The record fair in Carlisle gives an opportunity to buy some records, of course, and a chance to spend time with like-minded people. Clunk took the opportunity to catch up with Chris and Adam Robson, father and son. Chris is a founder of Matchbox Classics, a record label celebrating 40 years this year, and singer, songwriter and guitarist of Carlisle bands Combo Zombo and The Wanglers. Adam is a drummer with Kill Spector and Neon Lung. So, after making our purchases we head for the pub for a chat.
Adam remembers his first instrument, a blue guitar given to him by Mum on his seventh birthday. He still has it. Chris used to drive a van fitted with one of those old fangled cassette players. They reminisce of Adam’s musical memories, listening to The Rutles, Shazam and Green Day as Adam sat on the wheel in the back. Chris felt there was some confusion of bands ‘ Adam got The Rutles and The Beatles muddled up, an easy mistake to make’. Adam also got dragged along to gigs, such things as Bowie tribute bands, ‘I remember my first proper gig, I was 11, it was The Offspring in Manchester’. Chris used to take Adam to gigs as a surprise, ‘we wouldn’t tell him where we were going in case he said he didn’t like them, we just told him we were going to get something!’
Adam took guitar lessons as a schoolboy, he didn’t like them, he just wanted to play songs. Like many budding guitarists his first riff was smoke on the water. Interestingly, the first time Adam saw Chris play a gig he was dragged in on guitar. Chris explains ‘ Combo hadn’t played together for a while and we were playing a Carlisle music festival. It was hard getting us all together at the same place at the same time, Chuck lives in Belguim, Adrian lives in London, Keith and I are in Carlisle and Simon lives in Glasgow. Adam was playing guitar at the time so we suggested he come on and play a couple of numbers with us at the end, the last song and the encore’. Adam was 13 or 14 at the time…. Was he scared? ‘Yeah, really scared. It was my first time, and with Dad’. The next time they played together was at the Brickyard supporting The Rezillos, by which time Adam was on the drums. Adam…’ It was a week’s notice so I had a week to learn all of the songs and I managed it, but about half way through I got mixed up with ‘shes my girl’ and ‘a crying shame’. Since then they have done an acoustic show together for Andy Hopkins, with Adam on guitar, as Combo Acoustic. There could be more shows with some original members but ‘It‘s tricky, depending on other things that get in the way. Chuck has his new project with his new record label, Abnormal Products, and has just released Simon’s new band Shot Balowski’s album, so once again it’s difficult getting us all together’.
On to Matchbox Classics 40th anniversary, so what’s lined up? The Kicking out for the Coast Ep by The Wanglers will be available at some point in the Vinyl Café, The Exiles EP will also be in there, both on vinyl. Chris ‘I would also like to release as a split single The Combo and Exiles songs from the Exposure CD on vinyl, there’s two songs from each band’ Adam also has current projects ongoing ‘I have a four track EP on which I play all the instruments and sing. You can hear it on Bandcamp, It’s called E Numbers. I hope to get 2 other Eps all ready recorded out there, I just need to mix them then I’m going to send them to labels to see of I can get them pressed’ So, why not on Matchbox Classics? Chris says ‘We are certainly open to this but it’s down to funding’. Adam plays drums in Kill Spector and Neon Lung, the latter having a debut EP out soon. He also runs his own you tube channel ‘I’ve got something like 1700 followers, last time I checked. I started it 2 or 3 years ago, I thought I would do some covers. When you get a comment I’m so amazed, it’s just awesome to see that so many people take an interest in stuff that you do’. It’s a successful project, getting Adam drum sponsorship.
So, what was purchased at the record fair? Adam ‘Anti-System, No Laughing Matter which is a UK punk band, Disorder, which is another UK punk band and Broken Bones, which is another punk band’. As for Chris ‘A Dead Kennedys album, The Go-Gos, because I love them dearly, The Cramps and Hawkwind. This album is on the Flicknife label. When the ‘Kicking out for the Coast’ EP was being sorted we contacted said label. All went well, I went down to London and might a guy called Frenchie. It seemed to be happening but a while went by with no word so I contacted them. They told me they couldn’t do anything because they had ploughed all their money into Hawkwind.’ There’s more… ‘I also got a Hollies album and a half price Queen single from Japan’.
With goodies in hand we part ways. Thanks for the chat with Clunk, gents.
You can find other stuff on Matchbox Classics and gig news of Kill Spector and Neon Lung elsewhere on Clunk.
You can find Adam on youtube here