Any band that has ever tried to weld a “Beatlesque” melody into a power chord and maintain an anti-bourgeois attitude owes their influence to English glam band, Slade…Of all the 1970s rock-rock acts, Slade were arguably most in tune with punk’s premium on three-chord simplicity, raw-powered riffage with a proletariat ethos. 1984 was a big year for Slade, but as any British Baby Boomer and Generation X-er worth their weight in fish and chips will tell you, Slade was a band that ruled over Europe and the UK throughout most of the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Their song titles may have read like an Irvine Welsh (Traianspotting) novel as they rarely shunned the opportunity to re-jig a word to a ridiculously comical end. It was so much so that during their apex, the band ran afoul of a nationwide cabal of schoolteachers incensed by their deliberate misspellings like “Cum on Feel the Noize” and “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me,” demonstrates how much of a force, guitarists/vocalists Neville “Noddy” Holder and Dave Hill, bassist Jim Lea and drummer Don Powell were at home. Slade churned out song after song after song that were just like the songs that preceded them. But this is hardly a criticism; Chuck Berry made history doing the same thing.
Unfortunately Slade were never able to crack the American market.. They may have seemed a bit too British. – Where in tarnation do you get a name like “Noddy?” – and perhaps a tad too working-class for Americans at a time when the public’s psyche on cultural authenticity was flagging. Or maybe Americans of that era simply sucked.
British rock band, Massive Wagons seems to have been “punked” into the wrong decade. I’ll tell you this, they would be rock radio’s darlings back in the 70’s and early 80’s. With none of the hyper-hairsprayed power ballad brigade.. none of the Quiet Riot-play-Slade’s-Greatest-Hits-Bad boyz shit!
Simply good ol’ high-kickin’, fist-wavin’, shoutin’, stompin’, rompin’ rock and roll for teen aged lust-mongers. The wave of howling hormones that swept the U.K. pop scene in the early 1970s has been haunting the fringes of rock and roll ever since. It was not heady stuff then and it still is not. Loud, raw, noisy, and messy are some of the adjectives that springs to mind when I hear Massive Wagons. They are one exciting band! They rock crazier and harder than Slade, Status Quo and The Darkness..and at times they veer close to anarchy but remember don’t mistake this for their “anti-bourgeois” political platform .The song, “House of Noise” has a warped Gary Glitter style chant that advises youngsters to ditch school for a life or crime..Singer, Barry “Baz” Mills is a joyful soul and plays being a glamorous psychopath quite well. … he can be caromed between The Sensational Alex Harvey and Malcolm McDowell from A Clockwork Orange..
Malcolm McDowell The Sensational Alex Harvey
Our article wasn’t complete without an interview with Baz Mills…. It took time but I’m so thrilled with the opportunity to make it happen!
Rock Bands of L.A.com: I realize this is a basic question… What are your musical influences? Was it Slade glam? Was it Status Quo rhythms…Was it The Darkness cheeky lyrics? I just can’t believe how you nailed late 70’s rock and roll.. Did your parents listen to classic rock?… What inspired you to create a rock band with a retro vibe?
Baz: I was completely influenced from an early age by my parents taste in music, its the first music i heard in my life, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran were a big fave of my mother, she is a complete Buddy Holly fan girl, Slade and T-Rex also were massive, they were the bands my parents listened to when they met in the 70s, my dads also a big Who fan, but the 50s stuff set me off i think on the best path into music, those guys helped write the rule book on rock n roll, and there is no better place to start than with them, i used to lie in bed as a kid with my Walkman and listen to tapes my folks had made for me, I’d imagine i was singing with Elvis haha as corny as that sounds, he was a badass mf!! As i grew up my dad started playing in a country band, and my mother would listen to a lot of country, all the greats, Willie, Waylon, J Cash, she’d listen to a lot of Allan Jackson too but if I’m honest I’m not a fan.. haha, i do love country tho as do the lads in the band, Alex especially, at the moment BlackBerry Smoke are the band for me in that department, well, rock country i suppose. At about 11 i was really getting into my own music, Judas Priest, i got Painkiller for Christmas one year and that album completely consumed me for the next 12 months honestly, i listened to it non stop, I was into Rainbow, Deep Purple too, AC/DC, again all from tapes my dads mate had made me, i was just throwing myself into all the classics from years gone by, but it wasn’t till i grew up a bit and started playing bass guitar in a band that i started to really appreciate the British rock n roll bands, Quo, Slade, UFO, The Darkness, even the Who, they are all serious bands and masters of their craft but they all have that same sense of humour, they don’t take themselves too seriously, its a good time, they do it for the crowd, they let their guard down so people feel at ease and can let their guard down too i believe, its like they know they are good but don’t need to shout about it, if anything they take the piss out of themselves and that in itself endears them to people, Rick Parfitt, Noddy Holder, Keith Moon, you can see it with AC/DC too, they were clowns, peoples bands, and that’s exactly what i want us to be. As for my lyrics, again, I just make it my goal for nothing to be a cliche if i can help it, my lyrics are my own and i try to be as honest as possible, i really work hard on my words, i think if the lads have spent years honing their skills and writing the music the very least i can do is make the effort writing decent lyrics, i fuckin hate cliche lyrics, its lazy haha. And just for the record i do think Noddy is the greatest frontman of all time, his look, his voice, his banter, just incredible, all hail king Nod!!!
Rock Bands of L.A.com: You have an interesting persona… It’s a cross between Noddy Holder and Alex Harvey…. Is there a character that inspired you? You’re the type that doesn’t take themselves too serious.. You seem to have lots of fun..Your new video reflects that.. Do you play a lot of Football?
Baz: Haha its totally gonna seem like I’m some sort of Noddy Holder rip off character ain’t it ha, i do mention him a lot, and Slade in my opinion were the absolute kings of catchy rock, and i love everything about them, especially when you dig deeper than Cum On Feel The Noize, but, I genuinely don’t focus on any one in particular to form who i am on/off stage, if I’m being honest I am hugely influenced by any number of great frontmen, i would say I’m a fan of the big characters, i suppose that’s natural, who isn’t, thats what they do, they convince people, Bon, Nod, Daltrey, Harvey, those guys got on stage and just didn’t give a fuck, they made people have it, they absolutely smashed who they were and what they did in peoples faces, they connected with people and people wanted to be them, but you always felt if you bumped into them in the street they would take you for a drink, know what i mean, just class characters. Having a god sense of humour is essential too, always, never take who you are too seriously, I’m here to have a fuckin good laugh with as many people who want a fuckin good laugh as possible, that’s my goal in life. And no, i don’t play football very often… haha not anymore, i did play in goal for my school years ago, but alas i play no longer, as you can probably tell by the fact I’m wearing an old pair of white baseball trainers and not football boots haha.
Rock Bands of L.A.com: I’ll tell you this my friend… If you came to L.A. you wouldn’t go back to England… Have you ever been here? You’ve announced your British tour… Do you have plans to come to America.
Baz: Man, we would absolutely fucking love to come to America, absolutely no question about it!! That’s the dream ain’t it, I’ve never been to the States, the trouble is it’s a tough nut to crack isn’t it, if we were to head over it could possibly break us financially at the moment, and being away for so long would possibly damage what we are doing in Europe, it’s another world, it might as well be another planet!! We always kinda said we would go to America when we know the time is right, i think timing is everything hitting the States, we’ve seen bands go over and just come back broken and no better off, if the planets align and Dave Grohl falls in love with the Wagons hahaha then maybe, with support from someone it could be done, maybe we could come over for an odd gig, coming over to LA would be sick, play a few shows and come home, but in terms of touring, who knows, its the dream like I said, but we would need help, i dont know, maybe it could be done, if someone wants to help make that happen get in touch! An LA tour could be good haha, I’ve absolutely no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t wanna leave, that’s what I’m afraid of haha. We are making big leaps all the time with what we are capable of so maybe its not such a pipe dream, gotta have goals don’t you, so never say never. Thanks for the getting in touch, I appreciate you’re time, great questions, hopefully we can catch up at some point, keep on rockin amigo. Baz
A big thanks to Baz for his insights and of course Ms. Terri Chapman for helping put the interview all together..