Notorious Newport rappers GOLDIE LOOKIN CHAIN are currently on the road with their 20th Anniversary Tour – 2000-2020 tour. Coming straight out of “the Port” GLC are officially Britain’s biggest rap group and remembered for classics like Guns Don’t Kill People Rappers Do.
The band started almost by accident over twenty years ago with Eggsy’s impromptu rap about his tracksuit over a serious piece of music Rhys; was working on in the studio. Adam Hussain, Billy Webb, Mystkal, the Maggot, 2hats and Mike Balls convinced Rhys to record the rap and the rest, as some might say, is history.
The group’s journey has so far seen The GLC climb the charts and perform around the world at major festivals in the Western Hemisphere while make millions of people laugh along the way.
Here Rhys answers Andy Howells questions about life, the universe and GLC…
You’ve got a twentieth anniversary tour coming up haven’t you?
Something like that, I don’t know the numbers, I haven’t done the math myself. We’re out on the road again, a load of men in a van, sweating, drinking, eating, stopping at service stations, the fun never ends!
You say “the fun never ends”, but having just come through the pandemic, how did that affect you personally?
It was quite nice to have some time off to be honest with you. Some time at home, do some DIY, get things sorted you forgot to do. Then, everyone dreamed about buying a camper van all that sort of stuff, then before you know it everything’s back open or back to normal or it seems like back to normal.
We just did the England leg of the tour, they’re all back to normal over there, nobody seems to care, everyone’s licking each other and rolling on one another like big balls.
We did a gig in Bristol and in the backstage area there were more people backstage than there were in the gig. Its weird its almost like it never happened in some ways and in other ways there are still people who are “shielding”.
You say “You don’t do numbers”, but 20 years for a band is quite an achievement without murdering each other isn’t it?
Its quite embarrassing really, because we should have imploded or given up. “We’ve done that, lets move on.” We’re still flogging the horse as they say.
Do you still get a buzz from performing?
Yeah, it’s amazing, it’s great to get out of the house and go somewhere. Its awesome to see the boys again and do this sort of stuff. It’s beimg normality for us for such a long time, its just getting back to it and doing it.
Basically, all you do is go to a box with wheels on it, then you go upstairs into another box with crisps in it, then you go into an area you can’t leave and shout at people using swear words. Then you go back into the box with the crisps, into a box with wheels and then you get to sleep in a bed if you’re lucky. If you don’t like that then you’re in the wrong game, but we love it.
Are you now getting younger fans, who weren’t even born when you started out coming to your gigs?
We get all sorts, mum’s, dad’s, grans and grandad’s, grandchildren, and children.
We have young kids who are discovering GLC through their parents and coming along to the gig. I’m like “Dad, after the gig, don’t forget to explain to your kids what a d**** is… You’ve brought your kids, what do you expect?”
We do festivals and some parents bring their 8-year-olds along and I’m like, “You knew what was going to happen!”
GLC are not defined by any specific genre. How do you all view yourselves?
D***Heads – a bunch of idiots basically.
We’re on the longest stag-do in history – a 20-year stag-do – and when we do a gig its like people come to a stag-do or a hen-night. Lots of people dress up and have a party, jump up and down to our songs and we’re doing the same. Its just about a crazy good time and enjoying it.
Do you have any GLC highlights from the bands 20 years?
One of the highlights for the band was a weird highlight for us. Not so long ago, the MP Paul Flynn sadly passed away. We were able to write a song for him on the day we heard the news, get that out and be able to memorialise him in that way. It was nice for us to do something like that and have a voice to get it out there, because he was a cool dude and transcended a lot of idealogies.
We did a tsunami benefit gig in 2005 that was a big one for us playing in Cardiff stadium. Then there was another time when we were in Switzerland doing a gig and one of the boys, Billy Webb disappeared. We were about to leave on a bus for Wales and wondered what we were going to do when suddenly, a horse and cart turns up and on the back of the cart was Billy, out of his mind! He’d been drinking somewhere and managed to explain to someone in his broken English that he was staying in the hotel at the top of the hill and could someone give him a lift there. He slept the whole way back on the bus – brilliant!
With experiences like that – could there ever be a GLC biographical film?
Well, yeah! We’re waiting for the third act, I guess.
There was a wonderful singer called Al Bowlly who was known as “the big swoon,” he’s one of my favourite singers. They always wanted to make a film about his life, but there was never a third act because he died in the Blitz sadly.
You’re currently out on tour, what can people expect when they come to the gigs?
I thought you were going to ask, “What could possibly go wrong?”
That’s my next question…
People can expect loud music, a load of men jumping up and down, mostly getting the words right. I keep telling the boys in the band “it’s important as a band to know your own material” They are like “What Do you Mean?” and I go “Never mind!” So yeah, there’s that, a couple of dance routines, a few improvisations and there’s a lot of love.
We do a love song in the set and sometimes you can see in the audience they are feeling so much love people are proposing to each other when they’ve not met each other before. A lot of GLC babies are to be made on this tour – not by us – by audience members.
Is there a track you all Know the lyrics too?
We’ve got this track This One Goes Out To The Ravers which is cool, because Billy Webb does his little impro ad-lib over the top and I just burst out laughing.
Have you got any new material coming out?
I’ve been trying to finish a lot of my own stuff. If you look on Spotify and type in “Rhys from GLC,” you’ll find a lot of my weird dance-rave music that I’ve been trying to finish off. Then I’m getting on to some jangly guitar music.
We are also working on a Mike Balls album, but we started on that before the pandemic and then everything got in the way, but hopefully when we can be bothered, we’ll finish that off.
If anyone’s thinking about coming to see you live – do you have a message for them?
If you’re thinking about coming to see GLC, don’t bother, Netflix has got some good TV shows on at the minute, you can watch that!
But if you are looking to have a good time, come to GLC, get down the front, just make sure you get home safe afterwards. Last time we played Cardiff Tramshed, Billy Webb had his bag of stuff and we went out to Tiny Rebel afterwards. He just left his bag at the pub because he’s a genius. Billy goes home and he’s wearing only one shoe and has no idea why.
Just get home safe afterwards and have a Merry Christmas!
Where To Catch GLC On Their 20th Anniversary Tour
- 26th- Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl
- 27th -Sin City, Swansea
- 18th- Queens Hall, Narberth
- 22nd- Venue Cymru, Llandudno
- 23rd Tramshed, Cardiff