Digest...

November 29, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 18/1/99 - The Loft, Derby

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 1:32 pm

Much like humanity in War Of The Worlds, the actual gig part of this particular evening was DOOMED before it even realised, except that the minds immeasurably superior to our own were just more DRUNK, and they were only in Leicester rather than Mars. To be exact, they were in The Durham Ox the night before having a WHALE of a time drinking BEER and talking about how GRATE the next Durham Ox Singers gig was going to be.

THUS I turned up in Derby with a Proper Old Fashioned Hungover - in these days of grown-up behaviour/being a lightweight I can get hungover just by thinking hard about beer, but back then I was in my DRINKING POMP, holding down Regular Status in ONE pub, on first name terms with bar staff in two others, and GIGGING HARD on top of that, so having a hangover large enough to show up over the general levels of background booze radiation was a Big Deal. I was NOT in a good way.

This weakened state is probably why I fell, once again, for one of the TWO Promoter’s Deadly Remarks To Solo Acts: “You don’t mind going on first do you?”. This isn’t QUITE as bad as the other Deadly Remark (”we haven’t got much time - do you mind just doing a couple of songs between bands?”) which we’ll return to ANON, but it’s still pretty awful. The implications of the remark are a) you won’t need a soundcheck b) it’s not like anybody cares about seeing you c) you haven’t even got a BAND! You’re an IDIOT!

I don’t know WHY promoters always seem to think that playing solo means you are automatically POINTLESS, goodness knows I’ve seen enough full bands without whom the world would not be noticeably worse off, but they always DO, and probably always HAVE. I’m sure that in the mists of time He Who Puts On Gigs was telling He Who Hits Stone Hard that he’d need to cut down his set by the campfire to five minutes so that They Who Bang Many Stones would have time to do their cover of “The Passenger”.

So, I did my gig to the other bands and then settled into making myself feel better by drinking MORE BEER, and like in all proper ROCK BIOGS this led to me talking to a GURL. If you’ve ever read a proper ROCK BIOG (i’d recommend “The Dirt” by Motley Crue - so good it VERY NEARLY makes you want to listen to their music) you’ll have heard WILD TALES of EROTIC EXPLOITS and SAUCY MISADVENTURE but I can’t say I’ve ever seen much of that. I think my allocation of SEXUAL ABANDON must have gone off in a bulk delivery to SLASH by mistake, and i got his spare stock of Public Transport Mishaps (Railways). THUS the fact that I suddenly found myself chatting to a young lady I had not even been formally introduced to was a DANGEROUS THRILL, amplified by the fact that all around me were friends doing the waggly eyebrows and hopeful GRINS that say “I wish you to know that I have seen what is occurring, i am excited on your behalf, and that I shall interfere no further except to look over every thirty seconds and pull this slightly alarming face. GET IN!”

While all this was going on Sienna, Frankie’s band, were getting ready to play. Our AAS Colleague Mr Whitaker had come along for the evening to help with the Merchandising Stall as he was a friend of the promoter - who, being THAT sort of promoter, had charged him to get in anyway - and had been talking to Frankie about the fact that he didn’t see any future for this band, and that this was probably going to be their last gig. Being a nice sort of chap he went over to Ann the singer and said “So this is your last gig then? Sorry to hear that!”

So was she. Nobody had mentioned anything about it to her - if there was any doubt about it being the last one, there wasn’t any longer!

After the gig we were heading off to The Blue Note for DANCING. My new lady friend couldn’t go so, in a stunning act of BRAVERY and for the first time in my LIFE, i asked for and got her phone number. Once we got to the Blue Note I felt like a WARRIOR OF LOVE, but true to form, i would spend the next three months being to TERRIFIED to use. By the time I’d thought of a suitably COOL thing to say when I rang her I found out that she’d not only started going out with someone else (probably someone who’d dare to speak to her when NOT two-days drunk) but MARRIED him. I bet that NEVER happens to Tommy Lee.

November 27, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: The Durham Ox Singers

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:31 pm

If you’re paying close attention to these entries you might notice that the gigs are pretty well spaced apart, and you would be CORRECT. I’m trying to stick, as far as i can, to the solo gigs I’ve done and in my early years in ROCK these were hard to come by - often for good reason. That doesn’t mean that I was IDLE the rest of the time though, I had several other things on the go, one of which was The Durham Ox Singers.

It all began in The Durham Ox, a pub in the centre of Leicester where most of the people in bands gravitated to once The Magazine had closed down. These days it seems there is a THEMED BAR for every possible persuasion but back in the dark days of the last century everybody had to drink in the same place place i.e. Old Man’s Pubs. I think we’re really missing something now that you can choose to go to a FUNKY BAR dedicated to people just like you - in olden time you’d often find yourself ending up sat at the bar in conversation with people of all sorts of ages and backgrounds, for no other reason than you’d all ended up in the same pub- it was Community Work through BEER, and it was LOVELY.

One night we were sat at the bar discussing the lack of gig venues in Leicester at the time. The Mag was closed, The Charlotte had closed down for refurbishing and most other places had stopped having bands. Rather than (continue to) sit around moaning about the situation we decided to DO something about it. Dave knew a venue round the corner that we could use, there were plenty of bands we could book, and we had a GRATE name - LollopaLeicester - for the evenings, all we needed was something to make it MORE than just a normal gig night. We needed a THING, and that thing, i thought, could be The Durham Ox Singers.

When I’d needed backing vocals on my World Cup single I’d asked loads of people from different Leicester Bands to meet up for a singalong one Sunday in the Ox. As ever with The Leicester Music Scene, absolutely nobody could be bothered to turn up so I ended up asking a few of the proper regulars to do it, and they did a BRILLIANT job - when you want to record the sound of season ticket holders singing a football chant, pub regulars is what you want - and were thus credited on the single sleeve as The Durham Ox Singers.

We’d had so much fun doing the recording that I was KEEN to do some more and when I eventually got home the night after our discussions i came to the eminently sensible conclusion that we should do a cappella versions of the hits of the avant garde, starting with REVOLUTION #9. For those who don’t know (and if you don’t, please rectify this IMMEDIATELY) this is the penultimate track on The Beatles’ White Album, a roughly ten minute collage of loops, noises, samples and all round WEIRDNESS that divides fans pretty much down the middle into those who think it’s AMAZING and those who think it’s STUPID. I am very much in the former camp, and so spent the next week crouched over my tape player every night working out how to recreate it just with voices. It was a LONG week but by the end of it I was a) BOGGLY EYED b) acting suspiciously and c) in possession of a six part a cappella arrangement.

We met a few nights later in the upstairs room of the Ox to have a read through, and by JIMINY it sounded AMAZING. It was a very very carefully worked out version, and if you were familiar with the original you would, I think, be IMPRESSED. If you weren’t, you’d be ALARMED, but in an impressed sort of way. We performed it the next week at the first LollopaLeicester to an audience AGOG that such a thing could possibly happen, and we had such a good time doing it we agreed to carry on.

One of the loveliest things about it being a bunch of pub regulars was that we all had big and varying record collections full of Unusual B-Sides and Weird Album Tracks to choose from, with each of us digging into their record collections for new songs to work out. There was more Beatles, of course, but also some Pink Floyd, Doors, Tom Waits and, on one notable occasion, some Alternative Television.

As I say, Dave ran the label Sorted Records and had managed to get Mark Perry from ATV to let him release their next single - he’s managed this by the CUNNING PLAN of WRITING HIM A LETTER. ATV were booked to come and play a LollopaLeicester so Dave thought it’d be a fitting tribute if we learnt one of their songs, “The Radio Story”, which on their recording is a spoken word PIECE with sound effects. We did it as a slightly deranged RANT with SCREAMING, WHOOPING and WIND EFFECTS.

Mark Perry stood right at the front of the crowd for the entire performance, with a look on his face that could EITHER have been STUNNED AWE or APPALLED HORROR. Afterwards he said “I wrote that song when I was at the lowest point in my life. I never thought I’d be able to laugh at it.” To be honest, he didn’t look like he’d done a lot of laughing, but still.

BOUYED UP by this success we recorded a single featuring Revolution #9, Horse Latitudes by The Doors, and Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast by Pink Floyd, all recorded under the ever vigilant and constantly beleagured eye of Mr Kev Reverb, former international pop star with Crazyhead and long-time force of REASON in my recording “career”. When the single was released I wrote a MANIFESTO for the back of the sleeve, pointing out that this was PROPER ART made for a LAUGH by people in a PUB, and got quite worked up about it. In my heart of hearts i think this single is the item i am MOST PROUD of making in ALL My Exciting Life In ROCK, because while it IS a ludicrous piece of tomfoolery, it’s ALSO a Profound Art Statement and ALSO ALSO filled with LOVE and FUN. It’s GRATE!

We got so excited that we even recorded an album, featuring all of our stage act and more, such as a new composition called “Tom Baker Came Into Town” about the time that… well, you can probably guess. The highpoint of the recordings though was our version of 4′33″, by John Cage. It’s a PIECE arranged for Piano, divided into three seperate movements, during which NO music AT ALL is played - the movements are seperated by the piano lid being briefly opened then closed again, and in the original performance it was timed with a STOPWATCH, turning the pages of the score.

We can look at this in two ways, i think. Firstly as ART - the whole idea is that it makes you aware of where you are, and the forced silence makes you hear everything and everybody around you and INDEED: INSIDE you. Secondly, as PUNK - it’s a MASSIVE FUCK OFF to the very IDEA of performance and classical music and EVERYTHING, and is basically FANTASTIC.

Our version was a pretty faithful cover version - we didn’t have piano lids but we DID have a score, consisting of three sheets of blank paper which you can hear being turned over on our recording. You can also hear breathing, shuffling about, some very loud WINKING at each other and the occasional cough - we had a MASSIVE ROW about whether or not we should DOUBLE-TRACK the whole recording. I wanted to do it just because it would be such a RIDICULOUS thing to do while Dave, who was paying for the session, thought MAYBE we should get on with something else.

Dave won in the end - FINANCE beating ART! - but we agreed it would be something rather EXCELLENT to perform live. ALAS we never got the chance, as we had only one gig left in us, and it was our FESTIVAL DEBUT. The festival was called Off The Tracks, run by the brother of a friend of a friend who’d heard tell of of ART TERRORISM and wanted to catch a bit of the funky action - as well he might. We rolled up to find the whole thing was taking place on a farm which was FULL of folkies - beards were de rigeur, the sweaters were arren, slightly grubby yet very well spoken toddlers swarmed everywhere, and finger picking was not frowned upon. It was very cosy, slightly boring, and totally unready for what we were about to do.

We took to the stage and things started well as people laughed and applauded our bravery in standing up in front of them, doing what we were doing, but the laughter died down as they realised we were going to KEEP doing it, and soon the BARN we were playing in was emptying quicker than a lift with a fart in it. Fifteen minutes in we were singing to a group of perplexed seven year olds down the front and a visibly affronted sound man, who was clearly enraged that their were minor auxiliary members of Pentangle still alive and playing who could be on stage instead of us. “We’re just going to do a couple more songs” i said, to which he loudly retorted “No you’re not!” and pulled the plug.

ANGERED we stormed out into the farm’s courtyard determined to finish what we had come to do. The six of us gathered in a small circle and did “Horse Latitudes”, complete with NEIGHING, WHIP LASHES and SEXUAL GRUNTS. A small crowd gathered and then VERY QUICKLY went away, leaving us to finish off on our own, slightly shamefacedly.

We hung around the festival for a bit, but most of us had had enough so went off back to Leicester and to the pub. There was some talk of doing a tour of other pubs called The Durham Ox - the plan was to do the tour WITHOUT asking permission, dashing into each pub, doing a PIECE and then dashing out again, but after MUCH in-pub discussion we realised that not everybody would take this as non-violently as the folkies did, and so we went into semi-retirement, coming out only occasionally as my backing singers once more, satisfied that both of our career aims - ART PUNK and sitting around in pubs - had been more than fulfilled.

November 22, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 4/6/98 - Upstairs At The Garage, London

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 1:20 pm

I’m very very excited about the re-opening of St Pancras Station. All of my early years in ROCK were spent living in Leicester so St Pancras was my access station for the capital, and so being there meant i was EITHER about to embark on an adventure OR heading home, tired but happy, having just HAD one. Also it was always a lovely oasis of The Midlands down South - the little shop near the platforms even sold Samosas!

So it was with a heart full of joy back in 1998 that I hoped on to the Victoria Line and headed for Islington for a gig Upstairs At The Garage. Having played in bands for several years I was still but a BABY in terms of The Solo ROCK Performance, but I had already learnt one valuable lesson: Always Take A Book. I really cannot over-state this point - other people may claim that ATTITUDE or EDGINESS is the most important thing to have ON THE ROAD, but I would definitely put a BOOK way above any of that, even above taking an INSTRUMENT with you, for you can (nearly) always borrow something to play, but there will be MANY times when you’re stuck on your own with no-one to talk to, nothing to look at, and nothing to DO but wait for the sound-guy to turn up.

Thus it was that I found myself in the grotty little backstage room, next to the toilets, sat reading my book for about an hour before anyone else turned up. OH THE GLAMOUR. Eventually Frankie Machine, still chaperoning me on these forays into SOLO ROCK, arrived and we soundchecked before heading over the road to the PUB. I don’t know why it is, but there are almost NO full-time gig venues where the beer is even DRINKABLE unless you’re drunk before you get in - if only they’d fix THAT they’d make a lot more money just from the bands NOT fleeing to somewhere with a decent pint. I’m not talking about CASK MARQUES or anything like that either - a gig venue that served beer that WASN’T guaranteed to make you shit yourself inside out next morning would be NOVEL.

In the pub we met the band Mark 700, very nice people with a lot to say about lower league football teams, and after several drinks we headed back over to find that, amazingly, PEOPLE had turned up, and they had WORDSHEETS, so that they could join in the chorus of my World Cup Song, “The Fair Play Trophy (again)”. This song had come about after Sean from Fortuna Pop!, who’d released my first single, rang to ask if I had any songs about the World Cup for a split single he was putting together. “Of course I do!” I said, then RAN home to write one. As bizarre chance would have it, it ended up coming out on the same day as my first AAS single “Clubbing In The Week”, and i had VISIONS of the pair of them FIGHTING IT OUT for the top of the charts. Which would I sing on Top Of The Pops, if I was forced to choose?

Unlike Meryl Streep i was not forced to make SOPHIE’S CHOICE, although I DID nearly get on television with “The Fair Play Trophy (again)”. As the title suggests, the song’s about the need to take comfort in the fact that although England were guaranteed to disappoint in the actual playing of football they would pretty much always get the award for Fair Play. I particularly remember a very peed off Gary Linekar, who would obviously have rather just gone home, having to go and collect it one year.

Anyway, Sean sent the single out to various places, one of which was a programme called Under The Moon, a late night football show hosted by Danny Kelly. Alarmingly they got quite excited about my song and asked if I’d be prepared to take my band on to play it! This was GRATE, of course, although I didn’t actually HAVE a band at that time - hurried in-pub discussions found me Frankie and Mr Tim Pattison, then of noted indie hopefuls Prolapse, who were willing to play, and I had my eye out for MORE and spent happy evening asking people if they’d like to be on TELLY with. Eventually we got news that a decision was imminent, with the final say on the matter due next day after we’d all watched England play Argentina. Once we’d watch Argentina soundly beat us, largely due to David Beckham being sent off after KICKING somebody, singing a jolly song about Fair Play no longer seemed like a very good idea.

That was all still in the future though, and on the night of the gig there ended up being about twenty of us crammed onto the stage, BELLOWING the chorus to the song and having so much fun that we were forced - FORCED - to go out clubbing directly afterwards and have SO MUCH FUN dancing that my glasses flew off my face. Yes, THAT much fun!

A couple of weeks later I DID get some media coverage for my song, when John Peel played it on his Radio One Show. This was a MASSIVE deal and I missed most of it being played because everyone I knew IN ROCK was ringing me up to tell me about it. He introduced it saying “There’s been a lot of World Cup Singles arriving this week, some of them good, some of them terrible. Here’s one that arrived today.” It was a good while before I realised QUITE how ambiguous this was, but at the time i didn’t care - at LAST, I’d been played on John Peel! It’s difficult to compare a play on John Peel to ANYTHING now, it really was the be all and end all of THE INDIE, and though he would never again play one of my records that single broadcast meant that, like thousands of other bands over the years, I was able to claim “Peel Favourite” status on ALL press releases, posters, and indeed Christmas Cards.

Once Mr Peel had finished playing the record I did the logical thing and went to the PUB, expecting to SWAN AROUND being FAMOUS and REVELLING in my new PEEL FAVE status. As it happened I ended up sat in an old man’s pub with Tim and Prolapse Roadie Turk, talking about Cooling Towers. It’s safe to say that FAME was not quite what I’d imagined it to be.

November 20, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 24/5/98 - The Point, Oxford

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 3:14 pm

It’s always a bit weird watching old telly these days - like, if (for the sake of argument) you’re onto season three of Magnum on DVD and he’s wandering how on earth to find out whether the wealthy heiress really is a former fiancee of Robin Masters or actually a Soviet Spy it’s hard to understand why he doesn’t just google her. Similarly - come on Thomas, don’t waste time trying to fix TC’s helicopter so you can get over and save Rick from the burning Casino, just ring Higgins on your mobile and get HIM to do it. No WONDER you’re always so short of cash, you loveable goon you!

Because, strange as it may seem to us here in the FUTURE, there was a time when life wasn’t quite as super-whizzy and fantastic as it is now. Back in the late nineties we were on the cusp of the change, with the interweb just starting to make an impact on our lives. For me the first big thing was email lists - these are dying out now, but at the start of the interweb (by which I mean the interweb, not the ethanet - BACK, YOU GEEKS!) they were a BIG DEAL. You laboriously trekked through the approximately 200 pages that existed on the web at that time until you found a list of mail servers and what lists they maintained. Once you’d chosen the right one for you you sent them an email, and soon you were receiving around 10 messages a day from other enthusiasts. I first joined the blur mailing list, advert-l, and rather alarmingly found myself in discussion with very intense teenage girls with lecturer Dads who let them use their home access to University computer systems to cyber-dribble over Alex James. I then briefly moved on to the Billy Bragg list, but was chucked off for getting into an argument with an American “Communist” who would not believe that ANYBODY on the planet was more OPPRESSED than he was.

I soon found my true home, however, on the uk-indie mailing list, which at that time was full of people going to gigs every night, discovering exciting new bands like… er… Kula Shaker and David Devant And His Spirit Wife… and THRILLING to that perenial favourite “What actually IS Indie?” More than this though, it was a way for enthusiastic gig-goers and people in bands from all over the world to get in touch with each other and become friends. Nowadays it’s commonplace to have friends that you talk to on email every day but have never met, but back then it felt like you were surfing on the very tip of the cyber-wave, and when people fell in love and ended up getting married through email it was so new and rare that it made it onto the TV news. These days the only times it gets on telly is when it’s a dating agency advert.

We didn’t do much falling in love on uk-indie, but we DID do a lot of falling in PUBS, the direct result of which was that we started having PUB IDEAS like putting on our own gigs or releasing TAPES (like i say, it was the CUSP of The Future) featuring our own bands. In 1997 Mr Frankie Machine of AAS reknown had volunteered to compile a tape and had then spent about a YEAR badgering people into supplying him with material - since bands were INVENTED there have been compilation tapes, and they have ALWAYS started with high excitement and ended with some poor sod saying “PLEASE just record your bloody song and send it to me!” A million years from now ZOOT42 AND THE XYLONS will be PROMISING someone that their brain hologram of “Binary Baby 1101011″ will HONESTLY be finished soon, just as, back in the mists of time, He Who Hit Stone Hard was HIDING from He Who Make Compilation because he’d still not finished his masterpiece, “BANG BANG BANG (BANG)”.

However, he did finally get it all put together and so, to celebrate, we organised a gig in Oxford. Our most succesful member, Andy From The Bigger The God, lived there and it was also fairly handy for lots of people. The Bigger The God were booked to play, I WRANGLED myself onto the bill, and we asked a band called Széki Kurva if they’d like to come to.

I’d first played with them the year before with my old band, Voon, at The Bull & Gate. The next day I posted a long RANT about them on uk-indie and, in short succession, wrote the song “Bands From London (are shit)”, which goes like this:

Come on Joshua, come on Jemima
Drag the crowd from the gallery down
For my thesis on situationism
We’re gonna to form a rock and roll ban
We’ve got a name and we’ve got a theory
About where pop culture went wrong
We’ve got back projections and a glittery frock
All we ain’t got is songs

Because bands from London are shit
Bands from London are shit
We think we’re avant garde, but all we are
Is stuck-up inbred upper class twits

At the publishing company where i work
Is a guy who plays the guitar
He called to say that we should smash the state
From the phone in his company car
Sarah’s got a friend who works at the standard
Who says he will review our gig
We’re playing at Pamela’s mother’s party
Quaffing vodders until we are sick

Because bands from London are shit
Bands from London are shit
We think we’re well hard, but all we are
Is stuck-up inbred upper class twits.

We defy lower class laws of gender
Pretend we’re poor even though our guitars are all fenders
As Alternative Rockers, we are all in the debt
Of the architect of Art-Rock, Alanis Morisonette.

Because bands from London are shit
Bands from London are all shit.

As it turned out Széki Kurva weren’t EXACTLY like that, but BY GOLLY an AWFUL lot of Bands From London REALLY WERE and, funnily enough, they continue to be so to this very day. I should point out that the Bands From London referred to here are a SPECIFIC type that are, basically, like ALL Local Bands except that THEIR little knot of friends includes journalists and moneyed twits who form record companies and then INFLICT them on the rest of us. They play almost ENTIRELY within the M25, only venturing to the safe confines of Brighton or, ONCE, to somewhere in The Midlands where they’re so frightened to play in front of an actual audience that they split up IMMEDIATELY. Back then ROMO (ask your Grandad) had just swept through the indie nation like a dose of gastroenteritis, but nowadays the best place to find such bands is in Shoreditch.

A few years beforehand my REMARKS would have been made in a pub and that would have been the end of it, but here on the CLIFF-EDGE OF MODERNITY things had changed, and one of Széki Kurva was able to use Alta Vista Search to FIND my remarks, also my email address, and send me DARK THREATS OF VIOLENCE. For a fenland lad like me this was quite terrifying at first - how did he know so much about me? Could they REALLY be following me around, waiting for a chance to KNIFE me? - before I realised what was going on and chose instead to feel quite flattered by the attention. Rather than be QUIETED by this i decided the best course of action was to FACE UP to them, and invited them to come and play at the Oxford gig.

I’m really REALLY glad I did. They arrived just as me, Andy and Frankie were rehearsing our “all star band” version of “Lazarus”, with Charlie from Széki Kurva storming into the room like an ESSEX DALEK, alert, annoyed, and ready to EXTERMINATE. They went on first and were a REVELATION - when I’d seen them before I’d been bemused and annoyed by all their fripperies and stage extras, like dancers and lightshows and remote control cars, but as none of that had come with them this time it was just a MASSIVE RACKET with Charlie in the middle telling the entire room to FACK OFF. Between the HUGE NOISE the banter consisted mostly of offering FIGHTS to the audience. “COME ON! Who WANTS it?” he demanded. Full of beer and having a GRATE time i gleefully shouted back… and found that SUDDENLY the entire rest of the audience had taken TWO STEPS BACKWARDS.

Happily, this was NOT the start of a FITE but the start of a beautiful friendship that has lasted through to this very day, as it turned out that, quite apart from being a DANGEROUS ROCK LUNATIC the aforementioned Charlie is ALSO a lovely chap with an UNNERVING knowledge of both GUNS and MUSICAL THEATRE. His next band were, and is, The Fighting Cocks, which has kept up the shouting and swearing but blended it with girl groups and choreography - if you’ve never seen them, I’d heartily endorse doing so.

We actually ended up NEARLY releasing their first single through AAS - we were all ready to go when the band DISAPPEARED suddenly. Several months later we heard from them again - they’d signed up to a Proper Major Record Label to release the song and felt SO guilty about not doing it with us that they sent us a HUNDRED QUID finders fee. Thus it was the ONLY record we ever had anything to do with that made a profit!

Back at the gig we had no idea this was going to happen, so carried on as we were with the rest of us doing progressively more drunken sets ending up with about ten of us piling into a photobooth at Oxford Station and doing a raucous versions of The Songs Of Billy Bragg. No American Communists appeared, so we got on our trains and headed home, our destination - THE FUTURE.

November 15, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 24/2/1998 - The Blue Note, Derby

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 11:13 am

With Artists Against Success getting set up as a record label and my newfound determination to STRIKE OUT and trying doing gigs that WEREN’T within walking distance of my house, I was eager to take any gig that was going. THUS when Mr Frankie Machine asked me if I wanted to take a gig in Derby that his band couldn’t do, i was ready to SNAP it up.

Playing gigs in Derby has almost always been fun for me - as we’ll see later on, there have been exceptions, but mostly they’ve been GRATE. I’d recently played a rather nice one at The Victoria Inn - I’d had a pleasant gig during which i’d got a couple of LARFS from BANTER, the main act had been in a HUFF with me precisely because of this, the bar staff had given me free booze because of THAT, and on the way home we’d had some deep fried Christmas cake (nicer than you’d think) - so I was WELL UP for this one, and even more so when people kept telling me how PRESTIGIOUS it all was. Before this there hadn’t been a gig at The Blue Note for eight years, and so the fact that I was on as first support act meant I’d be the first to tread those hallowed boards in the best part of a decade, following on in the tradition of alumni like Joy Division and The Smiths. In fact it was SO prestigious that i got a bit scared, so Frankie said he’d come on and do a couple of songs with me, his BANJO acting as a comfort blanket.

We arrived at the venue to find the promoter standing around looking excited but befuddled, almost as if he’d never done this sort of thing before… our suspicions were first aroused when I asked “What time are we on?” and he said “Oh, I don’t know”, as if that was a question for somebody else. “Oh, all right then”, I said, “But what time do you think we’ll be soundchecking?”

He smiled - this was one he knew. “Well, it’s half past seven now, and we’ve got two full bands to soundcheck before you get on. So I expect it’ll all be done by eight o’clock.”

MY SPIDER-SENSE WAS TINGLING. Surely he meant to say “So i expect you’ll get a five second line check at about 9 o’clock and go straight on”? But no, he seemed to really believe that two local bands would be able to set their drums up, adequately prepare the settings on the “attack” dial, make the vocals “less tinny”, get the levels on the monitors so that each of them could hear only themselves, and then do one song for ten minutes before saying “No, i couldn’t hear the high hat” and repeating the whole process UNTIL THE END OF TIME, and have that all sorted within the next half hour.

At nine o’clock he was looking very upset indeed - the second band were still adjusting the gain on the bass amp. Apparently he HAD put on gigs before, but had somehow had his memory wiped of all salient facts. Still, by quarter past nine they’d finished and the DJ was testing his kit by playing The Hits Of Britpop - imagine the music you’d hear played at a wedding NOW, and that’s pretty much it. As he did so the the PA Guy was looking at us, so I assumed he was expecting us to get on with our soundcheck. We got up on stage, plugged ourselves in, and waiting to go, filling in time by HILARIOUSLY miming to the songs being played. Fifteen minutes later, after a particularly spirited version of “Lazarus”, I went over to the sound desk to ask if he was ready for us yet. “Oh, did you want a soundcheck?” he asked, in all innocence. He seemed to have thought we were a cut-down troupe of DANCERS, like a hairier Britpop PANS PEOPLE - either that or he TOO had had a mind wipe, and lost all knowledge of What Soundmen Do.

He wasn’t the only one - the promoter seemed to still be suffering from it, as every five minutes he’d wander in, look around to see if anything had started, tut, and stroll out again. He’d forgotten he was meant to be doing anything AT ALL - if this carried on he’d have forgotten where he lived by the end of the evening, so I pinned him down and got him to tell me - 9.25pm.

At 9.25pm I went onstage, leaned in to the microphone to start, and heard the promoter say over the loudspeakers “First band on in ten minutes!” Had he forgotten I was playing now? Just to be safe I stayed on the stage until the soundman turned the DJ off, and we were away - the first band to play The Blue Note in Eight Years! Now the weirdness would end, and the PRESTIGIOUS GOOD TIMES could commence!

Oh how wrong I was - i had neglected to consider the final section of the evening, THE AUDIENCE OF THE DEAD. Obviously, while we’d been body popping to Sleeper, the MEMORY DELETION had been going on at full tilt in the bar, and the audience had been also been MIND WIPED. Some genetic memory of Gig Etiquette must have remained, as they managed to stumble into the gig area, but then just stood looking AGOG at me and Frankie. I finished the first song and they stood there, GLARING, their brains FURIOUSLY trying to recall the correct response. To the right of me three skinny indie kids started to clap. Everybody else started at the sudden noise, then followed suit - it was like watching Well Meaning But Dim ALIENS trying to meld seemlessly into our human society. Or perhaps they’d been locked in here for the past eight years, waiting ever more desperately for another band to come while, all the time, knowing that their VERY HUMANITY was slowly ebbing away.

One thing they’d DEFINITELY forgotten (OR HAD WIPED) was the fact that it’s OK to leave if you’re not having a good time. There was a whole BAR stocked with BOOZE mere feet away from them, but instead they chose to stand, swaying slightly, glaring at me like 25 really REALLY disappointed zombie parents who’ve just got home from a heavy New Years Eve Party to find you’ve left half-eaten BRAINS in the stairwell. They did not understand how this had happened, but did not have the mental strength to deal with it, so there they stood.

When the gig had finished we packed our things away quickly, smiling all the while, and trying not to make any sudden movements. We decided, on balance, it was best NOT to hang around and chat, so slipped away into the night. Half an hour later I was sat on a sofa having a living room, wondering whether i too might come to FORGET everything that had passed this night.

Over eight years later, this has yet to come to pass, but they do say, on the Anniversary of that night, you can still hear the thud of the promoter’s footsteps, as he walks those prestigious steps, waiting for the main band to finish their encore…

November 13, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: Artists Against Success (continued)

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 11:50 am

Having your own record company is BRILLIANT, especially if you like SHOWING OFF. You’d think the best way to do this would be to be the lead singer in a band, but even HE can be TRUMPED if you stroll into the dressing room after a gig and say “Hi! I’m from The Record Company!” Especially if you have a cigar on the go at the time.

Having your own record company is also EASY PEASY. All you have to do is say “I’ve got a record company!” and that’s IT. You never even have to release anything, all you need is a NAME and, if at all possible, a LOGO. You can then stick the logo on posters or, these days, webpages, and everybody will believe you. The first attempt at making Artists Against Success into a record company was just that - me and a couple of friends who also recorded their own tapes simply put the AAS logo on our next releases. Why, if anybody apart from us had ever actually listened to them it might actually have worked!

The next attempt was a bit more THOROUGH. The first of my colleagues, Mr Francis Albert Machine, i had known through the email and also the band Sienna. As he’d been at the gig where I decided to start doing things myself (as discussed previously) I asked him if he’d like to join in. He said YES. We were joined by Mr Whitaker, who I’d met at a gig in London. As ever with my gigs in London back in those heady days of Britpop it involved me getting really quite drunk so that next day I said to my travelling companions on the way back to Leicester “I think I just agreed to start a record company with somebody.”

We arranged to get together and discuss tactics and, for a LARK, decided to have a written agenda. OH HOW HILARIOUS we thought we were being by putting things like “Mission Statement” and “Financial Report” on this agenda, and WHAT COMEDY, we thought, would ensue from taking actual minutes - imagine! MINUTES for a bunch of blokes in a pub!

It took all of ONE meeting to realise what a fantastic idea this really was. Organising people in bands is like trying to get rabbits to waltz - against nature, and do-able only with FORCE. However, by setting down an agenda and STICKING to it we were actually able to get things decided and by taking minutes with ACTION points we were all clear on what exactly each of us was meant to be doing from month to month. All right, we did still HILARIOUSLY include “discourage the growing of beards BOTH in men and women” in our Aims And Objectives document (we were in the pub), but we ALSO wrote out a full contract so that people in the bands we released would know from the start who was paying for what and what was expected from us and them.

It was a good way of keeping the trust of the bands, but mostly it was a really really good excuse for another trip to the pub to have photographs taken of bands signing contracts while we stood behind them, wearing suits and smoking cigars. We did this REALLY A LOT. We also held Annual General Meetings which all the bands were invited to, where we’d do PowerPoint Presentations of the financial reports and future projections and finish with a rousing rendition of The Company Song. Here’s those lyrics in full:

Chorus:
We’re Artists Against Success
Carrying the MESSAGE to THE KIDS, OH YES.
Artists Against Success
We defy THE MAN and all his Machinations

We’re not a label, we’re more like a franchise
We’re revolutionary but we still dress nice
We go to pubs for our regular board meetings
And we pride ourselves upon our tidy minute keeping

(chorus)

We’ve got a contract which is clear and GRATE
It’s validated with a stamp and gentlemanly handshake
It’s all very valid (though it’s not legally binding)
But it makes good reading and it still needs signing

(chorus)

A band with AAS retains its independence
Our clear financial policy negates any resentment
We know where all the money goes, we know what’s in the stock
It’s being bloody organised that makes us ROCK

(if you want to hear it in action, you can download it from the downloads section of the AAS Online Compilation Album)

These were REALLY good times. We each set up standing orders to pay for rubber stamps (which said “VALID”) and other ESSENTIAL Record Company items, but mostly so that once a year the three of us could go for a Record Company Away Day/Weekend, where we got as drunk as possible and discussed how fantastically brilliant we were. It was LOVELY.

We also released a few records, which in retrospect was where we went wrong. This was all in the days before there was much of an internet, and you relied on distribution companies to get our PRODUCT to people. If you meet anybody who’s ever run a record company please, PLEASE, do not mention Distribution to them as you will be stuck there for HOURS as they tell you ALL about it. Here’s the short version: distribution companies are supposed to take your records and persuade record shops to stock them. Unfortunately they’re not QUITE as excited about your records as you are, nor are they able to FORCE people to go into shops and buy them, so it’s very easy to get peed off with them, especially when they’re ALSO not quite as keen on answering the phone or paying invoices as you are. We moved around to different companies, ending up with one that rather suddenly went bust, leaving us quite considerably out of pocket. Worse than this, it left our bands out of pocket, as they always paid most of the costs (and got all of any profits) for their records, and we ended up paying them the money they were owed out of our own pockets.

This was all very upsetting, and coincided with a time when all of us were Moving On In Life. A year or so after this Mr Whitaker resigned on the very honourable grounds that he couldn’t be bothered any more, and the whole label gently withered after that. It’s still going to release our own material, but our days as record company moguls are behind us now.

It’s a shame, in a way, as it WAS terribly good fun, but some of it I shall never miss. Smoking cigars is horrible!

November 8, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: Artists Against Success (the early years)

Filed under: mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:16 pm

It’s a true FACT of my life that rotten gigs often lead to wonderful things … which luckily means I’ve had a LOT of wonderful things in my life. As I mentioned last time, one of these things was the formation of a record company, the name of which was Artists Against Success.

The name of the label causes some people terrible distress. “How can you be against SUCCESS?” they bleat. “Surely all musicians want to be succesful?” Well, it depends what you mean by “succesful” I guess - the name was originally used for a night I used to run at The Magazine, a brilliant pub in Leicester which has, like so many brilliant pubs in Leicester, now been knocked down and replaced by student residences. Personally i think Leicester could do with LESSENING the number of students nowadays and INCREASING the number of brilliant pubs, but hey! i am an ex-pat and obviously not to be listened to.

Anyway, the Mag was a fantastic place in the early nineties, where everybody in bands would go for beer and gossip. It was run by an Anarchist Collective, which meant that everything was painted in the anarchist colours of red and black, and so looked like you were inside Dennis The Menaces’ bedroom. Every available surface was coated in posters, either for local bands or Great Women In Black History, there were free condoms on the bar, the food was all vegan, and every policy decision was discussed at weekly staff meetings, where their accountant, Merlin, would produce financial reports on his Jupiter 32. It was a beautiful place, and perhaps it was inevitable that it wouldn’t last long - the day they allowed sausages on the menu was a porky death knell.

It wasn’t all beauty though - as I say, people from ALL kinds of bands would go, so along with us Young Indie Rebels there were a lot of FUNK bands, METAL bands, and general Soundcheck Fascists who’d spend HOURS getting the treble JUST right on the vocals, so that if Mr Big from Big Records came to see them he’d be impressed by their Professional Attitude. These people saw “success” as the ONLY reason for being in a band, and by this they meant making money. If you want to make money from being in a band it’s very simple - form a covers band and play the clubs. Otherwise get a proper job to pay for the BEER, have some FUN, and make music you actually WANT to, rather than that which will ADVANCE your CAREER. To put it another way, you can be Johnny Borrell, or you can be John Otway.

I decided, quite logically, that the thing to do was ANNOY these sort of people right back, so when I started up a regular night of my own in The Mag’s upstairs room I called it “Artists Against Success” and printed MANIFESTOES as posters which basically SLAGGED OFF half the people in the pub, loudly proclaiming the superiority of drunken incompetence over technical EPTNESS. Dave, the Landlord of The Mag (although, of course, he never used such a feudal patriarchal term himself) thought this was GRATE, as he had to put up with those sort of idiots every day, so gave me a page in the pub’s own newsletter in which I banged on about it even further, decrying ability and applauded ham-fisted negligence of instruments. It was VERY OBVIOUSLY meant to be humorous, but the po-faced funk goons were ENRAGED, and DEMANDED to know how on EARTH i could be so anti-musical.

I’d like to say the actual gigs were a FLAMING TORCH OF PUNK INTEGRITY but, actually, they were even more drunkenly inept than I’d claimed. On one notable occasion I was too pissed to stand up so sat down to play… and fell off my stool. There were usually less people in the audience than on stage , and on the final evening I had to scour local pubs looking for the actual performers, who were hiding from me.

We did have one moment of GREATNESS, mind you. Many moons ago in Leicester there was an event called The Abbey Park Festival, usually a stage in a local park where local bands would play one Saturday in front of surprisingly large amounts of local people. It was traditional for bands to send in demo tapes and then spend the rest of the year moaning about the fact that they’d not go play - simple MATHS meant that only a few of the MANY bands around at that time would get on the bill, but it was a LOT more fun to make out it was a gigantic conspiracy. Shortly after I’d started the AAS nights I sent in my tape as usual, including a bit of biographical information in it, details of AAS and also of the… er… Rock Opera i was writing.

Let’s not get into that. Move on.

A couple of days later I got a call from the Abbey Park organiser, who’d obviously read my letter at high speed. “Yes, we’re very interested in this Artists Against Success Musical you’re writing!” she said. “Er… oh yes?” I answered. “Yes! We love the fact that you’re getting all these people from different bands to write a musical and we’d love to put it on - what’s it about?” “Um… The History of Life on planet earth from start to finish?” “BRILLIANT! You can perform it in Town Hall Square, we’ll sort out the PA and lights, and we’ll send you some expenses money!”

A contract to perform this musical soon arrived so I spent the next weekend rounding up everyone I knew in Leicester bands and persuading them that a) it was a good idea and b) they should take part because c) I’d signed the contract by then. We put everyone’s name in a hat and then randomly drew them out into NEW, different bands. We then changed everyone around so that there were no bands with 5 drummers and people who hated each other weren’t playing together. That bit took an especially long time. Once that was done we gave each group a couple of sections of history to write about and then off everyone went to get on with it.

It was beautiful - for the next two weeks practice rooms were full of brand new bands writing brand new songs, and the pubs RANG with chatter of this new experiment. Come the day itself everything went off perfectly, as we presented an hour of slightly deranged shouting about life as it had been lived on planet earth, and I must say I think the confused old lady, three toddlers and the SEVERAL passing shoppers who saw it enjoyed it very much.

My favourite thing of ALL though was when we all went to the pub afterwards and I spent all the money we’d been given on THE BIGGEST ROUND EVER. HOORAH! It was a proud achievement, and one we were not to equal. The next year a much smaller group of us performed “Leicester’s GRATE!” in the corner of a pub to much lesser effect, but by then things had changed - the scene, as described elsewhere, felt like less fun, and I was off and away to the bright lights of London and DERBY, where the record company version of AAS was starting to form.

November 6, 2007

My Exciting Life In Rock: 12/11/2007

Filed under: mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:25 pm

There’s no such thing as a “wasted gig”. A lot of times you’ll go out to play, full of hope and excitement, wondering what THRILLS await you this time - a massive crowd who all LOVE you? a rush for the merchandising stand? Mr Big, from Big Records, nodding appreciatively in the corner? - only to arrive to find a promoter telling you you need to go on at 4.30pm, in the shed next door, and that you owe him a fiver.

In my early bands we used to call gigs like that “good practice”, and we were right. They were excellent practice for doing really crappy gigs, and we got REALLY GOOD AT IT. If there was an ill-attended gig going on with the ambience of a leaking garage, then we would probably be there. We were the EXPERTS.

So no, I don’t mean that a crappy gig is unwasted because it lets you HONE your ONSTAGE CHOPS - there is a LOT more to doing gigs than just going on stage and playing, and anybody who says otherwise is one of those dreary sods who take an hour to soundcheck so that the guitar sound is EXACTLY RIGHT and then is surprised to find that nobody notices. I always think that if you want to do a gig JUST for the sake of playing music then the best venue for you is what we call A PRACTICE ROOM. There you can spend as long as you like twiddling with the “attack” settings (this is a dial that does NOTHING, it’s there to distract lead guitarists) and doing “special” tunings (I MEAN SPECIAL IN THE RUDE WAY) and if you really really want to you can even “jam”. It will doom your eternal soul to Satan if you do so, but hey! If you MUST play the same thing for an hour while grimacing, then the Practice Room is the place to do it.

If on the other hand you want to do a gig in order to meet people, drink beer, dance around, or frankly SHOW OFF and HAVE ADVENTURES then, as I say, there really is no such thing as a wasted gig. Take this one for example, which happened at The Physio & Firkin in Leicester, right at the very end of the time when Firkin pubs were a proper chain. Younger Readers may not remember them, but their appeal was twofold: they had proper beer, and they had the word “Firkin”. When you went to the toilet it wasn’t JUST the toilet, it was the “Firkin Toilet”. DO YOU SEE? Posters said “Are you looking at my FIRKIN PINT?” HOW WE LAUGHED - truly, it was a simpler time, we had to do SOMETHING while we waited for someone to invent text messaging.

I’d booked the gig myself as a return leg of the gig I’d done a few weeks before in Derby with Rob’s band Sienna and so put a lot of effort into publicising it - I spent one Saturday afternoon doing the circuit of Places In Leicester That Take Posters and I printed up loads and loads of flyers, which I handed out a gigs for weeks before hand and pressed into the hot hands of every single person I knew who went to gigs in Leicester. Come the big night I had a mental list of everyone who’d said they’d come, and was gleefully wondering if they’d need to put on extra bar staff to cope with the rush.

I needn’t have worried - not a single one of them came. NOBODY. You know how sometimes there’s nobody at a gig, then suddenly a huge crowd come bustling in, filling the room with laughter and relief? That didn’t happen.

The first act was George, who I then knew only as a pal of Ian The Promoter, and during his set a MAD PERSON came in. We knew he was mad because he was doing that wibbly kneed stagger that the more frizzly haired mad person does, also because he wobbled around the room NODDING at Excellent Points made by various bar stools, then wibbled out. We decided that, with the best will in the world, we couldn’t count him as audience. George was so traumatised by the experience it was nearly TEN YEARS before he played a solo gig again.

I went on next and played to Ian The Promoter (who’d put it on), my friend Neil (who’d come to help manage the door!), and the band Sienna (a GOOD THING about playing solo gigs is that if there’s no audience, at least you’ve got more people watching you than the main band - it’s MATHS). I ploughed on through, Sienna went on, I apologised PROFUSELY, and then we all headed off home into the night.

It could have ended there and I could have thought “Nobody wants to see my gigs, i must be rubbish at them, therefore i will STOP” and maybe I would have gone off and invented thrilling new kinds of database instead. Instead of that, however, i SAW THE LIGHT. For the past couple of years I’d been doing my bit as a Dutiful Member Of The Leicester Scene. I’d been to nearly ALL of the gigs that other bands had played, I’d paid on the door, I’d stood my rounds - if the local Old Man’s Music Magazine had an award for DUTIFUL SCENE MEMBER OF THE MONTH it would have been MINE on a semi-consecutive basis. But for what? I was still giving other people gigs, and never getting any in return. I was handing out demo tapes for free, which nobody even bothered to listen to, and when I put on a gig which didn’t feature other Leicester bands, none of them turned up.

It was time for things to change, and change they did - I realised there were other places to play outside Leicester, and NICE PEOPLE in other places who’d put me on. I also saw that, BY GOLLY, i could wait all my life for a kind samaritan to start turning those cassettes into albums, or I could stop hanging around and GET ON WITH IT MYSELF.

So that’s what I did - full of RIGHTEOUS IRE me and Neil went clubbing, and the events of that night became a song, “Clubbing In The Week”, which was the first single on the record label I formed with Rob from Sienna, which led to forming my lovely band and pretty much every other GRATE thing that would happen to me over the course of the next 10 years, all because I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and go and get DRUNK.

I think there’s a moral in that for all of us. Pint?

November 2, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 6/11/2007

Filed under: mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 6:37 pm

People quite often say to me “And what’s the WORST gig you’ve ever done then?” I’d like to think they ask it to compare to the SPLENDOUR and MAJESTY of my usual performances, but it may actually be because they can’t believe ANYTHING could be worse than what they’ve just seen me do. When other bands get asked this they tend to say “Oh, the Montreal Megadome - only a thousand people in, Sebastian played a D minor 7th instead of a D minor 7th diminished in the third movement, and only two encores! GHASTLY!” I, however, tell this story.

Back back back in the 1990s I was a member of various groups, one of which was The Fabians. It was a LOOSE COLLECTIVE OF MUSICIANS.

No, come back, it’s all right, there will be no WORLD MUSIC here today. We were a Loose Collective because we were never sure who’d be turning up to gigs, and when there we were never entirely clear on what we were supposed to be playing. This was partly because we didn’t have normal songs - the band was run by Jimmy The Kung Fu Cookery Teacher (now better known as Jimmy McGee of The Bobby McGees) who had vague ideas about some music people could play while he told stories or recited POETRY. I know, it sounds bloody awful, but somehow it really WORKED. I acted as LIEUTENANT, standing behind Jimmy and NODDING or pulling faces at other members of the band when it was time to change BITS, and people seemed to really enjoy it. I specifically remember one gig in Leicester when some kind soul came over to me and said “How does it feel to be in a band that people actually LIKE, at last?”

It felt GOOD, but like all good things it had to end in drunken shame and embarrassment in front of a group of children and disappointed parents. We’d been booked to play a gig at The Shed, which at that time was Leicester’s main place for Local Bands to play their first gig in front of 50 friends, second a week later to 30 of them, and then split up in an empty room the next weekend when they’re first on at the all dayer. As ever with The Fabians people were wishy washy about how many of them could turn up, but it was still a surprise to arrive and find that only myself, Jimmy, and my friend Neil had arrived.

Jimmy had told us that the gig had been sorted out by some friends of his - I assumed this meant some ROCK MATES, but actually it was the Music Teacher at the school where he taught Home Economics, and the other band on were doing it as part of the GCSE coursework.

Thus I went on first on my own, to play second support to somebody’s homework. Did I put on a brave face and emerge triumphant? No, I died on my arse. I could have done things a bit differently, indeed a bit better - some would say drinking four pints of Guiness before starting was foolish, I would say it was essential, and others might argue that maybe if I’d looked around the room a bit more and realised it was full of Pushy Parents then i WOULDN’T have chosen to start with “Fucking Hippy” (chorus: “You Fucking Hippy!”) but hey! We all make mistakes, and I’m sure STING finds himself screaming drunken profanities at kindergartens on a regular basis on the Police Reunion Tour.

Afterwards I skulked off to sit in a dark corner downstairs, where the regular JAM NIGHT was going on. As is and always will be the case, a JAM NIGHT never involves any Jamming, although I do remember one marvellous night when I saw two lads scare the living dayights out of the local Jazz Bore On Jam Night by interrupting his extended version of Van Morrison’s Moondance (even shitter than the original - amazing but true) to ACTUALLY JAM with him. I’ll never forget his TERRIFIED FACE as they leapt around playing HEAVY METAL while he GRIPPED his keyboard like the last plank of the Good Ship Jazz, wrecked in the Punk Rock Straits.

Anyway, watching a bunch of gits applaud each other for MASTERING THE TWELVE BAR BLUES didn’t cheer me up, and nor did having to stand up again in front of twenty icy faced stalwarts of the PTA while we accompanied Jimmy’s -suddenly more sweary - lyrics on bass, drum machine, and synth, especially when Neil got bored and made the synth do THE SOUNDS OF NATURE.

To the deafening sound of GLARES we finished with the song “Daycare Centre”, a traditional set-closer for my old band VOON, which consisted of us turning everything up, tuning everything sideways, then leaping around making a bloody racket while screaming “DayCare Centre” for EITHER ten minues OR until the landlord came over for a quiet word. Contrary to expectations this DIDN’T turn the whole night around, and ten minutes later we were packed up and sitting quietly watching the main event looking thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. You can only watch a small girl struggle to reach a cymbal with a drumskit for so long before it stops being funny, so I went downstairs again to watch the “Jamming” and wondered if maybe I’d been wrong - maybe my future WAS in faithful cover versions of “Wonderwall” and “The Passenger”?

I got back upstairs to find Neil ready to go and Jimmy with a MASSIVE grin on his face. “What’s happened?” I asked.

“The Landlord came over for a word - we’re BANNED from ever playing here again!”

RESULT!

Powered by WordPress