New Releases Reviews

Johnny Moped celebrate 50 crazy years with a final studio album – Quonk!

Marking their 50th Anniversary year, the Mopeds have new music to bring you!

Are you ready to ‘Quonk!‘? It’s Johnny Moped‘s first new album since ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ came out five years ago and finds the band in suitably barmy form! Set for release on 17th May 2024, via Damaged Goods Records, be prepared for ‘Quonk!‘ to blow your mind..

The band – singer Johnny Moped (real name Paul Halford), guitarist Slimy Toad (aka Simon Fitzgerald), bassist Jacko Pistorious, guitarist Rob Brook (Rock and Roll Robot) and drummer Martin Parrott (Marty Love) kindly sat down to answer a few questions: First up, that title – Quonk! What’s that all about?

Johnny – “I have no idea where the name Quonk! come from! it seemed rather weird for a possible album title.”
Slimy – “Incidental noise that’s picked up …. We are a bit like that … Johnny Moped’s Quonk! is very Quonk le Donk (saucepan lid landing on head).”
Marty – “This one’s for Toad really. It was his call and it’s a great title for a Moped album.”
Robot – “The band suffers from Quonking pretty regularly, so we thought we’d make a whole album of it.”

It’s been five years since your last album ‘Lurrigate Your Mind‘. How come it’s taken so long to write and record this one?

Johnny – “It must have taken up to five months to rehearse for that album. Around the same time as previous albums.”
Slimy – “Toads are slow moving creatures.”
Marty – “Because we’re old and very very lazy.”
Robot – “That’s pretty quick for us, it was over 30 years between ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Rookie’ and Cycledelic. We wanted to make sure it passed quality control before letting it loose on the world.

Johnny Moped (Paul Halford) May 2023
Johnny Moped (Paul Halford) May 2023 - photo by Ruth Rae

It sounds like you had a fun time recording it. Is that the case or was it more painful this time round?

Johnny – “We did have a lot of fun recording those albums starting from Real Cool Baby and Lurrigate Your Mind. Classic albums! I have enjoyed recording all of our albums from Cycledelic up to our latest album (problems aside!)”
Slimy – “Creating Quonk! was fun … always thrills me when the sounds come together … Johnny and his band have a plethora of tunes. Yeah! It was alright.”
Marty – “Bits were really easy and other bits were really hard. A lot of the songs on any Moped album really only take shape in the studio. And Dick Crippen helps a lot with how they turn out. I’m very proud of this album and the band and Johnny have worked really hard to make the best record we can.”
Robot – Yeah it’s always fun making a Moped record. Johnny’s totally at home in the studio environment…and the pub across the road. Give him the lyrics, he takes hold and delivers the goods in one take.”

The album opens with ‘Heebie Jeebie Boogie‘, which isn’t actually a boogie at all, but a guitar-driven classic Mopeds punk banger – great start!

Following track ‘Roxy You’re Gone‘ is closer to a boogie – think Mopeds dressed up as Dr Feelgood with a strong mid-60s vibe.

Doggy Woggy‘ is indeed about a dog, a somewhat vicious one, dressed up to look cute! The hammering drums and sharp guitars echo the biting (literally!) lyrics.

Things May Happen‘ is being released as the next single. A Slimy Toad song which he describes as being about “The extraordinary lightness of being … just the path and what’s on it.” A melodic, upbeat song about not letting things drag you down. I agree with Marty – it is a cracker!

Johnny Moped - Slimy, Robot and Marty May 2023
Johnny Moped - Slimy, Robot and Marty, May 2023 - photo by Ruth Rae

First (and so far only) single release ‘Lockdown Boy‘ was written by Johnny about the frustrations of being denied his freedom during the pandemic. Complete with a catchy sing-along chorus “All I wanna do is go down the pub with you!”

See The Time Is Late‘ takes a romantic and slightly melancholy turn, a slower tune with a great guitar solo near the end.

We’re in the pub for ‘Sounds Like‘, which starts gently but revs up to the punk we know and love. The Mopeds make considerably more noise than any pub chatter!

Funny‘ is another melodic guitar-driven track, resplendent with toe-tapping percussion, about ‘that feeling when you just have to laugh’.

Oh Jane‘ was written by Johnny “about his love affair with a certain TV starlet who spends most of her time cruising around the world. I’ll give you a clue – it ain’t Susan Calman!” according to Robot! We’re back to the Mopeds’ classic sound here, good solid pub rock.

The crazy comes out in ‘I’m a Skitzoid (Mind Bender Syndrome)‘ – full on punk with Johnny roaring along in his unique style. The obligatory guitar solos are outrageous!

Final track ‘Skin‘ has the guitar playing what sounds like the opening to Blur‘s ‘Girls and Boys‘, but don’t let that put you off – it’s no pop song! Instead Johnny gets all cannibalistic, desiring to consume the object of his attention! Each band member gets to go nuts in this one, and at over 5 and a half minutes, there’s plenty of scope for every instrument to shine.

There’s a bit of everything in this album, from a band who know their chops and don’t have to work too hard to knock out plenty of snappy punk songs. Well worth a listen, down the pub or anywhere else!

A few more revelations from the band: This year marks the 50th year of Johnny Moped. What have been the high (and low) points for the band in the last five decades?

Johnny – “Not much was happening with the band gigwise. we were in hiatus between 2006 up to 2016 when we were getting gig bookings thick and fast, including mini-German tours and three dates in Norway and one in Sweden.”
Slimy – “The constitution of these thoroughbred punk rockers is testimony to getting up and rocking out … Johnny is not stopping he’s class.”
Marty – I’ve only been in the band since 2017 and before that was the driver and shit carrier and before that a fan and also the band are my mates. So not one low point for me at all.”
Robot – I don’t recall any low points…being in the band is one long high.

Unfortunately the Mopeds tour has been postponed for this month, as Johnny (who celebrated his 70th Birthday last year) has recently come out of hospital. Keep an eye on the band’s socials for updates, and GET WELL SOON JOHNNY!!

Johnny Moped tour 2024

Quonk! is available on CD or on green or pink vinyl (425 copies each), or 50th anniversary gold vinyl if you buy the bundle (100 copies only) – pre-order HERE

Main Photo Credit: RUTH RAE

  1. Heebie Jeebie Boogie
  2. Roxy You’re Gone
  3. Doggy Woggy
  4. Things May Happen
  5. Lockdown Boy
  6. See The Time Is Late
  7. Sounds Like
  8. Funny
  9. Oh Jane
  10. I’m a Skitzoid (Mind Bender Syndrome)
  11. Skin
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