Interview: Harry Cody, Shotgun Messiah


This month sees the release of SHOTGUN MESSIAH's second album, the aptly titled Second Coming, and a mighty fine record it is at that. Originally from Sweden, the band re-located to the States after being signed by Relativity Records. Their first album, simply called Shotgun Messiah was then re-mixed and re-released to great critical acclaim. But then the vocalist Zinny J. Zan left the band for time-honoured 'musical differences,' to be replaced by the band's bass player Tim Skold! Guitarist Harry Cody takes up the story.

"Well, I met Tim back in '83/84, I think. He was the local weirdo on the scene together with me, and, I dunno, we just drifted together. We needed musicians, so in '85 we found Stixx, our drummer, and started playing Metal covers and stuff. In late '85 we started writing our own songs and since then we've been trying to find the right singer. It really didn't gel until we had Tim try out the vocals. It really clicked."

So what was the problem with Zinny?

Well, we recorded the first album in Sweden, and we all had the background done at the time. We brought Zinny in and he just did the vocals on everything. It worked out fine in the beginning, but when we went on tour here in the States, we noticed that we were drifting apart, we were no longer a unit, we weren't a band as such. So we came to the conclusion that we had better part ways.

"We had to sit down and think about it. We didn't want to be the band that's known for having a new singer for every album they do. So, as Time and me are a very stable unit, we thought we'd give him a shot at it. I guess we could have given Stixx a shot at it too but he's a lousy singer. So Tim tried out the vocals and it worked really well."
So now the line-up is settled? What do you hope to achieve from this new album?
"I wish to start a career something like THE ROLLING STONES and write one song every five years and keep that up. I don't know. We don't think that far ahead. We still have an up-hill battle. We've had an up-hill battle ever since we started, and we're used to having it that way. So, we're just looking a few months ahead and hoping to go on tour in the new year."

Any plans to play Britain?
"No plans as yet. Tim and me are going out ourselves in a couple of weeks with acoustic guitars. There's a huge recession. We're just trying to cut costs in every way possible. I'm ridiculously happy every time I manage to pay the rent. I'd like to come to Britain. Hey, if it weren't for Britain and the good reviews we got, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't have got the deal in the States. I'd love to, but frankly we're not playing in the same ball park as the GUNS N' ROSES and the MOTLEY CRUEs, so we have no say over that, but at least now I hear that the release is going to be somewhat simultaneous in the UK and in Europe overall. Like the last time around the album came out after Zinny was fired. That sucks. That's stupid! But, hey, if sales pick up over there, all the guys with suits will have to send us over."
Where does your inspiration to write come from?
"Out on the streets, really. I guess if we were living in gated communities in Malibu then our lyrics would still be innocent and partyish, the way they were on the first album. But when you're here you do see all the police choppers, and you see people getting shot down. You do see the bums and all that stuff. So, it's just a pretty cynical view of Hollywood I guess."
On the new album, you do a cover of the NEW YORK DOLLS' Babylon. Why is that?
"There was a lot of pressure on the band from diverse people. saying, 'you should play a cover,' and they suggested all kinds of shit, like LOVERBOY and REO SPEEDWAGON; 'cover an old hit.' So we said to ourselves, if we're going to cover a song, it might as well be a song we all like. And so we got a lot of flak for that off the same people, saying, 'it defeats the purpose if you record something like this. It's not a hit, it won't end up on the radio, y'know.' We don't give a shit! This is all we wanted to do and we think it fits on the album. It sounds like we could have written it ourselves. It goes very well with the rest of the album."
You've been living in the States for a few years now. Did you have much difficulty in adjusting to the way of life out there?
"The biggest thing was the fact that we didn't know anybody when we moved over here. But once you get used to the commercials on TV, the police sirens, the bumps in the road, and stuff like that, it isn't that much different. I used to buy every Rock magazine and Guitar magazine I could get my hands on. Now I simply can't afford it. Y'know, I've never heard of Riff Raff."
You've never heard of Riff Raff! Can I quote you on that?
"Yeah, sure. As long as you stress that it's because I can't afford to buy shit nowadays. I made more money being unemployed in Sweden than I do now."
But you're having a better time now, though?
"Yeah, I'm doing what I want to be doing, and my guitar collection is growing. But apart from that I'm fucking broke, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the World right now!"
And so say all of us.

Billy Kulke
Riff Raff

January 1992

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