Friday, 30 April 2010
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Sunday, 25 April 2010
At the end of last week I had a pub meeting with someone who is prepared to run more ROCK-TIL-YOU-DROP nights in London. If you recall 14 Carat Grapefruit were the first to put on their own RTYD night, which was at The Miller in London Bridge in March; but this the first individual to come forward with an interest in getting involved in organising events, and in RTYD in general.
He is 37, so he was teenager in the late-80s/early 90s. He is therefore at the bottom end of the RTYD age group, a first year student, if you like. His favourite bands are Joy Division and Interpol, but he's not a goth, so that's okay. He is a vocalist/songwriter, but he isn't in a band at the moment. He sees getting involved with ROCK-TIL-YOU-DROP as a way of raising his musician's profile in London, and helping him get back into a band.
He has recently moved from Surrey to East London, where he is co-habiting with his girlfriend. He is approaching middle-age. He's got a proper job. He can't handle his drink like he used to; this and other mature developments are under way. He is beginning the process of settling down, but like many of us, he doesn't see this as a reason to stop making music. Quite the contrary. It's funny, because settling down does seem to help you realise just how important music-making is to you, and how much it defiines you, and as a result reinforces your dedication to it.
It was cool because we talked at length about the longer term prospects of a social network like RTYD; five/ ten years down the line. We talked about significance of the first RTYD member 'dropping' -and how, in many respects, that this will be the moment that the network comes into its own, and demonstrates its real meaning as a club for life.
He's also interested in the idea of a regular social meet-up. Perhaps monthly, in central London in the back room of a pub, which I think is a nice idea.
I will introduce him in good time. Right now, he's on holiday, but when he returns, he plans to come to one or two RTYD gigs, to get an idea of what is involved.
It will be interesting to follow his progress. And if he becomes involved in the longer-term, it may well lead the way for others, in other towns and cities across the UK, to do the same.
I can but dream.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Monday, 19 April 2010
Friday, 16 April 2010
Went out to see The Stabilisers last night at a cool little basement venue in Denmark Street called Peter Parker's Rock 'n' Roll Club. Arranged to hook up there with Matt Russell of The Outbursts. It's always nice when RTYD members become friends.
Sandwiched between at least two early-mid-70s-style heavy rock bands - all beards and long hair, Jon Stabiliser et al sheared their way through the beardy hairy darkness with their snappy and witty punky little ditties. Bendy Head, being a stand out, not only because it has a slow verse, but also because it is simply a mad song. The night ended up at ground level outside the club socialising with the band.
In other news, my efforts to get a couple of thousand pound funding from Camden Council to begin establishing an annual Chalk Farm Rock-Til-You-Drop Street Music Festival (CFRTYDMF, for short) came to a measly 350 quid, which was disappointing. I have Stephen Denholm of The Mighty Caretakers to thank for his help in educating me about the bureaucratic process. Shame they didn't believe in the cause. So, if anyone has a big back garden available at the end of July, let me know.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Thursday, 8 April 2010
"Terrorize, threaten and insult your useless generation..."
As news travels so fast these days, I'm sure you will have already heard that Malcolm McLaren died of cancer today, aged 64.
I was a little too young to have seen the Sex Pistols. While it was possible that I could have watched them insult Grundy on evening TV, for whatever reason, I didn't. Maybe I was having my tea, or getting ready for bed. I don't know? Anyway, by the time I heard and saw the Sex Pistols on Top of The Pops, Johnny Rotten was no longer with them (I didn't of course know who Johnny Rotten was at that time). The Sex Pistols, as far as I was concerned, at least for a few further naive months, was fronted by one helmet-less, motorcycle-riding, Sid Vicious singing C'mon Everybody, and punching the air, and sticking two fingers up at those he sped past illegally. I thought he was pretty cool. I was 12, what did I know?
I had already, without success, tried to buy a copy of the first Eddie Cochran cover-version, Something Else, largely because it apparently contained a swear-word riddled song on it's B-Side, called Friggin' in the Riggin'. Its must-have quality was only re-inforced by the fact Woolworth's and WHSmiths in Godalming High Street wouldn't stock it, and the smaller record shops in town had sold out - or so they said. I didn't really like it when I eventually heard it.. It didn't sound like punk to me.
I remember my mother wasn't exactly pleased when I came home one afternoon from the Indoor Market in Guildford wearing a God Save The Queen T-Shirt. She was probably similarly unimpressed with the swastika bearing, bloody-mouthed Sid Vicious hand puppet I made in Art that year. I was 12, what did I know?
Well, I didn't really know about McLaren until later. I made it to the Kings Road early in the 80s; You could still buy bondage trousers there, though the SEX shop was long gone, I'm sure. I didn't see The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle until many years later. Now, of course, I'm 'with Johnny'.
McLaren, Vivienne Westwood, The Sex Pistols and those that surrounded them, inspired the DIY ethic that has influenced so much music and fashion and film since. Those that continuie to employ that ethic are today given greater power and independence by the Internet, and with this medium will ultimately bring down the corporate music business, I'm sure.
Watching clips of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle also made me realise how shockable the general public were back then, and how, sadly, it would be virtually impossible to shock and upset a nation with music, fashion, or indeed simply an 'attitude', today.
The time is right to do it now
The greatest rock 'n' roll swindle
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
I have posted a couple of ads on a couple of sites: Party Sounds, ROCK-TIL-YOU-DROP-ADS, and Gumtree. Alright, so that's a Berkshire couple of sites, i.e. three.
And I've had a Berkshire couple of bites, too. One from a drummer in his 20s, who seems very keen. Too keen? My reservation, though is less his overt keenness, and more his long-term commitment; though he assures me he could commit to at least 3 years, if not more. Is that good? Maybe, it is these days.
Another sent a very brief email admitting he wasn't the world's most complex player but he could keep good time and play a funky groove. No links. No videos.
And finally, there was a response from a drummer who is in a band already that has a proper website and are releasing music and playing regularly, or were. They look like they're in the their 30s - so not long before you see them on ROCK-TIL-YOU-DROP! Anyway, this guy says due to the more recent inactivity of his current band, he is ready to try out with others. Like the student, who sent links to You Tube videos of himself in his room playing along to Killing in the Name, I was also able to see this guy play, in this case, at The Bull & Gate with the afore mentioned band.
The latter seems to be edging it, though his responses to my emails, albeit convincing, are a little slow, and the last non-existent.
I am dreading the audition situation. I hope instead that an email from the right guy, or girl, will arrive like an epiphany.
In the meantime, I have been spending evenings away from the computer and with my notebook on my lap in front of the tele, or with my drum machine, headphones and guitar on the floor in front of the tele, writing new songs for a new set. Which has been nice. The fact I have been labouring lyrically over one particular song, has been a useful process, because it has pushed me to write and write and write in order to find the seed of what it is I'm actually trying to say. I'm still not sure? In between this, other ideas pop up as if the songwriting muscles are warming up again.
Like Johnny Mercer said in a TV clip during a recent documentary about the great American songwriter - there is no point in writing songs to be shut away in drawers.