Interview with Roger Chapman - March 1979
Thanks to Trevor Gardiner for the following interview transcript. While at Oxford University Trevor got to interview Roger on behalf of Sennet Magazine (Oxford Studio Union). This was around the time of the release of Rogers' first solo album, Chappo, and was held at the offices of the Acrobat record label.............
TG: How did the album (Chappo) come about?
RC: It was just the natural thing to do; like I was pissed off with groups, I mean the whole group thing. Iíve wanted to do an album of me own for about 3 or 4 years, but never really had the time when I was involved with bands.
TG: Whatís the difference between working with a band and making a solo album then?
RC: Well, itís the easiest thing Iíve done in me fuckiní life. I mean with a band, well, the sort of bands we had, everybody would make suggestions and weíd end up with a compromise, but for me on this one I didnít have to ask anyone really Ė I picked the musos I wanted because I respect the way they play and I just told them how I wanted it. It was just so easy, I mean we recorded the album in a week, like the 3 month job in the group sense, and thereís NO way I ever want to do that again.
TG: Is that the main reason Streetwalkers split then, because you were fed up with the group thing?
RC: No, no, it was a financial thing, a management thing. (pause) I mean at one point we were really steaminí as a band, then we got all these bummers and your morale goes down and you start getting pissed off with each other.
TG: You and Charlie had been together for quite a while.
RC: Yea, about 12 or 13 years.
TG: Is the split permanent?
RC: Oh Yea.
TG: Was it a personal thing?
RC: Oh no, weíre still great friends, itís just that he wanted to get into production and I wanted to do something like this. I mean Iím not into production, it fuckiní bores the arse off me.
TG: This tour is quite a small one in fact, mostly colleges, do you like student audiences particularly?
RC: Oh, I do like those gigs, I mean everybodyís around you and I do like the college sort of live thing.
TG: Have you been aware of the change rock has gone through in the last few years?
RC: Of course I see it, but I donít take a lot of fuckiní notice. I mean, if I did, Iíd be worried and I ainít worried.
TG: Why would you be worried and why arenít you worried?
RC: Well it seems that the business went through that thing, you know ďOh it gave the industry a kick up the arseĒ, I can see that in a way, it frightened a few people and a lot of record companies lost a few bob, which is quite good news (laughs). If weíre talkiní about competition, I donít see anything Iíve got to compete with!
TG: What happened after the Streetwalkers split?
RC: Well. It wasnít a good time. I mean a lot of people I talked to about a deal started TELLING ME what to sing, you know, sort of fat American blokes lolling around in offices and so on. No way am I into that!
TG: What kind of stuff did you play in the Farinas and so on?
RC: Blues, rhythm & blues, Ray Charles to Otis Redding, your ĎKnock on Woodsí like, right from the Presley era, then Charles was the next big thing and then you move into blues and then itís the soul variations and that stuff.
TG: What do you think when you hear Dolls House nowadays?
RC: I never listen to it.
RC: No, never.
TG: Is the new band a permanent affair?
RC: Itís only an album/tour band, thatís how itís gonna be. Weíll do this tour and then do what we want. I don't want to get into that band thing again, you know when you Ďphone up and ask ďwhatís the band doing today?Ē, I just don't want to get tied down like that.
TG: For such a band as Family, really at their best live, how come there wasnít a proper live album?
RC: We could never really bridge that gap between stage and studio. I really wanted to tie up a proper live thing, bu, well Iím trying to get a live studio sound with this album to try and stop that happening.
TG: When Family went under you carried numbers over to Streetwalkers. Are you going to do that now or is it a clean split from whatís gone before?
RC: Oh yea! Iíve got some things Iím gonna do, but I aint telliní you! (laughter) Thereís some stuff from both bands, stuff I think is good participation with the audience and numbers that I like to do myself as well. I mean, stuff I think I want to please myself, but I still want to please the audience.
TG: At the end of Family you had a record label, Raft, what happened to that?
RC: Well, Warners just Ďphoned up one day and said ďThe Raft label is closedĒ. Just like that, as simple and as cold as that, Charlie and I had an album ready for release, so did Kilburn & the Highroads and Beckett. They just knocked it on the head.
TG: Theyíve released that Kilburn album now havenít they?
RC: Oh they would, the shitbags.
TG: How do you feel about your stage image?
RC: Itís a bit like rampant fuckiní rage. I mean if Iím really happy and the bandís steaminí then I really get goiní. It's fortunate in a way, like I can go out and be a vandal for an hour (laughs) and no-one says anything or rather, they donít fuckin' dare! (laughter)
TG: Is there a single from the album?
RC: Theyíve already done it I think, Iíve seen some white labels about.
TG: Thanks for your time and good luck with the album and tour.
RC: Yea, thanks and see ya around.
I then asked RC for a quote and got this one:-
ďI think if there was anyone who had any doubts about me, they must have been
fuckiní stupid! I think Iíve got everything going, like Iím that confident in
me-self. If you want rock Ďní roll, then Iím rock Ďní roll and thatís it!Ē