There are not much information about the music of Rock’n Roller, singer and songwriter Roy A. Loney on Internet. This is a kind of tribute page as he sadly passed away in 2019. There are a couple of good interviews, but not much about his music after he left the Flamin’ Groovies. Therefore I have created this Roy Loney discography with my own little review of each record. You're welcome to help me correcting errors and make the discography as complete as possible. Thanks to Per Magnusson for providing material I didn't have and also thanks to Marty Arbunich (former co-owner of Solid Smoke Records).
I have divided the discography in two groups you can find in the menu above. First is the Flamin' Groovies dicography with Roy Loney. I have omitted the Groovies discography after Roy Loney left the band in 1971. Not because I don't like it, cause i do. It's just because there is too much work! Then there is the post Groovies Roy Loney Discography, solo, with Phantom Movers, Longshots, Señor No etc. Hope you'll enjoy it. I beleive Roy Loney deserves a lot more attention than he has got.
I have liked music since I was very young. For some reason, I have often stuck to artists who have been far from reaching the charts. One of these is Roy A. Loney. I think I was fifteen years old, 1974, when my best friend had the first three albums by Flamin Groovies. Before I managed to find them in a "cut out bin" in a record store, I had recorded them on tape and played them constantly. There were many at my age from where I grew up outside Stockholm who had these records. How it turns out is a mystery. They were never played on the Swedish radio as far as I know.
Flamin Groovies was formed in San Francisco in the mid-1960's. The band consisted of Roy A. Loney on vocals and guitar, Cyril Jordan on solo guitar and vocals, Tim Lynch on solo guitar and vocals, George Alexander on bass and vocals and Danny Mihm on drums. In 1967 they recorded a ten-inch mini-LP "Sneakers" and released it on their own label. The record is not a masterpiece, but it sold so well that the big CBS signed a contract with the band via its subsidiary label Epic Records. They got a top producer in Stephen Goldman, Phil Spector's legendary arranger Jack Nitzsche and even got to spend time with a singing teacher! The album "Supernsazz" is one of the best debut albums that came out in the 60's. The raw rock 'n' roll is interspersed with ballads, blues, psychedelia and even jazz and some humor! Unfortunately, that's not what people expected at this time from a band from San Francisco. The record company promoted the record badly and it fell into oblivion.
The following year, a certain Richard Robinson from New York discovered the band and they signed a contract with Kama Sutra Records. The sound had become much more raw and the album "Flamingo", produced by Robinson, was bursting with energetic rock 'n' roll with only a couple of softer songs. The sound quality was not the best, but the disc is filled with very good songs. In 1971, the big breakthrough would happen. "Teenage Head" is much better produced than its predecessor and the album contains several songs that were later made in cover versions by other bands. Someone has compared the record to Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers" which came out at about the same time. The difference was that Rolling Stones record was made with blues as a base, while "Teenage Head" was more influenced by rockabilly. To a certain extent I agree with that, and it’s certainly a lot of Stones feeling in "Teenage Head". Funnily enough, pianist Jim Dickinson participates on both "Sticky Fingers" and "Teenage Head". It is also said that Mick Jagger thought "Teenage Head" was better than "Sticky Fingers". The truth about it is unclear, but I read somewhere that Marianne Faithful said to Loney that Stones really liked Flamin Groovies. The songs, which were mostly written by Roy A. Loney himself on the first records, were now mostly written together with guitarist Cyril Jordan. This sadly became the last record to be released with this lineup (apart from ”Artistic As Hell”, see below). Roy Loney got kicked out of his own band. The reason is a little unclear, but you can imagine a slightly different perception of the orientation after the Teenage Head flopped too. Before Loney left, Tim Lynch had also been replaced by James Ferrell and the band would change their style completely. Another reason may be that they never got any money from the contract with Kama Sutra Records.
Roy Loney was replaced by Chris Wilson and the following year, Slow Death was released on a single, a song Roy co-wrote with Cyril Jordan. In 1976, Flamin 'Groovies released their first LP with Chris Wilson and it sounded completely different. Now the music style was based on how The Beatles and The Byrds sounded in the mid 60's. The album "Shake Some Action" is yet another album that is considered a classic and the title song is wonderful. Of course, I bought the record, which was produced by Dave Edmunds, when it came and also the follow ups "Now" (1978) and "Jumpin 'In The Night" (1979), but I missed the style of music that had been on the first three discs. That is why I became overjoyed when I saw a note in the New Musical Express in the fall of 1979 that Roy Loney formed a band, Roy Loney & The Phantom Movers that would release an LP. I walked for miles and miles between the record shops in Stockholm to find the album. However, the record was very difficult to find. The first bump was a 1977 EP "Artistic As Hell" where Loney was reunited with the entire original lineup of Flamin Groovies amongst others. The song "Love Is A Spider" became a hit among my friends and the song later followed me in life as one of my absolute favorite songs.
Finally, I finally got hold of "Out After Dark" with Roy Loney & Phantom Movers. I was not disappointed. In the band were Danny Mihm and James Ferrell from Flamin’ Groovies and the band also included Larry Lea on guitar and Maurice Tani on bass. "Out After Dark" was the musical sequel to "Teenage Head" and is equally good. In Sweden, it eventually appeared in record stores when MNW signed a distribution contract with Solid Smoke Records. Then came a record every year with Roy Loney (with and without Phantom Movers) between 1979 and 1983. I like all the discs but they never reached the big masses. Maybe it was because they were released on obscure record labels like Solid Smoke Records, War Bride and Double Dare Records. It was then a few silent years before "Scientific Bombs Away" was released on AIM and Norton Records in 1979. During the 1990’s, Roy Loney began a successful collaboration with the two Seattle bands The Young Fresh Fellows and The Squirrels. He called the band Roy Loney & The Long Shots, which released the smoking record "Full Grown Head" on Shake Records in 1994 and "Drunkard In The Think Tank" ten (!) Years later. The records holds very high class and even the successors "Shake It Or Leave It" (with The Long Shots) from 2007 and "Got Me A Hot One" which he did with the Spanish band Señor No 2009 are among the best he did!
Unfortunately, there was no more disc releases with Roy Loney. During the last 10 years Roy and Cyril Jordan reunited several times and in 2019 he would be reunited with Cyril in Flamin' Groovies for a "Teenage Head" tour and I had bought tickets to see them on my 60th birthday. Unfortunately, Roy fell badly at the San Francisco airport of a sudden drop in blood pressure (according to Cyril Jordan). The concert was of course not was I had ecpected with Roy missing, but it is an unforgettable memory. I had even had in mind to see if Roy Loney could come by himself and play acoustically on my birthday, but when I saw the announcement about the gig, it was as if I intended to go to The Hague in Netherlands where it took place. I don't know why you like some music so much, but something in Roy Loney's songs appeals to me. It is quite clear that they are written with a simple acoustic guitar and there are some wonderful clips on Youtube where he performs his songs by himself, as they were written. One must be happy about the song catalogue he left behind and that many records are available on eg. Spotify.
/Micke Werkelin, Sweden