Friday, 15 May 2009



The worst thing about being a musician is the time off. Seriously. Sure, being on the road has its ups and downs, but the one thing you never really have to deal with is boredom. Generally speaking, time spent at 'home' can be filed under different categories, relating to how you are communally intending to spend your free time.
Theres' "rehearsing time", "recording time" and there's "writing time", but never really such a thing as time off.
The implications of a performing 'artist's career path are such that any free time should, ideally, be used for gestation. A time to dream up wild and imaginative ways to further and expand one's creative output.
But in truth, most of one's time is spent sitting on the sofa or in front of a computer screen, sheepishly observing one's peers making their honest livings and feeling all the more exceptionally guilty for it.

So, in order to prove (to myself more than anyone else) that I have made some profitable use out of the past couple of moths since we have been back home, i thought i would take a break from the recent 'trends in alternative music' thread and do a video post.

First off, a band William recently turned me onto, following in the vein of some of the more psychedelic disco inspired sounds we have been getting on down to lately. SPARKS.
Equally as recognizable for thier 'third reich-meets-Withnail and I' looks as for their completely unpredictable, genre-bending recorded output, Sparks' career has covered over 5 decades and amounts to 11 studio LPs.
Although stylistically speaking they have left virtually no stone unturned, they are, arguably, best recognized for their Electro-pop sounding material made with Giorgio "i feel love" Morroder at the tail end of the 70s.
"Tryouts for the human race" is the first track off their "No1 in heaven" record and is, as im sure you'll agree, positively crackers.

Here they are on Top of the Pops in 1979.

A brief look back into history warns us that collaborations in pop music can be rather hit or miss. For every Pet shop boys featuring Dusty Springfield (magic!), there is a Santana featuring Rob thomas (fail!).
FOURTET has made some of the best electronic music of the past ten years, and has killed it on the multiple occasions i've seen him live too. I still have fond memories of my university days when myself and fellow students would spend sundays evenings hotboxing my room watching Chris Morris Boxsets to the soundtrack of 'Rounds'.

BURIAL, to his credit, pretty much single handedly revived dubstep, for which he either deserves a whole lot of high fives or slaps in the face, depending on your school or thought.
But together? AT THE SAME TIME?! I have to say i'm not sold. I don't know if its the Lip synching Dog or the kaleidoscope inspired visuals in this (hopefully fan made) promo video, but something here just ain't right.
As a rule, music that can trigger flashbacks to happy memories in my life, is good music in my book. But this shit is triggering flashbacks to memories that either haven't happened yet or aren't mine and im not sure it's a place i want to visit to tell the truth. I'm seeing sweaty men with mullets dancing with wolves in a deserted squat somewhere - possibly Hackney Wick. The Suns coming up. The children are coming out to play. I want to go home. HELP.

One of the few achievements of my young life which i am most proud was Pat sharp agreeing to do the radio talkover adverts for two doors down. Looking back however, i cant help but wish we asked Noel Edmunds.
THIN LIZZY were a band who enjoyed such a fortune when they appeared on top of the Pops in 1973 for the first time(then presented by a permed young Mr Edmunds), with their rendition of traditional Irish folk song "Whiskey in the Jar".
Growing up, i was never really into rock music with a capital R(and capital W), and until recently had wrongly - and ashamedly - dismissed thin lizzy as a Chugging hair metal stadium band from the eighties. And how very wrong i was. To be fair, they are widely recognized as being the fathers of the twin guitar solo, but before recruiting Gay Moore in the late seventies, Thin lizzy were a critically acclaimed and credible outfit, and incorporated a lot of different elements into their sound. John Peel himself is commonly credited as giving the band their first break early on in Radio 1's history at the start of the seventies.
In spite of their success pretty much everywhere in the world, Lizzy went through many awkward personnel changes in their career, and finally split ways at reading festival in 1983. Talk of a reunion in 1986 was quickly put to rest when lead singer Phil Lynott died from multiple organ failure due to drug dependency.

Pretty sad ending. But Unfortunately the worst is yet to come.

BADFINGER were not, as i had yet again unfairly dismissed them, a punk ska skater band from the west coast of America, but in fact a pop band from Britain, formed in the late sixties. At the time hailed by the national press as the Beatles successors', for one reason or another, Badfinger never quite hit the dizzy heights that they seemed destined for. One reason probably being that Pop music made rather a bold leap forward in the seventies into disco and cock rock, leaving a lot of the blues and folk inspired bands behind in the dark.
But the more obvious reason Badfinger never succeeded in reaching their potential is rather more Sinister.
Pete Ham, the band's lead singer and principal songwriter took his own life in 1975, drawing the bands career to sudden holt. And rather horrifically, bass player Tom Evans followed suite in 1983.

Although their first single, "Come and get it" had been written for them by Paul McCartney, the majority of people don't even know that Badfinger's most well known song, "Without you" was written by them. Made famous by Harry Neilson (and later Mariah Carey plus every other X factor asshole since), the song and its lyrics seem to spookily and ironicaly pre-empt the band's own sad ending.


God Bless and good night