Come and see us, £3 for four bands. That’s me on the guitar below, looking all disorientated.
Come and see us, £3 for four bands. That’s me on the guitar below, looking all disorientated.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to Jo for the photie above. Nice one misses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell was a man and is also a band. Youngsters of today way well see the wacky cover above and hear the strange mix of sounds within and think they’re experiencing something entirely new. But, the auld heid knows the score.
Budgie have long been one of my favourite bands, but the man that was one half of what they were, guitartist Tony Bourge left in 78/79 and I never got to see them live. They carried on for a few years with a more standard metal sound and still pop up now and again with various guitar players. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell know all this too and are big fans, because they’ve taken Budgie’s 70’s sound and claimed for themselves.
It’s uncanny at times, the guitar tones are perfect, the bass and drums would fit right onto an original Budgie track, but the big change is that the vocalist sounds like Arthur Brown or Captain Beefheart.
I was thinking that it’s great to hear someone ripping off Budgie instead of Sabbath just for a change, but as the album become more familiar I’m hearing note-for-note pieces lifted from Sabbath, the cheekiest ones being from The Warning.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats is a stupid name and when I saw it on Black Sabbath’s UK tour poster months ago I dismissed them instantly, Oh, what a fool am I.
Aye, it’s Sabbath from the minute they pull on a velvet jacket to leave for the rehearsal room, but it’s mixed in with something of Hawkwind and other subtle flavours that I know so well but can’t place.
Sabbath’s tomorrow night, I’ll be doing my best not to miss the support for once.
It might look like I’m a little underwhelmed by these bands because they’re really just the sum of their influences and I know it, but that’s not the case at all. Uncle Acid’s two albums and the Shovell album are pretty much constants on my iPod or on the car stereo, I love them like the recently discovered 70’s relics they’re pretending to be.
The sounds are right, the groove is right, the look is right, it’s just maybe the individual character of the songs that doesn’t quite stand up the source of inspiration.
But what the hell, it’s money well spent. Peace signs at the ready: let’s rock.
I got a late call from Gus to go and see Airbourne at the ABC in Glasgow last night. The other option was to go and see the new 90 minute Disney toy advert with the girls, but Holly was happy going with mum and Granny, so it was Frozen for them and rock for me.
Made it in to the sold out venue with minutes to spare having missed all the supports and I had no idea what I was going to see. I was vaguely aware of the band looking like Metallica and sounding like AC/DC and the wall of Marshalls on stage could have been from the 80’s tours of either band. The theme of Terminator 2 boomed out as red lights whirled and then the band came on, fell on? Burst on, that’s it. Bloody hell, the grin that lept onto my face didn’t leave for the next 90 minutes.
Aye, the comparisons above are valid to an extent, but they’re quickly irrelevant and anyway they make current AC/DC look slow and tired. Airbourne play hard, often fast and have an incredible intensity in every sound and movement they make. The crowd are pulled right into it and the band pay us back with something new in every song with one piece of madness after another from the singer/guitarist wandering past us on a roadie’s shoulders to bursting beer cans on his head to wacky singalongs and songs where I was shouting the second chorus despite never having heard any of them in my life.
It was what rock is supposed to be all about. The frontman’s banter was great too as was their fine rendition of Scotland the Brave. It was a fantastic gig and I was a 14 year old at the Apollo as much as I was a 44 year old at the ABC as I was watching the show.
Black Sabbath’s new album “13” is #1 in the UK charts, 43 years after their last number one with the Paranoid album in 1970.
I had mixed feelings right up until I heard it streaming on iTunes a few days before it was released where I sat cross-legged, hunched over my laptop with my earphones on. It was an emotional experience, it was new an old at the same time, the thrill of anticipation mixed with flashes back to days, places and faces long past. I never realised just how much music and Sabbath in particular had bookmarked my memories.
The CD was something else again, the liner notes a joy to read, the artwork simple and real, a wicker sculpture was burned in a field and the discs are a pair of Vertigo swirls, like the middles cut out of my 70’s Sabbath albums.
Nostalgia only goes so far, the music had to stand up by itself, and after a week of constant play, it’s something of a relief that it’s still standing.
It opens with End of the Beginning which is probably just what I wanted to hear – pure early Sabbath. Was it written to sound that way? Cynics would say yes, but then what else are they going to write? You are what you are, it would be more contrived to try and sound different. God is Dead? was the single and at nearly nine minutes long (only a few seconds longer than it’s predecessor) it’s not trying very hard to be accessible. Bless then for that.
Loner swings, Zeitgeist floats and Age of Reason grinds. The changes of mood are many, as are changes of tempo, 13 is always inventive and it feels like that’s as much down to producer Rick Rubin as it is to the band. Sabbath needed Rubin, to keep them under control, to push them back out of it and to make them work. The playing is all the better for it.
Ozzy is trying so hard, reaching as far as he can with a voice that has no high notes left to give with inventive phrasing that makes a mockery of the monotone mumblings of his last half dozen solo albums.
Geezer has written a set of lyrics that are a joy to read, he’s a clever bugger, and his virtuoso bass playing is an edgy, rumbling presence through the album and it’s deservedly high in the mix.
Iommi plays better here than he’s done since the early 80’s, everything that inspired my to pick up the guitar as a teenager comes out again and again and grabs me as hard as it did back then. Damaged Soul is a blues grind with Iommi playing off the cuff licks and solos and it stuns me every time I listen to it, his guard is down, it’s not note perfect, and Rubin must have fought for this raw version of it. I love it, even the production feel on this is different, it’s just, I dunno. Best song on the album? Maybe.
The bonus tracks are okay, I’m glad they’re on a separate disc, the album closes with church bells and rain, just as the first album opened back in’70 and extra tracks on disc one after that retro outro wouldn’t have worked. The songs have a different feel anyway, more contemporary maybe, more straight metal, more Ozzy solo style even? The 8 tracks on disc one are a fine rounded body of work as they are.
I reckon rock bands should only record vinyl length albums anyway, too much padding on CD’s, there’s inspired song writing and then there’s writing enough music to fill a CD so you don’t get complaints about lack of value.
Will I still be listening to it in a year? I hope so, I find myself singing some of the tunes, good riffs, good hooks and it’s heavy too. Not all detuned and multilayered guitar though, it’s an attitude or an ambiance, it’s what Sabbath had, have, naturally and everyone else has to try and engineer.
13 is a great album, better still it doesn’t disgrace the band or embarrass old blokes like me. #1, bloody marvelous.
It should be the Black Sabbath Trio as there’s no Bill Ward on drums, the new album snippets sound worrying, but something that says “Black Sabbath Glasgow Hydro December 16th” is something I can’t ignore. My favourite band haven’t played my home city in 30+ years.
O2 customer presale this morning at 0900, I have had two hideously overpriced tickets since five last nine. I defy anyone to navigate Ticketmaster any quicker.
Livenation presale tomorrow, general sale on Friday.
I have to be optimistic.