Yes, you heard right. I said Peanut Butter Lovesicle…. What’s one of those right? Well in this case PBL is a three piece psychedelic blues-rock band hailing from The United States… Brooklyn, NY to be precise. Currently cruising the UK to showcase their EP ‘Dirty Pride’ and with the attention they are getting right now from the music fans and press a like, it would be rude not to.
Peanut Butter Lovesicle have such a unique sound about them. I don’t think that I have heard a band that sounds like this in London, which is partly why I am so happy to be seeing them and more importantly interviewing them on this brief visit. There is a rawness to them and originality that captivates me. Draws me in….
As I walk in, there are people waiting, the band arriving, people getting drinks and comfy and some form of order is given to the chaos as everyone is introduced to everybody else, and so it begins.
I’m introduced to the guys, and say hi to Mike D’Arc (Bass, vocals) Jake D’Arc (Lead Guitar) and Timmy Miller (Drums and vocals) as the three of them are sat around a table surrounded by water and clearly trying to be sensible before the show. I can’t say the same about me as I wave hello, place my Dictaphone on the table alongside my Strawberry cider and get this show on the road.
So I’m sorry but it had to be done…. Why Peanut Butter Lovesicle guys??
Mike replies “Peanut Butter is just the best spread there is. It’s delicious. I had a friend who was allergic to PB and I couldn’t trust him because he doesn’t know what PB tastes like.” Timmy looked over and said “So how do you trust a person that doesn’t know what the smooth or crunchy texture is about, because you get a little bit of both in this band.”
Agreeing I nodded my head as Timmy was absolutely correct… you do get the smooth bluesy groove at times and then a much more raw and crunchy shall we say vibe to the music.
Mike continued “I felt quite bad for him too, it was quite a bad allergy, and he couldn’t even be in the same room with a bag of peanuts.” Everyone laughs.
I have given ‘Dirty Pride’ quite a good listen, and I can hear that the music has quite an eclectic taste. There are so many different aspects in there that it makes it hard to pin point. It can be quite bluesy at times, with an underlying funk. There are times I feel they sound quite grunge like. When I asked the guys what their musical taste and influences were, it became quite apparent why their music might sound that way.
Mike tells me “Individually there are so many, I like a lot of classic 60’s and 70’s country music. I stay along that route and that’s like a lot of R & B and soul I love too…” Timmy adds “I mean vocally for me it’s always been The Blues, so much has stemmed from it, and hip hop, there are so many different directions that you can combine the two, and they go really well together. Then with drums, obviously classic guys from the 70’s they knew how to play their instrument, so well. It just comes through… I love that.”
Hailing from NY I asked the guys how they all met… I knew that Mike D’Arc and Jake D’Arc were brothers but wasn’t sure how they met Timmy. Timmy tells me “We’re family” Jake points to Mike “Brother” and points to Timmy “Cousin” Ahhh!! See now I knew you guys were brothers but had no idea that Timmy was also related. Jake says “Yeah he’s our cousin man, that’s funny that no-one knows that.”
Given that this is indeed a family affair I ask the guys at what age did they start jamming , I gather since they grew up together that they must have been quite young.
“Not that young really” Jake tells me. Timmy adds “It was in high school for Mike and I. I picked up guitar first then Mike picked up Guitar.” Mike adds “Then I started playing bass.” This was at about the age of 14 – 15 the guys tell me. Which I think is about the right age for discovering music. “Exactly, it’s a great age.” Mike agrees.
Peanut Butter Lovesicle have been playing together for about 4 years. I ask the guys what brought them here and why they felt it so important to play London.
Mike tells me “We were here two times before and the original reason that we came was because a lot of bands that we loved like Zeppelin, The Who (that’s where we come together musically is with bands like Zep and Black Sabbath) and just to be able to play here initially. To see the places that they played and to play the places they were, ah, it was just a great motivator for us to come over and play the music that we channelled from them. Where it originated… and we just loved it so much the first time we stayed like 10 or 11 days, that we came back again for 3 months.”
You did that all independently didn’t you? You guys aren’t signed or looked after through a label?
“No” Mike answered “We funded ourselves and we did 33 shows while we were here the last time we just love it. Happy to be coming back and to invest in coming here and playing for everyone that we became, you know friends with and our fans here.” Timmy says “I think this is one of the only cities that you could probably spend that amount of time and almost not play the same venue twice. It’s such an expansive city. There are so many different venues here which are awesome because there’s a lot of great acts going around and a lot of great places to play.”
So how is it different playing in NY compared to London?
Timmy tells me “Just that it’s much more active and responsive, people during the show, before the show, after the show the energy is just different here in London. It’s absolutely different.”
So you would say that New Yorkers just aren’t that open?
Mike says “No it’s just like it’s some new band that no-one knows about.” Timmy adds “Just lifeless crowds.” Jake says “It’s a New York thing”
I hate that, hate it!!! Although not sure it is just a New York thing… I have seen that happen here. I asked the guys that since they don’t get much of a response from the NY/American crowds that playing here to a much more responsive crowd must make them feel pretty great?
Mike decided to tell me about a stand out moment, perhaps when energy was running too high. “One of our favourite moments, we were playing a show in South Jersey and we enticed a fist fight.” Really? How did that happen? Mike continues “I dunno I guess people were just too drunk and they just started to tackle each other. Jake adds as you can hear the boys laugh about it “It was like the first set, early in the night I dunno why, it was a little early for that.”
We started to wonder why it might have happened. I suggested that they maybe have been out boozing all day. Timmy says “It was a good tussle. No-one got hurt.” Jakes joins in “It’s a great rock ‘n’ roll memory.” Mike continues “It’s the kinda rock n roll that you want fist fights, not necessarily, you know rioting or anything but a fist fight every now and then.” Jake laughs and looks at Mike “Like contained rioting??” Mike responds “contained rioting!!” as Timmy laughs; Jake adds “A nice little contained riot.” Everyone including myself burst out laughing while Mike carries on… “A nice little contained centralised riot that’s… you know..” everyone still laughing he continues “that’s easily defused.” Really? I ask how did you defuse it? Jake tells me “We didn’t. Mike finishes the story “The bouncer moved ‘em out.” Well good to know boys!!
So I asked the guys what has been a standout moment for them in their career and what they have enjoyed the most.
Mike says “There are a few moments. It’s always cool to hear your song on a TV show, no matter what it is.” Jake adds “Stuff like that, yeah” Mike continues “That’s like oh wow…” So when did that all happen for you? “It was played two years ago on a show called “Gossip Girl” Mike adds. Oh that’s huge right!!! “Yeah it was a song that we recorded with a friend in our house. It wasn’t a studio production. It was just something that we did, we sent it in and they liked it and they used it. It was really cool to see that. So we just wanted to take the next level and we worked with Henry.”
Jake adds “That’s another moment that I would like to say. Yeah, working with the producer that we got to was another I’d say, like a big jump for us we were like, whoa shit.” Why is that? Mike tells me “He’s a producer that just pushes you to all that you have…. He pushes and believes in you. That’s what’s great about him. He won’t let you settle on anything.” That’s kind of what you need though. You don’t want a bunch of people standing around sayin’ “yeah that’s great” being polite and scared to offend you. Jake tells me “No, he wants us to be a lot better and he pushes us to be a lot better” Mike adds “If something sucked he’d say “Well that sucked, it wasn’t good at all” and I love that..” Jake said “Yeah you have to be able to take that criticism with you.” Mike agrees “Yeah you don’t get good without accepting criticism and utilising it.”
So what are you guys doing after this? You’re in London touring your EP ‘Dirty Pride’ what’s next?
Mike says “We’ll do a few return shows initially, work on new music. Gonna record some new music once we get things in order” So can we expect a new album?? Jake says “Hopefully new material.” Timmy adds “Definitely new shows."
So say you’re back home and chilled out and someone says hey we have to put on this festival tomorrow… you have to pick what, 6 acts, doesn’t matter who… who would it be?
Mike asks “They can be in the past?” Yep... Jake jumps in “Cream” Mike turns and points to Jake in agreement “Yes Cream… Neil Young and the Crazy Horse” Timmy says, “It’d probably be more than 6 bands. Jake says “This might be a 3 day”
Yeah ok fuck it. It’s a three dayer…. Who we havin’? I say laughing…
Jake replies “Something more obscure, maybe like Ten Years after….. That’d be cool to have them on the bill… basically like Woodstock.” Mike adds “Strawberry Alarm Clock.” I haven’t heard of them Mike replies “Yeah they’re great. I’d love the Flying Burrito Brothers to play with us.” Timmy says “Blue Cheer, URIAH Heep! I’d love to see that!!” Mike nods “Even Foghat for the hell of it would be amazing.” Timmy thinks and then “Jethro Tull” Jake approves “Jethro Tull....yeeaah….”
All 3 guys just start shouting out bands “Nirvana, John Denver, that’s like 27 bands…” Jake adds “I like all those nineties bands so I could do Soundgarden and….” I think I’d chuck in Janis, Quicksilver Messenger Service. All the guys nod and agree I continue I’d chuck in those guys Dylan, Jefferson Airplane. Jake adds “That’d be cool” We could have a like a sixties day and 80’s…. ooooh!!! Wouldn’t that be cool? Mike replies “It would be cool, each day is like a different era” Timmy adds “Go give them all a call, do it.” Mike replies “The remaining whoever it is”
At this point the interview as wound up due to time regulations so I thanked the guys for meeting with me and I leave smiling as I always do after a good chat about music.
Paul Raymond Project ‘Terms and Conditions Apply’ Album Launch party – The Borderline Friday 1st February 2013
It’s February, it’s cold as to be expected, but I did not expect the neighbouring bar to be packed full to bursting with people chatting excitedly, so much so, I had to stand in said cold waiting to get in, simply because there was no room. Music journalists and old friends of the band fed the buzz and as people made their way next door I got a cheeky drink in before taking the five strides to Orange Yard, The Borderline.
Having caught Pig Iron’s good blues rock support, I stepped out for a breath of ‘fresh air’. My chatter was interrupted by a large cheer as Paul Raymond Project took to the stage and I rushed back down the stairs in to the venue. The music was strong, the crowd were heaving and excited and as I looked across over the heads and shoulders of a welcoming bunch, I knew it was going to be a good night.
I got my spot by the sound desk and was immediately impressed. Reuben Archer (Stampede Stampede, Wild Horses, Lautrec, Lionheart) got straight in to it on vocals despite having a slight huskiness to his voice due to a cold, opening with Just Another Suicide from UFO’s 1977 album Lights Out.
It took one or two numbers before everyone relaxed fully, but when they did, oh my, it was brilliant. Paul Raymond (UFO , Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Michael Schenker Group, Waysted) stood by his keyboard off to the left (audience point of view) for the first couple of songs but then wondered out with guitar, smiling and relaxing in to the vibe emanating from the audience and treated us to some fantastic parts on both guitar and keys throughout.
The drummer played tight grooves, the backing singer was enthusiastic and great support, rocking away with his headband on. I’d have to say the bass player was not only solid musically, but the most energetic, at some points almost pogoing, he travelled about having fun with everyone on stage and throwing shapes to the audience.
Now, sometimes there’s a moment in a great gig when something happens and all of a sudden it becomes a marvellous gig, for me it was during ‘Take it or Leave it’. Everyone was in to it, everything flowed, the backing vocals were building and there it was – the bass player and guitarist leant towards each other in to a shared mic, joining the backing vocals and a unifying magic arrived.
After that it got even better, but I don’t think anyone would have predicted how good ‘Love to Love’ would be. The crowd joined in on the chorus led by Reuben, everything built. They had us in the palm of their hands, and then pushed the bar, soaring us in to the air with the guitar section from Rob Wolverson (Stampede). Marvellous became spectacular and the crowd stood starry eyed. I think someone filmed it, so look out for that! It got more intricate, winding everyone in until the end which was met with much appreciation, cheers, raised drinks and applause.
UFO hits played quite a part to the album launch much to the delight of the crowd, especially with ‘Doctor Doctor’ as the finale, but I heard a few people singing along to the new tracks from Terms and Conditions Apply. The title track was introduced by Paul himself with a little nod to the lyrics and to the state of financial affairs. ‘C-List Celebrity’ was well received, as was ‘Born and Raised on Rock and Roll’. Heads nodded as expected and a few of us had a little shimmy.
On the whole the night was like a big group of friends sharing a massive catch up, instigated by the banter on stage about age and how this was a night out for them as they have to go back to work on Monday, along with a few laughs about bus passes.
A mutual respect beams between these gentle souls. It really does go to show how being a good person bodes well for the future and how long lasting friendships will bring you happiness today and for the next 40 years.
Great band, great music, great gig, great album!
Over the weekend Reuben’s Facebook update read “We had a ball and the band ( Neil Ablard, Drums, Rob Wolverson, Guitar, Mark Coles, Bass, Andy Dodds, Backing vocals, and of course PR himself were really cooking. Like to thank Big Nige Littlewood, and Vinnie Neades for tech-ing and once again all you guys...you really made our night !!!”
Set list 1st Feb 2013
Just Another Suicide
Born And Raised On Rock 'N' Roll
Out In The Streets
Can't Let Go
Man On A Mission
Take It Or Leave It
Hero To Zero
Still The Same
C List Celebrity
Love To Love
Terms And Conditions
For further info please visit:
Terms and Conditions Apply is set to be released on January 28th 2013 on Cherry Red Records’ new hard rock imprint label Hear No Evil and marks Paul Raymond Project’s sixth album. Originally formed in 1989, this album’s line up consists of Paul Raymond, (UFO, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Michael Schenker Group, Waysted) –lead vocals/lead & rhythm guitars/keyboards. Andy Simmons – lead rhythm guitars/keyboards. Mark Coles – bass/backing vocals and Tony Steel – drums/backing vocals. The album also features guest appearances from Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, Scorpions) and Rueben Archer (Stampede, Wild Horses, Lautrec, Lionheart).
When I was a kid in the 80’s I would sit in my bedroom listening to music wishing I didn’t have to go to school so I could just play albums all day. I’d look over the rooftops of London thinking about what all the people were doing, imagining that they were listening to the same thing as me and embarking on all kinds of exciting adventures. The rest of my musical education was gained on family trips in the car, at house parties and gigs. The day hadn’t started until dad and his mates had decided to “play some proper music”. Born and Raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll (track 1) triggers my thoughts on those moments and makes me think ‘Yep!’
Remember a time when music was entertaining without being ironic? When even theme tunes were rock based? A time when people heard a good song, got up and danced and it felt good. The songs provided hope, told stories, offered you an escape to good times and then delivered. For a booster of well structured and superbly executed songs, have a listen to Terms and Conditions Apply and enjoy! Having said that, don’t be misled, it’s not stuck in the past, the lyrical subject matter is very of the moment and musically top class.
The riffs, steady tempos and unity of the band remain abundantly apparent. Great instrumentals, amazing breaks, added situation sound effects that enhance the narrative, Terms and Conditions Apply is packed with statement lyrics, which comment on current situations without preaching – just relaying what has been observed, putting it out there or, as is de rigueur at the moment, “jus’ sayin’!”. As with all pearls of wisdom, you can only impart, not impose them and Paul Raymond has the proverbial ‘oyster’ down pat with this offering. Track 4 C-List Celebrity
With tracks like End Of Life As We Know It, Deeper Shade of Blue, We Will Be Strong, Bright Lights, Still the Same and Partners in Crime it’s hard to choose a favourite, as each time I listen a different track becomes the new best one. At this precise moment in time my favourite is Driftin’ Apart which is just magnificent.
Terms and Conditions the title track, is very apt with regard to the current financial situation of the world, maybe via the music people will think it through?
Whisky Mac. Named after the cocktail? Swap the whisky for riffs and the ginger wine for rhythm and you get the formula for a cracking jam/instrumental piece.
Reach Out ( I’ll be there) featuring Michael Schenker, is a rocked up cover of the The Four Tops’ 1966 Motown hit, bringing it marching in to the 21st Century. A mystical intro that grabs you straight away then whacks you with riffs courtesy of Michael Schenker (Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group). You think it’s over then the bass leads you back in an outro of pristine musicality.
Love is Blind featuring Rueben Archer. This is the one that gets you wiping away that little tear after being absorbed in the beautiful piano, guitar parts and voice of Rueben Archer (Stampede, Wild Horses, Lautrec, Lionheart).
If You Gotta Make A Fool of Somebody. This was my initial favourite, a bit of shuffle progressing to a kind of rock waltz with Hammond and cheeky drum fills, a great lead guitar lick with extra little trills, nice travelling bass and a bit of harmonica at the end.
I can’t think of any songs on this album that don’t offer a little moment to reminisce, reflect, lighten your heart, rock your soul and make your mind tick over to thinking ‘everything is going to be haalright!’
Terms and Conditions Apply is an album that holiday memories are made of, the type of album that you can listen to in a full car and everyone falls silent. Hands tap the armrests and heads nod in time. Eyes soak up the world flashing by and a contentment of calm captures the space between. Smiles form as the lyrics are processed, and a million memories are triggered along with those thoughts of ‘thank the stars someone else is saying what I was thinking’. Now, if you imagine that feeling in a large venue with thousands of people, I think that’s how magic is made! I can visualise a sea of people singing along.
If you were the kid, are the kid, or now have kids in the back seat of the car you should play this. If you love your Dad, give him this for Father’s Day, he’ll then realise you really were listening when you were growing up.
I can’t wait for The Borderline on February 1st to hear the tracks live, along with some UFO classics and special guests.
Tickets for the London show at The Borderline on Feb 1st are available here:
'Terms & Conditions Apply' Track Listing:
1. Born & Raised On Rock ‘N’ Roll
2. End Of Life As We Know It
3. Deeper Shade Of Blue
4. C-List Celebrity
5. We Will Be Strong
6. Terms & Conditions
7. Whiskey Mac
8. Bright Lights
9. Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
(featuring. Michael Schenker)
10. Love Is Blind (featuring Reuben Archer)
11. If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody
12. Still The Same
13. Drifting Apart
14. Partners In Crime
For further info please visit:
'Don’t Ask' - People Like You Records
Mont Blanc Rodney, Mont Blanc. The suits from Switzerland are back in quiffing good form, strutting their stuff and swaggering about in style with ‘Don’t Ask’. Bouncing about like cats on a hot tin roof, this is the kind of album that’ll have you subliminally jogging through whatever you happen to be doing ‘n’ getting it done in double time. Unlike The Meteors, The Peacocks are less psychobilly, more straight-up, full-on rockabilly, so there’s no messing about with reverb-heavy B-movie horror flick anthems. The Peacocks’ trademark is double-bassist Simon’s habit of pickin’ up his massive instrument (ooer missus) and playing it like a normal bass. Big hands!
‘What I Want’ throws us straight in the deep end, galloping into the frame like we’ve just landed in the middle of a game of Cowboys and Indians, but then the pace settles down to a groove-laden chug until fourth track in, ‘Don’t Pretend To Care When You Don’t Care’ and the gorgeously quirky ‘Re-hash Boogie’. The latter will have the quiffs and flattops pulling each other about in the moshpit, diving about to some awesome, thrumming bass runs. ‘The Long Way Home’ and ‘How Did They Do That’, though, compete for ruckability, guitarist and frontman Hasu laying out some wicked melodic groundwork, and these have to be the most memorable riffs this side of the…er…Swiss Alps.
Some bright ideas running through ‘Don’t Ask’, like ‘With You’ pinching the first line from ‘Sweet Dreams’, and – yet another highlight on an album full of highlights - ‘Nothing Left To Sing’. Ode to rockers everywhere who just wanna get on with playing music and sod the lyrics: ‘nothing left to say… nothing to talk about, nothing, I just scream and shout!’. Does what it says on the tin.
And the list goes on… ‘How Long?’, with its walloping, infectious heartbeat… ‘The Long Way Home’, cute lick and quirky hook. You want some fun to dive round your living-room to? Don’t ask, just get on with it!
Beverly McClellan has been adding a little bit of magic to the bars and clubs of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for almost 20 years, so if it took a musical talent show to bring her ‘Voice’ out to a world audience then I humbly eat my (not so encouraging) past words on such programming matters.
She’s got soul, blues, rock and whole plethora of much more to come.
It is no wonder that Steve Vai, on hearing Beverly and watching her perform, signed her to his label, got her in to sing lead vocals on ‘John The Revelator’ on his 2012 album ‘The Story of Light’ (look up the video, it’s well worth it) and subsequently invited her on the European/UK Tour to promote both of their albums. (For personal reasons Beverly had to return home early from the tour).
‘Fear Nothing’ is the title of Beverly McClellan’s album. This Tour Edition, released on December 1st is only available in Europe and features three never released before bonus tracks.
Recorded at Los Angeles’ House of Blues Studio, Fear Nothing starts as it means to go on, punches straight in with a groove that is maintained throughout. Some tracks are slower towards the latter part of the album but the power of the lyrics and the way they are delivered carried by simply great composition won’t disappoint, perhaps more so after a couple of listens.
The whole thing is beautifully mixed. Produced by David Z (Prince, Buddy Guy, Billy Idol, Fine Young Cannibals) I can’t fault the levels or the warmth omitted from this recording.
Being able to compare or liken McClellan’s voice to any other iconic female vocalist is both easy and difficult at the same time. At some points there are traits of Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy (to name a few), but ultimately her range, not only of tone and volume, emotion but also genre are so vast that I can only say that she has something of all my favourite singers in her style… and I think she has just that, her own style.
McClellan is, most importantly, a musician (she plays upwards of 10 instruments) which gleams through in the structure of her songs, the enjoyment that comes through the speakers, the communication with the band and her inability to refrain from jamming along vocally when it’s not her turn are, all things I love.
“Making ‘Fear Nothing’ was as smooth as melting butter on an oven-hot slice of bread”. She said, “I showed the songs to the guys and then we played some of them two or three times, but a lot of performances on the album are first takes, so they have that edgy, live feeling just like on stage”.
The first burst of vocal is fuelled with drive and passion in ‘I see Love’, so much that you believe she literally does see love, as do you by the end of the song, perhaps it’s the rumble of drums that make you fall!
'Lyin’ To' has got everything. I adore her change of intonation and natural rhythm. The interaction with the keys player and sense of her loving and meaning every word resonate, and soon you find you’re asking the same question of yourself. The communication with the audience, even though it’s a studio recording, makes you think you’re at her gig.
'It Ain’t Me' starts out like a late night driving song but drifts in to one of those hot lazy day songs when time seems to be going in slow motion. Lovely breaks, great licks on the guitar, brilliant instrumentals are all important, as music to me is a band not ‘an act’, - a package.
'Nobody’s Fault But Mine' begins with a tasty guitar. This fantastic little blues number is a kind of modern take on the Blind Willie Johnson or Nina Simone versions I grew up with. They play it quite clean, but with enough of the original to make it work well.
'I Can’t Hide Me'. To me, this is the type of music that comes to mind when I think of American bars, if you’ve seen the film Overboard with Jim Dandy to the Rescue, you’ll know where I’m coming from - the kind of place where as soon as you walk in your foot’s tapping, your shoulders slow shimmy and before you know it you’re smiling and dancing with your new best friends.
'Well Wondered' Bass! The warmth of her voice carries the momentum of the song and I love the vocal fills.
'Love Will Find A Way Out' this song features Keb Mo the blues guitarist, singer, songwriter who has won three American Grammys and in the past played with Bonnie Raitt, Big Joe Turner and Albert Collins. The little jibes of guitar featured are so addictive that you find yourself singing along to them.
'Come to Me' I’ve been to a lot of blues jams and this is the song I’d want to hear at the end of a rough day as I looked hard in to my whiskey and contemplated life. It begins bluesy, with a slight resemblance of Sam Cooke’s Bring it On Home, but then it rocks up a bit, which is alright in my book and then McClellan brings it all back down again. The line ‘you can come to me’ becomes both comforting and inspirational.
'I Never Will Forget' is a good exhibition of her vocal range with tones of an older Joni Mitchell and even a little bit of Annie Lennox? Anyway, I must stop making comparisons. The song progresses in to a powerful tale, the slow steady tempo finds you nodding along.
'Tender Of The Most' I can imagine this song on a film soundtrack.
'Precious times' is a pop/rock number. This is one for the mums I think.
'Do It' The first of the bonus tracks. This song actually stopped me in my tracks. Delicate juxtaposed with an assured lilting power and rambling piano.
'As I Walk' demonstrates an adaptability of voice that is ready for all genres.
'A Case of You' is Beverly McClellan’s version of the Joni Mitchell classic, this is a brave task she’s taken on and I think has succeeded in making it her own to suit the warmth and depth of her voice. She softens the often harsh moments of the original and in turn adds a new drama, subtly slower and I think (at the risk of alienating half my family) a more appropriate and touching version.
Lyrically, musically, amazingly this album whizzes you through the emotional gambit with ever present positivity. I am one step closer to fearing nothing.
Fear Nothing (Tour Edition) Track Listing:
1. I See Love
2. Lyin’ To
3. It Ain’t Me
4. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
5. I Can’t Hide Me
6. Well Wondered
7. Love Will Find A Way Out Feat Keb Mo
8. Come To Me
9. I Will Never Forget
10. Tender Of The Most
11. Precious Times
12. Do It
13. As I Walk
14. A Case of You
The Graveltones & StoneRider @ The Garage 20th November 2012 - (Ninelives UK Event)
As I step foot into The Garage on this chilly evening, my hopes are set high for tonight’s gig. The Graveltones and StoneRider playing together is a line-up that I made sure I wouldn’t miss. Both bands are entirely different from one another, yet similar in a way that makes sense that they should both find themselves here.
StoneRider, from Atlanta, are currently supporting Europe on their European tour, yet on a night off, managed to fit in this headline gig. Unfortunately the evil clutches of Laryngitis had hold of Matt (lead vox and guitar) which resulted in a much shorter set, which is a shame purely for my own selfish reasons. It was disappointing to see it cut short, but needs must and health is much more important.
So, let’s look at the gig shall we?
The Graveltones open up with ‘Lightning Bolt’ which straight away rips the shit outta the joint and gets everyone grooving. The Graveltones are a two piece with Jimmy O on vocals and guitar and Mikey Sorbello on drums. I can honestly say that I don’t think that I have ever seen two people make so much noise and by noise I mean really tasty music.
When you think of these guys, the closest comparison I can think of is White Stripes….. But you know, with an actual drummer! The relationship between both Jimmy O and Mikey can really be seen as they launch into ‘Blamin’ It On You’ which is a fabulous blues based song , filled with attitude and a crazy gleam in Jimmy O’s eyes as he strums that guitar for all its worth. The Graveltones project pure passion for the songs and it is completely infectious. As I look across the stage I can see Mikey pounding his high hat with a tambourine and one stick under arm as Jimmy O turns to him for a killer head banging moment.
As the gig goes on they play tracks from their EP ‘Take It From Me’, ‘Want Your Love’ and many more. The highlight of the set is ‘Sullen Blue’. Why? I hear you ask. Well, that is quite simple. I feel that this song captures the essence of this band perfectly. Jimmy O’s vocals are hungry and laced with raw power, the song itself is again blues driven and dirty. Just the way I like it. Mikey shines on this song, and I have no problem with declaring him to be every drummer’s wet dream. Playing for 16 years, he has skills that are rarely seen. I have never seen a drum solo like it. All in all I would highly suggest that you get yourself to see these guys, as they do need to be seen to be believed….
Next up was a certain 3 long haired men by the name of StoneRider. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, then I would describe them as a very 70’s esque, blues, stoner rock band. In a word, brilliant! And boy do these cats know how to rock your soul…
First song up was ‘Show Me The Light’. Jason’s drums come sauntering in with a light to heavy drum roll while Matt lays a great bluesy melody down, and as the song breaks, BAM! Adam gives a high kick and is already bouncing around the stage with so much life. Matt’s guitar solo is marvellous as his fingers glide effortlessly over the fret board.
A great high energy, opening track from their album ‘Fountains Left To Wake’, perfect to get the crowd in the mood for what is yet to come.
As ‘Say I Won’t’ started you could already hear the crowd wooing and the vibe was just brilliant. This is one of those songs that just sends you back in time. I could totally see myself driving down route 66 high as a kite, shootin’ the breeze with this song being the soundtrack. I love the bass line on this track as it complements the guitar perfectly which to me sounds very similar to the Hendrix era.
‘ElDorado’ up next and by far my favourite track… laced with charisma, this song is definitely a journey, best taken with your eyes closed as you glide over the music as if it were like waves under you. The crowd thought the same as they were screaming for more and dancing along in time. Not one person in the place was still and I find that testament to the music itself. This track can be quite reminiscent of The Doors in the jamming style as one eager crowd member shouts mid song “Excellent, build it up!” and boy did they…. Jason let rip a brilliant drum roll/beat that lead the song to a climax and left the crowd in awe.
The boys pick up the pace to the much faster and rockier ‘Undercover’. Adam jumped in to assist with vocals on what is just a great classic rock, bluesy tune, along with ‘Ramble Down’. Jason took on vocals for this one to help Matt out which was great to hear, and did not let up the drums once... brilliant!
Last track of the night, much to everyone’s dismay was ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ as Matt says to the crowd “This is our last song of the night, we appreciate it, we’ll be back” which is music to my ears. Jason leads in on drums and the boys kick off with yet another brilliant high energy track. At one point I was surprised Adam didn’t give himself whiplash he was that lost in the moment, which is always fantastic to see.
All in all I have to say this is definitely in my list of favourite gigs of all time (No I'm not being dramatic). It was one hell of a night for live music on all counts. Can’t fault it, and I am eagerly waiting the time when I can see and rock out to StoneRider and The Graveltones once again. Thanks for a great gig guys!
Video: StoneRider 'Say I Won't'
Cathy Richardson has just completed a successful tour with Jefferson Starship and now has her eyes on the next step. I chat to Cathy about the tour with Jefferson. Her role in 'Love, Janis' and singing with Big Brother and The Holding Company aswell as what comes next.
Hi Cathy, how are you? In which part of the world are you in today?
I am doing great thank you. I'm actually home outside Chicago on a little break.
How has the tour with Jefferson Starship been?
It has been amazing! We played so many shows this last leg in Europe for great crowds.
I missed your two London dates at The Borderline but I had some friends who went and they loved it. Have you had any particular moments of the recent tour stand out to you? If so what is your favourite?
The Borderline shows were both really fun and different. Both shows were sold out, we have a rabid fan base in London and we haven't played there in a few years so people were really fired up to hear us. We also had some new blood in the band on this tour, UK drummer Richard Newman and the great San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Jude Gold so that added a new dimension of excitement to the shows.
Two other shows that stand out were Paris and Worpswede in Germany. I have never played in either of those places but the fans are so appreciative, it makes for a fun night when the band is on fire and the crowds are into it.
You have had quite the career! Seven solo albums, a GRAMMY nomination, you’re the lead singer of Jefferson Starship and you also played Janis in the off Broadway show ‘Love, Janis’ as well as sung with Big Brother and The Holding Company. Of all these achievements, which would you say has been your most accomplished?
Oh I don't know, I tend to feel at times like I haven't achieved what I wanted to achieve in the music business and then I look back at everything I've done collectively and go, "Wow, I guess I have done a lot!" I've released all of my albums independently and I've been rejected by every major label over the years so the GRAMMY nomination felt really validating at the time, although in hindsight it didn't really change my life except that now I can have that word GRAMMY attached to my name forevermore, which is pretty cool.
Love, Janis changed my life in so many ways, it took me out of the local bar scene in Chicago and put me in a National spotlight. It also changed me in huge ways as a performer and singer. I had a huge growth period during that time. It took me to San Francisco where I ended up meeting Jefferson Starship, and that has obviously taken me all over the world and given me an amazing showcase for singing and performing.
What has been the biggest struggle that you have faced in your career?
I think the biggest struggle has been dealing with rejection. You have to believe in yourself 100% and along the way there are bad reviews, record company rejections, failed auditions, shows that don't sell well etc. There have been times when I thought about giving up because I just couldn't stand the thought of another asshole behind a desk telling me I wasn't good enough when I knew that I was… I think deep down I have always felt that by virtue of sheer endurance I would have success on my own terms and there was nothing that could stop me. Plus, the longer you do something, the better you get at it.
When you played Janis, how did you prepare for that role? Did you find it difficult?
It was a very challenging role; I had to really change my voice to try to sound like her. I listened to her recordings over and over, watched every piece of film I could get my hands on and just ensconced myself in her for the entire period I was doing the show. I talked to her and I asked her to come and work through me and I just really tried to have integrity in portraying her as realistically as I could, to give the audience the most authentic representation of her that was physically possible for me. Obviously we are two different people and I am not an impressionist, but like Janis I can do a lot of different things with my voice. It really pushed me beyond my limits and forced me to take risks and I grew tremendously as a singer from that experience.
What is the strangest/funniest/craziest thing that has ever happened to you on the road?
A lot of crazy stuff happens on the road but on this last tour, I had some supreme dingbat moments. First, I left ALL of my luggage in the lobby of a hotel in Southampton, we drove ALL the way to Wolverhampton before I realised and our manager had to turn around and go ALL the way back and get it. In my defence, I thought I saw one of the pieces in the parking lot when we were loading out and assumed the guys had grabbed it when I was next door in the restaurant. I was wrong!
The other really stupid thing I did involved going from London to Paris to be on French television. The band was scheduled to travel later that day but in order to be on time for my interview, I bought a new train ticket, got up super early and went by myself. When I arrived at Gare du Nord, there was no one there to pick me up, so after about an hour of dragging my luggage around the station, sweating and looking for my ride, trying to speak French and no one could understand a word I was saying, I took a cab to the TV station. I had no cell service and couldn't access the internet to check my email so I couldn't get in touch with anyone and I was just really concerned that I had missed the driver and was now running late. When I got to the TV station, announcing I was there for my interview, no one knew who I was or what I was talking about. As it turns out, I was a day early. That was fairly humiliating but now that it's over I can laugh about it.
I am a huge fan of Janis and Grace and think your singing is amazing. How have you found it singing with both Big Brother and Jefferson? Were you intimated at all by stepping in for two such amazing women?
After doing ‘Love, Janis’ for so long I was less intimidated singing with Big Brother and more in awe of how much it was like stepping into one of those old records I had listened to so much. They really sound remarkably similar to this day as they did back then. Of course Janis and Grace are both iconic female rock singers, very different stylistically but both very powerful singers and if I have one thing in common with both of them I think it's that. I was actually a much bigger Jefferson fan growing up so coming into that band, I felt like the Grace stuff was right in my bread basket where as I really had to work hard to get that Janis sound. Even still, people are going to be critical no matter how good you are. Some people will never be satisfied because you are not that person. Of course I'm not, I'm not trying to be Grace but I do try to honour her by being the best I can be every night and giving people a great show. For the most part, people are really appreciative and kind to me.
You have another project – The Macrodots. Can you tell me some more about that? How did it come about? What are your future plans?
Macrodots is basically a collaboration with Zack Smith and myself, I met him in San Francisco and we wrote and recorded a bunch of songs, put a band together and played a few gigs, made an album, put a different band together and played a few more gigs and it's just a really fun rock project that is getting a lot of good buzz and feedback from our fans and critics, too. I love the songs and I think we have a unique sound with a retro/modern edge. It has been a great creative outlet for me while I've been busy touring with Jefferson Starship and it's really different from my solo stuff which is much more rootsy. Zack is an extremely prolific and talented writer and producer and working with him has taken me places musically I wouldn't be able to go on my own but still compliments what I do perfectly. We're working on another record right now but are still in the writing phase. It's slow going because I live in Chicago now so we have to write over the internet. He sends me tracks and I write lyrics and melodies and send them back to him. We are both pretty busy with other stuff so we have to really focus to get it together.
If you could pin point the moment in your life that lead to all of this when would it be?
I think it would be the moment when I was in about 7th grade and trying to teach myself how to play guitar and my next-door neighbour told me to listen to Heart. I did and I knew instantly what I wanted to do with my life.
Aside from Janis, Grace, who are/were your vocal influences? Is there anyone unusual that your fans wouldn’t expect?
I think everybody knows that my absolute hero is Ann Wilson. I also loved Mickey Thomas which might surprise some of the Jefferson fans. There is sort of a divided camp in the Jefferson world of those who resent him for taking the band in such a commercial direction but I think he is an amazing singer.
You have already played with some fantastic musicians, but if you could collaborate with anyone now, dead or alive, who would it be?
Oh wow, well, my favourite songwriter is Jill Sobule so I would love to write a song with her although I might just sit there and watch her write it to see what I could learn. I had a dream the other night that Nancy Wilson was putting a band together and needed a singer to do the Heart stuff and I was auditioning for that. That would be just a little fantastical!
If you could offer any advice to aspiring female singers and aspiring musicians, what would it be?
I really believe that, number one, you have to believe in yourself and love what you are doing. When I talk to Paul and David and the guys from Big Brother, none of them had aspirations of being famous, it just kind of happened to them. They were doing what they loved, and they were in the right place at this magical moment in time and they were kind of swept away with it. Then you hear about people like Madonna who were just driven by ambition and would stop at nothing. Of course she worked very hard at it but she got where she is today… the point is there is more than one way to get where you are going. I used to want to be famous but in my old age I have realized that fame for fame's sake is an empty pursuit, it's much more fulfilling to be recognized and appreciated for doing great work. So I just aim for greatness, and whether or not I achieve that is extremely subjective.
Of all the places you have toured, do you have a favourite and why?
We went to Tel Aviv this year and that was just incredible. Such a beautiful city. Warm, friendly people, great food, great beaches. I was really surprised, I don't know what I was expecting but it was just so mellow, I really loved it.
Is there anything that you haven’t yet achieved that you want to?
I would like to have at least one hit song, a song that I wrote that breaks through to a mass audience and I can bank on for the rest of my career.
Thanks so much for your time Cathy. I hope this finds you well. I hope to see you next time you’re in London.
Thank you, Chelle.
Black Country Communion strike again! Their third record ‘Afterglow’ is a pounding, groovy rock delight and most definitely has some treats in store for you. Despite the issues of recent times; Hughes, Bonamassa, Bonham and Sherinian have really created a simply outstanding rock record.
As ‘Big Train’ comes rollin’ in, I am instantly reminded of ‘She Builds Quick Machines’ by Velvet Revolver, the two are quite similar. I love the attitude of this song. Bonham is on fine form and really shines on this track, with his hard hitting beats, he is an absolute power house.
‘This Is Your Time’ starts with a delicious groove that instantly demands your focus. Written by Bonham on an iPhone whilst driving, it really displays the extent of his talent. It has a great rhythm and bass line at the intro. Glenn’s vocals really are undeniable as he sings with a really heart-warming tone “This is your time, it’s in your hands, this is your time to make your stand.” This is a close favourite of mine.
I love the way you can really hear how the band have come together. ‘Midnight Sun’ is the perfect example. Instantly you feel Glenn’s vocals completely dominate you, they don’t call him one of rock’s greatest vocalists for nothin’!! Bonamassa’s guitar solo is immense and the song as a whole has a wonderful and very radio friendly presence.
‘Confessor’ is a thunderous straight up rock ‘n’ roll tune. Bonham has a fabulous presence on this track and his drumming is such a pleasure to hear, so solid; and the fills used throughout have a great variety and really switch it up. Combined with the pure power of Joe Bonamassa and Derek Sherinian’s solos this song is a tad more powerful than originally intended as Glenn Hughes says “When Jason turbo-d it up it really came to life” which is no word of a lie.
Another stand out track to me is the very bluesy ‘Cry Freedom’ which has a great camaraderie between Hughes and Bonamassa as they share the vocals and sound fabulous together. It has a great groove to it and is one of my favourites.
‘Afterglow’ as an album is track after track of brilliant rock steady songs that are written and performed incredibly well. There is not one song that doesn’t deliver. Black Country Communion are in their element on this record and I really hope that there will be many more to come. Albums like this remind us why this band is so special.
It was the start of what was to be a very pissed up and boozy evening. I was standing with two of the possibly dodgiest characters in rock ‘n’ roll – Guy Bailey and Dale Hodgkinson from the group of reprobates that are The Peckham Cowboys.
The Peckham Cowboys are a down trodden, blues driven, dirty, beautiful mess…. They have been gigging solidly around London, packing out venues across this fine city and setting it on fire. At each gig they are bigger, sharper and more alluring.
Teamed with Marc Eden, who is probably one of the rawest rock vocalists in London at the moment, this trio cannot put a foot wrong as they leave a blazing trail of rock ‘n’ roll debauchery through good ol’ London town, gaining fans by the day.
Dale tells me how they know each other. “It was Guy’s birthday, he phoned me up and said: ‘Just come on down man, it’s me birthday.’ We got together with Alrick who I met there and Marc. He knew Guy independently of me, which was weird because I was also friends with them! So yeah we got together.”
“Sorta like cosmic dust,” Guy says, “If it was anybody’s birthday we’d get round mine. I’ve got the studio there, and we’re just like ‘come on let’s go upstairs’ like we do. Saturday night round at my house and we pick up our instruments and just have a jam, and we start recording, then one day we just went hang on we’ve got about eight songs there.”
Dale continues, “We thought hang on this is good, Shall we make an album?” - Guy laughs and looks at Dale and says “Actually no, we said this is terrible.” Dale laughs, taking a draw of a cigarette “Yeah, it’s fuckin’ awful.” Guy still laughing holds his hands out questioningly “But we got eight of ‘em, what are we gonna do?”
The Peckham Cowboys to me have quite a unique sound. Now I know, as others have said to me that it’s nothin’ new that this ‘sound’ may not be for everyone. However I haven’t heard a band out there playing now that sounds as fucked up as this, and I mean that in a great way! I have heard so many people when speaking about this debut album ‘Flog It!’ say “I had to ask if it was supposed to sound like that.” Now forgive me for speaking my mind but that isn’t my general reaction when I put a record on. It’s refreshing and that is what The Peckham Cowboys achieved, I am not kidding when I call them a beautiful mess. It took me a while to realise that the crackling, distortion was intentional. I didn’t know if it was just a really shit recording or if this was the real deal. Fortunately for me and you lucky lot out there, it was. I asked Guy what happened, how and why they recorded this way.
“By accident” He laughs. “No, when we recorded it I used to tweak it for about a week afterwards, I’ve been going to see bands; bands that I really, really respect and that were brilliant. But there was a kind of ethos coming out a few years ago and it’s still going on - ‘let’s play everything a little bit faster and be a bit louder and it will rock a bit more’. It doesn’t work like that. It’s like music by numbers and join the dots and it doesn’t work like that. If you listen to The Stones, everything is just over heartbeat rate and low acoustic guitars, which is not what we are about but…”
Dale adds “The first record company that was interested in signing us - and strung us along for years - fuckin’ wankers. When I spoke with them and said, ‘Are you interested in doing any business man?’ they said ‘yeah, but I gotta ask you Dale, is it meant to sound like that?’”
“Guy and I had this long running joke ages before that comment. “This is fuckin’ awful” he laughs. “But yes, it is meant to sound like that, and people seem to like it and good! Fuck knows why.” He says in bursts of laughter.
I think it’s different, some folk might not agree, but I think people are crying out for something different at the moment.
Dale Says “There is a lot of apathy about isn’t there, and that’s what we’ve, well, having said that half our bands not shown up today.” He looks around. Guy says “That could be construed as rock ‘n’ roll but I dunno. I dunno how it works anymore.” We’ll go with that I say laughing to the guys.
Guy agrees “Yeah we’ll go with rock ‘n’ roll, but that’s the thing, yeah, apathy - I don’t know.”
Dale says “Well complacency then, people are still aspiring to be Oasis 15 years after the fact or Coldplay; I mean what the fuck is any of that about. It’s just nonsense now.”
Guy takes a more serious tone “I gave the album to Chris Kimsey, a very lovely man, and I’m blessed to be a friend of his. I gave him the album and said ‘Chris it’s meant to sound like this’ and he phoned me up about a day later and he left about a 10 minute voicemail message going ‘Fucking why wasn’t I involved in this, you should have given me a call’.
At this very point in time Dale takes another draw of a cigarette, he and Guy look at each other and both say in unison “Because you’re too expensive Chris” as they both roar with laughter.
Guy continues “When you get that sort of endorsement, you think ‘OK, we might be going along the right lines, but the thing is I haven’t had this much fun since I started the Queerboys as it was, yeah it’s a bit approximate, but fuck it, ‘ave it.” He says in a brash cockney accent.
Talkin’ about ‘avin’ it as it were, I got to thinking and told the guys that this was gonna be the first time I have seen them. (Coincidentally after this gig I saw them a further two times, and will continue to see them when they play as each time I can honestly say I am left reeling for more.)
“Yeah we might be fucking shambolic Chelle.” Dale says as we all laugh.
Knowing full well that this isn’t the case I ask if there is anything in the works at the moment, any new material to look forward to?
Guy tells me “We don’t get together and think right we have to write this, we just get together. We’ve got about half an album and it goes between sort of Rockabilly and Reggae…”
Really? That’s quite a departure from the blues laden riffs that we are used to hearing from The Cowboys.
Dale says “Yeah, the only rule that we’ve got is that an album should never be more than 10 songs and no songs should be longer than about 3 minutes. No live set should be longer than 15 minutes.” He laughs.
Guy continues “What goes down stays down. We put the track down, maybe practice it for 5 minutes but as soon as we start recording that’s it, you got one shot at it. None of this ‘take 32’ it’s so boring, and I’ve got to sift through them and say oh that’s a good bit I’ll ‘ave that. It has to be one take and that’s it.”
“Guy has been really fucking vicious about that.” Says Dale - “Sometimes we say ‘oh I could do that again man’ and he’s like ‘No, no that’s it’. We were gonna call the album ‘What goes Down Stays Down’ but we come up with ‘Flog It!’ Guy and I were watching day time TV one morning when we got up and The Antiques Road Show was on and I said ‘you know if we ever tour this shower of wankers, that’s gotta be the name of the tour, ‘The Antiques Road Show’ Not sayin’ we’re old or anything but you know that’s how ‘Flog it!’ came about.” He laughs.
Guy jumps in “It’s fun and if people appreciate it, then it’s brilliant, it’s music and there’s this thing about it. Anybody should be able to pick up an instrument and get something out of it. Just something out of it, that’s what we’re trying to get, people to turn around and say ‘I can do that’ go on then, just do it!!”
That’s one of the best things about music isn’t it, just getting out there and playing it. Be it in your bedroom or on stage. Just to play… I used to play drums many moons ago… Dale asks me “Do you want a job?” hahaha I laugh “Man, I haven’t played a kit on over 10 years. “You’re over qualified.” Says Guy as we all burst out laughing.
Dale fills me in on how the drums went down on ‘Flog it!’ “On the album we’ve used computer drums, again this is all just done out of necessity and we have this metronome drum sound going off and me and Guy meandering around it. And that’s how we recorded the album. When we thought who the fuck can we get to reproduce that live there was only one answer and that is Simon Hanson. He’s a fucking machine, absolutely brilliant.”
“I’ve played with two drummers that have really done it for me.” Says Guy “That’s Ian Wallace who God rest his soul used to play with Bob Dylan and he did drums for Don Henley also. When he was playing he was amazing, God rest him. The second is Simon Hanson; you know you lay down a groove and play. You cannot go wrong.”
Dale tells me “Simon Hanson one of the best drummers in the world didn’t actually play drums on the album but he did play….” – “Piano!” say Guy and Dale in unison as they both laugh. “Then you have Alrick who is a drummer, but he plays everything.” Dale continues “Tonight he’s gonna play guitar, keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals, you know the fuckin’ lot! He’s a superb, superb talent you know.”
“He’s a great musician, and slide player.” Says Guy “It’s great, the chemistry is great.” Dale adds “It’s fractious at times, we fall out a lot.” Guy laughs “We just get up there and say ‘ave this, as you’ll see when we get up there, it’s not hard.”
With all the talk of the live shows and gettin’ up there and ‘avin it, my mind wanders and I ask the guys about their best rock ‘n’ roll memory…
Dale replies “I don’t know Chelle, ask Guy, he’s the one with the stories.” I look over at Guy and give him a look and wave my dictaphone in his face. “Erm, I dunno, it was either playing with The Stones or meeting Steve Cropper. I don’t know.”
That is pretty amazing, when did you play with The Stones?
“I think it was ‘The Urban Jungle Tour’ in about nineteen ninety…. I dunno, but they flew us over from the states to play St James’ Park in Newcastle and they invited us backstage, that was lovely, as you know they were absolutely brilliant. But meeting Steve Cropper one of my all-time heroes was the bollocks. That was great!”
I turn and look slyly at Dale - Come on; give a girl a fuckin’ break! We all laugh – You must have something, why did you start to play music in the first place?
Dale tells me “Because when I was a young boy I went to see a band formally known as the Queerboys, there was this geezer there with a big hat on, playing guitar, and now I play in a band with him.”
I know plenty of people that would love to play in a band with someone they idolised as a youngster, and you struggled to find that memory??
Dale smiles “Well I was thinkin’ about it…” Everyone bursts into laughter.
Vocalist Marc Eden didn’t join us for the interview, but we got to talking about Marc’s vocals and his abilities. If you haven’t heard him, then you are missing out. I have been watching him for years from covers to originals with bands such as Men and Gods and also covers band Rockworks, who no longer play but singing songs from Velvet Revolver to Zeppelin I have always known just how much of a talent Marc is. Not only is he an amazing rock vocalist but he has the attitude and the aura to go with it. I asked Dale – Didn’t Marc actually audition for Velvet Revolver at some point?
Dale replies “He told me the story. He said he got home back to his place in Crystal Palace one day and had an answering machine message, as he was checking through there was one from Slash. He thought it was a fucking wind up, but he’d left a number. Marc thought it’s obviously a load of bollocks but he called the number and low and behold it was Slash. They flew him out to LA for 3 months and yeah, he worked on the first incarnation of Velvet Revolver and there is still come controversy that exists to this day about the writing of ‘Slither’.”
As quite the Velvet Revolver fan I would have loved for Marc to have landed this gig, but did my ears deceive me, did Dale just say that Marc wrote fuckin’ Slither?
Dale continues “He had a big hand in it, yeah. Marc was so skint when he was out there, they put him up in a really good hotel and when it was time for him to leave, he had no money to get to the airport, so he had to phone Slash up and borrow some money. The geezer showed up in his black Mercedes and gave him $50 so he could get to the airport. Marc met them a couple of years back, I can’t remember when they were playing. It must have been about the time when it was the absolute end of Velvet Revolver at Brixton. So yeah he went there and erm, he went backstage and Slash’s first words were, ‘where’s my fifty bucks man’.”
We all laughed – No way!! I was astounded…. I guess that’s how rich folk stay rich I guess. Dale laughs “Yeah man, yeah.”
Marc’s vocals are something else. I think he sounds quite raw; he has a great tone to his voice.
Dale says “Well he’s a man that absolutely believes in everything that he does, it’s mad to see him work, when he’s there, he’s full on you can’t say anything to the bloke.” Guy adds “His lyrics are brilliant, you know he’s an amazing lyricist and I’ll be sitting at the computer doing a vocal take down thinking ‘what the bloody hell is he talkin’ about’, you know. Dale quotes some of Marc’s lyrics “’Using gentle yoda to the parallel swing’ what the fuck does that mean?”
Guy continues “You listen to it as a whole and it just works it’s what they say like everybody in this band, ‘Just let ‘em do what they do best’ and it works out.”
So do you all work on the lyrics and things together, or is it just Marc that writes them?
Dale tells me “Marc and Guy are the lyricists of the band. I’ve had a go but the pair of them say ‘No, mate’.” Dale laughs. “Marc also plays bass quite a lot and he’s done a lot of guitar on the album too. Everybody fiddles about; I’ve done a bit of bass.”
Guy adds “I’ve done a bit of harmonica and bass and guitars.” Dale says “Everybody thinks that ‘South London Thing’ is a load of screaming guitars and it isn’t. It’s a harmonica that Guy played, the only guitars on there is a solo in the middle and a solo at the end the rest is a harp that Guy played.”
As time was drawing to an end the guys strolled off into the sunset to do what they do best, they did have a show to prepare for! The Peckham Cowboys definitely have something very original about them. Their attitude is refreshing and it has been an absolute pleasure and a laugh to have a chat with them about their tunes.
You can catch The Peckham Cowboys later in the year as they are currently organising a tour for around Christmas/New Years. I would suggest that if they play near you, you get your ass to that show as they will not let you down. As much as I love their recorded work The Peckham Cowboys really shine live!! I’ll see you down the front!
People Like You Records
Some things never change, praise the Lord (whoa yeah). Thirty-two years on, The Meteors are still spankin’ out the sickest psychobilly this side of Hell like they made a deal with the Devil to crank them thwankin rhythms for eternity or else – yeah – to Hell with ‘em. ‘The Man In The Cunt Skin Mask’ (presumably geetarist/vocalist P Paul Fenech) may holler ‘Open this fuckin' door!’ till his soul bursts, but goddammit no way! You stay in there, yank that whammy-bar, paddle that double-bass (Simon ‘The Prince’ Linden dontcha know), whack those drums (Wolfgang ‘The Machine’ Hoerdeman) and peddle those sickobilly B-movie anthems till you bleed, brothers! Maybe, of course, ‘TMITCSK’ is a reference to Hank Marvin trapped in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doing his absurd lil two-step dance with that goddamn irritating smile ‘til Leatherface sees red ‘n’ slices it right off his face – yikes!
The stuff of nightmares, shooting from the hip whilst delivering lines from the Bible like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction, or jogging through the desert with Ry Cooder in hot pursuit in Paris Texas, The Meteors manage to reinvent themselves time and time again, same promises kept but always the surprise. And this year’s unlikely shlock horror is their own take on ‘Paranoid’ – jangling and a-bouncing into the sunset sounding like it should always have galloped along like a spaghetti western with Quentin Tarantino in the saddle. PsychoBilly The Kid blowing into town with ‘Girl Meat Fever’, but then ‘She Screams Out My Name’ and off he rides again - with a fistful of panties.
Meteoric psychobilly sickos. Way too good to get a reprieve from God or The Devil, looks like they’ll be paddling away in Purgatory for a looong time, though the latter did promise to ‘Drag You Down To Hell’, a threat urgently deflected by some sweaty rock’n’roll jamming. Besides, ‘Hell Must Be Empty (All The Demons Are Here)' says it all (well, Reaper’s already proved there’s an escape route from Hell). Finally, though, it’s ‘Fuck Your World’, so mebbe The Meteors are, after all, thinking of leaving the planet. Nahhhhh, this is most definitely their calling…right here, right now. And no, we’re not opening the fuckin' door!
The Meteors 'Paranoid'
THE METEORS - STRANGE TIMES ARE COMIN' the brand spanking new promo video taken from the album 'Doing The Lord's Work' view the promo here
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