JIMMY EDWARDS IN “ACTION REPLAY”, Take One

MASTERSWITCH (PUNK ROCK 1977)

This is story, the story of Jimmy Edwards.

(from “Only Fot For The Bin”, one of the best 77 pUnKrOcK-site on the net:

"He was already a veteran on the scene back in 1976 due to the fact he was a little older them most of his fellow scensters…
He’d already served time in the FIRST ever Skinhead band formed in 1968 from outta London called the NEAT CHANGE who released a mega and highly collectable single on the ’Decca’ label “I Lied To Auntie May”. This highly rated band played the Marquee Club more then any other band and apparently blew some of the top bands off stage, including the Small Faces & The Who.
Then came a stint in ENGLISH ROSE in 1970 who then went into star in Film ‘Groupie Girl’, followed by working and producing FLINTLOCK.
By 1975, Jimmy had itchy feet and wanted to form a totally different sounding band. So the seed to Masterswitch was sown. He started writing songs and went about forming a band. By the time the summer of ‘76 was here the band was already up and running in the newly formed PUNK ROCK SCENE!
Masterswitch was right there at the front. Like we said previous, because Jimmy was a little older then the rest of his counterparts many of the bands looked to him for inspiration and he taught a lot of them his skills. Showing them how to play drums or how to play guitar. On many occasions he would be seen down at the Roxy putting this into practice or even playing with them on stage.
By early 1978 MASTERSWITCH had enough tracks written and went about recording them as demos so they had something to tout around the record companies. After a short time Epic picked them up and gave the band a MILLION POUNDS advance to record an album for them. The single “Action Replay” had a rushed release but sunk without trace due to bad promotion and publicity. Then an internal struggle broke out within the band and Jimmy decided to sack his band. Then US Epic had a big fight with UK Epic over who owned MASTERSWITCH.
Jimmy was then asked to form a new MASTERSWITCH but by this time he was deflated and called it a day and the album was never recorded. He then toured with FLINTLOCK as the lead singer and then fronted the MOD Super Group TIME UK alongside Rick Buckler."
The CD is out on “Only Fit For The Bin”-Label”.


What was the most violent thing you did as a youngster?
I come from a really tough part of north west London called Kensall Rise which is next door to Kilburn. I wouldn't say I was a violent kid but you had to take care of yourself. I remember getting tied to a tree and being stoned by this older boy for being lippy. The next night I saw him coming round the corner but he couldn't see me cause there was a bush in the way. Anyway I grabbed his hand and broke two of his fingers. He ran faster than Bolt and never picked on me again. I had the usual scuffs and fights but the worst thing I think I did was wack a boy who unbeknown to me had Asthmer. He couldn't breath kids gathered round, fortunatly he managed to eventually get his breath and was ok. I wasn't a bully and never started fights. Anyway back then I was pretty small.

1977 was a real exciting time in London. What was it like being a part of that?
Fantastic. It was like a resurection for me. The hot summer or 76 was when it really kicked off but by 77 it was really happening. We had the Roxy and the Vortex to play and hang out in. It was very creative, everyone we knew were getting deals and writing songs and improving their musicianship. I'm the same age as Joe Strummer would have been, so we were really born between waves and my mod/skinhead experience in the late 60s seemed to be reborn in punk. Attitude, new fashions, new sounds out with the old in with the new. The scene embraced me and I embraced the scene. Punk didn't have to be about what you wore it was a way of thinking, so everyone had there own take on it. A lot of originality.

What was the stupidest dress-style out of punk rock in 1977?
The worst thing that comes to mind are bondage trousers, where youy had the buckle on one leg and the belt bit on the other so you basically tied you're legs together. Dreadfull things and I never wore them. Kilts were another fashion disaster in my view, worn over jeans or trousers why?

What´s the best place to write a song?
Doesn't really matter. You can get a tune or a lyric or both at the same time anywhere. It's best to in my case have acess to a guitar so a dressing room or a car or van will do. I guess as long as you've got the idea like I said home would probably be best. I write quick, so once it's in my head I just have to work it on a guitar and if it's any good it'll come quick, so it doesn't become contrived or sound laboured.

What question would you like to be asked in interviews, but you are never asked? And what is your answer?
This is a difficult one. I've been asked most things. How about "Would you have liked you're son to have followed you into the music buisness?” My answer would have been no it's a dangerous life both mentally and physically and too many sharks to deal with unless you're very lucky. And even when you've earned money you can't always get it. I'm very pleased he's in the Art world he's a very talented artist. And were very close.

What is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a song's lyrics?
God there's so many. What about "never mind the hue and cry you never did oppose the crime anyway!!" Seriously that is a difficult question. Hmmmmm "You can't put you're arms around a memory" Johnny Thunders, very simple and very true. Honestly there are just too many. I could go on all day.

What´s the biggest obstacle to the band?
Dealing with the various personalties in it. I'm doing some concerts later in the year and i'm not sure who to have in the band when I do them. I have a vast selection of friends who are great players so i'm not sure if I want to reform the original Masterswitch or put something new together. Obviously I will be doing the songs. It could even be the original sham69 minus Jimmy. We have been recording together recently and are making a new record so we will have to see how it goes.

Name one famous non-punk person you would consider "punk" and explain why you believe they deserve this distinction.
There are the obvious famous people like David Bowie, Lou Reed etc. who influenced punk. A much less obvious choice and not nearly so famous were Eddie and the Hotrods who made a seminal record called "do anything you wanna do" one of my favourites. Like a lot of bands they imploded. They weren't a punk band they came out of pub rock like the Stranglers did although they were embraced by the punks and became a punk band by default. Eddie for some reason didn't but that record from a punk point of view says it all.

Which record could I find in your CD-player or at your turn-table?
At the moment i'm playing 3 albums. I never listen to whole albums i'm a track man so-An old manic Street Preachers album called This is my truth tell me you'rs mainly for "your'e children will be next. Blue train by John Coltran on the blue note label mainly for the title track. This kind of stuff in small doses takes you somewhere else. I don't in all honesty have a great understanding of this type of music but I like this track. Pop goes the 80's. It's just a great comp. Things like the Bangles, Adam and the ants, The Primitives.....just a great pop album. This is what i'm listening to this week oh and a techno remix of Oh my Gosh by usher. It will all change in a few days. There is such a rich tapestry of all kinds of music now you can go on forever. Next week it could be the clash! and sham69 depends on my mood. Oh I'm also playing Cee-lo Green Fuck you. The public version is Forget you, the one i've got is restricted, it's great. He sings great soul, a bit like percy Sledge.Check him out, he's not just another rapper he can sing!

What is your fave word, that you used very often for writing songs? Any explanation?
This one I've really had to think about and run through lyrics in my head. There isn't one. There's a theme kinda" beware we could be ending the world the way were going" but I can't think of a single word that I repeat. If you can let me know i'd be interested.
I use the word "I" a lot probably because if I'm honest I have a big ego. Haven't all rock singer/writers. Otherwise why would people be interested in what we say. And why would we think they would be interested?

What are your favorite punk sites on the web?
Bored teenagers. Pop punk,mod archive, there's a couple more whose names escape me I've been so busy for an old fella that I haven't had a lot of time for surfing latlely.

What was one of your best / worst shows you played?
This one is funny cause Masterswitch played a gig in Woking in 1977 with Menace and Sham69. In the audience was a 15year old kid named Stewart Home who is now a very well known music writer and has done a great article about my career. This was the first time I encountered spitting en mass and I got really anoyed and shouted over the mike "see you at Wembly" which wasn't the right thing to say. It was chaos and I seem to remember Jimmy Pursey who was a good friend and artist locked me in a room to keep me safe from the baying mob. Stewart didn't like me at all but we obviously get on great now...32 years later he's really helped to kick start my career. Isn't that a strange story. I don't even remember if we were any good that night. I think we had to get off after a few minutes but that's punk!
Time Uk did some really great concerts. By the early 80's we were a pretty tight powerfull outfit, always better live than on record I think. That's not taking anything away from the records but you could never capture that power on disc.....In the late sixties the neat change did some great gigs at the famous Marquee club to over 1,000 mods and skinheads complete with smoke, bombs and strobes before anyone else did it including the pink floyd.

First record you ever bought yourselves?
Terry by twinkle believe it or not and I still play it.

What was your last interview you did?
An italian fanzine called Sawdust Caesas's.

What was your most cherished toy when you were a kid?
A miniature building set with real tools and brick's. My Father was in the building trade and got given it as a promotional gift. It was never on sale. I was about 10 years old.

What musicians really motivated you to learn your instrument and start a band?
Steve Marriot. He was the greatest

What´s the most over-rated and the most un-rated punk rock band?
It's not for me to say who's overated but I think the fatal microbes never got the credit they deserved. Listen to violence grows.

What was the first concert you went?
The first concert I went to was the Rolling Stones and John Leyton at a Cinema in Kingston Surrey, when I was 14 years old.

If you get the chance to play on a tribute – sampler. Which band did you like to choice?
The Small Faces. You got to be able to sing to do justice to Steve Marriot, or the Kinks. Id love to have a go at Waterloo Sunset.

Was there much violence at your gigs? What was the strangest thing that´s been thrown at you on stage?
Sometimes. Usually it was contained.I remember one gig they surrounded the hall with Alsation dogs on leads! for the 2nd part ofthe question, I've been spat on,had jewlery thrown at me, knickers,coins, Durexes with phone numbers on the packet. You name it I've had it thrown at me at some time or other during my career. Don't forget at one point I was the lead singer in the teenybop band Flintlock, with thousands of screaming girls, that was weird especially as I had just come out of the original Masteswitch. Talk about a culture shock in reverse. I've enjoyed the diversity of all of it. It was like reinventing myself constantly.

Who is/was the biggest loudmouth in punk rock, that you met or knew? And why?
Probably my old mate Jimmy Pursey, but over the years I don't think it's done him too many favours. A close second has got to be John Lydon, but now he's part of the establishment and a country gentleman I believe. I'll say this for Jimmy Pursey, I think he has tried to stay true to his ideals.

The most clever word you ever said?
I can't think of one clever word, but as a string of words I like "Artificial sunshine is pouring out our heads, got zip in our chockolate and in our daily bread" Is that clever or pretentious?

Which bands do you like at the moment?
That's difficult as there is a new "Great group" every week now. Next week they vanish. I have to say Kasabian who are are a rock band who are standing the test of time. I'd love to hear a new great punk band. Do you know one? I do like Hard-fi they remind me of the Clash a bit.

In general, what do you see wrong with music today?
Much too much computo pop. Most records sound like they've used the same backing track. Much too much Emenen copiests. I really like him but there is a big fashion in England at the moment of rappers who can't sing a note or have any individuality in there music. They know who they are so I don't have to name them. I think they sell there music to 5-10 year olds who don't know any better.

What would you like to tell a new band, who is coming fresh on the scene?
Try to be individual. Do it for the love of what you do, not for the money you may or not make. Make music with an honest spirit. Set trends don't follow them. By all means wear you're influences on you're sleeve. Honour you're hero's don't copy them.

Thanks very very much, Jimmy!!!

Interview: Ralf Real Shock (October 2010)


Well, if you want the “full detail story” of Jimmy’s very special musical career, than go to this sites:
Interview with Alex Ogg
Interview with Stewart Home