Photos: Andy Sheppard www.lowlightphoto.co.uk
Tim: God that’s a loaded question…well like many people at that time I was a bored Sth London kid outside of going to watch Millwall on a Saturday afternoon it was sitting at home bored with girls being in love with David Cassidy or listening to brittanic boredom anthems from ELP and Yes. So the family life was egg n chips every night and candles cos the power workers were on strike. So when the vibe on the street was this new punk thing it wasn’t long before myself and the other freaks broke away from Glitter and wallpaper patterned shirts and bell bottoms as we saw the light. Then most of me mates had ways of getting money be it nicking it from there mums hand bags or robbing to get guitars and gear from the pawn shops. It was a shit band really and we did our best to keep up with the brewing college bands who had their Mummies and Daddies to finance them.
For me those days were like an orgasm that came day after day it just got better with more bands singing the songs with the words you wanted to hear. It was never the kind of music you could chat a girl up to but it was the music that could piss off anyone you hated especially society as a whole….I remember playing FUCK OFF by Wayne County and the neighbour complaining to my mum as she came home from the plastics factory…and just like my mum who was tired from work and being battered by my ol man, she retorted to him FUCK OFF. Life in those days was fucking hilarious if you didn’t let the bullshit drag you down, long hot summers and good TV but above all the rise of Punk from the privileged few was the ultimate high. It was and is a highly debatable topic for many nowadays about what punk was and is and unfortunately though some artists who ‘were’ around in those art school days brought us some classics, many of them dumped punk as fast as fuck when it didn’t suit them. So what we got was critics saying punk died when it reached the masses…well fuck that..thats where punk got its cred and survived to this day.
Lorraine: I understand that by 1979 you had become disillusioned, along with many others, by the path Punk Rock had taken. What were your feelings and perspective at the time?
Tim: It wasn’t disillusioned as such it was more that we was being surrounded by arseholes who hadn’t got the plot really. The point being that you’d go to a gig and get the fuck kicked out of you because you wasn’t this or that. At that time Mods and Rockers was back and kids were getting into 2 tone so it was like gang central…pathetic really. It wasn’t about music anymore it was about who wore what and where. Things needed to change in that front and its only now that you see what has been sifted through the pages of time that you see the onetime aggro merchants who have readily discarded their past in favour of hippydom and 20 quid tickets to their gigs.
The history of music be it any genre has always had its ‘shit the ships sinking lets jump’ and always will, but it doesn’t make you any less angry or pissed off when you see or hear these people talk. I have met many known artists from the punk scene who couldn’t wait to decry Punk n Oi through the 80s and when the good ol 25/30 years on bandwagon came along they were there profiteering to the hilt. Back in the day when it became20less popular loads of things were going through my mind like had we been cheated was it all a scam but as you grew up you realised that it was only the few who had betrayed what WAS a real movement and those that are still with us today are there because they are real e.g. the likes of Charlie Harper and TV Smith to mention a few. I can say with my hand on my heart that that most of the 40+ guys and gals I meet on the scene nowadays are the tops and 100% people who saw and see the true point of punk. Punk for me has been the greatest living breathing movement ever to have grace the halls of human history, to be able to have changed music, fashion and Political society in such a way is unrepeatable.
Tim: DARC ATTIX…lets get that straight haha….well at this stage punk was a mere memory for many as they had either got some girl pregnant, married or a mortgage….and for many like myself I was on the brink of losing me marbles. I teamed up with a group of mates that had some musical experience and we had as well been frequenting clubs like Studio 24 and The Batcave, most existing Punk clubs were putting on the new breed of punk which really wasn’t for me, though going to see some Oi gigs was it for me. We did for a brief moment do some gigs and supported a band at that time called The Mystery Girls who had been on the Old Grey Whistle Test that month…however as we were punk we wasn’t really accepted in the cell that was Goth…again the scene was being monitored and scrutinise by the in crowd elite…so our time as a band was short lived….haha! ( it was a typo...honest! L)
Tim: A voyeur me….? Or you?.....well as with many at that time it was one thing to slip away for an occasional punk fix be it a gig or the record player but life at that time like the 70s had a way of affecting you, but with the 80s it was different. With so much oppression it was like being a good guy character in some kind of Lord Of The Rings story where the kingdom was being possessed by the dark forces….in this case Thatcher. We saw Yuppies laughing at us lower class scum and banks handing out credit cards and loans at the drop of a hat. The country was in total free fall and no one gave a fuck. People were wallowing in fucking debt whilst the country waved the flag…something had to snap. The first stage was on the work front with Mines and the Print and it was the n that the infrastructure showed its true colours when it comes under attack. The Police had total licence to kick the fuck and laws were being changed to suit the government NOT THE PEOPLE. The end product was riots on our door step and to a degree I was ashamed that so many of my fellow community stood back and watched it happen, ignorant to the fact that they soon would be next. Then it did the Poll Tax and we all knew what happened there. Writing the book was just a valve release really that echoed so much of what we all went through and though now the yuppies and high flyers have all since lost their homes and money…the system still caters for there rebirth.
As with now with the Credit Crunch and things are getting harder by the day for everyone…...people still grin with admiration at the larks of the Royals at play who are totally fucking oblivious to the fucking Credit Crunch…if they did they’d think it was some kind of cheap biscuit you get in Lidls.
Now I have had my rant I just wanted to conclude this 1st part as saying that the concept that is SHAM 69 has and will always be something that echoes what the normal guy in the street it has and does…being a person who loves England as the place of his birth is not wrong…..taking his or her love to align it with some political cause IS. The last person in my view who took a stand against the very issue of this was Oliver Cromwell and like the executioner said on the g allows....”BEHOLD, THE HEAD OF A TRAITOR” and I stand by that.
Tim: HAHA well I can go on about a million people like myself and excluding the women that I have known and met, that have their feet still firmly in the Punk trough. It’s the people that have sacrificed their punk credentials in favour of marriage, the car the mortgage who have since divorced or have over the years sought the sanctuary of Punk again that I have sympathy for. However, for those both men and women like myself that have stayed true to their punk roots its been a fucking hard path unless you have either been a purveyor of punk attire or in a band, as for the fans who have endured the criticism from there friends and associates and even their mothers and father stating ‘aint you a little too old for that?’ its been a cross to bare as well as the threat of being sectioned that latterly people realised that punk is a little more than a fad. Punk for me has always been like a surrogate parent but not because I was a sad anti social that I need a sense of security, for me its something that I could ALWAYS identify with and something that HAS NEVER pissed me off or upset or break my heart. Its always been there for me and never moaned at me for being drunk.
The point I am really making that despite the fact that it has also been used and abused by many like some drugged fuck bucket its always stood the test of time and when you have parents today see their kids bringing home a Green Day with safe approval and then sneer with disapproval and dread when they bring home a copy of Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks, you know something’s is limitless and dangerous. I think the whole Punk/Oi scene has gone through so many ups and downs and transformations that it has only benefited from it and also learnt a valuable lesson that the more bands that come out onto the scene with the original ethic of don’t please the market please themselves the better. I think as soon as the scene churns out bands that pander to ‘the market’ the more you will be drowning under the dirge of ‘pop’ punk…which I fucking hate with a passion…be yourself…be original….if you don’t get in Kerrang or the NME…don’t lose any fucking sleep…millions haven’t!
Los Para’s fuck that seems like an eon ago…yes it was in essence the one of many stages in my life that I started with a mission to20mars. The band was always something that I wanted to make an impression and for a short while it did, mainly in
Lorraine: As a founder of the charitable organisation Punk Aid, can you tell us how it came about, its aims and how it has developed?
Tim: Well charity work is something that is close to my heart and I have always valued my life and appreciate that there are many less fortunate or capable than I. So it was a article in Pulp magazine that was around at the time that Charlie from Menace wanted support in raising money for the school that his son Daniel went to and that was part of the Ingfield Manor school in Bilingshurst. So I contacted Charlie and said to him how’s he doing with his campaign…and he wasn’t.
I have always felt there’s an element to punk that at times can be extremely callous and hypocritical. There are always calls for pseudo political causes that don’t mean a fucking jot to anyone and yet for the real eggs and bacon there is nothing. So I said well lets go for it and get the unusual artists and those who are less in the limelight following the current fest groups. So we did we trawled every venue in London asking for a venue for free and surprise surprise we had no fucking luck. Then I got a call from a geezer in Croydon who was running a disco that was going down the hill fast and he let us have that for free and he kept the bar profits. So along with a few names and people like Mark P on acoustic and Special Duties etc etc we did it. It was a success raising over 600 quid…which then was cool. It ended and we was then inundated with requests when’s the next???? So I thought fuck it and we organised the next festivals under the mandate or the less known towns and the bands that are not the run of the mill. Our second we had Eddie and The Hotrods and also that weekend we had Napalm Death. The thing was that I had saw them on TFI Friday the week before and thought yes they’ll do! I spoke with Barney and said fuck yea we’ll do it. So the die was cast everyone that came expected the unexpected. The problem overall with Punk Aid was we always expected the bands to get behind the event and in the end we had many who wanted to get involved for the right reasons and those because they were less favourable to the tried and trusted.
The only artist who I always had total respect for was TV Smith and there were many don’t get me wrong but there were many who just didn’t give a fuck. We were always under pressure to name and shame but fuck it we didn’t. In the end we were fucking up on a daily basis as we was always trying to make everyone happy and we subsequently lost the business sense and got ourselves into shit moneywise instead of saying you either play for the cause OR don’t!!! Still lessons learnt and we have a new team running things now and they are totally on the ball and tight as fuck…so hopeful things will turn around soon. However we feel that the current climate there is too much festy fever and only a few fans to go around. However over the years we have a good deal for the charities and I hope that the new team will as well.
Tim: Well that old chestnut has always been played to death and like many I have always thought that if you give audience to these idiots be they from ANY political background you are asking for trouble. I am afraid in my own opinion many bands have had this problem and had courted it for a quiet life or to see the ranks swell whatever the cost, but like the Mafia you let them do you a favour and your have to return that one day…so when it happens its no good whinging. The best course of action for any bands that are plagued or dogged by these people is start as you mean to go on…give no platform and they’ll soon get bored.
The issues of violence at gigs are always an issue and unfortunately you will always get a small minority that spoil it for the others. I have found this mainly in countries that are new to the Punk/Oi scene and as such they have read in the media and zines about what DID happen and therefore they feel it’s a part of the culture etc etc…but they learn pretty quick that nothing comes out of that other than shit and misery.
Tim: Well that’s just it, it is a love him or hate him and like many I loved SHAM 69 and part of the appeal was Jimmy’s vigour and front but like many idols or stars you tend to take things in bite size chunks and like a box of Jam doughnuts after the first 4 your sick of it and then your put off. I went to many concerts and stood there thinking do I come here for the speeches or the fucking songs. I think that why most of the diehard fans have stood by this line up and also why we have won them over, its about the songs and the passion that is SHAM 69.
His role???? Haha well I’m no actor I just do my job and I have taken over no ones role…Jimmy is Jimmy and no one can replace him. However when the plant dies you have to replace it with another one or a new one. I am me and what the fans see is me and not Jimmy, I don’t try to emulate him in any way and wouldn’t want to. I have now created my own persona that people love me for or hate me, but my message for anyone who cannot accept me then please don’t bother spending your money seeing us just stay at home and play your albums.
Lorraine: Finally what does Tim V see himself doing over the next 10 years and of-course, the obligatory, what music does he choose to listen to?
Tim: Well doing this till I drop I hope but all I ask for is that I can carry on entertaining the fans and I just get a buzz from seeing smiles on their faces and leaving the show afterwards happy and contented. Outside of the band I have a very loving wife who I worship and love very much so what more could I ask for? Hey..what's it all about Tim V………..?
Thanks to Andy Sheppard at www.lowlightphoto.co.uk for the photos of Tim V and Sham 69 @ Bush Hall
Interview by 09.01.09