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Monday, 30 April 2012

Murnie - Sundaymouth


Way back in 1982 Europop was storming the charts as FR David sang 'words don't come easy'.
As chart fluff goes it wasn't too bad.
Certainly it's a better song than most of the auto tuned dirges that are common place now.
So what has that got to do with the latest ep released by Murnie?
Well words aren't coming easy to me either as I sit here and try and say something about it.
Although I could say that it is certainly better than most of the auto tuned dirges that are common place now.
See what I did there?
I linked all that together and I've still not said anything about Murnie really.
Is it a clever thing, or just me flaying about randomly and talking crap.
I'll give you a clue. It's not the first one.
Right. Concentrate. (I'm talking to myself now.)
Do you like the song writing of the Finn brothers in Crowded House? (I'm talking to you now.)
Maybe a bit of Squeeze?
Well there's some of that quality there, but not necessarily the sound.
There's some jazzy sounding bits on the piano, and on Soft Brown Voice there's the ghost of David Bowie doing a show tune.
The whole ep has an easy veneer to it, and it can sound a bit minimalistic, but there's far more going on than what is on the surface.
The melodies are tight and everything fits well in the context of the four songs.
My problem in describing Murnie isn't rooted in any apathy at what I'm hearing.
Rather I'm struggling to express why I like it, and that's a failing on my part as I can't just say it's good and leave it at that.
So what else?
The lyrics. We can talk about them as quite frankly they are a good few steps ahead of the pack.
Read them separately from the music and try and imagine what sort of sound would accompany them and you will be wrong.
Listen to the music without the lyrics and try and imagine what words would be layered over what you can hear and I suspect you would be equally as wrong and maybe that's where my problem, and the magic, lies.
There's two conflicting things going on in harmony.
It's a bit mind boggling how that can work, but it does.
It's a damn lovely wee ep and you should buy it.  

The Levellers - Static on the Airwaves


Time to crack open a celebratory drink as perennial agit-punk folk rockers The Levellers are back with a new album.
The release of Static on the Airwaves is imminent, and while it may seem like only yesterday that the critically acclaimed 'Letters from the Underground' was unleashed on the public - and gave some of us ageing and jaded protester a clutch of new anthems to rally around - it was actually four years ago.
It's entirely possible that I didn't realize the passing of time as the Levellers themselves didn't rest on their laurels in the intervening years.
Instead there was the reissues of the first few albums with bonus tracks, and a spectacular tour to celebrate the anniversary of 'Levelling the Land'.
Obviously it's been busy, busy, busy in the world of The Levellers, but they haven't been that busy that they couldn't manage to find the time to write and record what is their tenth studio album.
It's undoubtedly something of an achievement to reach double figures in album releases for bands now.
It seems that the days of artists having a large back catalogue of material has been left behind with a relentless boom and bust of bands now being the norm.
Yet here are the Levellers bucking yet another trend, and doing it in style.
Admittedly while it may not sound as immediately urgent as Letters from the Underground was, it's certainly no step backwards.
Far from it.
Consider 'Static on the Airwaves' as a more mature collection of songs.
The fire is still there, and it's apparent on every track, but the impression is that they don't feel the need to roar the message any more, and I like that.
It's another facet to them that fans can begin to wrap their heads around.
It feels like we are all growing in the same direction, and at a similar pace.
What we have on display is a more reasoned and incisive level of global commentary that cuts to the bone just as hard as it would if it was the rallying call to arms of old.
The soundtrack to a night of drunken revelry and politics has been dropped, and in its place a more coherent argument for seeking out an alternative to the status quo is advanced.
It's all rather clever in the way it worms its way in and acts as a catalyst to reconsidering your understanding of the world we live in.
So much of it will be considered as preaching to the already converted, but there's never any harm in being reminded that politically while we may feel lost and alone that none of us really are.
I has to be said that one of the albums many strengths is in how the band have used historical tales to mirror current situations in the world.
It's a timely reminder that there is nothing new under the sun and what we are seeing is the age old rise and fall of empires going on around us.
Maybe some young music lovers looking for something new will listen to the album and be able to read the writing on the wall as so many of us did when the Levellers first arrived on the scene all those many years ago.
I sincerely hope so.
In some way the truth still rings out from their albums and it really isn't that difficult to hear.
Place it as the aural backdrop to the wars that are still raging across the world, the ongoing implosion of economies, and how regardless of how bad things get that the continued resilience of the affluent is arrogantly apparent and as a body of work it all makes complete sense.
It's a refreshingly timely release.  

Bob Wayne - Till the wheels fall off


Country music - similar to pop music - has apparently been co-opted by big business.
No longer are the outlaws to be promoted to the world as the sound of country.
Your wife running off with a trailer park neighbour called Hank, who really only seduced her so he could steal your three legged diabetic dog, is no longer suitable as a subject matter for a country hit.
Instead prepubescent girls with big shiny white smiles who wear Stetsons and shit kicking boots sing songs about Marines who gave them their hearts before dying at the hands of dirty infidels in far of countries while protecting the American way of life.
No one questions that if the story was factual that the marine would be a paedophile as the singer is only thirteen.
That would be unpatriotic and the Christian right would kick your ass for even thinking it.
Thankfully existing in far flung corners are people like Bob Wayne who are keeping the real spirit of country alive.
Nashville incorporated will no doubt hate his greasy haired unshaven fuck you outlaw attitude, but we need people like Bob to stand up and be the yin to the lowest common denominator country yang that is being foisted on us.
For every song that is released that Hollywood can line dance to we need one like Lyza that's about an emancipated woman shooting cocksucking reprobates.
For every Blake Shelton hit we need someone singing a song about the Devil accompanied by a fiddle on fire as an antidote.
More palatable than Hank III for the ears of most people Bob could quite easily manage to keep the hillbilly punks happy with 'Till the wheels fall off', and at the same time attract more mainstream country fans to what he does.
Lets call him a gateway drug for the country music scene.
Even people who don't like country could well be beguiled by Bob.
The man is a honky tonk hero.
Less the last of a dying breed, but more so the return of the real deal.
Hitch your wagon to his train.
It's going to be a long and interesting journey.   


https://www.facebook.com/BobWayneOfficial/app_178091127385?ref=ts

Once a Guttersnipe...always a Guttersnipe.


Random memories are still being dredged up by Shug for his memoir and here's yet another.
All of this is unedited so when the book is completed expect it to arrive in a different form, and some of what is printed here may, or may not, appear.

There seems to be a bit of a theme beginning to emerge.
Shug gets drunk, Shug has the chance of a sexual encounter. Shug misses out on sexual encounter. Ha

Here you go mate, another wee snippet for you !You know I promised you all that I would write a book & you may remember me saying that the 1990s (yes, the whole decade) is a bit of a blur?
Well I spoke to my old Guttersnipes bassist, Andy, last night to get him to jog my memory & it seems I got married to a German prostitute in 1998!
Hahahaha!
Now, wait a minute, before you all start jumping down my throat, and Carla, before you blow your top, I do actually recall that night.
We were touring Germany supported by Slovakian band, Zona A.
It happened that one of the dates was my Birthday, we were playing Cottbus that night, great gig, the place was jumping, people stage diving, great night.
After we'd played we hung around the bar talking to some German Skinheads, then a woman came up to me & started talking in German (she couldn't speak English) so one of the Skinheads was translating, she was enthusing about the band & telling me I was a great singer & she loved my voice.
I said thank you, glad you enjoyed the gig.
Then she took both my hands in hers, looked into my eyes & started making some kind of a speech, when she finished she looked at me for some kind of response, one of the Skins said "just say yes", so I smiled & nodded & said "Yes", she grabbed me & kissed me & the Skins all started laughing. I said "What ? What is it ? What did she say ?" and one of them said "You just got married !"
Anyway, we hung around drinking & chatting then the guy who ran the Club came running over & said "You have to leave !".
He'd just had a phone call tipping him off that a gang of Neo Nazis were heading to the club to get The Guttersnipes.
We had been, shall I say, uncomplimentary about Nazis in interviews we'd done & they were after our blood. Now we were supposed to be staying in rooms at the club but the guy said that was no longer possible so he phoned a hotel & booked rooms for us & phoned a taxi.
We were hurriedly exited out the back door & into a waiting taxi & I never saw my "wife" again!
Wonder how she is?
Hope she's alright !
What I didn't know until last night was that she was actually a prostitute hired by Zona A as a birthday present for me & the speech she made was actually an old German Folk Marriage Ceremony!
But you can relax Carla, I'm not a bigamist, the marriage wasn't legal, no registrar was present & nothing was signed, the marriage wasn't even consummated thanks to the bloody Nazis !!!
The things that happen to you eh?
I was just playing in a band!!!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Fear and Loathing in Shug O'Neills head.


Shug and Charlie
Currently Shug O'Neill, of The Snipes, and previously of Cocksparrer and the Guttersnipes, has been dredging his memory and writing bits and pieces that will hopefully see the light of day as a book at some point in the future.
Without a doubt it will be a debauched affair of excess and punk shenanigans.

So I am very proud to have a bit of it here, and hopefully every once in a while there will be more updates, but if you want it all you are going to have to wait for the book.

Here is a snippet from his Norwegian adventures with The Guttersnipes.
I used to love touring Norway with The Guttersnipes, it was always wild.
One year (sometime in that blurred decade the 90s) the promoter, Kjell E. Moberg, wanted to put a Belgian band called The Bad Preachers on with us, the other support bands would be local Norwegian bands from whatever City or Town we were playing, we said "cool" so he put us in touch with the Bad Preachers who sent us a CD, band info & a letter describing themselves as Hard Drinking Party Animals who were looking forward to meeting us for some parties & a drinking competition, hahahahaha, they obviously had no idea what they were up against!
The 1st gig was in Kristiansand, we arrived in the afternoon, unloaded the van, set up & sound checked, the Bad Preachers arrived shortly after.
We were then met by 2 Norwegian hippies who I can only describe as the Norwegian Cheech & Chong (thats exactly what they looked like), that were charged with looking after us. One of them took a shine to me instantly & said "you look like a man who likes a good smoke", I said "too right I do" & he said "you're in the right place, you're gonna love this".
They took us down the road to a record shop (their shop), in the basement was their living quarters, big living room, kitchen bedroom, all mod cons, but what we noticed was the crates of beer all stacked up in a corner. They said that's your beer, help yourself, so we did!
We settled down with Cheech & Chong & started smoking spliff & drinking beer & having a laugh, the Bad Preachers sat by themselves looking a bit shy strangely.
Then our hosts decided to start cooking, after a while one of them came back to show me his collection of pipes, he had loads of them & insisted I try some, I was stoned out my fucking head!
Then he brought out his piece de resistance. Hhe went into the freezer and brought out a pipe made out of blue glass, there was steam coming off of it, it looked awesome!
He said "This'll be the coolest smoke you've ever had", it was fucking brilliant, I felt myself levitating.
At this point a worried looking Bad Preacher came up to me & said "what are you doing ? It's the afternoon, we have a gig to play tonight !" I said yeah, its o.k, we'll be fine.
After we'd eaten, we chilled out listening to Rock music with a bit more Spliff & Beer, Andy, our bassist said "it's great here innit, it's like a Heavy Metal Health Farm”.
hahahaha, brilliant quote!
Anyway, eventually, even reluctantly, we went to do the gig, which we did fine, maybe a wee bit slower than usual but good nonetheless.
At the gig a blonde called Karen was really into it & took a real shine to me, she told me she was puttin the Bad Preachers up whilst we were staying with Cheech & Chong but she wanted me to come home with her.
So me, The Bad Preachers, an old Icelandic Hippy guy & a young Norwegian Punk all went back to Karen's. We sat round her kitchen table smoking spliff & drinking beer & telling stories.
The Icelandic Hippy was really entertaining, the young Norwegian Punk was...well, just a daft young punk, the Bad Preachers were strangely normal!
The young punk had had his tongue pierced e few months earlier and kept sticking his tongue out looking for a reaction, eventually we asked him about it.
I said I understand outside piercings but why pierce something on the inside unless you walk about with your tongue out all the time?
His response, "the chicks love it" and started wiggling his tongue !
I said "fair enough now put it away".
Later however, the conversation got onto relationships and past girlfriends, the stupid cunt then said "I haven't had a woman for 2 years".
I was onto him straight away, I said in that case how do you know the chicks love your piercing?
Cue lots of laughter & one very embarrassed young Punk.
Anyway it was well into the small hours now and I was getting tired & just wanted to be left
alone with Karen.
Then a Bad Preacher spoke up and said "we have to travel to another gig tomorrow so we'd like to go to sleep if that's o.k", so Karen showed them to their room, the young Punk lived nearby so he went home, Karen made up a bed for the Icelandic Hippy on the sofa, & said "Shug, you're sleeping with me".
At last!!
The only reason I gave up a mental night at Cheech and Chong's!!
What I didn't know was that she had a kitten, a very jealous kitten!!
As soon as I got into bed with her it jumped on the bed, scrambled up the duvet and sat on my head!
Of course Karen thought this was hilarious, so I'm trying to get all amorous with her with a kitten on my head whilst she's howling laughing!!!
I lost my ardour, you know what it's like guys!
So I gave up and put my head on the pillow, only then did the kitten leave me but positioned itself on the pillow between our two faces.
I couldn't believe it, me, the wild Scottish, Punk Rock Party Animal thwarted by a bloody Norwegian kitten!
I'll never live it down.
Anyway that was just the 1st night of the tour, much more mayhem & merriment followed!
As for the Bad Preachers, they were just totally in awe of us, they'd never seen anyone put so much alcohol & drugs into themselves and still stay standing!
Needless to say the drinking competition never happened, they conceded defeat on the 1st day.
Great guys though, we got on well and became good friends, happy daze!
(To be continued.)


All rights belong to Shug O'Neil. 

Legendary Shack Shakers/The Jackhammers - King Tuts - 26/04/12 (Glasgow)


The Jackhammers
There's a bit of The Ramones, a bit of The Dead Boys and a whole lotta Jackhammers shaking their shambolic stuff on King Tuts stage tonight.
Pile driving (sic) into a set that leaves an audience equally perplexed, bemused and entertained the three piece garage rockers are a sublime example of how a band can exude an attitude of not giving a fuck while actually doing the business.
Sneering through a muscular set of aggressive garage punk songs that rarely, if at all, hit the two minute mark the guys expend the same amount of energy in a fleeting moment than a marathon runner does in an afternoon of slogging it out on the pavements of the major cities around the world.
The effort that they put into the performance is something that is appreciated by those who see that the ramshackle aspect is part of the act.
Are they the hardest working slackers on the punk rock circuit?
Quite possibly.
The icing on the cake was that they had some merch with the image of a sex dwarf on it.
Dang... this band just answered my dreams.
I've been looking for a sex dwarf t-shirt for years.
After the mach-speed fury that was The Jackhammers we got to the come down that was Dirty Old Red.
Accomplished musicians they may well be, but it was glaringly obvious that they were on the wrong bill.
Sandwiched between The Jackhammers and The Legendary Shack Shakers should be a band that have a hint of danger about them.
They should have their toes on the line of acceptable behaviour and threaten to step over it at every opportunity.
That's not Dirty Old Red.
It was like having JLS coming on stage after Anthrax and before Motorhead.
None of that is to say that they aren't a good band, just that their inclusion on the bill sort of boggles the mind.
The memory of them playing took a heavy hit when the Shack Shakers came on and shook the walls.
The stereotypical claim that a band owned the stage became a reality.
Last time I seen them I was quietly impressed but I wasn't blown away as others had claimed I would be.
This was a whole different ball game though.
Now I have been blown away.
JD Wilkes is a gurning maniac, a redemptive lunatic southern baptist preacher inviting us to join him in the St Vitus dance.
JD Wilkes
The sounds of punk, the blues and rockabilly are layered together and hammered into a shape that evokes the spirit of the revivalist tents.
Only in this tent the moonshine is flowing freely, Jerry Lee Lewis is the master of ceremonies and he's looking to start a fight.
God is in one corner, the Devil in the other, and the outcome is uncertain.
The band are tightly coiled and assuming the role of storm wranglers.
The guitarist, bassist and drummer are holding JD Wilkes between them and all his energies are being forced outwards into the crowd.
Thankfully the crowd are gleefully weathering the storm and letting the experience batter at them with smiles on their faces.
There's not many bands that can maintain a level of consistent energy throughout a show that would have the needle always in the red, but the Legendary Shack Shakers can.
This is a blood, sweat and tears performance, and while it is just that, a performance, you can't see where the line is drawn between it being an act and the real deal.
As a front-man Wilkes could very well be channelling something more through his wiry frame.
Is he he speaking in tongues? In the grip of angels or demons?
I doubt it, but he plays the man possessed to the hilt and I'd happily watch him wrestling with himself to convey that feeling every night if I could.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Jack White - Blunderbuss


Widely touted as a debut album it may be, but 'Blunderbuss' is really a debut in name only.
There's no great departure from what we have come to expect from Jack White as an artist, and instead Blunderbuss is really a continuation of what what he is known for, and what he is known for is mining the sounds of the past and dragging little nuggets of gold screaming and kicking into the present.
While some laud his magpie tendencies and dub them eclectic, that would seem to be a situation where the listener is so close to the subject matter that they can't see the big picture.
Take a step back and it becomes apparent that his love of reinventing the music from yesteryear is the common thread that he very rarely strays far from.
That is not a criticism though, as it would be blatantly unfair to describe Blunderbuss as a same shit different day release.
Like a shark Jack White is still relentlessly moving forward, and while his latest release may well be rooted in the blues, soul and the garage sound of the sixties and seventies - with a bit of country thrown in for good measure - it is also a body of work that sits comfortably in the here and now.
It's fresh sounding and there's a current running through it that will raise the hairs on your neck.
If each album he has released could be described as a signpost on the highway then he has certainly moved down the road a little way.
It seems obvious to me that regardless of what bands he has been involved in it has been his own vision that has led the way, and he has always stamped his authority over the music created.
The only difference this time is that he is has publicly stepped forth to take the credit for his work under his own name.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Su Casa - 19/04/12 (Ayr)


Here I am in Su Casa yet again waiting for Little Fire to introduce the line up for the night and perform a few of his own songs.
As usual words tumble through my head as I consider how best to try and put across how the atmosphere makes me feel, about how the moment is heavy with untold promises of what is to come, but no matter how many descriptive lines come to mind I'm aware that I have written about Su Casa, Little Fire and Alan Frew so many times now that I may be in danger of repeating myself.
Similarly to how I previously mentioned that Little Fire shakes his material up on a weekly basis to freshen the approach I am going to have to do something like that to.
Yet here I am sitting at the keyboard letting words just trip from my head to my hands and onto the screen.
There's no plan, no guideline, no template for me to strictly adhere to.
I keep coming up with one angle after another, but I'm over thinking it.
So instead all I am going to do is let myself go and leave everything that pours out unedited, and in that way I hope I can get across the essence of the night.
I guess the first thing that I should do is just tell you how Little Fire makes me feel.
He makes me feel warm.
His voice has a rawness to it that shouldn't elicit a warm feeling, but there's very little in it that is abrasive so it does the opposite of expected.
There is just enough grit to make it all sound heartfelt.
It's soft warm molasses with crystallized sugar in it.
The rawness could be the grain of sand waiting to become a pearl in the embrace of the oyster.
There's some alchemy at play in how he takes the raw material and melds it into something beautiful.
He only ever sings about one thing.
Love.
Positive tales of love sought, love found and the unknown future of two people in love.
Some may think that this is nothing new, but there's a reason why we have written about, and sung about, love since the dawning of time.
It's because apart from birth, taxes and death it is the one thing that everyone shares.
We all have experience of it in some capacity and Little Fire evokes those feelings and seduces us through the familiarity of what he sings about.
Is it a clever ploy on his part?
Is he even aware of the possibility of an angle on it?
I sincerely doubt it.
Witness one single solitary performance and you can tell in your gut that what he does is just express himself in as heartfelt way as he possibly can.
What more could ever be expected from an artist?

Once Little Fire finishes there's a stitch in time.
We slip through a wormhole and find ourselves in the company of Jiezuberband.
Like aliens from out there on the other side of the universe it sounds like they have been listening to the sounds from earth for centuries and weaved a patchwork quilt of it all together, and now consider themselves very clever for recreating our music.
The reality is that it sounds nothing like what we do.
Bits of jazz wrestles with tribal rhythms, a celtic influence manages to hold some gospel down for the count of three and a submission. The blues keep making an appearance ringside and the audience is made up of snippets of every single genre that has ever managed to get a toe hold in our subconscious.
Often mentioned as psychedelic space rockers it's apparent that they could well be if they were plugged in.
Possibly like a cross between Hawkwind and the Afro Celt Sound System, but acoustically it's a whole different sound, and I suspect that due to the free flow nature of the band that you could see then five times and never really get the same performance repeated.
Within what they do is a flavour of what keeps bringing me back to Su Casa.
It's the eclecticism of the artists that appear.
If someone solely gravitates to one genre then they will often enough find something they like going on, but Su Casa is a haven for real music fans of all ages.
Open minded people who are willing to experience whatever is thrown at them find a home there, and Jiezuberband are the sort of band that fit into that inclusive ethos of experimentation.
So how do you really describe such a multifaceted band?
I guess you don't.
Instead you just throw everything into the mix and then tell someone that they really had to be there to get it.

Time for apologies.
I missed Laura Carswell, but Kel didn't and a review will either be added or put up as a stand alone update.

Steve Dunn was the surprise of the evening.
He looked shell shocked, the rabbit in the headlights as he stood up and strapped his guitar on..........and then he sang.
In that instant he was transformed.
The nerves vanished and in there place was a real performance.
There's two people behind the mic occupying the same body.
It works though. The chemistry of the yin and yang is apparent.
One exists with the other.
It's just that in Steve's case they are very clearly defined.
Songs finish and one Steve reveals himself and then when he closes his eyes to play his doppelgänger takes his place.
Some would say that he could be more relaxed and that would balance how he promotes himself to an audience, but I like both personas and he isn't losing anything by showing some vulnerability.

Taking on the penultimate spot was Chloe Simpson who seemed surprised at the reception she got.
I've no idea why though as she is yet another star in the making.
Her smile illuminates the room and similar to Steve she doesn't seem to be aware of how good she is.
There's a hint of the quirkiness of Kate Nash, but while I've always considered Ms Nash to be a bit of a one trick pony this isn't the case with Chloe.
There's a great deal more going on.
Her one woman show is as accomplished as anyone who is gracing the worlds largest stages and has a whole career behind them.
Su Casa seem to be making a name for themselves in finding precocious talent and propelling them into the consciousness of Ayrshires music fans.
First Anna Sweeney and now Chloe Simpson.
While I was impressed with all the material that she played it was her cover of The Courteeners song Not Nineteen Forever that grabbed me and spun me straight back to seeing the band in a tent in Hyde Park.
It wasn't a straight cover, but the same passion was there and for that it has to be applauded.
Rooftops are made for shouting this girls talents from.

Closing the night was Alan Frew.
He's a musicians musician and while I am not one I often find myself transfixed watching his fingers adding weight to the strings on the fret and picking away at them on the body.
I listen to the sounds and I don't really understand how it is done, but my ignorance isn't a barrier to my enjoyment.
As the night is slowly drawing to a close Alan plays a few songs from his own debut album that spread out and infuse the room with a sense of camaraderie.
It's probably because I have heard them a few times now that I associate them with Su Casa, but when he plays his own material it just seems to fit.
Then just as I was getting comfortable and letting the music wash over me he burst into the Johnny Cash hit Folsom Prison Blues that he then manages to effortlessly morph into Junior Parkers Mystery Train.
It's a move that wouldn't be out of place getting dragged out for the patrons of a juke joint circa 1955.

I suppose you could say if Carlsberg made coffee shops................

Everything is not enough


Edmund Burke, the Irish philosopher of the 1700s is immensely quotable.
In a letter he said that 'Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief.'
It's a comment that rings true through the centuries.
Who could really doubt his words?
Power does indeed corrupt, or as Lord Acton said 'Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'
Is it human nature to lust after power though?
It would appear so.
Could we really argue that there has ever been a time that peoples lives have not been blighted by the pursuit of it by others?
Empires have risen and fallen on the waves of the insatiable need to accrue as much influence and power as possible.
We see the same thing in the modern business world.
Hostile take overs of land by countries are now hostile take overs of companies by multinationals, and from my perspective they create similar amounts of casualties.
Broken lives litter the wake of the pursuit of absolute control.
Expand or die is apparently the motto.
More, more, more. Always more.
Although having everything still seems to falls short of being enough.
We see examples of this everywhere.
From the CEO's of the multinationals to the dealers on the street corners this lust exists.
It's really just a matter of scale.
Take small nascent music scenes as an example.
Recently I've seen issues rising that were rooted in the expansionist agendas of a minority in Glasgow, and here in Ayrshire.
I wasn't surprised as at my age I have seen the same thing happen more often than I would care to admit.
Yet while I wasn't surprised, I was left feeling heart weary at the inability of people to break the cycle.
So let me lay out how this works and maybe someone somewhere will remember what they have read and use it as a 'how not to do it guide.'
Okay. Sitting comfortably?
Here we go.
Initially everything is great.
A band, artist, radio station, or even a promoter comes along and creates something that previously wasn't there.
The spark of originality is fanned and others start to gravitate towards what is going on.
It's still all great.
Altruistic positivity is the byword.
This moment can last for varying lengths of time.
Everything is new and every step forward is an attempt to break new ground.
Then the original sin moment creeps in.
The introduction of the corruption of the original ideals float to the surface, and either an individual, or a group, starts to think about what is in it for them, rather than what is mutually beneficial to all.
It's often difficult to tell who they are though.
Some will always of had an eye out for an angle that they can use to their own benefit.
They're the parasitic leaches whose only interest is in lining their own pockets while advancing on their dreams of building a self serving empire that they can preside over.
Like carnival hucksters they will spin a line and in their eye you can see the gleam of a bright future.
Only that bright future is reserved for them solely.
They just never mention that.
They will have no qualms at all about sucking the life blood out of a scene and leaving it as a dried out husk.
In the blink of an eye they will walk away from the broken dreams and laugh all the way to the bank, or onto pastures new where they can exploit yet more people.
Others will have started off with the best intentions and then been corrupted along the way as the plaudits for their endeavours rolled in.
They've been seduced by the power.
When they looked into the abyss they found it attractive.
Power is their aphrodisiac, their drug.
They then get wrapped in their own delusions and from there on in everything has to revolve around them, and hell mend anyone who doesn't get with the plan.
A plan that ultimately once again only benefits a minority.
Often just that one individual.
Once these people arrive on the scene it really is the beginning of the end.
In Glasgow a certain person made a move to slowly but surely take over much of the traditional punk scene.
If there was a touring band from yesteryear with a name for themselves then his finger wasn't just in the pie, but instead he was up to his elbows in it.
Everything revolved around his band playing, his friends bands playing, and bullying others to get in line with what he was doing, or fuck off.
Unless you doffed your cap and showed respect then the scene would be an exclusive one that you were not allowed to be part of.
Basically something that could have been built on turned into an ugly situation run by a clique of bullies?
Is there a collective name for that?
If there can be a murder of crows, a sleuth of bears, then could there be a bastard of cunts?
Whatever we want to call them isn't really relevant though as once that stage is reached then it's all downhill.
Then there's the woman who is known for putting on under 14s gigs.
It sounds nice and positive.
Young musicians of that age struggle to find venues that will allow them to showcase their talents, and should be supported in doing so.
However there's a difference in seeing that an environment needs to be created to allow young talent to flourish, and seeing a niche in the market that needs to be exploited.
Once again over a period of time a toxic reputation started to build, and no matter how altruistic the original premise was, the bastardization of it warped it until it reached a stage where as a venture it was indistinguishable from those set in motion by charlatans looking to make a quick buck.
Then lastly there are the people who come bearing the offer of plenty.
Enthusiastically and tirelessly they support local artists until they have their feet under the table.
Once they do carve themselves a niche the mask slips a little though, and a ruthless attitude to expansion reveals itself.
Those who oppose the expansion are dealt with in moves that are obviously lifted wholesale from the book 'Purges for Dummies' by Joseph Stalin.
From covering one area they attempt to move into another, and then yet another.
In a short space of time a blitzkrieg approach is revealed and the momentum carries them ever onward,...........well ever onward until the wheels fall off the train and they're derailed due to their behaviour managing to tip the balance and piss too many people off.
From then the negative aspects of how they went about accruing control is all that anyone remembers and all the good that they had done, or could have done, is forgotten.
So what do these all have in common?
Well apart from the formation of cliques and bullying it's the boom and bust cycle isn't it?
If people can get on board with that then the next question would be how can we all avoid the bust aspect of it and maintain the boom?
The answer actually seems very simple.
Just don't succumb to putting personal interests first all the time.
Consider the bigger picture and play a longer and more inclusively positive game.
Accept that there is room for everyone.
Support each other.
...and nip the negative forces in the bud.
Never let then get a toehold.
Their influence is a malignant cancer that will destroy the potential of what could be.
Think about what could be achieved if the trend was bucked and we all refused to be swayed by our own apparent selfish nature, or that of others.
While all that may sound simple it's actually a big ask as I've yet to see it being put into practice by enough people for it to matter.
It's entirely possible that I've just wasted my time writing this, but I'll go full circle and end it with a paraphrase of another quote from Edmund Burke.
'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.'

This blog update is dedicated to my friends, and supporters of original music, Sandie Noone and Taylor Buntain.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Devilish Presley Tour Diary - Glasgow Pivo Pivo - 20/04/12



GLASGOW
 Friday 20th April 
 Pivo Pivo.
We left London at 7-30pm on thursday evening heading for Stoke, and as we stopped to get some fuel I saw a black Range Rover with tinted windows and the number plate MI5 I SPY - it "must" have been James Bond surely? Or a berk....?

We stayed in a place called "StokeTalke" which sounds like an "Olde Worlde Radio Showe" where everyone phones in and talks about Manglewurzels and shrubs. The "Stoke Talke Little Cheffe was Closde" Harpo was delighted with his sofa-bed but as usual with Travelodge because we had a dog with us were downgraded from 3rd class to "fucked up shit class".Big hole in one wall, water stains on the ceiling, bootmarks on the bed - the usual (before we arrived I hasten to add).
Set off about midday Friday and the weather was mental, sunshine, shower, sunshine, shower....As we got up near Carlisle the scenery started to get more impressive and the clouds were doing their best "biblical sky" kind of thing. Stopped at a services surrounded by rolling hills, sunshine in one direction, evil black clouds in another and lots of mist. Harpo was heard to mumble "fuck me this is a BIG park!"

We arrived outside Pivo Pivo at 5-30 pm and I loaded in while Jacqui sat like a spider waiting to pounce on the parking spot right outside the venue. Pivo is situated right near Glasgow’s main station and the area is how shall I put it “vibrant” at night time. Parking space acquired, gear set up and sound engineer sorted THEN our mate Meester Mainy arrived looking very dapper like a cross between Clockwork Orange and a Parisian Beatnik all tooled up for the Parisian riots in 1968. Mainy paid me upfront an example to all and a feat shared by some of the bikers we have played for in the past. I said hello to Kel and was introduced to Pauline & Claire. Everything ran like Clockwork (Orange) and all the bands were on time and there was no fucking about.


We set up the merch and I have to say a special thanks to Lorna (who arrived looking glam in leopard skin) who took over whilst we were feeding Harpo and continued to do the merch’ during the night. Many times in the course of the night she handed me money and said “CD & T-shirt” in her cool Glaswegian accent. Thanks mate.


Melisa Kelly & The Harmless Thieves were on first and were a really pleasant surprise to me. Melisa has an amazing voice, Jacqui came up to me and said “she sounds like Stevie - Stevie Vann Jac’s vocal coach – who also has an amazing range and power. Melisa could earn a fortune doing sessions but does her own songs which are great.

Mainy was sitting out on the stairs for a great deal of the time (Pivo is a basement) and I kept popping out to chat with him, on one of these occasions I met Homesick Aldo (Alan Smith) who was the next on the bill. Aldo was every bit as good as I was expecting blowing up a one man storm on his harmonica, playing minimal drums and blues-wailing. Unlike some wannabe blues guys Aldo opts for the Johnny Thunders meets Slim Harpoimage and sound and was terrific.

More folks were arriving all the time and I met long time fan and friend Lisa M and had some photos taken with her and sister Pauline M & their friend “DP first timer” Joanne who was a party on legs!!. This is one of the perks of the job.  Also caught up with my mate Antony Crimson Black (who we stayed with in Whitby last year) who made it to the gig after a very long drive from Sheffield!



And then there were The Coffins fronted by the dude Joe Bone. Now I was lucky enough to see Glasgow’s finest son Alex Harvey and I can think of no higher praise than to say there were distinct echoes of SAHB here, maybe it was the vocals & accent, maybe it was the bank robbers balaclava or the excellent band (the bass player was superb) but whatever I loved these guys. “Get into the Coffins before you die” wise words indeed!
Then we were on and it was a such great crowd. Fucking excellent gig. Mainy did us proud at The Barfly in 2008 and he did it again, thank you so much mate.

A bit of a hectic rush to pack up and get out....Lisa M asked if she could help me pack up because she quite rightly felt we should have some roadies (so do I but I can’t afford them). Lisa I have to say the next day when we went to set up the stand for the flag it literally fell to pieces – no worries we sorted it out – and you have got the job!!


A few more photos outside and it was all over – apparently there had been mayhem earlier in the evening around the venue – Jacqui saw a large group of people hitching a ride on a garbage truck and a big fight – but we got some deep fried pizza and wished we could rewind the night and do it all over again. Maybe we will!!





Just got a short and sweet review in from Mr Anarchoi aka Mysterious Stranger (For 'Plastic Punks' Only) 

DEVILISH PRESLEY/THE COFFINS/HOMESICK ALDO/MELISSA KELLY... PIVO PIVO/ FRIDAY 20TH APRIL 2012. 
Great turnout for a Friday gig, and that was with a coupla other things goin on in the city.
Sadly I missed Melissa Kelly who was 1st on but I was reliably informed her set went doon well wae the punters.
Next up was Homesick Aldo who sported a 'Johnny Thunders' t shirt....top marx straight away fae me!!!! He done a 1 man band playin some drums,harmonica and anything else he could get his hands or teeth into!!! Like a blues meets glam meets sleazy punk in cbgbs which certainly messed up the rules of punk, he kept it going well and the crowd were eatin outta his hands by the end of it!!
The Coffins were up next and treated us to some Garage influenced rock which was met with an equally frantic crowd, horror and murder the order of the day...or night...crackin band live!!! Devilish Presley ended proceedings and they've never disappointed at all, drum machine and guitar and bassist all served up a tasty mix of 70s punk and Joan Jett influenced attitude!!! Once again, a well promoted gig not relying on big names just honesty and attitude.