Featuring a group of seasoned high-energy players, The Long Shadows features former members of LA Guns, Quireboys, The Brutalists, and Twenty Flight Rockers, who are known for their hours-long performances with a set that features the best of the ‘60s rock, R&B, blues, and some forgotten gems from the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Small Faces, The Kinks, and The Yardbirds in a great dance party that happens all over Southern California but will now be seen in England soon. The band will also soon debut some original songs in the vein of the greats that they feature.
We caught up with Mick Cripps, the former LA Guns guitarist, who rarely gives interviews to talk about this fun new group.
AMFM Magazine: The Long Shadows is a super fun project that you seem to enjoy quite a bit. How did you find these guys and how would you describe it?
Mick Cripps: We all knew each other from jamming/playing together in various outfits over the years. At the beginning of the COVID lockdown, Gary [Twinn, lead singer] and I were writing music together remotely and he was in the process of opening a pub called The Market Tavern, so it seemed logical to start playing live music there and entertain people as they emerged out of the pandemic. At first it started as an acoustic thing then progressed into full 3 hour-plus rock n’ roll shows every Friday and Sunday. As the tavern took off, we kept adding more and more material to the sets and next thing we knew, we had a repertoire of about 100 songs culled from our favorite ‘50s, ‘60s and early ‘70s artists.
AMFM: There are some amazing songs in the set that we haven’t heard in a while. Did you each bring a few old favorites to the list?
MC: Yes, we all have a great appreciation of the original rock n’ rollers of the 1950s and the music of the British Invasion groups from the early ‘60s, which brought back the popularity of roots American rock and roll and blues to the masses: Gene Vincent, Elvis, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo, Little Walter, Howling Wolf – the music from that era is equal to a trillion kingdoms of wealth. Then you have the next generation with The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Yardbirds, Animals, Small Faces – the list goes on and on. The kind of music you never grow tired of – it defies trends and categories. What could be better? I think it is also important to pay homage and keep spreading the word to new generations of listeners – it is an easy sell.
AMFM: Will we hear some recorded versions, a recorded live set, or new music soon?
MC: Yes, we are currently recording an album of original material as we speak – 10 new songs, which we pepper our sets with – hopefully have it out this summer.
AMFM: You’ve had a really interesting career and people still follow along with whatever you do from the LA Guns days. You have a lot of fond memories from then and what do people want to know the most?
MC: Yes, it was an exciting time in music because whether is was rock & roll, heavy metal, alternative, rockabilly, goth, grunge or hip hop, the ‘80s and ‘90s had definite trends and styles, with dedicated audiences that took music seriously. The fans still appreciate that all of us are out there playing and keeping live music going.
AMFM: You’ve always made it look like the best and easiest job in the world – and some days it may be. What advice would you give to those looking up to you and thinking, “That’s what I want to do?”
MC: Do what you enjoy in life and what fascinates you – make that your career. You
won’t feel like “everyone else.”
AMFM: Our host, Drew Pearson, famously caught the Hail Mary and went into the Hall of Fame this year and he wanted me to make sure I asked you your Hail Mary Moment, the moment in your life or career where you just had to go for it and it worked out for you?
MC: It would be have to be putting together The Long Shadows during the pandemic and getting out there and playing for audiences that really needed to get out of the fucking house and enjoy themselves again.
AMFM: On the show, we also talk about that success mindset that you have to have to not only make it in the business but to stay in it. Is there something that you’ve always told yourself that’s kept you on the right path even when things seemed tough?
MC: Honestly, it is a compulsion. I think everyone who plays music feels that way, even if you have to leave it alone for a while – it’s just an instinctual impulse that keeps you at it.
AMFM: What has been the unforgettable moment in your career that you know you’ll never forget?
MC: Meeting Paul & Linda McCartney – never thought I would have the opportunity to
speak with a Beatle.
AMFM: What keeps things interesting and still fun for you after all of these years?
MC: Playing great classic songs and putting our own spin on them is wonderful. The Long Shadows are performing on February 17th at Killer Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA, February 18th at Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, CA, and February 24th at Avigone’s in Montrose, CA.
For more information, visit TheLongShadows.net.
Photos by Paul Salfen