Share your Musical Life Story

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Pete the Pick
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Re: Share your Musical Life Story

Postby Pete the Pick » 02 Apr 2015, 22:57

Not so much an expert, more an interested bystander…..

As a nipper, I was not overly fussed about music. Any cursory examination of the charts of the late 50s would, to my mind, explain why. My first musical memory seems to revolve around a guy called Don Lang, who I remember watching play trombone on the BBC’s first attempt at a Rock and Roll show called Six-Five Special: I would have been about five years old, and living in Cornwall. I now have no idea why the trombone appealed to me, but I remember asking for one for Christmas, and being completely disappointed in the plastic guitar that I did get. Culturally, my first exposure to the burgeoning youth culture yet to swamp the country also happened in Cornwall, Helston specifically. I remember a kid running up to a bunch of us and telling us that there were some Teds around the corner. We crept down the alley, and peered around the corner and, sure enough, there were three or four lads dressed in drainpipe trousers and drapes, hanging around the sweetie shop. We were so scared we didn’t dare venture any further! I was still about five years old, and this would have been in 1958, but I had no idea what those Teds would have been listening to, musically. I still had little interest in music: the parents always had the BBC Light Programme on, which obviously spouted little other than parents’ music. My mother was a big Sinatra fan, as well as Tony Bennett and all that sort of thing. My Dad was more big band, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller and the like, and catering for both was what the BBC did in those days. I cannot pin down when I first heard of Elvis Presley, but fast-forward a few years, to 1962, and one of my best friends at my new school in Eston, Middlesbrough, was heavily into Cliff Richard. Try as he might, and he really did try, he could not convert me. And his family had a gramophone, and records! Another kid at school tried to do The Twist, the dance linked to Chubby Checker’s huge hit that year, but only succeeded in falling forward on his face. No, there was nothing out there that appealed. Good old BBC gave us a frugal amount of ‘pop’ music through Alan Freeman’s Pick Of The Pops on a Sunday afternoon, which at least played all the records in that week’s Top 20: I have memories of picnics with the family on the North York Moors listening to Ray Charles singing about taking these chains from his heart and setting him free, but there wasn’t much else I can recall. Everything changed in 1963. Somehow I’d missed PLEASE PLEASE ME when it was first released, but one day I heard it on radio and it blew my mind. Well, in a 1963 sort of way to a nine year old. The purveyors of this aural epiphany were a group called The Beatles. Then I recalled that FROM ME TO YOU was also by the aforementioned Beatles (my memory has always been that I got into PLEASE PLEASE ME after FROM ME TO YOU, even though it was released, and, indeed, a hit, before the latter: I can only assume that the DJ responsible was kind of reminding people that the people that brought you this current FROM ME TO YOU hit had previously brought you PLEASE PLEASE ME), and I thought “Hello? Something’s happening here”. I was hooked on music from that point on, though, unfortunately, my request to see The Beatles at Stockton Globe in December 1963 fell on deaf parents’ ears, and the closest I ever got to experiencing them was when my Mum took me to a cinema in Woking, when visiting my Nan, to see Hard Day’s Night when that came out, thus allowing me to experience at least the screaming: I understand that the date they played at Stockton coincided with news of John Kennedy’s assassination, so instead of seeing The Beatles, I came home from school to find my mother weeping, with all TV programmes suspended, with the BBC just playing mournful music. Well, after that, the groups and the hits came thick and fast. Exposure exploded, comparatively speaking. A magazine called Fabulous started, and I got the first issue because it had The Beatles on the front, and a colour photo of Heinz on the back cover: I wasn’t into Heinz in any shape or form - it was the beautiful cherry coloured shiny Gretsch guitar that he was cuddling! On TV, the BBC now gave us Top Of The Pops, a visual snapshot of the ‘Hit Parade’. Ann, who lived three doors down, shocked me when she admitted preferring The Rolling Stones to The Beatles. There was so much suddenly out there, but radio was, by and large, restricted to Saturday morning’s Saturday Club and Sunday morning’s Easybeat. In hindsight, there were so many groups that never got any airplay, but in today’s lucrative world of retrospective CD re-issues, thankfully a great deal of that product is now available. So it is now 1964, and I still haven’t got a record player. I dreamed of having my own electric guitar, and so wanted my parents to come back from Saturday afternoon shopping with that red guitar that used to hang in the window of a pawn shop that they had to go past to get into Middlesbrough. They never did. There was a competition that appeared on the back of a Corn Flakes packet, to win a Burns electric guitar “as used by recording artists The Ramblers” (I think that was their name), who I’d of course never heard of, and of whom never, ever, seen any evidence of said recording, though now Vernon Joynson’s revamped Tapestry of Delights (2014) rejoices in an entry for the aforementioned Ramblers, citing them as a Joe Meek project – for their seeming one and only recording. Naturally, I did not win the guitar, but got a signed glossy photo of the mythical Ramblers. I had to make do with my bastardised tennis racket, for which I created two cardboard cut-out cutaways, intended to at least resemble my beloved, unattainable Gretsch, with a bunch of rubber bands cut and stretched to resemble strings. My friend Steven, the Cliffophile, at least had a guitar, albeit an acoustic one. We painted a gold scratch plate on it, to make it look vaguely like it was an electric guitar, brushed our hair forward and entered a school fancy dress competition as faux Beatles. We took it in turns to hold the guitar. Neither of us could play it, mind. Another school friend Kevin told me about what was called a ‘pirate’ radio station, Radio Caroline, some time in 1964. Unfortunately, the only radio we had at home was in the kitchen, and I quickly tired of sitting on my own there, in the cold, trying to catch some crackly, interference-drenched pop music. But it was a further sign of the times, and one that I was to embrace not long after.

I got packed off to boarding school near Ipswich later that year. The only saving grace with that was its proximity to the Thames estuary and the Essex coast, as the following year a whole bunch of pirate radio stations became available to us. We didn’t bother too much with Caroline, but favoured Radio City, with its 5 by 4 show and its alternating Stones and Beatles tracks, and mostly Radio London, aka Big L. That kept us all in touch with what was happening in the pop world, and we were fine with that. Back home, I had to be satisfied with Radio 270 which was transmitted from a boat off Scarborough. And I still didn’t have a record player. After that nice Tony Benn’s Marine Broadcasting Offences Act became law in 1967, which outlawed our favourite stations, we had to resort to Radio Veronica which was broadcast in Dutch: I can still remember the advertising jingle for Stimorol chewing gum. Sadly it was no substitute really, so we had to succumb to BBC’s Radio 1. Eventually, my pop sensibilities were later satisfied by Radio North Sea International, which curiously morphed into Radio Caroline in the weeks leading up to the 1970 General Election, reminding its listeners that it was Labour that had introduced the bill that killed off the pirates. But something else had been happening to me. I was growing up, and increasingly began to ignore the contents of the singles charts. For a few years, other kids at school started to turn up with LPs. I remember listening to Cream’s DISRAELI GEARS in a friend’s study, and was completely amazed. I had never heard an album all the way through before. Barring the throwaway MOTHER’S LAMENT, every track seemed to be a wonder to me. This was probably in 1968. So, from then on, my ears started to be opened by the likes of UMMAGUMMA, ON THE THRESHOLD OF A DREAM, THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS WAVE TO EACH OTHER, STONEDHENGE, SMASH HITS, TONS OF SOBS and many others. Finally, in September 1969, I got a record player for my 16th birthday. Hurrah! I rushed down to Hamilton’s Music Store in Middlesbrough and purchased DISRAELI GEARS (something I have in common with Mick Jones, as that was also his first album bought) and Blind Faith’s eponymous debut, for just 37/6 each (that’s £1.87½ in new money). At least by not having a record player until I was 16 meant there were no skeletons in my closet regarding the first record I bought: the first single was Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY, although as I was in the habit of buying MAD magazine in those days, I’d acquired (1968?), courtesy of a particular MAD annual, a square cardboard ‘single’ with a laminated side purporting to be Alfred E Neuman ‘vocalising’, which was, in actual fact, a Sam Bobrick instrumental called IT’S A GAS, featuring a whole load of belching as the sole vocal input (but also featuring King Curtis on sax): these days you can even find this on Youtube. Back to the subject of radio, in early 1970 I had started to listen to a free radio station (decidedly not pirate, as there were no commercials) called Radio Geronimo, which initially was only broadcast from midnight until three in the morning on a Friday, from a site in Monte Carlo! This was literally a case of waking up to listen to my transistor radio (a Binatone, since you ask, which laughingly proclaimed “Stereo” and “Hi-Fi” in tiny tin plates on the front) nestling under my pillow. Radio Geronimo specialised in album tracks only, though it made an exception for CSN&Y’s OHIO when that came out – well, it was a protest song. The station also championed the short-lived Balls supergroup’s single FIGHT FOR MY COUNTRY, probably because Balls had been masterminded by The Move’s manager Tony Secunda and Stones’ producer Jimmy Miller, who were also partners in the Radio Geronimo venture: the Stones’ “lascivious mouth” logo, which was to shortly appear, was an adaptation of Balls’ own logo, so there you go. I ended up sending off for a poster, and T-shirt (still got them), though stopping short from joining the Geronimo Society, as that was far too expensive for me. Incidentally, an offshoot from the this venture, going under the name of Geronimo Starship, was responsible for recording the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre, and putting out a, now, very rare triple album of the event, REVELATIONS, although the album doesn’t seem to contain any product recorded at the event, relying on donations from the various artists from other occasions. However, stuff from The Fugs, or The Last Poets was pretty extreme for me, so I’d occasionally stray from Geronimo’s frequency at 205 metres, to Radio Luxembourg’s 208. At this time, David ‘Kid’ Jensen had a show on from midnight. One time I tuned in, and he announced a song by someone called The Steve Miller Band, called SONG FOR OUR ANCESTORS. From its intro, my imagination assumed images of dinosaur calls before the music kicked in. It was years later that I discovered that the ‘dinosaur calls’ were in fact ships’ foghorns sounding off San Francisco! You can credit the mighty Binatone for my misinterpretation. Jensen was also responsible for me hearing Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY, resulting in that first single purchase. During the summer of 1969, Jensen had also taken to playing tracks from the forthcoming Blind Faith album, and I managed to record some of these on my ‘Miny’ reel-to-reel tape recorder my Dad had brought back from the Far East. My Dad was employed by HM’s Royal Navy, which goes some way to explaining my geographical childhood. He had to do one last ‘tour’ before his ‘de-mob’: he’d been working in the recruiting office in Hartlepool since 1961, which is why the family ended up back in Middlesbrough, though that was indeed my Mum’s family home. Apparently, when given the choice of a guitar or a puppy for my birthday in 1965, I had foregone the long-standing wish of that guitar for the puppy that would help tide my Mum and little sister over while Dad was away (remember I was at boarding school by this time). I think it was a no-brainer, actually, but because I’d made that choice, my Nan got me a guitar that Christmas, as a special treat. Of course, it was only an acoustic one, an “Eko”, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. I initially got little further than being able to bang out single string melody lines, or riffs: Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich’s HOLD TIGHT springs to mind as a pretty simple one (all of three notes) that I quickly mastered. While Dad was still away, I ambitiously decided that I wanted to bang the drums, and optimistically told Mum a kit was what I’d like for my birthday. There was no way my Mum could have afforded a full kit, but she did get me a pair of drumsticks, bless her. I even toyed with the idea of bass, when I managed to acquire a catalogue for Bell’s Music Shop in Surbiton, which was choc full of sexy four string, as well as six-string instruments. When Dad came back from the Far East, he came bearing gifts, including the aforementioned ‘Miny’. I think it was a variation on the ‘Sony’ brand which was considerably less ubiquitous then than it is now. However, I learned how to ‘jam’ the tape machine in ‘record’ mode, and by stuffing the microphone down the Eko’s sound-hole, I effectively created an amplifier. Oh, wonder of wonders! My Dad ended up back in uniform, though this time it was for HM’s Prison Service. In 1970 he got posted to what was then Feltham Borstal, and I took the opportunity to quit boarding school, and take up my A levels at the local comprehensive: Feltham is on the edge of London, you see. Finally, I became resident somewhere in striking distance of where the music was happening.

So, in the summer of 1970, I found myself wandering wide-eyed amongst the great unwashed at the Pink Floyd Hyde Park gig, after the disappointment of missing both the Blind Faith and Stones Hyde Park gigs in 1969 (while the Stones In The Park video has always been readily available, the only footage I ever saw of the Blind Faith gig was actually within a one-off TV play entitled Season Of The Witch, in which Julie Driscoll played a girl newly-arrived in the capital, and ending up dossing in squats, or something, but which did feature a scene where she goes off wandering through Hyde Park during that free concert: more recently, of course, the full gig has been available on DVD, since 2005, so everything comes to he who waits, or so it would seem). Then, amazingly, I got to go to the Isle Of Wight Festival. The new friends I made at Feltham School all seemed to be of a similar mind to me as far as music was concerned, so I started going to all manner of gigs locally, and in town. Because I’d started in such an auspicious fashion, I had written down all the bands I’d seen. I saw no reason to not continue to do so, and I’m glad I did, because without that I could not have been in a position to write this in the first place. In 1971, I and my school chums started to go to the BBC studios in Regent’s Street, aka the Paris Theatre, where initially John Peel hosted his In Concert recordings. We came on a bit rent-a-mob within the conservative environment of the BBC, creating something of an atmosphere, previously lacking, and Peel loved us for it. A number of these concerts have been subsequently released, so if you get to hear one from that period with what sounds like a rowdy bunch in-house, that’s likely to be us. We styled ourselves as The John Peel Boot Boys in the manner of football supporters at the time, with the obviously ironic non-violent emphasis, and the great man took to giving us name-checks in his Disc & Music Echo and Sounds columns. Peel stopped hosting the show at the end of 1971, coming back only for his mates, the Faces. I dare say that had Peel been able to complete his Margrave Of The Marshes autobiography there may have been a line or two describing the mayhem caused by the Boot Boys on a regular basis at The Paris, but as it was, his wife Sheila had to deal with the period beyond his US sojourn, and indeed his subsequent musical career, and sadly overlooked the possibility. I did meet her once or twice, and still maintain that she is a lovely lady, despite this glaring omission. Afterwards it was Bob Harris, Pete Drummond, or Stuart Black calling the compere shots, but a number of us kept in touch with Peel for some years. It was around this time that my latent rebellious streak manifested itself when the Headmaster at Feltham decided to implement a school rule that forbade blokes to grow their hair “longer than the top of the shirt collar”. We had a sit-in, five of us (all Boot Boys, naturally) were suspended, and we held a protest march to the local Education Authority offices in Hounslow, all of which made us front page news in the Middlesex Chronicle and the Surrey Comet. Phew! The school finally climbed down and let us long-hairs keep it, as long as we wore a headband or something to keep hair away from danger in science classes, bunsen burners mainly. Me and Martin were doing Geology, so had to keep our hair away from fossils and rocks. That lasted about five minutes. I finally got an electric guitar in 1974. Thanks Mum, but it was a Les Paul (copy) I wanted, not a Telecaster (copy). Never mind, beggars can’t be choosers. I’d graduated on to chords, to a degree, but saw myself as a lead guitarist, however minimal. Creatively, I guess I got little further than jamming with friends and annoying their parents. I did manage to write a couple of songs which were wholly derivative, and were never meant for external use. No, if you were going to do anything music-wise, you had to be damn good. In 1976, I remember hiring a studio in Shepherd’s Bush with a mate, Diljit, on bass and his brother-in-law on drums: after three hours, we could do a passable imitation of SUFFRAGETTE CITY. No, I couldn’t see it really happening. Then something weird happened. I’d started to eschew the long meandering rock rubbish that was prevalent at the time, and through seeing bands like Dr Feelgood, and The 101’ers and listening to albums by Graham Parker, Nils Lofgren, and Robert Palmer, I was appreciating short songs, with insistent hooks, and not necessarily flashy guitar. And then came The Sex Pistols, and everything that accompanied them. To a person who had long regretted not having been old enough (let alone not in the right place) to have been involved in the 60s Beat and R&B scene, the whole Punk thing was a godsend. I saw the bulk of the bands involved in the second half of 1976, and the whole thing was pretty small scale from the outset, so I and my friends felt like we were involved in something a little exclusive. Obviously this was not to last, as it exploded at the expense of Bill Grundy on TV, and became big news. But it led some of us to produce a fanzine, Situation 3, which, though short-lived, got the creative juices flowing. A couple of guys I’d jammed with invited me along to rehearse: they had a guy called Gary that could write songs, had hair like Malcolm McLaren, and who had worked at Watney’s Brewery in Mortlake with Sex Pistols’ drummer Paul Cook. They needed someone who could actually string a few lead breaks together. I was in a band!

Radio as an influence had more or less petered out. Barring John Peel, Radio 1’s output was derisory. London’s first commercial ‘pop’ station, Capital, had arrived with much trumpeting, but it was no better than Radio 1, with the extra aggravation of adverts. The Clash’s CAPITAL RADIO was to sum up my, and others, frustration with this some years later. Now it was the musical press that became more and more influential, as the 70s wore on. There’s an argument that New Musical Express fomented the whole punk thing, usually bandied about by provincials that weren’t able to partake of the capital city’s music scene, but the NME was at least giving us names of bands to see, and as a result, yes, we got involved with the nascent scene to varying degrees. By the beginning of 1977, as mentioned above, I got involved with a few friends in writing and distributing a fanzine, Situation 3. My involvement was limited due to having got involved with a band, but when able, I, together with the others, could be found outside, haranguing punters leaving venues like The Nashville, or The Red Cow, trying to flog our cheaply photocopied product for the bargain price of 10 pence. It was shortlived, the reason for which I describe in the book, but it was fun: the others had hired a stall in Portobello Road to sell it on Saturdays, and got to know Geoff Travis of Rough Trade, which in turn led to him distributing it elsewhere in the land. We’d all painted a red band around the left arm of our leather jackets, so we kind of looked like a gang. All that did was get us thrown out of a party when a bunch of rugby players took exception. Worse, my leather was merely a brown bomber, not even a biker’s jacket. Nul points for cred value. I did eventually get a decent biker jacket, but ended up lending it to Gary, our singer, to let him wear it in. He left it in the Bierkeller in Richmond one night after going out for a drink with my sister, so I never saw it again.

The band initially used to rehearse in a room adjoining a pub called The Lamb, overlooking the Grand Union Canal in Southall. The only reason I mention it is because there was a fish’n’chip shop in the adjoining parade, where there was a punky looking bloke working there Saturdays, all eye make-up and coloured hair. He ended up being featured in the Daily Mirror in an article on these new-fangled punks: trouble was, he was a Soul Boy. In those early days, both tribes looked quite similar: when we were down in Cornwall, Gary nearly got into a fight in a pub in St Ives when he advised some punky looking sorts that the jukebox was good, having Ramones and Stranglers stuff available, but they turned out to be Soul Boys. The band got our first gig thanks to me getting to know Arturo Bassick, prior to him joining The Lurkers, with us supporting them at what was then The White Lion in Putney. I learned the fact from the NME’s gig guide, the night before. We began life as The Zeros, then had to change to The Takeoffs, and ultimately became The Ekoes, until the wheels came off for a few years. On a trip to Simon King Sounds music shop in Tolworth with Big G, our drummer, I’d spotted a Shaftesbury that looked a lot like a Rickenbacker for £55. Mum came to my rescue with the money, making up for the earlier poor choice of the Tele copy. Good girl! As far as amplification went, I ditched the Sound City Concord, and went for a Vox AC30, which was a stylish move, methinks. It was a treble-boost one as well, which sadly went missing from our rehearsal studios in Shepherds Bush over one Christmas break. I believe Girlschool had been in over the period, but I’d hate to think it was anything to do with them. The sum of our achievements was to be a demo that we recorded at Fair Deal Studios in Hayes. Some of us reformed with renewed personnel and vigour as The Form, after a hiatus of nearly two years. I upgraded my replacement AC30 to an HH 100 watt beast that I bought from little Nick, when he opted for a Marshall set-up. I’d found a Les Paul copy in a local junk shop in St Margarets, Cheyne Gallery, going for £25, and rushed home to get the necessary. We got some management, quite a few gigs, and a new demo pressed up as a limited edition single, which, by shamelessly trading on that old association with John Peel, found its way onto that previously maligned Radio 1. Then we just kind of went our separate ways, and it had taken all of nine months: I believe that we had good material, and were a good live act, and wish we’d had a chance to record that later material. Still, c’est la vie.

In 1985, a bunch of computer programmers from work asked if I’d be interested in helping them out, as their band Blank Generation were undergoing a ‘restructure’ as the drummer was leaving to pursue a married career, and the guitarist was taking over on the skins. Thus, I started an eight year association with a band that never really was more than a hobby. If The Form had had aspirations, then The Blanks had very little. We were all in good jobs, relatively well paid, so there was never any suggestion that we discard these in order to become professional musicians, something which had certainly reared its head in The Ekoes’ days. No, we were content to just play the occasional gig, and go into the studio every two years or so, to record a few numbers. Eventually, I approached the age of 40, and decided to hang up my plectrum. I’d got bored with the limit of ambition being to get a gig in Reading (‘cos that’s where most of them lived) on a Friday night.

All in all, things were quite stale up until 1988. My car radio was tuned to Capital, as the best of a bad bunch, for the journeys to and from work. Chris Tarrant was vaguely amusing as a DJ, although the musical output was utter tosh. The last straw came when, on holiday, he was replaced by Jeremy Beadle. I’d heard that a new local radio station had been pushing out test transmissions for a few weeks, and had remembered the frequency. I admit my liability during my haste to retune the car radio while negotiating the Sunbury Cross roundabout on my way to work, but I was desperate. Fortunately, I quickly found Greater London Radio, and was rewarded with three consecutive numbers that not only did I like, but that I owned. It was like listening to my own jukebox. Hurrah, a decent radio station at last! For the next 12 years, I listened to nothing else, and it seriously informed my record collection, as you’d hear stuff there that you’d never hear elsewhere. Plus they did sessions that gave chances to new bands. Basically what a music radio station worth its salt should be about. Sadly, in their misguided wisdom, the BBC pulled the plug in 2000, and rebranded the station as London Live, a rolling news, meaningless phone in, talk talk talk radio travesty, with absolutely minimal music.

After another fallow period where I more or less went introspective about music, I discovered the Mojo4music website, associated with the Mojo music magazine, which I’d been religiously buying since the first issue. On the website, a message-board was introduced in May 2001. It was my first experience of any kind of internet-based networking, so for a while I just looked and listened, or rather read. Gradually I started to join in, and soon felt in my element, trading info, opinions, and ultimately music with a whole bunch of like-minded cyber freaks. This again re-ignited my passion for music, though that was probably more for recorded work rather than live gigs, but one does beget the other. Due to the fear that the Mojo site was likely to be closed down (Mojo’s sister magazine Q had a similar message-board which was indeed curtailed), an enterprising chap from North Yorkshire set up a new site, to which we (mostly) gravitated almost at once. That is the Black Cat Bone site, and over the years a number of members have gone from being cyber pals to real life chums, and in some cases, even more. We have periodic get-togethers, usually involving a fair deal of drinking and merriment, and quite often with a musical bent (jolly-ups organised in the US have centred on cities of musical pedigree, such as Memphis, Chicago, Nashville and New Orleans). And we’ve swopped an awful lot of music with each other. I have always regarded it as being rather like being with your buddies from school who were the ones into the music rather than the ones solely into football or other interests.

So, over 40 years of music, dictated and influenced by friends, radio, press, and internet, have led to this ‘calendar’. I remain no expert, but still a most interested bystander, leading to this veritable cornucopia of trivia, facts, memories, odds’n’sods, and opinions based on, and associated with, all the performances I’ve seen. And while it can be argued that any number of professional music journalists could have produced something along these lines, it should be remembered that I’m merely a punter: I elected to attend everything I describe herein.

In 2013, I answered the call for volunteers to work on a Lottery-funded project to celebrate the musical heritage of Eel Pie Island. That led to interviewing survivors, editing interviews, a bit of filming, proof reading of a new book and participation in the best attended exhibition ever held at Orleans House. Now I’m effectively the admin bloke on www.eelpieislandmusic.com and I compiled a roll-call of performers who appeared, well, at least those I can offer some sort of proof that they did.
"Buy Bovril, And Take A Bite Out Of Communism!"

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pcqgod
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Re: Share your Musical Life Story

Postby pcqgod » 03 Apr 2015, 16:38

Born the same month of the UT Tower shooting spree and the release of 'Revolver.' Music was present in my life from an early age but never a focus. First record I remember liking is "The Blue Tailed Fly," and my Dad would play records by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Roger Miller, plus some classical. My mom liked Mexican/Latin American pop music and border music. I took piano lessons for a while. I enjoyed pop singles like "Billy Don't Be a Hero" in the 70's and would watch The Lawrence Welk Show and Hee-Haw with my Dad on the weekends and not think anything of it. "Rock around the Clock" became a favorite when it was the original theme for "Happy Days." When my older brothers came back from college they would bring back records by the Beatles and New Wave artists, and that got me more interested, but it took the murder of John Lennon for me to go out and finally buy a record (the Beatles Red Album followed by the Blue), and finally start listening regularly to the radio. Early favorite bands: Blondie, Queen, The Cars, Boston, Styx, then on to more new wave like Elvis Costello, Squeeze, XTC, Talking Heads and Split Enz within a year, plus other 60's groups like the Stones, Byrds, Kinks, Moody Blues and the Doors. By my high school years got into punk mainly as a reaction to all the obnoxious metal kids who would sneer at my music. There was always some hard rock that I liked, like Zep, Purple and AC/DC, but I thought bands like Motley Crue and their followers were just clowns. Hardcore punk led me to thrash metal. Liked some the early hip-hop rock crossover. Was fully into the punk/alternative/underground thing until the early 90's when grunge went commercial. I loathed bands like Pearl Jam and the bands that came after. I started listening to jazz and Zappa, returning to Crimson, Floyd and 70's arena rock, plus discovered Krautrock. Around that time (mid 90's) the whole Nuggets revival was reaching a peak. Tower records even had a separate garage section, so that was the start of my major interest in obscure 60's garage and psych. Discovered a love of mambo along with my jazz discoveries, and a love of Cajun music when I visited New Orleans in the early 2000's. Mom and Dad's early influence made an interest in classic country and border/Tejano sounds almost inevitable. Since the late 90's, I've just gone in all directions musically, trying my best to hear everything that is good out there. But sometimes I put on some Beatles and still think, now THIS is proper music!
Where would rock 'n' roll be without feedback?

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Minnie the Minx
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Re: Share your Musical Life Story

Postby Minnie the Minx » 04 Apr 2015, 15:28

Pete the Pick wrote:Not so much an expert, more an interested bystander…..

As a nipper, I was not overly fussed about music. Any cursory examination of the charts of the late 50s would, to my mind, explain why. My first musical memory seems to revolve around a guy called Don Lang, who I remember watching play trombone on the BBC’s first attempt at a Rock and Roll show called Six-Five Special: I would have been about five years old, and living in Cornwall. I now have no idea why the trombone appealed to me, but I remember asking for one for Christmas, and being completely disappointed in the plastic guitar that I did get. Culturally, my first exposure to the burgeoning youth culture yet to swamp the country also happened in Cornwall, Helston specifically. I remember a kid running up to a bunch of us and telling us that there were some Teds around the corner. We crept down the alley, and peered around the corner and, sure enough, there were three or four lads dressed in drainpipe trousers and drapes, hanging around the sweetie shop. We were so scared we didn’t dare venture any further! I was still about five years old, and this would have been in 1958, but I had no idea what those Teds would have been listening to, musically. I still had little interest in music: the parents always had the BBC Light Programme on, which obviously spouted little other than parents’ music. My mother was a big Sinatra fan, as well as Tony Bennett and all that sort of thing. My Dad was more big band, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller and the like, and catering for both was what the BBC did in those days. I cannot pin down when I first heard of Elvis Presley, but fast-forward a few years, to 1962, and one of my best friends at my new school in Eston, Middlesbrough, was heavily into Cliff Richard. Try as he might, and he really did try, he could not convert me. And his family had a gramophone, and records! Another kid at school tried to do The Twist, the dance linked to Chubby Checker’s huge hit that year, but only succeeded in falling forward on his face. No, there was nothing out there that appealed. Good old BBC gave us a frugal amount of ‘pop’ music through Alan Freeman’s Pick Of The Pops on a Sunday afternoon, which at least played all the records in that week’s Top 20: I have memories of picnics with the family on the North York Moors listening to Ray Charles singing about taking these chains from his heart and setting him free, but there wasn’t much else I can recall. Everything changed in 1963. Somehow I’d missed PLEASE PLEASE ME when it was first released, but one day I heard it on radio and it blew my mind. Well, in a 1963 sort of way to a nine year old. The purveyors of this aural epiphany were a group called The Beatles. Then I recalled that FROM ME TO YOU was also by the aforementioned Beatles (my memory has always been that I got into PLEASE PLEASE ME after FROM ME TO YOU, even though it was released, and, indeed, a hit, before the latter: I can only assume that the DJ responsible was kind of reminding people that the people that brought you this current FROM ME TO YOU hit had previously brought you PLEASE PLEASE ME), and I thought “Hello? Something’s happening here”. I was hooked on music from that point on, though, unfortunately, my request to see The Beatles at Stockton Globe in December 1963 fell on deaf parents’ ears, and the closest I ever got to experiencing them was when my Mum took me to a cinema in Woking, when visiting my Nan, to see Hard Day’s Night when that came out, thus allowing me to experience at least the screaming: I understand that the date they played at Stockton coincided with news of John Kennedy’s assassination, so instead of seeing The Beatles, I came home from school to find my mother weeping, with all TV programmes suspended, with the BBC just playing mournful music. Well, after that, the groups and the hits came thick and fast. Exposure exploded, comparatively speaking. A magazine called Fabulous started, and I got the first issue because it had The Beatles on the front, and a colour photo of Heinz on the back cover: I wasn’t into Heinz in any shape or form - it was the beautiful cherry coloured shiny Gretsch guitar that he was cuddling! On TV, the BBC now gave us Top Of The Pops, a visual snapshot of the ‘Hit Parade’. Ann, who lived three doors down, shocked me when she admitted preferring The Rolling Stones to The Beatles. There was so much suddenly out there, but radio was, by and large, restricted to Saturday morning’s Saturday Club and Sunday morning’s Easybeat. In hindsight, there were so many groups that never got any airplay, but in today’s lucrative world of retrospective CD re-issues, thankfully a great deal of that product is now available. So it is now 1964, and I still haven’t got a record player. I dreamed of having my own electric guitar, and so wanted my parents to come back from Saturday afternoon shopping with that red guitar that used to hang in the window of a pawn shop that they had to go past to get into Middlesbrough. They never did. There was a competition that appeared on the back of a Corn Flakes packet, to win a Burns electric guitar “as used by recording artists The Ramblers” (I think that was their name), who I’d of course never heard of, and of whom never, ever, seen any evidence of said recording, though now Vernon Joynson’s revamped Tapestry of Delights (2014) rejoices in an entry for the aforementioned Ramblers, citing them as a Joe Meek project – for their seeming one and only recording. Naturally, I did not win the guitar, but got a signed glossy photo of the mythical Ramblers. I had to make do with my bastardised tennis racket, for which I created two cardboard cut-out cutaways, intended to at least resemble my beloved, unattainable Gretsch, with a bunch of rubber bands cut and stretched to resemble strings. My friend Steven, the Cliffophile, at least had a guitar, albeit an acoustic one. We painted a gold scratch plate on it, to make it look vaguely like it was an electric guitar, brushed our hair forward and entered a school fancy dress competition as faux Beatles. We took it in turns to hold the guitar. Neither of us could play it, mind. Another school friend Kevin told me about what was called a ‘pirate’ radio station, Radio Caroline, some time in 1964. Unfortunately, the only radio we had at home was in the kitchen, and I quickly tired of sitting on my own there, in the cold, trying to catch some crackly, interference-drenched pop music. But it was a further sign of the times, and one that I was to embrace not long after.

I got packed off to boarding school near Ipswich later that year. The only saving grace with that was its proximity to the Thames estuary and the Essex coast, as the following year a whole bunch of pirate radio stations became available to us. We didn’t bother too much with Caroline, but favoured Radio City, with its 5 by 4 show and its alternating Stones and Beatles tracks, and mostly Radio London, aka Big L. That kept us all in touch with what was happening in the pop world, and we were fine with that. Back home, I had to be satisfied with Radio 270 which was transmitted from a boat off Scarborough. And I still didn’t have a record player. After that nice Tony Benn’s Marine Broadcasting Offences Act became law in 1967, which outlawed our favourite stations, we had to resort to Radio Veronica which was broadcast in Dutch: I can still remember the advertising jingle for Stimorol chewing gum. Sadly it was no substitute really, so we had to succumb to BBC’s Radio 1. Eventually, my pop sensibilities were later satisfied by Radio North Sea International, which curiously morphed into Radio Caroline in the weeks leading up to the 1970 General Election, reminding its listeners that it was Labour that had introduced the bill that killed off the pirates. But something else had been happening to me. I was growing up, and increasingly began to ignore the contents of the singles charts. For a few years, other kids at school started to turn up with LPs. I remember listening to Cream’s DISRAELI GEARS in a friend’s study, and was completely amazed. I had never heard an album all the way through before. Barring the throwaway MOTHER’S LAMENT, every track seemed to be a wonder to me. This was probably in 1968. So, from then on, my ears started to be opened by the likes of UMMAGUMMA, ON THE THRESHOLD OF A DREAM, THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS WAVE TO EACH OTHER, STONEDHENGE, SMASH HITS, TONS OF SOBS and many others. Finally, in September 1969, I got a record player for my 16th birthday. Hurrah! I rushed down to Hamilton’s Music Store in Middlesbrough and purchased DISRAELI GEARS (something I have in common with Mick Jones, as that was also his first album bought) and Blind Faith’s eponymous debut, for just 37/6 each (that’s £1.87½ in new money). At least by not having a record player until I was 16 meant there were no skeletons in my closet regarding the first record I bought: the first single was Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY, although as I was in the habit of buying MAD magazine in those days, I’d acquired (1968?), courtesy of a particular MAD annual, a square cardboard ‘single’ with a laminated side purporting to be Alfred E Neuman ‘vocalising’, which was, in actual fact, a Sam Bobrick instrumental called IT’S A GAS, featuring a whole load of belching as the sole vocal input (but also featuring King Curtis on sax): these days you can even find this on Youtube. Back to the subject of radio, in early 1970 I had started to listen to a free radio station (decidedly not pirate, as there were no commercials) called Radio Geronimo, which initially was only broadcast from midnight until three in the morning on a Friday, from a site in Monte Carlo! This was literally a case of waking up to listen to my transistor radio (a Binatone, since you ask, which laughingly proclaimed “Stereo” and “Hi-Fi” in tiny tin plates on the front) nestling under my pillow. Radio Geronimo specialised in album tracks only, though it made an exception for CSN&Y’s OHIO when that came out – well, it was a protest song. The station also championed the short-lived Balls supergroup’s single FIGHT FOR MY COUNTRY, probably because Balls had been masterminded by The Move’s manager Tony Secunda and Stones’ producer Jimmy Miller, who were also partners in the Radio Geronimo venture: the Stones’ “lascivious mouth” logo, which was to shortly appear, was an adaptation of Balls’ own logo, so there you go. I ended up sending off for a poster, and T-shirt (still got them), though stopping short from joining the Geronimo Society, as that was far too expensive for me. Incidentally, an offshoot from the this venture, going under the name of Geronimo Starship, was responsible for recording the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre, and putting out a, now, very rare triple album of the event, REVELATIONS, although the album doesn’t seem to contain any product recorded at the event, relying on donations from the various artists from other occasions. However, stuff from The Fugs, or The Last Poets was pretty extreme for me, so I’d occasionally stray from Geronimo’s frequency at 205 metres, to Radio Luxembourg’s 208. At this time, David ‘Kid’ Jensen had a show on from midnight. One time I tuned in, and he announced a song by someone called The Steve Miller Band, called SONG FOR OUR ANCESTORS. From its intro, my imagination assumed images of dinosaur calls before the music kicked in. It was years later that I discovered that the ‘dinosaur calls’ were in fact ships’ foghorns sounding off San Francisco! You can credit the mighty Binatone for my misinterpretation. Jensen was also responsible for me hearing Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY, resulting in that first single purchase. During the summer of 1969, Jensen had also taken to playing tracks from the forthcoming Blind Faith album, and I managed to record some of these on my ‘Miny’ reel-to-reel tape recorder my Dad had brought back from the Far East. My Dad was employed by HM’s Royal Navy, which goes some way to explaining my geographical childhood. He had to do one last ‘tour’ before his ‘de-mob’: he’d been working in the recruiting office in Hartlepool since 1961, which is why the family ended up back in Middlesbrough, though that was indeed my Mum’s family home. Apparently, when given the choice of a guitar or a puppy for my birthday in 1965, I had foregone the long-standing wish of that guitar for the puppy that would help tide my Mum and little sister over while Dad was away (remember I was at boarding school by this time). I think it was a no-brainer, actually, but because I’d made that choice, my Nan got me a guitar that Christmas, as a special treat. Of course, it was only an acoustic one, an “Eko”, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. I initially got little further than being able to bang out single string melody lines, or riffs: Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich’s HOLD TIGHT springs to mind as a pretty simple one (all of three notes) that I quickly mastered. While Dad was still away, I ambitiously decided that I wanted to bang the drums, and optimistically told Mum a kit was what I’d like for my birthday. There was no way my Mum could have afforded a full kit, but she did get me a pair of drumsticks, bless her. I even toyed with the idea of bass, when I managed to acquire a catalogue for Bell’s Music Shop in Surbiton, which was choc full of sexy four string, as well as six-string instruments. When Dad came back from the Far East, he came bearing gifts, including the aforementioned ‘Miny’. I think it was a variation on the ‘Sony’ brand which was considerably less ubiquitous then than it is now. However, I learned how to ‘jam’ the tape machine in ‘record’ mode, and by stuffing the microphone down the Eko’s sound-hole, I effectively created an amplifier. Oh, wonder of wonders! My Dad ended up back in uniform, though this time it was for HM’s Prison Service. In 1970 he got posted to what was then Feltham Borstal, and I took the opportunity to quit boarding school, and take up my A levels at the local comprehensive: Feltham is on the edge of London, you see. Finally, I became resident somewhere in striking distance of where the music was happening.

So, in the summer of 1970, I found myself wandering wide-eyed amongst the great unwashed at the Pink Floyd Hyde Park gig, after the disappointment of missing both the Blind Faith and Stones Hyde Park gigs in 1969 (while the Stones In The Park video has always been readily available, the only footage I ever saw of the Blind Faith gig was actually within a one-off TV play entitled Season Of The Witch, in which Julie Driscoll played a girl newly-arrived in the capital, and ending up dossing in squats, or something, but which did feature a scene where she goes off wandering through Hyde Park during that free concert: more recently, of course, the full gig has been available on DVD, since 2005, so everything comes to he who waits, or so it would seem). Then, amazingly, I got to go to the Isle Of Wight Festival. The new friends I made at Feltham School all seemed to be of a similar mind to me as far as music was concerned, so I started going to all manner of gigs locally, and in town. Because I’d started in such an auspicious fashion, I had written down all the bands I’d seen. I saw no reason to not continue to do so, and I’m glad I did, because without that I could not have been in a position to write this in the first place. In 1971, I and my school chums started to go to the BBC studios in Regent’s Street, aka the Paris Theatre, where initially John Peel hosted his In Concert recordings. We came on a bit rent-a-mob within the conservative environment of the BBC, creating something of an atmosphere, previously lacking, and Peel loved us for it. A number of these concerts have been subsequently released, so if you get to hear one from that period with what sounds like a rowdy bunch in-house, that’s likely to be us. We styled ourselves as The John Peel Boot Boys in the manner of football supporters at the time, with the obviously ironic non-violent emphasis, and the great man took to giving us name-checks in his Disc & Music Echo and Sounds columns. Peel stopped hosting the show at the end of 1971, coming back only for his mates, the Faces. I dare say that had Peel been able to complete his Margrave Of The Marshes autobiography there may have been a line or two describing the mayhem caused by the Boot Boys on a regular basis at The Paris, but as it was, his wife Sheila had to deal with the period beyond his US sojourn, and indeed his subsequent musical career, and sadly overlooked the possibility. I did meet her once or twice, and still maintain that she is a lovely lady, despite this glaring omission. Afterwards it was Bob Harris, Pete Drummond, or Stuart Black calling the compere shots, but a number of us kept in touch with Peel for some years. It was around this time that my latent rebellious streak manifested itself when the Headmaster at Feltham decided to implement a school rule that forbade blokes to grow their hair “longer than the top of the shirt collar”. We had a sit-in, five of us (all Boot Boys, naturally) were suspended, and we held a protest march to the local Education Authority offices in Hounslow, all of which made us front page news in the Middlesex Chronicle and the Surrey Comet. Phew! The school finally climbed down and let us long-hairs keep it, as long as we wore a headband or something to keep hair away from danger in science classes, bunsen burners mainly. Me and Martin were doing Geology, so had to keep our hair away from fossils and rocks. That lasted about five minutes. I finally got an electric guitar in 1974. Thanks Mum, but it was a Les Paul (copy) I wanted, not a Telecaster (copy). Never mind, beggars can’t be choosers. I’d graduated on to chords, to a degree, but saw myself as a lead guitarist, however minimal. Creatively, I guess I got little further than jamming with friends and annoying their parents. I did manage to write a couple of songs which were wholly derivative, and were never meant for external use. No, if you were going to do anything music-wise, you had to be damn good. In 1976, I remember hiring a studio in Shepherd’s Bush with a mate, Diljit, on bass and his brother-in-law on drums: after three hours, we could do a passable imitation of SUFFRAGETTE CITY. No, I couldn’t see it really happening. Then something weird happened. I’d started to eschew the long meandering rock rubbish that was prevalent at the time, and through seeing bands like Dr Feelgood, and The 101’ers and listening to albums by Graham Parker, Nils Lofgren, and Robert Palmer, I was appreciating short songs, with insistent hooks, and not necessarily flashy guitar. And then came The Sex Pistols, and everything that accompanied them. To a person who had long regretted not having been old enough (let alone not in the right place) to have been involved in the 60s Beat and R&B scene, the whole Punk thing was a godsend. I saw the bulk of the bands involved in the second half of 1976, and the whole thing was pretty small scale from the outset, so I and my friends felt like we were involved in something a little exclusive. Obviously this was not to last, as it exploded at the expense of Bill Grundy on TV, and became big news. But it led some of us to produce a fanzine, Situation 3, which, though short-lived, got the creative juices flowing. A couple of guys I’d jammed with invited me along to rehearse: they had a guy called Gary that could write songs, had hair like Malcolm McLaren, and who had worked at Watney’s Brewery in Mortlake with Sex Pistols’ drummer Paul Cook. They needed someone who could actually string a few lead breaks together. I was in a band!

Radio as an influence had more or less petered out. Barring John Peel, Radio 1’s output was derisory. London’s first commercial ‘pop’ station, Capital, had arrived with much trumpeting, but it was no better than Radio 1, with the extra aggravation of adverts. The Clash’s CAPITAL RADIO was to sum up my, and others, frustration with this some years later. Now it was the musical press that became more and more influential, as the 70s wore on. There’s an argument that New Musical Express fomented the whole punk thing, usually bandied about by provincials that weren’t able to partake of the capital city’s music scene, but the NME was at least giving us names of bands to see, and as a result, yes, we got involved with the nascent scene to varying degrees. By the beginning of 1977, as mentioned above, I got involved with a few friends in writing and distributing a fanzine, Situation 3. My involvement was limited due to having got involved with a band, but when able, I, together with the others, could be found outside, haranguing punters leaving venues like The Nashville, or The Red Cow, trying to flog our cheaply photocopied product for the bargain price of 10 pence. It was shortlived, the reason for which I describe in the book, but it was fun: the others had hired a stall in Portobello Road to sell it on Saturdays, and got to know Geoff Travis of Rough Trade, which in turn led to him distributing it elsewhere in the land. We’d all painted a red band around the left arm of our leather jackets, so we kind of looked like a gang. All that did was get us thrown out of a party when a bunch of rugby players took exception. Worse, my leather was merely a brown bomber, not even a biker’s jacket. Nul points for cred value. I did eventually get a decent biker jacket, but ended up lending it to Gary, our singer, to let him wear it in. He left it in the Bierkeller in Richmond one night after going out for a drink with my sister, so I never saw it again.

The band initially used to rehearse in a room adjoining a pub called The Lamb, overlooking the Grand Union Canal in Southall. The only reason I mention it is because there was a fish’n’chip shop in the adjoining parade, where there was a punky looking bloke working there Saturdays, all eye make-up and coloured hair. He ended up being featured in the Daily Mirror in an article on these new-fangled punks: trouble was, he was a Soul Boy. In those early days, both tribes looked quite similar: when we were down in Cornwall, Gary nearly got into a fight in a pub in St Ives when he advised some punky looking sorts that the jukebox was good, having Ramones and Stranglers stuff available, but they turned out to be Soul Boys. The band got our first gig thanks to me getting to know Arturo Bassick, prior to him joining The Lurkers, with us supporting them at what was then The White Lion in Putney. I learned the fact from the NME’s gig guide, the night before. We began life as The Zeros, then had to change to The Takeoffs, and ultimately became The Ekoes, until the wheels came off for a few years. On a trip to Simon King Sounds music shop in Tolworth with Big G, our drummer, I’d spotted a Shaftesbury that looked a lot like a Rickenbacker for £55. Mum came to my rescue with the money, making up for the earlier poor choice of the Tele copy. Good girl! As far as amplification went, I ditched the Sound City Concord, and went for a Vox AC30, which was a stylish move, methinks. It was a treble-boost one as well, which sadly went missing from our rehearsal studios in Shepherds Bush over one Christmas break. I believe Girlschool had been in over the period, but I’d hate to think it was anything to do with them. The sum of our achievements was to be a demo that we recorded at Fair Deal Studios in Hayes. Some of us reformed with renewed personnel and vigour as The Form, after a hiatus of nearly two years. I upgraded my replacement AC30 to an HH 100 watt beast that I bought from little Nick, when he opted for a Marshall set-up. I’d found a Les Paul copy in a local junk shop in St Margarets, Cheyne Gallery, going for £25, and rushed home to get the necessary. We got some management, quite a few gigs, and a new demo pressed up as a limited edition single, which, by shamelessly trading on that old association with John Peel, found its way onto that previously maligned Radio 1. Then we just kind of went our separate ways, and it had taken all of nine months: I believe that we had good material, and were a good live act, and wish we’d had a chance to record that later material. Still, c’est la vie.

In 1985, a bunch of computer programmers from work asked if I’d be interested in helping them out, as their band Blank Generation were undergoing a ‘restructure’ as the drummer was leaving to pursue a married career, and the guitarist was taking over on the skins. Thus, I started an eight year association with a band that never really was more than a hobby. If The Form had had aspirations, then The Blanks had very little. We were all in good jobs, relatively well paid, so there was never any suggestion that we discard these in order to become professional musicians, something which had certainly reared its head in The Ekoes’ days. No, we were content to just play the occasional gig, and go into the studio every two years or so, to record a few numbers. Eventually, I approached the age of 40, and decided to hang up my plectrum. I’d got bored with the limit of ambition being to get a gig in Reading (‘cos that’s where most of them lived) on a Friday night.

All in all, things were quite stale up until 1988. My car radio was tuned to Capital, as the best of a bad bunch, for the journeys to and from work. Chris Tarrant was vaguely amusing as a DJ, although the musical output was utter tosh. The last straw came when, on holiday, he was replaced by Jeremy Beadle. I’d heard that a new local radio station had been pushing out test transmissions for a few weeks, and had remembered the frequency. I admit my liability during my haste to retune the car radio while negotiating the Sunbury Cross roundabout on my way to work, but I was desperate. Fortunately, I quickly found Greater London Radio, and was rewarded with three consecutive numbers that not only did I like, but that I owned. It was like listening to my own jukebox. Hurrah, a decent radio station at last! For the next 12 years, I listened to nothing else, and it seriously informed my record collection, as you’d hear stuff there that you’d never hear elsewhere. Plus they did sessions that gave chances to new bands. Basically what a music radio station worth its salt should be about. Sadly, in their misguided wisdom, the BBC pulled the plug in 2000, and rebranded the station as London Live, a rolling news, meaningless phone in, talk talk talk radio travesty, with absolutely minimal music.

After another fallow period where I more or less went introspective about music, I discovered the Mojo4music website, associated with the Mojo music magazine, which I’d been religiously buying since the first issue. On the website, a message-board was introduced in May 2001. It was my first experience of any kind of internet-based networking, so for a while I just looked and listened, or rather read. Gradually I started to join in, and soon felt in my element, trading info, opinions, and ultimately music with a whole bunch of like-minded cyber freaks. This again re-ignited my passion for music, though that was probably more for recorded work rather than live gigs, but one does beget the other. Due to the fear that the Mojo site was likely to be closed down (Mojo’s sister magazine Q had a similar message-board which was indeed curtailed), an enterprising chap from North Yorkshire set up a new site, to which we (mostly) gravitated almost at once. That is the Black Cat Bone site, and over the years a number of members have gone from being cyber pals to real life chums, and in some cases, even more. We have periodic get-togethers, usually involving a fair deal of drinking and merriment, and quite often with a musical bent (jolly-ups organised in the US have centred on cities of musical pedigree, such as Memphis, Chicago, Nashville and New Orleans). And we’ve swopped an awful lot of music with each other. I have always regarded it as being rather like being with your buddies from school who were the ones into the music rather than the ones solely into football or other interests.

So, over 40 years of music, dictated and influenced by friends, radio, press, and internet, have led to this ‘calendar’. I remain no expert, but still a most interested bystander, leading to this veritable cornucopia of trivia, facts, memories, odds’n’sods, and opinions based on, and associated with, all the performances I’ve seen. And while it can be argued that any number of professional music journalists could have produced something along these lines, it should be remembered that I’m merely a punter: I elected to attend everything I describe herein.

In 2013, I answered the call for volunteers to work on a Lottery-funded project to celebrate the musical heritage of Eel Pie Island. That led to interviewing survivors, editing interviews, a bit of filming, proof reading of a new book and participation in the best attended exhibition ever held at Orleans House. Now I’m effectively the admin bloke on http://www.eelpieislandmusic.com and I compiled a roll-call of performers who appeared, well, at least those I can offer some sort of proof that they did.



Mind bogglingly brilliant. Thanks Pete. I'm grinning like a loon having read that. Superb stuff.
You come at the Queen, you best not miss.

Dr Markus wrote:
Someone in your line of work usually as their own man cave aka the shed we're they can potter around fixing stuff or something don't they?

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Tom Waits For No One
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Joined: 14 Nov 2014, 08:05

Re: Share your Musical Life Story

Postby Tom Waits For No One » 04 Apr 2015, 17:25

Smashing stuff Pete.
If I remember rightly you were the first person to generously share a 'cough' with me on the Mojo boards.
It's all your fault! :lol:

Roll on the full book!!
A kid swapping a fishing rod for a Dr. Feelgood album.