Vive Le Rock Interview With James Stevenson
The International Swingers
1) Despite the usual case with supergroups, this is more a group of long-time mates and totally organic. How and when did you first meet the other guys and how did you all decide to start the International Swingers, years later?

I guess we all were involved in the London scene during the early 80s. Clem spent a lot of time in London around then and I remember seeing him at every party I went to – it was a very happening time in London, tons of small independent venues, lots of gigs, good times. The first time I actually chatted to Clem I think was at a party in Eric Faulkner’s flat – from The Bay City Rollers - in Chelsea. Gary, well I used to see Twenty Flight Rockers all the time and Glen and I were in Hot Club together in 83 – so it really all started back then.

2) What are the collected influences of the International Swingers?

Well you’d get a completely different answer from everyone – but I think collectively it’s the pre-punk that started in the mid-west in the USA in the late 60s – Iggy, The MC5, spiritually at least.


3) You have songs with titles such as ‘Gun Control’ and ‘FBI’ which seem to have pretty serious subject matter. Do you think punk and rock ‘n’ roll with a message is more important than ever today to stand up and say something? The world seems even more screwed up than ever.

Well yeah. Punk rock was about doing it all yourself, and with the decimation of the music industry over the past ten years, that has come around again full circle. Music has always been a powerful medium for getting a point across. Gun Control is a very important subject to us all. The laws in the US are insane. Owning a gun is one thing – but to be able to buy an AR15 that can fire 100 rounds a minute? I mean, you can’t argue reasonably that you need that to go hunting or to protect your home can you?

4) How was the tour in Australia?

Those were our first gigs, a year and a half ago now. Gary had a big hit over there back in the day with his band Supernaut and a promoter asked him to put a band together for some shows – so Gary called me, Glen and Clem – so yeah, as Clem has said, no-one answered an ad to be in this band – we really are just good friends who really enjoy playing together – that’s the best chemistry for any band in my opinion.

5) How’s the new album plans going? Is there a title/release date? Will it be all original material or some reinterpretations of some of your old bands’ songs?

It will probably be all original material – but who knows? Anything can happen. We’ve recorded quite a few songs in LA with Tommy Dietrick in his studio there. And we’ve put together a couple of EP/CDs and also there’s free downloads of some of our songs at www.theinternationalswingers.com

6) What else do you have planned?

Well I’m out on the road playing Rhythm guitar with The Cult until November but after that we’re intending to get into the studio and record the album proper and also do some more UK shows. We did that one off, invite only show at The Lexington a couple of weeks ago and it really was fantastic – that was our first show in Europe. On a personal level I’ve also recorded my first solo album. I did it with producer Pete Walsh. I called in a lot of favours and it turned out great! Glen’s on it – and Steve Norman from Spandau – a whole bunch of interesting people – we did it in Barriemore Barlow’s studio The Doghouse in Henley and I even got him to play drums on a couple of tracks! So I’m planning to get that released around January and maybe even do a couple of solo gigs – daunting as that feels it’s something I feel I’ve got to do.