This interview with Angry Anderson & Pete Wells occurred October 26, 2000
at SPV Records in Hannover, Germany. The interviewers are Börd Wäsche and
Claus Welsh. Thanks to Börd, Claus, and John Shearer for making this available.
Why did you call the live album "25 To Life"?
ANGRY - 'Cos we've been together 25 years.
There's a song on Pete's cd called "25 To Life"...its got nothing to do with it?
PETE - I was reminding the possibility of being back with Rose Tattoo.
ANGRY - It's like an omen...
PETE - It's like an Omen...Gregory Peck.
ANGRY - Yeah...foreboding.
PETE - He got killed...what the heck.
ANGRY - Sure did...came to a grisly end.
Why did you decide to reunite again? You did the Böhse Onkelz tour in '99.
ANGRY - They were introduced to our music when they were very young, and it influenced
them greatly...so they thought it would be good to meet us. So they were touring and
asked if we'd come and do it with them...so yeah.
I thought it was a "one off"...this tour...but you promised to go next year again, and
you played in Wacken, which was a fantastic concert...absolutely great...and why?
PETE - Why...well...why not? We got asked...
ANGRY - We waited too...it's the opportunity...the stars have moved...
PETE - We'll come back next year and play with Böhse Onkelz again. Give everybody the shits...
So you'll be back next year for sure?
ANGRY - That's for sure...it's already booked.
Cool...in Germany too, yeah?
ANGRY - Yeah...it's growing. Started off only two weeks, now it's four weeks...and I think it
might be six weeks...we're gonna do France...
PETE - Stop now....
ANGRY - Why? It makes it interesting? We'll do France, we might do Spain...we gonna do England...
hopefully Ireland...I like Ireland.
PETE - I like Ireland too...I just don't like the bit between here and Ireland.
You start in Australia with Motley Crue?
ANGRY - Yeah...when we go back. A couple of weeks away.
PETE - They're starting with us in Australia.
ANGRY - They won't want to start with us!
You play as support or headliner shows with them?
ANGRY - No...we're the special guest!
PETE - I see us as a co-headlining special guest.
ANGRY - Yeah...me too.
PETE - We'll still make money out of it...they won't make any money.
And they won't want to play in Australia again because if you play before them...they
won't go on stage...
ANGRY - They don't know that yet.
Who is in the band? Steve King and Rob Riley?
PETE - Yeah...the same as in Wacken.
Why isn't Geordie Leach with you?
ANGRY - He retired.
PETE - All he does now is write the setlist...it's his only function in the band. He's
like a brother...but he writes the setlist out and is very critical of the group...so
he's still in the band but he doesn't actually play anymore.
ANGRY - He's sort of retired...sort of.
PETE - He's married...and he's living life...and he's got a life to live...and he doesn't
want to go on the road and drink and take drugs for weeks on end.
ANGRY - He only likes to have sex with his wife.
PETE - Well...that's a point of view
ANGRY - Sort of puts him out of contention to be in the band.
What songs are you going to play live? Do you play the same setlist as "25 To Life"?
PETE - I'd love to play the ones on "25 To Life".
Play any rarities?
ANGRY - Probably will...I like all those songs...we all like those songs...can't play
everything...we'd be there for three hours. I don't know whether we can do that. That'd
be interesting to find that out actually...
Maybe you can play the whole night?
PETE - Yeah...we can do a drum solo...a bass solo...
ANGRY - All the covers...everyone's got favorite covers.
Yeah..."Street Fighting Man"?
ANGRY - Yeah...whatever.
PETE - I wanted to play that fucking last time...everyone said "you can't play that"...
ANGRY - We'll play it next time.
PETE - Fine.
You played "Money" in the past too...yeah?
ANGRY - How did you know that? We used to do it great!
I've got a sound sample taken from the internet. You know the website www.rosetattoo.net?
PETE - It's cool...Peter Gormley.
ANGRY - It's got "Money" on it? It's a bootleg.
No...it's only ten seconds or so?
ANGRY - Ok...it's a pretty quick song.
PETE - Change the list...I'll ring Geordie.
ANGRY - He'd be asleep now.
Ok...will you ever, ever record a new studio album?
PETE - God only knows...
ANGRY - Yeah!
Maybe with some songs...new versions from Pete's album, because there are some very great
songs on the "Hateball" album, and I could imagine that they would really kick ass with
Angry's vocals too.
ANGRY - There's a suggestion...we'll think about it in the natural course of time. Something
old...something borrowed...something blue...y'know, it'll be a bit like that.
PETE - If we do a studio album, Rob's got some songs and Angry's got some hysterical rants
which we'll put to music. I've got some new shit as well...
ANGRY - There's never been any problem with getting material.
PETE - I think if we're gonna do it, we'll probably just go in the studio for a while, drink
some beers and kick some songs around...that's what we do.
ANGRY - I'd really like to do an album say with like six tracks, but like really long.
PETE - He's gonna do another hippie period. It's the acid he took years ago...every seven
years it comes back.
ANGRY - Acid flashbacks...but y'know, the band jams very well, when the band's having fun
and we do it live or even just in rehearsal...jam and some terrific things happen. So it
would be really good to go in for a week...anytime you feel like going in...turn the tape
on and just play stuff...I'm sure really good things would happen. Have a format for a song,
y'know verse, chorus, verse, chorus...have the bits, but just see what you can do with
it. Because no one makes records like that anymore...it's a real shame. Magic things can
happen like that. And other players might come in, like other friends...
PETE - Let's not get too carried away...I don't like bringing in people.
ANGRY - I know you don't...but there are other people.
PETE - Like who?
ANGRY - Lucy...she plays piano.
PETE - Well that's one thing...
ANGRY - A harp player.
PETE - I don't like harp players...
ANGRY - A sax player...
PETE - We'd get dropped by the record label again...you know that don't you. We'd get
dropped by the record label, it would be a sad Monday...and I'd die.
The Wacken show was taped on video too...will it ever be released as a videotape?
ANGRY - God knows...
PETE - That footage, what they're gonna do actually is...some of us weren't too happy with
the video company...we had words. So they're thinking about doing this...using the footage
from Wacken, doing a DVD, which is the new sort of groovy format, and run it off with some
other footage, some other interviews, some other sort of shit and make a bit of a package...
instead of putting out a 4 song scratchy sort of video, and make this whole deal. But they're
still arguing about money...and whaddya bet it's gonna cost about a million bucks...but
that's what we're doing. So the footage is there, and at worst it's a video, but at best it's
this whole sort of thing, and they've got ideas about what they're doing...they're pricing
it at the moment...I think it's such an expensive...to get somebody to do the thing, but
that's the plan.
Is there another band that you'd like to tour with? Perhaps Motorhead or AC/DC?
PETE - I was gonna say AC/DC but Motorhead would be great. We're doing a show with AC/DC
in Paris next week...not playing but on a TV show...like a Rock TV show, sort of shooting
the shit and doing that...and they're touring Australia in January/February. The ticket
sales are great for them...they're doing really well. They've done two Entertainment Centers
in Sydney in a couple of days...which is really good business. I'm really happy 'cos the local
smartass journalists out there were shitcannin' the new record...and y'know...fuck you, we've
come back and sold out, so I'm really happy. So...both those two bands are the ones I would
have thought of...they're rock & roll bands...AC/DC, the greatest rock & roll band, they're
really good at it...one of the ones that are really great.
Have you heard the last album? "Stiff Upper Lip"?
PETE - Yeah...that's the one I was just talking about, because when it first came out, it took
a couple of listens until I really liked it. I really think it's great...but what I really liked
about it, was the success of it. In our country, all these smartass pricks shitcanned it,
in the press...and everybody's bought it and they sold all these tickets...yeah! That's my
favorite thing about it really...they play rock & roll, and it's that sort of music that goes
forever...like we might not have a good year next year but it doesn't matter...it'll come
back and younger people will pick up on AC/DC...like with us there's a lot of younger people
now liking that music we're playing...so with anybody, if you're true to it, and keep fuckin'
doing it...and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...it'll all work out.
Tell me something about your status in Australia. I heard from a friend of mine that you
played in Australia a few years ago in front of maybe 100, 200 people. Is that just a rumour,
PETE - It goes up and down. It's like rock & roll...we'll do one tour where were playing to a
couple of hundred people...then we'll do another gig at the Metro and we'll pack the joint out.
But it's like rock & roll...you just keep playing, y'know? There's a shitty year, then a really
good year, then a couple of good years, then a couple of shitty years...in terms of people...
ANGRY - Even in the same tour...one night you play to a thousand people, and then you only go
like, through 400 km, and most of the people that were at the show come from where you're
gonna go play...it's different, some nights you just play full houses every night, and then
you just play one place and it's like...200 people.
PETE - And that's rock & roll...it doesn't matter, 200 people show up you still got to give it
your best shot...and you do, that's the point about it.
Angry...I heard you worked as a plumber after Rose Tattoo departed in the 80's, is that right?
ANGRY - I worked for a plumber...I've been doing that lately. I work for a builder as well, just
I thought you were a really great star in Australia?
ANGRY - I did that too...when I was doing TV, and it's like, high profile, your only mixing with a
certain kind of person, and no criticism of them, but you can't spend all your time with those
kind of people, otherwise you tend to sort of start to talk like them and think like them, and
basically act like them, I suppose. And when we used to do TV shoots, we'd work very hard over
three or four weeks...just non-stop, no days off...so then you might have six or eight weeks off.
So for the first week you don't do anything...get up late, watch TV, go to the beach. And then
after that you think...there's more to life than that. So you might go fishing, or you might...
one of my friends is a plumber, another is a builder...and another bloke runs an auto shop, he fixes
cars. So you ring them up, or they ring you up and they say we need help...a laborer...would you like
to do it? 'Cos I've always told them I like to do that, I like to work with other men in a trade
environment. It's something I've done over the years...I just go an do the work, if they're going to
renovate a block of flats or build a house, whatever.
ANGRY - Yeah...these days I've been doing it for money. They always pay me, but lately it's good
work...it's physical...you don't have to think about it, it's just really really simple. You get
to hang around with...just other blokes. At the end of the day you go have a couple of beers...at
lunchtime you talk about the Footy...it's really simple, and different. It's just not like that
But you are married...and you have four kids?
ANGRY - Yeah...not married anymore, unfortunately. Well...fortunately I'm not married anymore.
Did you get divorced?
PETE - He's in the process off...
ANGRY - Yeah...in the process of.
PETE - And I for one am getting damn sick of it.
ANGRY - Ha ha ha...I won't mention it again!
Is this the reason for reuniting Rose Tattoo?
ANGRY - The two things aren't related...one didn't effect the other...I would have been separated
or divorced irregardless of what happened with the band. And I think we would have done the
band thing whether I was happily married or not.
Are you still busy in TV activities?
ANGRY - No...that stopped a long time ago. I'm very much open to do that again, but it doesn't
occupy the same...not that I'm ungrateful for the experience but I went and did that, and it
came to an end...it wasn't of my choosing but it came to an end...and I believe that certain
things you've got to take notice of what happens in your own life. And if something comes to an
end, it's meant to. And it means you're supposed to leave that and go and do something else. So
I'm not sort of, sitting at home...I'm not worried about it. What was fantastic about having the
opportunity to come work over here last year was just that...the fantastic opportunity. And it meant
more, 'cos if last year didn't happen we wouldn't be sitting here and Wacken wouldn't have happened.
So...life is just presenting us with opportunities.
What was the most touching moment during this TV career? I know you talked to sexually abused
kids, and prisoners in jail who were the abusers. You talked to kids who had cancer. What was the most
touching moment for you?
ANGRY - There's not one...the one thing that I was constantly amazed about is that no single person
knows enough about humanity. And part of the living experience is just that...that we're here
not to judge...certainly not to be judged...we're not here to moralize...and be moralized about.
Everybody has to live the best possible life for themselves that they can...and it's just the
experience. The most valuable thing about living is to have the experience, and the reason I'll
always go when those people...whether they write me a letter or ring me on the phone...and they say
will you come and do this or will you come and do that...because it helps or it's better or it
makes a difference...I'll go and do that because it's as much of an experience for me as it is for
them. So the most touching this is the humanity...it's the reason were here. It's like the
question "Why do you do rock & roll?" It's not the money...it's the humanity. It's because it's special
and it really matters.
You released an album called "Scarred For Life", and there's a song on it that's often been
misunderstood in Germany...you know what I'm talking about, "Revenge"?
PETE - Yeah, what about it?
Many Germans think it's got racial...
ANGRY - It is.
PETE - It has.
Yeah...and that's your true opinion?
ANGRY - Well it depends on what you're saying the true opinion is. There's a racial tone in it,
that's unmistakable. But what do you mean?
If a German band would have written this song, they would be called Nazis?
ANGRY - Oh...OK. Well, I still don't think it's Nazi.
Is it kind of ironical, or did you say what you really mean?
ANGRY - Oh yeah...
You got problems in Australia with...
ANGRY - No, I got problems...me personally. There's a problem...when somebody tries to force an idea on
you, as an individual or people...you're gonna have problems with that. You can't be forced into
accepting someone else's idea of what the ideal society is. While that might be your idea of what the
ideal society is...but you didn't ask me. I mightn't like that perception of the ideal society. I
don't have a problem with Asian people, but there's aspects of the intrusion or the involvement that
other people might have. I certainly don't have a problem with Asian people in Australia because there's
a lot of them there. And besides...
PETE - The problem is assimilation, there's no fuckin' assimilation.
ANGRY - Yeah...
PETE - Either they assimilate or they fuckin' don't...
ANGRY - See, the thing is that the song is two things out of a hundred I could have picked. One is
about people that come and bring their wars...their holy wars...through their religion. They could
be any race...but I mention that religions are based in the east, because there the ones we're
having problems with. I have no problem with Muslims, if they want to practice a sane, and peaceful
and loving religion...fine. But don't come to my country and say that they can disrupt our society,
or they can express themselves in a violent manner because it's what their God says is OK. That's
fine...then fucking do it where you live...don't inflict your pain on my children. The other thing
I talk about too is unionism. At the time, I was really really frustrated that unions - and I'm
brought up working class, I was brought up to believe in unionism and I still believe in the idea,
the ideology of unionism - and I hate the pollution and how it became politicized...and it no
longer stands up for the working man. And that's what it says in the song. It's kind of like, OK,
I'll just explain a little bit more about the eastern religion thing. I've got a real problem with
Roman Catholicism too, all organized religion per say. The thing about it is they don't pay taxes,
and there's no scrutiny into their dealings with business...and they're very unscrupulous people,
very immoral people. And they take money from the poor, to feed the rich...which is just the
fucking worst thing you could possibly do. They punish the poor to profit the privileged...that's
not God, that's not religious...it's not sacred...it's not holy...it's an abomination. The thing
about it is that there are certain elements of Australian society - not just Eastern - that take
from the fat of the land and they give nothing back. And that really frustrates and angers me...and
I'm allowed to have that opinion, because it's my view. I don't like to see people come to Australia
and say "This is fucking great...you don't have to work here, you don't have to pay taxes, you don't
have to fucking register on the census!". They don't even answer the census, and they live there
take all the benefits there is to offer, and they give nothing back. And I'm an Australian citizen,
I was born and bred there...it's my home, my country, my love, I pay taxes, I work hard, I uphold
the laws, y'know? I don't like paying taxes, but it's the law of the land! So, as much as I fucking
hate it, because it's the law of the land I'll do that. 'Cos that's what my country says...you want
to live here, you want to be a good citizen, pay taxes. I hate paying taxes...but I'll pay it
because it's my job, my duty. Anyway...don't get me started...
PETE - (laughs)The Nazi party is going to be all over the place...
Have you talked to other German journalists before about this song?
ANGRY - No...the funny thing about it is, and the reason I took the opportunity to get wound
up on it. Apart from the fact that to me, as a song, it's a great blues song...it's a great
blues riff and the swing part is just fucking great...I think as a song it's one of the better
songs and one of my favorites...I love it. Lyric content aside, but I think the song, as a
piece of music, is a fucking great song. I said when we were rehearsing the set, "Can we
play Revenge?" Well...maybe next time, because it's a great piece of music and it's a terrific blues
format. Just a fucking great song and I think it's as relevant today as it ever was. I look
forward to playing that song...again. See, another song a bloke wrote about yesterday. The
guy said why don't you play "All The Lessons"? Is it because you're afraid to say "fight
violence with violence"...and I said no I'm not afraid to say that because it's sometimes
necessary...in the context of what the situation is...sometimes reason doesn't work, sometimes
you have to fight with the tools. And if someone is being violent...Ok. Someone comes into my
home, and is going to violently hurt my children, I'm not going to turn around and say, "Listen,
we should sit down and talk about this". I'd kill this person, you don't touch my kids...you die.
No debate, no second guessing, that's it. You want to make that mistake...you pay. You fight
violence with violence. It's the same as if a country invades Australia...right now things aren't
really good between Australia and Indonesia and there's always been much tension there...so
just say for instance they decide to come and occupy Western Australia. Well, sorry...you
can't do that. So what are we gonna do, are we gonna sit down and be diplomatic? No...if they
come and land...BOOM! So anyway, I said to the journalist that I love that song "All The
Lessons"...I love it. And I know that soon...we'll play this album when we come back because
that's what people want to hear...but we'll play other songs too. And I hope we play "All The
Lessons"...'cos it's a really good song.
I met you in Wacken at the press conference, and I asked you about "The Butcher & Fast Eddy".
You told me it's a true story...tell me something about the song.
ANGRY - Yeah...it's a true story. In the mid 60's it started in Melbourne where I grew up.. .a culture
thing called Sharpies. Now quite a few years later they become Skinheads...but before Skinheads
was Sharpies. Now Sharpies is a peculiarly Australian term, and it how it became adapted into this
youth thing was that they had really short hair, all from really working class background, dressed
like Mod - very smart dress - and at the time, 1964, long hair was starting to come so it was
kind of like a backlash against it. The culture was very straight and very much a gang culture,
and areas used to divide themselves. Where I grew up, Coburn, the next area was Brunswick, and
another area Broad Meadows, and another area Essington. And all the gangs were called "Coburn Boys",
"Essin Boys", "Brunswick Boys". What happened was that after a few years, the territories become
bigger and stronger. More and more boys and girls joined the gangs, and they got big. Like hundreds
and in some areas, if the area was big, they'd be maybe a thousand kids. Everyone would go to
the dances on Saturday nights, and maybe 100 or 150 kids from another area would come to your dance.
Now, if it was OK...nothing would happen...maybe a few people would have a fight. But if it was
from an area where there was always a lot of tension, usually by the end of the night there was
big fights...in the dance, or maybe outside. On the train stations...and chase them down the
street and they'd get on the train and go home. What happened was where I grew up was north of
the river...very working class industry towns. South of the river was middle class. And, a little
bit further down, another big working class town...Frankston. So the city was in the middle, there
was the southern suburbs - northern suburbs - and the Yarra river going through the city in the middle,
dividing the city in half. Anyway, what happened was there was some trouble, and they bashed some
kids really really badly, and then a little bit later the other side bashed some kids back. It went
backwards and forwards for like a year...and always getting worse and worse. And then what they
decided to do was half a dozen guys from the north were going to meet half a dozen guys from the south
in this neutral park - like a football oval - at night, and settle once and for all. Everyone
agreed whatever was the outcome, that was the end of it. Unfortunately, one team wasn't gonna play
fair, and they started to lose, and then they pulled knives and guns...and the guy who was Butcher
...I don't know who fast Eddy was, that was a makeup name...but the guy Butcher, that was his real
name - Abdul the Butcher. And, he got stabbed in the leg, and he took the knife away from him stabbed
him in the throat and killed him.
So in the song, Butcher was the good one...yeah?
ANGRY - Well...not the good one but he was the guy from the northern suburbs. He was from a place
called Faulkner. And years later he became a gangster, and got mixed up with some heavy people
with drugs...killed some people, and he's in jail. I think he'll be in jail for a long time, he got
a big sentence.
I met in Wacken a guy called John Shearer...did you ever hear his name? He has a Rose Tattoo
fan club in Scotland.
ANGRY - Oh...I know who it is...yeah, yeah! Does a fanzine. Yeah, I know the guy...I don't know
him but I know who you mean. Crazy guy....
He sent me some photos of him. (points) This guy.
ANGRY - You know him?
PETE - I never met him.
ANGRY - I never met him either, but he's a crazy guy.
He wanted me to ask some questions for him and his fanzine.
ANGRY - OK...sure.
Are you going to play in Scotland?
ANGRY - We hope so.
And he wants you to come to Glasgow.
ANGRY - Yeah...we'd love to. We'd love to play anywhere like that...that's our sort of town.
And he wants know what you think of the Scarred For Life fanzine?
ANGRY - It's great...one of the things that I've always thought about this guy is that he is
one of the great things about rock & roll...when someone like him does what he does for so long,
you've got to think, well, somehow something really important happened...something really
PETE - Look at all that shit on the wall...
ANGRY - Yeah, his whole room...total...total.
He said he's been waiting 21 years to meet you in person. He was a little bit frustrated
because it didn't happen in Wacken. But I gave him my photo pass so he could take some pictures
from the photo pit.
ANGRY - He was there??? If I'd known he'd been there...I've waited all these years to meet him!
Maybe you could sign a few things?
ANGRY - Sure...
Transcription Copyright © 2001 by Peter Gormley
© 1997-2007 by Peter Gormley
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