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Heartbreakers Walter Lure Interviewed

 

On the back of the re-release of L.A.M.F, Joe Whyte speaks to last-man-standing, the legendary Walter Lure, for LTW.

With more lives than a cat with a lucky charm, Walter Lure survived not only the NYC punk scene, but also the Anarchy Tour and being in The Heartbreakers, possibly the most self-destructive, contrary band of them all. I covered much of the bands story in my LAMF review  recently so won’t reiterate it here. I had the privilege of speaking to Walter (or Waldo as he’s known to all of his contemporaries) and his answers are a most illuminating tale of not just the dark heart of the band, but of the fun and the good times too.

I firstly ask Walter his thoughts on another re-release of the ‘Breakers one-and-only studio album and its place in the grand scheme of music;

WL-There have been so many different releases I can’t keep track of them! For now I’ll just concentrate on the initial release in 1977 and the remastered one in the mid ’80s sometime. The first thing to discuss was the muffled sound of the original release in ‘77. That issue, whatever the cause was (I’ve always thought it was in the transfer from tape to vinyl and NOT in the mixes but others disagreed). That lousy sound sort of killed the album at birth. It never sold that well and led to the eventual breakup of the band. While it sounded much better after Johnny and Tony James remastered it in the ’80s by then it was too late for the band but at least a good version was finally available in the pantheon.  The cassette and CD versions were also much better than the original. I’ve always thought that the Sex Pistols had the best sounding record from that era and I was really trying to get that sound with LAMF but no luck. I always thought that we were probably the best live band from back then and we had the crowds to prove it – we were a little older than the U.K. punk bands at the time and had been playing longer so we had more skill and chops to use. The other bands would get better later (except for the Pistols who were my favorites at the time but like us never lasted- Rotten was a great front man as well but somewhat deficient as a personality). In any case, yes we were accepted into the U.K. punk royalty at the time and we were among the best out there. The songs were great songs and still hold up well today, some 40 years later. I am even doing a 40th anniversary LAMF tour in a few weeks with an all star lineup of myself, Clem Burke, Glen Matlock and Mike Ness ( from Social Distortion). All if the 6 shows in NYC and the west coast are sold out so it sort of confirms the lasting power of the record.

I ask about Walter’s first impression’s of London in 1976 and the unfolding punk scene;

WL-I’ve said it zillions of times that I thought the U.K. scene back then was incredible. I remembered later that there had been a news article some 6 months earlier mentioning a music scene in the U.K. but we really knew nothing about it in that prehistoric age before you tube, cellphones and the internet. Our timing was propitious also as we landed at Heathrow the same night as The Pistols blew up the media on the Bill Grundy show. Malcolm picked us up at the airport in a limo and he was really nervous and muttering to himself. He mentioned something about the band cursing on a TV show but we had no idea. The next day we woke up and every newspaper had nothing else on the front pages but the hideous outrage that some punks cursed on national TV. We couldn’t understand it at all. While people didn’t usually curse on US TV it would never have caused the uproar that it did in the U.K.  In any case, the publicity was incredible and while it sort of killed most of the Anarchy Tour, the shows that we did play were great and the national press was following us around everywhere we went. You could not buy that amount of publicity for any amount of money. We did get along with the bands like The Pistols and The Clash quite well because we were getting drunk together every night at the bars in the hotels after another gig was cancelled. The Damned traveled in another van so I only heard bad things about them from The Clash and the Pistols. They weren’t well liked apparently and I never really got into their music but when we got to know them later we all got along great. When we first met The Pistols at our hotel the night we landed ( or the next night- I’m sort of foggy on which night) Malcolm was taking us all to dinner so we came into the lobby and Steve and Paul were really quiet in the corner and hardly said anything. We met Rotten later at the restaurant. I heard months later that Steve and Paul were really in awe of Johnny and Jerry because of the NY Dolls which were one of their main influences.

Walter goes on:

WL-Winter 1976. Actually we only had to last about 2-3 weeks. We were supported on the Anarchy Tour by the tour people but once the tour was over we had to fend for ourselves. The reason we stayed in London and didn’t just go home was that we needed to do a showcase gig for all the record companies. The tour ended a week before Christmas so of course the music business was shut down for the holidays. At the time the U.K. record companies were giving much better record deals than their US counterparts so it was in our best interests to get a U.K. deal. We had very little cash, Leee had kept some in reserve for a few spare meals and transport needs. Luckily the Clash’s roadie, Sebastian Conran offered to put us up for “a few days” at his parents flat in Belgravia. They were out of town – they being the founders of Conran’s department stores. The flat had around 5 floors and about 8 bedrooms and was beautiful. I knew Sebastian was nervous that we’d destroy the place but we were actually fairly well behaved didn’t wreck anything. I guess we didn’t have enough cash to get lots of drugs and booze and start vomiting over everything. The Clash members would stop by with friends during this time sometimes bringing food and booze. I know Johnny sold his Gretsch White Falcon guitar to Joe Strummer while we were there. We stayed at a few other places as well – Jordan {Walter means Linda Ashby, but you don’t contradict a legend}  the dominatrix dyke had a large flat just off Green Park near Buckingham Palace. Some of us stayed there a night or two on cots. She had cash so we could get drugs as well. I also met Chrissie Hynde, Patti Paladin and Judy Nylon there for the first time.  The Pistols would stop by as well.  Jordan { he means Linda} would be torturing her clients in the back room while we were all hanging out in the front rooms. Someone said they saw David Frost coming out one afternoon looking all red faced after having gone through a session with her. Quite the scene at the time.

Another highlight was that Caroline Coon, the writer had a big Christmas party for all of The Clash, Pistols, Heartbreakers etc on either Christmas Eve or day, I forget which at her flat. There was tons of food and drinks and we all had a grand time. So really everybody chipped in to keep us alive during those few weeks and finally after the holidays we did our showcase show at the Roxy for the record companies. We finally went back to NYC a day or 2 after the show and left the negotiations to Leee and his lawyer friend. We found out a week or 2 later that Track was offering the most to sign us and we headed back to London a week or so later. I also finally quit my day job as a chemist with the Food and Drug Administration in New York and embarked on my new career as a drug addled punk rocker! It doesn’t get much stranger than that.

The Heartbreakers (with Richard Hell) had been performing as a three-piece before Lure joined. I asked about fitting in with these guys at the time-

WL- Ah, fitting in. Ok. I’ve just joined a new band, The Demons, in summer 1974 and we had been rehearsing in the NY Dolls rehearsal space because the lead singer of The Demons knew The Dolls and would deal drugs to them. We’re trying to get some gigs when we hear that The Dolls have broken up in Florida on the Malcolm McLaren inspired Red Patent Leather tour. We finally get a Demons gig at the 82 Club in the East Village – it was a well known lesbian bar at the time but started to have rock bands on certain nights to raise money. All those drag queen and bull dyke shows didn’t generate that much income. By now we have heard that Johnny and Jerry have joined Richard Hell to start a new band called the Heartbreakers- a name that Jerry said later that Sylvain had thought up. So The Demons do their first show and after the show Johnny pulls me over to a staircase and asks me if I want to join his new band. I’m totally flabbergasted but have enough composure to say yes. They apparently liked my stage presence during The Demons show. I’m invited to an audition in the next week. I go to the audition and play the tunes that they already had written and then wait to hear if I’m hired. A month or 2 or 3 go by and I don’t hear anything- I knew they were auditioning other guys so I figured I didn’t make the cut. Then The Demons have a gig opening up for the 3 piece Heartbreakers in a small club just over the river in Queens. We play the show and they do theirs as a 3 piece which sounded pretty thin and then after the show Jerry pulls me over to ask if I liked any of the songs I played with them in the audition. I said I loved them and then he asks me to join the band. Voila- I am now what Chris Stein from Blondie would later name me as “The Rookie of the Year”.

I played my last show with The Demons on a Friday night at CBGB during a July 4th festival to about 20 people at 2 am and my first Heartbreakers show the next night to a jam packed house of probably 500 people with lines around the block.

Now, the rehearsals began in probably March or April and I started to see who the band really is. Fitting in was a necessity for me if I wanted to last so the first thing was to have Dee Dee Ramone cut my hair in Richard Hell’s apartment since my shag Demons hairdo wasn’t punk enough. I actually liked the new look but it took quite awhile for Johnny to cut off his mop. He didn’t’ do it until we got to the U.K. Next thing is that the whole band are junkies. Every band meeting or rehearsal has to begin with them shooting up before we can get started. I was no drug innocent and had tried heroin once or twice in my college years along with every other drug that was available but never got strung out on them. I’d also never used needles before. Voila! In my infinite stupidity I decided I wanted to fit in so I started using with them. I first got injected in Hell’s apartment by Jerry and then later learned how to do it myself. Dee Dee would always be hanging out because he was a junkie also and had written Chinese Rocks for us. The Ramones didn’t want to do songs about drugs. So now I’m using drugs like them and starting to write songs for them and lo and behold I’m an accepted full time band member! The drug dynamics were easy to handle in the early days because nobody was really that far gone but later it got worse and worse. Fitting in was not all that hard but I did pay the price later on when it took me some 8 years to finally get off the stuff.

I’d recently seen Walter play at Bowery Electric with Syl Sylvain and a friend from NYC had remarked that Walter was gay- I had never been aware of this- I wondered about this ever being an issue in a band as macho as the HBs:

WL-  I’m not sure this has any relevance to the music and era but in any case I don’t identify as either straight or gay. I’ve been bisexual all my life and have had numerous liaisons with members of both sexes. I have a son and two granddaughters here in the US and remember fondly a girl I fell in love with in the U.K. back in the 70’s – we lived together for all of 5 months till circumstances split us up.

When I joined The Heartbreakers I wasn’t really advertising my male liaisons and had no reason to. I wanted the band to accept me as a musician so I didn’t’ need any distractions. Jerry was probably the most homophobic but even he didn’t really hate gays and neither did John – after all, our manager Leee Black Childers was a flaming queen of the first order. There were rumors about Billy in the years before he joined the band but never anything credible. Most people on the scene then totally accepted gays and there were plenty of them about performing or just hanging out. So while it really wasn’t an issue for me I felt no need to make any proclamations. Later on I got spotted in a few one-off situations in the U.K. and later in NYC but they never really rejected me for it. I would also show up with girls on my arm which they also accepted. In the end it never really caused any issues except for a few passing jokes in later years but I would hit back just as hard with their foibles and believe me they both had them although somewhat different than mine.

Signing with Track Records turned out to not be one of the bands better decisions. I ask Walter about his memories of this:

WL- I think I said a little about the process in one of the earlier questions. We did the showcase after the holidays and left the negotiating up to Leee and the lawyers. We knew EMI was interested as well as some others and I also heard that one of the companies main concerns was the drug situation with Johnny and Jerry and the rest of us. I heard later that Leee had promised that Johnny and Jerry could be kept under control or “managed” and that there was nothing to worry about with me or Billy. I managed to destroy that image later but more about that further on. So we ended up signing with Track which apparently offered the best deal. They certainly treated us well for the year or two we were signed to them although we found out later they had some darker hidden motives for signing us that only surfaced later on. I was never a part of the deal negotiations and neither to my knowledge was Johnny or Jerry. I also never had the chance to discuss them with Leee in later years not that it would have changed anything. I imagine in the end the other companies backed away a bit because of the bad reputations.

The painful process of recording and mixing LAMF is a story that needs telling from the horses mouth:

WL- A good question. I have no idea why we took so long to do it. We knew the songs in our sleep from playing them so much. We would also keep doing short tours and one off shows while we recorded to keep our chops up. We started in the Essex St Studios somewhere in Piccadilly or Soho. It was a small space and in a basement but was still a fairly good studio – we did most of the songs and I thought they came out good but there seemed to be some general discontent with the output so we migrated to The Who’s studios, Ramparts, on the other side of the Thames. This place was much larger and was really impressive so we started all over again. To my mind we played well in both studios and I never had a chance to compare the takes from the different studios to see which was actually superior. All that comparison was being done by the producer Speedy Keen and Danny Secunda. Speedy was a great guy and I never had any issues with him but as a general rule of thumb speed freaks and junkies don’t mix well. We were taking everything we could get our hands on at the time and Danny would often supply us with cocaine during the sessions which we found out later was being charged back to our accounts at Track. Of course many a session would start hours late or break up early because one of us needed to get more dope or couldn’t find any. Johnny was probably the worst offender but we were all guilty.

It’s funny, that story about taxis to Birmingham is not one I remembered from those days. I know that on tour Johnny would occasionally get someone to come up from London with some dope (or gear as they called it in the U.K.). The writer Nick Kent would show up from time to time and John would either go back to London for the night or Nick would leave and come back. Itsis possible John was getting taxis and billing them to Track but I don’t remember hearing about it back then.

In any case it took us about 6 months to get the recording done and I thought we did a great job but then all the noise started about the mixes. Jerry was insistent that he could do it better so they gave him a few days and everything sounded like a giant drum track with a few small vocal and guitars in the background. Finally we had to release the thing in time for the Xmas holidays and Track was threatening to cancel our contract if we didn’t approve the release. Johnny, Billy and I approved and then Jerry walked away from the band. To me after all those years, the problem was never in the mixes, it was in the transfer to vinyl from tape that the sound got lost and muffled. The studio takes sounded great but the pressings didn’t. Later re-mastering proved that the recordings were really good, it was the medium that defeated us. Sometimes I refer to that issue as Johnny and Jerry’s curse. They had the same problems with the NY Dolls Records which never came close to their live shows.

Guitar geek moment for your esteemed interviewer. I have to ask Walter about that famous LP Deluxe that is almost always in photos from the era:

WL- Yes I used the same Les Paul Deluxe on all of the LAMF recordings and I still use it today. I got used to it but now when I tour in other countries and states I usually ask the promoter to borrow one for me as I hate bringing it on planes. And amps? We usually used either Fender Twins (or Pros in the smaller clubs) or Marshall’s. Johnny and I liked Fenders for the reverb but also Marshall’s for the bottom end and distortion. When we toured in the U.K. we often used a Fender Twin and a Marshall in tandem for a much brighter heavier sound.

Speedy Keen of Thunderclap Newman was the producer(with Daniel Secunda) of LAMF. Walter remembers him fondly. Kinda….

WL-Speedy was a good guy but junkies and speed freaks don’t usually jell together well. Still he was supportive and did his best to keep us on target, no small task considering the band’s proclivities. The endless mixes were both him and Danny Secunda’s ideas because we kept on pushing them. We also changed studios a few times. In the end I always thought the mixes especially those done at Ramparts all sounded great in the studio on both big and small speakers but whenever we went to have the thing pressed onto vinyl it always came back with that muffled sound. John tried mixing it and Jerry did it for a week in his own and they all came back sounding shitty. In the end we had to release what we had. If there had been CD’s or cassettes back then I believe the sound would have been much better but that is all water under the proverbial bridge.

A lot of The Heartbreakers live recordings from this era are incredible. They were well known as a terrific live outfit. Walter elaborates:

WL- Yes, well back then we had been touring and recording constantly so we were really tight and on top of our game no matter how many drugs we took. Later on in the various reunions we had some great ones like the Live at Max’s albums and a few other tapes but there were a lot of nights that Johnny was totally fucked up and he couldn’t keep himself together. A few nights in NYC Johnny would be unconscious in the dressing room with bubbles coming out of his mouth and we would have to start the show without him but even then he would always manage to wake up somehow and make it to the stage by the 2nd or 3rd song. Still a few nights we had to pull the plug on his amp after he kept on playing the wrong songs over and over. So I guess in the later years it was a toss-up whether John would be together enough to play and hold up his end onstage. Many nights he did but on others it was a mess. We also would be playing with different drummers and bass players from time to time which also affected the sound.

On a similar note, I wonder about Walter’s early guitar influences:

WL- I first picked up a guitar about age 12 with a friend in my neighborhood. We took a few lessons but after 6 months I dropped it never getting the hang of it. Probably because they were teaching me songs like “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Camptown Races”. I just couldn’t’ get into it. I loved listening to the rock music of the day- this was in pre-British invasion era. When the Beatles and the Stones came into the picture I really started to get into the music becoming obsessed with all the British bands and all the cultural upheaval happening in the 60’s. However I didn’t pick up a guitar again until the late 60’s when I was in college. I was hanging out with music obsessed people and going to see tons of concerts in New York. I was at Woodstock for 2 weeks having gotten there a week early and remaining trapped there for a week after until the masses had cleared out. Finally a few of my mates at college suggested we start a band. My younger brother had started taking guitar lessons and he would show me what he learned after coming home. So I started slowly. My first jam session was sort of a wake up call for me as I realized that I did n’t know how to play as much as I thought I did. The other guys were further along. This is now around 1969. I then started to obsess over playing and slowly became more proficient at it copying solos from my various favorite guitarists. In the beginning I could n’t tell a sax solo from a guitar solo but now I could hear every note. Playing with other people was the best way to learn. So we started this band called Bloodbath (or the Bloodbath Revue for our first show). We did covers of Zeppelin, Stones and Bowie and various blues numbers playing gigs at my college and a few other locals and some small clubs. We also copied the British look with long shag hairdos and high heel boots and velvet pants.  My favorite guitarists at that time and also today were the big Brits – Clapton, Beck, Peter Green and Page and also my own personal favorite-Mick Taylor. The main force that drove me was the intense personal feeling I got when I heard or played a great guitar solo- it just sent chills up and down my spine. I was literally hooked on guitar music and blues solos.

Following the demise of The Heartbreakers, Walter’s next venture was The Waldos who released the brilliant (and long out of print although now out on CD) Rent Party:

WL- We released this about 1993 on a small label named Sympathy For The Record Industry. I was run out of LA but after the initial release they never really promoted it and the company just sort of slowly wound down a few years later. They did a special re-release on Vinyl somewhere around 2008 or 2009 but it was only a limited edition. I finally got Jungle Records in the U.K. to re-release the CD a few years ago with some bonus tracks so it is now continually available. So the album never really disappeared but just was out of print and not promoted during those dormant years. I always thought it was a great record but got lost due to a lack of promotion.

Playing with Syl Sylvain and a cast of dozens at Bowery Electric in September must have been a hoot:

WL-Playing with Sylvain in September, yeah.  Yes, that was a quite fun night. I enjoyed doing “Cupid” with Sylvain and the band. I remember playing with Sylvain back in the late 70’s or early 80’s at a one off gig with local stars at Max’s Kansas City. If I’m not mistaken we called the band “The Works” which was a nickname used at the time for the hypodermic needles used to inject drugs. Anyway that was about the only time I remember playing with him until last September. I also enjoyed the other guests as well. Lisa Colby played with us last year at the LAMF show in November and Sam Harris has been a friend for years. His band is opening for the Waldo’s on 12/29 at Bowery Electric as well. They both were great that night with Sylvain.

LAMF Live had some mixed reviews last year. Are you looking forward to this years 40th Anniversary? Any plans to bring it to the U.K.?

WL- Last year’s shows were great to do with those guys. I’ve known Clem (Burke, Blondie) since the 70’s and also Wayne (Kramer, The MC5) since he started playing a few gigs with Johnny in the 80’s. I had never met  (The Replacements and GNR) Tommy Stinson before. The lineup sounded great and there is a new CD, album and DVD being released from those shows in the next few weeks. There were a few issues the first night because Tommy was falling down drunk and Wayne was forgetting certain song parts but by the 2nd night it got a lot better and I think the record will show that. I wasn’t sure if Tommy was just trying to act like the old Johnny since he was doing a lot of the vocals for John’s songs that first night or if he really was toasted. Nevertheless I think overall it went well. Jesse Malin and I were talking about doing it again this year for the real 40th anniversary of the LAMF release ( since I am only 45 years old now you can tell everyone I was only 5 years old when we did LAMF!) and we were discussing band members. Clem was perfect last year and was also willing to do it this year again. Glen Matlock’s name came up for bass as he was around in London at the time of the original release and was a part of the original scene. He was happy to join this year. Guitarists were another matter. Steve Jones name came up but he rarely ever leaves LA and probably wouldn’t’ sign on for it. In any case we are hoping to get him onstage in LA for a song or two. Then Jesse got in touch with Billy Joe Armstrong who said he’d love to do it and had always been a big Heartbreakers fan which I had not been aware of until then. We were set for him to play until news came out in late August that Green Day had fired their entire management team and Billy ended up have to back out because there were too many business issues that he had to deal with. Jesse remembered opening up for Social Distortion back in the 80’s or 90’s sometime when he was a teenager and had been talking with Mike Ness after the show. Apparently Mike had been peppering Jesse with questions about The Heartbreakers back then and what were they like. He also was a big Heartbreakers fan unbeknownst to me because I never ran into him before. So Jesse got in touch with him and he agreed right away to do the show. I also love his band so I think the lineup will work even better this year.

At this point we only have the 3 shows in NYC and 3 shows on the west coast scheduled. I’d love to bring it to the U.K. and Japan but everybody has their own bands and businesses to deal with so it’s extremely hard to get everyone together for any length of time. Of course if the shows go really well we can always revisit the idea of doing more shows in different cities and countries. Here’s hoping we can.

I ask Walter his thoughts on the legacy of both The Heartbreakers and LAMF;

WL- It’s sort of hard to explain- yes we only did one studio album and later a few live releases but the music really had a lot of staying power. After all I’m still playing this stuff 40 years later and people are still paying to hear and see it. Maybe you could compare it to those shooting star type of artists who do one major event and nothing ever after like the Sex Pistols, Arthur Lee and Love, the New York Dolls,  James Dean and god knows how many others; there are quite a few of them in all the different art fields.  I know that just by being in that band for those few years has kept me going on live stages and studio albums for 40 years. There was definitely more to that music than meets or met the eye back then. We might be Icons if that’s anything to write home about. In any case I’m definitely glad it happened. I also always say that if the album didn’t get the bad reviews back then and sold a lot more, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this stuff because If we had started making real money than we all would have gotten far worse on drugs and probably would have died a lot earlier. Myself included.

Walter survived the Heartbreakers as mentioned and went on, against the odds, to have a successful and very lucrative career in Wall Street finance. Interestingly, he’d actually been a pharmacist before becoming a professional musician. Probably quite a handy set of skills for life with Thunders and Nolan………

WL- Yes, I did manage to survive the Heartbreakers and start a fairly lucrative career in finance in spite of all my proclivities. Not sure what angel or devil was watching over me but I was doing all the same stuff that the other guys were but I managed to get out of it eventually. It did take awhile though. Okay, it’s the early 80’s, the band has been broken up for 3 years already, I’ve got no money to speak of living with a girlfriend in midtown but still spending all of the cash I do manage to get on drugs. I move back to my parents house for awhile and then my father, who was a retired bank manager, knows a retired friend who started doing some work for a small computer company that would go into banks and help them with their record keeping involving corporate takeovers and mergers. They hired temps on a fairly regular basis to help with the work. The guy hired me and my younger brother for a few jobs so we put our suits on and head to wall st. It was basically a simple job – we just added up piles of stock certificates and determined what each shareholder was entitled to by the terms of the merger. If u had 10 shares of a company that was being bought for $10 a share u were entitled to $100 cash. There were other more complex transactions but that was the gist of it. So I’m doing this for a couple of years and getting better at it and I’m also finding that I’ve become quite curious about how the whole world of finance works. I never knew anything about money other that the fact that I never had enough and always wanted more. Stocks, bonds, warrants, mutual funds and hundreds more types of securities- a whole new world. So in late 1986 I decide to get more involved and take a job with a real life wall st stock brokerage firm. Then the learning curve really steepens. I thought I knew stuff but soon find out that I had only been exposed to one tiny area of brokerage operations. There were many other types of activities that were completely different so I had to learn what they were all about. Meanwhile I’m still running out to lunch everyday trying to buy more dope to get me thru the day. One day I went out for lunch and got arrested buying dope and spent 3 days in jail before they released me with a $50 fine. I had to make up some wild story about multiple deaths in my family to get the job to believe me but they still kept me on. This was fall 1987 then finally in late May 1988 I finally stopped shooting dope and coke forever ( there was one more time a few months later but never again after that). The detox was fairly gruesome but I knew what to expect because I had tried to stop so many times before. With the help of a small supply of some pills I was finally out of the Junkie syndrome and felt better after a week or 2. Now after this I became even more interested in finance and how Wall st worked. One of my bosses took a liking to me and sort of mentored me learning all this shit. Within 4 more years I was in charge of a whole department of 25 people and then 2 more years I was in charge of the whole settlement operation of 125 people and making great money. This was starting to become fun! I was even investing in stocks by myself. Then things started to change. Big banks were taking over all of the indie brokerage firms in the late 90s and we got bought by one bank which was later taken over by another bank and all of the Vice Presidents were being laid off. So in 2001 I was out of work with a year severance package. I managed to get another job in 2002 at an asset management firm which was then taken over by Lehman Bros in 2003. Later Lehman went bankrupt but the asset management company bought itself back from the Lehman estate and I stayed with them until I retired in early 2015. To this day I still have quite a bit of money in the market and continually read the wall st journal daily and other investment publications. I actually enjoyed the whole thing but all during this time I was still playing music. In the 80 s I had the hurricanes, the Heroes and finally The Waldo’s. We released the first Waldo’s album in 1993 or 1994 but then people started dying on me first the Waldo’s drummer Charlie Sox in 1993, then my bass player Tony Coiro in 1995 and finally my younger brother in 1997. I was ready to retire by now because people were dropping like flies around me and I thought I was in some odd way responsible. But in any case the current Waldo members managed to persuade me to keep it going with them. I did and they have managed to stay alive for these last 20 years constantly gigging and finally to release our first album in the next few months. It’s at the mastering guy now. The funny bit was that back in the 90s when I was in charge of all those people on the job, a lot of them would come to my shows and laugh at the fact that their boss was playing punk rock music onstage. My clothes closet had all my work suits and ties on one side and the other side had all the beat up stage clothes. Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde here you are!

What’s next for the mighty Waldo?

WL- Well as I said I’m still involved in this music scene. I am in the middle of writing a book/memoir with a ghost writer. It should be out late next year.The new Waldo’s album will be out in a few months and I’ve got these LAMF shows coming up in 2 weeks and who knows what after that. I did manage to release an album a year or 2 ago with some local musicians – the band was called “The Last Ditches” and u can hear the songs onYouTube or order a CD online if you’re interested. I’ve also been doing my Chuck Berry routine for the last 10 years going out of town to different cities and countries and playing my stuff with a local backup band in whatever country I’m in. It’s quite fun and I get to travel for free and even get paid. So far I’ve been to the U.K. about 4 Times, Japan twice, Brazil once, and France Germany and Belgium once each. I should be returning to Germany in May if all goes well and maybe even this LAMF thing could get some more gigs in.Life has been pretty good to me so far.

lamf

The Bowery Electric  LAMF event 

The Waldos Facebook

Interview by Joe Whyte DTK

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