Graham Day & the Gaolers en concert le 7 mai à La Boule Noire
Graham Day – Vocals, Guitar
Dan Elektro – Drums
Buzz Hagstrom/Johnny Barker – Bass
Graham Day co- founded the Prisoners in 1980, whilst still at school. They pioneered a particular brand of 60s garage punk which was to become known as the Medway sound. In 1982 they were joined by Hammond organist Jamie Taylor, and their sound became more distinctive; a mix of psychedelic garage soul, taking influences from the Small faces, Arthur Brown, The Nice, all those anonymous 60s film party scene instrumentals and driving them with a gritty dirty garage edge which was to influence many bands for the next two decades.
Their first album “A Taste of Pink” was recorded and mixed in two days. “The engineer’s wife was expecting a baby any minute, so when it came to mixing the album we just set the master to record and mixed it live, putting solos up if we remembered in time”.
They pedalled the album to independent record shops on a sale or return basis, but soon found that their initial 500 copies had sold out.
They then got a distribution deal with Rough Trade, and the rest is history.
Tim Burgess from the Charlatans said “There were only two bands I listened to in the 80s, The Prisoners and New Order”.
Steve Lemacq dedicated a whole chapter to the Prisoners in his biography “Going deaf for a living”.
The Prisoners went on to record 4 abums, the final one on the flagging Stiff record label. When Stiff went under in 1986 the Prisoners, disillusioned with the whole music scene, amongst in-fighting and arguments with the label, managers and agents, they decided to split up. They saw this as a victory, “you can’t have us”, rather than giving up, as portrayed in their final recorded song “We won’t be there (at your pop-star party”).
Towards the end of The Prisoners, and angry with the music industry’s obsession with getting hold of a decent band and then proceeding to mould them into an acceptable niche, Graham Day joined Billy Childish to play drums in Thee Mighty Caesars. This band was as basic as garage punk could be. Recording 9 albums over its 3 year life span, thee Mighty Caesars gained cult status, of course after they’d long gone.
A year later, Graham re-emerged with the Prime Movers. Their first album was a gritty and bitter protest at life in general, recorded and mixed in two days, it was meant as more of a throwaway than attempted career resurgence. However it seemed that the memory of the Prisoners was strong, and the band quickly became popular. By the time they were joined by a Hammond player and their second album was released they were touring constantly, with particular success in Europe.
With two dominant songwriters in the band, the Prime Movers were losing their way. They had become fragmented, self-indulgent and had lost direction. Whilst a great live band, their 3rd and last record “Arc” showed that they had become two distinctly different bands and it was time to quit.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta Georgia a garage/soul phenomena was taking shape…….The Woggles were originally formed in 1987, and since their first single release in 1992 have released eight studio albums, over a dozen 7″ singles, and have appeared on over twenty compilations. They also have several releases on various national and international labels. When not in the studio working on new material, The Woggles travel the globe tirelessly playing in the United States, Europe, and Asia, where they have built up a massive fan base.
Dan Elektro learned the art of The Beat banging out the rhythm on the stamped metal dashboard of his dad’s blue, ’67 Ford Fairlane as they rolled the backroads of rural Alabama. Many a night he fell asleep on the front seat of driveway parked Ford, listening to Beatles and Rolling Stones 8-tracks, his father emerging the next morning at work to find Dan still asleep and the battery drained. His first drumkit appeared next to the Christmas tree when he was 10 and Dan Elektro made his debut with his dad’s band 4 weeks later.
He was a founder member of Tuscaloosa Alabama’s short-lived garage combo, The Irascibles, and spent two years writing and drumming for these ne’er-do-wells before joining The Woggles in 1995. Additionally, Dan Elektro has toured slapping bongos/congas with standout British cool cats, The Bongolian.
Shortly Before becoming Buzz Hagstrom he decided to put down his spanners and throw away his overalls. He left his Job, scrubbed the chalk out from under his fingernails and said fare thee well to Kent (and his rusted Austin Princess ).
He landed in Florida, got married and moved up the road to Atlanta GA where he’s been hanging on ‘limpet’ like since the early 90s.
Buzz joined the Woggles in about 1994, and played all the college towns within striking distance on the weekend. The Woggles back then were 100 percent Athens GA till he came along and ruined everything!
He’s done a number of musical ventures during and since moving to the States which were ugly affairs, so like Dr Frankenstein’s creation, he had to destroy them.
In 1999, a request by Twist records in Germany for Graham to record a single sparked the formation of the SolarFlares.
As a three piece they recorded two albums and two singles on Twist, some on a two track Revox in a friend’s printers, and some at the legendary Toe-Rag valve studio in Hackney.
The band was formed strictly with the understanding that nothing would be undertaken without all three’s agreement, and the moment any one person felt that they weren’t enjoying it, it would be over.
The introduction of a Hammond player in 2002, and a record deal with old Prisoners’ label Big-Beat, the band went on to record a further three albums, two of which were engineered and produced by Graham in his garage.
At times, the SolarFlares were Graham Day’s finest achievement; certainly all 5 albums stand out as some of the best songwriting and recordings of his career. However the limitations the band put on themselves meant that they turned down more gigs than they actually played, refused to pander to the media and shunned publicity, resulting in an inevitable slow strangulation of momentum.
In 2003, whilst still in the SolarFlares, drummer Wolf Howard joined Billy Childish in the Buff Medways. As the Buffs gained popularity, opportunities for the SolarFlares waned, and in the following year, looking for something different Graham also joined the Buffs, on bass. Later that year the SolarFlares called it a day.
It was whilst on tour in Germany in 2002 the SolarFlares were supported by The Woggles. Graham remembers “They were so good it was difficult to go on stage after them. So the following night I insisted that we support them. They were the best live band I ever saw, and we have been great friends ever since. They even flew over from America to play at my wedding!”
It’s December 2006, the Buffs had recently split up, and Dan Elektro is over in London preparing to tour Spain with The Bongolian. Dan arranges to meet Graham for a couple of beers. He remembers “I said to Buzz, hey Graham Day is without a band, and that’s a crime, so I met up with him and told him we were forming a band with him”.
Graham Day & The Gaolers were formed in 2007. They are the amalgamation of Graham’s tuneful and aggressive songs, driven with an energy and attitude which has been perfectly captured in a simple no-frills studio recording. Their first single “Get Off My Track” a one off for a Paris based club promoter, and their debut album “Soundtrack to the daily grind” on Damaged Goods ( November 2007) have received fantastic reviews all over Europe. A follow up 4-track e.p “travelled and unravelled” was released in April 2008. Their new album “Triple Distilled”and 7”single “Begging You” came out in October 2008.
The Gaolers were recently joined by ex Daggermen and Buff Medways Johnny Barker on Bass. Jonny played on Triple Distilled and Begging you, and toured with the band on their recent European tour, whilst Buzz took a break.