Tom Robinson (after learning that he's the leader of the Tom Robinson Band) was that he's gay. Gay punk rock? Well, Robinson's self-penned bio says: "I used to live with a really sweet guy called Christ but nowadays I love on my own in Highgate."
"I'd love to be able to admit I was punk —I'd love to be able to claim it," said Tom, over an haute cuisine lunch at Brown's Hotel in London. His jauntily-worn school tie and old motorcycle jacket were somehow considered jacket-and-tie enough for this very proper atmosphere, so we all got in. And soon Robinson was chatting away to the young French waiters in their native tongue, redeeming himself in the maitre d's eyes.
Before this lunch I'd encountered one of the Tom Robinson Band's newsletters —a double-sized sheet of foolscap folded once, written by the band and xeroxed
for the fans. The band described itself as:
Danny Kustow gtr/punk/teen appeal
Brian Taylor (The Dolphin) ... drum delinquent/backup vcl.
Mark Amber ... pro/org/cosmic vibes T. Robinson ... boss/bass/vcls
Tom Robinson started out not too long ago with a band called Cafe Society. I don't know why it disbanded, but Capitol, his U.S. record company, had heard that it was for commercial reasons. Robinson also had a deal with Ray Davies of the Kinks and Konk Records. Davies bought the rights to Robinson's song publishing and gave him a subsistence allowance (which is not uncommon in the music business). They used to be good friends and Davies wrote "The Prince of the Punks" (the B-side of the Kings' Christmas, 1977, release, "Father Christmas") about Tom Robinson. But now that Robinson's songs are beginning to sell, owning his publishing has become an issue. Robinson has got several years left on his seven-year contract with Davies, and has begun legal proceedings to obtain the publishing (read: profitable) rights to his future songs. "I don't want to talk about Ray Davies in public now," says Robinson, "I just want to be dignified about it."
Robinson's life has changed pretty fast, recently. A few years ago he came out of seven years in a private home for "wayward" boys. "They just put all of us together in one place. "I guess you could call it group therapy. It worked better than lying on a couch talking about yourself to someone. You couldn't throw a tantrum about not doing your job when the other