Wednesday, 26 May 2010

"In this weeks exciting episode"

Just a quick update to keep you in the frame of the Soap Opera that is the proposed re-release of the Amaziah album.

Can I say right from the outset, and sadly somewhat negatively, is that it was probably easier to get Nelson Mandela released from prison than it is trying to get this record put back out.

Bottom line, it’s all come to a grinding halt.

One of the band members who played a significant role on the album (I’m not going to say who as I am not writing for the tabloids and not into using these columns for personal gripes…..well, I am obviously….that’s what makes them interesting to read. But I don’t think it would be fair to name and shame when that person doesn’t have a voice within these pages to defend themselves….besides….I don’t want to get sued, beaten or both), went and made a rather major objection.

Well, quite a few actually.

What I had originally seen as a rather pleasant limited edition re-launch of a rather rare classic album (i.e. nobody had ever heard of it) has turned into a potential wrangle over publishing rights, royalties, artistic approval and contractual obligations going as far back as the Battle of Hastings.

The former guitarist is devastated. He was intending to retire on the proceeds off of the reunion world tour….now we are all filling in application forms for Tesco in order to work out our frail dotage working behind the fish counter.

It isn’t all over yet but it does bring into question the issue of integrity. If I had kept my gob shut and just signed the contract nobody would have been any the wiser. However; doing the honourable thing has probably shot the project out of the sky.

On a positive note, I did give both my current band mates a huge hug and told them how much I appreciated them.

Sometimes it does take a disaster to help you appreciate what you already have.

Now, if this were an Eastenders moment we would be getting a ‘duff; duff, duff ending right here (apologies to all of you out side the UK, that was a really bad British Television in-joke).

Until the next episode viewers

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Just call me Poirot!

It has been a long week since my last post fraught with the deep pit holes of ‘keeping everybody happy’.

When I last wrote I had received confirmation from my two former band mates regarding the re-release of our old album Straight Talker. However; following a restless night one of them returned to me with his concerns that ALL those that had been involved in making the album should be informed and their blessing sought.

Deep joy!!

Now bear in mind that I touch the big ’five oh’ this year and the last time I had seen at least two of the original recording artistes was when I was 19 years old you can get a sense of the mountain that lay before me.

However; the little grey cells kicked into action and I attacked the internet with the enthusiasm of a starving urban fox in a restaurant’s rubbish bin.

I e-mailed old acquaintances that I still had valid addresses for just in case they might hold vital information, I Googled names and businesses acting upon last known whereabouts, I tracked through old websites and God bless em! Facebook.

By Monday evening I had managed to track down all bar one, a girl that had sung backing vocals on two tracks of the album.

As I said, bless Facebook. I stuck on a standard “does anybody remember Amaziah?” on my profile wall and waited for something to appear.

Last night I received a response from a guy who claimed that he had been to that very same recording of Straight Talker, albeit in his mother’ womb. She had of course been expecting her first child at the time.

Gottum all!!!

With the initial blessing of the whole bunch, including the drummer who I managed to track down in Doncaster, North England, I contacted the Record Company and gave them permission to go ahead and as I speak I am firing the contracts back to them, albeit before somebody has the opportunity to change their minds.

So, we wait to see what happens.

And what of a reunion gig?? Well we face several problems and major hurdles that would need to be traversed before anything as concrete as a venue is booked.

The biggy is what I like to call the Genesis Conundrum (that’s the band incidentally not Darwin’s least favourite read).

When the band Genesis split a few years ago there were calls from all the fans to reunite for a single gig. This was when the conundrum began.

Half the fans called for the original singer Peter Gabriel to take the vocal duties, the other half wanted the most prolific singer Phil Collins to take centre stage.

This is our problem. I was only singer for a short 12 months, previously to that the great Derek Elliott held vocal duties for over 7 years. He is the voice on the album.

However; many who refer to Amaziah came to knowledge of the band in its latter stage and I of course was the tonsil jockey.

Now it could be argued that I was the bass player for a year before I became the singer and shouldn’t I gracefully bow down and take a step to the back? This of course would be the right thing to do.


Like most things of significance you normally find that there is an individual at the back of it all pulling all the strings together and making it happen and I know that all eyes would probably look to me to make it happen. Will my ego, fragile as it is allow me to put all the work to get the band together, source the venue, promote significantly, then to take a stand at the back and give my lead instrument to somebody else?

Like as heck it will, I don’t think I could do it as graciously as I would like to think I would.

Perhaps my options are thus. Let somebody else organise it and do as I am told, and of course enjoy the experience. Or, be a bit of an egotist and say, “right, if I have to do all the work we play it my way or I take my ball home”.

Normally I keep these frail human thoughts and failings to myself and certainly would not voice them to anyone. However; I did promise I would keep you in the loop with all developments, so here it is.

Mind you, it was hard enough getting everybody’s blessing to get the album re-released, trying to get the band back together might just be a nightmare that somebody else might like the honour of taking on.

I don’t do stress!!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

There and back again!

I can tell by the number of responses to my last blog that you are all beside yourselves with impatience in anticipation as to what the ‘American Record contract’ is all about. Actually, to be fair, I do have a very strong visual image of tumble weed and the sound of crickets chirping that accompany the very real lack of interest that has greeted me.

Still, as they say, why change the habit of a life time. Chuckle!!

Regular followers of this blog will remember that back in the long distant past in the days of my youth I used to play in a rock band called Amaziah.

This year is actually the 30th anniversary of Amaziah’s demise and September this year will mark the moment when we all went our separate ways in disgust at having royally dropped the ball and not having achieved anywhere near what we had hoped we would. Such is life.

The memory of Amaziah began to slowly dim, rekindled only when our one and only album suddenly re-emerged as a collector’s item and began reaching sums of 1500 dollars on the open market.

Inwardly groaning at the fact that I had given several boxes of said record away as I couldn’t sell them once the band had gone I content myself that I had performed on a recording that the discerning collector would seek out. People actually wanted it and were prepared to pay good money for it.

I ignored the fact that what was on the record was immaterial; it was it’s rarity that people coveted. Whatever the reason, I was a collectible. Well, not just me, but Amaziah as a whole.

As the clouds of time thickened I moved on and I thought no more of it.

That was until my good friends Quick Sketch and Bassbin persuaded me to pick up the quill and begin to pen my memoirs in the form of this blog.

My burgeoning talent for the written word (cough) was soon recognised and I was commissioned by several websites to write columns and music reviews.

Within this I began to write for an international site called ‘Cross Rhythms’ and in a moment of unbridled sentimentality I wrote a brief history of ‘Amaziah’ from my perspective. The article was well received and it even allowed me the pleasure of catching up with several former Amaziah members that I had not had contact with since the bands demise.

Time, as always, moved on.

Until last week when Cross Rhythms asked me to contact the director of an American Record label that had stumbled across my article and desperately wanted to talk to me.

It would seem that many years ago he had managed to get his hands on the American release of the album, and rather enjoyed it. Suddenly he now had the opportunity to contact one of the band and set about realising an ambition to re-master and re-release ‘Straight Talker’ as a ‘classic album.

Suddenly, I found myself on behalf of my former band mates in a position to be signing a five year contract with a large American Record company who have a world wide distribution network 30 years after the band has ceased to be. Now that is what they call irony.

Three things excite me about the project;

Firstly, the company will re-master the whole album and my experience already from when one of the tracts was re-jigged last year, is that the album will take on a whole new life and be much fuller and have more depth.

The second is that the company are interested in putting some of the demos we later made, but never saw the light of day, onto the album as bonus tracks.

The third and perhaps the most exciting is that the company would be extremely keen for Amaziah, the band, to explore the possibility of a reunion.

That in itself would be fraught with hurdles and difficulties, but non the less if it could come off I personally would jump at the chance.

My main motivation has to be that I am a far more accomplished singer and musician than I was at 19 years old (despite the comments made by my current band mates). Listening to recordings of Amaziah and my bass playing on ‘Straight Talker’ only highlights my youthful lack of ability and confidence. I have often day dreamed on the notion ‘what if I could go back, knowing what I know now?’ Well, here is the opportunity to do just that.

Anyway readers, you will be the first to know of any new developments.

It’s just that knowing how successful several ‘re-reformed’ acts have become second time around…it could be an interesting ride. However; I wouldn’t hold my breath that it would be in the same league as ‘Take That’….but it might be just as big a larf!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Rock Goes goes global!

This will be the shortest blog to date.

I just thought that this piece of info is so interesting that I would fling it at you, let you chew on it for a few days and then explain what on earth it’s all about when your curiosity can stand it no more.

Yes I’m flogging it!!


Your very own rock scribe, over the next few weeks will be signing a five year deal with an American Record label with distribution throughout the world.

Has that got your attention?

Continued shortly……chuckle!!!