By now you probably know that Rosey thinks that Johnny Panic are the best band in the world right now. So when they played our humble birthday gig, he thought it better if someone else had a chat with them. Making his spoken word debut R*E*P*E*A*T is proud to present

Johnny Panic Interview with Rob, Cambridge Junction, 25.4.06
by Joey Eyebank Ramone.

(Joey) What are your hopes for the new album?
(Rob) Definitely some commercial success, and to be a bigger band. With the first album we built some foundations of who we are and a general identity, but with this album it's crunch time, it really is, there's no getting away from it. If this album doesn't work, Johnny Panic can never be what we hoped it'd be, when it was formed by me and my 2 best friends at the time when we were both fifteen. I really want to consolidate what we've got, the first album took us round the world but we didn't get to Australia but we've just got a deal sorted there, so it's just we want to go further, bigger, forward.

Pic © Copyright Mark Moughton, 2006

(Joey) Tell us a bit a bit Nash leaving and what he'll continue to do with the band…
(Rob) He was always going to do that, become an artist, and he had a few other problems as well, but Nash is definitely continuing with the band. When he first said to me that he was leaving, which was last October when we'd just got back from Japan, just before we played a show with American Hi-Fi in London, I realised that I'd be expecting it and there was a massive wave of sadness in me. Then we agreed to do one more London show with him and that sold out really easily, and was a big success for us, so that was a great way to say goodbye. And then first of all I thought the band was over as we'd broken the pact we formed when we started. But it was Nash, who was never normally the most talkative person (he's only said about seven sentences to me in the 10 years I've known him!) who was the most vocal about his ideals and vision for Johnny Panic, and in saying how he still wanted to continue with that, with the artwork and so on; for instance he's finishing a film this weekend which we'll use as the backdrop in the last song, and he's done all the artwork for the new album, he's spent ages getting it right as he was frustrated that with The Violent Dazzling it wasn't quite right, it makes me genuinely sad that he wasn't happy with the way it came out, if you ever get a chance to see the Japanese version of the album, it has the correct version of the artwork…

Pic © Copyright Mark Moughton, 2006

(Rosey) And a cover of KKK by The Ramones …
(Rob) … and a great song called 'Destiny Calling' as well, which the UK album missed out on despite what I wanted. So yes, Nash going left me personally devastated but then I still speak to him every other day, we're still really, really good friends, I go round his place and see his easels and his mess, but it was time to move on and we had to find a new bass player, and we didn't really want to be one of those bands that finds its new members from the NME, nor publicly announce that Nash had left in case that took the wind out of our sails as he was such an important visual member of the band, so we were going nowhere getting a replacement, until a friend of mine gave me a CV of some one looking for a job who was also a bass player and I thought sod it and I rang him up rang them up, and he came down to a rehearsal and he was just looking for a proper job, but it just really worked really well and he joined. We're really blessed with him; he's such a strong member… The best way for him to introduce himself is out there tonight!

Pic © Copyright Mark Moughton, 2006

[Just then the interview collapses as a life size badger invades the dressing room, and Rosey almost faints! And everyone has hysterics)

Pic © Copyright Mark Moughton, 2006

(Rosey to Badger) Make sure you introduce the Pilots as Jordan hates badgers!
(Rob) I don't care if we get introduced by a badger!

(Joey) You turned down an arena tour to play here tonight. Why?
(Rob) Yeah… Why? Last Thursday was one of the worst days of my life. We got the call about this tour and we didn't have a tour manager or anything in place. And then we were offered these five dates, we could have played to 30,000 people, it had sold out. And then when I was speaking to our agent explaining that we were meant to be playing here on Tuesday and recording on Wednesday, and we had a phone call asking us to record some music for an advert, and that was for a lot of money for us, but it had to be done by next Wednesday, but there was no way we could do that as we didn't even have a studio booked or anything. It was a complete nightmare. But the bottom line is, the reason we didn't do the arenas, is that we couldn't honestly justify it. An important part of being in a band, or of being in our band, is that we have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror, and that was why we didn't do it, we want to be a band that sticks to our word.

(Seymour Glass pops in to borrow a guitar string and turning thing)

(Rosey) The Pilots are on in 5 mins, you'll have to be quick if you want to see them Joey.
(Rob) Yeah, I could talk for Britain!
(Joey) What advice have you got for young bands?
(Rob) I give the same answer always, and it's something that Sir Alec Guinness once said when he was asked on Radio Four if he had any advice for young actors, and he said 'If you really, really, really want to do it, don't; only do it if you have to!'

Joey and Rob debate some weighty question (probably badgers, squirrels and moles)Pic Rosey

(Joey) What's your favourite Manic's album?
(Rob) Probably my favourite is 'The Holy Bible' but 'Generation Terrorists' is such an important album to me as a person. I must have been about 12 when it came out and I remember seeing them doing 'You Love Us' on Top of the Pops, and it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen! I was really into music, my elder sister had seen to that, but I was into The Smiths and The Pistols and everything that was yesteryear, and nothing that was now apart from perhaps Carter USM and [he whispers] Pet Shop Boys! And The Manics were so now, they were everything! It's so funny, at the moment I have James Dean Bradfield's bass player from his solo band staying with me so I'm loving it! I've already got the new album, he won't let me stick it on I-tunes as he knows I'll start e-mailing it to everyone. And he's saying things like "I'll have a word with James about getting you that guitar sound you want for the new album" or "I'll see if we can borrow a few guitars" and I'm thinking "I'll be licking them!" So yes, the best Manic's album is 'The Holy Bible' but the most important to me is 'Generation Terrorists'.

Pic © Copyright Mark Moughton, 2006

(Joey) What was the first song you learnt to play?
(Rosey) I'll tell Rob the first song you learnt to play if you're not careful Joey!
(Rob) I think it was 'Come As You Are' by Nirvana, they were really it when I was just starting and they're reasonably straight forward and simple.

(Joey) What band are you most looking forward to seeing tonight?
(Rob) Ourselves! No doubt about it.
(Rosey) Fantastic answer. Nicky Wire would be proud of you!
(Rob) Seriously I find that when I'm playing, even with big bands at festivals as we were lucky enough to do last year, I can't concentrate on the other bands as I'm so excited about us playing. But, I've heard tons of things about Miss Black America and we've always been on the same circuit as them but we've never played together before, whereas I've seen Greg from The Visions old band a couple of times, so I'd be curious to see Miss Black America. On our forum, people were saying what a night this would be as Miss Black America and us are playing on the same bill.

(Joey) Yeah, I like Miss Black America. So, last but not least, what's best - badgers, squirrels or moles?!
(Rob) Squirrels! Definitely.
(Groans all round!)
(Rob) I'm an Arsenal fan, and last week there was the Highbury Squirrel, and the crowd were chanting "There's only one squirrel!" So come on the Highbury Squirrel, help Arsenal tonight!
(Joey) What a disappointing way to end! Don't tell Jordan of The Pilots…
(Rob) Explain! Why the question?
(Joey) Well, Rosey and R*E*P*E*A*T has a thing about badgers, I prefer moles but Jordan likes squirrels.
(Rosey) And he likes Arsenal too so he'll be happy with your answers, especially if they win through tonight!
And they did

Rob, Joey and JJ (Pic Rosey)

Thanks to Rob for his time, enthusiasm and answers, and for being a man of his word too, and to all at The Junction who helped. Thanks also to Mark
Moughton for his pix, his site is here

Pic © Copyright Mark Moughton, 2006

Read our earlier Johnny Panic interview here and here.

Visit Johnny Panic's website here and listen to them on Myspace here

New live pix from gig coming soon. In the meantime, here's the Highbury squirrel