Q&A With Knox
1. Tell us a bit about your background (some of us, alas, might have missed your scene in the 70s…) Who is Knox today compared to Knox as a lead member of The Vibrators - if there's any difference at all of course?
I was doing bands on and off for years, starting when I was at school. I'd been in a few that I thought were quite good but they never seemed to go anywhere. So I was surprised when The Vibrators started that the band actually got lots of gigs and became successful. A lot of the initial success came about because band members Eddie and Pat spent lots of evenings going to pubs, clubs, anywhere, to get the band work. I was never the leader of the band, I just became the main songwriter and singer by default really. Someone once said that "it's your band Knox, you just let Eddie do all the work". (Eddie is the band's drummer and basically ran the band. I guess I'm doing the shop in much the same way, almost by default. I started it because of all the bad stuff going on in the world. Once I had the idea there was sort of no turning back!
2. What is Rock 'n' Roll Rescue about?
It's about trying to help people at the bottom end of society a bit more than they are helped at the moment.
3. What are your big goals for Rock'n'Roll Rescue? Tell us a bit more about the charity.
I don't think it has big goals. It just does what it can and will hopefully help make the world a nicer place in its own small way. I suppose I would like people to copy the idea of a music charity shop but it's not the big objective. If the shop were to become a bit of a force then we'd have to go with it. The shop is sort of organic and in a way it tells us what it wants. I like the idea that it just gets on with things.
4. How did the Libertines pop-up idea come about? Are you good friend with the band at all?
No, to my shame I don't know much about them. (I'll probably soon become an expert!) When I was touring a lot with The Vibrators I'd only be home for a few weeks and I'd be song writing and demo'ing and doing things with my girlfriend in a kind of rush before the next tour would start, and then off you'd go. You can't help it, but because of the time constraints you are very much forced to be in your own bubble as it were.
5. What's the relationship/the difference/ the connecting element between your punk background and what you are doing now?
I don't know if you can define it. I think it comes with age, the territory, and what happens to you on life's journey. It's probably quite normal as you get older. I might not ever have done the charity shop if it wasn't for all the bad things that happened to me. Nothing that major happened to me but the few things that did happen makes you start to have more empathy for other people. When you're a kid you probably shouldn't have this, I think you're programmed not have it. I wouldn't want to change that I don't think. I mean when I was a kid and saw someone in a wheelchair I'd tell myself "there's someone in a wheelchair". Now I go, how can that person deal with that, and that their life must be terrible.
6. When people visit, how likely are they bump into you or one of the Libertines?
I'm not there very much at the moment. I'm trying to catch up with stuff behind the scene as it were. I've been doing things like painting the banner for the Camden Parkway Festival which is centred around the three record shops and the Dublin Castle on Parkway, Camden Town, on Sat. 5th September. Starts at 1.00pm. Sorting out the bands and the equipment. It's free in the afternoon. The Libertines will be around and might very well be hiding from their fans in the charity shop when they're in the area! So you never know. Pete Doherty might do a song or two?
7. Could you give your possible reader, three good reasons to come to Rock 'n' Roll Rescue.
1.) The fact that a shop like this actually exists!
2.) It's often is full of the most mismatched crazy stuff: clothes, boots, shoes, musical instruments, books, amplifiers, etc. Even if you don't want to buy anything it's certainly worth a look. Plus: For guitar rescue: Phillippe Dubreuille 0791 5058214
For audio rescue: Alfredo - in shop Tuesdays.
3.) It's manned by volunteers who have given up their own precious time to work there, because they like the shop, and they want to help the world.
8. What's your favourite piece available at the moment?
I guess that has to be the guitar that our resident guitar genius, a refugee from Denmark Street, Philllipe Dubreuille, made for the late Ron Ashton of the Stooges. It could be the most beautiful guitar in the world.
9. Do you have a wish list for memorabilia? What's the piece (from any time) you'd love to have at rock and roll rescue?
That's a difficult question Maybe one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars? But it would be too much of a responsibility to have it around, you'd need armed guards and they would be counter-productive to have in the shop!
10. What's next for rock and roll rescue?
We go on in our own quiet way. I know we can't change the entire world but if we can make the world a little nicer for people at the bottom of society, help the local food bank, help Jennie Bellstar's "Food For All" van which feeds 1,000 people a week around Camden, that sort of thing, then we will be making a difference. And the shop has a community thing about it, it's also like a bit of a drop-in centre.
11. Where can people visit, get involved on social or find out more?