until the band expires!!! Then I guess I will retire, I would have liked to have done my own album, but to be honest I guess I’m a little scared - I have a great comfort zone with Roadhouse.
Suzie D: To sing until I can sing no more.
Kelly: I am just about to record my own demo, but I am happy with Roadhouse so will stay with them until we have fulfilled all of our dreams.

Thank you, Roadhouse.

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