Friday, 31 October 2008

Things NOT to do after a gig

My guitarist is my son, which means we live together. This did in fact create an embarrassing scenario when one of CJ's (drummer) youngsters asked why we kept on arriving to rehearsals together. When CJ explained it was because we lived together, she thought he meant as 'a couple'.....some thoughts are best left where they lie.

Anyway, me and the boy tend to have a post gig tradition...that is a glass whiskey, Star Trek (yes I know, don't say it) and a Pot Noodle.

Please don't ask me how that tradition started and I know that there is probably more nutrition in the plastic tub that the noodles come in than the food is contains. However, it's our tradition and we are sticking to it.

Anyway, post last gig, we are huddled in the kitchen, kettle boiling preparing our late night vittles when Aaron announced that he wanted to 'pep' up his supper.

Now like most rock stars, we like our food hot and spicy and I always have a bottle of Hot Jamaican Pepper sauce at the ready for just such an occasion.

However, tonight I had something special.

A friend of mine, who is a Drugs worker had given me a bottle of something that bore the moniker "Ouch- I'm hot".

The fact that it had come from a complete Chili head should have been warning enough, and given the name we should have left well alone. But no, I just had to open the bottle didn't I.

I gentle unscrewed the lid, mindful of my friends warning that it might "fizz a bit".

Fizz is probably an understatement.

It had the appearance of a small volcano spewing magma over the kitchen top.

Groaning I placed the lid back on the bottle in order to stem the flow and wandered off to the sink to get a cloth.

As I was at the sink I heard and audible 'pop', a yell from Aaron and felt a strange burning sensation in my scalp. The bottle had quite literally exploded.

Aaron and the kitchen were dripping with bright red chili sauce, burning and staining what ever it touched.

Thank the Lord Aaron was wearing his glasses or I think I might quite possibly have blinded him.

He simply stood there...chili sauce dripping off the end of his nose, and crying with laughter.

The stuff even got inside the microwave. It was three days before we managed to locate the bottle top.

It took us an hour to clean up the worse of it, floors, ceiling, cuboards, kitchen then it was 2am and we'd had more than enough.

However, I don't know what created the bigger explosion. The chili sauce or my wife, when she discovered the mess that we had made. I tried explaining what had happened but to no avail. Mind you it didn't help Aaron rolling around on the floor laughing his socks off!

Now I have a small understanding why Rock Stars do stupid things like take drugs after a doesn't make such a mess of the kitchen.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Tulips from Rotterdam

Life on the road can be can also be flippin hard at times.

I thought I would share with you one of those hard times. I wrote this short article for Bristol Rocks and it is taken from when 'I were a lad' in a band called Amaziah.

The band was called Amaziah. I was 18 years old and it was my first (and last professional band). This was our first big European tour, and we were as arrogant as hell.

We had met a band called Liquid Gold in a cafĂ© on the Dutch docks. They were currently at no.1 in the UK with a song called “Dance Yourself Dizzy” and were sick of the whole thing. We on the other hand were at the beginning of a two month tour and we believed that we were going to be the biggest thing on the planet (that’s what comes of listening to a manager who talked it rather than putting it on his roses). The Liquid Gold crew wished us well, but you could tell by the look on their faces that they suspected that by the end of this tour we look even more hacked off than they did at the point in time.

Hey, guess what! They were right. Talk about a nightmare tour. And it would seem that the Dutch eat nothing but cheese….our tour bus smelt like the inside of a packet of dried roasted peanuts and the nightmares the cheese induced were terrifying.
Anyway, after several weeks of weird gigs in prisons, tents, army camps and Borstals we were booked to play a gig in Rotterdam.

Now bear in mind that as a band we had three and a half tonnes of kit, with at least one tonne of that being attributed to the keyboard player (that would be his keyboards and not him in case you are wondering). You can imagine our unbridled joy when we arrived at the venue to discover that we were playing on a barge. Not just any barge mind you, no! we were playing on a barge that was four barges deep out into the river that runs through the centre of Rotterdam.

The first barge was owned by a congenial Dutch alcoholic called Klaus who was eager to share his Dutch beer with this scruffy bunch of youths…….at 6:30am in the morning. Now I have sunk a few in my time, in fact I got alcohol poisoning on that particular tour (something that I am neither proud of or endorse) but there was no way that I was going to drink beer at that time of the day. The trouble is, he was very persistent and every time we slipped, fell, stumbled and crashed back over the four barges to get yet another bit of kit from the bus, we were greeted with “You drink beer now please”.

Dave’s keyboards were the peist de la rĂ©sistance. A Mini Moog… problem….a Clavinet…..okay. A Fender Rhodes…dangerous….a Leslie cab….flippin ridiculous and as for a full on rock & roll Hammond organ….well for goodness sake.

Then, that manager I mentioned earlier, well he doubled as our tour manager and sound man, he wanted the full PA. Personally I would have turned the fold back around and let the audience get the music from that. But no, our very own Harvey Goldsmith wanted the full enchilada. Pratt!
It took us the best part of a morning to get everything into the barge without a single bit of kit ending floating down the Nis River, although our manager got pretty close to taking an early bath I can tell you.Setting up that much equipment in a combined space it not easy, but we did it….eventually… and we were just about ready by the time the doors opened.Now, the secret of a good gig, and I mean a REALLY good gig is that you tell people that it’s actually happening. You can see where this is going can’t you.

There we were, four young energetic band members, leading the new wave of British heavy metal. Our small road crew including the manager/sound engineer, our publicist and of course the event organiser and NOBODY else. Nada. Zip, diddle squat. Not a single person turned up! The argument that followed between our Harvey Goldsmith and the organiser was not pretty, especially as the organiser kept on swearing at our boy in Dutch. I don’t think either had checked what the other had been doing, or not doing as it turned out. I kind of think that the organiser had assumed that we would get a crowd by osmosis.

Do you know what really hurt though? In order to save money, we were booked to sleep on the barge after the gig……and it leaked!I completely ruined my day, if that were possible, when the drummer and I slopped of to a late night showing of the Omen and helped by all that cheese, I had nightmares that ensured I would never sleep soundly again.Mind you the keyboard player, for ever the optimist, did a deal with Klaus and exchanged one of our albums for a Dutch Bicycle, which we had to cart around with the gear for the rest of the tour.

The rest of the tour went as smoothly as this fiasco and ended up in my making myself seriously ill when I emptied somebody’s drinks cabinet and as well as the medical bill had to foot the bill for all the booze we had drunk. That just about blew any money I might have made from the tour. No wonder we musicians suffer so much from depression.

As a foot note, our manager did a Reggie Perrin several years later and staged his own disappearance/suicide. They found his clothes, glasses, wallet etc by the Feeder river in Bristol. Made a Crime Watch reproduction and everything. He’d only gone a done a runner, left everybody financially totally in the lurch.What a pratt!

Piece of cheese anyone??

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Hello, Good Evening and Welcome

Hi all,

Under some gentle pressure from my good friend Stephen from "How to be an inspiration" I thought I would have a go at writing my own blog.

Although I write for several Internet magazines and pen copious amounts of type for my band The Mudheads (hence the blog address) I have never actually done anything like this.

Please excuse my poor spelling and atrocious grammar. I am after all but a humble student from a school on one of Bristol, England's largest council housing estates...that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.

So why the title?

Well, I play in a band, and like all performers I once dreamt of being a major Rock Star. Those days are now sadly in the past. However, in celebration of those once heady days on the road my friends (well, one of them anyway) still refer to me as "Rock God".

I hasten to add, that I don't in any way believe my own publicity, and any sense of over inflated ego was beaten out of me years ago as I toured the pub circuit of the south of England.

I had a few moments, celebrated but few near major successes, but alas that it now in the past. I will never achieve my aim of performing in front of 120,000 adoring fans in a Mexican football stadium. Nor will I have that much coveted 126 weeks at the top of the charts spot.

My albums are now collectible, not because they are early renditions of a stellar star sought out by music lovers, but because they are rare......most people presumably binned their copy.

However, I still perform with my trusty band, who are are either aging like me, or related to me (the guitarist is my son), and for that I am eternally grateful.

I have no axe to grind, no manifesto to promote. However, I do hope as I maybe share a thought or two from my journey and day to day life as a Rock God, it may entertain and amuse maybe just a few.

Anyway, here's hoping.

Watch this space.