Tell me about Zero Zero?
 
With Red Ellis I had played a number of shows opening for The Frankie Miller
 Band in 1980/81 and later with Zero Zero we were invited to play at an
 ill-fated festival in Skye in about 1982/83. The rain was pissing down for
 days and at about 12 o’clock on the day of the gig the promoter (Chris
 Rainbow I think was his name) pulled the plug. Just as he was making the
 announcement the sun came out and the site cleared up, but there were
 thousands and thousands of music fans knocking about the island with not a
 lot to do.
 
One or two of the headline acts, including Frankie left straight away but
 the rest of us just wanted to play. That night a number of the bands and
 road crews decided to raise some cash for the promoter and put on a show for
 the fans. A local town/school hall was quickly sorted out and the PA was a
 mixture of the backlines from the bands who had stayed on.
 
 I recall H20 did a set, Zero Zero also played, as did a number of other
 bands. Craig and Charlie Reid from The Proclaimers were there but I can’t
 remember if they stayed on for the night time show. There was a punk band
 who played (I don’t recall their name) and they did a cracking version of 
 "Maggie" - you may know the song ... I have wandered today through the
 hills, Maggie dedicated to Maggie Thatcher and their final song which has
 stuck with me included the line “... I really thought I loved you , but I
 only needed a shite !” - different class.
 
 Danusha Zareeba, who is now a vocal coach, and her pal Marsha helped us out
 some times. They were called Warm Leatherette you can see them in the photos
 and video from Kelvingrove that’s up on YouTube.
 
 Tell me how Zero Zero started?
 
 Not quite sure, I think I got a call from Andy McCafferty who was a mate of
 Rab Getty (Punky Mendoza from Heavy Pettin’) we met up and rehearsed a
 couple of times, Steve Docherty came along to jam at Chow Studios at Charing
 Cross and the new band took shape. I seem to be a bit blank about the time
 when Duncan and Davie were with the band (sorry boys!) although I did see
 Duncan’s myspace on the back of some footage his boy posted on YouTube.
 After the line up changed and John McMillan from Cumnock, the brother of
 James McMillan - the Scottish composer, joined the band – I think John was
 at the same school/class as Loraine MacIntosh from Deacon Blue.
 
 We spent a lot of time rehearsing in Coatbridge (Steve’s home town) where
 Hue and Cry, The Big Dish and other Art School type bands used the same
 studio in Monklands.
 
 The Evening Times band competition provided the opportunity to record at
 CAVA studios in Glasgow where we also worked with the Radio Clyde DJ Bill
 Padley. Bill went on to form the music production company Wise Buddha with
 Mark Goodyear and as a writer Bill produced the UK Number One hits "Whole
 Again" for Atomic Kitten and along with some co-writers produced "That’s My
 Goal"  for the winner of Pop Idol winner Shane Ward.
 
 We rehearsed a lot at the Berkley Studios in Glasgow where we were helped by
 John McCalman from Jammy Records who also worked at Radio Clyde. Later Ian
 McCaig from Edinburgh took to managing the band. Also from Edinburgh Big
 John Ramsey (the front of house engineer for Simple Minds) worked with us
 for a while and friend Joe Gormley (Wolfie) also from Edinburgh used to
 roadie (he now works around the world as a specialist road manager/guitar
 tech). Local boys John-Joe O’Neil and big Stef McCormack did a lot of work
 with the band at that time too.
 
 We played at the "Oil Aid" festival with Runrig and Wet Wet Wet, a kind of
 Live Aid for the oil industry in Aberdeen. Zero Zero went on to sign to a
 London management co. where we moved to London for a time playing showcase
 gigs including a few nights at the Marquee. We made a couple of promotional
 Videos produced by Douglas Gray at Mirage TV in Edinburgh.
 
 Ian McCaig was looking after the management site and we did a weeks worth of
 shows back-to-back at the Jailhouse during the Edinburgh Festival in about
 1984. While in Zero Zero Steve Docherty was offered to front, for I think,
 either Uriah Heep or Black Sabbath and I think he also auditioned for AC/DC.
 As you know he joined SAHB for a time after we split, not sure what he is up
 to now.
 
  Do you still meet up with any of your mates from the band days?
 
 After we split I did some photographic work for Ricky Warwick when he was
 forming a new band, they needed a bass player and Andy McCafferty (now
 called Tantrum) from Zero Zero subsequently went on to join The Almighty as
 the lead guitarist. He toured and played on a couple of albums I think.
 (There was a surprise 40th for him in Glasgow some years back and John,
 Andy and I got up and gave it a belt).
 
 My partner and I are friends with Joolz and Dante Gizzi who played in the
Glasgow Band Blind Allez that later became GUN. They used to run the family
 pizza restaurant in Cambridge St in Glasgow, don’t know if they still do.
 More recently Dante has been seen as the front-man of Glasgow Pop/rock combo
 El-Presidente.
http://www.el-presidente.co.uk  
 
 The venue map from www.glasband80.co.uk shows what a hub for music was at
 that time, I forgot about playing at the lunchtime Concerts at the Custom
 House Bandstand in Clyde Street and there was also the "Bungalow Bar" in
 Paisley, the Heathery in Wishaw and the Iron Maiden Pub in Bellshill. We
 also did some gigs with "Robbie the Pict" up north and played at a number of
 â Rock  and Dole’ type shows for the unemployed.
 
  What was your best memory of that time?
 
 Having a laugh with some good pals I suppose and as a 15 year old heading
 off for the weekend to play at being a rock star while my school mates were
 hanging about the local park getting blasted on White Lightning and
 Thunderbird. Meeting big Phil Lynott is up there of course but for me a
 highlight was a local show that we played at the Hamilton Park Racecourse in
 about 1980. There must have been 500 or 600 people squeezed into a big
 marquee to see the show, it was filmed and I understand there is an old HVS
 copy kicking about somewhere – I hope to see it on YouTube some time.
 
  ...and Kelvingrove?
 
 I now only go to Kelvingrove to watch my son practice his kick-flips and
 ollies at the skate-park, the bandstand is in a hell of a mess – bit sad
 looking back.
 
 Any Final Thoughts?
 
 Just to say that we had a great time and didn’t take it too seriously, we had
 some good support from the folk of Viewpark and I still meet people in the
 town who remember me being in the band, makes you cringe some times. Within
 a couple of miles there was a whole range of musical talent developing at
 that time. Just Google Patrick "Pat" Doyle the Hollywood composer who grew
 up in Viewpark in the 70’s/80’s and be blown away.
 
 I meet Harry Travers now and again, Harry played drums for Hipsway who
 signed to Mercury in the mid 1980’s.
 
 I said hello to Paul Quinn in Bellshill a couple of weeks back, Paul (who  went to my old       school)   played drums with The Soup Dragons and Teenage
 Fanclub and the BMX Bandits also came from Bellshill. For me the most
 talented player was Stuart Kerr who came from "the gas flats" in Viewpark,
 Stuart was a great drummer who played and toured the world with a number of
 bands including Love and Money, Friends Again, Texas and GUN.


                                                        

  You played some festivals and supported Frankie Miller and Thin Lizzy- tell
 me about that?

 
 In 1980 Red Ellis opened at the Loch Lomond Rock Concert. The complete bill
 was - on the New Wave show on the 21st June (in no particular order) was:
 The Chords, Bad Manners, The Cuban Heals, The Only Ones, Ra Bears, The
 Regents, Stiff Little Fingers, The Tourists and The Jam
 
The 22nd was the Rock Day and featured: Red Ellis, Henry Gorman Band, Wilde
 Horses, Lindisfarne, Ian Gillan Band, Krokus, The Denny Laine Band, Saxon
 and Wishbone Ash.
 
Unlike festivals today when groups helicopter in to play their set and are
 off to do another gig at night, all the bands just hung about backstage,
 shootin’ the breeze, drinking and catchin’ up. Because we were a young band
 we were drawn to the other Scots, particularly Jimmy Bain and Brian
 Robertson who were happy to chat.  I recall that on the Monday morning after
 the Loch Lomond, our singer wee Joe Cochrane was walking through Central
 Station going back to his work. There, he bumped into a group of a dozen or
 so fans who were getting autographs and talking to Jimmy Bain and Brian
 Robertson (who were going up north to visit some family), they recognised
 the wee man, and much to the amazement of the fans, called him over and
 chatted for a while. At that time there was no 24hr McDonalds and at 7.30am
 Robbo, Jimmy and their Girlfriends were looking for something to eat, Joe
 was happy to oblige and left them with is lunch, two pieces and cheese, two
 of corn beef and a coupe of kit-kats kept them going for a bit.
 
 It might be my memory but we got on really well with Frankie Miller and his
 band. We supported them quite a few times and they were a good bunch of
 blokes, YouTube provides the opportunity to look back, I think Frankie is
 one of the most talented singer/songwriters Scotland has ever produced. Not
 many folk know he had co-written  "Still in love with You" the Thin Lizzy
 standard as well as ton of other R’n’B Classics. In his band at that time
 was a young Irish guitar player called Ed Deane he was a remarkable talent
 for such a young guy. He was left handed but also had his strings upside
 down as if he had just spun a normal right handed guitar around when he was
 learning to play and stuck with it!
 
In 1981 we had the opportunity to open for Thin Lizzy on about 4 or 5 dates
 on a low-key UK Tour. Phil Lynott was everything you would hope he would be?
 
We also got involved in an enormous fight between some locals at "˜The Café"
 youth club in Gourock. I remember playing  "Rock n Dole" concerts at Govan
 and Partick Town Halls, and I think at the time you could get dole money
 paid as Enterprise Allowance if you were involved in a band. In mid 1982 we
 did a tour of about 25-30 dates back-to-back all across Scotland, on
 reflection not a bad effort all in all. We spent some cash and had some tee
 shirts made up, and was pretty pissed off that they sold out at the first
 show.
I recall we opened for Glam Band "Mud" at a holiday park called "Grannie's
 Heilan' Hame" a Holiday Park in Dornoch, it was June or July and I’ll always
 remember the lead singer Les Gray saying “…Merry Christmas darlin’ wherever
 you are” at the end of Lonely This Christmas. – You couldn’t make it up.
 
We did some recording and produced a single "Pretty Polly / Urban Life" with
 Henry Gorman acting as Producer and seem to remember Duncan from "Sneaky Pete"
 helping out on the technical side.
 
Why do you think you didn’t make it?
 
As a band I didn’t think we were particularly talented writers, nor did we
 feel we understood that it was the Music Business, record deals, albums and
 stuff, we were just a wee bunch of mates who having a lot of practice and
 rehearsing we could put on a bit of a show. We could make quite a racket
 with just bass, drums and one guitar. Chick was a really talented guitar
 player and had the look, dead slim, corkscrew Bolan/T-rex type hair. Wee Joe
 was a good lookin’ fella, he looked like a rock star, on stage he acted the
 part as well and would not have looked out of place fronting Free, Bad
 Company or Rainbow (he was the same height as Dio I think!), Davie the bass
 player and I became a really tight rhythm section and I could count to 4 and
 then count to 4 again so I suppose I could drum a bit. As we got into
 playing then so did the folk that would come alone to watch – I think that
 early gigs up in Laurencekirk helped us to cut our teeth and we were
 comfortable getting up and doing our thing towards the end I guess we must
 have been pretty good to watch. 
 
I don’t recall that the band ended in an enormous flash of light, bust up or
 fall-out , we just dropped every one off after a gig one night and that was
 kind’ it.
 
Do you still see anyone from Red Ellis?
 
I haven’t seen Chick for years, Joe Cochrane and I meet once a year or so
 and share a laugh and Davie Sweet is about to become a Grandfather so he’ll
 be back in Scotland more often and we’ll will catch up a bit more then I
 hope. It seems a pity that I lost touch with Ian Harris and with Jim
 McCelland after we split, I think Jim moved to England although I did see a
 post from him on the Glasband 80 forum a while ago, glad to hear he is still
 about.
 

Joe James was the Drummer with Red Ellis and Zero Zero,  He started playing with Red Ellis at the age of 14 and has played all over Scotland and the UK performing at venues such as The Loch Lomond Festival in 1980 with Red Ellis, The Kelvingrove Festival many times  as well as The Marquee in London and a week full of gigs at The Jailhouse in Edinburgh with Zero Zero (among others)
 
Joe has worked alongside artists such as Frankie Miller and Phil Lynnot and is a good friend to the site.

 


 

Joe James Interview July 2007