In part 2 of the interview The Baptist pulls no punches, talking about later life with The Kinks. 


KOK : Did you enjoy touring?

JG : Yes I did, until it became obvious that some of us weren’t enjoying it much at all.


We had some great times though. Our hotel was always milling with transvestites, lunatics, and every kind of misfit you could imagine. But then that’s what we were, really. I always thought that ‘Misfits’ was the best Kinks album title ever. It was so appropriate.


KOK : Which was your favourite tour?

JG : Probably the Schoolboys one.


KOK : One gets the feeling that, after you joined The Kinks, Dave was somewhat unhappy that Ray allowed the keyboards to become more and more important and the guitar less so.   Is that how it was?

JG : I never wanted to cramp Dave’s style-quite the opposite. I know how frustrated he was because we were quite close for some time. We shared the same musical influences, and other interests as well-the paranormal, the occult, where to get a great curry.


“I always thought that ‘Misfits’ was the best Kinks album title ever. It was so appropriate!”


The John GOSLING InTerview

Part 2

KOK : Did you get on well with the other members of the band?

JG : Yes, I did. Still do, though Dave and I haven’t communicated since 1978, which is sad.


KOK : Both Nobby and Mick have cited you as being the funniest in the band – who came second?

JG : I must say that Nobby and Mick are the funniest blokes I have ever known, They are like my big brothers, and as Nobby says we were really naughty boys and eventually ’in disgrace’. I was up for anything when I’d had a drink, and they knew it.


KOK : The Kinks had a reputation for liking a pint or two (proudly carried on in the Kast Off Kinks) -  who was the lightweight in the band in terms of alcohol consumption?

JG : We were too pissed to notice! Ray, I think-he had to keep himself reasonably together for the sake of the shows. But even he had his lapses. (For American readers, “pissed” means “drunk” in English.)


KOK : What was your beer of choice for gigs?

JG : Real ale in Britain, German lager as a necessary evil anywhere else. Our contract rider looked like a stock-order list for The Wine Rack.


KOK : You had a bit of a spat with Ray a couple of years ago in “Record Collector” or some such, about drinking.   Is that all forgiven and forgotten?

JG : I responded to Ray’s interview a bit hot-headedly - he seemed to infer that one occasion I couldn’t finish a track because I was drunk, and that upset me. I’d also just read elsewhere that he was of the opinion that ‘the drinkers in the band’ just wanted to get each new song over with so they could go down the pub! Not true, any of it. He had a loyal band of musicians working with him, but I don’t think that at the time he realised it.


KOK : How did you come by your nickname of "The Baptist"?

JG : Because of the likeness to John the Baptist, who had a great image until he lost his head over Salome.


There were two Johns in the band, and Nobby briefly became known as Johnny Lion due to his claims that he had been a circus lion-tamer.


KOK : What memorabilia of your time with The Kinks have you kept?

JG : The usual-records, scrapbooks, pictures, brain damage. . . . 


KOK : Some of the fans can get a bit over-enthusiastic – did you ever find them a problem?

JG : No, I love their enthusiasm - when your own is lagging the fans can kick-start you. I did get a bit worried for our safety when the audience invaded the stage that time in New York, but we asked for that really and it got us banned from the venue for ever! We would often mingle with fans after a show and have a chat and a drink. We’re all human, after all. Without fans, how far would bands get?


KOK : Do you personally feel there ever will be a reunion of The Kinks in any format?

JG : Probably.

KOK : What was your favourite song to play live? (someone suggested “Alcohol” J )

JG : I suppose they did and that’s probably not far from the truth. Both Ray and I were great fans of Vincent Price, and shared our enjoyment of his horror movies, but it was after taking our wives to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at East Finchley Rex one evening that the drama that was ‘Alcohol’ began to develop onstage.


KOK : Who did you hang out mostly with between tours, gigs and studio work?

JG : Bandmates, apart from Ray who rarely socialised. Friday nights I spent trying to remain standing at Nobby’s local ’The Bulldog’ .


I went clubbing during the week with Mick, or sometimes enjoyed a few pints and a curry with Dave. Also a few old friends used to come round, like Ron Lawrence and Andy Desmond, whose album Dave and I produced at Konk.


KOK : How did you feel about the direction the band took after Muswell Hillbillies?

JG : Once those wretched shows took over I felt we lost our identity as one of the greatest bands in the world. The costumes were a bit of a giggle and it was fun when things went wrong because that was us-it was expected, but the very idea of being our own support band-rushing through all those great songs at breakneck speed - how bizarre and downright depressing was that? When Nobby left the writing was on the wall for me.


KOK : What are your memories  of  the rather strange “Starmaker” TV show (Nobby says he would rather NOT remember it!)

JG : I agree. I hated the whole experience and it practically broke up the band - the way we were treated on that show. Like second-class citizens stuck in a corner of the studio-we weren’t even given a chance to get a decent sound balance. Soap Opera is the only CD by the band which I don’t have and don’t want. . It was load of bollocks and possibly the lowest point of our career. Having said that we did have a great time recording Ducks on the Wall.


KOK : What kind of music did you and the band listen to when hanging out in Konk or wherever?

JG : Mostly The Kinks! We rarely listened to anything else together, but we all had our favourites-Mick loved Jazz, Nobby his Rock & Roll.


Occasionally we would all go out to see a live band such as Canned Heat. Ry Cooder was superb. We invaded his dressing room after the show and Dave persuaded him to do an ‘unplugged’ set just for us! Dave and I would often get to a gig early to catch some of our great support bands such as Little Feat, Taj Mahal and Tom Petty.


We all went to see Elvis courtesy of RCA. We sat next to Black Sabbath, who we’d been heckling at the Whiskey-a-Gogo the night before.


We went to see Zeppelin in LA as well. They were staying at the same hotel - The Riot House, as it was known then. The following evening was a night off for all of us and the opportunity to celebrate Jimmy Page’s birthday. Mick had  a wrestling match with John Bonham in the corridor, and there were all sorts of unspeakable things going on in various rooms. Somebody nicked my bed and put it in the lift. Worst night’s sleep I ever had! After we left an entire floor had to be re-decorated. (The Riot House was the Continental Hyatt House, now the Andaz West Hollywood)


KOK : Did you ever feel like you were competing with other bands or musicians?

JG : No. The Kinks were unique.

I can’t see the likeness myself!

Ray doing the Alcohol drama

The Andy Desmond album,

“Living On A Shoestring”

John doesn’t own “Soap Opera”!


KOK : Were you mates with musicians in other bands during your time with The Kinks?

JG : Only if they bought a round! The chaps in Fairport Convention were very friendly, as were Lindisfarne. I already knew some of Badfinger, and Ron Lawrence and Nick Trevisick through Andy Desmond.


I got to know Dave Rowberry (the organist with The Animals), through Mick, and the three of us occasionally went out for a nightcap together. He played on Celluloid Heroes and mimed to my Supersonic Rocketship piano part on telly. Sadly he’s no longer with us.


There was a girl band that we saw at The Whiskey a Gogo in LA called Fanny, who I wanted to be best friends with but I sensed that the feeling wasn’t mutual. 


Andy Pyle and I got quite chummy with Rick Neilson from Cheap Trick. He told us they lived in their tour bus, and had done more gigs than there were days in the year.


KOK : Your final gig was Christmas Eve in 1977 and you left the band soon after to form a new band with Andy Pyle.  Was your departure a heat of the moment thing or is it something you had been considering for some time?

JG : It was both, if that sounds strange. There is an old saying that negativity breeds negativity. I had been planning to leave for some time, and forming the band with Andy provided the means. It was also a chance to try out some of my own musical ideas .


We got a publishing deal and wrote and recorded an album for Phonogram Records. We had some great musicians in that band at various times. We rehearsed and held auditions at The Bridge House pub in Canning Town (which also had its own record label) and also gigged there a few times. It was exhilarating-like starting over. But Ray somehow found out and started giving me a hard time during my last overdub session for Misfits. We had a row and I walked out.


KOK : After leaving The Kinks, did you record anything in your own right or play with any other bands?

JG : When Network split up and Andy and I went our separate ways.  I did one audition, for a bloke called Steve Swindells, who claimed to have been in Hawkwind of all things. But his songs were terrible and he was wearing leather trousers and had big hair.


Nobby and I were in a rock and roll band called The Bullettes, which was great fun. We started off with a few charity gigs and the line-up occasionally included Russ Ballard and John Rogan. After that I pretty much retired from playing. Eventually the guy next door invited me to do some gigs with his country-rock band called Warm Gloves (Policeman stops motorist in dark country lane and says ‘would you mind blowing into here please sir?’ Motorist blows until he is breathless. Policeman: ‘Thank you very much sir. Nothing like a nice pair of ahem, warm gloves, on a cold night’.)

Fairport Convention



Dave  Rowberry

Nick Trevisick


Cheap Trick


KOK : Did you listen to the records The Kinks made after you left?  If so what did you think of them?

JG : No, apart from Dave’s first solo album, which was a little bit of a let-down, having heard some of the tapes he’d recorded at home. I just wanted to stay on the other side of the wall, as it were. I didn’t even play the stuff I was on.


KOK : Looking back on your time with The Kinks, given the chance, is there any song that you would like to go back an re-do?

JG : Most of the later stuff done at Konk, I think. But in two or three takes!


KOK : What does it feel like when you see or hear other musicians playing on songs that you helped to create?

JG : It’s a bit weird not being up there, but I guess I’ll have to get used to it. As long as they get it right!


KOK : What music do you like to listen to nowadays?

JG : Same old stuff-Blues, Beatles, Neil Young and James Taylor. Dylan of course. Anyone who’s still alive and doing it well. I’m also a great fan of The Zutons, and I like stuff by Arcade Fire and Muse. How very modern!


KOK : Why did you stop playing with the Kast Offs? Do you miss it? You always seems to be have a good time when you make a guest appearance.

JG : It became very demanding both mentally and physically, for both of us. It was wonderful when the three of us first started playing together again, and Dave Clarke does a sterling (and challenging) job, but history has a habit of repeating itself, and I’m happier doing what I’m doing, which is practically nothing. I do miss it sometimes, seeing all the familiar faces in the crowd and being in the company of my old bandmates, but life goes on (and on, and on).


KOK : You have taught music a lot.   Have you had any pupils who were really outstanding?

JG : Yes, a boy called Harry Skelton. I taught him from the age of six until he resembled Lewis Hamilton. He could turn his hand to any style of music, but like me he hated practising. He nearly blew the pipe organ up in the school chapel and then said it didn’t sound right.


KOK : What are you up to these days?

JG : Writing.  I’ve just completed a book on my days with The Kinks and  so far managed to write one and a half novels.  I also teach an elderly gentleman the piano and I’ve played the organ for a couple of funerals and a carol service in the village church. Plus I’m official beer taster at the Chequers Inn.



KOK : Do you ever  see Andy Pyle these days?

JG : The last time I saw Andy was when I played the organ for his daughter’s wedding a few years ago. He was in good health and playing in Gary Moore’s band.


KOK : Do you miss being in the "business" full time?

JG : No! Now bugger off and leave me alone!


A Happy New Year to one and all - maybe we’ll meet again during it. I hope so.


© Kast Off Kinks Website 2010


Interview Part 1

The Kast Off Kinks website

Andy Pyle