For the Record

The Toy Dolls

Who were some of you early guitar influences?

Oh, many influences! Chuck Berry, Wilko Johnson, Keith Richards, Steve Jones, I liked Paul [Weller] too, when he was in the Jam, to mention a few!
When you first started the Toy Dolls in 1979, did you think it would last this long?

No way! I have to pinch myself every day to see if this is a dream! It’s been 32 years now! I guessed maybe two or three years would be our lifespan, not three decades! I really can’t believe it, but I am not complaining!
How many albums have you produced yourself? Didn’t you do all the guitar, bass, and drum (drum machine) tracks on a few albums?

I have produced all of them except one, Idle Gossip, so that will make it eleven I have produced, including the one we have just finished recording. The only time I played all the things myself was on Ten Years of Toys, it’s awful, using a drum machine was a bad decision!
The Toy Dolls have been known to have all sorts of people jump in for backup vocals. Have you ever just grabbed someone from your local pub to do backup vocals?

Using people from the local pub doesn’t work really! Though they might sound fine singing in the pub, once they get into a proper studio everything changes! So we always use people who we know are decent singers!
Do you have a new album coming out?

Yes indeed, it will be out in 2012, March time for UK, followed by other countries after that. It’s called The Album After The Last One.

Do you plan on touring after the new album?

We will start touring after the album is released, not sure where exactly just yet, our management is working on shows as we speak!
What country has produced the best record sales for you over the years?

Well, in the mid-80s probably Japan, now it’s kind of evenly spread worldwide. Maybe Germany and Spain is the biggest market.
Do you prefer recording to analog or digital? 

This is the first album we have recorded digitally. I prefer it; it’s faster, cleaner, and you have much more control.
What is your favorite Toy Dolls album?

Absurd Ditties for sure, I am very happy with that one! Unlike some of the others!

What type of stuff do you get into when you’re not in the studio or on tour?

Between being in the studio or on tour, I am writing and we are rehearsing! Or down at the pub of course.
Did James Bond really live down the street from you?

Yes, of course.
Have you ever been recognized for your guitar playing by any of the popular guitar magazines?

Very rarely in the UK!
Any advice for beginning guitar players?

Yes, learn to tune up without an electronic tuner, do regular practice, not a load then nothing for weeks, and most of all enjoy all of it!
Did you ever skate?

Ha, you tried skating in central London!? I will try it at some point!
Have you ever played the Tony Hawk video game that has “Dig That Groove Baby” in it?

I am flattered that “Dig That Groove Baby” is on the Tony Hawk game. Sadly I have never tried or even seen it! Bah!