(Interview by Gareth Postans aka Girth, introduction by Mano)
When I first started this page I sent out a few interviews at the same time and Gerrard of the 45 Adapters was the first to get his answers back to me, making the 45 Adapters the first ever interviewed band ever on this page. That was in 2013 and now, eight years later, we are finally hitting a 100 interviews and I thought it might be a good idea to interview Gerrard and the 45 Adapters... again! Thanks to Gareth for making it happen, enjoy!
First of all, who are you and when did it all start?
Our current line-up is Ben on drums, Carlos on guitar, Craig on Bass, Pete on guitar and I handle the vocals. We've been around since 2008, which seems like 300 years when I see it written down. Everything started at a local DJ night. My friend Julio and I were chatting about how we all love soul and reggae but skinhead bands never seemed to reflect those influences in their music. It doesn't sound strange today with the proliferation of glam and pub rock influenced bands, but at the time most people we discussed the idea with thought we were nuts. Skinheads singing love songs? But we have found our little niche.
My first introduction to you was the Christmas song - how did that come about and what was the process behind writing that song? I think it put you on a lot of people’s radars.
Wow! I don't think I've heard anyone say that before. That's cool. I actually have almost no control over what I write. Songs just come to me. That was probably the only example of a time when someone asked us to write a song on a topic and I was actually able to make it happen. We got offered to be a part of the "Cashing in On Christmas" comp and we decided to give it a try. Dave came up with some chords and I fooled around with them until I got that little lead guitar part. Around the same time I told someone that I wasn't buying shit for Christmas and then the proverbial lightbulb went off over my head.
A little embarrassing note. The version that came out on the comp has the scratch vocal for most of the song. I just screwed up and muted the wrong track. I caught it by the time "Collected Works Vol. 1" came out.
I love the track ‘Fred Perry Fanatic’ - how many pieces do you own and what’s the minimum number needed to be an official skinhead?
I'm actually horrible about losing clothing, so I only own three or four polos and a few sweaters. I've probably lost an outlet store worth of Fred gear over the years. It's the same old pattern, I get drunk, I start dancing, somebody winds up walking away with a new piece of gear.
I wore shirts from Sears and JC Penny for most of my life, so I guess the answer is zero Fred Perry's for an official skinhead. The song isn't really about Fred Perrys to be honest, but let me stop there. Like the old saying goes, "explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog." I guess it probably applies to song lyrics as well.
You have a very distinct singing voice (and sound generally) - how did you master that? Was it old Ugly Kid Joe tapes?
Shhhhh! Please don't give away the magic formula. But you know what, that "Everything About You" song is pretty cool.
I couldn't tell you. Singing is one of the few things I do from a 100% pure place with no artifice or fakery involved. If you see us live you know me better as a person than people who may have had a thousand conversations with me. Standing on a stage with a microphone in my hand is my most authentic self. I think that's why I'm so particular about music. I'm not a fan of bands where you can tell the singer is putting on a pose or faking a tough guy voice.
‘Now or Never’ EP came out this year and it’s excellent. How was the process recording this EP?
We got the offer to be on the "Oi! It's Streetpunk 2020" comp (thanks Mike Joe), but we didn't have any tracks ready to go. We were preparing for a new record when the whole Covid situation popped up but we hadn't gotten anything done and all of the studios were shut down. I didn't want to miss the great opportunity, so I cold-called my old friend Johnny from the Krays and asked if he could record the song for us. We walked into his personal studio and I don't know what happened, but it was super easy for us to make music. I don't know if it was mojo or whatever you want to call it, but the recording went as smoothly as any time we've ever been in a studio. Johnny is a great, welcoming guy and has boat loads of talent.
That turned out so well that we decided to just go ahead and record the EP we had been planning. I'm really happy with how everything turned out. This new line-up is only getting started. We're writing another record as we speak and I've never been more excited about the future of the band.
2020/2021 have both been bizarre due to Trump, Brexit and the pandemic. How has the Biden/Trump soap opera been for you guys on the ground?
Well, we've all been through the same craziness as everyone else. I'll stick with my standard response to political stuff, "the political parties are the rich man's tools."
I will say, it's been absolutely bizarre to see a sleazy rich kid from Queens who was a laughing stock in NYC become the darling of "values voters" in the bible belt. If you had asked me back in the day I would have thought it would be more likely for Howard Stern to become president. It's pretty sad that these were the two people we picked to possibly run the country.
What’s the best (funniest) conspiracy theory?
It's kind of embarrassing, but I've wasted a ton of time reading about the whole QAnon thing. It's hard to believe how gullible people are about this stuff. I mean, there are already "Trump Prophets." It's becoming a full-on religion.
I'm also constantly amused by the idea that the Covid vaccine is full of tracking microchips. And the people who post that stuff are posting to Facebook from their cellphones. Irony is truly dead.
I know things are a bit calmer in NYC than in the UK. Have you been to any (or do you plan to perform) any shows?
Not yet, but I'm hoping things get going in the summer or fall. We've been offered a few things here and there, but the idea of standing in front of a bunch of drunks as they yell in my face doesn't sound like a smart health decision.
But I really need to get back on stage. I'm getting pretty desperate.
When do you think things will calm down and get back to normalish?
I think by the Fall people are just going to go back to acting somewhat normally regardless of whatever happens. I think everybody's patience with this is starting to wear thin and more people every day are thinking "fuck it." Hopefully we can get the vaccines rolled out sooner rather than later.
When will you bastards play in the UK or Europe?
Well, we were supposed to play Rebellion in 2020 and I was hoping to do some dates in France and maybe Germany on the same trip.
Promoters, please get in touch.
‘Dress Well, Drink Heavily’ - how much you muthafuckas putting away without spilling swill on your expensive shoes?
Uh, I'm not sure, I've never managed to go a whole night without spilling something on something expensive. But you know, all of our songs are true. We are notorious lushes. Our only rule is we don't get hammered before we go on stage anymore. There have been some embarrassing stories before we adopted that rule.
That's one of the few silver linings of this whole covid thing. My tolerance is way down. My wallet is delighted.
What’s the definition of ‘Skinhead’ for you?
Me and my friends. If we do it, it's skinhead. If we wear it, it's skinhead. If we sing it, then it's a skinhead song.
Do you like the old in scene fighting or should we all dress exactly the same like some sort of Oi! army?
I like walking into a bar with a bunch of my closest friends in similar gear. I've never grown out of that. It's not a thing that makes sense to anyone who hasn't gotten hooked on it as a teenager. But you know, I don't waste a lot of time trying to teach anyone stuff they aren't interested in learning.
What’s the deal with American sports? Why do the games go on for 5 years?
Football (non-american) requires rapt attention. You just stare at the screen. American sports are much more about drinking and telling stories and hanging out. Then every once in a while you pause your story to look up at the action. It's like a sprint vs. a marathon. With more drinking.
Anything to add?
Thanks for the interest and for helping us to get the word out. It's awesome that people are still interested in hearing our music and we thank every single person that has spent their hard earned money to buy one of our records or to come out and see us. There are about a million great skinhead bands these days, so it means a lot that people still want to hear me yelling my head off. Cheers!
And, as always, DTAWDD.