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Red Hot‘n’Blue

Red Hot’n’Blue

The first half of the eighties was an exciting time for genuine Rock’n’Roll in Great Britain. Rockin’ music saw a new life in the charts. Young bands like The Meteors, The Ricochets and the Deltas were experiencing new sounds, taking good old rockabilly in a whole new direction. The Polecats and Restless were there, too, making releases that would later be described as Neo-rockabilly.
Then in the wake of the Stargazers, a bunch of new bands prefered a more traditional sound (paving the way to the « authentic rockabilly » movement of the late ’80s). Among these bands, some of the best were the Riverside Trio (rockabilly-hillbilly-blues), the Krewmen (blues with Carl Sonny Leyland), the Blue Rhythm Boys (rockabilly – rockin’ blues) and the one we’re going to talk about in this article: Red Hot’n’Blue.

By Fred ”Virgil” Turgis © 2022
Thanks to Mouse, Ashley Kingman and Kevin Ellis

In the beginning

It all started in 1982 when Mouse Zihni’s ex-girlfriend phoned to tell him that her current boyfriend Dave Bourne, who played the drums, was looking for a singer to start a band. She remembered they both used to go to East Croydon Railway Club, where Mouse would sing with the local combo and had a good voice. His favourite singers were Gene Vincent, Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner.
They arranged a meeting for a rehearsal, and Mouse met the rest of the soon-to-be band, Dave’s twin brother Andy on bass and Sam Crabtree on guitar, in a cellar near Emerson Street where Crabtree worked during the day. The rehearsal went well, and a few weeks later, he was asked to join the band full time.
They worked a lot, playing covers of the club hits. They gradually started to gig in the South London clubs but didn’t really go anywhere. According to Mouse, “Sam didnt want to do new songs, he was happy to cover the songs he knew and that was that, so thats what we did, we were a cover band doing songs from the 50s. it was small time fun and got me some much needed money.
One night Mouse met guitarist Ashley Kingman who was not totally a stranger to the still-unnamed quartet: Sam Crabtree sold him his first guitar, and Dave and Andy were in the same school though a bit older. “I met Mouse in the toilet of the Castle pub; they used to have a regular Monday DJ there. I seen Mouse with Red Hot n Blue, dug the show and told him I played guitar and was looking to join a band.” recalls the guitar player. They already had a good guitar player, but after some debating, he was asked to join on rhythm.
Having played with local combos like The Outer Limits (a psychobilly band) and Dr Muscle Brain Valves, a blues trio with drums, guitar, and harp/vocals, it wasn’t Kingman’s first band. For the story, the drummer in both groups was Gary Boniface, who later went on to form the Vibes.
The newly formed quintet still needed a name. That’s when Mouse came with Red Hot’n’Blue, a tribute to Dewey Phillips’ radio show, the first one to play Elvis Presley records on the air.
But not long after that, Crabtree left the band to join the Blue Rhythm Boys. “They were doing well and he just wanted the fast train out rather than take the slow train with us,” remembers Mouse. After his stint with Paul Ansell’s band, Crabtree went on to form Cat Talk. Without a lead guitarist, the band couldn’t go on. They stopped gigging for about six months but didn’t stop working. They were hard at writing original material (including the future club hit Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes, and Ashley spent this time moving from rhythm to lead. They used to rehearse in the music shop where Ashley worked.

Introducing Ray Frensham

First publicity photo – Summer 1984 – Dave, Ashley, Andy & Mouse

When they felt ready, they started gigging again, and from this moment, things moved quickly. Red Hot’n’Blue appeared at the Isle of White weekender, leading to more shows in Europe and up and down the UK. Thus they gained the attention of Ray Frensham of Northwood record. He had the project of a compilation album and asked the band to record some songs for it. They agreed and, wanting to expand their sound, asked saxman Kevin Ellis to guest on the recording. Ellis was a well-trained musician being a member of Clive Osborne and the Clearnotes for two years.
So on November 3rd, 1984, Red Hot’n’Blue headed to the University of East Anglia for their first recording session produced by Peter Davenport of Stargazers fame. The quintet cut three songs that day. Get Back on that Train, written by Andy, I wanna tell you that I love you baby and So Lonely On My Own, both from the pen of the team Kingman/Zihni. Two of them (Get Back… and I Wanna tell you…) were released in June 1985 on the compilation album Big Noise From Northwood. The other bands featured on that comp were the Sprites (French rockabilly band influenced by Gene Vincent), The Slingshots, Peter Davenport in full Bill Haley/Jodimars mode with the Roof Raisers and the Riverside Trio. The remaining third track, So Lonely On My Own, would later appear on the band’s debut album. Years later, an early version of It’s My Lucky Day surfaced and was probably recorded during the same session as it clearly shows Davenport’s influence.
Big Noise From Northwood (Northwood NWLP 1002) received good reviews, and Ray Frensham started to consider the possibility of recording a long player with Red Hot’n’Blue. With Kevin now a full-time member (since December 1984), the young rockabilly band that played cover has mutated into a tight rockin’- rockabilly – jump blues outfit and was in high demand and appeared in all-dayers in the UK and Europe. They shared the stage with The Jets, Red Hot, the Blue Rhythm Boys, the Keytones, the Riverside Trio, Rochee & the Sarnos, and Johnny Powers, whom they backed.

Northwood Records

By 1985 Red Hot’n’Blue was getting more and more attention. More gigs were pouring in, and with its popularity rising, it was soon evident that a full-length album was the next step. “Ray frensham thought there was a buck to make out of us, so he signed us up for an album,” jokes Ashley.
The summer of 1985 was spent gigging and rehearsing new material for the planned album. In August (19th -21st), the band went to Alaska studios (just under Waterloo station) with Boz Boorer in the producer seat to record what would be Wait’n’See. Cut in three days; it’s an extraordinary solid work for a debut album.
It features a majority of self-penned songs – mainly from the team Kingman-Zihni, but Andy co-wrote three songs, and producer Boz Boorer contributed the title track. Three covers complete the set: Yes I’m Gonna Love You, Dick Penner’s Move Baby Move, and Myron Lee’s Aw C’mon Baby.
It covers a wide range of styles: from boogie blues in a Slim Harpo style (Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes) to rockabilly (Clickety Clack, Move Baby Move) a bit of jump blues (It’s My Lucky Day, Bad Girl), a jazzy ballad (So Lonely On My Own), a Latin instrumental with a Django Reinhardt feel in the middle (Hey Gringo) and rockin’ blues in the best Chess Records tradition (Postman Blues with harp played by Little Paul (from the Blueberry Hellbellies) and the Diddley tinged Take A Walk Up The Apple Tree).
It was mostly recorded live with very few overdubs (the guide vocals part were often kept).
Wait’n’See remains a good memory for all involved: “Most of it was cut live, then we took bits away and added different shit in its place. Amazing but kind of tedious and time consuming. Boz somehow pulled it into shape. I still think its a good record.” says Ashley. “It was good fun and I learnt a lot from it,” remembers Kevin, and Mouse adds, “it was a happy affair and we did a cool job on it.” Fifteen songs were recorded, thirteen ended on the album (the 14th track of the record, “So Lonely On My Own,” comes from the sessions made with Peter Davenport the previous November). The remaining two songs were “Without You” and a cover of Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia.” When you listen to it, it’s very close to “Wait’n’See,” so it’s probably the reason why it didn’t end on the album. It finally got released on the compilation album “The Northwood Story” on NV Records in 1991.
Mixed in September and October by Boorer and Kingman, it was released in January 1986 and received rave reviews. “When it came out it got a four out of five star rating in Record Mirror and other magazines of the day, even INXS only got a 3 star rating, how things changed!”. Red Hot’n’Blue toured to support the release, and it sold very well though it seems that the band didn’t see a lot of money from that (same old story).

Red Hot’n’Blue – 1986

Even when they were headlining the all-dayers, Red Hot’n’Blue kept busking a lot to earn some extra cash. One day while they were playing in the street of Camden, a man approached them, gave his card, and told them to call him as he liked the band. The man was Trevor Horne from The Buggles, who scored several hits as a producer with Grace Jones, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Art Of Noise… It was a big chance for the band to get a wider audience than the rock’n’roll circuit, but it never happened. Mouse: “Ash told Ray Frensham and Ray was over the top and too pushy and Trevor backed off the situation. This was one of the stupid things that Ray did, and the first of many as far as I’m concerned, he could be a real wanker at times…” . For Kevin, it was “very sad really because we were onto big things.
From that moment, things started to decline “[We had] a good ride for about a year and then we kind of all started pulling against each other. We let Ray get wedges in between us and me and Mouse split from the twins.” recalls Ash. Ray didn’t want Dave and Andy in the band any longer, and by April 1986, the twins were gone (“not a thing I enjoyed at all, I went along with it, but that was all,” says Mouse). Stuart Simpson from the Slingshots and Paul Diffen (Sugar Ray Ford and later Blue Cats) replaced them on drums and double-bass. Pat Reyford (Sugar Ray Ford, too) also joined on alto sax. For Mouse, “Ray was trying to run us and mould us into a jump jive sort of blues thing.”
Soon after the twins were gone, Red Hot’n’Blue entered the studio with the new line-up and a session piano player called Sir James (it seems that neither Ray Frensham nor Mouse remember his name). Boz Boorer was also present and added a second guitar on some recordings. The songs made were a reworking of “Sure Like the Look In Your Eyes,” “I Wanna Tell You That I Love You,” “Without You,” and “Sad In My Heart.” The latter being a cover of The Man Upstairs that had it released on single on Sideline Records in 1985. The sound was definitely fuller but didn’t really fit Red Hot’n’Blue. Somewhere they had lost what made their specificity, their rocking edge, and Boz’s production this time was more “radio friendly.” That said, the version of “Sure Like the Look In Your Eyes” recorded this day still stands well today. It was envisaged as a “cross over” single, backed with “Caldonia,” but never materialized. These sides were reissued years later on Crazy Love records.

Red Hot'n'Blue with Terry Clancy
With Terry Clancy on drums

The new direction taken by the band didn’t really please them. “It wasn’t what I wanted to do, I wanted to do rock n roll and blues not big band stuff, I liked it but didn’t really want to be in a big jump band,” recalls the singer. It was not practical and quite costly to take such a large band on the road, and the twins weren’t too happy with the band using the name Red Hot’n’Blue. At the same time, Mouse started to become a famous DJ on the London scene, and slowly the excitement of the beginning started to fade away. For Ashley, “it wasnt the same after the twins were gone.”. The relation with Ray Frensham wasn’t that good too. There were money problems, and it wasn’t long before the band and the label parted ways. The line-up changed again with Terry Clancy (Cat Talk / Scat Cat) joining on bass and John Day on the second guitar, but in the own word of Mouse, “the band just ran out of steam and it came to a very quick final shortly after the weekender up in Southport at the end of 86.”

Side projects

After the split, each member of the band remained musically active. Ashley joined Rockin’ Rocket 88 in late 1988, appearing on the two tracks from Katz Keep Rockin’ and their excellent Comin’ Home Lp, on which he co-wrote three songs.
The twins joined forces with Carlos Mejuto (Carlos and the Bandidos) and Rob Glazebrook (ex-Rochee and the Sarnos and later Playboys, Houserockers, Broadkasters) to form Jello Sal (named after Benny Ingram’s song). To my knowledge, their only released recording is a cover of She’s Mine (Johnnie Strickland) that appeared on Cool Town Bop (Fury Records – FCD 3024), though a demo exists with three more tracks.
Mouse started doing clubs with Mousie’s Record Hop “I always wanted to be a DJ, I was driven towards playing music for people. I can’t really remember the first time I did a DJ set but I’d say it was around 82/83.” (Mouse Teds, Rebels, Hepcats). He did not play music until September 1989. His return to the studio took the form of a song called Untrue, recorded with Lex Luther (Demented Are Go) on bass guitar and Eric LaCube playing just a snare. This song is the only recording made by this short-lived band named the Dillas.

Switchblade From left to right : LaCube, Grant, Bolton, Mouse

Mouse’s next venture was Switchblade. Switchblade started as a trio with Graeme Grant (Demented Are Go, Krewmen, Frantic Flintstones), Mouse’s flatmate and Guy Bolton (Born Bad). They recorded a couple of demos in December 1989 and were soon joined by Eric LaCube on drums. In April 1990, they went to the studio and cut an album that remained in the vault until 2016, when Alan Wilson released it on Trophy Records, his sub-label dedicated to stuff he didn’t record. This album is definitely not for you if you look for slick and polished rockabilly. The sound is raw and uneven. Some songs sound more like demos while others seem more “finished”. The band’s style is a mix of rockabilly (Grant is one hell of a powerful slap bassist) with a good dose of rockin’ blues, a lot of energy, and an emergency feeling throughout the album. The fact that it was recorded and mixed in two days probably contributes to that feeling.
Mouse penned three songs. The remaining songs are split between rockabilly classics like Orbison’s Go Go Go, Glen Glenn’s One Cup of Coffee and Blue Jeans and a Boys Shirt, Roy hall’s Three Alley Cats, Benny Joy’s Wild Wild Lover and blues like Jimmy Reed’s Baby What You Want Me To Do, Earl Hooker’s You Got To Lose, George Thorogood’s Homesick Boy and some surprises like the Beatles What Goes On. The completist will find demos on the Unreleased recordings on Fury records as well as one song, Ride Ride Ride, on the compilation album 20 Blasters from Blighty.
But when Red Hot ‘n’ Blue reformed in late 1990, Mouse decided to put Switchblade on hold.

The reunion

Ashley explains, “I went to Japan on holiday and found some interest in Red Hot ‘n’ Blue doing shows there. On my return, I told Mouse and the Twins, and we decided to get back together for a few shows.”
The idea was to reform for a six-month reunion with the original quartet without saxophone. “By that time, we had dropped a lot of the jump jive stuff from the set. When we first played together, we played a bit of everything from Blues to Country and Rockabilly to Jump and Jive, even some Latin, but when we reformed, people were listening to different stuff than they were in 1984.” (Mouse, liner notes of The Unreleased Recordings).
Mouse, Ashley, Dave and Andy began rehearsing new stuff for a forthcoming album, and in March 1991, the quartet went into Wand studio to record Hey There Man. The album was produced by the band and Iestyn Polson. At the time, Polson was new in the business, but he later went on to work with huge names like David Bowie, Patti Smith and David Gray, as well as Demented Are Go.
Compared to their debut album, Mouse has a huskier voice. The album is mainly made of Rockin’ Blues tunes with a strong Chess/Chuck Berry flair (at the same time, Ashley Kingman was also playing with the Blue Rhythm Boys) in the same vein as Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes. There are some more Rockabilly sounding songs and even a slight touch of Hillbilly on C’Mon Rock With Me with Lee Jeffriess, who’ll join the Fly-Rite Boys the following year, on steel guitar. Other musicians guested on the album: Phil Rawson on harmonica, John Fordham (now in the Jive Aces) on saxophone, and Paul Ansell (Blue Rhythm Boys) on piano. Seven of the twelve songs are originals by Mouse and Ashley. The remaining five come from the catalogues of Elvis Presley (If You Think I Don’t Need You), Charles Page (Baby You’ve Been To School), Hound Dog Taylor (Give Me Back My Wig), Bobby Roberts (Big Sandy), and Teddy McRae (Hi-Fi Baby). It’s an excellent album from start to finish.
After the bad experience that the band had with Northwood for their debut album, they decided to release Hey There Man on their own label. Mouse then created Zinn Records “I started Zinn because I did not want to be ripped off again by a record company.
Hey There Man was an instant success. Not only Red Hot ‘n’ Blue had gained a cult status throughout the years, but the newly released material was up to par compared to their legendary debut album. In four months, it sold over 2000 copies.
Contrary to their initial plan, the quartet decided to continue, and in 1991 and 1992, Red Hot ‘n’ Blue toured all over Europe, concluding the year with a tour of Japan. Mouse wrote in Southern & Rockin’ in late 1994, “We were working hard but not really earning much (…) but we loved our music and got to places we otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

Ain’t Gonna Stop!

Red Hot’n’Blue circa 1992

Upon their return from Japan in November 1992, they were offered a record deal with Time Bomb records, a Japanese label. Hence, in early December, Red Hot ‘n’ Blue was back to Wand studio to cut what would become Ain’t Gonna Stop, their third long-player. It finds Red Hot ‘n’ Blue returning to a broader variety of styles, including rockabilly (Ain’t Gonna Stop, Funny Kinda Feeling, Uptown Cat), rock’n’roll love song (You’re the One), rockin’ blues (Going Away, a recut of Sure Like the Look in your Eyes), Chicago blues (Willie Dixon’s My Babe and the Elmore James inspired Caroline). Also, the country-tinged Every Saturday Night finds Mouse playing some steel guitar. He later recorded with that instrument with the Rimshots and Demented Are Go.
Compared to their previous releases, the production is cleaner and a bit thinner in places, but it remains a good album with solid songwriting. Ashley “I had a good time recording that record, it was kind of loose and we ended up with way more than we needed. I played a bit of slide guitar and electric bass. We did some songs fast and slow versions. It was a real mixed bag and a lot of it was laid back, you could hear the band developing.

Ashley leaves…

Shortly after the recording, Ashley was offered to replace T.K. Smith, who had recently left Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys “The Big Sandy offer came up just after we finished the record. I knew it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. It just sucked it was then. Mouse and the twins were pretty pissed off at the time. We were more than a band, we all had lived together, partied, and played music together since our teens.” This left the band with no guitar player and a set of dates booked for 1993. They decided to carry on, hence the album title: “They decided on the title after I’d gone!” jokes Ashley.

Red Hot and Blue with Mark Harman
With Mark Harman from Restless

They needed an ace guitar player to replace Ashley. So Mouse chose one of the best: Mark Harman of Restless fame. After some negotiation, Harman agreed to join the band, and the new line-up began rehearsing the set. Despite the guitarist change, the gigs were very well-received wherever the band played. Harman brought a Rock’n’Roll touch to the band compared to Ash and a renewed energy. And the new version of Sure Like the Look In Your Eyes, released on single, became a massive hit on the rocking scene.
Sadly, in September, Mark Harman had to leave the band. He had just recorded a new album with Restless (Figure It Out) with a powerful line-up (Steve Whitehouse and Rob Tyler) and had a lot of dates booked to promote it. “For myself, Andy and Dave it was a sad day. We all had a lot of laughs together and Mark is a good guy.” wrote Mouse in the liner notes of the Unreleased Recordings in 1995. Harman and Zinn remained friends and later collaborated to form the Space Cadets.

Pascal Guimbard on guitar

Once again, they decided to carry on. Mouse and the twins decided to recruit their friend Pascal Guimbard, formerly of the Sprites, a French Gene Vincent-influenced band that recorded for Northwood, and Riley McOwen & the Sleazy Rustic Boys.

Red Hot'n'Blue with Pascal Guimbard
The band with Pascal Guimbard

Guimbard was no stranger to Red Hot‘n’Blue since he sometimes sat with the band on harmonica.
The band continued touring with their new member (including the Hemsby weekender in 1993), and by 1994, Fury records offered them a record deal. So, in February, Red Hot ‘n’ Blue returned to the studio to record their fourth LP. On this album, the global sound is less bluesy than on the precedent releases (though one can find an excellent Bo Diddley medley) and more Rock’n’Roll with a strong inspiration from the late ‘50s / early 60’s Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, which is not a surprise coming from Guimbard. There’s also a bit of country (Beggin’ Time, Just For A Day, Let Me Know) and a dash of Neo-rockabilly. Among the covers, you find Elvis’ Love Me, Don Roberts’ Only One, Ernie Chaffin’ s Laughin & Jokin’ and Russel Spears’ Beggin’ Time.
There are also two new versions of Get Back On That Train (from Wait’n’See) and Little Girl From Memphis (from Hey There Man). Once again, the album was, deservedly, well-received. The band toured, but all was not too well. Guimbard lived in Sweden, and each time the band had a gig, he had to take a boat or a plane and travel for 30 hours. It was then decided to call it quit by November 1994. For Mouse, it was no use to search for a new guitarist to keep the name alive, especially if you consider that when they reformed in 1991, it was supposed to be for a six-month stint. Before Guimbard left, Mouse and he recorded six tracks with Mo Kabir and Les Curtis that were released under the Cheezie Bitz name. It was only a recording project, and the Cheezie Bitz never gigged nor made another recording session.
Red Hot‘n’Blue played a string of farewell shows, including a slot opening for Carl Perkins, and on November 19th, the band played its last show at the 7th Big Rumble Weekender in front of a mad Psychobilly crowd. Bidding farewell in front of a Psychobilly crowd was another proof – if needed – that Red Hot ‘n’ Blue was a Rock’n’roll band like no other.
A couple of years later, Mouse, Dave and Andy Bourne got together again with Mark Harman, and in 1998 they recorded Still Jumping Around, co-produced by Boz Boorer. The presence of Harman gives the band a more neo-rockabilly sound, with some songs logically sounding like the Space Cadets. It’s a good album, albeit not as essential as their earliest recordings, especially the ones featuring Kingman, but it features good originals. Furthermore, it’s good to have a recording testimony of the Harman line-up.
In recent years, Mouse, Ashley and Kevin Ellis played a series of reunion shows with Tony Biggs on double bass and Mark Kemlo on drums, both from the Rimshots.

All interviews except where noted by Fred Turgis
This article © 2022 by Fred Turgis & the Rockabilly Chronicle

Mouse Zinn

Mouse ZinnMouse Zinn – The Embassy Recordings

Foot Tapping Records – FT172  [2017]

Time Is Going By – That’s The Way – In Thoughts Of You – Searchin’ – Bar Hoppin’ Baby – Shush Don’t Tell ‘Em – Jealous Guy – Folkstone Skies – I’ve Waited So Long – Mooshataino – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Don’t Need No Star In Heaven

Is it still necessary to introduce Mouse? Well for the youngest: Mouse Zinn is the man behind Red Hot’n’Blue, the space Cadets and Switchblade. As you can see his name alone is enough to stir interest of any decent Rockabilly fan. And if I tell you that he recorded this album with none others than Darrel Higham on guitar, David Doel on double bass and Gordon Doel on drums (both from the extraordinary Doel Brothers) I can feel the excitment in your ears and in your feet. Having said that, I could almost stop my review here… but I’m a professional and I’m going to tell you a little bit more.
While Vigilante man, his previous solo album, covered many different styles, this one focuses on what Mouse Zinn does best: Rock’n’roll and Rockabilly. Three songs are penned by the singer, including the excellent “Shush Don’t Tell Em” that has a slight Gene Vincent feel and a new version of “Something I Ain’t Got” previously recorded by Red Hot’n’Blue on Ain’t Gonna Stop.
Higham contributed the desperate rocker That’s the Way and Gordon and Dave Doel added three more originals.
The remaining five songs are covers from the catalogs of Whitey Gallagher, Joe Fury, Jimmy Driftwood, Eddie Cochran (a rockin’ version of I’ve waited So Long) and… John Lennon (which is not that surprising after all, considering that Mouse and Switchblade already covered the Fab Four.)
After all these years, Mouse proves that he still has it and I would be more than pleased to hear another batch of tune from him with the same backing band.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Mouse Zinn


Mouse Zinn

Here’s an old interview conducted a couple of years ago when Mouse released his Vigilante Man album.


Well, it’s been a long while since you last been into a studio recording. How does it feel to be back?
Mouse Zinn — Ha, the last time I recorded ANYTHING was back in 1999/2000 for the Space Cadets lp “cadets A-Go-Go”, after that, for no reason I embarked on a 10/11 year ‘silence’. For some reason I had no urge to do a anything creative, and quite honestly needed a break. in the 90s not 1 year passed by without me doing something, Red Hot n Blue ( 4 albums) Space Cadets (3 albums) Kid Rocker (2 albums) and countless other little projects with other bands, producing songs, writing songs, the Chessie Bits, live shows,record hops and so on….it was a mad decade. In the noughties all I did was record hops and shows with the Space Cadets. Then it dawned on me that 10 years had passed and i hadnt recorded a single song,thats a long long time in a musicians life y’know! it feels really good to be doing something again and recording has always been my favorite part of the whole business.

What decided you to make this record?
Mouse Zinn — I decided to go and do a solo project because I just had this desire to do something. I was watching all my old mates put out songs and cds etc..etc…, watching all these new bands recording and putting out stuff and I kind of felt ‘left-out’ i guess. why hadnt i did a recording for such a long time? I really dont know, all I can say is this… in that time I’ve had a lot of great ideas of what I ‘really’ wanted to do, and it didnt involve another band, this was going to be something I wanted to do, My ideas, MY control, MY style and MY desicions on what will and will not be on a new recording. So it had to be a solo project with me at the helm as MOUSE ZINN, with musicians helping me with what I wanted to do.

You’ve always been in a band configuration (Red Hot’n’Blue, Space Cadets, Switchblade). This time it sounds like a real solo album. Does it change something in your approach?
Mouse Zinn — Im now 27 years onwards from my 1st Red Hot n Blue recordings back in 1983. And in that time I’e always been part of a group as such, so now I see myself as an artist who would more prefer to have a solo part to my reportoir, and also do the shows with the Space Cadets. lets see how it pans out, but the future could be very strange on the rockin scene, and who knows, I may even be asked to do my Red Hot n Blue songs 20 years from now when I’m in my mid-60s, you just never know. so at the moment im focusing on this new solo thing and getting my 1st solo album out for xmas/new year.

Can you tell us about the songs we’ll find on the plater? What kind of music, styles, songs etc…
Mouse Zinn — First of all, “vigilante Man” is an album of covers, I didnt want to write songs for this album, its a collection of some of my favorite songs that I’ve put my own stamp on and have wanted to record for a long long time. im almost finished recording it now and its sounding great and, at last, all of them ideas of the last 10 years are coming to fruit, its sounding really really good. its basically a country album with rock-a-billy elements and rockin rhythms inthe 50s style that i like. theres songs of war, death, sorrow, gunfights, vigilante men, its all dark and has a message to say, its a really thought out album which has taken most of this summer to record and plan. its all been recorded at my good friend Ricky Lee Brawns recording service in Luton, Valvemobile Studios (rickys home) all recroded on old microphones, mixing descks and machines. Ive also had 3 different band line ups to give the album a different feel thoughout. weve got fiddles, banjos, accordians, mandolins, drums, bass, electric guitar all sorts of differnt things going on. and…ITS ALL BEEN RECORDED LIVE!!! no drop-inns, no overdubs, nothing. what you will hear on vigilante man is acomplete 15 songs recorded in a room, just the way they used to do it, once the songs over, THATS IT!!,.. its done and nothings added nor taken away, it is a true LIVE album, my first EVER!! if we didnt get the right take , we’d do it again, and agian and so on till we got the right take. Im really happy with the album so far…really happy!!

Who played with you on this sessions?
Mouse Zinn — Playing on the new album is a lot of different musicians that I’ve admired from a distance for a long while and always wanted to record with them in some way, so the solo album gave me this chance to get them together just for the recordings. The first 4 recordings were done with the Union Canal String Band, a local Luton Bluegrass outfit who I heard busking at the Hot Rod Hayride in 2009, since then i wanted to do some bluegrass/country numbers and the guys very niceley agreed to come record at Rickys Valvemobile studio in Luton. so, the first four songs comprise of Jamie Mockbridge-banjo/accordian, Jimbo Alpin-Rhythm Guitar/Harmonica, Dan Robinson-Bass and Jon Rickards-Mandolin /Fiddle.
The 2nd line up I wanted a more rockin approach on so I asked 3 old pal from around the scene to come to Luton to do 6 songs, on this line-up was Paul Gaskin-Lead guitar, Ian ‘Dollar bill’ Bowerman-Drums and Kevin Klump-bass.
In the next 10 days I’ve got 5 more songs to do to finish the album, and my final muicians are going to be some of my fave guys at the moment, some fresh blood and an old man you can say! it will be, Ricky Lee Brawn-drums, Darren Lince from Jack Rabbit Slim on Lead Guitar, Dazza from Slim Slip and the Sliders on Bass, and a final addition will be Daniel Jeanrenauld on lead guitar who will play lead guitar on a track he wrote called “Its Gonna Rain”. The whole album is produced by Ricky Lee Brawn at Valvemobile studio in Luton, England.

Where does the name “Vigilante Man” come from by the way?
Mouse Zinn — Vigilante Man is the title of the album and its an old Woody Guthrie tune I’ve always loved and it just seemed right to call the album Vigilante Man as its a solo album and it fits!

Do you have a label or will you revive Zinn to release it?
Mouse Zinn — At the moment I’m trying to ‘pimp’ the album around to labels to see who’s interested in putting it out, so far I’ve asked Rollin Records U.K, Rhythm Bomb records Germany and El Toro Records in Spain, at the moment nobody has given me a concrete yes as the albums not finished yet so they havent heard the final ‘cut’ and wont do till Oct/Nov this year. Anyhow, if nobody wants it I will do it myself, ive had experience with releasing records and know the market well, so I wont hesitate in putting it out if nobody wants it. I had it before in the early 90s, i tried everybody to ‘pimp’ out the lp “Hey There Man” by Red Hot n Blue, NOBODY wanted it, I had Faith in it and put it out myself and sold 1000s of copies, and I’ll do the same with this if I have too. One way or another, “Vigilante Man” WILL BE OUT by December 2010/January 2011 the latest! Probably on my own ZINN label.

Do you have something to add about it?
Mouse Zinn — Im looking forward to the release of Vigilante Man, looking forward to 2011 and another year of rockin, looking forward to all the all-dayers and weekenders im all-raedy booked at as a DJ (which is very busy)..looking forward to doing shows with the Domestic Bumblebees for a year, looking forward to recording a brand new Space Cadet album next autumn, and then in 2012, looking forward to re-froming the Space Cadets for our first shows in two and a half years. we will have a busy 2012 for sure!!! So, still so much to do and much fun to have, you have to enjoy what you do more than anything. NEVER think its work, its always been fun for me, thats why i keep doing it year in and year out! KEEP IT REAL, KEEP IT FUN!!!

Kid Rocker and the Phantoms


kid rocker
Kid Rocker and the Phantoms – She’s the Girl

Kid Rocker and the Phantoms – She’s the Girl

Crazy Gator CGR45001 [1995]
She’s the Girl – I’m On the Prowl

At only 14, Kid Rocker (real name Dean Micetich) was a teenage sensation when he appeared on the rockin’ scene in the mid 90’s. On this single, he’s singing and playing lead guitar backed by Mouse Zinn (Red Hot’n’Blue, Space Cadets, Switchblade) who also wrote the two songs, Les Curtis (Bob and the bearcats) on drums and Mo Kabir (Sugar Ray’s Flying Fortress) on double bass.
The result is an excellent single with a frantic rocker on side one with good backing vocals and a slower and more threatening tune on b-side, typical of the sound one can find in many bands of that period.

Kid Rocker and the Phantoms - Ready to Go
Kid Rocker and the Phantoms – Ready to Go

Kid Rocker and the Phantoms – Ready to Go!

Crazy Gator CGRLP001 [1995]
Ready to Go! – Crazy Joe – Crazy Little baby – You Know That I Love YouWatch Out! – She the Girl 2 – If You Tell Me Now – Everybody Rock – Once Bitten, Twice Shy

This 10″ album was released shortly after the single with the same line-up and still with Mouse writing all the material (except for one song penned by Kid Rocker). Being a huge fan of Red Hot’n’Blue, I won’t complain.
This mini-album is made of more or less the same style that you find on his single but with nine songs it’s no surprise to find a little more diversity with some hillbilly and a good dose of rockin’ blues and Watch Out! that evokes Johnny Kidd’s Casting My Spell.
There’s also a couple of guests to expand the sound of the band, with Philip Carramazza on sax (You Know That I Love You and a new take of She’s the girl) and Phil “Hot Lips” Rawson on harmonica (Everybody Rock ) as well as Elaine Rawson on percussions.
The good thing is that despite having Mouse writing all the material and the fact that both both Rawson and Carramazza played with Red Hot’n’Blue, Kid Rocker has enough personality in his vocal and his guitar play to develop a sound of his own. One can feel that Mouse helped him to find his style, rather than model him to suit their own style.

Kid Rocker
Kid Rocker