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called it our Fender Twin album as opposed to our Marshall albums,” adds Jim about their move left, right, backward… and forward. “John Leckie was very allowing of everything we liked to come through rather than being limited and sounding exactly like The MC5 and The Stooges. Suddenly we could like this and that. We had quite a broad spectrum of what we were listening to. Leckie did not push any ideas on us at all. He wanted to fully understand what it was we wanted to do. In the past, I’d said to people, ‘You know that BIG Phil Spector reverb... well...’ and they’d give you a tiny bit. When I said this to John he swamped the album in it... woahhhh. He’s a proper producer.”

Dismissing Nick Cave comparisons, ‘Kissed By The Flames’ is far more like Jim Morrison crooning with Ennio Morricone. Yes, this was daring and unlike anything the band had done before, and under the guiding eye of Leckie they concocted a narcotic, boozy, stark, gothic affair: far mellower in tone, opiate and with the inclusion of instrumentals and jazzy lounge touches. ‘The Big Fix’ however took Stooges punk to the max, only keeping the speedometer just below thrash. Remembering the sessions with Leckie, Ray extols, “He put the pressure on, but this guy just comes off with the goods all of the time. I love him.”

“While we were on tour with Soul, Glitter

& Sin that was when Chris Robinson came on the scene,” says Jim of The Black Crowes singer who had become enamoured with the band the previous year. “As Phil had said, Chris had been listening for a while, but it was around this time when someone contacted us asking if we’d like to do a tour of England with them. They’d been touring solidly for two years since Shake Your Money Maker had come out, playing with everyone from Aerosmith to ZZ Top – but this was their first tour of the UK.”

The new-look Hypnotics set out on the road. “Their management had set up a support,” adds Ray, “but the Crowes liked us so much they denied the agreed booked band the 70 grand and gave it to us. We met in Bristol for the first gig and Johnny Colt

got up on stage for the sound check and started playing ‘Half Man, Half Boy’. Chris Dennis was back on second guitar. The dilemma for me was that I’d do two guitar parts on the records and then not be able to do it live. First we had this guy Rob Zyn from Newcastle and he always got pissed and chased women, then it was Dave Ash who was another pussy monster and it just never worked with two guitars in the band. We were just trying to re-enact the album live.” “And then Chris came back,” Phil proudly states, “and it worked out really well. Chris played rhythm, Ray played lead. He then left at the end as he could not be off the heroin, which got in the way!”

On the back of the supporting tour with The Black Crowes, Thee Hypnotics immediately travelled to Europe with The Cult, who at this time were at the height of their mainstream rock appeal. “We’d never played a stadium before and at Rotterdam we didn’t have time to do a sound check,” says Phil. “When we came on there were 15,000 people out there. It was very strange, but we were actually very good and were very low maintenance. We’d do a 10-minute sound check and then go on and be really impressive. We had a lot more fun than The Cult too. They played all of their songs far too slow and weren’t enjoying it. We were doing more drugs, scoring more girls and having lots of fun.”

Despite being highly praised by the music press, the album did less well sales-wise than its predecessor, although their short US tour with sold out headline shows at Chicago’s Metro theatre, St Mark’s Church in New York and San Francisco’s I Beam Club on Haight Ashbury evened it out. If the album was a more restrained affair, live they rocked, even adding covers of Aerosmith to the set proving their hard- rockin’ days were not over.

American Madness

“We’d been living life to the max and at the end of it we didn’t want anything more to do with hard partying,” says Jim of the extremes the band had been to. “When we came off the American tour Will said, ‘I don’t know how to say this but I don’t want to be anything to do with this anymore. I can’t take it. I’ll finish the tour and then I’ll be gone.’ It was at this point that I stayed in LA with my wife at the time and we met through Candy [Del Mar, The Cramps, who Ray was sort of seeing] this guy who had played bass for Iggy Pop. It just so happened that we needed a bass player. And he loved our album as he had heard it playing through the PA at Donnington before The Black Crowes came on. He was there playing with Iggy and wanted to be in a real band and not be

“This may be conspiracy theory (which Stiv would have liked), but he told Jimand I a lot of things he was told to shut up about. Remember that he was on the IRS label with Miles Copeland, and The Lords Of The New Church had this video showing footage of the US dropping Agent Orange on the poor Vietnamese people. Miles Copeland’s uncle was the head of the CIA and Miles said to Stiv, ‘Shut the fuck up about all of this crap Stiv and sing your rock ’n’ roll. The kids don’t want to know about what was dropped in the ’60s and ’70s, so keep your mouth shut’. Stiv would go round with a briefcase padlocked to his wrist with paper work about The Falklands War and rockets being launched from mountains in Argentina... I mean, he was heavily into it. There was this guy called Dr Becker that he told me about who had been inventing all of these poisons that could ably kill people; aimed at the Bolsheviks, the Rockefeller Cartel, the Americans and the Russians versus other Americans and Russians. All of these complex, political conspiracy theories, which he preached makes me think to this day that was Stiv hit by a car on purpose... When he went home he fell asleep and died of a brain haemorrhage. Was it an accident? I don’t know. He knew too much.”

a session player/back-up for Iggy, so he joined. We used to call him Little Boy Blue as he was constantly just going under. The amount of times we had to throw him in a bath of cold water. He wasn’t fucked up in the head though, he just enjoyed it and always went too far.”

Some candles burn too fast and flicker to an ember too soon. Craig Pike was the same. Playing with Iggy must have been a bad influence on the young, privileged middle class musician who so enjoyed the

“Stiv was a bit of a speedfreak. Drugs had nothing to do with his death though – the guy was hit by a car.”

Ray remembers Stiv Bators


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