Tuesday, 28 July 2009

"He could sell sand to the Eygptians"

I have got myself back into the world of promotion, and I have to confess I am enjoying it.

With a lot of the venues we as a band are playing in these days we are there strictly to entertain the punters already provided. This Saturday we are performing at a well respected venue where the responsibility is down to us to get people there......and unfortunately we are going head to head with the Bristol Harbor Festival. I'm praying for rain. Not very charitable I know but I have a band to promote don't you know.

Of course with gigs like this it becomes a bit like trying to sell life assurance. Your first targets are friends and family. They have of course become wise to my persuasive ways and have already begun to make excuses. "I'm in South Africa Uncle Paul". I tell you, the lack of loyalty in my family is outstanding.

As the days pass the excuses for non attendance become almost biblical in their imagination "I would love to be there but I have just bought a field and I have to inspect it".

"I have just purchased a team of Oxen and I must go and plough my field"

"My father is about to be married and I must attend the wedding".

I of course have already gone out into the highways and byways to invite people in the stead of my disloyal following. The only recourse left open to me is equally as biblical in that they all be cast from the light into the darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Naturally if you have no teeth, as charitable as I can be...teeth will be provided.

Obviously my loyal blog readers will want to rush to see this blessed author take to the stage in solidarity with the man himself.

So, with that in mind...if you are anywhere near Bristol, England on;

Saturday 1st August 09

then get yourselves along to The Thunderbolt in Totterdown by about 9:30pm.

I promise you, it will be worth it.

Right, promotion over.....now......are you adequately covered in terms of your life assurance??

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Rock God must occasionally audition

Something that I have never understood is people’s earnest desire to go on TV shows like the ‘X-Factor’ and by way of an audition make complete and utter pratts of themselves in front of cynical and critical panellists such as Simon Cowell and Dannii Minogue, as well as millions of television viewers.

I appreciate that ‘public humiliation’ has been part of our culture since we pelted offenders with rotten fruit whilst they languished in the stocks. On a more vicious level the more well to do used to while away an amusing hour or two and pay and laugh at the ‘lunatics’ in mental asylums.

Even though we now firmly believe that as a society we are above such things we in fact take the same bewildered individuals and put the them on national television to have their earnest delusions ‘howled’ in mirth at by countless armchair voyeurs.

Don’t believe me, then answer me this. Why does the opening stages of shows like the aforementioned ‘X-Factor’, ‘Pop Idol’ and ‘Britain’s got talent’ always have the highest viewing figures.

Shows crammed with the deluded and sometimes even the down right scary, making utter fools of themselves in the absolute belief (because one of the producers before the show has already told them that they have every right to have that belief) that they are indeed ‘Mariah Carey incarnate.

Oh what joy is had when they actually sound more like Homer Simpson with a head cold. It’s even better when they stand there and hotly debate with a bored looking Simon Cowell the error of his decision and that he ‘Doesn’t know what he is talking about’.

As I mentioned, I have it on very good authority by somebody who ran one of the mass auditions for the ‘X-Factor’ that many auditonees are set up to fail in a spectacular and humiliating way….for our entertainment.

If we are going down that route, we should have taken Susan Boyle, go all Roman and lobbed a lion onto the stage with her…that would have given her something to sing about…bless her!

So why am I so against this kind of entertainment? Well, it could be that it reminds me of the few times that I had to audition for things and these are memories that I would prefer to forget.

My very first audition was for one of the roles in the school production of ‘West Side Story’. The good news was that I had probably had the best singing voice in the potential cast. The blow that reduced a 16 year old boy, who had virtually no self esteem to rubble was that the producer felt that I was not a good looking boy and certainly not good looking enough to play the lead role of ‘Tony’.

My first lesson in show business was ‘its all about the look’ and not necessarily the talent.

I had my own moments of quiet satisfaction when my very good friend, also one who was unnaturally popular with the girls, got given the lead role and missed the high notes by miles nearly every performance.

You could hear the producers butt cheeks clenching from the back of the theatre, nearly every night. “Shouldn’t have been so shallow then should you pal”. Revenge was a dish best served VERY cold.

My next audition was for my first serious band.

I had created an illusion to get me to the audition in the first place; I had given the impression that I was a virtuoso on the bass guitar. The fact that I knew what one looked like was in reality the only thing I could honestly claim.

So when I arrived with my borrowed kit to a garage in Westbury on Trym, Bristol, I was flying by the seat of my pants.

Unfortunately, the odds were stacked firmly against me. Not only in terms of my inability to actually play the instrument that I was auditioning for but in the fact that the keyboard player had already heard my name before.

Well, not my name exactly, my father’s.

My father was well known and much respected ‘Evangelist’ that is a preacher of the Christian message in case you were wondering. Dave had this vision of Loader junior arriving with greased down hair, a tank, sensible trousers, sandals and socks.

He was so adamant that this ‘oik’ wasn’t going anywhere near his beloved band, that he would quit should I even be considered to join.

I of course turned up with long blond hair, and ripped jeans and jean jacket.

As far as Dave was concerned….I was in…it didn’t matter how well I could play (just as well really, I don’t think I would have ever passed a ‘fair’ audition….I found out later that the younger members of the band were after my singing talents anyway).

Strangely enough, the outcome was exactly the same as my West Side Story experience, only in reverse. I got the gig because of what I looked like and NOT because of any talent. That was the first, and believe, me the LAST time that EVER happened. I’m afraid the ugly stick was used viscously and often when I was being carried in my mothers womb.

I had two more auditions later on from that. One was for local rock Gods ‘Stormtrooper’.

That was embarrassing as they tried to audition me with songs by ‘Rush’. I knew one line from ‘Bastille Day’ and that was it. I kept on singing it over and over again…what a dork.

I was packed off with a cassette and a pile of lyrics with the instructions to learn the songs for another audition. This I did.

My rejection phone call stated that I wasn’t quite what they were looking for; although the bass guitarist’s girlfriend thought I had good ‘diction’.

That was a wonderfully sugar coated way of saying “you were crap, but we heard every word’.

My final audition was for a band that appeared to not have a clue as to what they were going to do. They wanted to put a band together to wander over to Europe and tour around military bases.

I had a crack at the old rhythm guitar for that, but I wasn’t very good. I could tell that as they wanted to hear what I sang like and when an acompanying friend of mine who plays extremely good guitar played for me whilst I sang, they then asked him to audition. I think it was probably a good indication that I had not made a particularly good impression.

My only satisfaction was when Kev was asked he tersely replied “I don’t think so”.

I was generally very embarrassed though.

So the thought of putting myself through that experience on national television and have Mr waist band himself tear my dignity apart does not fill be with enthusiasm.

This could be why I am not famous….or more likely it’s because as I have been told many times…”You have a face for radio my boy”.