DREAM ON – with Atticus Myst, lead guitarist of Belgian sleaze rockers Mr.Myst

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‘While sitting here on my very cool porn-red sofa, drinking a Jack ‘n’ Coke I’ll give you the coolest interview ever!...OK  go ahead and give it your best shot…
‘My name is Mr. Atticus Myst and I’m the guitar player, songwriter and founder of the Belgium Sleaze rock ‘n’ rollin’ band Mr. Myst. On vocals we have Mr. JSD, on bass Mr. Demolition and on drums Mr. Pervert and he didn’t steal his name. We’re based in Ostend Rock City on the Belgian Coast’.

Who were your influences in music ? ‘I have a lot of influences in music. But I think Aerosmith and Guns ‘n’ Roses are the biggest. I’m a very big Slash and Joe Perry fan. If you talk about rock ‘n’ roll they are the main influences in all our songs. I also listen to a lot of very old Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper. The other day I’m in my Hardcore Superstar mood… In all my songs you can hear the influence of what I was listening to that day. No direct copy but just the thought “man why didn’t I wrote that riff it’s so cool”…
For example the song His Little Sister I was listening on a daily basis to Purple’s Burn while with Jack D (the first song for the upcoming record). I was listening to SlashStand Up’.

How did you get involved in playing music ? ‘That’s a funny story and totally Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was in 2004, I was 13 years old and my parents took me to an event called Night Of The Proms. That was the first time in my life I saw some real rockstars. That night I saw Joe Cocker, Zucchero, James Brown, John Miles. It was amazing. I told my mom when I grow up I want to be like them! She said “you’re crazy, just get a day job and make sure you can pay your bills”. She won, but 2 weeks after Night Of The Proms my grandmother bought my first guitar. And look at me now. I have a day job but I’ve played daily on my guitar since 2004. I played in bands since I was 18 and had a lot of fun so far! We all have those big dreams when we are kids, but the main part of playing in rock n roll bands is to have fun with people you can call more than friends!’

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When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘I started in my first band Tyraniz when I was 17. We played Deathcore with female vocals and did a couple of small gigs but stopped 2 years later. Then I was in a Black Metal band called Asatru, cool band! We did the support once for Pretty Maids. (interview on this blog with Ricky Marx from Pretty Maids, Euro Rock September 15th 2017). It took me 4 gigs to know I didn’t want to play black metal but rock ‘n’ roll. Our bass player played Black Metal music as well in a band called Mortifer. Our drummer has a big career. He was in Spoil Engine for their first 2 records. Did some big festivals and support for Motorhead in Vorst National (Brussels).
Now with Mr. Myst we do a lot of gigs all over Belgium. Some big shows and a lot of club and bar gigs. We’ve played in Netherlands, France and Germany. This year we want to get to Spain, the UK, Austria and Switzerland’.

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Where do the ideas come for your songs ? ‘It depends on the mood. Most of the songs are about woman. Real life experiences, from crazy and horny girls to break-ups. We have a ballad called Jessica based on the tv show True Blood. She was the beautiful redhead. His Little Sister was a song I wrote to mess with my best friends boyfriend. I dated his little sister for a couple of weeks. Stand Up is a song about women who think they can lead their man like a dog on a leash. While Jack D is about having a lot of fun and drinking Jack Daniels.’

What are your experiences of recording/studio work ? ‘We’ve had very good experiences with studios. The first CD I recorded by myself as we didn’t have money to buy studio time. Now we sold all copies in one year and went to somebody I knew that worked in Producing. The studio is called Shell Shock Studio and I can tell you, Pieter is a sweet and cool guy to work with. If he likes a part he’s excited, if he doesn’t like it he says maybe you have to change that part, it gets kinda boring. That was all fine by me, the only thing I didn’t like was he said maybe you should half that solo, it’s too long. Dude I was listening to Steve Vai that day… but he won. It sounds killer now!’

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Have you recorded any TV appearences or filmed any music videos ? ‘We have 3 music videos running at this time. Jack D, Red Light District and Jessica. Red Light is the title track for the upcoming album. It’s the coolest video we have, we recorded most of that video in a real Sex Club. That was pretty awesome! We also once did a commercial for Spotify in one of the cellphone networks called Base. Just 3 seconds but hey we did it’.

Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘Where do we start, haha every gig is funny. In our early years our first drummer Mr. Animal ran away during the show. He said this is a shithole I don’t wan’t to play anymore. So we asked the crowd can somebody drum. The drummer from the band Ethernal Breath came to the stage and we just jammed out Breaking The Law by Priest and Paranoid by Sabbath. Even if there are 10 people in the crowd we play a show like we’re playing Download festival or something. At the end of December 2015 we did the support for the Quireboys. I had to admit, that was a stressfull night. Spike is like a big hero for me for years. When they arrived he came out of that van with a fur coat, bandana, eyeliner and a big smile saying “where’s the fucking venue”. Later that night we hung out with Spike, had a lot of drinks and he told us some big storys.’

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What are the future plans for the band ? ‘Well first of all our CD released on the 24th of February 2018. We’ll do some shows for promotion and some summer fests. We hope to do a little tour around some countrys, a new music video and off course to have a lot of fun with the guys and crew, cause without them, I would just be a guitar player with a lot of tunes in my head!’

‘There you go man, maybe a lot of words, but no bullshit!’

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Contact the band on their official website and via social media:
http://www.mrmyst.com 
http://www.facebook.com/mrmyst
 instragam.com/mrmyst_official 

Interview by Gary Alikivi January 2018.

Recommended:

Danny McCormack, THE MAIN GRAINS: Death or Glory 8th September 2017.

LAST GREAT DREAMERS: Looking For A Kiss 26th November 2017.

WILDHEART: Looks That Kill 2nd January 2017.

 

BLINDED BY THE NIGHT – interview with metal band Dark Rites

Guitarist Wojtec Widuch introduces the band… ‘Dark Rites was formed by drummer Randy and I in early 2016. We used to play together in quite a few bands back in late 90`s and early 2000`s. After a few years break we decided to start fresh with new ideas and new energy. Around June 2016 Oskar joined us on vocals, the whole line up was complete and we could focus on writing and recording music for our first album. We are dispersed all over the world at the moment. I live in the UK, Randy is in USA and Oskar in Sweden, so it is an international project, but thanks to technology we can still work together, rehearse and communicate on a daily basis. At the moment we are a studio band because of the distance, but after releasing our second album we will be looking to playing live’.

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Checking their You Tube channel I came across ‘Hail of the Slain’. Hit play. It’s loud. The dogs in the street are howling. I turn the volume down. Still loud. An onslaught of brutal power. It reminds me of a Motorhead gig I went to at Newcastle City Hall in 2004. After showing my ticket to the doorman I walked straight ahead to the large doors of the venue. Music was pounding. The support band were already on. Who was it? As I opened the door my head jolted back. The sound wrapped around my whole body. What the feck is this? I stood at the back of the hall and got my bearings. Last time here was for a charity gig of songs and sketches from Tyneside actors Tim Healy, Jimmy Nail, Kevin Wheatley and former AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson singing ‘Nutbush City Limits’….a canny Sunda’ afternoon entertainment. But this, this was my first live experience of thrash metal. This was loud. Bone crunching loud. This was Sepultura. And Motorhead are coming on later …and louder!!!

Back to the interview, who were your influences Wojtec ? ‘I can say that we are very open minded when it comes to music genres, so there is no a specific genre we want to stick to or listen to. Metal in general is our influence, but saying that Randy is really into the more extreme side of the genre. He likes his black and death metal but also into NWOBHM and bands like Iron Maiden. I started my journey through the metal world with Judas Priest then I was slowly progressing towards bands like Vader, Dark Funeral and In Flames. Oskars favourite metal genre is definitely Melodic Death Metal, he is really digging it and you will be able to hear it on our next album which we`re working on at the moment’.

How did you get involved in playing music ? ‘In our case it was a sort of dream big. We started listening to Metal in our early teens, and hearing all this power coming out of the speakers, seeing our idols of that time on stage performing live was something incredible. So we decided that we wanted to be one of those guys on stage and that’s how it all started. First with basic equipment somewhere in a garage, first gigs, first little demos recorded in really poor quality. But it was all fun with no YouTube video tutorials how to play but instead with just your ears and good mates playing our first power chords’.

Where do the ideas come for your songs ? ’I compose all the sketches of the songs, and my way of working in the studio is basically through rehearsing and jamming. I like when it all comes together very naturally, without forcing it. I never have a plan for a song, saying, ok now I need a fast song to put on the album and this is what I`m going to write now. If we like a riff, I record it and I work around it, but if I feel like I can`t progress with it, I`ll leave it and go back to it later. When the sketch of the song is done I will pass it on to Randy so he can get the drums ready and give me his opinions. Then finally Oskar will get his lyrics and vocals done at the end’.

How has the internet impacted on music ? ‘Internet is a great thing to promote Independent music and Independent artists. On our way we have met some amazing people through the internet. Radio DJ`s, presenters and promoters who, without any money will help you to start in this business. We have a YouTube channel which is a great way to share our music videos. We have our own Facebook page with almost 6,000 likes where we can share all the important band information. We also run a Dark Rites Official Group on Facebook where we encourage people to share their own music, their favourite bands and anything to do with music’.

What are your experiences of recording/studio work ? ‘Back in the day we paid a lot of money for a day or two in the studio to record our songs. It was very expensive and the quality was not always what we wanted due to lack of time. With Dark Rites we decided that we will record in our own home recording studios and this way we will achieve exactly what we want. So, recording, mixing and mastering is all down to us’.

Have you recorded any TV appearences or filmed any music videos ? ‘We released a few music videos on our YouTube channel to the songs from our first album and also a tribute cover of Iron Maiden song Wicker Man’.

What are the future plans for Dark Rites ? ’As I said previously, we are working on our second album at the moment. All the songs are written and we are putting the vocals together. Mixing and mastering will take some time but we hope that by mid 2018 the album will be ready for release together with some merchandise. We will be looking to play some live gigs and promote our music as much as we possibly can’.

Contact the band on social media:
Facebook: @darkritesband
Youtube: http://www.darkrites/c/youtube.com

Interview by Gary Alikivi January 2018.

P.S. The Motorhead gig in 2004 was raw. Lemmy played the ‘Is it loud enough for ya’ game. What do you think the response was. ‘Ace of Spades’ left the building, headed down to the Quayside, bounced back off the Tyne bridge, ricoched off St James’ Park then flew back into the City Hall just in time for ’Overkill’. Which did exactly that. Goodnight Newcastle.

Recommended:
Kat Gillham: Highway to Hell, 31st October 2017.
OBSIDIAN: Bomb Tracks, 8th January 2017.

 

TAKE NO PRISONERS – interview with UK Power metal band Black Forge

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Black Forge are a three piece band from Somerset, UK… ‘We have a real mixture of influences from Motorhead, Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity even System of a Down. We do love 3 piece stuff though, so any power-trio gets special attention from us every time’.
Full line up is Chris Pilmore (bass) Chris Phillips (drums) and Matt Walpole (vocals and guitar) who takes up the story…’We got asked to play a wedding (yeah a wedding!) out in the sticks in deepest darkest Somerset near where we live. They said to play our ‘normal’ set, don’t change anything for the wedding they said, so we did just that. The highlight was the congregation including the bride’s grandmother, well into her 80’s, bopping to our cover of Dope’s ‘Die Motherfucker’.
(Checked it out …not exactly Rage Against the Machine ‘Killing in the Name’ but in that ball park with lyrics…..’I don’t need your forgiveness, I don’t need your hate, I’m not sorry… Bang your dead’‘Then as if it couldn’t get any weirder at the same wedding a burlesque dancer took her clothes off while we played the backing music! It was proper hard to concentrate with nipple tassels twirling around next to you I can tell you!’

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How did you get into music ? ’I’ve been noodling around on guitar since I was 9 and I think it was seeing Guns n Roses at Wembley Stadium when I was 11 that stirred something inside. I also played in a few college bands through my teens. I then joined the Army and hardly jammed for over 10 years. It was during a tour of Afghanistan when it really dawned on me how ingrained in me my love of metal was. My iPod kept me sane for all those months as no matter where I was I could find my own sanctuary. When I moved back to the UK from Cyprus I started going to gigs and before long the bug bit me again and I had to get myself playing. So I got some refresher lessons on the ol’ geetar and met Chris Pilmore on the internet and we just started thrashing stuff out. Bit of covers, bit of writing, neither of us had done anything like this before and the rest as they say is history’.

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When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘We just started playing locally to start with. Like I said we weren’t ‘connected’ in anyway, we knew literally no-one of influence, so we’ve had to play the long game to get into some of the venues and festivals we play now. We started in pubs and bars in the south west, often centered around Bristol and began very slowly to build a following and work our way out. We’ve been up to Yorkshire, Birmingham and Leicestershire and done a fair bit in South Wales since then’.

Are there any other musicians/bands who you admire ? ’I’m not gonna list famous bands that we’re fans of because ultimately I don’t really know how or what those bands went through to get where they are. But I do see a fuck load of bands on the underground scene who regularly blow my mind with talent that dwarfs anything the X-Factor can produce, yet don’t get the recognition they deserve. Many of them we are pleased to call our friends. Like Fury from Worcestershire – amazing powermetally kind of thing. We’ve supported them a few times and I’m consistently blown away by the virtuosity, and songwriting craft of this band. Witch Tripper are relatively new still, but fuck me those boys have rocketed through the underground scene through nothing other then pure graft. They have toured and toured almost all year, solidly, and I know they’ve made serious sacrifices to keep it going. But what a live act and what killer riffage…. love em. Their success thus far is wholey deserved’.

Where do the ideas come for your songs ? ’Anyway and everywhere really. On Your Conscience which has yet to be properly recorded and is our normal opener, was penned while I was in Afghanistan and is a serious dig at the sinister side of soldering. The acts of war and killing that society actively creates and encourages but accepts no consequence for. Whereas I am the Dark is the soundtrack for any nightmarish ghoul and is very much a piece based on fantasy horror and imagination. So much less profound but still just as fun to play. But whatever we create it is always from the heart. It may sound cheesy, but its the truth. We write and create what WE would like to listen to ourselves, its genuine and we couldn’t be any other way. We love the fact that our music appeals to people, but it’s us that must believe in it first and foremost otherwise we’d just be phoning it in – and as far as I’m concerned that is the worst sin of all in music’.

What is your experiences of recording/studio work ? ‘Arrrrrgh! Its tough. First we are a live band. That’s why we started playing music. So the studio is not somewhere where we feel at home. Although we love the results once all the hard work is done. We find it hard because as a live band we’re used to adapting, improvising, going with the flow, but in a studio you’ve got to be clinical. 100% accurate otherwise the playback will magnify all your imperfections 10 fold. So we work hard beforehand to ensure our shit is together before we start work. The other thing is that as an underground band funds are always tight and recording is done to budget, which always increases pressure on getting stuff down quickly so as not to waste what little funds we have available. But that’s life for most if not all bands nowadays, as I think the days of record labels simply chucking millions of pounds around for young bands to record albums in LA with lines of cocaine and 75 hookers are definitely on the decline. We’re usually grateful for free coffee and a hobnob!’.

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Have you filmed any TV appearences or music videos ? ‘Na – no TV as yet. With the exception of our drummer (Chris Phillips) we’re not exactly a pretty band. All bald and hairy! So TV stations are not queing up to get our mugs on the box just yet. We’ve definitely got the perfect faces for radio! But we are in the process of working on 2 videos for I Am the Dark and Into the Blackness, both tracks from our debut EP. These will be ready soon hopefully’. (Listening to a live version of ’Into the Blackness’ the track was loaded with heavy bludgeoning riffs via Anvil/early Black Sabbath. Matt’s vocals sound like he’s been gargling a jar of metal filings while the bass and drums pummel the song to the finish. You get the feeling that every song will be beaten into submission).

What are the future plans for Black Forge ? ’We love doing this, and we would love to continue growing our friends and fans so that we can keep bringing our #purewestcountrymetal to the world until one or all of us drops dead. On a more recent projection, we’ve got a new EP in the pipeline for 2018 and we’ll be hitting the festivals hard’.

To contact the band check out the pages on social media – Facebook, Instagram and on You Tube.

Interview by Gary Alikivi December 2017.

Recommended:
WARFARE: No One Gets Out Alive, 8th October 2017.
Kat Gillham, Highway to Hell, 31st October 2017.
TENTATION: Over the Mountain, 5th January 2018.
OBSIDIAN: Bomb Tracks, 8th January 2018.

THE GRANTHAM FOUR – 5 minutes with New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Overdrive

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Overdrive formed in 1978 in Grantham, UK. The current line up is Luther Beltz (vocals) Stuart Meadows (drums) original members Tracey Abbott (guitar) and Ian Hamilton (bass) who takes up the story…‘Our influences were watching UK music programme Top of the Pops and listening to Elvis, Slade, T.Rex, Deep Purple and Sabbath. That spurred us on to start a band at school in 1974 – and we just kept going! Tracey’s dad played in a brass band and our parents funded the band and encouraged us. They also got us gigs’.

When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ?  ‘Our first gigs were in the Workingmen’s Social Clubs in Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester. Then we went on the same circuit as other NWOBHM bands – places like the Penguin Club, Lead Mill, Monsal Head and other’s. We supported many bands including Def Leppard, Bernie Torme, Raven, Lionheart even Freddie and the Dreamers. We had a gig once at Rotherham Arts Centre and due to home made pyrotechnics the show was stopped by the fire brigade. Recently the best gigs we have played have been in Europe, the fans really know how to rock!

(Overdrive self-released music under their own label ‘Boring Grantham Records’. First was a demo tape in 1978 with the tracks ‘All Day’, ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Once in a Dream Piebald Pinto’. This was limited to 50 copies. Next release was a 7” single in 1981 including ‘On the Run’, ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Stonehenge’. More releases followed).
What were your experiences of recording and did you record any TV appearences or film any music videos ?  ‘Now with modern technology it’s all done on a laptop in our kitchen but recording was strange in the early 1970’s. The engineer wore a lab coat and treated it like a serious school project. Recording was a mystery to us. Our first recording was in a place called Drumbeat Studios in Leicester in 1976. Funnily enough the same studio Showaddywaddy did their first album. We have never worked with a proper producer until our last album which was mixed by the Dark Lord himself, Chris Tsangerides (RIP). We’ve never been on TV or done a video. Just too damn ugly!!
(Chris Tsangarides was best known for producing heavy metal albums by Tygers of Pan Tang, Judas Priest, Anvil, Thin Lizzy and more. He has also worked with pop and alternative artists Depeche Mode, Blondie and Lords of the New Church).

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What are the future plans for Overdrive ? ‘We are now recording our 6th album, with the title Resurrection. Also planning gigs for 2018, with Greece Germany and Italy on the itinerary’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017. 

Recommended:

WARRIOR: The Hunter, 12th April 2017.

WEAPON UK: All Fired Up, 6th May 2017.

SAVAGE: The Mansfield Four, 8th May 2017.

TOKYO BLADE: Under the Blade, 26th May 2017.

SALEM: Increase the Pressure, 20th September 2017.

SATAN’S EMPIRE: The Devil Rides Out, 4th October 2017.

SNATCH BACK: Back in the Game, 21st October 2017.

JAGUAR: The Fast and The Fury, 24th October 2017.

 

 

 

VINYL JUNKIES – Jon Dalton, 7 songs that shaped his world

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The love for vinyl has always been there and many stories are attached to it. There is whispers in some quarters that vinyl is back, and they are getting louder. Not in the same numbers that it was in the pre-cd day’s of the 70’s and 80’s, but the records are up on display shelves of record shop’s. There is hundred’s of reasons why we like a certain song. Vinyl Junkies is looking for the stories behind them.

Jon Dalton has lived in the USA for 20 years as a professional musician. In his early days in England he played in heavy rock band Gold, who were formed in 1979 in Bristol….  ‘I moved out to the US in 1999, I have Native American roots so it was like coming home. I also wanted to move my jazz career along. It seems that was a good call. I got signed to Innervision Records in 2003 and they released my first CD with them The Gift, and it did very well. For the last several decades I’ve been mostly known as a jazz musician, but that wasn’t always the case. I didn’t start really listening to and consequently end up playing jazz until my late twenties but I was involved in music for many years before that’.

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‘Because this piece is about vinyl, I’ve chosen to focus on the period in my life when almost everything we heard was on that medium. For me that would be around 1976 to about 1983. After that I was on tour a lot so I tended to buy cassettes or, later, CDs. They were much more portable and by then I was buying a lot of music to learn it for work so that previous period was, perhaps, the period I enjoyed actually listening to music the most. Here’s a list of my seven favourite albums from that time’.

1, Steve Hillage: “Fish Rising” (1975)

Starting in the late 1970s, every year the City of Bristol, UK would put on a music festival at an old stately park near the Centre known as the Ashton Court Festival. It was a hugely popular event eventually drawing tens of thousands. It was also a strictly daytime affair with no overnight camping allowed unless you were a vendor or part of the stage crew. Of course, being me, I completely ignored all that. I generally crashed under the stage in my sleeping bag. I probably knew a lot of the sound guys so I doubt they cared either. Anyhow one year, maybe 77 or 79, I was at Ashton Court on a Friday the day before the festival was due to start. That night I went out in a daze looking for a party to crash in the vendor’s section. It was probably around midnight. All of a sudden, I heard this strangely hypnotic music which stopped me in my tracks. The more I listened the more I reasoned this was likely one of the most cosmic things I’d ever witness and when you’re 17 under a black starlit sky next to a crazy caravan, that’s a moment. I knocked on the door and a glorious hippy lady invited me in for a drink and a chat. We sat in the candlelight and she told me I was listening to Steve Hillage’s “Fish Rising”. A Rubicon night.

I was already a big Hillage fan but more his later works like “L” and “Motivation Radio”. This was something else though: more raw, more psychedelic. Brilliant guitar riffs, swirling synth solos, tight grooves, wide soundscapes. My all time favorite track is “Aftaglid” a meandering sprawl in space. The mid section (they’ve all got names but I’m not that good at remembering) has an echoey acoustic guitar part with Miquette Giraudy’s pointy space whispers followed by a tabla grooved delve into the beyond. That’s what I heard outside the caravan.

Don’t buy or even listen to the “extended” version. The original Fish Rising ends on exactly the right note.

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2, Yes: “Relayer” (1974)

I first heard Yes when I was 10 or 11 years old. I loved the way that none of it made any sense and yet somehow it all made sense. There was a tone and color in their music and yet there was also a strange sense of angularity; listen to “Long Distance Runaround” from “Fragile” and you’ll know what a mean. This album brought the “weird” side of Yes to a whole new level. A lot of Yes fans hate this album but I think it’s one of the best things they ever did. The music is often loud, angry and aggressive. Maybe they were trying to dump some of the bloat of “Topographic Oceans” but this cuts through like a knife. Yes pulled in Patrick Moraz on keyboards on this one and while they were some fine musicians, he was obviously giving them a run for their money. “Sound Chaser” is my favorite track. Steve Howe’s Fender Telecaster grinds and spits and yearns. Patrick Moraz’s jazz-synth playout burns on fire.

I saw Yes on this tour. It was the first “big” gig I ever went to. I went with my Auntie because nobody else would go with me. We both loved it!

“And to know that tempo will continue…….”

Yes Mr. Anderson.

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3, Gong: “You” (1974)

I mentioned Steve Hillage before but you can’t really discuss this era Hillage without telling of the Mothership, the immaculate “Gong”. Well, as a young lad, I was a tribal member and I’m not exactly sure if I’ve grown out of it, even since.

Gong, brainchild of Australian space anarchist Daevid Allen (R.I.P.) combined jazz, space, rock and eyebrow raising mirth into a potent package. It probably wasn’t their plan but Gong the anarchists ended up having, pretty much, their own virtual kingdom on the 1970s UK free festival circuit.

The early 70s are often said to be some of Gong’s best years. They recorded the essential “Trilogy” of albums: “Flying Teapot”, “Angel’s Egg” and “You”. I’ve always thought of them as one but I know I have to keep the list short so I’m going with: “You”. The band were playing really tight on this one. “Master Builder” is in some ways the musical peak in the trilogy. Based on a simple descending run which tweaks the blues scale to make it sound more space-bound and mystical, it keeps tripping over the beat in a way that makes you feel you are constantly falling forward. Toward the end it reaches for a sense of community and gets it in the form of Daevid Allen’s deep chants wrapped in Steve Hillage’s twistily psychotic guitar. Hillage later released a version of this tune under the title: “Activation / Glorious Om Riff” on his 1978 release “Green”.

I’ve mentioned Gong related things quite a lot but you have to realize that they weren’t just some some silly hippy band from the 1970s (well, they were). Their influence permeates widely. The free festival circuit morphed over the 1980s into the 1990s into rave culture. This in turn begat Electronic Dance Music. When I listen to a lot of EDM, including Steve Hillage’s own “System 7” and particularly the trancey end of that spectrum, I can often hear Gong’s echoes in the sequenced synth lines and eastern flavored melodies. The major difference being that the music is served over a heavy, electronic, 4/4 dance beat rather than a grooving, real life, bass and drums. There’s another sphere of meditational Electronica where, once again, you hear those Gong sounds but this time the beats are completely removed and we’re left with just the floaty, spatial stuff.

They even made a dent in the pop world. Listen to producer William Orbit’s treatment of Madonna’s 1998 single “Ray Of Light”. You could have knocked me sideways when I first heard that one. For a minute I thought she’d hired the old crew as her backing band. I’m thinking Mr. Orbit probably has a few of the Pot Head Pixies’ finest releases stuffed away somewhere in his listening locker.

Famous lines from “You” include: “Cops at the door………..no cops at the door!”

4, AC/DC: “Highway To Hell” (1979)

So, late on a Friday or Saturday night you’d all come back from the pub or club. The venue kept changing but the purpose was always the same. Some metal lovers just can’t help themselves.  Wherever we ended up, I used to like to sit on the kitchen counter next to the fridge and it was always bright fluorescent lights or no lights and a toaster. As soon as the AC/DC came on, everybody was cool. All the barriers went down. There’s a lot of betrayal and anger in this music but the ultimate lesson is that it can always be cured or, at least: suffered, by the sweet sound of a blues guitar. AC/DC made you feel like a criminal but; that, that was somehow normal.

Bon Scott’s voice hits like a finely tuned weapon. His beautiful primal screaming sounds like he’s getting ready to eat you while, brother cooks, Angus and Malcolm (R.I.P.) Young slice you right up with their guitars.

And none of this is rocket science. AC/DC themselves never claimed to be anything more than a “rock ‘n’ roll” band!

Highlights include the beginning and end of the record and everything else in between.

“It was one of those nights when you turn down the lights”.

Now, what on Earth is he talking about?

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5, Ozzie Osbourne: “Bark At The Moon” (1983)

I first heard Black Sabbath when I was about 12. I remember lying on a chilly bed in my Nan’s prefab, must have been 1974, listening to their first, self-named, album. War Pigs and Iron Man were my usual songs from the crypt before breakfast.

Fast forward to the early 80s and somebody recommended I listen to this gem. This is a concept album. The concept is to make a record that sounds like a bad horror movie. This really holds water.

Ozzie Osbourne as a poignant intellectual “I’m just a rock and roll rebel….” probably isn’t what you or he expected but he can’t hide it, he’s thought about this from every angle.

“I’ll make you wish that you had never been born”. When Ozzie says that, for a chilling moment you realize that he might actually mean it. How do these people keep going? The energy resources are beyond human.

Massive kudos has to go to guitarist Randy Rhodes (once again RIP). He wasn’t just an amazing player in his own right but a dedicated worker who obviously sweated how to make his boss’s dreams come alive, or should that be become un-dead? He utilized flattened or “diminished” notes to dark and cinematic effect. Sure, Death-Metal players have honed that down to a fine art now but RR was the first, at least as far as I’m aware. I
was always looking forward to where he’d go next. Then he got killed in a plane crash. I was beside myself.

It’s not a flawless offering, there’s a couple of duffers which I think arise from trying too hard to make this a “production” record but when the group are genuinely reaching, such as in the preposterous “Centre of Eternity” you get the feeling that the abyss is, at least, intrigued.

6, Rush: “Hemispheres” (1978)

I didn’t start as a huge Rush fan. I’d heard them at friend’s houses but I couldn’t figure out exactly where to place them. Their Rickenbacker bass sounds and strange Moog synthesizer twirlings reminded me a little of Yes but they were much more of a straight-ahead heavy rock band in other areas.

That all changed when bassist Paul Summerill joined our band “Gold” in 1980 or so. Paul was a strong Rush fan and he also played a Rickenbacker bass just like Geddy Lee and the late, great Chris Squire. Paul introduced me to the catalog and once I’d gotten a chance to appreciate their development through albums like “Fly By Night” and the classic “2112” I really got a taste for who they were in their own right. Theirs was a clever, thought provoking metal that started to appeal to the prog nerd in me.

I’m actually listening to “Hemispheres” for the first time in about 35 years as I write this. It’s all there. Geddy Lee’s piercing vocals, Alex Lifeson’s chorusy guitar and Neil Peart’s precise drumming.

I remember, as an 18 year old kid, learning the guitar parts for the entire side one of this record (which is all one track). I can’t think for the life of me why I did this. I’ve never played it live even once. Probably one of those “I’ve started so I’ll finish” ventures. Still I’m sure I picked up some useful tips which crept into my own playing later on.

Favorite tracks are the aforementioned “Hemispheres”, a mini fantasy novel set to music, and also “The Trees” from side two, a simple song form that rocks around just nicely.

Of all the bands I went to see live, I probably saw Rush more than any of the others. They toured a lot, the tickets were pretty reasonable, and each of their albums was sufficiently different to make you want go back for more.

This was a very cleanly produced album, just made for late night headphone listening. If I remember rightly, my copy of “Hemispheres” was on red vinyl. I don’t know what happened to it. I probably gave it away.

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7, Nova: “Wings of Love” (1977)

While I was mostly known as a rock guitarist back when all this vinyl listening was going on, I did lead a secret double life as a jazz/rock musician even playing for a while in the band “Climax”. This was a decade or so before I started on the path to being, or at least trying to be, a full-on jazz musician.

Jazz fusion was a pretty big phenomenon in the late 1970s. The two biggest forces were probably Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. I tended to tip towards Mahavishnu, probably because it was guitar led? I don’t know for sure on that one but I can say that “Apocalypse” by them is probably my all time favorite fusion album but….I had it on 8 track cartridge so strictly speaking I can’t feature it here.

Now this album: “Wings of Love” I did have on vinyl and it got played a lot. It’s actually much more approachable than a lot of fusion records. Some of the tunes have danceable, almost “Disco” like grooves. That’s not to say that guitarist Corrado Rustici isn’t overlaying them with ridiculously amazing guitar solos, just that you can shake your booty while he does it. Check out “You Are Light” for a taster.

As an interesting aside, Mr. Rustici often played a fretless guitar; listen to “Marshall Dillon”. Killer bass-line too. I was amazed when I first heard about this. Fretless basses were starting to make inroads into fusion due to the tremendous influence of Jaco Pastorius but I’d never heard of anyone playing fretless guitar. I was sufficiently moved to take an old guitar and pull all the frets out with pliers, filling in the slots with plastic wood and sanding the whole thing flat. The conversion itself worked out brilliantly but whenever I played it, it sounded like a drunken person snapping elastic bands. Oh! Well.

This is largely a superb record, populated with world class and sincerely spiritual musicians reaching for the stars. If it has a fault, it can get a bit “drippy” devotional in places. A lot of jazz fusion players of the era were deeply into eastern philosophy and Guru Sri Chinmoy was a leader in that movement. That said, when you listen to “Beauty Dream Beauty Flame” with its evocative Italian mandolin backdrops and stunning guitar, flute and piano interludes, you have to conclude that, maybe, they did open a window into another dimension of the sublime.

Recommended:

Jon Dalton, California Dreaming, 18th October 2017.

VINYL JUNKIES:

Will Binks July 7th 2017

Martin Popoff July 12th 2017

John Heston August 3rd 2017

Neil Armstrong August 11th 2017

Colin Smoult August 29th 2017

Neil Newton September 12th 2017

Tony Higgins October 11th 2017

Vince High December 11th 2017.

Intro by Gary Alikivi.

 

MELODY MAKERS – with Andy Rowe from prog rock band The Room

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Andy Rowe used to be a member of NWOBHM band Firebird, who had ex-Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan as a fan…’In 1979 we spent the day in Ian Gillan’s studio where we recorded a single with Gillan as producer’. Andy looked back on his time in music and also brings the story up to date… ‘We are a Melodic Prog band called The Room, and are based west of London in Reading, Berkshire. We wanted to create a band that played very accessible progressive rock. Martin (vocals) had played in Neo Prog band Grey Lady Down (GLD) and favoured the prog side and I clearly came from a song based background. From that blend we have created something that a reviewer once called weird…. In a good way…. He couldn’t pigeon hole us! We write damn good songs with great melodies and hooks that are not simplistic in their construction’.

When did you start playing and who were your influences ? ’I started playing music at the age of about 15 when my mum bought me a 6 string guitar for Christmas. I had been taking piano and violin lessons at school and they recognised that music was probably the one thing I was really interested in. I formed a band in 1977 with a very close friend in the village we lived in and we played our first ever show on 7/7/77! We didn’t have any backline and there was a guy in the village we knew had contacts. He fixed it and off the van rolled a load of Marshall gear sprayed Koss. The guy had been the manager of Paul Kossoff (Free). What a start to a rock and roll journey for me.

My influences changed as I grew up. As a kid I loved the glam rock scene of Slade and The Sweet. It was great seeing The Sweet opening for Mr Blackmore this year. You forget what a great rock band they were. As the 70’s moved on I got into more classic rock with Purple and the Sabs and then into the edges of punk with bands like Eddie and the Hot Rods, then the amazing NWOBHM. I worked as a roadie for a sound company and did a few tours with the likes of April Wine, Samson and Sledgehammer. As time moved on I found myself falling in love with the Doobies, Steve Miller and The Eagles. So I guess overall I have a very very eclectic set of influences’.

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Firebird 1980

What is your experience of recording/studio work ? ’Following the first school band I joined a band in Reading called Firebird. We played around the pubs and clubs in the Reading area and were lucky enough to get the opportunity to spend the day at Ian Gillan’s studio Kingsway Recorders where we recorded a single released in 1979 with Gillan as producer. That was an amazing experience and was at the time when he rediscovered success with the Mr Universe album. We did really well with the single making the Sounds rock charts. Ian Gillan even came to see us playing a show at a youth club on the outskirts of Reading. That was surreal. The band lasted a couple of years as the two guitarists were not really in love with the NWOBHM label that had been given to us’.

Prime Cut 1982

Prime Cut 1982

‘I then joined a band in London, Prime Cut with the drummer from 70’s prog band The Nice. We were starting to make a real name for ourselves and I am sure that we were very close to a deal but I then decided to take time away from the business and enjoy family life. I restarted my career about 2008 when I started playing in a covers band in and around Reading. Then in 2010 I joined Martin Wilson and we started The Room. The full line up is Martin Wilson (vocals) Steve Anderson (guitar, keys and backing vocals) Steve Checkley (keyboards and backing vocals) Chris York (drums and backing vocals) and me on bass guitar and backing vocals. I am endorsed by Overwater Bass Guitars and Elites Strings’.

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What is in the future for The Room ? ’So far we have recorded two studio albums Open Fire released in 2012 on Melodic Revolution Records and Beyond The Gates of Bedlam in 2015 on Bad Elephant Music. Both albums were recorded at Platform Studios in Reading with producer and engineer Damon Sawyer. In 2017 we released a live DVD of a show that we played at The Robin 2 in Bilston in the West Midlands. We have played some 50 or 60 shows in the last 7 years and are very much a live act. We love the thrill of that live environment. We have opened for bands such as Focus, Wishbone Ash, Inglorious, Lifesigns, Soft Machine etc and play HRH AOR in March 2018. We are now starting to write our next studio album due for release in Autumn 2018’.

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The Room

Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.

A LIFE OF BOOZE, BANDS AND BUFFOONERY with Steve Kincaide from The Bastard Sons of Cavan

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‘I was in Detroit in a band called Candyrag, it was 2001 and we were playing the Elbow Rooms, haunt of The White Stripes. A middle aged couple all dressed in leather splendour warned me of having a partner in the same band, then they invited me to a party to meet Iggy Pop. I politely declined only to find out from the promoter that Iggy is indeed in town and that the couple are old friends of  I should also have listened about having my girlfriend as a singer, as domestic issues do fly out onto the stage. There is a video on You Tube where I get an almighty thump, deservedly so. The band originally started off as bored flatmates, the drummer used only a fire extinguisher at first movin’ up to a snare then a snare and cymbal. The band only split up when the singer KT (my girlfriend) got off with the USA tour promoter, but we all left friends tho’- there’s a whole other chapter for Candyrag alone! That band released a 7″ which was recorded at Washington Arts Centre 2001 and yes it was, wham bam in an out recorded in a day. We got it played on the John Peel radio programme, unfortunately Peely played it at 45rpm when it was a 33 !

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‘I am now upsetting the psychos and rockabilly folk with The Bastard Sons of Cavan. A band that has had a new line up every year since 2010, current personel are Buff Harris/Bull Fiddle and Ed Smash, drums. Both based in Wales so in effect I’m in a Welsh band whilst living in London. 
We were booked to play a Biker Festival on the North East coast. It was one of our first gigs. We turned up, set up started playing, drummer joins in, guitarist pipes up, bassist froze. The plugs were pulled, but not because the bassist froze but because this set of bikers love Folk not Rock. They kindly paid us, however I still wonder why they ever booked us in the first place? ’

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What got you interested in music ? ‘I was living on a poor council estate in Chilton, County Durham, we had a broken record player and an accoustic guitar with one string. Back in the day it was Top of the Pops, not the music, but the look, it was 70’s glam after all. The only music I heard was when me neighbour blasted his Elvis records every Sunday. Nowadays it’s the latest thing that peaks my interest, whatever musical genre.
The first wave of Punk passed me by as I sat and simmered at home. I finally heard John Peel on the radio in ’78. Although I had never had any inclination to be in a band it was the second wave of Punk that made me wanna grab it with both hands. So I got myself a guitar from Bells the local music shop, they did hire purchase. Then I got a Crate combo from the catalogue. I learned how to play guitar then switched over to bass. The downside was I had to leave school and go on the dole to afford payments. There weren’t a lot of jobs and I didn’t want to end up in a factory – punk had a lot to answer for and that’s my excuse’.


When you joined a band what venues did you play ? ‘The first band that gigged were Anti-Climax in 1981. The second wave of angry punk all mohawks and attitude, ideal for a bunch of lads in a Northern pit village. Those lads being Neil Campbell on vocals, my neighbour Gary Ward and Myself. Me and Gary used to switch from bass to guitar and anyone we could nab on drums – still an ongoing trend. We mostly played in youth clubs and church halls around the North East. My Dad was the chauffer – unwillingly I may add. One night Anti Climax were at a local punk gig and we were asked if we could play a gig supporting Uproar in Peterlee the next night. We said of course, then did what every Punk would do. I stole me Dads car, did the gig, crashed the car and got a hiding off me Dad when I got the bus back.
This was short lived due to me finding out the merits of sniffing glue, and finding myself on the wrong side of the law. So I was taken out of public circulation for awhile. I found myself relocated to Newcastle, with a much better scene all round. I got involved with several bands from full on punk to goth, even a stint in a 70’s covers band!
By 1989 I found myself in a Gateshead Psychobilly outfit The Sugar Puff Demons. We recorded a debut album Falling from Grace for Link records. When we went on tour, me being the newbee was the one laid out in the back of the mini van with the gear piled up all around. But the band got thrown off that tour for upstaging the main act, and the singer went bat shit crazy. In the end we split up. This happened all within a year ! There were more short lived but very highly charged times in several bands with the longest being in Th’ Lunkheads from 1993-2000. They had an ill fated tour of France and a jaunt over the pond.

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‘In France we found the gigs being cancelled left right and centre at the last minute – and we were running out of cash. The lads were feeling low so I grab them and point them to the Pyrennes and say ‘how many folk on the dole up North have seen this ?’ Fortunately local band The Catchers helped us out, plus entertain us with their hot rodded cars. I was in the one that run out of fuel halfway up a mountain and had to cruise back down in reverse – just before the Police caught up!! I remember I was in the toilet in a venue in Bordeaux when I heard a commotion. I got out and the Police had raided and arrested the landlord – no gig that night. In retrospect I believe wearing WW2 German helmets may have been a wrong fashion choice for the band.

1997 we landed on American soil, Detroit Rock City – only to be whisked off by security and questioned. We claimed to be just visiting and sticking to our guns we got through it. Only to find that the promoter had got cheerleaders with L..U..N..K..H..E…A..D..S on their shirts waiting for us. Eventually we did the gig but I was ill with food poisoning. Someone scrawled Lunkheads are Drunks on the toilet wall, which was not far wrong as the promoter had enough empties to keep him in groceries for a month. Lunkheads first demo was recorded in a barn on a old 2” reel to reel, it was made more interesting as it was a pub due to shut down and several kegs of cider and lager needed emptying – job done. Those recordings may resurface soon on vinyl through Trash Wax records as part of their Garbage Grails, better late than never’.


Did you support any name bands ? ‘Over the years I have supported many bands of various genres from ? & The Mysterians at the Magic Stick in Detroit to Wonk Unit at The Angel in Durham. Played in venues long gone now like The Mayfair and The Broken Doll in Newcastle. Every one of them a blast whether playin’ to just the bar staff or 2,000 punters who dont know who you are! When I was in Blood and Thunder 87’ish we were supporting UK Subs in Carlisle, during I Wanna Be Your Dog some old codger grabbed the mic and started singin’ – well it was only Charlie Harper, bless’.

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What was your experience of recording studios ?The Cluny studio in Newcastle was the first time. I was in a band called Peroxide in 1986. Very professional and very posh surroundings to us bunch of punks. The desk was sixteen track total seperation but the sound was very sterile. Luckily we were a tight three piece outfit so it went smoothly. Can’t remember the cost to be honest but it wasn’t cheap. The tracks were gonna end up on a split vinyl E.P. (Bloodsucker on Other records) but by the time that was sorted out we had changed our name to Blood and Thunder. Only one track was used State Rebel, a cringe inducing anthem that to listen to now I have to have a bellyfull of whiskey’.

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‘Th’ Lunkheads first single for Japans Barn Homes records was recorded at The Soundroom in Gateshead with friends Dave and Fiz producing and engineering. Fortunatly I got community service in said studio – as they say killing two birds with one stone. Now The Bastard Sons of Cavan record at Western Star in Bristol, resulting in three albums all on the Western Star label.
In Newcastle I went to several studios all with varying degrees of failure, trying to find value for money. Then I found First Avenue in Heaton which I stuck with for many years ’til that eventually changed for the worse. No disrespect to Dave Curle he’s a champion engineer, the place just leaves me cold. Anyway we got £1,000 from the record label to record an album so we hauled the P.A. into the studio and recorded it all live. The whole thing cost ninety quid so we split the remainder, including with the engineer, and lost a few days from our lives. The label from Colorado was well pleased with the results…phew! Much as I love the studio I prefer playing live and putting on a show’

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‘Whilst in The Campus Tramps we recorded two E.P.’s. One for Barn Homes Japan and Knockout Records Germany. Both recorded at the Bunker in Sunderland on 8 track. However the producer/engineer got the monk on as one of the labels used his name on the promotional adverts. Him being a well known singer in a well respected hardcore punk band won’t help his cred helping us low life Thunders/Ramones influenced trash! Not mentioning any names but his band rhymes with mace and it has leather in it. The first session we lost the master tape so we had to use my ropey cassette copy to master the record. The second session had to be remastered at First Avenue as the original was apparently too high…go figure’.

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Did you record any tv appearences or music video’s ? ‘The only time I’ve been on TV was for a late night chat show about tattoos. When I found out I was the star attraction and not in the audience with my girlfriend and band mates (Steve Straughan – now punk superstar, Keith Lewis, Snarling Horses) I demanded a taxi home to get some decent clobber on…i.e. a pair of brothel creepers and some very loud Hawaian shorts!! The Sugar Puff Demons did try and produce a music video for Burn The Church. I still have several VHS tapes full of footage of us miming our damnedest around Jesmond Dene, anyone out there willing to make something of it, go ahead.
 The Bastard Sons of Cavan do indeed have a video available to enjoy on You Tube recorded by TuffJam it was a day of insanity. The bassist failed to turn up so we blagged a family friend to stand in, splendid!’

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Any stories from the gigs over the years ? Where do I begin ? I may say in my defence I did drink quite a lot of Thunderbird and some of these events have been relayed to me second hand. Like hanging the guitarist out of a second story window in Edinburgh, setting fire to the quiff of the singer in a restaurant, getting thrown out of the gig during the soundcheck in London – only to be let in to do the gig then promptly thrown out again and making Eugene (Rezillos) Reynolds carry the P.A – after he pulled the do you know who I am stunt. We all love a party but one at some student digs in Sheffield in 1989 got out of hand and the Police were called. Instantly I hid under the bathroom sink which was quite a squeeze as I’m over six foot two. Chuck the singer of Frantic Flintstones gets under the bath. He’s five foot nowt. Police arrive and turf everyone else out. There was quite a bit of friction amongst the bands the next day due to me and Chuck having all the creature comforts as they all sat outside in the van freezing.
‘I was in a band called Burning Hells and had a few years of crazy times that involved drinking bleach, bleeding eyes and overall stupidity. But in 2004 we done a gig in Barrow-in-Furness. The car was crammed with all the gear and we hit the road, only to break down in the middle of the motorway and in the middle of nowhere. We got the car off road and I lie down on the bank taking in the sun waiting for the AA. Only to be informed the car is not taxed, tested or insured – action stations!! We locate the problem, it was a leaking fuel pump, fixed problem with good old gaffa tape. We’re back in business and did the gig’.

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‘In 2006 I was in Hangmen helping out on double bass supporting Tiger Army on tour. The previous year I did a warm up gig in Manchester and ended up at a student party. Blustering in I pick up a pint glass, urinate in it, promptly drink it all and declare this party started. At one point there was a chicken on my head and I was crowned the King Of Xmas. The cat was fed all the cheese and the fridge emptied. I bumped into the students again and they said I owed them a xmas dinner, I promptly bought them a bottle of red wine instead’.

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What are you up to now ? The Bastard Sons of Cavan are still bothering stages and studios in whatever guise. I have King Konker still waiting to get outta the traps, they are two guys, two girls playing garage punk trash. Action Seekers, a Stooges rip off which is basically my 16 year old stepson Louie playing all the parts that I’ve wrote. Last but not least Cleatus Stillborn, an experiment of fusing Lynard Skynrd with Psychobilly. I’m back on bass with two seasoned musicians Alex (a Doncaster bloke who spent most of his life in California) on vocals and guitar plus Lenny (whose Mother was Led Zep’s seceratery) on drums.
Oh did I mention Billy Childish wrote a song for me way back in 1992 “My name is Kid Kincaide…you use your own!!”

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Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.

Recommended:

Mond Cowie, Angels of the North, 12th March 2017.

ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Butchers of Bolingbroke, 1st June 2017.

Neil Newton, All the Young Punks, 4th June 2017.

Wavis O’Shave, Felt Nowt, 6th June 2017.

CRASHED OUT: Guns, Maggots & Street Punk, 6th July 2017.

Steve James, Under the Skin, 9th July 2017.

Wavis O’Shave, Method in the Madness, 5th September 2017.

Steve Straughan, Beauty & the Bollocks, 1st October 2017.

EVO, No One Gets Out Alive, 8th October 2017.

JUST THE WAY IT WAS – Recording in Guardian Studio with Nev Larkin

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Nev Larkin was a member of Marauder who recorded 2 tracks for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal compilation album Roxcalibur, released on Guardian Records in January 1982. The album had followed on the back of another compilation released out of Guardian Studio’s called Roksnax released in 1980. A future blog will include interviews with the bands who featured on the album. Roxcalibur featured 7 bands who contributed two tracks each they included North East UK metallers Black Rose, Battleaxe and Satan. Nev takes up the story…‘I got cracking on with some lads from Ashington who were in a band called Marauder they needed a 2nd guitar so I joined them. We played the pub’s around North Tyneside and Northumberland. Then we went into Guardian Studio in Durham around late ’81 and recorded 2 songs, Woman of the Night and Battlefield. We were in for about 20 hours on the Saturday and went back on Sunday night and finished about 6.00 in the morning. Half hours sleep then straight to work at the Department of Social Security’

Did each band share the production costs ? ‘As a band we had to pay £400 for costs, that’s £80 each. The recording studio was in a terraced house next door to where the owner and producer Terry Gavaghan used to live. The recording area was in effect, a front living room with a booth for the drums. The singers girlfriend had made some pies in trays for the length of our time in the studio. So when recording Battlefield it was suggested that we take the tray of pies through to the recording area, smash them about and re-create a ‘battle’. Which we did to a great deal of hilarity’.

‘The other song which is on You Tube is Woman of the Night which was going to be a single, but didn’t happen. The singer Steven Ireland is still singing for a band called F.M. Strangely enough I guested for one gig only, when they were called Lone Wolf. In the end we got twenty albums each to sell. The producer said that if we sold them for £4 each, we would get our money back – he should have been a mathematician ! I ended up giving them away, not long ago someone told me they were going for a fortune on E Bay!

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Terry Gavaghan, Guardian Studio, Durham.

There is a story of a resident ghost at Guardian studio, did the owner Terry Gavaghan tell you about it ? ‘He did the trick with the moving microphone that was on a stand after he had fed us the ghost story. He had sneaked in through a different entrance and pulled the cable along the floor. I got my own back by having a blast of the fire extinguisher while he wasn’t there’.

Did you know if the album sold many copies ? ‘As far as I know, none of the bands got any royalties from the songs.  I think that he must have copped the lot.  Dave King from Battleaxe who were also on the album was going to chase this up years ago. I don’t know if he got anywhere with it.  I spoke to Malcolm Midwood a couple of month ago, who now performs under Wytchcraft, he never got anything’.

Where did it all start for you ? ’Seeing Status Quo as a teenager at the Newcastle City Hall made me want to learn guitar. My first band was called Redrock and our only gig was at Killingworth High School just a few miles from Newcastle. Then I joined up with some lads from Longbenton, the band was called Loser (appropiately enough) and we played only one gig at the Newbridge Dance Studio which is now demolished. There were more guitars in that band than Blue Oyster Cult ! Next was with some lads from Bedlington and we played around North Tyneside and Northumberland under the name of Scharnhorst. Steve Bird (guitar) Dean Heward (bass) Gary Young (drums) and me (vocals/guitar). Later we shortened the name to just The Horst. I can’t remember much about that band apart from one event at a gig in The Newton Park Hotel where we blew the mains circuit, leaving the pub in total darkness due to the amount of gear we had plus all the pyro effects, dry ice, medium maroon big bang cartridges the lot. Not long after that the band ended’.

What happened after Marauder ? ‘I got together with some friends and did 3 self-penned songs and video in one of our flats in Heaton, Newcastle. We called this The Bedroom Sessions. Needless to say the neighbours did not see the funny side or, the video for that matter. We did a tour of friends houses on our motorbikes to promote this. We did one gig at Darsley Park, Benton. It was at this stage I effectively called it a day. I just seemed to be constantly chasing my tail trying to make things happen.  Still play guitar now but in the house only. I did try my hand at Stand Up Comedy (2001) but it got too tiring trying to do a day job then running all over to do gigs for ‘diddly’ (nothing).  I appeared on regional TV on a Friday night feature called Stand Up Britain. I think it was one of the fella’s from Phoenix Nights who produced it. It was a ‘dial up’ viewer vote where the winner went through to a National final in Manchester for a £7k prize. It was not me’.

Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.

 

LITTLE DEVILS – 5 minutes with UK hard rock band Piston

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Formed 2012 in Staffordshire UK, hometown of Slash, Lemmy and Glenn Hughes, hard rock band Piston are Rob Angelico (vocals) Jack Edwards & Luke Allatt (guitars) Stuart Egan (bass) and Brad Newlands (drums).
On the live circuit they already have an impressive track record. Supporting bands like The Temperance Movement, Sebastian Bach, Love/Hate and an acoustic show with Whitesnake and Def Leppard. They have featured in Classic Rock magazine and the single ‘Leave If You Dare’ was on the playlists of Kerrang and Planet Rock radio. Guitarist Jack Edwards takes up the story behind the songs…‘The ideas are generally a joint effort between myself and fellow guitarist Luke Allatt. It will usually start with one of us having a brief idea of a riff, then the idea gets torn apart and redone – about ten times haha – before becoming a riff. Then parts start to flow becoming the different sections of the track. Once a rough sketch is made for the track, we all head into rehearsal where drummer Brad Newlands will arrange the ideas to formulate a song. Once the track is roughly wrote it is recorded and sent to singer Rob Angelico to work on’.

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Jack Edwards

How did you first start in music and who were your influences ? ‘I remember I wanted to play drums so I got behind a kit but it didn’t feel right or natural. I saw a local high school band and I was drawn to the guitar, I just thought it was the coolest instrument I had ever seen. I picked it up and it just felt right straight away, since then I’ve never looked back. Personally, my influences in music are based around the blues rock artists. I was always drawn to bands such as Guns N’ Roses, The Cult and anything with guitar based music. Hearing the opening chords of The Cult’s Lil Devil and the outro solos of G’n’R’s Paradise City influenced me from an early age. As a band Piston draw influences from artists such as AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, The Small Faces and everything up to new modern acts such as The Temperance Movement and Airbourne’.

When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘I personally started playing shows in high school bands, moving through to jam nights, to cover bands, to tribute acts then eventually writing my own music and putting together an original band which is now Piston. In 2017, Piston made their debut appearance in France to a sold out crowd and Scotland joining the Wildfire Festival lineup!

LIVE

Any recording/studio work ? ‘For the new releases Piston have tracked everything organically. The music is played live together in a room and tracked that way’.
The music video for the single featured on Kerrang TV, ‘Leave If You Dare’ has a similar look to a band in an earlier post (Bigfoot, Get Yer Rock On, 29 October 2017). The energy of the performance is captured using fast flowing camera work, pull focus shots and some moody lighting. The song mixes AC/DC, Black Crowes and rubs shoulders with fellow UK hard rock band Bigfoot – but with a bit more swagger. On ‘Playing With Fire’ EP are 3 tracks Dark Angel, Playing With Fire and they cover a pneumatic version of Creedence Clearwater Revivals ‘Proud Mary’. Impressive stuff.

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What are the future plans for Piston ? ‘RECORDING, TOURING, WORLD DOMINATION’… Starting 2018 they are on the bill at Giants of Rock with Hawkwind, Toto and Boston at Minehead on January 27th . The next day they are at The Robin in Bilston with The Quireboys and on February 17th they are in Wolverhampton and The Giffard Arms.

Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.

Recommended:

BIGFOOT: Get Yer Rock On, 29th October 2017.

ADORN THE WICKED: New York Groove, 29th November 2017.

 

BOMB TRACKS – with Canadian death metal band Obsidian

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Have you filmed any TV appearences or music videos ? ‘We had our song My War on commercial TV in Canada. We’ve done a music video for our song High Crimes and Treason from our second album Into Oblivion’…The track has an ominous start, death rattle drums with vocals like the devils breath. The video features former world leaders Stalin, Bush, Reagan all the usual suspects in the firing line of this visceral hate and anger. Obsidian won’t be invited to play out the credits of BBC TV’s mindnumbing progamme The One Show. So who are Obsidian ? Well they are a Canadian Death Metal band based in Vancouver who formed in 2013. I got in touch with vocalist and guitarist Jason…‘All of us in Obsidian, Aurélia (bass) Stefan (drums) Daniel (guitar & backing vocals) and me (vocals & guitar) have several different influences and a number of similar ones. Devin Townsend is one we all love, Strapping Young Lad, Gojira, Meshuggah to name a few. We are into all sorts of music from metal, jazz to classical and even hip hop. We all started playing music at a fairly young age. I started writing music and lyrics at a very young age, it’s been a passion from as far back as I can remember. I’m not sure if there was ever a defining moment of ‘I’ve got to do this’ but more of ‘I need to do this’.

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When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ? ‘We started doing a number of local shows, we played our first show about 8 months after our first rehearsal. Later we started playing out of town shows, now we are planning longer out of town outings for 2018’.

Where do the ideas come for your songs ? ‘That’s a tough one to answer, sometimes it’s just things that happen in life. I write a lot of the ideas at home first, try to refine them and then we we work on them at our rehearsal space. Sometimes we write songs at our rehearsals, but we try to have ideas ready to go when we show up’.

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What is your experience of recording/studio work ? ‘As a band we’ve recorded two full length albums. We have continually tried new things when we write songs. With our first album Time Erodes, we had more of a raw, in your face style. The second album Into Oblivion, we refined and added different elements within the songwriting. We are currently working on our third album and we feel we are taking another step forward with the songs’.

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Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘After playing a festival and getting home last year, a friend got stranded. So I went back to pick him up, on the 8 hour drive to pick him up, my alternator in my van died. I had just enough cell service to phone a tow truck to pick me up. A $200 tow and $500 alternator later I was able to pick him up and get him home safely!’

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What are the future plans for Obsidian ? ‘Right now we are finishing up our next album, then more shows, hitting new markets we haven’t played yet’.

For more info contact the band direct at obsidianvancouver@gmail.com
or on social media via Facebook.

Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.

Recommended:
Gary Young, Young Blood, 17th September 2017.

Kat Gillham, Highway to Hell, 31st October 2017.