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.