MARTY MAYHEM (THE SMOKIN’ PROPHETS) INTERVIEW:
February 14, 2014
Interviewer: Andrew Miller
The Smokin’ Prophets are a fresh new band from the UK who have just released a double A-side single, bringing some kick-ass attitude-driven rock ‘n’ roll that quite frankly, the world needs more of that. Sleaze Roxx recently sat down with frontman Marty Mayhem to discuss his former band Hollywood Trash, line-up changes, plans for a full-length album from The Smokin’ Prophets and his upcoming marriage.
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s start off with your former band Hollywood Trash, the beginnings and how you guys came together.
Marty Mayhem: I wanted to make a band doing exactly the music I wanted to play, which was glam. I posted a few ads and got a mate on board. The problem when you’re younger is you are not aware who is committed and who is not, so we weeded out the stragglers over about a year and then we had the ‘Sordid N Immoral’ era with Adrienne Cowan on vocals.
Sleaze Roxx: Was it hard to build a following in the beginning?
Marty Mayhem: Not really. We had a lot of friends in the local area that come to see us play, and then we quickly got picked up by the glam scene and usually had an ok turn out anywhere we played.
Sleaze Roxx: Hollywood Trash then went through a line-up change, a name change, then another line-up change. What happened here?
Marty Mayhem: Yeah, it took a year to get to the best line-up which happens in every young band, and then Adrienne chose to study back in America so we tested around with other people and me on vocals. I think by that time people couldn’t keep up with the line-up so we wanted to start fresh and changed the name — Which again didn’t work out.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you feel a sense of failure when Hollywood Trash broke up? Or were you looking forward to moving on?
Marty Mayhem: Yes, it was awful. I’ve had a few bands now where we have got going and it’s all fallen apart. It’s really gutting because each time you get a little further and you think that band is the one. Those who know me know that I put every spare minute of every day sorting band stuff out, writing, etc., so you feel like all the effort was for nothing. However, I am looking forward to what’s coming with The Smokin’ Prophets.
Sleaze Roxx: How did your new band The Smokin’ Prophets come together?
Marty Mayhem: This band was being discussed whilst Trash was crumbling. The Dead Pinups had split and we were pissing about with different singers and such. Our audience was growing further and further away so we needed a fresh start, so Robbie (Dead Pinups) joined the band. We took a month out and went quite a bit off the radar and then come back with a new package and a bit of a bang!
Sleaze Roxx: Did you always envision yourself as a singer, or was it just something that happened by chance?
Marty Mayhem: Nope, and I hate it to be honest. I have stepped in a couple of times when things have happened in previous bands and people thought it was ok. So this band I thought sod it, bloody singers are useless so I’ll do it. It’s better to have average with commitment than awesome but never playing the game.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you think fans that followed Hollywood Trash will enjoy The Smokin’ Prophets? How would you describe the new band’s sound?
Marty Mayhem: Yes they will. We’ve pretty much lost the over-the-top glam and added a lot more attitude and a little more punk than before. We’ve been called a metalized Ramones crossed with Guns N’ Roses.
Sleaze Roxx: You are about to release a double A-side single of “Today My Way” and “Don’t Hold Back”, what can you tell us about that?
Marty Mayhem: It’s out on Valentine’s Day — a little Valentine from us to you. It has the two A-sides and also a B-side called “Trade The World” and will be available via iTunes for about £1.99, I think.
Sleaze Roxx: You recently filmed a video for “Today My Way”, what was that experience like?
Marty Mayhem: Well, it was an experience! We chose to go trekking off round the woods and an old fort after all the rain we have had on the south coast of the UK. Mud was involved and falling on our arses was involved… we will have to see what comes out of it all! It should be out near the release shows in February.
Sleaze Roxx: What was your debut single, “Let It Rest”, written about?
Marty Mayhem: It was actually written about Hollywood Trash and the end of that era, everyone pestering me to carry on with it and the messages about how upset they were — “Let it rest, Let it breathe, Let it be what it’s meant to be.” For example, I’m not going to carry on destroying what was a really good thing with line-up and name changes.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you have any plans to rework some of the older Hollywood Trash songs to fit The Smokin’ Prophets style?
Marty Mayhem: At the end of Trash I started to sing and we went under the name Bitter Trash for a few dates. We wrote some songs then, which we have carried on to The Smokin’ Prophets — the likes of “Don’t Hold Back” and “You Better Run”. Also we are working on a new version of a track called “Keep Your Mouth Shut”. It has been mentioned to use more but up to now we have wanted to be something new, not constantly bringing back the previous bands.
Sleaze Roxx: Is a full-length album from The Smokin’ Prophets coming in the near future?
Marty Mayhem: I think that’s always the ultimate goal but nothing is planned yet. I don’t know how much the guys want me to say (laughs), but we are planning a physical release this year. In fact, once this single is out we are gonna start planning and recording — maybe a summer release for that.
Sleaze Roxx: Are you happy with the response to The Smokin’ Prophets so far?
Marty Mayhem: Yes very happy, it’s been a bit of a rush getting the tracks written and ready in time for all the gigs but now I think we are just getting into writing some great tracks!
Sleaze Roxx: How does working with a female singer in Hollywood Trash differ from taking over vocal duties yourself? Does it change how you go about writing a song?
Marty Mayhem: Not really, Adrienne was one of the lads. She used to write the lyrics then and I write them now, so I suppose we write them to suit ourselves.
Sleaze Roxx: What inspires you to write a song?
Marty Mayhem: Anything… mainly things that have happened to me. So I wrote a few songs about Trash, life, etc. and recently I have been writing a lot about my mate’s recent death and how that has affected me. That’s making our music dark and depressing but it opens your eyes to just how lucky you really are.
Sleaze Roxx: You are about to get married, many people would think that’s crazy because of all the groupies available to musicians. What would you say to people who think that way and do you feel it will be hard to maintain a successful marriage in the world of rock ‘n’ roll?
Marty Mayhem: If you wanna ruin a relationship for a quickie with the odd groupie than go ahead you will soon change your mind when your 35 plus years old and live on your own. We have been together over seven years, so Britoni is almost part of the band. You have to have a good understanding, which we do, and she always wants to help out and get involved — so she is part of my music and my career, which probably helps. I have had a successful relationship through the last seven years of bands so I’m sure marriage will work out just the same.
Sleaze Roxx: When did you first decide that you wanted to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band?
Marty Mayhem: I’m not sure. I first had proper guitar lessons around age 13 and played my first gig at school about a year later. I’ve been in bands on and off ever since — mainly studying music at college pushed me in that direction.
Sleaze Roxx: What are some of the most outrageous thing you’ve experienced being in a rock n roll band?
Marty Mayhem: I think being in a band you turn a blind eye to a lot of things, especially the usual sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll which is going on around you all the time. It might shock people to know that I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs, but that doesn’t make me any less rock ‘n’ roll. I haven’t got any tales of drunken nights passed out on the floor in a tube station and I don’t think now is the time to tell tales of others just yet… There’s always a drama going on with this band (or any band), so expect some pretty nuts stories.
Sleaze Roxx: What artist or band would you say is your biggest influence?
Marty Mayhem: I often think about this and I don’t think it’s anyone in particular, but up there is Johnny Thunders, Marc Bolan, Slash and Nikki Sixx.
Sleaze Roxx: Finally, anything you’d like to tell your fans?
Marty Mayhem: Hold on tight cause this train is building some speed! 2014 is going to be a great year. We really appreciate everyone’s support so far — please keep spreading the word and turning up to the shows, as it’s that right there that makes a band go!