Thursday 23 December 2010

Blog recommendation: Bring Back Glam

Although some may argue it's never gone away ... Bring Back Glam is worth a look for some long-forgotten gems.

Friday 10 December 2010

Gift idea #8: Merry Axemas - Guitar Christmas

Never been one for the twiddly-widdly antics of Steve Vai myself, but if that's your bag then maybe you need Guitar Christmas ...

Thursday 9 December 2010

Some Time In New York City

Despite not having heard of John Lennon at the time, I have some very clear memories from December 9th 1980 as the news of his death the night before came through from New York. I was 10 at the time and the only member of the Beatles I knew of was Paul McCartney – perhaps not surprising given that in the preceding years he had been the only Beatle in the public eye, not least with 1977’s ‘Mull Of Kintyre’, with Lennon having only just emerged from his self-imposed five year hiatus and the solo careers of George Harrison and Ringo Starr peaking back in the early 70s (the latter had yet to take the narrator’s role on Thomas The Tank Engine, otherwise I may have known who he was).

The impact on me cannot be understated, as a whole new world seemed to open up before me. Music was not that prevalent in our household; my mum had a small collection of singles from her youth, mainly Elvis, and although my dad did splash out on what turned out to be a very temperamental Bang and Olufsen system around 1978, replacing a little-used sideboard-style radiogram, I think this was more a status-driven purchase than anything else.

That evening the BBC broadcasted the 1965 film ‘Help!’ and something was almost immediately triggered throughout our home. My dad bought Double Fantasy and my older brother invested in the Red and Blue albums. It was shortly after this that I also started to buy records, pocket money permitting (my earliest purchases incidentally were ELO's Greatest Hits and Kim Wilde's debut album). Music for me became an obsession and rather than waste my teenage money on cigarettes I spent more and more on records. In 1985 I bought my first guitar and by 1988 I had a vague idea of how how to play it. I stumbled onto a stage for the first time the following year.

This can all be traced back to that day thirty years ago - my musical epiphany if you must. Hardly a replacement for the world when compared to the loss of someone of Lennon's status, but hugely important to me on a personal level.

RIP John.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Gift idea #7: Punk Rock Washing-up Brush

Punk's not dead.

It's merely taken the temporary form of a washing up brush while taking stock of its situation.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Gift idea #6: Punk Knits by Share Ross

As many of you will know, Share Ross was the bassist in Vixen. More recently she formed Bubble with a certain Bam on drums, which led now only to her taking the role of bassist in the Dogs D'Amour circa 2004 but also for the two of them to marry.

They've also collaborated on Punk Knits: 26 Hot New Designs for Anarchistic Souls and Independent Spirits (Bam took the photos; and for reference one of the models is Jo 'Dog' Almeida). Given the current cold weather this book is as much a practical gift as anything else!

Punk Knits website

Monday 6 December 2010

Gift idea #5: Mosh Potatoes by Steve Seabury

Suggestions on Facebook are that this is a shameful rip-off of Annick Giroux's Hellbent For Cooking ... certainly the basic notion appears similar, but if you want the recipe for Motley Crue's Pepper Jack Steak or Zakk Wylde's spaghetti and meatballs, this is the place to go.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Gift idea #4: Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book

What more fun could a punk rocker have on Christmas Day than helping Siouxise Sioux with her make-up, designing tattoos for Henry Rollins before rounding off the evening by daubing grafitti on the walls of the toilets at CBGBs? After all, under the watchful gaze of all those aunties and uncles it will be difficult to get any serious glue-sniffing in ...

Friday 3 December 2010

Gift idea #3: Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas

Despite his incarceration I'm sure we'll still be playing A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector a lot over the coming weeks.

I'll also attempt to sneak A Twisted Christmas onto the 'death deck' (phrase © Kerrang any time between 1987 and 1992, possibly beyond). Very much recorded with their tongues in their cheeks, Twisted Sister came up trumps with this album and highlights include Oh Come All Ye Faithful, not least due to its opening being so reminiscent of the classic 'We're Not Going To Take It'.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Gift idea #2: Brats On The Beat (Ramones For Kids)

I first wrote about this album back in March, and cannot recommend it enough.

So if you're a parent trying to get away from the usual selection of children's music this is a great, and far, far more bearable, option. And as it's a fundraiser for the St Jude Children's Research Hospital you'll be making a seasonal donation to them too.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Gift idea #1: Hellbent For Cooking by Annick Giroux

So it's that time of year where we all frantically search for that special gift that you hope no-one else will think of ... and for any self-respecting rock fan surely a tailored cookbook such as Hellbent for Cooking might just fit the bill?

Recipes have been suggested by well-travelled members of the likes of Thin Lizzy, Anthrax, Sepultura and  Gwar and include Beer Crust Pizza and Mushroom Steak a la Jack Daniel's. Could make an alternative offering to roast turkey and brussel sprouts ...

Current reading list (following recent birthday!):
Life: Keith Richards
Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon
Simon Pegg: Nerd Do Well

Thursday 11 November 2010

Keef - Street Fightin' Man

Reports are out that Keith Richards hit a journalist that gave the Stones a poor review three years ago!

Monday 8 November 2010

Manic Street Preachers - Cambridge Corn Exchange 01/11/10

My earliest awareness of the Manic Street Preachers came while behind the counter in Our Price, where I promptly dismissed them as indie fodder. A friend (indeed the one who first coined the phrase Glamrock Aftershock) returned from seeing the Throbs at the Marquee, and the support band was Blackwood’s finest. This was a surprise to me given my ill-informed dismissal and so I took the opportunity to put on their then current single, Motown Junk. My opinion changed immediately and was further enhanced by its follow-up, the original recording of You Love Us, complete with the Lust For Life-based closing refrain.

Last week I saw the band for the first time since they played at an anti-fascism rally in south London in 1994. I also saw them three times in 1992, at two now defunct venues, the Astoria and the Kilburn National, and at the Town & Country Club, now the Forum. I had collected every release through the first two albums (bar Suicide Alley) and around the time of The Holy Bible my interest waned slightly. Other than a few singles (A Design For Life, If You Tolerate This and Masses Against The Classes) they rarely troubled my collection for the rest of the decade. This was not directly linked to the disappearance of Richey Edwards, although I was less than enamoured with the much straighter rock on parts of Everything Must Go (which was released during a later stint at Our Price and was played to death in-store) and which was explored further on This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

Opening with the afore-mentioned You Love Us immediately brought home one very specific point - that here was a band with a big enough back catalogue to toss away such a big song so early on (something I last recall being undertaken by AC/DC kicking off proceedings with You Shook Me All Night Long). This was followed by the 2007 #2 hit Your Love Alone Is Not Enough before James Dean Bradfield returned to the band's early days with a reference to their first Cambridge show at the Junction and an airing of the anthemic Motorcycle Emptiness.

Such nods to the past were a common theme, with the band in good spirits and keen to speak about their long-standing friendships (such as Bradfield acknowledging how Nicky Wire had been responsible for his haircuts and stylings when growing up, and later returned by Wire when describing Bradfield as his personal guitar hero). Faster was prefixed with a dedication to Richey Edwards - the same album's PCP had been requested but Bradfield, overcoming a recent bout of laryngitis, made it clear that he hadn't taken sufficient steroids to manage the requisite vocals. During an interlude that saw him play one song on his own, Wire joked that Bradfield was taking so many steroids that their dressing room resembled that of the Russian Olympics squad in the 1970s.

The remainder of their set drew from across their near-20 year career, with Motown Junk typically making its appearance late on before closing with A Design For Life, with its huge chorus so famously mis-appropriated by the drinking masses. And as in 1992, no encores. Not that one was required. This was a phenomenal gig that has predictably driven me back to see and properly hear exactly what I missed from 1996 onwards.

Previous posts:
Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists

Wednesday 20 October 2010

'When you fly through a storm, hold your head up high' (sic)

As a supporter of Liverpool and with Iron Maiden being the first 'proper gig' I attended, I'm particularly amused by the news that Bruce Dickinson has flown the team to Italy ahead of their Europa Cup match in Napoli on Thursday!

Hopefully his band's affiliation with West Ham won't cause him to seek revenge for the 2006 FA Cup final ...

Saturday 16 October 2010

Manic Street Preachers - Motown Junk (Astoria 20/02/92)

Countdown to the gig begins ... with happy memories of when I first saw them on this very night in February 1992.

Thursday 7 October 2010

The Jim Jones Revue

Surely some mistake ... for the second week in a row Later With Jools Holland comes up trumps, this time with The Jim Jones Revue. To put it politely, the band is made up of older musicians and a little bit of research found that the Jim Jones in question fronted Thee Hypnotics, the almost-there-but-not-quite psychedelic/garage rockers from the 1990s.

Well summed up by a Guardian review from 2008 ("the Jim Jones Revue imagine that rock'n'roll didn't really need to evolve after 1956; it just needed to get much, much louder, and wildly more distorted") their brief performance on Tuesday night's shorter warm-up show, with appropriately long-slung guitars, was enough to ensure I'll be tuning in again on Friday to see what else they have on offer.

Friday 1 October 2010

Vive le Rock - new magazine launch

Spinning off from the long-standing website comes the launch of Vive Le Rock magazine, featuring The Ramones, the very en vogue Killing Joke, The Clash and David Bowie plus a free CD promising 'both the coolest cats on the block as well as the legends who paved the way for them'.

Future issues promise Devo, The Who, The Sex Pistols, Johnnies Cash and Thunders, Jerry Lee Lewis and Tom Waits.

With a mandate to 'to bring ... the Bad Boys of rock 'n' roll! From punk and new wave, glam and garage through to mod and primal rock 'n' roll', this looks to be a very welcome addition to newstands.

First issue will be published on October 15th.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Delta Spirit

Inbetween the usual blandness that makes up a typical edition of Later With Jools Holland, San Diego's Delta Spirit shone on tonight's show performing '9/11' from new album History From Below. Reminded me momentarily of Flies On Fire but I think this was largely down to the vocal.

One for the shopping list!

Killing Joke - Absolute Dissent

Following some very positive comments from respectable sources on the Swindon Music Forum I was drawn to Spotify to see what all the fuss is about regarding Killing Joke's new album, Absolute Dissent.

As their first album in almost 30 years performed by the original line-up, I strongly suggest you do the same. It's a monster.

Monday 20 September 2010

Manic Street Preachers - Postcards From A Young Man (boxed set)

I haven't got round to listening to the album yet - hope to find time shortly - but have just been reading some of the comments on Amazon relating to the 'supadupamegadeluxe' boxed set edition of Postcards From A Young Man. If nothing else it's nice to see the Manics are still polarising opinion, even if it is amongst their own following.

Previous posts:
Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists

Friday 10 September 2010

The power of Lou Reed

Some sites are reporting this story as 'Lou Reed Makes Susan Boyle Cry'. You've probably read about it - the legendary Velvet Underground man stopped the (can I really type this ...) Britain's Got - ahem - Talent singer from performing Perfect Day on the US version of the show. What surprises me here is not that he did this, but that he that the power of veto. And I'm guessing that she would have performed it in the style of the awful BBC-promotional version (which did have Reed's backing, and indeed involvement) rather than the 1972 original.

And it was back in November 1972 that Reed stopped the New York Dolls from supporting him at a gig in Liverpool during the latter's ill-fated UK. I dare say there are numerous other examples of the great man flexing his muscles ...

Monday 6 September 2010

Chrome Cranks

Read about these guys following a namecheck in a recent issue of The New Yorker - despite the band forming back in 1988!

A low-down and dirty garage band (think the likes of Cramps and Boss Hog, with maybe a sprinkling of the Beasts of Bourbon on top), I've so far only heard what's available on their MySpace page. Seems there's a new album on its way, but from what I can gather the self-titled debut is the one of go for, although there is a pretty-substantial looking best-of available (Diabolical Boogie).

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Tim Thornton - Death of an Unsigned Band

Can't recommend this book as such as I haven't (yet) read it, but have just read a decent article on Sabotage Times by its author.

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Axl Rose oversleeps .. and sacks his roadcrew!

Following on from Guns n' Roses having to cut their sets short at Reading & Leeds (after taking the stage late on both nights), news now emerges that Axl Rose sacked his tour crew after he overslept before the Reading show and then had to re-hire them for Leeds!

Previous posts:
Guns 'N Roses - Appetite For Destruction
Stephen Davis - Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses
Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds - self-titled 

Thursday 26 August 2010

Nirvana Ruined Everything

Hats off (in my case this would have been a black velvet peaked cap) to Nirvana Ruined Everything, a blog that is eerily like this one but looks and reads better!

Check it out and, if you dare, submit your own pre-Kurt photos.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Monsters Of Rock - Donington Park 22/08/87

After seeing Iron Maiden in 1986 it was almost a full year before I managed to attend another 'proper' gig. At this stage I was still veering towards thrash (Appetite For Destruction had just been released but had yet to change my life) and so the mid-bill pairing of Metallica and Anthrax was my main motivation for going.

Arriving just in time for Cinderella (and as a sign of the times, free cigarettes - Marlboro were one of the sponsors - and also condoms were being given out on the site), we found ourselves immediately experiencing the joys of the festival setting with the onset of rain. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to stomach it now - with the possible exception of 'Shake Me' - but we were all big fans of Night Songs and so the rain did nothing to prevent our enjoyment of their brief set. Their presence was almost certainly determined by their relationship with headliners Bon Jovi (although there is nothing to suggest that they were tied by the same terms as Skid Row famously were), and set the Philadelphia-based quartet up for a successful few years. 

Second band of the day was WASP - complete with semi-naked-woman-on-rack routine, which was all well and good but did seem to jar a little with the setting, crappy weather and time of day. Not one of my favourite bands, though the likes of 'Wild Child' and 'I Wanna Be Somebody' still stand up.

And so to the real business of the day. Anthrax were riding high with Among The Living (b-side to 'I Am The Law' and later single in its own right, I'm The Man, was also doing the rounds) and I was happily down for the front for their set, newly purchased Anthrax baseball cap firmly on my head. Faster - and a bit sillier - than Hetfield and co, they were probably my pick of the day.

Metallica were a year on from Master Of Puppets and the death of Cliff Burton. His spectre has loomed over the band ever since, to the point that even after almost two decades in the band Jason Newstead struggled to feel accepted (the dysfunctional state of the band is best observed in Metallica - Some Kind Of Monster). As much as I enjoyed their set they didn't match up to Anthrax on the day.

Not wishing to speak ill of the dead but I have zero recollection of Dio as I paid them no attention! And as for Bon Jovi, well, my main memory - and a happy one at that - was the appearance of Bruce Dickinson and Paul Stanley during the encore (not least as the denim jacket I was stylishly wearing on the day has a KISS 'Destroyer' backpatch - a slightly odd choice given that I didn't own the album in question, or indeed any KISS albums).

The day almost ended disastrously after one of our group managed to lead us to completely the wrong car park. It had been made clear that the coach would wait for one hour after Bon Jovi finished and no more. It was only when one of the stewards asked a very simple question that we realised our mistake:

'Do you remember if there was grass or gravel when you got off the coach?'
'Grass.' (said while standing on gravel).
'Then you want the other car park.'
'Okay. Is is far?'
'Yes - about a mile that way.'

We were already late, but thankfully the coach had been unable to leave as it was boxed in. We didn't make the same mistake the following year ...

Sunday 1 August 2010

Hollywood Brats - Little Ole Wine Drinker Me

The second Hollywood Brats album has taken on almost mythical status. Back in my record shop days there was no reference to it in any catalogues (but at one point an album called 'Whatever Happened To The Hollywood Brats' did appear on a small label's release schedule but never materialised - at the time I put it down as a re-issued & re-titled edition of their debut).

So did it ever exist?

Even in the internet age there is seemingly no information out there, and that includes the band's own website and MySpace page. Amazon listed a Casino Steel best-of which supplied some hope, including as it did two Hollywood Brats songs ('Little Ole Wine Drinker Me' and 'Suckin' On Suzie') that weren't on the debut. But even that's long-deleted.

I sent a message to their MySpace account in September 2006 and got this reply:

"Only few fans know of the lost album, the second album to be exact. You just ought to look for it!"

Nice to have confirmation, but still no closer to hearing it!

And that's how things remained until I found this. Not surprisingly it doesn't compare favourably to the debut.

Also here's a clip of the band during a brief reformation in 1980.

Friday 30 July 2010

The Throbs - Pin Up Girls

Scrolled through my past posts and was surprised to see that I've omitted The Throbs thus far. Perhaps the disappointment of The Language Of Thieves And Vagabonds still rankles.

Here's an earlier clip of the band and an insight into what could have been ...

Thursday 29 July 2010

Redd Kross - Bubblegum Factory

Only saw Redd Kross attempt this live once after much audience insistence (Subterranea, Ladbroke Grove circa 1992) and they abandoned after by the 1st chorus claiming they couldn't remember it! Seems they've taken the time since to re-learn it (though some of the backing vocals are a little questionable).

Wednesday 28 July 2010

LA Guns - One More Reason

The video that supposedly got the band signed. Slightly rougher round the edges than the ‘official’ recording.

Previous posts:
L.A. Guns - self-titled

Friday 23 July 2010

Redd Kross - Blow You A Kiss In The Wind

From the first Redd Kross album I managed to track down (the seemingly unavailable on CD 'Teen Babes From Monsanto') and the one song on it ('Linda Blair' aside it's a covers album) that I didn't know the origin of. Until today ...

Thursday 22 July 2010

Faster Pussycat - You're So Vain

Nice little oddity that originally surfaced on 'Rubaiyat', a compilation released by Elektra records to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The concept was for current acts to record versions of songs by past Elektra artists.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Motorcycle Boy

The one, the only ... well, apart from the Scottish band of the same name.

Thursday 1 July 2010

GUNFIRE DANCE - Continental Bar NYC 1994

My love for Gunfire Dance is hardly a secret (I bang on about them often enough), so here we go for anyone that missed (or misses) them ....

Monday 28 June 2010

Quireboys - Man On The Loose

After a friend played me a recording today of the Quireboys at Reading Festival in 1987, we chatted about the band's early recordings before the slickly-produced debut album (as well as a horribly clean 'live' concert video they released that was clearly filmed in a studio).

A quick trawl over on YouTube threw up this clip from 1988, which I remember as I once had a bootleg live video of this show. Support came from the Brooklyn Dogs, with a set largely unmemorable except for a guest appearance by a man called Tyla for a version of 'The Last Bandit', and who completely upstaged the (probably not that) young pretenders. My next challenge is to find that clip ...

Friday 25 June 2010

The Dogs D'Amour - I Don't Want You To Go

Classic stuff ... all I wanted to do at the time was move to London and this video didn't help! Finally managed it a couple of years later though.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Flies On Fire - Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley's Grave

One of those bands loved by those 'in the know' ... here's a live version of their Lodi-esque 'Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley's Grave'.

Previous posts:
Flies On Fire - self-titled

Monday 21 June 2010

Last Of The Teenage Idols - Looking For A Lady

For some reason 'Looking For A Lady' by the Last Of The Teenage Idols, their single that never was, has been stuck in my head recently. Then someone puts a link to a video of it up on Facebook - so here it is!

Thursday 17 June 2010

Suicide Blonde and the Birmingham scene

Suicide Blonde popped into my head today - not the INXS song, but a Birmingham band from the late 80s/early 90s. As is clear from the cartoon drawing on their MySpace page, Suicide Blonde emerged on the (velvet) coat tails of the Dogs D'Amour and despite some good press only managed to release one 12" single ('Nobody Tells Me Anything', a tune we used to busk occasionally).

I got to see them once at the Borderline on Charing Cross Road on my birthday (to say which one would give far too much away!). Openers were the then perennial support act White Trash; I must have seen them about half-a-dozen times, all unintentionally. Their one redeeming feature was that they covered 'Another Girl, Another Planet', and on this particular evening were joined for their rendition by one Steve von Saint. Bless him, he looked most crestfallen when he went to play the opening solo but was beaten to it by White Trash's own guitarist, then trying to pull some shapes only to lean back too far and fall over! I dare say he claimed to have been drunk ...

Suicide Blonde's performance led to a Kerrang review that stated that 'the best band in London is actually from Birmingham'. And it's fair to say that England's second city (Mancunians will debate that one!) was arguably producing the better bands - along with Suicide Blonde there was Gunfire Dance, who never got close to the success they deserved, Dave Kusworth and Nikki Sudden (in both their solo guises, Kusworth's Bounty Hunters and together as the Jacobites).

I also stumbled across some great You Tube links from this era, including the band that spawned Suicide Blonde (Hollywood Refugees) and also the Subterranaen Hawks (an early Kusworth outfit along with Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy and performing 'Big Store', later re-recorded by the Jacobites on Robespierre's Velvet Basement). Each clip also has some notes on the bands - well worth checking out.

Previous posts:
Jacobites - Robespierre's Velvet Basement
Suddenly Dead - Nikki Sudden movie
Gunfire Dance
Interview with Ozzie from Gunfire Dance 

Friday 11 June 2010

Lookalikes part two: when the crimping stopped

As promised back in December 2008 ... not that anyone's requested it.

Bill Wyman - as before! I'd like to deny any similarity but there are far too many photographs out there that would undermine me. And when playing bass I do sometimes deliberately tilt my bass up so I've only got myself to blame!

John Lennon - in some ways a lazy comparison that was also thrown at me in my longer-haired days by 'straights' as a general statement of alleged hippiness. I guess I have unintentionally encouraged this since by having a vaguely Beatles-esque haircut and wearing glasses. I have also been known to point at photographs of him while with my 4-year old son and ask who it is. 'Daddy' will come the answer ... but if I was going to refer to a sixties lookalike (barring Bill flamin' Wyman) it would be ...

Roger McGuinn - much happier about this one, and I tend to only get it from musical aficionados!

Liam Gallagher - another Lennon-esque lazy comparison (thinking about it I also had Julian Lennon thrown at me a few times - not literally of course) that I used to get around Camden in the mid-late 90s, but ultimately usurped by the time I was actually mistaken for a semi-famous musician in ...

James Broad (Silver Sun) - Amusingly this happened at the Camden Falcon, and their bassist, Richard, was stood about two feet away. This may have been what caused the person to think I was James; but if they'd turned round they would have seen the man himself was also there! But perhaps not as ridiculous as the time I was mistaken for ...

Louis Theroux - just up the road at the Monarch. Now, there is a oft-repeated mantra that cameras, especially TV cameras can make people appear 10 pounds larger. Given that Theroux is 6ft 2in and I'm, well, not, I can only assume the person in question once mis-heard 10 pounds as 10 inches. I told them I was his brother; the fact that they then walked off without saying anything suggests they were very disappointed.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Gypsy Queen & Tigertailz - London Astoria 10/06/88

Gypsy Queen ... hmmm. To be fair the real reason we trooped along to this 22 years ago was to see Tigertailz, who by this time had replaced Steevi Jaimz with Kim Hooker and released their third recording of 'Living Without You'. Our first attempt to see the Welsh glamsters was met with mild humiliation a year or so before when we were refused entry into Swindon's Brunel Rooms for being underage (if memory serves me well we went to a late-night showing of The Blues Brothers instead, so all was not lost).

Despite seeing them live three times in all (and even taking the time to get their autographs), Tigertailz were always too Americanised for my tastes, although I have to accept an appreciation for the afore-mentioned 'Living Without You'. And if truth be told, had they been in the US at the right time rather than holding court at Bogiez in Cardiff things could have worked out very differently for them.  

Wednesday 9 June 2010

The Only Ones - Shepherds Bush Empire 09/06/2007

Comparatively recent anniversary here ... and along with the Hanoi Rocks 2002 tour and the New York Dolls appearances at Meltdown in 2004, this was one of those bands I thought I'd never see. And with the full classic line-up to boot! I saw 'The One' back in 1994 and figured that was going to be as good as it got - after all, they'd played a hefty number of Only Ones tunes, and you had to wonder whether Perrett was ever going to make it back onto a stage after that brief mid-90s re-emergence. And lo and behold it happened.
One of the most immediate thing to jump out seemed almost impossible; while the rest of the band were showing the scars of time (Perrett could almost hide behind his microphone stand, such was the slightness of his frame) Mike Kellie, a drummer who back in 60s played in Spooky Tooth and was one of the more unlikely new wave musicians, looked as though he had frozen in time circa 1979.

The Only Ones always stood apart from their contemporaries; as Perrett notes in the Faster Than Lightning collection (recently issued on DVD via the band’s website), they were the band that aspiring musicians looked to and directly influenced the subsequent forming of bands. The House Of Love are a prime, almost plagiaristic example. Their musical superiority over, say, Eddie & The Hot Rods led to 2-and-a-bit great albums (their swansong, Baby’s Got A Gun, contains without question the band’s lowpoint in Fools but also at least one of their finest in Big Sleep). Their performance of the latter was one of those stand out moments, where the hairs on your neck stand up; Perrett’s higher pitched and more fragile voice providing the epic song with even greater resonance.

And of course there was ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ … a few days before this show I heard Andy McCluskey from OMD on the radio, dismissing the return of the Only Ones and suggesting it had only happened due to the use of their most famous song in a recent Vodafone ad. This is the same Andy McCluskey that gave the world Atomic Kitten – surely enough of a reason to keep your opinions to yourself.

Much to our amusement the first encore was ‘Me And My Shadow’, complete with an unnecessarily extended intro. We were so thrown by this that the only thing to do was to pile down the front, which at least put us in the right place for ‘Lovers Of Today’.

For a while afterwards there was talk of new material, and recordings did surface both online and during a performance on Later With Jools Holland. There was a national tour but some dates were cancelled. Their website hasn't been updated for a while and the best source of info, John Perry's MySpace page has been silent for some time too. On balance I'm quite happy for things to be left as they are.

Monday 7 June 2010

RIP Stuart Cable - one-time King Catwalk drummer

News has broken that Stuart Cable (ex-Stereophonics drummer) has died.

When the Stereophonics first emerged there was something about Cable's style that belied some glam leanings, specifically the way he would bounce on his drumstool. At some point I learnt that he had been the drummer in King Catwalk, one of a slew of glam bands that emerged in South Wales following the brief (minor) success of Tigertailz. It's taken a little bit of digging but this appears to be borne out here and here (on the latter, click on 'books' and then the cover of 'Demons and Cocktails' for a comedy extract referencing this period of Cable's career).

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Manic Street Preachers UK tour

Perhaps it’s the fact that I don’t get out much these days but I’m surprisingly excited by the announcement of the latest Manic Street Preachers tour dates, not least as they’ve had the decency to stop off in Cambridge. In fact it’s a very exhaustive UK tour and it will be the first time I’ve seen the band since 1994 (and the first time since Richey’s disappearance). Those 16 years have seen a mish-mash of feelings towards the Manics. The ‘comeback’ single, Design For Life, was a triumph and although the resulting album catapulted the band to new heights Everything Must Go’s meat and two veg anthemic style made it the first Manics album that I didn’t buy – and I haven’t bought one since, although I did make use of streaming sites for 2009's Journal For Plague Lovers. This is despite several notable releases: the one-off Masses Against the Classes (with its one acoustic and one cover version b-sides it truly felt like a throwback to a Richey-era single) and Found That Soul leap to mind.

Pre-sale available now.

The dates in full.

Previous posts:
Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Steven Tyler: Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?:

Claiming to be 'the long-awaited, never-before-told, no-holds-barred memoir from the legendary Aerosmith frontman', Steven Tyler publishes Does the Noise in My Head Bother You in October. Early blurbs promise 'the most outrageous rock n' roll autobiography of all time'. You can read the full product description here.

Aerosmith have always been a gap in my record collection - I had a copy of the 70s 'Greatest Hits' but I rarely played it, and even though Toys In The Attic is regarded as a bona fide classic I can honestly say I've never heard it. Online streaming sites seem to only feature their more recent output so my recent attempts to rectify this have been thwarted.