Fun facts about this unique and talented author…
- Rock, black metal, chillout, electronic, and blues musician.
- Artist, writer, and journalist.
- Modern dance during his time in theater and the performing arts.
WHAT? Yes. Just keep scrolling…
Who is this fellow?
I met Jimmy around February 2020. At the time, I was an aspiring poet, having started writing poetry after my father passed away in May 2016.
I had a Facebook page which had a little over 85k followers.
I’d devised an unusual way of boosting my page. I’d invite people who were either flamboyant characters, or had a fan base bigger than mine, to appear live on my page. They’d read both my poetry and the writings submitted by my followers.
At the time, I needed new people to appear live on my page. So I searched Facebook for related topics – in this case the term “voodoo”, which seemed appropriate as my page tended to push the envelope on religion.
So it was no surprise I came across Jimmy – in his guise as “Doktor Snake”.
My initial thoughts were that he didn’t fit into any box and was unique. But what got me most was his name Doktor Snake, which sounded to me like a snake oil vendor or a carnival act.
Nevertheless, I thought he would be a good fit for my page. The only downside was he didn’t have many followers (I later found out he hates Facebook and his FB page was just an afterthought). In the end, I decided that if he went live on my Beatnik Show, he might generate traffic to the site, just for the novelty value, if nothing else.
What I didn’t realize was I’d met the man who would change my world. It’s now almost two years since that fateful meeting, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We are now business partners and best friends.
I have listened to Jimmy’s stories thinking that this man has lived many lives in this life, and that all this should come to the fore.
I searched the internet and found that no one has ever asked the questions needed to show who Jimmy truly is.
So I decided to show the world the man I have come to know by rebuilding his author page.
Below is an interview I did with Jimmy, along with fun facts about him – all of which show his many faces, highlighting how he can be whoever the hell he chooses to be.
Interview with author Jimmy Lee Shreeve
By Sherron Sinclair
I’m not convinced many people in the world are truly rational and able to resist the lure of belief, whether it be archaic or techno-gnosis. That’s where the real trouble will arise. Crazy ideologues running the planet… and if they program AI, we’re in big trouble!Jimmy Lee Shreeve
So what initially got you into writing?
Well, I had a relative on my mother’s side who was a professor at St. Andrews University in Scotland. I don’t think he was actually Scottish, he just ended up there. He was a professor of anthropology. So I remember meeting him and other members of my family there when I was a young boy. Over the years we corresponded by letter, often talking religious beliefs around the world, but from a more academic perspective, rather than that of believer. His daughter Anna was a writer in the literary field, so the idea of being a writer as a profession was very much in my background from early on. Not that I took it in. I never really sat down and thought about being a writer. In fact, it was probably Hunter S. Thompson who prompted me to do that – but starting out in the journalism field.
Probably what got me going with writing at high school was an English teacher called Mr Arthurs. I hadn’t excelled at anything, plus I couldn’t be bothered. But he got us doing creative writing. And he was very complimentary about what I’d done. Considering I couldn’t stand teachers as a rule, this guy was like he’d found a genius… not that I see myself like that. But for some reason, he was wildly enthusiastic about what I was doing. From there on I got A+ for everything I did in English lessons. On a really bad day I got B+. So I realized I could write. But my grammar and spelling were atrocious.
In truth, I didn’t really think about it. I just did it.
Where did you grow up, what life like for you as a boy?
I grew up in a village in Buckinghamshire called Stewkley. It’s in the home counties, outside London. In many ways it was an idyllic place to live, unspoilt countryside and there was a little lane to the side of the house that went out into the country and then stopped. So it was perfect to cycle for miles or walk… and play up farmers who’d come along saying “get off my land!”, some with a stick or a shotgun. I remember one very upper class landowner came along on his horse and said to me and my pals, “Fuck orrfff”… sounding like the Queen with his well-to-do dialect. I expect she talks like that in private.
I was lucky as I could do what I liked on the whole. My parents didn’t really discipline me, not in terms of corporal punishment anyway. Which might explain why I managed to blow up my dad’s shed without any real comeback after making gunpowder.
It being a rural area there was fox hunting going on. As I always loved animals, I used to climb up a tree and shoot at the fox hunters with my .22 air rifle. They never figured out who the sniper was! But they deserved every pellet that hit them. I was doing it for the foxes.
What were your parents like? They sound like they were pretty lenient.
Well, my dad was a very interesting character. He’d come from a working class background in Norfolk, but left when he was maybe 19 or 20 for London. In those days, possibly the late 1920s, this would have been unusual – getting out of where you live and deciding you could do whatever the hell you want in life. But he did.
Back then he got a place to live with a pal of his and they’d rig the electricity meter so juice didn’t cost a penny. I think they managed to run cars for free too, somehow making their own fuel from chicken droppings.
Come the 1930s, the world economy was in a bad way. So he joined the army – but the Suffolk Regiment, not the Norfolk one where he was from. A contrarian personality.
When WW2 broke out he was in the expeditionary force and he and his men got marooned in France after the British forces had to retreat back to Blighty. So they hid out and eventually found a boat to get back home. During the war he had many dices with death, but never believed he’d cop it. He always said, “If the bullet’s got your name on it, that’s it.” He was very lucky. And this ran through his later life in business and so on. He’d do some wild things and get away with it, fall on his feet.
Who were your other heroes other than father?
When I was a boy I was into the Biggles books by Captain W.E. Johns, which were about a young air ace in WW1 and moved right through WW2 to his later life in the 1950s and 60s. So the character Biggles was a great influence on me. He was courageous, but could also be rebellious and buck authority. Other than that my real life heroes were military, like the early SAS (Special Air Service) and the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) – particularly the founder of the LRDG, Ralph Bagnold. All that changed a bit when I got into music and playing guitar… but I never lost that foundation.
What got you into music?
I was about twelve and it was hearing “Schools Out” by Alice Cooper. From there I was rabid to learn guitar. So I built my own out of old bits of wood, with nails for frets. Clearly I was tone deaf! I then built speaker cabinets out of old drawers and built a valve amp. It must have been a horrendous noise as my dad used to turn off the electric!
But I stuck with the guitar and eventually made it sound reasonable. Later I got in with some older kids who had a band and they taught me a lot… and actually were very kind, literally giving me a Gibson Les Paul and a copy Fender Precision bass. They must’ve taken pity on me! I really wasn’t very good at that time. But I improved and even taught myself music theory, literally anything to get accomplished on guitar.
We used to rehearse in the village and got so many complaints about the noise that the local policeman chased us down the road, but didn’t catch us! It’s a wonder I didn’t get arrested as whenever that cop pulled me up to give me a dressing down, I’d say, “What’d you want?”
And then you went professional?
Yes, as time went on I got to the point where I could play most styles, from rock and blues, to country, rock & roll, reggae and funk. So by the time I’d left school at sixteen I was starting to play in bands that were making a bit of money. Eventually, I started writing original music and through the 80s was playing London clubs and pubs. One band that got fairly prominent was Wildcat Bones. It had too incarnations, one sort of Keef Richards meets the Talking Heads, then one more like the Sisters of Mercy… after that I went more a mix of electronic and rock, elements of dance and chill and acid house. I’d always been programming drum machines – for some reason everybody has trouble with drummers! So robots don’t come amiss!
In those days, on the London music scene, there was a lot of competition. People would sabotage other bands’ amps so they blew up, or put nails in the speaker cabs. That’s egos for you! Not that I was immune! There was a bass player in another band and we couldn’t abide each other; it got very close to a serious punch up on occasion. One time I thought he was going to lay into me. So I went right up to him and kissed him on the lips in front of everybody – that completely took him out! Haha. But a good pal of mine went further when some other musician was hurling jibes at him – he charged at him, pulled his pants down, and bit his manhood… nobody forgot that one… and nobody dared mess with my pal either after that!
Plus I recall that many name bands, like David Bowie, used to provide instruments for the struggling bands… no this wasn’t being charitable – one of the roadies we had, who worked with a few other bands too, used to go backstage with leads around his shoulders and pinch gear! One drummer had a whole kit courtesy of various major bands.
We were utter barbarians, worthy of Attila the Hun.
So how did you transition from music to writing and journalism?
Well, I’d done quite well in music, but I hadn’t come to major prominence. And I’d been reading Hunter S. Thompson a lot. He’d got books out and had long been a journalist. So I thought that sounds like a career model. It didn’t occur to me that you weren’t supposed to take loads of drugs and run riot as a journalist. I just presumed that was the job description. I probably wasn’t over bright! Haha.
So I bought a book on grammar as I was atrocious. And I rewrote it in my own words; thus I knew what a semicolon was for. I also bought a copy of the Economist Magazine’s style guide, which is the best around in my view. I then contacted a top magazine with ideas and got rejected. But the second one I contacted commissioned me… which was very, very lucky. It went from there. I was writing for London listings magazines like City Limits and Midweek, along with a paranormal part work from Marshall Cavendish called The X Factor… not to mention a friend of mine, Ian Henshall’s magazine called Outlook… he went on to write 9/11 Revealed. Eventually I got in The Independent, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily and Sunday Express, and lots more.
How did you get your first book deal?
That was down to one of the editors on The X Factor Magazine – Felix Lejac. A very good chap. He’d been keen to have me as a freelance regular on The X Factor and said, “It’s time you had a book out.” So he went to the packagers Eddison Sadd, who he worked with too, and pushed them into considering my ideas. They were great and went for one idea, my Doktor Snake’s Voodoo Spellbook, and that took off big time… mostly as St Martin’s Press took it up in the US.
I then got a literary agent, Andrew Lownie in London, and he got me really good deals with Random House, Orion Books, John Blake, and others for my investigative books Blood Rites (also called Human Sacrifice) and Cannibals. Andrew is great at pulling big advances. Problem with that is you’ve got the money, then you’ve got to write the damn book! And that’s not so easy when you’re busy writing articles for newspapers and magazines. It’s a juggling act.
Tell us about your “gonzo” style of writing…
Again, I was pretty lucky as I tend to write books my way, where I’m in the story personally, part of the action – much like Hunter Thompson did, and Tom Wolfe and others. I used to do that with magazines too. It makes it more fun, but also brings a greater truth to what you’re looking in your investigative reporting. But it also makes it a bit cranked up. Like when I went to Scotland Yard to interview the head of homicide and one of the lead detectives. I’d forgotten I’d got a fairly big locking knife in my pocket – one that’s illegal in Britain… off went the alarms and loads of cops surrounded me. I thought I was going to be locked up. But the head of homicide sorted the situation out. But they took the damn knife off me! That was a nice knife too.
But those top cops at Scotland Yard were great. I had great respect for them. I was talking to them about the “Adam Case” where a young black child had apparently been sacrificed in 2001 by some Juju cult or other from Africa and involved with human trafficking. It was a very sad and terrible case. The police were trying to get to the truth of it, and so was I. Unfortunately the case has never been solved to this day.
What plans do you have for the future and new books?
No idea. The world has run out of control with the pandemic and Ukraine. What do you do after that? The world is not what it was. Most people are hoping for the best, like it will all go back to “normal”, whatever that was. They’re really burying their heads in the sand, hoping that the powers-that-be will look after them and mostly treat them okay-ish… not realizing they’d throw you in a pot and boil you if they thought you were good nutrition. These people came out of the woodwork with the alleged pandemic… and so we can’t predict the future. All of that might have been born of pure chaos, the result of internet technology coming to the fore, which means the vast majority on the planet have a voice and can organize. It doesn’t have to be conspiracy; more a great transition, one even greater than the advent of the printing press.
The point is, all writers, musicians, and any other artists or commentators are obliged to address these huge changes in the world… if you don’t, you’re almost the equivalent of a Luddite, where they resisted the rise of industrial technology. In fact, even with conspiracists, I think we’re seeing elements of neo-ludditism. Admittedly change might not prove good… there might well be blood on the streets… but you have to address what’s going on and try and make sense of it. It can’t be stopped; never has technology been prevented, whether you’re going back to the discovery of fire or the wheel.
We could well destroy ourselves, go the way of the dinosaurs. But there’s no way tech and progress can be halted in its tracks. The real problem, I think, is collective madness. Humans aren’t ready for the enormous changes that are coming… and that includes governments and the mega wealthy “powers-that-be”. They aren’t ready because of belief… we’ve pretty much lost religion in the West in particular, but not our religiosity. So you see conspiracists saying that satanic elites run the world and want to cull us or sacrifice us… and then you get power brokers like the World Economic Forum who have made a religion out of technology and apparent scientific thinking.Jimmy Lee Shreeve
Did you know Jimmy Lee is a very talented artist?
I spoke with Danny few years back when he bought one of Jimmy’s pieces. He truly loves Jimmy art and seemed like a giddy child at Christmas.
Danny went on to say that he owns a small, but profitable, upscale lounge and Jimmy’s art is the perfect addition to his establishment.
“Jimmy’s style compliments the ambiance of my bar,” said Danny. “His funky, retro, abstract, modern art, speaks as though it has its own personality and presence.”
Let’s continue our journey into the many Layers of Jimmy Lee Shreeve, AKA John Edward Shreeve and Doktor Snake…
Jimmy’s Rock Star Days
Let’s dive a little further into multiple personas of JLS…. Let’s take peek behind the scenes. Shall we?
Music By Jimmy (aka Dok)
Just like anything else Mr. Shreeve does, there are many layers and subtleties…
His music swings from rock, blues, techno, black metal, some just quirky, off-the-wall type music, but I wouldn’t expect anything else from Jimmy.
Jimmy’s voice has a familiar ring to it, took me a moment to realize… oh, sounds like Andrew Eldritch of the Sister’s of Mercy!
Some tracks have a funky back beat like a mix of Talking Heads, and dare I say it, yes… “Keef” Richards of the Rolling Stones.
His Black Metal Messiahs were an all out, thundering, onslaught of black metal with no mercy on any level.
Jimmy’s styles of music are as diverse as he is…