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Friday, 30 September 2011


I've been listening to music for forty years, and attending gigs for thirty one of them now.
I've been crushed against barriers by ecstatic crowds, stood knee deep in muddy festival fields while rain last described in biblical passages did its best to sweep me away, I've slept in doorways in subzero conditions after gigs, spent money I didn't have to traverse the country to catch a single solitary show by a band that no one else has heard of, and more, much more.
I guess I've paid my dues a couple of times over now, yet when people ask me what the key to success is for bands I normally give a shrug and mutter that it's down to being in the right place at the right time.
That's it.
It's a crap shoot. They throw the dice and keep their fingers crossed and hope that what they are doing at that given time is what people want to hear.
I've seen some great bands spectacularly achieve obscurity as often as I've seen mediocre bands rise to reap the rewards of super-stardom.
There really is no sense to it all.
Being bloody fantastic doesn't equate to any sort of critical or public acclaim.
It either happens or it doesn't.
Take Thelonious Monster as an example.
For a while they were the darlings of the underground in Hollywood, and if you considered yourself a cool kid then you would be expected to drop their name, even all the way over here in Scotland.
Prior to their own fame coming knocking bands like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Janes Addiction and Fishbone would frequent Thelonious Monster gigs and get off on what was going on.
John Frusciante even tried out for them at one time.
This was the band who were going to be huge.
The singer and main man Bob Forrest was being name checked as the next Lennon or Dylan, but the public at large didn't bite, and then the drugs took their toll and that was that.
Members went on to do other things, but nothing matched the promise of Thelonious Monster.
Even when they reunited in 2004 for some shows and an album it was the same old story. A minority raved in ecstatic praise and the majority didn't.
There was a little activity in 2009, but if I was to be asked what I thought the chances were of the band taking a late bite at success and being able to manage to hold onto it I would have to say no.
It's not going to happen now.
In all honesty I'd even sort of forgotten all about them.
That's what happens. A couple of years of hearing nothing and a band may as well not have existed.
So much water under the bridge, so many bands who have come and gone.
Then today I seen a link for a movie about Bob Forrest.
It was a bit of a blast from the past.
It turns out that outwith his musical endeavours he has been a drug councillor for many years, and as he is a friend to 'the stars' has intervened, and most certainly saved peoples relationships with those around them, and even in some cases their lives.
This is a man who has been right to the edge and looked into the abyss and managed to pull himself back from it and use his experiences to help others.
While I was impressed with his work as a songwriter and singer I'm far more impressed with what he has done with his life.
The movie is called 'Bob and the Monster' and should be out on DVD release later on this year.
So mentally bookmark that and make the effort as it looks like it could be as good as 'Dig' was as rockumentaries go.
PS - Everyone in the US will know him as Dr Bob from Celebrity Rehab, but we don't watch that here and that has allowed us to become even more adrift of what he has been up to in comparison to our transatlantic cousins.

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