When you get your 80s band together again, the freedom is amazing, all the ego problems of our youth long sublimated by maturity. But then different issues arise, middle-aged choices about life-style and commitment, resulting in Elaine and I now working as a duo, stripped back with a few loops (hopefully) entering the equation. Some old tunes re-imagined and hopefully some new material.
Our first outing is at Bishops’ house on Dec. 17, supporting the inimitable Frostlake. Coincidentally, I’m also there on Dec. 2nd playing with a shakuhachi player (Herve Perez) as String Theology 😉
Tomorrow sees the debut of a duo I’m in with my old mate Dave on vocals. I’m doing loopy acoustic. We started this some years ago but it didn’t take off. We’re on at 6.10 at the Diversity festival in Sheffield, covering some old classics and a few more recent ones. For looping geeks, I’ve resurrected my EDP and relearned how to tapdance it into action. We’ll be going for a retro look 😉
I was hoping to play this sunday at West St Live with my band Red Zoo, but for various reasons it’s not happening, so I’ll be performing under my own steam, looping like a good ‘un. Should be on around 8, be nice to see some of you?
I’m now using the superb Boss GT-1 both my primary tone source as well as providing a USB/audio interface. One of the compromises of its low price is limited switch options; if you want to retain the patch up/down switches, you are left with a control switch and a further switch on the expression pedal (which usually triggers pitch or wah but can be reconfigured and extended). However, round the back is an input for either another expression pedal, or two single pedals via a stereo cable. This works with either latching or momentary foot-switches, you set the mode internally.
So, you can set up further foot-operated options such as effect on/off, boost, solo, tuning as well as changing parameters within a setting (best done through the graphical interface of the Tone Studio software). Having selected a control target for these external switches, you can then layer up to 6 simultaneous changes, so one tap could add echo, subtle chorus and a deeper reverb, for example.
Having got my had around this, I commissioned Arachnid Audio to come up with a suitably hi-spec container fitted with two “silent” momentary switches, different colour LEDs (they let me choose!) and a “thru” system for the power, so the GT-1 power cable plugs into the switch (to power the LEDs), then a standard male to male power cable passes power on to the GT-1. It arrived and works perfectly, looking pretty cool into the bargain 😉
I highly recommend this solution which provides a huge increase in versatility and slips nicely into your gig-bag. Arachnid Audio were superb to work with and their pedal is top quality and looks cool, plus it cost me less than £30, including postage! They do lots of other switching solutions as well.
This tune was first recorded during our demos made in Fairview Studios near Hull and appeared on the “Bucket of Sleet Cassette release. Here it is, 35 years later at a recent rehearsal, showing at least one of us (cough) can’t count backwards 😉
Here’s “Late Nights”, one of a set of demos I recorded at Phonogram Studios with Harriet Roberts, Jonny Short and Russ Courtenay. I’m particularly happy with the opening guitar and especially the minimal solo plus there’s Jon’s amazing bubbly bass 😉
We were managed by Rob Allen (brother of Leppard’s Rick) who went on to work with Taylor Swift amongst others. Sadly, red light nerves got to Harriet (who was incredibly young) and she’s not quite pitching perfectly, despite having a superb voice – in them days, autotune was just a dream. They gathered no interest from the labels and the project petered out. Harriet went on to great success with Russ, composing for Tina Turner amongst others. Below a few assorted images from the recordings.