I recently needed repairs to my old Laney AOR30 combo, which has been gathering cobwebs for several years & rmade contact with an old and dear friend, Alan Walker. His roots go way back to a band Greensleeper, who I saw in the early 70s. As part of the infamous “Alan & Ozzy” duo, they ran Input studios in the 80s, later home of the Comsat Angels & responsible for almost every decent demo made in Sheffield. I’d seen him in his band Rodger over the years (and at a Pink Floyd tribute gig!), but we’d lost contact.
Anyway. He’s now retard errrr retired and running a company called Telemods, who set up guitars and specialise in retro-fitting Roland GK technology. I made some disparaging comments about his website and Bob’s yer Aunty, have redone it in return for some techy help.
Do check his services out, you won’t find a friendlier guy to work with and he knows his onions!
Oh yes, the combo – Alan recommended a local(ish) company called Blueberry Pie run by John Beaty from North Anston. He diagnosed a transformer failure and fitted a new one within a week. It works fine, sounds great and is earning a crust in my new band Muskoka Drive.
The latest Ambient Live CD release includes one of the tracks (Deep Blue) recorded by a short-lived collaboration between myself on loops / guitar / keys and Peter Hill on drums, loops and effects, with Aidan Hall on guest bass.
Thanks to the wonderful John Sherwood for putting this (and other CDs I feature on) together. Ambient live are an amazing group of people encouraging the performance and promotion of ambient / trance material.
Tracks … 1. Magnetron – Moderators of Perspective 25:17
2. Glenn Alexander – Zarathustra 11:04
3. HyperEx Machina – Hypnotic Hypermnesia 13:24
4. MyOneManBand – Onwards to Oslo 7:48
5. Nick Robinson – Deep Blue 7:06
6. Venja – Zen 4:22
I’ve often pondered as to why I never made a success in the music industry. Lack of fashion sense, inability to keep my mouth shut, an earlier obsession with the guitar before the the music, all played their part. But I like to think that the biggest factor is just plain dumb luck ;(
I played with the Comsat Angels (and recorded) for six months in the 80s and was all set to tour the States with them when the record company pulled the finance, insisting the band write some hit singles before coming back to them. It’s a short & sad story, but by the time they toured again, I was no longer involved.
Much more recently, I’d been jamming with Mik, Andy and a superb bassist called John Prideaux. Totally improvised and nrestrainedly jazz rock in the “Billy Cobham” mode, it was sounding, to my ears, pretty darn good. Words cannot explain how inspiring it is to be playing with three such superb musicians!
Then Mik suddenly reached that time in his life when a “man’s gotta” and has decamped to Whitby to settle down as an old drumming sea-dog (or pi**-poor Goth). The end of yet another dream-team ;(
I recorded one session and shot a few low-fi vids on another. Since it’s unlikely to happen again, I thought I’d share some of it, a video on youtub and a longer recording on soundcloud. The latter sounds more coherent to my ears, but then the video is only the second half of an equally long bash.
As detailed in another post, I played a set at a local Festival – Josh Dawes has lovingly been rendering footage of almost every act onto youtub and it’s now my turn.
Slight sound distortion here & there, but it’s always interesting to hear the set in the cold light of day, it’s often better than you thought at the time!
At 31 minutes, probably my longest ever online vid! Two pieces, including my first ever keyboard looping (Terry Riley has always been a favourite) – I bought it for the controller features, but since the keys are there, I may as well press them from time to time 😉
I played a small festival in Meersbrook Walled Garden recently, during one sunday lunchtime. The weather was excellent (for England!) but a couple of niggles got on my nerves. Frstly, the band that were following me did a vocal soundcheck whilst I was playing – “one two’ing” and so forth. Totally inconsiderate.
The second issue was that the lights on my Line6 M13 (the minimal looping hardware I use for smaller gigs) were totally invisible due to the strong sunshine. Using this pedal requires instant awareness of what lights are on, whether you’re in looping or effects mode etc. and I ws stumped! I got by with a deal of bending over and squinting, but it wouldn’t have made for a very relaxed visual experience!
With bright LEDs freely available, I’m amazed manufacturers don’t make the lights bright enough to see by daylight.
Just heard the sad, if not totally unexpected news that Andy “Chicken Legs” Weaver has died. He’d been battling cancer for some time, although last time we spoke, about 3 weeks ago, he was “up” and had plans to play in Sheffield soon. The fact that I heard nothing from him since then spoke volumes. Tragically, Jane Howden, his erstwhile bassist, also died of the same illness a while back. Next time you see someone raising funds for cancer research, dig deep for the memory of these two amazing people.
I knew Andy for a long time – my mate Norton Lees used to play double-bass for him and later Mik Glaisher from the Comsats occupied the drum stool. Andy never had what you’d call real success, despite producing truly extraordinary music, so I was delighted to host & run his website to help things along. I’ve set up a tribute page there, (which will stay online) – please leave your thoughts there if you knew him.
Martin Archer is a leading light in the Sheffield and UK improv scene, with many releases to his name. He’s the same age as I am and our paths have occaisionally crossed (I supported Bass Tone Trap at the Leadmill in the 80s and we both played with Chris Meloche’s Outward Sound Ensemble in the noughties) but it’s curious that we’ve never actually played together as a duo, until now.
Our musical paths have been quite different, he following a challenging, some might say extreme approach to music, whereas I had a far more conventional “band-based” approach, although my solo looping has been an important strand since the 80s. So, it’s wonderful that we find common ground after all these years.
We had a single warm-up session the night before, but otherwise went into the performance with few structured ideas. You can judge for yourself how the meeting of minds went – I’ve split the video into two parts so as to ease your pain somewhat. Despite the visual evidence to the contrary, I *was* there!
Meson at the 3 cranes 2013 – photo Richard Webb Wood Gledhill
There is, a pub, in Sheffield
They call the Three-ee Cranes
And it’s bin, the venue, for many a band
And god, I know I’m two.
Yes, the TRaMpOLinES festival organised by Bo Meson, Rob Tarana and a horde of volunteers turned the 3 Cranes in central Sheffield into a festival of Woodstockian proportions (kind of). Frankly, I’d forgotten that pubs like this were still open near the Sheffield city centre – most have been turned into diners or wine bars, essentially full of twa*ts.
This pub is cosy, friendly, welcoming, good nosh, has a pool table you don’t have to queue for, and they opened up to allow musicians, poets and performers of all kinds to “express themselves” over three days (and nights). Punters of all kinds and predelictions mingled amiably.
I played on Saturday night as part of the legendary Meson collective, this time with Rob Tarana on drums and Roddy McMillan on bass with the initimable Bo hisself. The mood of the evening was that of “fecund jazz” and so I strayed into atonal territories now and again! Sunday night saw me on my lonesome, looping away with my laptop. As ever it crashed during the soundcheck, then behaved itself for the rest of the night. I was even inspired to add a section of Riley-esque looped organ, for good measure.
The festival was judged a success by all and I hope will be returning before too long.