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Byline: JAMES MCCARTHY Reporter

HE WAS the singer who hit Freddie Mercury, hobnobbed with Sir Cliff Richard and was courted by Malcolm McLaren before he signed the Sex Pistols.

Now ex-Hollywood Brats singer Andrew Matheson has revealed how he was inspired by a "rock star" - Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

Andrew, who has written a memoir of his band days called Sick On You, would have loved to have gone for a pint with the Swansea-born writer who penned Under Milk Wood.

"We would have got along famously," he said.

"There is nothing I like better than a nice dark corner of a bar and sitting there getting slowly frosted."

And Andrew said the hellraising writer, who died in New York in 1953 aged just 39, would have been a shoo-in for his old job.

"Dylan would have been an excellent rock star, a magnificent rock star," Andrew said.

"He had it down pat before there ever was such a thing.

"There was the way he could look sharp and then look as though he had been dragged through a hedge backwards.

"And the dissolute performances on stage through his American tours, the hitting it off with everyone's wife."

This, Andrew said, was "classic" rock star behaviour.

"I'm enamoured by the man and I always have been," Andrew said.

"I've read every book and he's always fascinated me.

"He can break your heart and make you laugh in the same line."

As a result Andrew wants to visit the West Wales village of Laugharne which Dylan made his home with wife Caitlin and is considering attending the annual literary festival there.

"Ever since I was a small boy I have been interested in poetry," he said.

"I'm interested in the English language.

"I gravitated to one or two poets and Dylan was one of them. He got under your skin and stayed there.

"I've been trying to emulate his drinking habits ever since but he was much tougher than me."

Andrew notably fell out with Freddie Mercury after the late superstar named his band Queen.

The Hollywood Brats had been named The Queen before a name change.

"I was not interested in trouble because I didn't like the name," Kent-born Andrew said.

"But he stabbed his finger in my chest one time too many. Which was once."

Things went downhill fast. "I didn't punch him, although that is what has gone down in history.

"I gave him a backhander across those lethal gnashers of his.

"He went down like a sack of spuds."

But Under Pressure singer Freddie got up.

"It was one of those situations where he was saying, 'Hold me back or I'll kill him,'" Andrew said.

Andrew, who declined to give his age but is thought to be in his 60s, recalled meeting Mistletoe and Wine star Sir Cliff Richard at a party.

"He was a complete and utter gent and professional," Andrew said.

"We were so dramatically different but he was a generous chap."

Sir Cliff invited Andrew and his band to rehearse at his house.

"So we did," Andrew said. "We were not living in penury but in absolute filth and squalor.

"Going to this mansion in the country was fabulous. That was sometime around April 1973."

The Who drummer Keith Moon claimed he was a Hollywood Brats fan after they played a show in London.

"A tray of drinks came over with a note saying 'The Hollywood Brats are the greatest band I've ever seen,'" Andrew said.

"I never got to say to thank you."


Sick On You: The |Disastrous Story of Britain's Great Lost Punk Band is published by Ebury press priced PS12.99

The Hollywood Brats with Andrew Matheson, centre, who says he would have liked to have had a pint with Welsh poet Dylan Thomas
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 5, 2015
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