By Chris Rockson
Simone Stenfors is a Rock Goddess. She lives the
rock ‘n roll lifestyle to the very limit, and has done for forever,
growing up during the Swinging 60’s in London, through the
original Glam Rock scene, an original Punk Rocker that dated Rat
Scabies and went on to marry Nasty Suicide, guitarist with Hanoi
Rocks. She was there at the very creation of the scene that became
known as Punk Rock, friends with the likes of Sid Vicious, Rat
Scabies, Lemmy, Phil Lynott, The Heartbreakers
and Jayne County, to name but a few.
She has a great story to tell, having travelled
around the world, living the rock n roll dream to the hilt, she’s
seen it all!
From her home in London, Simone talks openly
about her life and times.
She’s on form today, having only just recovered
from a night of live music with the Damned, who’ve just started
their latest UK tour, and late late night partying, so I don’t ask
her anything too intense…well, not yet anyway!
PG : Tell me about you. Where you come from and
how you ended up in London, right in the middle of what was to
become the Punk rock movement.
Simone : I was born in the West End of London actually.
I was 14 when I started going to the Roundhouse, it was the tail end
of the Hippie scene. There were lots of characters, Buttons The
famous Hells Angel, Jesus, a guy in white robes who thought he was
Jesus, and used to hand out fruit, Magic Michael and lots of other
weird and wonderful, colourful eccentrics. There was a small group
of us aged between 14 and 17 we hated hippies hence the goth look.
I used to listen to the
velvet Underground a lot back then. The clothes we wore were like
Victorian in appearance, we got them from anywhere we could and just
wore them...I used to wear black lipstick, blue blusher, white face, ostrich feathers, victorian clothing,
which back then was pretty radical, and almost gothic in style...
PG : After the 60’s had died away, and the music
mutated into Glam-Rock, how did you become involved in the scene?
Simone: We used to all go down to Kensington High
street, where the market was and all the cool shops like Biba and hang out around there.
We used to go down to Portobello Road on Saturdays. Everyone used to
hang out in a pub called Henekys, Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and
all the weird and colourful characters that were around at that
time. There was greasy spoon called The Mountain Grill where
we all hung out too which Hawkwind made famous when they named one
of their albums 'Lords of The Mountain Grill' after it. Around that time, I'd started hanging out at the Roundhouse,
especially on Sunday night’s. I saw some amazing bands there and the
people there were the coolest on the planet. I met Lemmy, Phil
Lynott, saw the biggest names play there including The Who when they
did 'Tommy'. The
Roundhouse was the main venue in London at that time, everyone
PG : Which bands were you listening to?
Simone : I had discovered a very underground band
called ‘Alice Cooper’, who had just released the ‘Love it
to Death’ album. I played that record until almost had no grooves
left – I played it to death! I was absolutely in love with that
record and Neil Smith was my ultimate teenage idol. There was Bowie and
The Velvet Underground, also favourites of mine.
PG : Describe the scene at that time?
Simone : It kind of happened really, it wasn’t a
conscious effort by anyone to create a ‘scene’ as such, we were
just into the music and hanging out at places like the Hope & Anchor
pub, The Roundhouse of course, The Nashville Rooms and The
Speakeasy. The Speakeasy was a beautiful club, and was more of a
hang out for rock musicians than the other places. On any given
evening, you would find the likes of Robert Plant, Lemmy and Phil
Lynott of course
would be there, usually playing Pin-Ball, the Heartbreakers, Leee
Childers, Jayne County, Sid & Nancy, The Damned, Generation-X, they
were all there. The bands also used to go and watch the other bands
play as well, it wasn’t as competitive as it is these days.
PG : Out of the bands that were around at the
time, who were your favourites?
Simone : I’d seen the Damned at The Roundhouse
during the Summer of 1976. That gig was so LOUD!!!! Captain, Dave Vanian, Brian James and of course Rat
were a great band. We used to have some
amazing parties too, but Leee Black Childers had the best. He had a
beautiful house in Highbury.
PG : You were romantically involved with Rat
Scabies as well?
Simone : I’d seen them play a show at the Hope &
Anchor pub and got talking to them afterwards. We actually got
together three days after our first meeting, he asked me out. Being
the girlfriend of the drummer in the Damned opened a whole new world
to me, an Inner Circle of Punk Rock. That was November 1976.
PG : It must have been great to be involved in
the punk movement in London at the time. Why did it end so quickly?
Simone : It was around April/May of 1977, It
became a fashion rather than the movement we had started, and the
original people started to lose interest in it. There was also a
massive increase in ‘Punk Rock Bands’…they were springing up all
over the place. I started to look for something else that I could
get into. I’d always loved rock n roll music, and with the Teddy Boy
scene, I moved into that for a while.
PG : You married Nasty Suicide from Hanoi Rocks.
Tell me how you met him?
Simone : It was at the Funny Farm. I’d heard
their ‘Malibu Beach EP’ a few times and was totally in love with
their sound, but I didn’t know what the band were called. I asked my
friend Overend Watts who they were and he told
me. It just so happened that they were playing at the Lyceum
and I went along. They were a great live band and totally gorgeous.
I didn’t really meet Nasty for sometime, we were like ships in the
night, and then I met him at 'Gossips'. He fell for me
PG : He played guest
guitar with Johnny Thunders on a number of occasions?
Simone : Yeah, Johnny was always playing with
other musicians all the time. He did some shows as
'The Living Dead' and the 'Johnny Thunders Allstars'. That band
played at the Speakeasy, and included in the line-up, Paul Cook,
Sid, Steve Dior, The Only Ones and Steve Jones too. Years later he
used to get Nasty and various other members
of Hanoi Rocks to play alongside him. Johnny asked lots of people
to get up on stage and play with him.
PG : You toured around
the world with
'Cherry Bombz' and
finally moved to LA, that must have been cool?
it was, they were a good band too and had a great look.
Unfortunately, a lot of the audiences thought they were just going
to be another Hanoi Rocks, and were expecting them to replace Mike
Monroe with another male singer, and because they had Anita in the
band, seemed to also lose a lot of their female fans...and there
were TONS of them! It all ended in 1986 for Cherry Bombz when the
band split. Nasty tried various other bands, 'Soho Vultures', 'The
Weird Things', but none of them gelled and he became depressed about
it. We moved out to L.A at the end of 1989, where he formed 'Cheap &
Nasty', another absolutely great band. We'd hang out with all of the
rock n rollers, and Nasty made guest appearances with them. They had
major record company interest, and were on the verge of signing to
Nasty and the
band moved back over to the UK, but we had trouble getting back into
the US, so decided to stay in London.
PG : You were recently included in the TV
documentary about Sid Vicious, the Final 24, and I’ve heard you're publishing a book too?
What else is going on in your life right now?
Yes, I was
asked to be a contributor to the Sid Vicious episode of The Final 24
series as I knew both him and Nancy. It was shown around April of
this year on Sky it was about Sid's final 24 hours before his
death. I'm writing a book too about my life, so look out for that
one. I've also been featured in various
books and interviewed for various websites too. I go to loads of gigs as well, as you mentioned earlier, I
was at the Damned last week-end. I'm also active in helping raise
awareness of the terrible plight of Gorilla's. I'm thinking of
setting up a benefit show to help raise funds for the charity 'Gorillas.org',
so if there's anyone out there that would like to help me get
started, please get in touch through my Myspace or website.
PG : Right, ok, thanks for chatting
with me, good luck with the book and the wonderful work you do with
'Gorillas.org'.........do you have a message for the readers of Punk Globe
Simone : Id like to wish
everyone of you a merry and peaceful Christmas and a fantastic New
Year. With love and best wishes, Simone X0X0X
Find out more
about Simone at her website and Myspace site.
Simone's myspace site