My first ever show I attended was U2’s Popmart in Leeds in 1997. I was 14 years old and convinced my Dad to take me. We had to queue all night outside a record shop in Leeds – None of this mobile phone sponsored presale ticket bollocks back then. Come the day of the gig it was pissing it down, but that would not matter as it was and still is the finest show I have ever witnessed. It was Techno-Punk Rock and would shape my musical influence for decades. U2’s 1997 album Pop was far ahead of its time in terms of ideas and production and I was looking for other bands that had the Punk Rock n Roll spirit along with that Techno Beat. Primal Scream released XTRMNTR in 2000 and I got that buzz again in the same way just as I did with ‘Pop’ just magical, around that time I also fell in love with The Clash and Joe Strummers Mescaleros. Which coincided with high powered computers and the ability to record music at home and so I started to try a bit – I started sampling beats and learnt to play guitar and I wrote a song called ‘Girls are Meaner Than Boys’ which did pretty well on MySpace. I did a few gigs and what-not but then I attended a show in London and that’s when everything changed – I don’t know why but it felt like all the planets aligned and focused on me for a split second then I rode the waves for a bit and all my dreams became true. It was June 2008 – Primal Scream and MC5 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Usual gig with my best friend Pollock. Primal Scream opened up and played a stormer, MC5 we’re on second and then if it couldn’t get any better both MC5 and Primal Scream took to the stage and took the roof off. It was amazing. In one of the intervals I go to the toilet for a piss and I’m minding my own business as you do when I hear this voice “That’s got to be Rob Galloway if I have ever seen him”, I looked at my wanger and looked back and replied “My reputation precedes me, how can I help?” and the guy talking was called Pockets and he was Joe Strummers best mate and he invited me for a beer at the after party where Don Letts was DJ, We get talking and he says he has heard my music online and that Strummer would have loved it and can we agree to meet the next day, I couldn’t believe it. So as northerners with a severe lack of planning I convinced my mate to stay and we ended up staying on a sofa belonging to Ray Gange (The Clash’s Roadie and star of the film ‘Rude Boy’) in Brixton. We went to meet Pockets the next day in a boozer on Portobello Road where he was due to meet Lily Allen before heading to Glastonbury where she was playing with Mark Ronson. Pockets was telling me about the ‘Strummerville Foundation’ for which is he is a trustee and is run by Trish Whelan who used to work for U2 and the Pogues, and that they would like to help me. Pockets manages to convince Lily to let me on her Guestlist for Glastonbury and off we go – No tent, no ticket, nothing – but I survived. After the festival Pockets and Strummerville fulfil their promise of help by providing funding for my new band The Yalla Yallas debut album ‘ Act of Defiance’ it was an amazing experience.
We recorded it back in Yorkshire but we did come down to The Clash’s Mick Jones place where he was doing a Rock n Roll Library of all his memorabilia and we played live and recorded some songs, It was magical to be surrounded by Joe’s lyrics on the wall, Pockets was telling me first hand stories of Joe, Joe’s dog who is called Fender the Punrock Warhound was walking around my feet as I’m singing my lyrics, Trish was telling me her stories of her days working for U2, I think she even got me on the phone to Flood for a bit. It cemented my faith in Rock n Roll, and the way in which U2 have spoken recently about their love for The Clash reminds me of these days and I just thought that I’d share with you my story and let you know that those boys are still giving people a leg up to this day. Here is a little video we made of our first single ‘Retaliation (Doesn’t Make It Alright)’ there is a little nod to you guys in there https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RABJfCxCeg
P.S. Let us know if you need a support band for your tour
Rob Galloway – The Yalla Yallas