Monday, 11 May 2009

Big, black and beautiful

From time to time the old Rock God ego gets the better of him.

I know that I am supposed to have grown out of such things. I know that now I am in my forties I should be a beacon for sensible living and ‘doing the right thing’.

However, just once in a while something comes along that reminds you that inside you are still a 17 year old rocker at heart.

The time had come to purchase some new speakers for my Bass Guitar. The old ones were beginning to sound a little bit like a flatulent rat in a biscuit tin, which is a not a good sound for a bastion of entertainment.

So with credit card in hand (having blown everything I had on my red-mid-life-crisis-mobile I will not have ‘cash in hand’ for a good many more years to come), I trundled of down to Reverb, musical employer of number one son Aaron.

Reverb (formally known as Sound Control) have been endeavouring to get me to part with my money on a regular basis for many years now and hearing that I was ‘in the market’ I was met by a welcoming reception of senior staff all eager to sell me the very latest in high end bass technology speakers.

They did in fact have an extremely attractive (and expensive 8 x 10 Hartke…(.that’s 8 times 10 inch speakers in case you are wondering what on earth I am talking about) that looked like a heavy metal coffin….and it sounded awesome.

However, and this is where the ego comes in, next to the coffin sat a pair of Marshall 4 x 12 (yes that’s a speaker with 4 lots of 12 inch speakers in it, so 2 sets would give me 8 times 12 inch speakers…are you getting it?).

Now these things were, a) more expensive and b) flippin enormous.

However, they were Marshall’s and as anybody who has ever been to a classic rock concert will tell you are things of immense beauty in a rock & roll kind of way.

Visions of Iron Maiden at the Bristol Colson Hall came flooding back. Thin Lizzy, whitesnake, Motorhead, oh the list is endless. All these rock giants that I saw in my youth who were flanked by row upon roll of black and gold speaker cabinets with the legionary Marshall signature running through the middle of them.

Yes the Hartke was cheaper, yes the Hartke was smaller and yet, yes the Hartke sounded better. Hartke was a bass players dream.

Of course you know what I went for???? Of course you do.

Now all I have to do is break the news to CJ as I am not sure they are going to fit in the trailer.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A good workman is worthy of his hire

I have noticed a disturbing new trend that has not reared its ugly head before until recently, at least not for me.

However, it happened to us again this Friday, and I know that it is happening to my peers in the musical community with a frightening regularity.

When we are booked for gigs a price is agreed with the promoter or landlord or whoever prior to accepting the booking. This is normally negotiable and not designed to take the mick out of the poor soul who is trying to hire us.

However, we pride ourselves on the level of professionalism and entertainment that we offer and so we would not say that we are ‘cheap’. However, we are also not extortionate (certainly better value that the teen moppets that get paid five thousand quid to turn up at a shopping mall and mime to their latest mind melting single that’s for sure).

However, you can imagine my surprise following an evening of unrestricted rock & roll enthusiasm that left the punters suitably appeased and like the viewers of Russell Crowe’s Gladiator “Entertained” by the spilling of West Country blood, when the Landlord pressed nearly half the agreed amount into my greasy outstretched palm.

Now I am a man of peace and love, I am not known for acts of savagery or wanton thugery. However, we have bills to pay.

“Ere! This aint what we agreed” was probably not the most eloquent phrase ever to leave uttered from my lips, but it did express my surprise at this lapse in his fiscal judgement.

“That’s all I pay mate” was definitely not the response I was hoping for.

However, as he was surrounded by a herd of his biggest (drunkest) mates I decided that diplomacy was going to result in less bone breakage for me than giving him a mouthful.

I gently, but firmly pointed out the error of his statement and that we were a good deal of money light at this present moment in time.

Have you ever heard the expression “The lights are on but nobody is at home”, well that was what I was greeted with.

Then he leaned over the bar and pulled out another 20 quid from the till and placed it in my hand and gave me one of those stares that suggested that I ought to cut my loses and run.

As I was making the best dignified retreat I could muster he called after me “Great night lads, we’ll have you again”.

This credit crunch has an awful lot to answer for I can tell you.