Stick on Side Two

tmd1

1399734_659126177541964_6187775866754299210_o

 

The last gig of the year is done and the (concrete) dust has settled. Being in the band has been a total joy, there’s been moments, with five folk stuck together like that there’s bound to be, but the music makes me glad from my weather-beaten head to my merino comforted toes.
The gig kept me away from the snow, but it was no contest, hills are easier to get onto than a stage. I’m happy to prioritise this way round, you never know when it’ll all go tits-up so I’ll enjoy it while I can.
No more live shows for a while, we’re recording first and when that’s done we’ll see. I love recording, I love winging it while the tape’s rolling and I know that attitude will freak the rest of the band out.
I’m sure they’ll be fine once their nerves settle.

tmd4

tmd6

tmd5

There’s some great shot here from the gig. The snappers are eindp.co.uk and click and pray  and they both know their stuff, worth going to have a look.

Talking of photies, the new LX7 is taking a little bedding in, but we’ll get there. The rainbow frames the Lang Craigs sculpture and the retro pickup just nice.
Pity I was up to my waist in mud while I was taking those.

2

1

TwoMetresDeep – More Gigs

The TwoMetresDeep gig last week at the Lucky Break was great, played a new song, jammed like bastards for way too long on Rainbow Drops, accidentally (really) played a Sabbath cover and generally had a fine time.
Another couple coming up. Next week we’re playing a short acoustic set at the Artisan Centre in Dumbarton on Friday 4th. The show’s free entry, bring-a-bottle, runs from 1900 til 2200 or later no doubt and there’s another diverse bunch of artists on too. It sounds a bit like a 60s “Gathering”, but it’ll be a joy I’m sure and our songs lend themselves to acoustic versions. Christ, am I getting old?
No.
Glasgow on the 13th at Shadow Central for a fiver I think and it’ll be a heavy set we play as it’s a rock crowd in there. Magic, I’ll be all fuzz and flying v’s.

1

War of the Worlds. Again.

Holly has a problem. Every time she discovers a new “thing”, like fossils, pirates, Victorian dresses, Alice Cooper or whatever, we like miracle workers say “Oh, hand on a minute…” and after some rummaging appear with a selection of items relevant to her new and sometimes fleeting interest.
And there’s Holly’s problem, she’s just like us. Doomed to life of finding interest in almost everything and the inescapable urge to know more about whatever it is.
Awesome.

So we’re driving in the £100 Ka and fishing out a tape to play I found sides 3 and 4 of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds on an old TDK C90. Some guitar, some synth, some disco, some rock, flood of melody and then Richard Burton. Holly was captured. We listened through the tape twice.
What about the Martians? What happened to Carrie? What’s wrong with the man’s digging? Did this happen a long time ago? When I told her she still had the first half to listen to I thought she was going to explode.

So, rummaging back at base I found the DVD of the 2006 live show we saw in Glasgow which was fantastic, Chris Spedding, Herbie Flowers and a Martian fighting machine on stage? Yes please. She sat transfixed by the DVD before examining in great detail the ’78 album and it’s wonderful book with all the iconic paintings. Then there were drawings and more questions.
At the back of my mind an email was ringing bells, so a wee search found the head’s-up for the latest and apparently final live tour. Next week in the Glasgow Hydro.

The question was popped “What do you want for this year’s pantomime? You can have Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, that ballet thing your mum mentioned or War of the Worlds…”
Granny, grandpa, mummy, the girl and me will be in the nosebleed seats at the Hydro next week. Merry Christmas and Ulla!

jeff1_1249414998_crop_550x361

Ghost – A song by me.

I wrote and recorded this ages back as a back story to Princess Louise’s haunted dress which is in a glass case in Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow and I use to tell scary stories to Holly.
She comes alive at night and possesses the unwary to try and make her escape, but is always stopped when she can’t leave the building before dawn.
I did all the instruments myself, it’s a bit of fun but it’s got some good bits in it too.
The artwork I edited up out of a photo I took in Kelvingrove and a Victorian ballet dancer I stole from the internet.
Too much time on my hands? I wish.

TwoMetresDeep Live at the Glasgow Cathouse

I don’t know how we ended up with a metric themed name, that’s probably always going to annoy me, but I like the music we’re writing so I’ll live with it.

My absence from these pages hasn’t meant inactivity, just the opposite, bust times, hard times and joy inbetween. Some of that has been with the band and it’s always a welcome escape.
Playing live is great fun, but it wears me out as I can’t stand still. All the youngsters all just mill about with their guitars and look if I’m trying to avoid being netted by a mounted gorrila patrol in Planet Of The Apes. Ah well.

The first one is heavier than we’ve been heard playing up to now and second one is er, don’t ask me but it’s wort sticking with it for the jazz at the end.

I Am Here

Me Vee Wee

Partly why I’ve been missing from here is because I’ve been doing a lot of this stuff, music that is. My band twometresdeep (which isn’t a grave pun, it’s water related) has been taking a good bit of my free time which has been a joy for the most part.
There’s few things more rewarding than creating stuff, writing and performing original music is something that I’ve always loved and I’m really getting the chance to stretch myself just now. I’ve tried playing in covers bands, tried it again earlier this year and it’s rubbish. The first time I play the songs is fine, the second time I’m bored, the third time I’m making shit up rather than play it straight again. I think I’d rather leave my guitar in its case than play the same songs as every other pub band in the country is playing. But, those are the folks making money, so what the hell do I know.

We’ve just played two big Glasgow venues, the Garage and the ABC which was fun and next week sees something a bit different as we’re the opening band at an all-dayer celebrating 25 years of Clydebank’s Red Eye Studios, details below.
It’ll be a little surreal playing at lunchtime to a venue containing only staff and other bands, but what the hell. After that it’s tweaking the songs and making an EP and I’ll enjoy it all while it lasts, after all at 45 I probably shouldn’t be doing this stuff.
Ha.

Thanks to Jo for the photie above. Nice one misses.

LB Gig

No Feelings

This was recorded back in 2012 for a tribute album where all the tracks from the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks were covered in a diverse bunch of styles.
The project dragged on and ground to a halt inches from the finish line and it looks like it’ll never get released.
So here’s my rewrite of No Feelings. It’s far too long because I kept all the original lyrics, it probably needed a bit more work, especially on the mix, but for a handful of hours in the studio by me and my mate Craig who played the drums on it, it’s a nice wee bit of fun.
Bonus points for anyone that makes it to the psychedelic bit.

Trinity – After You

There’s a lot of music around me just now which is stirring my pal’s memories as well as my own. My buddy Chris posted a couple of old tapes on Facebook from the band I was in 20 years ago – Trinity.
I had a rummage and found a CD of the last thing we done from ’94 – a song called After You. It’s a three piece band and I’m on guitar and vocals. It’s so long ago I just don’t care who hears it now, they were happy days.
Davy, Stevie, I hope you’re well wherever the hell you are.

twometresdeep

In a new band. I tried with the rock covers band I really did, but I just can’t do it like folk are expecting me too. I’m on the edge of snapping the entire time, just desperate to play a different chord or use a wah pedal or something. They knew it too. So whether I jumped or was pushed, the splash was just the same.

So, within minutes I had another band, it’s amazing how many musicians there are standing around when you need them. I wonder if the ratio is higher or lower than that of pilots travelling as passengers on board flights with ill crew members. I bet you could get funding to study that.

The band is twometresdeep and the best analogy I could come up with is Joni Mitchell jamming with Black Sabbath. We’ve been writing and arranging which has been with a mix of bits of songs brought in by the various folks and new stuff written as we played.
I am enthused. Normally I work with just my drummer buddy Craig, but this is very different indeed. There’s going to be a very diverse mix of sweet harmonies and acoustic passages to my usual grinding guitar and big beat drums. Real light and dark. I love it.

A couple of short clips from the first sessions. The songs are called one and two, or that one and the other one.

n

 

California Jam 6/4/74

Forty years ago today 17 million people descended onto Ontario Motor Speedway in California to see one of the shows that has become a solid gold music legend.
The lineup from breakfast onwards was Rare Earth – Earth, Wind & Fire – The Eagles – Seals & Crofts – Black Oak Arkansas – Black Sabbath – Deep Purple – Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
ELP and Purple were co headliners and this was Purple with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. The then new Burn album is a Purple classic but one of the interesting things about the California Jam footage is watching Hughes vocally torch Coverdale every time he step ups to the mic.
Richie Blackmore had a crazy day, trashing gear and allsorts while Keith Emerson spun through the air with his piano. It’s all on youTube and worth seeking out. Black Sabbath were there as special guests and were a bit out of shape having been sitting at home doing coke and mandies for a few months but they played a blinder, even with a clean shaven Tony Iommi.
Those were the days. Let’s hope Hyde Park in July is another one.

PS I know it wasn’t 17 million people.

CJ74a

Ghost – Getting There

I’ve nearly finished Ghost. The drums are done, the vocals are done and I’ll just live with it for a wee while to see what comes next. A wee bit more guitar? Just some time on a final mix? Three more songs for a half arsed EP by someone who should know better?
All of the above. In the meantime I’ve put together some artwork for it. It’s 70s fonts over a photie I took in Kelvingrove with a dancing wummin I stole from google images.
Ah, I used to do this stuff with felt pens and Pritt Stick in the old days.

Time to think about other stuff and look at the bloody weather.

Front Runner2a

To The Greatest Drummer in the World

A letter arrived at the post office depot addressed “To The Greatest Drummer in the World.” There was no other details or return address so the postie just thought he’d forward onto the most obvious name, he was a big Metallica fan, so he sent it to Lars Ulrich.

Lars lifted the letter off the doormat and thought “I’m not the greatest drummer in the world.” The guys coming up behind me are much better, I’ll drop this off at Joey Jordison’s house.

Joey took the letter and looked at it later, “This isn’t right, there’s a living legend who this belongs to”. He stuck it in another envelope and mailed it to Canada addressed to Neil Peart.

Neil got the letter, opened it up and looked at the envelope inside “To The Greatest Drummer in the World.” Buddy Rich was gone, Kruppa was gone, Bonham was gone, it had to be for him, he was ready to carry the flag. He tore open the envelope.

He began to read the letter, “Dear Ringo…”

*************

The old ones are the best and can be easily updated with whatever names you like too. It came to mind today when I picked up some sticks.
I’ve been writing and rehearsing the drum parts (which is much harder than that casual statement makes it appear as I can’t actually play the drums) for recording them next week and using borrowed sticks is both unhygienic and taking liberties as I’m destroying other peoples kit so after a wee look at the racks of what just look like big pencils to me I saw the dipped sticks which have a rubbery grip which felt good in the hand and should let me slacken my grip a little meaning less white knuckles, a more relaxed approach and fewer takes. Maybe?
The purple was a happy accident but there was even more joy when I got back to the motor and saw that the silver printed star actually belonged to the endorser whose signature sticks I’d just bought – Ringo Starr.

Magic.

sticks

Ghost – Under Construction

I spent the day in Red Eye Studios in Clydebank working on a new song called Ghost. It’ll take another session to finish as I’m playing all the instruments myself and I’m ropey with all of them.
However, here’s an exerpt.

Black Sabbath

It turns out it doesn’t matter how many years have passed since I sat in my bedroom, gripped by Greatest Hits spinning on the turntable, that skinny pale faced boy’s heroes are still heroes and when War Pigs broke through the darkness and quiet Black Sabbath were watched through misty eyes. Silly auld fool.
Holly was sitting on my hip so she could see, she had a hand in the air and plugs in her ears. It sounded glorious, the guitar was just right, the flavour was of Iommi’s 70’s tones with the fatness of his modern setup which was as perfect as the playing itself. Ozzy was right on the money, note-for-note, Geezer rumbled away, head bobbing and if you didn’t look or listen too close, the bearded figure on the drums, well, if Bill couldn’t be there, Tommy Clufetos worked his hardest to fill the gap and didn’t disappoint.

The venue is okay, the Hydro does have a boomy element to its acoustics even when full of bodies, but I like it. The standing area isn’t too big and they’re not overselling it so there’s room for everyone, handy when your six year old needs a wee break at the side for juice and a sweetie. The concourse is a bit tight with lots of columns, but there’s plenty of food, drink and t-shirt stalls so queuing is minimal. Talking of t-shirts, some of them were pretty good, me in a union flag? Yes please.

Holly didn’t make it through all of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats who I thought sounded great but struggled to fill the stage and project themselves, a little bit of rabbits in the headlights going on there which is understandable. They’ll be brilliant in a club or as a support in a regular hall, looking forward to that.
Holly made it half way into Sabbath’s set, in fact it was when Ozzy’s voice crashed and burned during NIB that she put her face in my shoulder and started to crack. But, Joycee was at the door, McDonalds was around the corner and dad had the last four songs on his own. Ozzy pulled it back towards the end, some stuff he just can’t sing, some stuff he seems effortless, but he seems fragile. My heroes are getting old.

It was a joy. Holly attracted all sorts of attention, from other dads patting me on the shoulder with a knowing grin to rock chicks that loved her outfit and she did very well in a situation that was new and I’d imagine a bit scary. She did it all on her own terms and at her own pace and hopefully she’ll have good memories of the night, that and her Sabbath baseball cap.
We met Allan which was brilliant, especially as Holly got to meet my best pal from the days we were at the same school as she’s at now. It ties lots of stories from the old days together which she likes. It added to the 70’s vibe of the night as well. Nice.