The Full Moon Dog Festival will grace The Cockpit in Leeds on Saturday October 13th. Bands so far announced include Mercenary, Stiletto Farm, Eliminator, Stuka Squadron, Dark Forest, Asomvel, Solstice and Orange Goblin plus one headliner.
But this is more than a music festival; this is in honour and memory of Jay-Jay Winter, ASOMVEL’s bassist/frontman who lost his life in 2010 following a tragic road accident. Put together with the help of his sister Deborah Robinson and ASOMVEL guitarist Lenny Robinson, the second instalment of Full Moon Dog promises to be a cracking day celebrating many talented British bands. There is more to come in Part II from Ave Noctum, but for now, let’s not forget the man, the legend that was Jay-Jay Winter.
Although personally I never knew the man, I heard tremendous things about him; in fact I remember the fateful day that Jay-Jay lost his life. James “Duke Fang” Begley (Stuka Squadron) phoned me up and told me the news, in the light of the circumstances for such a young gent, his passing was indeed tragic, especially as ASOMVEL were really making a name for themselves. In subsequent months, I had caught ASOMVEL live once after Jay-Jay’s passing, and there was a major piece of downtime in the band. Lenny (ASOMVEL) was conducting bass duties with Solstice inLondonone day, when I asked about ASOMVEL, he said it “just did not feel right without Jay-Jay”. Then sometime later, ASOMVEL started playing live again with a different front man, so I asked Lenny what brought about the change of heart? “When you don’t have the right chemistry in a band, it will never get out of the starting gates. Jay and I had something that doesn’t come along all that often. We were of one mind, in spite of being radically different in many ways. I made up for his shortcomings and Jay made up for mine. We tried to keep ASOMVEL going with Swifto, but although he was a good musician, he didn’t have what Jay had, and that’s nobody’s fault. When I met Conan, I knew he was somebody I could get along with. He is a kindred spirit and like Jay, doesn’t try to be anything he isn’t. In short: it works very well and we are making music that is ASOMVEL’s music”. Hence, as a fitting tribute to Jay Jay, ASOMVEL continues marching forward, but before all of this, who was the man that was Jay-Jay?
What better person to speak too than one of Jay-Jay’s sister’s Deborah Robinson. Rock n’ roll produces musicians that become legends and they are adored by fans across the world, but what you have to remember is that they are human after all. Jay Jay was known for his no nonsense character and sense of humour, one of Deborah’s favourite memories was “The day we met Lemmy from Motörhead (June 10th 1995 in Manchester). Jay was quick-witted as always, he took the piss outta Lemmy because his trousers were grey, and so tight “they look like they’ve been painted on” – he was really on form that night. Lemmy said “You remind me of myself twenty years ago….only louder!”…”. A character he may have been but Jay-Jay was always a protective brother to his sisters, “Jay would ‘rescue me’ in one way or the other (winning my marbles back, or taking my side in a snowball fight)” and as they grew older Deborah explained that a later favourite memory would be of “watching ASOMVEL – Lenny and Jay were like poetry in motion, and watching the two of them together – they’re my greatest memories”. Deborah went on further to explain that “Jay was an incredible brother – as well as an older sister, the poor kid had twin sisters 4 years younger than him, two little morons who put him on a pedestal and worshipped his every move, but he had infinite patience with us, he’d play games with us, take the time to talk with us, and I honestly cannot ever remember him being annoyed with us or arguing with us. Looking back on it, I don’t know how we didn’t drive him mental!”
Jay-Jay’s ashes were scattered at this year’s Download festival, traditionally hallowed ground and the location of the original Monsters of Rock festival. I asked Deborah if this was one of Jay’s wishes after he was gone, her response once again displayed Jay’s humorous character…” Jay’s only wish was that THE TOY DOLLS’ ‘Nellie The Elephant’ be played at his funeral – he always said that was the perfect funeral song – as usual he was right, people were laughing through their tears! The decision about the ashes was a tough one, all we knew was that we didn’t want a ‘grave’ Jay would hate that morbid nonsense – and we couldn’t cope with that either. So it was decided that since he’d had such good times at ‘Monsters of Rock’ it was appropriate – well as appropriate as scattering your brother’s ashes is ever going to be!”
Jay-Jay’s musical interest and inspiration to others started at an early age, “Jay would never say he ‘followed a musical path’ – he didn’t want to be a musician, he wanted to be a rockstar – and for me as his kid sister, I always saw him that way, but he actually started in bands when he was about seventeen, I was twelve or thirteen and I thought he was the coolest person to ever walk the planet – turns out, I was right! As we grew up, all I wanted to do was be like him – and actually, most people who met him just wanted to be like him. He has been my inspiration my entire life. This is a man of honour, pride, and integrity – someone so quick-witted it was impossible to get the better of him. Most of all, he was genuine. He didn’t pretend to be anything, he was Jay, and he didn’t need to pretend!”. So what of Jay’s musical influence, it is no strange co-incidence that this year’s bands announced so far are quite “old-school metal”. As Deborah explains, “Jay loved VENOM, MOTÖRHEAD, TWISTED SISTER, W.A.S.P – he’d listen to ‘em all the time, and front men like Dee Snider and Blackie Lawless were his heroes – those people were his inspiration. He always cited VENOM as his favourite band, as a kid I remember him playing W.A.S.P. a lot….but without doubt, his favourite band of all time was ASOMVEL!”
The Full Moon Dog festival is an event to honour and remember Jay-Jay Winter, but also an event for those that did not know him to come away with a little bit more of an insight into Jay Jay. Was this the main ethos behind the festival? Deborah explained to me “Yeah, we had to make sure Jay and his music became legend – and that’s the whole point. Sam (my twin sister), Lenny, and I, will always consider this festival to be Jay’s final gift to the fans he loved, and that’s why the ticket prices will remain as low as possible no matter how big the festival gets. It’s a festival for all fans, from all walks of life, and we hope we can keep the ticket prices low enough so that everyone who wants to attend can”. My earlier mention of old school metal is not too far from the truth with this year’s line-up. When I asked about the headliner that is yet to be announced, I was told “we have a great headliner who agreed in principle, but told us it will be the ‘eleventh hour’ before they can fully commit – so I hope they do, or we’ll be running around trying to find someone else equally as exciting, and if you knew who they were (AN: my lips are sealed!), you’d know that would not be easy!”. As well as the bands already announced, full moon dog 2012 will be filmed for a forthcoming DVD. “Madder than a Full Moon Dog” was Deborah’s idea. “That was my idea – I am a film producer/director, and I have my own production company, Starjack Entertainment, which I run with my business partner, Pamela Glasner – after the hilarity of last year, I just knew a fly-on-the-wall ‘rockumentary’ had to be done – and of course, it’s another way of making sure people hear about Jay – there’ll be a bonus memorial disc, full of previously unseen footage, photographs, and tributes”. Put on your happy face at the festival folks, you could be on camera!
So that is the end of Part I of the Full Moon Dog Festival 2012 preview, stay alert for Part II coming soon, whereby we may be able to inform you of the headliner for 2012 and we shall also provide you with the run down for the 2012 line up. But I will leave you with a quote from Jay-Jay Winter himself…” I held my head up high – from the womb to the tomb”.