QUESTION – What do Siouxsie Sioux, Gary Numan, Sulpher, the Prodigy and Marilyn Manson have in common … answer – Rob Holliday, one random freezing night in the UK I caught up with him while he was relaxing in a hotel in Sao Paulo and this is what he had to say ……..
Rob – good evening Rex – I’m currently in Brazil, and I’m sorry to say its much warmer here than it is where you are!
Rex – Hahahha, git, yeah it’s freezing here a the moment!! 🙂
So, Let’s kick off with the thought, would it be safe to call you an un-sung hero of alternative music???
Rob – I’m not sure un sung hero of alternative music is something I would like or even could be referred to as, I’m not that narcissistic to be able to agree with that kind of statement. I will say I have done a lot of different things musically and been fortunate to work with a lot of great artists throughout my years in music, and I hope it continues.
Rex – good to know you still have your feet firmly on the ground, so, would it be easier to ask who you have worked with, or who you haven’t worked with??
Rob – oh, its most definitely a shorter list to answer who I have worked with.
Rex – does any one artist stand out from the crowd as the happiest memory?
Rob – each one has a different place in my memories – they’re all unique in their own way, and have all been amazing, to get to play with people you admire is in a way a dream come true ya know, without sounding cheesy, I mean I’m never gonna forget being 14 years old and going to a concert and looking up at the stage and thinking holy f*ck wouldn’t it be amazing to be up there doing that like those guys. That’s probably why I’m so polite and friendly and always have time for fans of any of the bands I’ve played with, cos basically I’m never gonna forget what its like to be in the audience!
Rex – so, what were those bands you went to see when you were younger?? Don’t leave out any confesses of things “not cool!!!” 🙂
Rob – oh man , are you really gonna do this to me !!!! you are aren’t you and I’m actually allowing it!!! only cos I’ve known you so long man! Alright … the first thing I ever saw was Alvin Stardust, bizarre I know — my mother is to blame — it was his quiff and leather gloves and the big black ring – I guess it stuck with me and made some f*cked up impression hahaha after that I saw a couple of bands in Canada, one called Images In Vogue, they had a song called ‘ lust for love ‘ which was pretty new wave at the time I guess at the time drummer Kevin Key was in that band – he obviously went onto Skinny Puppy, another band called the Payolas which featured now huge mega producer Bob Rock on guitar , they had a song called eyes of a stranger which I loved (you can find this stuff on youtube I’m sure) then I think next was Duran Duran, I mean it was when they were at their height, they had the hair and all the girls were crazy about them, then moved onto Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, then got into more rock stuff and saw all the hair bands!!!! Whitesnake, White Lion, Cinderella etc etc I’ll leave that there – after that I got into NIN, White Zombie, Ministry and their live shows blew me away
Rex – I would say it’s healthy to confess to the less cool things, I recently interviewed Benji of Skindred fame who had a theory that if you like something, it makes it cool to you, so who has a right to tell you you’re wrong just because something happens to not be currently in, but OK, no more guilty confessions, well maybe.
One of your more interesting pieces of work has to have been producing for Gary Numan, it marked a change of direction for a seminal artist, how was the experience of changing someone so known and so influential?
Rob – Gary was great to work with – I mean I played in his band for a number of years too which was very cool – he’s a lovely guy – he’s quite insecure and self conscious and very down to earth, so you don’t really have to deal with some ridiculous ego – he had heard the Sulpher music myself and Monti had been working on at the time, he knew that both myself and Monti had worked with a lot of other bands live etc and I guess he had a certain respect for us musically, as we did for him , so he kind of just said I’ve got all these demos and song ideas and want you guys to just do your thing, so that’s what we did
Rob – well yeah, I’m wondering that too man! This is a weird question and an obvious question that I’m constantly asked – we’re still working on the record – I mean we have enough songs to put out a record – but like I’ve said before until things are exactly how we want them we wont be satisfied on just ‘putting something out’ yes its been way too long and yes I’m not happy about that – but both mine and Monti’s schedules (he’s a dad now!) are pretty insane – but I will say it’s close to being finished – we are currently without any management or any label and we are looking into who maybe interested in getting behind the project this time, believe me I wanna get this stuff out and heard cos were really proud of the new music
So, moving on, a few question that are always fun, gig stories … one fav memory and one horror story??
Rob – yeah , there’s plenty of horror stories , but I’m not gonna get anyone in any trouble here so … well start with me playing with Siouxsie Sioux, we were doing a festival somewhere in Europe and budgie was about to do a drum interlude so to speak (some call it a drum solo) so I thought it would be a great idea to go to the back of the stage for a little rest, ya know sit down and lean against the back ‘wall’ – not even thinking that the back ‘wall’ was just a curtain so when I leant against it I just fell right down the back of the stage like 15 feet and landed in the mud upside down, no one knew where I had disappeared to, but I wasn’t ready onstage for the start of the next song, yeah I’ll always remember that as a ‘quality’ move on my behalf, I guess another bizarre situation that springs to mind is at a Manson aftershow, I walked into the room to be greeted by Mr M sitting down with a dwarf Manson lookalike sitting on his lap and a kiddies blow up paddling pool filled with porridge and 2 strippers fist fighting in it! hmmmmm yeah , strange yet highly entertaining!
oh and on the same tour getting hit in the face with a glass beer bottle 4 songs into the show by some f*ck!ng pussy ass queer, split my head wide open, Manson wanted to call the show off there and then I refused flatly and basically was of the mind NO WAY is one f*ck!ng cowardly pr!ck gonna ruin this show for 10 thousand other cool people, so we continued after the ambulance medics sorted my head out – there’s a number of Prodigy stories but I’m not even gonna go there !
Rob – if there’s no trouble then there’s no point in tellin the tale!
Rob – well I hold Moscow very dear to my heart hahahaha – if any of the other guys see this they’ll know exactly what I’m talkin about.
Milton keynes bowl Prodigy and 85 thousand people – that is something that is a real big deal and thrill to have done — I mean you cant really top that –
Rex – hmmm, I won’t dig any further on the Moscow story, Milton Keynes is definitely a trip, I managed to Dj it once, mind boggling to even try to think of that amount of people. You’ve done a lot of great shows with some awesome artists, if you could play any gig, anywhere with any line up what would it be?? Don’t spend too long thinking, I wanna now what comes straight off the top of your head!!
Rob – that’s a hard one! can’t really think of a venue — whether it would be intimate or huge, I think it would have to involve Chris Vrenna playing drums as I’ve always rated him as an amazing drummer, but he was playing keyboards in Manson when I did that, and id have to say Paul Raven on bass guitar – I actually have no idea about the rest of the band to be honest – I think playing with those two would be enough!
Could also be interesting to have like a mass band of 20 people, a huge mish-mash of everyone I’ve ever worked with plus Vrenna and Raven, then maybe everyone switching up instruments whether they can play that particular instrument or not, it would definitely be how would you say ‘experimental’ to say the least – oh I forgot Kory Clarke from Warrior Soul on vocals FOR SURE!!!!!!!!! that guy rules – we’ve been supposed to hook up and work together for years now, I was actually djing in Berlin last year and so was he the same night – and yet we still never hooked up!!!!!!!!
Warrior Soul was another band I saw so many years ago – they were supporting Queensryche at the time and Warrior Soul just blew me away with sheer attitude and ferocious playing –
Rex – Well, it has to be said, this has been a fun interview and a great chance to catch up, hope we can do that over a drink sometime soon, I’m gonna finish off with a few silly questions –
Do you sing in the shower?? If so, what do you sing??
Rob – no i do not sing in the shower and if I did it most likely wouldn’t be something cool – probably something ridiculous like Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head ?
Rex – What’s your biggest weakness?
Rob – pretty girls I guess – that’s all I can think off at 3 am in Sao Paulo hotel room
Rex – What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever said to you??
Rob – oh man, I’ve pretty much heard every weird comment or scenario, but once and only once has someone had my signature tattooed on them, will always think that’s f*ck!n wierd! Flattering, but totally WIERD !
Rex – well, seeing as it’s 3am for you, I guess all that’s left is to say thanks for your time, hope to catch you at a gig soon and without sounding too gay, sweet dreams!! 🙂 Do you have a few last words to finish off with??
Rob – just a thank you to everyone who has supported me and believed in me over the years – a sincere thanks to all
take care brotha! xxx