Former Heavy Pettin drummer Gary Moat has fronted the band Burnt Out Wreck since 2016. The band released their second album “This Is Hell” in October 2019. Recently his music label Burntout Wreckords also re-released the three Heavy Pettin albums “Lettin Loose”, “Rock Ain’t Dead” and “Big Bang”. I was always a huge Heavy Pettin fan and have really enjoyed the Burnt Out Wreck albums so when the opportunity arose to record an interview with Gary I jumped at it. We spoke via Skype on 27th January and you can hear that interview on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 31st January which is now available on our MixCloud page - https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-gary-moat-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-on-31st-jan-2020/
The interview has been transcribed and posted below.
We talk about Burnt Out Wreck, the new album, Heavy Pettin, the re-releases, the music industry and more.
Burnt Out Wreck are Gary Moat on vocals, Alex Carmichael on bass, Paul Gray on drums, Adrian Dunn on lead guitar and Miles Goodman on rhythm guitar.
Check out the band’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/BurntOutWreck/
STORMZONE – Another Rainy Night
A LITTLE BITTER – Fallen
THE QUIREBOYS – Original Black Eyed Son
MAMA’S BOYS – Runaway Dreams
SAXON – Battalions of Steel
LITA FORD – Blueberry
LISA DOMINIQUE – All Fall Down
BURNT OUT WRECK – Dead or Alive
Interview with GARY MOAT Part 1 (8 min)
BURNT OUT WRECK – Positive
Interview with GARY MOAT Part 2 (12 min)
HEAVY PETTIN – Lonely People
Interview with GARY MOAT Part 3 (11 min)
BURNT OUT WRECK – Headfuck
HEAVY PETTIN – Shout It Out
HEAVY PETTIN – Rock Ain’t Dead
SHAKRA – Turn The Light On
PASSION – Back
DEAD ADDICTION – Chaos
ANVIL – Legal At Last
KIRRA – Caving In
ALMANAC – Predator
THE ANSWER – Raise a Little Hell
NI ROCKS – Hi Gary. Thanks for taking some time to chat to Rock Radio NI. I wanted to start by talking about your band Burnt Out Wreck as we’ve just played a track from the band’s second album called “Dead or Alive”. Firstly, what can you tell us about that track?
GARY – I was looking for a really fast, energetic track because on the first album “Swallow” we didn’t really have one like that. I thought we had to step it up a gear and I came up with that one. It’s just a really fast, energetic track as I say and it’s about your love of motorcar vehicles! It’s a great wee number and it gets the punters going crazy! (laughs)
NI ROCKS – That’s what you want! That second album “This Is Hell” was released in October last year. Who else is in the band with you and who did you work with in terms of recording the album and production etc.
GARY – The band is myself on vocals, Adrian Dunn on lead guitar, Miles Goodman on rhythm guitar, Alex Carmichael on bass guitar and Paul Gray on drums. That band was put together at the end of 2016, directly after making the first album “Swallow”. It was only myself and my guitar player Adrian Dunn from this band that was involved in making the first album. We needed a touring band and these guys were the guys to do it with. They’ve remained the band since our first gig in 2017 and we’re still here today! The production went to Steve Rispin for the second time because we got on so well the first time and it was a big ‘why not’ because he is such an amazing producer and engineer and he just brings so much to the table. He’s amazing.
NI ROCKS – You mentioned the first album “Swallow”, which was released in 2017. How would you compare the two albums in terms of the recording, the different artists and the tracks on each?
GARY – For half of “Swallow” I played drums, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and sang. So it’s like getting a whole bunch of new guys in. I knew the second album would kick ass, because I wanted their input. The songs were already written by myself and most of the parts were there, but their take on what I was doing, if they do it a bit left of centre, that’s great for me, because it’s not just me, like a robot, just duplicating everything. This album has a real good thump to it and the production is even heavier and harder.
NI ROCKS – It’s a great album! You formed Burnt Out Wreck in 2016 following a few years of performing in a band called Mother’s Ruin. What spurred that change of direction at that time?
GARY – It wasn’t so much the direction, as just the name Mother’s Ruin! Mother’s Ruin started with me and Gordon Bonnar from Heavy Pettin away back in ’89 or ’90 even! We put the band together in ’91 and did some demos. Six of the songs that are on “Swallow”, the first album from Burnt Out Wreck. But there were so many things called Mother’s Ruin – you’ve got gin, it leads to sex shops and everything on the internet. I just got fed up with it and felt that I needed something original. I looked at myself in the mirror; I’m 58 now, but then, three years ago I was about 55; and said yeah, you’re a burnt out wreck! I googled it and nobody was called Burnt Out Wreck and thought genius! You’ve got it! (laughs).
NI ROCKS – You were one of the main song writers with Heavy Pettin and that has continued obviously with Burnt Out Wreck. Do any of the band members get involved in writing and do you have a fairly standardised approach to song writing or does each one come around differently?
GARY – Unfortunately, for the rest of the band it is just coming out of my head. I learnt that long ago. When I’m singing something it has to come from me; I don’t get on with somebody else starting to play a different style of rock. I just don’t connect with it really. To keep it the same and keep it in my sort of vision of what could be; all the songs are mine. As I said earlier, I’ll play everything on a demo and give it to the band. They’ll go away and learn it and come back and we’ll knock it about a bit. Then it’ll have their take on what it is that I’m doing and I won’t hit them hard enough to make it what I’m doing! Like I said, I don’t want them to duplicate it exactly. A little bit here and there; a little bit is fine. That’s what creates it and gets their personality into their playing on the tracks.
NI ROCKS – We’ll play another track from the “This Is Hell” album now. Do you want to pick a track and tell us something about it?
GARY – You’ve played “Dead or Alive”, so another track would be “Positive” maybe. I picked up the guitar and plugged it in as you do and was just trying to get the level up on it and thought, wait a minute, what was that I just did! It was the very start of it and as soon as I put a drumbeat behind it, I thought here we go! (laughs) There is absolutely nothing to it, the most simple three chords you could ever play. I’m singing ‘I just want to let you know it’s positive’ but the first verse is all about how dark a relationship and splitting up, but as you get to the end of it, after splitting up, months later ‘then you mention pregnancy, I just want to let you know it’s positive’. Then the second verse, probably because I’m getting older, with illness and seeing everybody around me doing the same thing, it’s just about how your body is breaking down. It’s just shit! Life is shit! The doctors drop the bombshell that it’s positive; but it’s not positive is it! How come everything medical is positive; it’s not (laughs). So it’s a very dark song, but it’s bloody brilliant!
NI ROCKS – As we chat the band are in between performing two shows with Pete Way. I believe you played in Chesterfield last night and you’re in Bilston tomorrow. How’d that first show go?
GARY – Last night was in Real Time Live and we’ve never played there before. We’d heard that it was quite a good venue, but it’s one of the best places I’ve ever been to be honest. I must big the crowd up, because on a Sunday night it’s hard to get people out of the bloomin’ house! (Laughs) They wanna watch TV and drink a bottle of wine and have their dinner! But it was really great. A really good crowd turned out and it was such a lovely venue. I can’t say enough about it. It’s just wonderful. The people that run it! It’s just fantastic. The crowd were great. Some of the crowd knew who we were and some were singing along which is always encouraging for us. But the ones who weren’t singing were banging their heads, tapping their feet and smiling. And that seems to be the general reaction to Burnt Out Wreck from the people of our kind of age group, give or take ten years.
But in saying that, on Saturday night we played London at the Nambucca and there were a lot of teenagers and a lot of twenty-somethings in there and they were doing the same thing. That shocked me actually.
NI ROCKS – Following the Pete Way gigs, your next gig is in Glasgow at the Hard Rock Cafe on 7th February. I’m sure you must look forward to playing a hometown show?
GARY – Yeah, definitely. Bannermans in Edinburgh on 8th and Hard Rock in Glasgow on 7th February. We played both of those in the same period last year and it’s great. I don’t know what it is, I really don’t know what it is! I live in Northamptonshire in England and there are three Englishmen in the band! Our bass player is Scottish and he lives just outside Glasgow still, but Glasgow and Scotland in particular seem to be claiming the Scottish side of the band and saying we’re a Scottish band all the time! Of course, in my heart of hearts we are! It’s great; we are getting back to playing up there and we are gaining a bigger following every time. They are crazy people and I love them!
NI ROCKS – Yeah, I love Glasgow. We’re in Glasgow quite often ourselves and love it! What other plans does the band have for 2020?
GARY - We were lucky enough to be asked to play Bonfest in May and we’re really looking forward to that. We played it last year on the second stage in the town hall. We’ve managed to get into the main marquee this time on the actual site. Bonfest is the Bon Scott fest and that’s where his monument is of course, for anybody who doesn’t know. It was fantastic. We had a piper on stage with us and everything last year and it was very emotional. I think there’s a video on Facebook or YouTube if anybody wants to give it a squint. It’s great stuff and we’re looking forward to that. And we’ve some other festivals for later on in the year, still being finalised but I’m sure we’ll get them because once you do something, people go yeah ok we’ll get them on then! We’re causing a riot, or it’s not that we’re causing a riot, it’s the music and the people! It’s connecting properly, the way that I thought it would and hoped that it would. That’s what it is! Not everybody does what we do!
NI ROCKS – There was two and half years between the first two Burnt Out Wreck albums. Do you think there will be similar gap until the next album or do you have any plans at all?
GARY – No, no. We’ve deliberately not went out all guns blazing to try and gig. We’ve done that since, as I said our first gig was Minehead, Butlins Minehead, Giants of Rock in 2017 and since then it’s been non-stop. Every month we were out two or three times playing for the past three years and it’s been bonkers! Trying to fit in the second album, “This Is Hell”, was hell (laughs). It was, because we were gigging all the time and obviously we’ve got day-jobs and families to try and negotiate. It’s a nightmare, especially when you get older! When you’re young you don’t give a monkeys! You’re out there! You get the call and you’re there! (laughs) We’ll see what happens! What I was trying to say was that it’ll probably give me more space to sit down with the guitar and actually write some tunes. I would imagine that I might very well get another album out of my head anyway, by the end of the year. I imagine that I would maybe get one out for maybe February or March again next year. I’ve got that many bloomin’ tunes in my head, that they need to come out or it’ll explode!
NI ROCKS – The albums have been released on the Burntout Wreckords label which also recently re-released the first three Heavy Pettin albums in conjunction with Cherry Red Records. What can you tell us about the decision to re-release those albums now?
GARY – For years and years the albums had went underground and then around the 2004 period they were picked up and somebody got the licence for them. The problem with that was they got the licence and they made a mint off them, but none of the money came back to Polydor, the original record company. These companies with the back catalogues; they don’t watch what is going on! It’s criminal! (laughs) I’ll get myself in trouble here.
So anyway! What we decided to do, myself and my wife who is my manager, was that we decided that we should set up Burntout Wreckords; which is just a different take on Burnt Out Wreck. It’s actually her company. She’d being going after it for the past twenty years; trying to get these people away from us and trying to get the money to come our way, or back to the company, so that eventually it would! You ain’t got a hope in hell, that’s my belief; as Bon Scott said. But at least we’re doing something that is positive and it is trying to get it back out way and not get scammed anymore. In this world the internet scams everybody! So it’s Burntout Wreckords and Cherry Red are distributing to the world really. It’s great to be involved in and we put the Burnt Out Wreck record out through it as well. Keep it all in house, and to hell with them!
NI ROCKS – As you mentioned, the first two albums “Lettin Loose” and “Rock Ain’t Dead” were released through Polydor Records and were hugely successful. Both those were re-released at some point and both were part of the Pettology boxset. The “Big Bang” album I don’t think was ever re-released since it fist came out in 1989?
GARY – The “Big Bang” album, that’s when it all went wrong for Heavy Pettin as a band. The record company had spent so much money on the band that they were pulling their hair out! And not just with Heavy Pettin; obviously in the 80’s the record companies were seeing a change – where do we go, what do we do? Add keyboards? Do something; make it more commercial! Get other people to come in and write songs with them. Any band that they had; because they were just trying to get money back.
Their idea was, and I will say it, the dreaded Eurovision! Put Heavy Pettin into Eurovision and you’re going to get how many million people! The idea was obviously that even if you sold a million singles you’re going to recoup everything and get money back as well for the band! You can see the idea behind it, but unfortunately it just didn’t work because by that time nobody was interested and the band was self-imploding as well at the time. We were so fed up with that rubbish! We were a rock band and we were being pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions.
That’s not to say that we didn’t believe in the songs, because we did. They were our songs, we wrote them and we were very proud of them. The “Big Bang” songs are just fantastic and if they’d made it to America, through Polydor or Polygram it would have been absolutely fantastic. If they had pushed it and got behind it, but unfortunately that was the time that they said enough was enough and that was it! Then FM Revolver released it; and again there’s another bunch of crooks who f’ed up the bloomin street with our money (laughs). And they kept re-releasing it. We had a lot of fans throughout the world who were desperate to get the new album coming out and that was the only way to get it so they bought it. And as you say, “Pettology”, well that’s the biggest bloomin bootleg on the planet! That’s not official, and good luck to the guy! (laughs)
NI ROCKS – I was going to ask you to pick a track from the “Big Bang” album to play now. Which track would you play from that album?
GARY – “Lonely People”. I was sat in a room above the town house in Lomdon with Punky the guitar player and he was jamming along with a little riff through it. He said to me what can you hear over this and I started to try and do my best Steve Perry impersonation over the top of it to try and get a melody for him. It became a monster of a track and by the end it reduces me to tears when I listen to it, as you’ve probably seen on the internet. I love it.
NI ROCKS – The first gigs that I went to were all in the Glasgow Apollo or Edinburgh Playhouse as I had family in Scotland. One of those gigs was Kiss in October 1983, supported by Helix and of course Heavy Pettin. That would have been just a few weeks after the release of “Lettin Loose”. That must have been a mad time for you and the band?
GARY – It Was! We were obviously just five young boys really! 22 or 23 years of age. We’d got the record deal and got Brian May to produce the first album! We were in the rehearsal studio and in walked Brian May! ‘My god – Brian May!’ – we all bowed in unison. It was bonkers! Off we go with him, out the door; and we got Ozzy coming to see us rehearsing and saying do you want to come on the ‘Bark at the Moon’ tour? We’re just like – ‘alright’! (laughs) ‘Alright Ozzy, ok’; which was just mayhem itself. And then of course, just a couple of months after that I think it was, straight out on the “Lick It Up” with Kiss with the make-up off. That was just crazy! My memories of that was Gene Simmons in our dressing room before he went on saying ‘I’m not really comfortable with no make-up on and I don’t like doing the demon thing with the bell and the ‘bong’ thing that he does! And Punky says just put some make-up on; get a wee bit back! And before you know what’s happened they’ve got it all back on again, because he couldn’t cope with it! But they’re better with the make-up obviously! ‘Crazy, Crazy Nights’ obviously – that’s Kiss. Crazy days for us – just wonderful memories and fantastic.
NI ROCKS – The second album “Rock Ain’t Dead” was released in 1985 and of course it was very successful. Could you have imagined at that time that within three years the band would basically be at an end really?
GARY – No, no, not in ’85! There was all sorts of trouble we had. It all goes back to record companies and A&R men. A&R men are fickle – they get a job, but they don’t know shit! They really don’t. They don’t know their arse from their elbow these people! Up they come and they’re trying to tell you what you should be and what you should sound like, who you should get to produce you! At that time Def Leppard were bloody enormous and Mutt Lange was the best producer on the planet. And everybody wanted Mutt Lange, but you had to wait for four years! That Def Leppard album, it took four years to create the album. The Burnt Out Wreck second album took us eleven days to record, mix it and bang it out! And I don’t want Def Leppard telling me ‘aye, but it sounds like shit mate’, because it don’t; it just sounds rockin! You don’t spend three months or four months on a snare drum you know! (laughs). In the ‘80’s of course, yeah because the money was there! Don’t get me started!
With “Rock Ain’t Dead” itself, everybody was doing what they were doing! Mutt Lange had different engineers and if you actually looked back then you got people like Diamond Head who ended up with one of Mutt Lange’s engineers, trying to re-create a Mutt Lange sound, but not with the Mutt Lange ears! We got Mark Dearnley, who was doing “Fly on the Wall” with AC/DC at the same time as doing “Rock Ain’t Dead”; which was really good fun and he’s a crackin’ producer and engineer in his own right. But at the end of the day that was the reason for it – the record companies trying to get you to have that sound, because if they’re making it sounding like that, then surely everyone can!....which is absolutely rubbish! (laughs)
NI ROCKS – Gordon and Hamie have of course now reformed Heavy Pettin. Was there ever any chance that you’d get involved in that reunion or was it just a straight-forward no, you didn’t want to get involved?
GARY – No, it didn’t go that way; the way that you think it went.(laughs). From the start of 2015 Hamie was on the phone talking to me and talking to Gordon and Punky. Probably not to Brian, he’s an artist and does a lot of crackin’ stained glass stuff and is very successful. He would rather do that than music. We were all talking, trying to get thinking do you want to do this or do you not want to do this? Me and Hamie were talking about it for most of 2016 and I was saying to Hamie that I was going to start recording these songs under a new name Burnt Out Wreck; but if you want to do the Heavy Pettin thing and Gordon wants to do it, then I’ll do it, but I hope it doesn’t clash with anything I do after I do this. Because I’d be torn then! So it didn’t really happen until I was right at the end of me recording the first album for Burnt Out Wreck. Then I got a phone call saying we’d been offered some gigs if we get back together. It took a couple of months and initially I was going to do it, but I realised that it wasn’t going to work that way so I just said ‘on you go, you carry on’. Originally they got Punky in and then he left. I still don’t really know why because no one has told me, because nobody talks to me, because I’m the devil and I’m evil! (laughs). How dare you go and record an album on your own and have success (laughs).
We played at Hard Rock Hell last year on the same day. We were on in the late afternoon and they were on at midnight and I was in my bed sleeping. I didn’t even see them. I’m sure they did well. I’ve seen a lot of videos and the band sounds great. Thanks god for that, because it’s great to see them enjoying themselves.
NI ROCKS – I think they’re releasing an EP sometime soon.
GARY – Aye, that’s all I ever wanted for them and wanted to be part of it, but there you go, it just came around too late.
NI ROCKS – Do you listen to many of the newer generation of bands coming through or would you tend to listen to older stuff when you’re listening to music?
GARY – To be honest I don’t listen to music! That’s the first thing. I just don’t have time for it in my life. Being a father of four, my eldest son is going to be 33 next week. Good god!! I’ve four kids, one after the other! I blame the alcohol but never mind! (laughs). It’s just a busy life. The only time I hear other bands obviously is when we go and play gigs or there is a festival that we’re on. Yeah, a lot of them sound good, but I couldn’t name you one band that I particularly liked. I’m stuck in my youth. That’s why I play AC/DC straight ahead blues rock n roll. That’s the best and I’ll have it thank-you!
NI ROCKS – A couple of almost difficult questions to finish. We’ll play a track from “Lettin Loose” and one from “Rock Ain’t Dead” later on, but which track would you pick from each album? That’s a hard one because there are so many good ones!
GARY – I know! Ok, from “Lettin Loose” I’ll go with “Shout It Out”. That’s a nice bouncy, energetic song. When I listen to it now I just think how the hell did we every do that every night! Because we did do it every night and we were very drunk at the time that we done it, I can tell you that! We never went on stage sober, not once! It’s just crazy. And from “Rock Ain’t Dead”, there are so many different things! I still play “Rock Ain’t Dead” to this day because people shout for it at the end of our set. So Burnt Out Wreck still play that. Yeah, play that because it seems to be the most popular one from that album.
NI ROCKS – And finally, we’ll play another track from the Burnt Out Wreck album “This Is Hell”. Can you pick a track and tell us something about it?
GARY – Can you play “Headfuck”?
NI ROCKS – Oh yes, certainly can!
GARY – Ok, go for “Headfuck” then. It’s as angry as angry can be. It’s just one of those tracks. It’s just a big monster rush. I’ve had the riff for many years and changed it last year just to get the lyric different and the chorus different. It came out that way and I thought why not! I don’t like swearing in a song, but hey go on then!
NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions I have Gary. Thanks for taking some time to talk to me.