Gary Moat started Burnt Out Wreck in the summer of 2016. Following the writing of songs for the first album, he went into the studio with Steve Rispin (Asia). Gary’s desire to create enjoyable classic rock led to the creation and release of the album “SWALLOW” in the first half of 2017. The band went back into the studio to produce their follow-up, “This Is Hell,” a ferocious, hard-rocking album that was well-received by UK rock critics and fans after a lot of promotion and hard work touring the country.

Burnt Out Wreck are:

Gary Moat: Lead Vocals and rhythm guitar, 

Alex Carmichael: bass and backing vocals, 

Richard Upson: Lead Guitar and backing vocals

Andrew McLaughlan: Lead Guitar and backing vocals

Paul Gray: Drums, 

All songs were written by Gary Moat.

Gary used to be the drummer and lead songwriter for Heavy Pettin, but for Burnt Out Wreck, he switched to lead vocals. In 1991, Mother’s Ruin, a band formed from the ashes of Heavy Pettin’, helped Gary hone his singing approach. However, he ended the band in 2014 to focus on songwriting. The “Burnt Out Wreck” ship emerged from a rock n’ roll past and represents an interesting future.

This is Rock the Joint Magazine in conversation with Gary Moat.

We began with a little overview of rock music, noting how the 1960’s saw the repackaging of American Blues by the Stones, who basically sold the Blues back to the US, then T-Rex and the Glam movement came in before hair metal, and then grunge. The 21st century, then, seems to be a blend of so many rock genres that even we lose track. I mean, can someone please explain post-math rock? (We don’t even know what math rock is!) Where does an older rock soldier like Gary see the current state of rock?

Gary: As you note, all the new bands that come out are looking for something new to call themselves! I have no idea about modern genres of rock. Math rock, I agree. What is that? It was hard enough in the 1980’s as you say and then into the 90’s, when hair metal was disappearing and the grunge era came in. But before that, there was the thrash movement and Metallica; they are so important for the rock timeline. Undoubtedly, my musical inclination leans towards 1980s melodic rock, or perhaps hair metal; that is, assuming one possessed hair. These days, I, personally, am not listening to a lot of new music. I am a bit set in my ways musically, so I listen to what I was into as a teenager and into my mid-twenties. That was my era, and that happens with people; we like what we grew up with. My parents, for example, never progressed much; they carried on listening to Sinatra. 

We agree. Most people settle musically into what they like between the ages of about 13 and 30. Returning to the blues for a moment, Shirley King told us that if you scratch the surface of western rock music, you will find lying under nearly any song the older blues sound. You will discover those old Delta blues sounds somewhere within. Does Gary agree with that?

Gary: I 100% agree with that because, as you said, where did the Stones get their music from? On a personal level, my favourite band is AC/DC, and listening to my music, I am heavily influenced by Bon Scott. And no one can tell me that AC/DC didn’t get their style of music from the old blues guys in America. Sometimes people tell me how I am very similar to AC/DC, but Angus is Chuck Berry in his performing style; he was Chuck Berry on steroids! . They were also playing a Chuck Berry style of rock n’ roll. The blues are everywhere, and we all love the blues. When people ask me what style of music we play, I always say it is blues-rock-oriented. 

We are fans of Kiss here at the magazine (well, Mark is!) and we notice that Heavy Pettin was supporting Kiss on tour at one point. We wondered if Gary had any memories of that tour he could share with us.

Gary: If you go back to the early eighties, we were blessed to get a support slot on their “Lick It Up” tour. It was just amazing. Gene was often calling into the dressing room, and he would always chat away to us, trying to give us advice. Every day, he would call in. He was a great guy. My main memories are with Gene; I think Paul only said hello once. I have memories of standing behind the drum riser and watching the drum roadies push the drum riser in, forwards and backwards. There were no big electrics in those days; it was a human effort to move that tank top! I remember the size of the crowds and the roar of the crowd at Bingley Hall. The waves of the crowd there were frightening! They would bang up against the scaffolding stage, and the whole thing was moving when we were on stage. We thought, ‘No, we are going to die!’ The whole thing was a sea of crazy people. It was a great memory!

Gary, of course, was a drummer for Heavy Pettin. But Gary has transitioned to being the lead singer now. This is not something drummers often do (Ringo and Phil Collins spring to mind); was it an easy switch?

Gary: Paul Gray, does the drums for us. I was a drummer back in the early nineties. I continued after Heavy Pettin split up in the late eighties, and we were starting to write new songs and material. I was creating the new material melody-wise and lyrically. When it came to it, we felt we would struggle to get someone who sounded like me singing! Also, singers want to invent things themselves, and I wanted to do it. It was new for me at that time to take the stage as a vocalist, and that is when it started around 1991/2. After that, I never played drums again for the band. For me, I still love the drums. I do everything naturally on headphones, and I have an electronic kit at home too, so I do get it out sometimes for songwriting. But I tend not to get too involved; I prefer Paul to come up with the drum parts. 

We noted how music is now consumed differently. The business has moved from the vital importance of radio play to the importance of YouTube and social media. But by putting everything online, we lose the amazing album covers of the past. We loved the album cover of the burning ship for “This is Hell” and asked about the thinking behind that. You can buy the album on CD here.

Gary: That is the second album, and Mark Leary created the cover. He said, ‘can you send me a track?’ So we sent him a track, and he came up with that. He also did the lyric video for “This is Hell.” There was no input from me, but as soon as we saw it, it looked amazing. You could immediately imagine it on a T-shirt or something. It stands out, and the inside of the sleeve and everything came from Mark. So full credit goes to him. 

The last album, 2022, “Stand and Fight,” is a straight-down classic rock sound. Vocally place AC/DC in the mix with Dio, and you are getting there! Probably place Thin Lizzy in the blender too! You can buy the CD here.

Gary: It covers a lot of styles within rock that I like. “Stand and Fight” is another great album cover by Andy Pilkington. He has done a lot of album covers for bands like Judas Priest and other big names. He is another great asset. He listened to a track, and then he went for this smash-up-the-computer, trolls on the internet, watch what you do idea. I hate the internet people who sit there and nip away at you. I hate the negative side of the internet.

We certainly agree about the social media side of things; it is an evil necessity today, we suppose, but we could happily live without it!

We then moved on to the song “Pain and Suffering,” which we liked a lot!

Gary: “Pain and Suffering” is about getting older, looking at life and wishing things were as they used to be. So welcome to the pain and suffering of getting older!

But there is a sense of humour in the lyrics. And what is there in 2024 coming up for the band?

Gary: Yes, don’t take me seriously. If you do, then that’s your problem! As for 2024, I am playing on February 17th in Glasgow. We are part of Highway to Hell Fest, an AC/DC rock tribute weekend. They do very well, and we have played a couple of those; they have one in Blackpool as well. This is the first one in Glasgow, so it gives us a trip up there. We have a couple of gigs, then monthly for the year after that, but no major tours. The whole lockdown thing hit us all hard, and things still haven’t fully recovered yet.

The whole tribute band thing has managed to take off; they are everywhere`! We came across Pete Loaf recently; no guesses for what his tribute act connects to! And a final question as to the last album Gary listened to.

Gary: When I sit down nowadays, I listen to fewer albums. I will sit down with a drink when I have a moment and listen to YouTube, maybe. Sometimes, I just like to listen to a few songs, less of AC/DC now as I have heard it all. But as for an album, maybe the first Boston album that I had on in the car recently. I like Sky Arts and all that, too. I enjoyed a piece on Ronnie Woods recently, so I do get into all that.

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By Stevie Ritson


Mark C. Chambers

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