The Generation X-Rated Era Part 3
(2003 to "2005 and beyond)
By early 2003 we all agreed to let Terry go and of course I was the one who ended up doing the task. I’ll not deny I was a little nervous telling him though, thinking he could just flip out any given moment. Well the dirty work always left to me and still is, while Bob and Wally kept shtum. It’s the price you pay for being the boss.
He took it well in all fairness as I’m still here with my full set of teeth. I think he was relieved that he didn't have to deal with us or myself anymore and I was aware he had some resentment towards me afterwards.
That year a lot had changed for us personally. Bob married Kara in early April and a couple weeks later I became a father. So instead of taking time out and laying low for a bit. We embarked on a weeks trek of dates up and down the country which we called ‘The 7 year itch tour’ beginning in Kendal, to Leicester, London, Reading, Manchester and Sheffield. We didn't quite get up to seven dates to match the years we had been together but it was good for us never the less. The rest of that year flew by with a few highlights. Playing The Reading Festival was one of them. By now I was well on my way to writing new material and introducing the songs into the set.
2004 came along and the scene we had been involved in for years had grown especially across the pond. Down in London we supported US/Danish band The Horrorpops who were all over the press at the time and we zoomed in in front of a new younger audience and got reviewed quite positively in a few music magazines.
That June we flew out to play a few USA dates over in California. Initially we were booked to play a festival in San Bernardino, which turned out to be a farce. We became sceptical weeks prior to going as all these bigger bands we’re pulling out left, right and centre. We decided to see it through as we all were invested. Kara was a real asset to us that trip. She took my guitar through customs and immigration and no one asked her any questions whatsoever being US citizen. We got through along with our newly required roadie Andy The Gaffer and made our way to SB.
The evening we got there and checked in at The Raddison hotel SB and promptly made our way to the hotel barroom then proceeded to get plastered the good old fashioned Hyperjax way. We carried on those proceedings up in our hotel room with a few stragglers that we collected earlier in the bar. Bob jumped out of window onto a lower roof which stretched out a few yards and ran down and jumped off thinking it was only a small drop, only it was about 10 feet. I thought it was a good idea to follow him and went falling and landed right on top of him. He limped about for the next few days, having sprained his ankle. Time, age and experience has taught me one thing and granted me a certain wisdom….whatever Bob does, do the opposite.
The following couple of days we got to the venue and discovered via a note on the door ‘Festival cancelled due to lack of communication’. Some chancer of a ‘promoter’ had bailed when he realised he was over his head. We had a few salvage shows around California, which was an amazing experience. The best was probably at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach both off and on. People in the audience had come to see us and we’re singing along to ‘The Sky’s the Limit’. I couldn’t believe our album had reached them. As a band on tour in the USA we managed to tick all the clichéd boxes of a touring Rock n Roll band there was (minus the trashing of hotel rooms), need I say anymore? After all I felt entitled having being separated from my partner at the time just a few months earlier. What would YOU have done eh?
On the last night before we flew home, we all went out and got merrily drunk in San Francisco. It was one of the best times we had all of us off duty and enjoying each other’s company.
We returned and carried on the rest of the year in dribs and drabs near and far. I invested in a new MESA duel rectifier amp, which came in two a head and a cab. So I needed help carrying it up flights of upstairs venue. Wally hated that amp and hated me that little bit more as you can imagine for buying it (I have since downsized). The sound was changing with the newer songs I was writing and I was steering more away from our roots and gravitating towards a more contemporary rock sound.
Our online presence grew thanks to platforms like MySpace at the time.
Early into 2005 we toured Britain opening up for Tiger Army and enjoyed more new younger crowds getting into Psychobilly through them.
I was determined to keep moving forward at the time and progressing, so we added another guitarist and mutual friend ‘Matt Cooley’ of The Short Cuts to the band that March.
Bobs marriage with Kara had started to fall apart. He was also looking into starting up his own Tattoo business around the same time and the band got side lined without barely a discussion. Recording dates we’re made, cancelled, rescheduled and cancelled again on loop because there was always something else happening with Bob good or bad. Communication had broken down drastically between us. I remember driving down to Wigan to practice that summer and it was like I already knew what w as coming next. I made into the room followed by Bob shortly afterwards. I said ‘Where’s Wally?’ Bob said ‘Has he not told you? He's quit’ ‘Why?’ Bob replied ‘Your attitude, that’s why, but how about we get Bundie in on drums?’
So that we did and that was the end the era as far as we were concerned. Its true and I'll my hand up and say 'Yes, I was as hard work'. Wal was not only fed up of me but the whole thing was no longer fun for him, the driving, the late nights into the early hours back home. So…myself and Bob as mainstays, we carried on and eventually put out the second album. But by 2007 Bob’s enthusiasm had declined massively and he became complacent, which lead to us parting company. Bob, Wally and Cooley formed a casual, just for fun band ‘A Sailors Grave’
I continued with the band name with new members and put and out a third album on a proclaimed label. But in 2011 we ground to a halt with current members moving further a field. I decided it was time for a break. A week after that last Hyperjax gig, I found myself back in the studio in Wigan with Bob and a few others in a strange turn of events and a funny twist of fate.
He asked me if he could record a song of mine 'Keeper of the flame' from the 90’s, which we never released. So I said ‘ok’, which was then quickly followed by 'Would you also play on it?' Naturally I agreed as I had nothing else to do at the time. So we recorded that and another version of him singing ‘ What did I do wrong’ . We both enjoyed each others company again and caught up with each others adventure stories over the past few years. It was an easy going fun side project, I thought.
We decided to do it again the following year and I finished a novelty song which had been in head for years called ‘Alcoholic womanising bastard’ and I knew it would work with Bob’s vocal style.
Bob's replacement years earlier Keith Green also played double bass on that session. After the recording, Bob fancied himself as a bit of a promoter and booked The Klingonz to play in Manchester and talked us all into playing support. We went under the name ‘Loveless bastards’ The song I wrote became a bit of a YouTube hit within the scene and was shot by Bob’s son Ashley. We played a couple more gigs over the next year joined by Valle from Mad Sin (double bass) Sally Monster (backing vocals) and Bundie (drums)
That year, the question everyone kept asking us was when will the classic Hyperjax line up going to play again? It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue when all three of were in the same room together.
Well that was answered when in October 2012 myself, Wally and Bob played at Maxine’s in Wigan celebrating the 10th anniversary of Generation X-Rated, playing the album in its entirety. The song 'Wired to Saturn' got its first live airing. It was billed as a one off and we packed the place with people I hadn't seen in years, it was a fantastic gig and playing all those songs again felt great but I got the bug again and wanted to do more. I actually convinced myself for a minute we were back for good. So we played again in Preston early in 2013, we hit the stage area Wally farted and almost emptied the venue and we we're momentarily back in business again.
But all good things come to an end, the last time we would play together was at our friend Peter Presley's party in London in March 2013. Offers for more bookings came in but it was over. Wally again didn’t want to, Bob sat on the fence but really couldn’t bring himself to carry on without his old pal in the end. Ironically Wal would aggravate Bob no end with his moaning onstage and off. Wally in return couldn’t be doing with Bob and his shenanigans. Neither of them can be doing with my own persistence for driving the band. But with those two it runs deeper like it does with an old married couple. They have both known each other longer after all. If I had to be honest with myself back in the day after pondering if I could see Bob and Wally still in the band in 20 years time, lugging equipment around in the pouring down rain in and out of venues and getting back home at stupid o'clock in morning, then forget it, no chance. To be honest with myself, I always knew this line up was on a time span. It was like a runaway train going pull pelt and could derail any moment, some say that’s how the best rock n roll should be...loud fast, unpredictable and dangerous. But at the same time I couldn't ever imagine playing music without those two buggers, they were like all I knew. The dysfunctional brothers I never had. The fact that we did 5 years together does amaze me time to time. I know if we tried reforming again it would and could never work. Wally hates recording and Bob hates practicing and I love doing both of those things as well as playing live.
So you may wonder, were we a tight band personally? I don't think so. Comrades, team mates....no way, forget about it. We were more like the Wild Bunch as opposed to band of brothers, or like pirates instead of sailors with hardly a code of honour. I sabotage you and you sabotage me, but when we came together and it worked on those few occasions...oh man it was worth it.
I think of us all as three individuals with different personalities within that time frame. Somehow the powers that be granted us certain magic, all the planets aligned and allowed us to create something special and 'Generation X-Rated' is the result of it, lightning in a bottle you might say. How we would laugh like drains together over things only the three of found amusing and they would still make us all laugh now.
If I could speak for Wal and Bob. I'd say they were happy enough with what they accomplished in the band and now they have both shot their barrels. I can see them sat perched together reminiscing about the good/bad old days with a couple of cans of cooking lager in hand. Elsewhere myself, I still feel like I have an axe to grind and I’m not done yet. I've managed to keep the band going with different members and achieve some credibility releasing new music in the album concept within the streaming age. I can appreciate fans who were there in the era who were able to witness and experience us first hand, not wanting us to move forward and just remain frozen in time, like suspended animation. But that ain't for me. I'll always look back at this period in my life as a milestone with Generation X Rated. It set the ball rolling. On the rare occasional time I may play it and when I play some of the songs live. I feel young again and it was one hell of a ride.
Sam Woods (Feb 2022)