Jackie Chambers of Syteria and Girlschool Talks New Music, Numbers and Lemmy
UK rockers Syteria, featuring Jackie Chambers of Girlschool and previously Blitzkrieg, released a brand new music video for the track “I’m All Woman”, from the debut album ‘Rant-O-Bot’, due out on May 30th 2017. The new album is available on all digital platforms and can be ordered on CD directly from the Syteria’s official website. Iron Serbian recently spoke on the phone with Jackie at an undisclosed location deep in the heart of somewhere secret.
So let’s see here. Let’s start this interview. Are you ready for me?
JACKIE: All ready.
Let me find out. Okay. This is Iron Serbian with Capital Chaos TV and we have Jax Chambers of Syteria on the phone. How are you?
JACKIE: I’m very well. Thank you. Same to you.
And where am I — where are we talking to you from? Where are you?
JACKIE: I live in Leeds in Yorkshire.
JACKIE: Yeah. Leeds United. Everybody knows Leeds United is the football team.
I used to live in Silsden. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that little village. It’s near Keighley.
JACKIE: Okay. Yes. It’s very close to here.
I’m a Yorkshire lad and you are a Yorkshire lass.
JACKIE: Absolutely. There you go.
How did you first get into music or rock and roll in particular?
JACKIE: I think music is in your soul. It’s in your blood. So when I was at school — well, I grew up in the punk era so I liked the punk rock scene when I was 13. But I loved all that stuff. And then I picked up a guitar when I was 17. I just wanted to write music but I didn’t actually want to be in a band really. I wanted to just write songs. But then I ended up being in a band and I’ve never looked back since. I’ve kind of always wanted to do something but, yeah, I wanted to do more writing but, yeah, a little bit.
Are you a self-taught or did you go to some sort of school?
JACKIE: No. No. So I just picked it up when I was 17. My brother had a bass guitar. I got a guitar. And we just learned together. We just sort of played and then started a punk band. I mean you didn’t really need to be able to play to play two or three chords back then. It was great fun.
Do you remember what the first riffs you ever learned was?
JACKIE: The very first song I ever learned was Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie.
Ah, that’s a good —
That’s a great song.
JACKIE: Yeah. It was first riff I ever learned. I remember that. A good little riff. Wish I’d written that one. That’s the kind of riff I wish I had written.
How were you — when I lived in England, there wasn’t really much of a radio like there is here in America. How did you get exposed to it?
JACKIE: Well, I guess there is — there is radio. You know, Radio 1. The usual things but so — so really. We used to get like John Peel. I used to listen to John Peel and remember him?
JACKIE: The John Peel show because he always used to break new bands and so a band I was in called Flowers For Agatha at the time, they got broken on John Peel and, yeah, it’s just — I suppose there were a lot of music programs then. There was Top of Pops, the Chew, Old Gray Whistle Test. Lots of things on television that get bands exposure.
And what was the local scene in your area in the beginning for you? What was your favorite local bands back then?
JACKIE: Well, Leeds has really got a lot of bands. I mean when I was growing up, I was lucky because the local scene was amazing. There seemed to gigs on every night and I was pretty much out every night at a gig. But I come from a town where like Sisters of Mercy and the Southern Death Cult, who became the Cult, came from. You know, they came from Bradford. They were based in Bradford. All the band, they were all up and coming — well, Sisters of Mercy, New Model Army, Southern Death Cult, all those kind of bands, used to play a lot. There were a lot of pubs. A lot of clubs. A lot of events here. And I used to go to festivals all the time. I just jumped in a cab with a friend and we’d just go up there on weekends to see bands. Just spontaneous. Oh, let’s see who is playing. That’s what we used to do back then.
And do you have any current favorites that are new or you’re sort of like most people, sort of a certain era and that’s where you’ve stopped?
JACKIE: No, not at all. I like things. What would I like now? The last album I think I bought was Lower Than Atlantis. I think that’s the last album I bought. I love Fall Out Boy. I love things like that. Sort of more modern stuff. Yeah. I love it. I love Paramore. And I still stay loyal to Alice Cooper. I still love Alice Cooper. Rammstein. Things like that. So I’ve got quite the mix really. I buy songs because I like the songs. I don’t really say I follow one band and that’s it. Now last month I think I went to about four or five gigs. I went to see Stiff Little Fingers, the Ruts, the Damned, the Stranglers — yeah, just love the band.
It’s great to see — I suppose you call them Geezers still. There’s no really — no real point to just stop because it’s hard to go up the stairs.
JACKIE: Most bands — so given — and then they got back together. I mean I was in Girl School. I’ve been — I’ve been in it for 18 years — 18 ½ years. They got to be 40 years and they’ve never broken up. But there’s a lot of bands that have broken up and come back together for the nostalgia thing. You know, the tours and everything. But it’s great to see everybody outright. It’s just good that people are still enjoying going to see a gig. They’re always packed. You know, these big festivals they do abroad. They do a lot in Germany. Brilliant. It’s like here I’ve got a few festivals this year, too, which is brilliant. Heaven and Hell this year and Wild Fire, Breaking Bands this weekend — next weekend. So, yeah, there’s quite here — what’s it called, Heaven and Hell. Murder — Murder festival popping up everywhere now.
And is Girlschool on a bit of a break? What’s going on with Girlschool?
JACKIE: We don’t have as many gigs as I want which is one of the reasons why I started Syteria in the first place because Girlschool could have been going 40 years. We’ll do like lots of festivals and then obviously we do a tour like with Motörhead or Saxon at the end of the year. Tends to be November and December we’ve been on tour with Saxon and the last two or three years. But, yeah, we do gigs. We don’t give up. We went to America last year. And then the Motörhead tour. Then last year back from tour. So next year is our 40th anniversary so we’ll be doing something to match that, I’m sure.
Were you good friends with Lemmy from Motörhead at all?
JACKIE: Indeed. Yeah. Yeah. We were there on the last tour when he unfortunately passed. Yeah. We did half the tour. It was like October to December. Then we broke for Christmas and we were supposed to go back in January but unfortunately he passed at that time so never got to see him after that. But he was in great spirits when we left him. He was quite ill but, you know, he was still fun. He was still joking and laughing and having a good time playing his rock and roll.
He was a very prolific character.
I would say he was — would you say he was your typical Brit?
JACKIE: Yes, I probably would. Yes. Yes. He had a good sense of humor. Really good sense of humor. In fact every time he saw me he always took the mickey out. I don’t know why you can take the mickey out . We used to do the Four Yorksiremen sketch quite a lot. Hey, Jackie.
I guess it would be the difference between a Californian and somebody from the Bible Belt here in America.
JACKIE: That’s right. Yeah. That’s about right. Yeah. I sort of lived down there for a couple years in Long Beach.
JACKIE: Yeah. Nice break.
What brought you out here to live?
JACKIE: Wanted to see the sun shine. You know? I used to go there and come back. (Unintelligible) be out there for three months or 90-days, then come back and we used to do some gigs and go out again and do some gigs, come back and (unintelligible).
And you have a new album with your group. It’s available online.
Is that right? It’s a digital only sale?
JACKIE: Yes. It’s a digital — we’re releasing it digitally May the 30th but we do have physical copies, as well, which we’re going to just have a distribution deal for — probably in June. We’re looking at a couple of options now. We’ve been offered a couple of deals so we’re just looking for the right one. Because obviously you can do this stuff yourself now. You know? It’s just (unintelligible). But we’ve actually got some physical copies for sale right now, which people (unintelligible). In fact they arrived yesterday.
And it looks like you have a bunch of political themes on the songs on the new album with Sheeple and New World Order and even I’m All Woman could be considered to be somewhat political.
JACKIE: Yeah. I guess that’s me. I rant a lot that is kind of where the title came from. I tend to have rants here, there and everywhere about the state of the world because there’s so much going on. I mean you can hardly call this a happy planet right now. There’s so much going on I just — I think New World Order, the song New World Order, just makes everything into one song at that point. I actually wrote that for — I played with Blitzkrieg. I don’t remember if you remember Blitzkrieg.
JACKIE: Blitzkrieg punk band from the 80s.
JACKIE: I played with them a few years in between Girlschool gigs. I wrote that for Blitzkrieg, so we did that a couple of years in Blitzkrieg but then I sort of rehashed it and I did it with Syteria this album.
And you have a new music video. How fun is it making music videos?
JACKIE: Well, that one was real easy because it was done in Sheffield in South Yorkshire. Julian Pablo, they brought me there. And they have this event every year called Two Weeks to Make It which they have a film school in Sheffield University and they have a competition for filmmakers. So they have 21 filmmakers so they needed 21 bands. So we just brought our music for them (unintelligible). So you basically get a free video. So they make the videos. It’s about them really so we came up with the concept and we were actually doing gigs at the time with Syteria so we couldn’t even be at the meeting so we had to just send him ideas on email. They put their ideas with our ideas and they filmed while we weren’t even around. And then we just turned up for a day and did all our things in a few hours and then they just put it together. So, yeah, it was easy to do this time. We just had a few hours messing about in a bar.
I know in Canada the government there is very socialist county and if you’re an artist or a band or whatnot, you can apply and get money from the government there towards your thing, is it —
Is it supportive like that in your country?
JACKIE: There is some kind of grant but it’s not very — it’s not very easy to get. You got to jump through the hoops to get to it. Let’s face it. I probably won’t be able to get it. I think it’s for younger people just getting started. So but the thing here, I don’t really — do you do it there but pledge campaign. You know the pledge campaign? It’s picking up speed now that one. But we did that one on our first EP. When we first got together last year we did an EP and we decided to do a pledge campaign for that. I mean it works out really well because you have complete control then you decide what you want, what you give. You know, and it’s great because you meet people like that. You get loyal people. Really nice people, you get to be friends with them, I mean I’ve met loads of them pledges. You get clothing. You get personal items. It’s kind of fun. Kind of fun doing it.
And they get to invest in you.
JACKIE: Yes, that’s right. Yes. They’re kind of going in on the ground — the ground running, as it were. They start off and they help you before you’ve even got to record. So they’ll say I’ll buy one album and one t-shirt. Then they send you the money and pledge. You get their money and you buy the things up front and then when the album comes out, you send it to them first so they got theirs in March. So they got — they download them. We’ve had a few problems getting the vinyls sorted out this time because it seems we’re a little backlogged about vinyls. So there’s only a few factories around doing them anymore.
Right. Right. And the Sacred Solfeggio scale, did I say that right?
JACKIE: Solfeggio — solfeggio scale. I’ve not heard of that one.
It enhances the spiritual experience of the notes. Is that right?
JACKIE: Well, it’s funny. I’ve been into that sort of thing for about, I don’t know, seven or eight years now. I’ve been looking into all that. And it’s like, you know, 440s is what we tune to. Our tune up when a guitar is tuned, it tunes to 440 frequency. But that is actually not in balance with us. Have you heard — you know of Nikola Tesla, the scientist?
JACKIE: He talks about if only the people knew the power of 3, 6’s and 9’s because most are ancient geometry. Everything is on 3, 6 and 9. You look at 12. And you’ve got triangles. You got 45 degrees. 360. It all adds up to either 3, 6 or 9. And the more you do it you think, oh, my goodness it true. And you start looking at everything in that way. I mean number 39 for that reason. I got so into it years ago. And I was looking into the frequencies of 4, 3, 2. Sounds much nicer that 440. It’s like it adds up to 9. 4, 7, 9. Could have done 4, 4, 4, but we went the other way because it sounds better lower. 528 is like the healing frequency for DNA. That sort of thing. If you look into it then it’s very involved. You could go on for hours looking on videos about it. But we’re sort of out of whack at 440.
Numerology and theory.
JACKIE: Uh-huh. Yeah. But you look at — you just look into it. You look into 3, 6’s and 9 of Tesla. I mean Tesla wasn’t — he was a scientist. On 3, 6’s and 9’s and you’ll soon find your conclusion but there’s a lot to it. A real lot to it. I mean I just touched on it a little bit there but there is a lot to 3, 6’s and 9’s. The more you look at it, the more you see. Nine months pregnancy. You know, 12 years — 12 months in a year. It’s just amazing. It all adds up to 3, 6 or 9.
Let’s not forget the number of the beast.
JACKIE: Exactly. 666. And there’s a lot of — a lot of theories about that one, too. used to hide the — yeah, Galileo, people were saying the world was flat. People who dared to say it was round were going to get threatened with death. So they started to hide all they could and they started to hide all this ancient knowledge and they hid it in plain sight. So like I mean if you take the bible, for instance, there’s a lot of things in there that probably won’t make sense to most people. What are you talking about? It’s like coded. It’s like codes in there. I don’t think 666 is supposed to be devil. It’s like it made out that way because it’s a scared number, 666. (Unintelligible). There’s lots of different things about 666 if you look online.. You can find a lot of information about that. Very interesting.
JACKIE: A lot of disinformation. Yes, indeed. Who knows what’s true and who knows what isn’t. We just don’t know these days. But it just feels like the 3, 6, 9 and the 4, 3, 2 hz, when I play the song, I feel it. It’s different. I just feel it’s different.
And do you read music reviews or concert reviews or do you frequent any of the metal gossip sites to find out who did what and who said what about who and, you know —
JACKIE: I don’t get involved with that gossip but I do like to read — I mean I’ve read a few of our reviews on that album. We’ve had some good reviews so far. And, yeah, gossip. I’m not really about gossip. Who said, he said, what she said. Not involved in all that.
So you have some dates coming up. Summer is coming up and the record is about to come out. So are you going full court, right?
JACKIE: Yeah. We’ve got quite a few festivals this year which is fantastic. We’re doing Breaking Bounds next weekend, which is a sold out festival here in Britain for new and up and coming bands. Which is great. Wild Fire. Heaven and Hell. Quite a few actually. I’m trying to think what else we’re — there’s a few festivals coming up. They’re on our website, as well. We’ve done a few already with the Giants of Rock earlier this year. We’ve already done quite a few gigs in London and around the UK so we’ve had quite a good year so far. Been a busy year so far.