Earlier this year, the world sadly lost Barrie Masters of Eddie & The Hot Rods. Here, Andy Rowe of The Room tells us of how the band influenced him in the late ’70’s to pick up the bass guitar in a very poignant instalment in our Why I Love series.
Imagine if you will a 15 year old kid who has just been dropped off by his mum on Richfield Avenue in Reading about to attend his first ever Reading Festival. ‘O’ levels had been sat and some messing about with guitars has happened. Slade have been the band of the moment but then one night the legendary John Peel played Get Out of Denver and Woolly Bully by Eddie & The Hot Rods. A stirring of my musical hormones occurred.
Barrie Masters, Steve Nicol, Dave Higgs and Paul Gray hit the stage at the festival with the most incredible energy. Yes; at Reading ’76 I liked Rory Gallagher; yes I liked AC/DC; but hell I liked the Hot Rods.
Vocalist, Masters ruled the stage. His incredible energy was like Jagger on speed. Watching this band for the very first time in a field in Berkshire, something hit me between the eyes and inscribed …”you will do this Andy”, on my heart. You will take up bass and play like Paul Gray and earn your place on stages around the world.
Teenage Depression, the Hot Rods first album was a masterpiece of angst versus energy. It sounds trite to say it “spoke to me” but to a 15 year old it did. You have to remember that this was the very start of the new wave or punk rock as it was called. I never agreed with the moniker labelling the band as punk as they had come from the “Pub Rock” scene that featured the Feelgoods, Kilburn and the high roads etc.
Their music had an intensity and raw level of excitement that translated so well from the vinyl to the stage. I saw the band numerous times over the late 70’s even even though at the time I was getting into the NWOBHM movement.
Masters genius on stage continued to inspire me to want to play more shows myself. The second album, Life on the Line, was released and was similarly worn out by a rapidly blunting (is that a word?) stylus.
Graeme Douglas had joined the band from the Kursal Flyers and written the bands hit, Do Anything You Wanna Do with the bands manager Ed Hollis. I have followed that mantra for all my life and I firmly believe I would not be playing in The Room playing huge songs with great choruses without Eddie & The Hot Rods.
I guess I was fortunate to witness the bands final show in London a few months ago. Barrie Masters passed away a few weeks ago (2nd October 2019) just a couple of years older than me. His passing hit me hard as my current band mates will testify to. He made me do it! He persuaded me in August 1976 that I would stand in the spotlight. I have and I will be eternally grateful.
Many thanks to Andy for this really fitting piece on Barrie Masters. You can view The Room’s latest video for Bloodstream below. Their album, Caught By The Machine was released in February 2019; it’s available through White Star Records. You can read more about The Room via this links below the video.