EMQ’s with GYPSY’S KISS
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with 1970’s Rock Icons Gypsy’s Kiss. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
David Smith: Vocals, Guitars (For GK I use a Gibson SG Standard, a Gibson Firebird, a Line 6 Variax and a Yamaha APX500 Acoustic) and song writing.
Jonathan Morley: Guitar and backing vocals. Gibson Les Paul Deluxe (which I have owned from new in 1979!)
Fraser Marr: I play guitar. Primarily a Gibson Flying V. Hopefully Gibson.
After leaving school in 1973 and sharing a love of all things rock and West Ham United, David and Steve Harris (of Iron Maiden) decided to form a band. David even helped Steve choose his first bass and learn to play. They rehearsed and David began writing the songs that are still loved by fans today. They gigged around East London (including the iconic Cart and Horses in Stratford) but the band came to an end in mid-1975. David has been asked many times to reform the band but resisted until a charity performance in 2018. The response from the Iron Maiden family was so good that it kick started a fully blown reboot.
How did you come up with your band name?
David: The band were formed in 1973 as Influence (Line Up Me, Steve Harris, Bob Verschoyle and Paull Sears (Tim Nash was added later)) but we changed the name in 1974 to Gypsy’s Kiss (which is East End rhyming slang for ‘piss’). Steve wanted to change the name to Spare Rib at one point, but we resisted!
Fraser: David came up with it whilst chatting to Dinosaurs
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Jonathan: Glasgow. And not a lot has come out of there in terms of metal. There was actually a New Wave of British Heavy Metal act called Glasgow. I always liked GUN as well. The best Scottish band you could call ‘heavy’ for me was Nazareth. I have the details of a couple of Scottish venues and Viv at Roulette Media (our management) will no doubt send them our new EP launch details!
Fraser: I am from Yorkshire originally where the Rock scene is good. I am now in Southern England where the rock scene needs a good kick up the arse!
David: I was born and brought up in Leyton (in London’s East End) about a mile away from Steve Harris in Leytonstone but now live in Chessington. Back in the early 70s the East London Pub Rock music scene was vibrant with loads of pubs and clubs having bands on most nights of the week. Sadly, in London now there are fewer and fewer live venues staying open and its really difficult for young bands to get a start.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
David: We released the EP “Heat Crazed Vole Re-tailed” on 1st May which is a remastered copy of the EP we put out last year but including our debut single ‘Influence’ and our new radio single ‘Don’t Ask the Question’!
Who have been your greatest influences?
Fraser: Going roughly through the Years I would say. Clapton, Hendrix, Zappa. Stones, Skynyrd, Aero, Zep, Floyd, Nugent, Caravan, Lizzy, UFO, especially Michael Schenker. Later would be Queensrÿche, Lynch Mob, Guns n Roses, LA Guns etc…
David: I grew up in the 60’s and loved the great bands of the time (Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who, Move etc). and then Purple, Sabbath, Free, Floyd, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Bowie, Quo, Slade, Roxy – man what an era that was! I started playing in 1971 (yes that long ago) and have since been influenced vocally by Paul Rodgers, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Ozzy and Ian Gillan. Guitar influences would be Chuck Berry, Gilmour, Kossoff, Page, Peter Green and, of course, the greatest Jimi Hendrix.
What first got you into music?
Fraser: My parents. No question. They loved Jazz and it was always playing. Modern not Trad. In my house The Beatles were not regarded hugely. I went pretty much from Jazz to Rock and missed out Pop. First song I remember was Little Red Rooster by The Stones. My older brother turned me on to Sabbath, Zep, Atomic Rooster, Wishbone Ash, Nektar, Neu, Amon Duul. A lot of weird and varied stuff.
David: None of my family are musical but all loved music. We always had the radio on. My elder sister was into Elvis and then the Beatles and that kick started me. Like all teenage lads I wanted to play guitar and finally owned a Woolworths Audition acoustic (for the princely sum of £8) in 1971
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Jonathan: Rival Sons
Fraser: Aerosmith, Schenker, Queensrÿche
David: There would be so many, Paul McCartney, Dave Gilmour, Neil Young, Pete Townsend come immediately to mind, but the list is huge.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
David: I would normally get the standard stuff like booze, pictures, t shirts etc. But there’s still time!!!!!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
You know our legacy music and the Iron Maiden connection well, but look out for new material and an album in the not too distant future!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Jonathan: Bon Scott.
Fraser: Jimi Hendrix
David: Jimi Hendrix
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Jonathan: I love gigging, recording, rehearsing, everything, even driving to a gig and setting up and getting nervous before playing. I don’t like packing up after. And it’s true what they say about singers never helping!
Fraser: There’s nothing to hate. We are lucky.
David: Pretty much all of it except setting up and packing up!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Fraser: Reduce the price of CD’s and increase the payment from streaming sites to artists. A lot.
David: Bring back more live venues and to keep music live
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Jonathan: Rush – “Exit Stage Left”.
Fraser: Queensrÿche – “Operation Mindcrime”.
David: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”
What’s Best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads
We can’t agree. But cassettes? Just no!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
David: I pretty much love most of the gigs with all the bands I’ve been in but the very first GK gig at the Cart and Horses in 1974 is still in my memory!
Fraser: They are all good. Big or small. Need some right now.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Fraser: Photography. Science, Conservation. Maybe gardening…
David: What I use to do being a Civil Servant!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
James Bond, David Lee Roth, Prince, Bobby Moore & My Mum.
What’s next for the band?
EP release, write more songs and plan gigs.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Jonathan: They should be allowed to identify as whatever they choose!
Fraser: Haha… They are a cake. They get hard.
David: Isn’t it a cake for tax avoidance purposes? I’m not a fan anyway – give me a digestive or a slab of bread pudding anytime!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
David: Thank you for the opportunity. It’s good to be back after 46 years as Gypsy’s Kiss!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.