(added November 2006)
INTERVIEW WITH TONY SZAJER
( ORIGINAL VOX OF THE COFFIN NAILS )
made by Wildhank
Hello Tony. Let´s start some twenty years ago when some schoolmates from Reading formed a new band. What was the inspiration to form the Coffin Nails? When and how did it happen?
Although I already knew the lads from school an just hanging around, they had started the band before I joined. I went and auditioned for the vocalist slot. Although I can't sing for toffy , I got the job as I had the best Psycho scream.
What were the first songs in the rehearsal room? What were your own personal favourite tracks back then?
We used to do a few Meteors , Cramps , and Chuck Berry songs in the early days. We were gonna be called the 'Crazed' when we started and did a version of ' I'm Cramped ' called ' I'm Crazed '.My favourite songs were 'Brand New Caddillac' and 'No Particular Place To Go'.
The Coffin Nails soon became a very popular part of the UK Psychobilly scene and were even offered to gig at the notorious Klub Foot. Do you have any special memories of the venue?
We never thought we were good enough to play at the Klub Foot in the early days as we hadn't been together long , but we always seemed to go down well with the fans. I always remember watching Fenech soundcheck, sat on his own on the stage playing his guitar...that sent chills up me.
I guess the next big thing was the Nails´ record debut with the track Plymouth Fury on Zorch Factor- One compilation album. When was the last time you listened to that song?
Plymouth Fury was actually put onto Zorch Factor One straight from our Demo tape. We never really liked it as it wasn't our 'Live' sound and wasn't psycho but it got us onto our first LP. I last played it ten minutes after you asked me the question--ha ha.
You eventually left the band for personal reasons. Tell us about it.
I left the band to settle down with my now wife Janet. I think if I was still living the sex , drugs and rock n roll life style I would be long dead by now.
If you could turn back the clock, would you come to the same decision?
You know, I've got two young sons and a daughter who are just the best, so definitely no regrets. I´ve sang in two other bands since I moved to Coventry (not Psycho ) ,but they weren't a patch on the Coffin Nails.....I'd still make the same choice as I don't think I'd still be alive if I was still with the Nails.
What´s your favourite Coffin Nails album and why, assuming you´ve listened them all?
Definitely ' A Fist Full Of Burgers ' as it shows the lads just being them selves and having a laugh. My favourite song that they have recorded is ' Skeleton Swamp'. The song that I most wish that I had sung with them is either ' Heart Break Hotel ' or 'Blubbery Love '.
How are you and the band getting along these days? Have you kept in touch with some of your old mates?
I still see Clunky occasionally and it's great to see him when I do , but I havn't seen Gra or Toby since I left the band. I still pop down to Reading and see some of my old mates. Paul Clifford runs a rockabilly disco in Reading so I go to that once or twice a year.
When was the last time you´ve visited a Psychobilly gig ? Did you enjoy it?
I saw the Coffin Nails in Reading a year or so ago. I had a great time but the psychos were a bit tame compared to the old days.( Not enough blood )Steve let me sing a few songs with him....it felt like I'd never left.
What music do you listen to at the moment?
I listen to all sorts now from Thrash to Rock , Blues and 50's Rockabilly.I try to keep up to date with the modern Psychobilly too. I particularly like the Barnyard Ballers and Hayride to Hell....My two favourite bands are still The Meteors and Demented...maybe I am living in the past but I just love their music.