AND THE VILETONES originated from
two initially unconnected incidents. The first, when I was in Lucy
in Disguise - a vintage clothing and costume shop on Congress
Avenue in Austin - where I saw and felt compelled to buy, for no
obvious reason, a bunch of hideous pink leopardskin jackets.
The second was after a London gig with my band.
We were sitting round a table drinking and coming up with silly
ideas for a new band and somebody said, Wouldnt it be
cool to go out and do some real rocknroll gigs?
Now most of these ideas are rightly forgotten about the next morning,
but for some reason we carried this one through. We were most of
us old enough to be first generation rockers so we knew we could
get the sound, but didnt want any confusion with regular Wes
McGhee shows, hence the shades, the promotion of backing singer
Barty to lead vocals, and of course the leopardskin jackets.
It was around Christmas time, so I talked to Mary
Costello, who had a show on GLR back then and she suggested we do
the live Christmas show. We learned some old rocknroll
Christmas tunes and did the show in full gear with jackets and shades
on the radio!
Barty, being a proper singer, was appearing at
the time in the West End in Sondheims Into the Woods
and could only get to the studio between the matinee and evening
shows. To get round this we invented, or rather someone invented
for us, the whole history of the band, its recordings, fights, break-ups,
etc and we improvised a fight between Vince Black (myself) and Vince
Charming (Barty) to enable him to storm out mid-session to get back
to Into the Woods and leave us to finish the show.
This was apparently convincing enough for people to call GLR to
(a) complain, or (b) claim that theyd seen us live in 1958!!
Viletones saga rolls on and the story keeps evolving: Vaccaris
spells in jail, bass man Vince Charles becoming a Vicar, and now
reluctant Viletone, and so on and so on. Theres even talk
of a TV film of the life of Vince Vaccari. Seriously!
So Terrapin have finally decided to put the Viletones records
out again. Vile Christmas, the live album (allegedly
recorded illegally by running a cable from the gig to the studio
next door), the Rock and Parole EP, and some other goodies.
All these tracks were in fact recorded at my old buddy Arthur Andersons
Back To Mono studio in Bedfordshire and the bonus tracks
will be recorded at Glebe Studio
or on Vaccaris home
4-track system (the other Tones refuse to be in the same studio).
So the band rocks on - the original rockabilly
quiffs may have been replaced by wigs and hats and the pink jackets
may not fit too well any more, but the sound is still raucous, rocknroll
Vaccari - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar (Played by Mr
Former Butlins Redcoat and petty criminal, now earns
a crust as an actor, speciality resting.
- Lead Guitar, Vocals (Played by Mr Wesley McGhee)
Belligerent session guitar player, has lived and worked
in both America and Germany, and been thrown out of
both. Still refuses to listen to anything recorded after
Vince Morris - Drums
(Played by Mr Maurice McElroy)
Almost made it once or twice with post-Viletones bands,
now a successful market trader.
- Bass (Played by Mr John Gordon)
Reformed petty criminal, recently taken holy orders,
now Curate at St Cuthberts, Standen-in-the-Mire. Still
reluctantly appears with the Viletones for fear of earlier
indiscretions reaching the ears of the Bishop.
- Piano (Played by Mr Simon Webb)
Son of original pianist Eddie Jones and named after
the band. A classical musician and composer, took over
the piano chair when father, Eddie, decided to stick
with the day job.
Phibes - Saxophone (Played by Mr Alan Stewart)
Only original member not to be called Vince. Gravitated
towards jazz after the last Viletones split (the beret
is the clue) and only original member with no previous
convictions. Some say hes the brains of the outfit.