Interview with The Surf Rats

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MMP – Who plays what? Could you describe yourselves in a few words..

SR – My name is Gaz Marson and I’m on guitar and lead
vocals. Thomas Lorioux is on bass and Gaybeul Gualdi is on
drums. The Surf Rats is an English old school psychobilly
band that began in the early 1980’s.

MMP – How did the band get started?

SR – I started the band in 1983 with my younger brother on
bass and my next door neighbor on drums. We were into all
the early rockabilly stuff that was part of my parents
record collection but grew up in an era of heavy metal
before punk rock and the rockabilly revival came along. We
were into the Stray Cats and all that early neo rockabilly
of the late 70’s and early 80’s too. And then we heard bands
like The Meteors and The Cramps.

 


 MMP – Who writes the music?MMP – Do you have any side projects?

SR- I write all of the songs for The Surf Rats and there are
many side projects within the band. In fact, The Surf Rats
have become a side project along the way. I play in another
old school psychobilly band from Ireland called Spellbound
as well as a couple of local bands at home in England. I
have another heavy rockabilly band called Satan’s Barber
Shop and a punk blues rock n roll band called The Relaxos.
You can find all of these bands online. Thomas has played
with just about every big name in psychobilly there is and
Gaybeul is full time with Demented Are Go. We have to book
him in advance, haha!

MMP – What are your occupations outside the Surf Rats?

SR – I work a couple of different part time jobs, as do the
other boys in the band.

MMP – Let’s talk about the USA Psychobilly scene. What are the current bands you like?

SR- I don’t really follow a particular scene. I just do what
I do and hope somebody likes it. I prefer to listen to bands
that have great songs and I like to see bands that have a
great live presence and lots of energy. I don’t really care
if that is a psychobilly band or whatever, as long as they
are good at what they do.

MMP – Where does the name of the band come from?

SR- We were originally called The Wharf Rats. This was when
we hadn’t even done our first show. There was a bit of a
boom in surf culture in England in the early 80’s, lots of
brightly coloured board shorts and deck shoes and bleach
blond hair, so we changed our name to the Surf Rats and
we’ve been stuck with it ever since, haha.

MMP – How’d you describe your sound?
SR- ther’s a guitar, a bass and a drum kit. We all plug in
and hit it and hope for the best, haha. I don’t know, it’s
changed a lot for me over the years as I’ve picked up
different influences along the way. It used to be very clean
and small sounding but now it’s a lot dirtier and heavier
and I’ve become less anal about what things are supposed to
sound like and instead go with what comes out of me.

MMP – What are your main musical influences?

SR- I think we touched on this earlier but, early rockabilly
and blues mixed with anything that has a real edge to it. I
have always been a big fan of Bon Scott era ACDC. I don’t
play like Angus but I just love the whole attitude of that
band. It’s violent yet sexy, tough as a bucket of iron nails
yet extremely sophisticated. They understood exactly what
their goal was and stuck to it. But I’ll listen to anything
that takes my fancy really. I saw The Goddamn Gallows in
Spain earlier this year and thought they were amazing. I
love blues and hard rock, simply because I grew up in
Birmingham, England and was surrounded by bands like Black
Sabbath, UFO, Judas Priest, Zeppelin and all those other
bands from the 60’s and 70’s that were on my doorstep.

 MMP – And other influences (movies, substances, people, …. well whatever you could imagine)?

SR- I like all those old gangster movies from the 40’s and
50’s, I like a gin and tonic or a pint of Guiness, the
occasional Cuban cigar, (especially with The Surf Rats, its
become a bit of a post show tradition to smoke a cigar), I
read a lot of Stephen King, James Elroy, Peter James, Denis
Wheatley.

MMP – Please describe “psychobilly” for our readers!

SR- Psychobilly is a musical subculture that takes 1950’s
rockabilly and mixes it up with a punk, glam rock, comic
book horror and sci fi to produce a much harder and these
days, heavier take on vintage rockabilly. It’s more
aggressive and usually has horror overtones. It’s become a
lot more punk influenced of late and bands have got heavier
and much faster.

MMP – Have you guys ever played in another country?

SR – The Surf Rats have played all over the world. USA and
Mexico, Russia and the Ukraine, every country in Western
Europe. We are about to tour Japan for the first time in
October which is something that we are really excited about
and we hope to do Australia very soon, too.

MMP – Describe the diversity of fans that attend your live shows?

SR- The Surf Rats tend not to tour so much any more and
mostly we play festivals. So we get a lot of old school and
new wave psychobillys. Lots of other subcultures enjoy it
too though. A lot of these small scenes have joined together
more recently as the people involved in them have become
older, wiser and a bit more accepting, haha.

MMP – When do you guys plan on writing any new material?

SR- We are working on something at the moment. The last
album was 7 years ago so we are definitely due another go at
it, haha.

MMP – What are the future tour plans for The Surf Rats?

SR- As I said, we are off to Japan in October. We should be
doing something in the USA and Mexico again later this year
too. We would love to go to Australia. And we hope to be
back in Europe in 2017 with a new album to promote.

MMP – Last Words…

SR- I’d just like to thank you guys and your readers for
this opportunity and a huge THANK YOU to Surf Rats fans and
supporter all over the world. If it wasn’t for you guys,
then we wouldn’t still be here. Cheers!!