By Laura Anne Rowell
The quintessential rock and roll musical touring ensemble has arrived. They are The International Swingers and the members not only span several decades, but several genres as well. The band is comprised of members from four major punk rock legendary groups. On drums is Clem Burke of Blondie, guitarist James Stevenson of Generation X, bassist Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols and singer Gary Twinn of Speedtwinn. Together TIS are a rock-n-roll force to be respected.
Gary and Clem first met when former Clash manager, Bernie Rhodes asked them to collaborate on a song back in the eighties. Band members Glen and James have known each other from doing time in the Brit punk days of the 70s. The four friends came together last summer when Australian promoter Bicci Henderson asked Gary and James to play a few gigs together. Being such good friends with Glen and Clem, they sought them out to round out the band. The original idea was to play a collaboration of old songs from each band including the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, Billy Idol’s Dancing with Myself, Blondie’s Call Me and, of course, I Like it Both Ways, all the while enjoying a mini vacation ‘Down Under.’
As the gigs progressed and their following grew, the band started to write and play new original songs. In retrospect the band says the only thing that seemed weird is that none of them had thought of all this before. Four good mates playing music together touring the world is a nice gig if you can get it. And this time around it is a bit easier and more relaxed. Twinn says, “There aren’t any egos or BS. Everyone knows the dos and don’ts of the road.”
When asked who they would like to open for, the band says it doesn’t really matter, but if they had to choose they probably wouldn’t mind touring with the likes of Tom Petty or The Foo Fighters, and certainly every punk rock band’s dream, they’d like to open for the godfather himself, Iggy Pop.
When pressed for some words of wisdom for newer bands they warn of their one superstition; Always get paid before you play.
You can find out more information about The International Swingers on Face Book @ www.facebook.com/TheInternationalSwingers and be sure to check them out at The Hood in Palm Desert this Friday, June 29th.
By Laura Anne Rowell