WARFARE's PAUL 'EVO' EVANS Talks Working With LEMMY And Recalls A METALLICA Parking Lot Riot

July 2, 2023

By David E. Gehlke

Legendary MOTÖRHEAD frontman Lemmy Kilmister was not one for producing other bands, but he made an exception for drummer/vocalist Paul "Evo" Evans of WARFARE. Evans rose through the punk and metal ranks throughout the late '70s and early '80s as a member of ANGELIC UPSTARTS and THE BLOOD before forming WARFARE in 1982. Evans's plan was simple: Blend metal and punk in a manner not done before. NWOBHM label Neat Records soon signed WARFARE, unleashing the band's rollicking, abrasive sound at a time when thrash had yet to come into its own.

Kilmister produced WARFARE's second LP, 1985's "Metal Anarchy", but a recent trip to Evans's archives unearthed a previously unreleased mix of the album on cassette. The contents found within the first disc of the new 3CD "The Lemmy Sessions" compilation were faithfully preserved from the cassette, capturing WARFARE at its raw and unfiltered best. With that in mind, Evans was more than happy to talk about Kilmister and WARFARE's fascinating history and the legendary story of when his band caused a riot outside of a London METALLICA gig in 1986 when he rang BLABBERMOUTH.NET.

Blabbermouth: What did you think happened to the alternate Lemmy mix? Did you have any idea it was stowed away?

Paul: "I have a fan in Brazil who has followed me since the inception of WARFARE. He wrote to me on Facebook and said, 'Did 'Mayhem, Fuckin' Mayhem' come out on cassette?' I replied that it did. I wanted to give him a nice surprise. It did come out on cassette back in the day. I was sure I had seen one years ago, and I asked my wife, 'What did we do with them?' There were all these boxes in the loft and I was scrapping around. Then I found 'Mayhem, Fuckin' Mayhem', and I thought this guy would be over the fucking moon. I kept scrapping about and I found a cassette that said, 'Warfare: The Lemmy Mixes, 1985, Ezee Studios London'. I looked at it and said, 'Jesus!' There was a note that said, 'Through the desk, Evo. Listen to this over the weekend and get back to me. Lem.' I have an engineer, Fred [Purser], from the TYGERS [OF PAN TANG]. I took it to him and said, 'Look, I found this. Is there any chance we could put it in the computer onto a CD?' He said, 'Jesus Christ. When was it last played? It may be oxidized.' I said, '1985! I didn't know it existed.' He put it in the cassette player like a holy, sacred cassette. [Laughs] He went right into record and hoped it didn't drop out and it would do what it would do. He pressed play. Fuck me. What a wall of noise. It was glorious. We got it right to the end, apart from 'Living For The Last Days', which drops out a tiny bit."

Blabbermouth: What was Lemmy like in the studio?

Paul: "He was a taskmaster in various deliveries. He made me sing 'Death' about 30 times until my throat started to bleed. I told him to fuck off and that I was going to the pub. But, no, he was great. We were young. He was 41 when we were 20. He helped me with lyrics quite a lot. If I put 'And the wheels.' He said, 'Don't use 'and' and 'the.'' It became 'Wheels are rolling.' Even more so, we laughed right through the session. It was great fun."

Blabbermouth: Lemmy always said he thought he was good with words, which is true.

Paul: "Yeah, and he really liked WARFARE. He liked the idea of punk lyrics. He said bands were giving the bollocks and singing a lot of shit. He told me he liked the way I sing about the streets."

Blabbermouth: Would you like to talk about Algy [Ward] of TANK's recent passing?

Paul: "It didn't come as a shock. The last time I spoke to him was in January and he was really struggling. We were on the phone for about an hour and went through all the old times together. The only time we stopped the conversation was to have another drink. We kept putting the phone down, pouring a pint and started again. We ran through everything. I lived two streets away from Algy. We were like brothers. We did everything together. The laughs we had…it will all be in the book. Honestly, you can't even make up some of the things we've done. Mental. Crazy people. [Laughs] We used to jam together in my bedroom and the lounge. I was listening to the TANK song, 'When All Hell Freezes Over' the other day. I was the first drummer to play on it. He used to come around and play his new songs and try to rope me into drumming for TANK. [Laughs] I never wanted to join TANK."

Blabbermouth: Why not?

Paul: "I was in MAJOR ACCIDENT. Then I joined THE BLOOD. Then I was in the ANGELIC UPSTARTS and it was all structured apprenticeships. From the off, I wanted me own band. I didn't want to sit in the shadows. I got offered some good gigs from punk and metal bands, but I knew I wanted to do me own thing. Having said that, I might as well have been in TANK because Algy did the 'Hammer Horror' record. He's on 'The Songbook Of Filth'. We did a joint EP, the 'Evo/Algy' thing ['Damned Until Death']."

Blabbermouth: Do you think it put an additional chip on our shoulder because people may not have understood WARFARE in the 1980s?

Paul: "It was very difficult. We didn't just have nothing. We didn't have material things as well. We only had one guitar. [Laughs] One guitar to do an album! We bullshitted Lemmy. He said, 'Is that all you got? That shitty Fender?' I said, 'No. We got more back home in the studio.' Obviously, we could only bring one. He said, 'What the fuck did you bring that one for, then?' I thought, 'How do I tell him it's all we had?' Then he phoned [MOTÖRHEAD guitarist] Würzel [Michael Richard Burston] and he brought us loads of guitars. He played the guitar on 'Metal Anarchy'."

Blabbermouth: Was [Neat Records owner] David Wood tight with money back then?

Paul: "Not really. I got on with him fine. When I returned from London and told him we got Lemmy to do it, he was fine financial-wise. No, he was all right. I don't have any bad things to say about the guy. I was a different sort of artist because I told him what I wanted, when I wanted it, how I wanted it. As we said, I never hassled him in the studio. He gave us the money, he went away and the product would be delivered. I did it all myself. He used to let us go to any studio within reason. Couldn't afford Abbey Road, but nevertheless!" [Laughs]

Blabbermouth: What was the intersection of punk and metal really like? Was there as much bad blood as people made it out to be?

Paul: "It was like the Mods and Rockers back then. If you listened to punk rock, you couldn't listen to heavy metal. You'd kick his head in if you were caught on the streets or saw a long hair with a UFO shirt. And vice-versa. I could never understand because I grew up on SWEET and SLADE. They all had Marshall amplifiers. I figured a noise came out of these. What's the difference between punk and metal? Nobody took it to the extreme like I did at that point. I was listening. I couldn't go out with the punk guys and say, 'Fuck me. I was listening to UFO.' They'd go, 'You did what? Traitor!' Or vice-versa. You couldn't sit in the company of rockers and say you liked the UK SUBS. The ANGELIC UPSTARTS' audiences were very violent. I wouldn't have liked to be a heavy metal guy walking into that."

Blabbermouth: Did anyone ever call you out for your preferences?

Paul: "Not really, because nobody knew what I listened to back then. If they called me out on it, I'd tell them to fuck off and mind their own business. [Laughs] I never had that. I was playing the Queen's Hall in Leeds, the first gig with the UPSTARTS. There were 15,000 people. I was stageside and GBH was playing. I listened to them and thought, 'They are heavy metal. They're not punk at all! They have spikey hair, but they're full-on power.' There were bits of bands that had this underlying urge that was there all the time. I was writing lyrics right through THE BLOOD. I got to THE BLOOD rehearsals. We used to rehearse in this beautiful studio, looking across the Thames. The bass player, Mutley. I haven't seen him since I did that record. He was shy, whereas the other two guys were prominent, but I was even more prominent. I said, 'Before they come in, those wankers, why don't we have a jam?' He said, 'What do you want to play?' I said, 'Let me set your bass amp.' I twiddled about with it and said, 'Do you know any heavy metal?' He said, 'Yeah, I play metal.' We played a UFO song, 'Mother Mary'. He started playing that. The bass was thunderous. He had an Ampeg amplifier and it was thunderous. I said, 'Here's 50 pence. Play it with this.' He said, 'It's a coin. What do you want me to play bass with a coin for?' I said, 'Don't ask questions. Do it.' He started playing 'Mother Mary' with a 50 pence coin and it sounded fucking godly. I said, 'Play a bit faster on the E string.' Then he got into the riff. It was on the back burner, but he said after the sessions that what I told him to do could be revolutionary. There was nothing like that. I said, 'It will be when I get WARFARE formed. But don't tell them, but I am going to leave.'"

Blabbermouth: How much of the story about you opening for METALLICA in the Hammersmith Odeon's parking lot is true?

Paul: "It's all true. We got asked to do the gig. I saw them a year before when TANK supported them on the 'Ride The Lightning' tour. We all went out, James [Hetfield], Lars [Ulrich], me, and Algy. We got fucking hammered. I got on great with James and Lars. They were just guys. No one knew back then they'd get as big as they are. When it was announced that METALLICA would play the Odeon, we made some inquiries. They said they were fine with WARFARE, but we wanted some pay. It was like, 'Down boy. Down!' Then the promoters said they wanted 10,000 quid for a buy-on. Neat Records was up for it because they wanted to make a live video. I said, 'Fuck that. You're not using my royalties for that bollocks.' I said, 'I want 3,000 quid in cash.' That was a lot of money back then. 'What are you going to do with it?' I said, 'Have you ever asked questions before? I'll do my own thing. Trust me.' They said,' I got a feeling something bad is coming.'

"I got friends in the carnival. A friend had a big, old-fashioned truck. I said, 'If I give you x-amount of money and a hotel, would you like to come to London?' He said, 'I'd love to.' I said, 'But in your lorry.' I asked him if he had the nerve to drive it straight into the parking lot. He said, 'Of course!' We had this planned. We got all this camouflage for the amplifiers and went to London. Sure enough, when everyone was queuing, we backed the truck up and gave it to them. I've never seen anything like it. We emptied every public house. People were flying over the crash barriers on the main road. We must have had the full audience headbanging in front of this truck. All of a sudden, we see these big security guys. They started, 'You can't do that!' The kids were going, 'What the fuck is happening?' I got me mic and it went 'Whack!' right through a car window. I didn't realize it was the manager of the Hammersmith Odeon's Jaguar. The bouncers started to chase us. At that point, and this is true, it was fucking ridiculous, but one of them was a shooter. He fired at us. And if I hadn't seen the hole in the lorry's side, I wouldn't have believed it. There was a bullet hole on the side. They ran along the side of the lorry. We were near the camouflage, looking like something off the Battle Of The Somme. He jumped on the front of the truck and whacked a crowbar across the driver. His windshield went everywhere, so he crashed into seven parked cars. He ripped them all the way down. It was mad. Then the truck came to a halt and the driver got out and started kicking the fuck out of the bouncers. Then we got out and we were on them. There was a massive scrap."

Blabbermouth: All because the Odeon wouldn't pay you!

Paul: "Yeah. Then I was in the police station with me WARFARE shirt on, covered in all that black shit and makeup. The copper said, 'My daughter loves WARFARE. Can I have your T-shirt?' I thought, 'A get out of jail card!' So, it was off with the T-shirt. I signed it for him, 'Love, Evo.' I gave it to him, then he said, 'Right. Your fingerprints!' I said, 'What?' I still got arrested, the bastard. He said he was doing his job. I returned to London and got charged with criminal damage, but the third album ['Mayhem, Fuckin' Mayhem'] went straight into every metal chart. It did what it had to do."

Photo courtesy of Paul "Evo" Evans

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