Checking it Before Wrecking It - Johnny Gorilla of The Shovell

Fresh off the release of their eclectic record "Check 'em Before You Wreck 'em," we spend some quality time with the humorous, quirky and excitable singer/guitarist for Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Mr. Johnny Gorilla. We get a chance to talk the band, the music, the mascot, the industry and a couple other small things. Cheers, mate, drinks all around.

M.DREW: Walk me through this new record – what’s new for fans of your previous work?
JOHNNY GORILLA - Even better songs, riffs, energy, studio sound, musically nothing much has changed, just good old bass, drums and guitar heavy rock. We just upped everything a notch or two!
M.D: How has the sound of your band evolved from the last album to this one?
JG - We've tried to go for a more natural 'live' and rough around the edges sound that suits our sound and way of recording - as live as possible with as few fixes and overdubs as possible. It's like a mix of Black Sabbath at Regent Sound and a Crushed Butler demo.
M.D: Your songs have been accused of having ADD – what is your writing process like? How do the pieces come together for you? Do they?
JG - ADD? AC/DC more like! We don't have a formula, or write to any particular style or for any scene, we do what comes naturally to us. We jam on riffs, record a bit, keep what we like, if we get bored we throw in a weird bit, tear it up, throw it in the air and stick it back together with gaffer tape and super glue. It's all we know how to do. We're far too dumb to be clever!
M.D: What do the terms ‘rock’ and ‘metal’ mean to you? In your mind, where have those definitions been skewed?
JG - Don't really know. Rock and Metal are terms used to pigeon-hole anything played by bands with long hair and guitars from Bon Jovi to Slayer and beyond. Things are so splintered into different genres and scenes these days it's all meaningless. Yes …....we are a heavy metal rock band!
M.D: In your effort to restore rock to glory, what do you perceive as the problems plaguing rock these days?
JG - All the above! I guess the same as they've always been - every popular form of rock will eventually end up as formularized, bullshit, watered down pop for the unthinking masses. Luckily in the metal world there seems to be a higher percentage of listeners who don't give a fuck for trends and fashions.
M.D: Are these issues a product of the music industry and labels, or have the artists simply lost their edge?
JG - I think the temptation of big money helps you compromise your sound very quickly if you let it. Also as time goes by, there's less and less people who actually remember what rock and roll is or even care. Shame. We're desperate to sell out, but for some strange reason nobody has asked us to!

M.D: The rumor is you’ve already begun work on a new recording, a follow up to this new record – what will the next album sound like? What shape will it take?
JG - The shape will be 12 or 7 inches in diameter and round, though this time we're not gonna bother to put the hole in the middle.
M.D: To you, what makes Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s sound different from those around you?
JG - Brute force, ignorance and a total un-awareness of anything out of our totally limited, cynical, moronic bubble! We are very lucky in as much as I don't think there are any other bands around who are stupid enough to try and sound like we do.
M.D: Many of your inspirations seems somewhat clear, but is there an artist who inspires you that most people wouldn’t think of associating with you?
JG - That's a very interesting and well thought out question, and I'm pleased to say that the answer is …... NO!
M.D: I have to ask – what’s with the giant mascot head? Does it have a name?
JG - He's our drug dealer and his name is Cecil Gaybody, which probably explains a lot!
M.D: I spent some time in England a few years back, predominantly in Oxford and Salisbury. What’s with the pub names out there? I loved the pub atmosphere, but everyplace I went was called like ‘the eagle and child’ or something. Is there a convention to this?
JG - I think it stems from the days when everybody in England were illiterate and pissed drunk and they could only remember the pub by a far out name, otherwise they'd go to the wrong place and get lost on the way home and die of typhus. Hold on that was just last week.
M.D: Can England win the World Cup this summer?
JG - Yes! If they get all the Brazilian players to take UK citizenship.


Music Editor

D.M is the Music Editor for He tries to avoid bands with bodily functions in the name and generally has a keen grasp of what he thinks sounds good and what doesn't. He also really enjoys reading, at least in part, and perhaps not surprisingly, because it's quiet. He's on a mission to convince his wife they need a badger as a household pet. It's not going well.

On the Web