Drunk Gods

Drunk Gods are a 3 piece from Lanarkshire, Scotland. Having previously played together as Gobstopper, Ewan released the debut “Drunk Gods” album in 2014 and got the members of Gobstopper back together to play the songs live.

I recently caught up with Drunk Gods main man Ewan McGhee to talk about what motivated him to make and release Drunk Gods. I also wanted to find out what is next for Drunk Gods.

Drunk Gods Album

The first track on the album is “What’s Ma Motivation?”, so what is your motivation?

‘What’s Ma Motivation?’ Well, at the time when I was writing and recording the album, there was very little music around that I found exciting and provocative. Little that wouldn’t sit obediently on the state radio playlist of any repressive regime or military dictatorship. Hardly anything had any spunk or spine, it all seemed to have been dreamt up by disembodied brains floating limply in fish tanks. It kind of made me want to start a fire, ye know.

And I love great lyrics, I’m very much a words man, so I wanted that aspect of the album to be compelling and provocative, too, ye know? That’s why they’re about sex, and death, and growing old, and infidelity and soul-less wage slavery, and suicide and greed and the like.

I grew up in the shadow of my local slaughterhouse, and I sometimes wonder if that gave me a darker outlook on life. Our dog that we had when I was younger used to disappear for hours and then he’d appear back, wi a cow’s ear, or sheep’s leg or something. He’d obviously been up the slaughterhouse scavenging. And then I used to walk past the slaughterhouse every day, and there would be animal shite all over the road at the entrance. I used to wonder if that was because they could smell or sense where the lorries had brought them, and they were terrified.

Aye, so I wanted the music to have that visceral quality to it, too, I wanted it to have guts and energy and aggression. To kind of buck and kick, like a trapped animal, because I think, ultimately, that’s what we are, trapped animals. TV and all sorts of distractions might be there for us to try to hide it from ourselves, but we’re all heading for the slaughterhouse, too, sort of, and kind of flailing around trying to work out what to do with the time that we’ve got.

That all sounds pretty desperate and it is, but the music elevates it above that, I think. It’s discordant but also melodic and not difficult to listen to it, I don’t think. I suppose, it’s life-affirming, in a way, trying to create some fire in the dark, or rage against the dying of the light, whilst not deluding yourself. But, aye, a real beauty can come from very dark places, like with Joy Division, for example, and I’m very drawn to that. But there’s some humour in there, too, laughter in the darkness and all that stuff.

Tell us about your experience of recording the album, it was very much a one man production.

Writing and recording the album took me maybe 3 or 4 years – I’ve got a wee home studio, which is perfect for that, it’s really liberating. You can just bang ideas down and then they start to grow arms and legs. They write themselves really, I find, you’ve just got to let the ideas ferment in your brain overtime, and then it all comes together. But it took so long, because I was working full-time, as well.

You are credited with everything on your CD so you’re obviously a talented man. You do have a “live” band thought – tell me about them.

When the album was done, I just loved it so much that I knew I had to play it live. So Keith (Darling, drums) and Fags (Gary Collins, bass) signed up to help me out with that.

We’ve been pals for a long time. We played together as a 3-piece called Gobstopper in the early to mid nineties. We did 3 or 4 demos and played various places in and around Glasgow, King Tut’s, in particular. So, Keith and Fags were the obvious choices for the rhythm section when it came to Drunk Gods.

Whats next?

You’ve got a gig coming up on October 21st in The Lantern Bar, Wishaw with Savage Cut & El Cogez, Any other live dates imminent?

We don’t have any other gigs lined up at the moment, apart from the Wishaw one. It’s not easy getting decent gigs. Having said that, Keith’s just bought a new drum kit, so we’ll have to get some more lined up!

Your debut album was 2014, any plans for a follow-up?

As to another album, I don’t know if the album format is relevant any more and they are a lot of work. We’ll probably just stick to doing batches of two songs at a time from now on, maybe a couple every 6 months.

We’re in the studio next month, September, finishing off two songs – Found The Lord And Lost Ma Soul, and Pet Hate – for a double-sided ‘single’ if that has any relevance at all in today’s download world, but it will be available as a CD, too.

DRUNK GODS

The album was released in 2014 but I have been a recent convert to the band having seen them live in Ivory Blacks last year.

How to describe the sound? Dark, post-punk, industrial, melodic, aggressive, intense…… there is a whole mix of styles that come together with Ewan’s vocals, sung in local accent, to bring a powerful sound – cacophonous at times, harmonious at others. Just listen, its bloody great!

The talent is obvious with Ewan playing all the instruments on the album and the production and sound is clear and sharp. Ewan is a self-confessed “lyric man” and the lyrics are personal & dark but humorous at the same time covering a wide range of (mostly) gloomy subjects. That doesn’t make for a gloomy album though. The tunes and melodies are uplifting and varied, making you want to listen for what is next.

With album opener What’s Ma Motivation? the protagonist lays himself bare with lyrics speaking initially of tangible things lost (I admit I smiled at “Gimme back ma ginger hair”) but ultimately of loss of identity and self.

Turn up the Laughter Track speaks to me personally and reminds me of one of the reasons I started this blog. Covering up anxieties/depression by laughing things off and being “happy” a la Tears of a Clown (“Turn up the laughter track, my anxiety attacks are back, we watch the colours fade, the beauty disappear”)

Anti-love song Fuck Buddy (The Heart is Just a Muscle) next with its driving guitars building into a cacophony of frustration with the refrain repeated over and over above the music.

Wage Slave is an ode to work destroying your very being – wasting your body and spirit.

People Make Ma Head Hurt has an almost Skids-esque feel to me, with the layered refrain demonstrating in sound exactly what the song is saying. Great almost cheery melodies hiding a sinister ending – “Leave me well alone, I’m a loner, that means a serial killer, I keep my victims in the cellar, cut you up, put you in the river”

Goth-like in its intro and bassy vocal and almost whispered vocals towards the end, Repossession is another cheery tale. This time of debt, fearing the postman and ultimately getting a gun and, well, I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Don’t get me wrong, I may be painting a bleak picture with the themes here, but there is humour to these songs and the tunes are not in the least bit bleak, often uplifting & layered. Take Consumption for example a humourous take on greed and consumerism but with a serious point.

The Surfer kicks of with surf/rockabilly guitars and goes on to become a track with a rhythm section Pixies would be proud of.

Penultimate track Kill Me starts off as a straightforward rock song, before it breaks down and builds up again several times building to a peak before fading out.

On final track Dirty Honey, Ewan comes over kind of Nick Cave/Martin Metcalfe-like in his vocal delivery. Some lyrics almost breathed rather than sung. The quiet moments are broken again by crashing guitars and drums. A great album closer.

Looking forward to hearing the new tracks.

Go and find out for yourselves now…..

Listen and Buy

Check out the Drunk Gods on Soundcloud.

Buy the album on iTunes or Amazon

 

Kiss This – Tarbeach NYC in Glasgow

Glasgow music fans are in for a treat on the 9th of September.
3 of the top current Scottish punk bands are playing at an event called “Kiss This” in Broadcast. All Tarbeach Records labelmates, the event is in association with Vive Le Rock magazine. Glasgow legends The Zips, Airdrie’s very own ReAction and current hot property Heavy Drapes are getting together to put on a not to be missed show. They will be joined by well kent face on the Glasgow music scene, Danny Mac (Testifying Time Radio Show) as compere for the night.
I caught up with the multi-talented Joe Whyte (ReAction & Jericho Hill guitarist and scribe for Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War) to find out more….
Thegingerquiff – You’re promoting “Kiss This” on 9th September in Broadcast, Glasgow, and did something similar last year with “Dread Meets Punk Rock
Southside” (same date – different venue) and “Back in the Garage” earlier in
the year in Broadcast….
Joe Whyte – “I reckon “promoting” is putting a bit of a spin on it! I’m quite good at organising gigs but the pressure and stress of doing them means that once a year is more than enough! There’s a helluva lot of things to consider when you’re putting on a show – backline hire, sound engineer, advertising, tickets, getting people there for the soundcheck and everything else up to and including twisting someones arm to do the door. The expression “herding cats” springs to mind quite often….”
Tgq – “Kiss This” involves a number of parties – the 3 bands (with a Tarbeach
connection), Danny Mac and Vive Le Rock.
Tell me how this collaboration came about?
JW– “We’re all acquainted through music before the Tarbeach connection. Danny and I met after we’d both had a similar rather unpleasant experience with a local pretend radio station ran by a bunch of chancers. That’s a story for another day, however.
I’ve known The Zips since the 70’s although Jon and I actually only became acquainted in recent times. I sold their first single on Ebay a few years back for a silly amount of money. Wish I’d kept it now; Jon and Phil could have autographed it and doubled the value!
The three bands all release our records via Tarbeach NYC which is a cool wee boutique label run by another ex-Airdrie refugee, the very mysterious Walt Watusi. We felt that we should do a gig that runs concurrently with a similar Tarbeach gig in NYC on the same day.
We’re planning a radio collaboration too with Danny doing a
pre-recorded section for DJ Rob Select’s show in NY and Rob doing
likewise for the Testifying Time Show here. It’s kinda like “Live Aid”
but with more alcohol and bad behaviour.”
DREAD meets punk rock & back in the garage
Tgq – The 2 other events were great nights, what sticks out in your memory
about them?
JW – “The “Dread meets Punk Rockers Southside” event was a great night. The idea was to try and recreate that whole “Roxy Club” vibe with reggae and dub clashing with cool punk rock. I think the venue were pretty surprised at the turnout – we had about 200 through the door as I recall.
It was hot, sweaty and such a good atmosphere. Everyone there seemed to really get into the spirit of the whole thing and the sets from The Minority Rule and Heavy Drapes were brilliant.
We played a longer set that normal – nearly an hour. Second song in, a guy who was getting rather high-spirited jumped onstage and rattled my guitar, breaking a machine head and staving my thumb. Fortunately I had another guitar with me. He couldn’t apologise enough, poor guy!
The last all-dayer at Broadcast was a charity event in aid of Alzheimer Scotland – my old man suffered from that horrible disease so it was good to put something back. We raised over a grand that night. The bands were all great that day; The Cundeez came down from Dundee to open the show, what a great gesture and External Menace playing their first Scottish show in years; that was really special.
Both great nights. Hopefully “Kiss This” can be as good.
andy blade/reaction

Tgq – I know you’ve just announced a gig in December with ReAction supporting Andy Blade (ex-Eater), that will be a great night too I’m sure. What other plans have you got coming up for further events?

JW– We may be opening for The Membranes in Glasgow and Penetration later in the year. We played with Penetration last year, that was a really goodnight. It was our album launch part 2 so we had to be good.

We’re currently recording the follow-up to “Accelerator”- the wheels of Reaction turn quite slowly but thats mostly because we want to make a better album than the first and it’s not cheap to do it properly. We’ve four songs in the bag already – a couple of them are a bit different from the Damned/Stooges vibe of “Accelerator” and I think people will be surprised. Pleasantly, hopefully

Tgf – One last question from me on a personal note – see if you do this again – gonnae avoid the 9th of September (its my wedding anniversary!)? Ha Ha

JW – I’ll see what I can do! It’s simply been coincidence, Neil

Thanks to Joe for taking the time out to speak to me.

Look out for future posts with reviews and features on the bands involved and with Tarbeach Records and Danny Mac on thegingerquiff blog.

tickets

Tickets for Kiss This available from Tickets Scotland though at time of typing, I believe it is close to selling out – get in quick. Limited tickets might still be available from Danny Mac or band members.

Kiss This promo video:

Meditation isn’t just for Hippies!

Meditation? – It’ll never work for me!

If you’re anything like me, when someone first suggested meditating to help me deal with my anxiety & depression I laughed.

At the time my mental image of meditation was of someone sitting cross-legged on the floor, arms outstretched, middle fingers touching their thumbs and chanting “ohhhmm”. Nothing like stereotyping eh?

Of course, I was wrong. I know it won’t work for everyone and not all meditations work for me either. Everyone has different strategies to deal with their own mental health. Meditation is only one of the tools in my box too.

What works for me?

When I first tried meditation it didn’t work at all. I could have given up, but I persevered. Even now, longer meditations are something I struggle with, but some of the shorter ones work for me. The hardest thing for me to start off with was the inability to empty my mind of thoughts (see previous blog – Do you think too much?). I didn’t know how to switch off my mind.

Even now sometimes when I try to do it, thoughts will pop in and out of my head. That’s OK though. The meditation helps me control them now and as the quote above says, they don’t control me.

The 2 mindfulness type meditations that work best for me are short. Only a few minutes. One is mindful breathing and the other is about relaxing my body. It depends on the situation what one I may or may not fall back on. What I don’t do is specifically schedule “meditation times”. I just know they are there if I need them.

I have been known to get panic attacks which, if unchecked, are totally debilitating. Mindful breathing meditation is one strategy for this. The first important thing is to understand your triggers and symptoms. If you know your triggers, then you can aim to avoid these situations. It took me a while to identify my triggers, that takes a bit of work. If you haven’t identified a trigger, then you may be able to identify your symptoms.

From a personal perspective, these symptoms could be numerous, and some on their own are perfectly natural. For example, having butterflies & sweaty palms before making a presentation. If I didn’t get these, I’d be worried as, to me, it would suggest I didn’t care about how the presentation went. A certain level of stress anxiety is normal.

When it becomes a problem is when these symptoms become greater than normal and have a physical impact on your ability to do anything. So, the butterflies turn into major churning and sometimes even physical sickness. The sweaty palms to total bodily perspiration. Add to that, inability to check or slow your breathing, headaches, blurry vision, the feeling that you have almost left your own body….by that time it is often too late to do anything to stop it.

So, when I become aware of these symptoms at an early stage, I can use mindful breathing meditations to regain control. Again, this depends on you be able to recognise your “normal” level of stress/anxiety as this can sometimes actually be helpful and when it goes to the next level.

I won’t always use meditation either. It depends on the situation/environment I’m in. Sometimes it may be enough to stand up and walk away from the situation. Other times listening to a certain song, band or album can make a difference (see Music is my Escape)

The other one that works for me is for when I feel really tense. I feel it in my whole body, tightening of muscles, headaches and the like. There is a mindfulness meditation that involves focussing on your whole body, tensing and releasing all your muscles and relaxing your body.

Meditating isn’t easy and takes practice. If you can master it, it becomes your friend. I have not in any way fully mastered it and sometimes despite trying, it doesn’t work. But I persist.

I want to try to master mindful eating. I always eat too quickly and don’t think about it and whether or not I’m actually hungry! In times when I feel on edge or stressed, I can almost inhale food without noticing.

There are loads of websites and free apps out there that you can download with different meditations to try. This is a useful free resource that I started with. As I said, not all of these are for me, but I tried and tested different ones before I found something that worked.

As I said, it doesn’t work for everyone but my advice would be, and remember I’m not a professional, don’t discount anything when looking for ways of dealing with mental health issues. Every one of us is unique, so we will all discover our own coping strategies through time and experience.

 

The Cundeez – Ehm Feelin Teckle

Its Saturday morning and ehm feelin’ teckle!

From the moment the cymbals, guitar & moothie (harmonica) start off this feel good tune, I defy you not get on your feet and dance. Even as I’m listening to it again as I’m typing this I’m finding in hard to sit still!

Continuing the Dundee theme from the last post, new single from The Cundeez hit my inbox this morning and what a way to kick off the weekend, its set me up to tackle anything.

If you have been fortunate enough to have seen the band live, you’ll know what an entertaining treat it is. Its a great mix of punk/oi, two tone/ska with lyrics in Dundee dialect & great messages. And with added bagpipes and kilts you cant fail to enjoy them live.

The song is an upbeat stomper that will have you skanking all round the house from the moment you stick it on. “Its a brand new day, turn the radio on”, listen to the Cundeez and get ready to go out with your “Harrington on”.

The feelgood vibe is maintained through the whole song. It tells the story of a great day with friends and enjoying life! Some great lines – “Swagger doon the street in the Dundee style”. Positive messges “Spread the feel good vibe, spread the positivity. Religion, racism, fighting – NO!. Peace and harmony and friendship – GO!”

Right I’m off to skank.

Expect a full interview and review of the new album when its out.

As the song says – “Just laugh and dance and smile and sing, feel the teckle rise within”

Kilts oan, tapps aff! Are you teckle too? Oi oi oi!

(Oh and for those who need a translation – from Stevie Cundee: feeling marvellous.. on top of the moon.. doesn’t get better.. TECKLE!)

Download available now:

Delinquents – About Last Night

delinquents – david hennessey

Delinquents are a 3 piece punk band from Dundee. They are David Hennessey – Guitar/Bass/Vocals, Graeme Jackson – Guitar/Bass/Vocals & Ryan Hughes – Drums. The band are releasing their debut album on 29th September. The official launch is at Punktoberfest in Dundee in October.

I caught up with David recently to ask him about the band and their album, and what it was like being in a punk band in Dundee. I also managed to get my hands on a copy of their CD and have shared my thoughts below.

Thegingerquiff – How did Delinquents come about?

David Hennessey – Jackson and I were writing together and ended up jamming some music we were writing. We tried a few different line ups then we realised a mutual pal was a drummer. One session in and adding Ryan to the fold was a no brainier. Jackson and I alternate between bass And guitar depending on the song or who wrote it hahaha.

TGQ – How would you describe your sound?

DH – A mixture of everything to be honest. We call ourselves a punk band but there is so much we are influenced by. We all like completely different styles. I’m heavily influenced from the old school punk SLF/Clash, Jackson pretty much listens to everything as does Ryan. Jackson and Ryan are both really solid players. I’m lucky to have them carrying me. We all bring something different to the band. By the time the next album comes out there will probably be something totally different to what was on ‘About Last Night’ We say we play punk rock. We still think we suck to be honest hahaha.

TGQ – Who or what inspires your songwriting/what do you like to write about?

DH – Selfishly, I write the lyrics so I tend to lean any experiences or feelings I have may around the time of writing. We like people to be able to connect to the songs and be able to draw their own perceptions. I can probably guarantee every song on the album is misinterpreted from someone somewhere (bar the fuck you song which is probably quite obvious) The album lyrically was exploring themes from something as simple as being dumped, (Valentine’s Day) to dealing with depression (Keep on Choking) to some ironic social commentary on our wonderful Conservative government (Next Generation) to deal with teenage self-loathing (Acne). Every song has a story to tell.

TGQ – What are your favourite songs on the album & why?

DH – Honestly, I don’t have a favourite and the guys would probably agree with me. The album we wanted to make originally was gonna be around twelve or thirteen songs long but the ten we had we played in our first full year in existence we could just not see past. They couldn’t not go on an album together. We love every song.

TGQ – What was Rebellion like?

DH – I’ve been going to Rebellion as a punter for around five or six years. It’s been a family holiday with my Dad and Brother for years. It’s an incredible festival and the organisers work all year round to make it as good as it is. To play this year was just incredible .It felt more special playing alongside a load of pals we met playing all over the country this year (Criminal Mind, No Thrills, The Zips) and to be one of THREE bands from Dundee (Cundeez and The Eddies) was a privilege. We didn’t get banned anyway.

TGQ – What is the punk scene in Dundee like?

DH – Despite Dundee being dubbed a ‘ghost town’ recently, we have quite a thriving underground punk scene. Make-That-A-Take Records work tirelessly to bring some of the UK’s best up and coming touring bands to Dundee as well as the odd international hidden gem thrown in with a few punk heavyweights over the years (Slaves, Jeff Rosenstock). MTAT hosts Book Yer Ane Fest which is a weekender every December which attracts folk from all over the country.

Beat Generator brings some of the old school powerhouses to Dundee which are reasonably well turned out. Andy Cochrane (The Eddies) gives us Punktoberfest every year which is always very well organised and well attended with some of the most best punk bands past and present. We also have Andy Wood (The Cool Cat Club) who puts on mostly eclectic/post punk shows but these are very well attended and Andy’s dedication to his nights is infectious.

The scene is fucking great, it’s lucky to have these stalwarts. Every one of these guys have booked us and each show has been completely different each time. Dundee has a great scene, the people just need to look for it. Do I wish there were more bands coming out of Dundee? Yes. But then we then we probably would get found out…

TGQ – Your official album launch is at Punktoberfest in Dundee on October 27th, tell us more about that gig.

DH – It’s a show that I mentioned above. One of Dundee’s two annual punk festivals. Buses attending from all over the country. We play Friday. It’s huge for us as its home turf and it’s the first show after the album is released. It’s a stellar line up as well, being opened by hardcore juggernauts Drive By Killer (Perth), Old-School punk rock Malfunction (Aberdeen). The eagerly anticipated return of Dundee Oi heroes ‘On File”, then ourselves & finally Scotland’s punk rock n roll heavyweights ‘Control’, Summed up, “Taps Aff”!

TGQ – What’s next for Delinquents?

DH – Next for us? Probably take January till March off to write album number two. Make more pals, get drunk and just have fun. If next year is even half as good as this year, then we’ll be happy. The next step is probably to do more in Dundee. When we first started we did a few benefit shows and with being so busy we didn’t manage as many this year. We have applied for Nice and Sleazy Fest in Morecambe. Would be magic if Rebellion had us back too wouldn’t it?

TGQ – For those that can’t make the album launch gig in October, how do they get hold of your album?

DH – If you can’t make the launch, you can buy or stream the album digitally from 29th September or limited physical copies are available from ourselves or Violated Records website.

Thanks a million to David for taking the time out to talk to me. Looking forward to more from Delinquents in the future.

Delinquents – about last night

We interrupt our programme to bring you this important message” kicks off the first track of Delinquents debut album, About Last Night. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, the album is a thrill ride which, like any good ride, has you wanting to jump in and go again as soon as its finished.

I think I listened to the album 4 times straight when it first arrived – important message received loud and clear!

That first track has the punny title Control.Alt.Defeat and sets the pace for the first 3 tracks (and most of the album to be fair) which fly by!

I’m glad I didn’t misunderstand the meaning behind the next song, Acne. It totally comes across like a song inspired by teenage self-loathing (“I don’t wanna be like me, I don’t wanna see what everybody sees, Is it so hard to believe, that I – can’t – stand – ME”) that I’m sure many can relate to. Even if the older ones amongst us have trouble remembering that far back.

Then follow 3 of my favourite tracks on the album one after the other, but all different stylistically.

Not Your Problem is the fiercest track on the album musically and is gone in 50 seconds, leaving me wanting more, but having totally loved the in your face guitars, drums and vocals.

The intro to next track, Keep on Choking, is vaguely reminiscent of The Smiths “Girl Afraid” at the outset. The pace of the album is still kept up, but the ferocity toned down. The message behind the song is one that is close to my heart. Also, one of my reasons for starting the blog. I can totally relate to a lot of the words in the song. “I’ve been down this road before, I know the unfamiliar bumps” “I keep on choking every time, feel the weight of fear once again”.

The band goes acoustic for the next song, but the message isn’t toned down in any way. The Fuck You Song does what is says on the tin. It is a fuck you to anyone who criticises others. “Fuck you and everyone to do with you, fuck you and all your views”. A message to do what you want! You’ve only got one life, so live it the way you want.

Next up is the aforementioned Valentines Day. A straightforward message and punk rock romp, with a Cribs like feel on places through the track. In a similar theme to Acne, Never Gonna Fit In is an outsider anthem with a melodic punk guitar sound. Something to Prove is crammed full of classic big rock riffs with vocals coming on like Jake Burns

I was already familiar with the last 2 tracks thanks to Danny Mac and his Testifying Time Radio Show. Waste of Time with its singalong chorus and “woah-ohs”. And then the album closer. The Who had “My Generation”, Generation X had “Your Generation”. Delinquents have their “paean” to current Tory government, Next Generation. I think I know how they feel about the state of play “raise our middle fingers and say – fuck you”. (If you can’t wait for the album you can stream these tracks now on Spotify)

Having listened to the album several more than 4 times now, I can happily report that the “Next Generation” of punk is in safe hands with the likes of Delinquents.

Strung Out Nights EP reviews

 

Strung Out Nights is the brainchild of Fudgie McFadden (once of The Cherry Reds). Basically it is him and his acoustic guitar.

Fudgie: “I had written a song called Better Days when I was still in the Cherry Reds which at the time didn’t fit in with the sound and was also a song I didn’t feel comfortable playing live as it was very different and personal. But once I had left, I was inspired by the likes of The Homeless Gospel Choir, Pat The Bunny, Mischief Brew and Days N Daze to just say “f*ck it” and try out the acoustic thing.”

Strung Out Nights has just completed a series of gigs supporting Louise Distras. Also a slot on the Almost Acoustic stage at Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool.

Fudgie: “Rebellion was a great weekend, whilst I didn’t pull a massive audience I feel that I made a positive impression on those who caught the set. Also I got the chance to see some of my favourite bands and catch up with friends, I will definitely be going back next year, whether that’s as a performer or punter is yet to be seen haha”

Strung Out Nights next gig is at the Bellfield Tavern in Kilmarnock on 23rd September:

Fudgie: “The only upcoming gig I have is supporting the Three ‘n’ Eights at the Bellfield Tavern on the 23rd of September, but if you are interested just keep an eye on the Facebook page and all upcoming gigs will be announced there.”

Just because Strung Out Nights is an acoustic project doesn’t mean there is any less power to the songs. The attitude is still punk. After all did Don Letts not once say “punk is not mohawks and safety pins. It’s an attitude and a spirit”. While Fudgie may still have a mohawk under his hat, he certainly has the attitude and spirit to go with it.

World of Doubt EP

Tracks: Welcome to the Punk Show, Cautionary Tales, The Anarchists are too Strung Out (to Revolt), War Against War, All That I Need

National Mental Regression EP

Tracks: Riot, Better Days, Paradise, Wasters, Loners & Stoners & Misanthropic Drunken Loner.

Fudgie is a great storyteller and had me hooked,  listening to the stories and messages in the songs. Not necessarily in music style, but with the stories he tells, I’m reminded of Itch and the King Blues.

He certainly has something to say and that brings Billy Bragg to mind. The topics of the songs are varied.

From disaffected individualsThe Anarchists are too Strung Out (to Revolt) those who moan about the state of the world and who “sing for the revolution”. Ultimately though, they are too apathetic to do anything about it. And Riot “I’m sick and tired of hearing the same old things” where the individuals are prepared to take action and “break through the police lines”

To beautiful but gritty love songsAll That I Need is a beautiful song about love overcoming everything the world & Paradise “When I’m with you I’m in Paradise”.

A call to arms for all to come out to see live music – Welcome to the Punk Show kicks of the World of Doubt EP. A tale which begins with the protagonist sitting alone in their room “addicted to social media”. Then “coming out to the punk show” to “see the coolest bands you wouldn’t have heard about”, and “see the coolest people you would not have met”. A sentiment which I agree with!

Addiction and Death – Cautionary Tales is what the title says. It tells the story of someone who has spiralled into wasting their life. Addicted to alcohol and drugs and “acting like a hypocrite, something that you despise”. In the end they pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Protest songs – War Against War has a Crass like sentiment to it in the “Fight war not wars” vein.

Better Days – the song that started it all for Strung Out Nights & Wasters, Loners and Stoners where the storyteller is questioning himself “Cos I’m a waster, a loner, sometimes I wanna be stoner or maybe I’m just a poser, I don’t really know whats going on in my head” before turning the same message around on everyone else.

And a cover version of Days n Daze Misanthropic Drunken Loner thrown in for good measure.

If that’s what Strung Out Nights has to offer , I’m looking forward to what’s coming next.

If you want to buy physical copies of the EPs contact Strung Out Nights on Facebook or Wheelie Bin Records.

Both EPs are available to stream on Spotify.

Open in Spotify

Cud

Cud live in Glasgow! At long last, I’ve waited a long time for this one.

Judging by some of the folk I met tonight, I’m not the only one!

As folk started to take up their positions stage front, I got talking to a couple of other lone gig goers. Both were from Cud’s neck of the woods originally, Wakefield and Leeds to be precise. Like me they had both waited a long time for this. For Kirsty it was 26 years since she saw them last and for Mark it was going to be the first time he’d seen them. Boy was he in for a treat, well we all were!

It had been 1990 & ’91 since I’d seen Cud live. 1990 was in King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. 1991 was, coincidentally, having seen them only last week, at a Pixies gig. The fateful SECC gig which only lasted 3 songs before the stage collapsed. Cud had been great though (of course!)

Before Cud, it was local band Miss the Occupier. A band I haven’t come across before but have been around since 2004. Led by bass player/vocalist Roz Baynham, the band went down well with those arriving early. I found myself enjoying the set more and more as it went on. Some great songs that varied from alternative-pop (Blondie/Sleeperesque) through to punkier tunes with one song in particular having a heavy bass line reminiscent of “A Forest” era Cure. I shall be checking out their back catalogue.

Then it was Cud, and the Glasgow leg of their “Singles Tour”. Given the name of the tour, it was pretty much a given what the set list would be, so the anticipation was building for a great night.

The band took to the stage with Carl Puttnam resplendent in a peacock shirt, dark glasses, hair shorn at the sides and moustache and kicked off proceedings with 1988 single “Under My Hat”.

The band with original members Mike Dunphy and William Potter on guitars and bass and Gogs Byrn, drummer since 2012, were solid throughout (with a couple of minor false starts) forming the perfect foil for Carl’s rich and vibrant vocals.

As I said, for a singles tour it was obviously highlight after highlight. Hey! Wire, One Giant Love (specifically for me as it featured on the playlist at my wedding!) Slack Time – one of my favourite Cud songs. Magic was, well,  Magic and reminded me of nights in clubs like Fury Murrys pestering the DJs to play it. I mostly got told to f**k off, no-one would dance to it, to which my refrain was always “But I would!”

At one point Carl announced (tongue firmly in cheek) that Sauchiehall Street was his favourite street in Glasgow, perhaps even the world. Going on to have some banter with one punter who claimed to be the “Mrs McLay” who had been the landlady at a B&B the band had stayed in years ago. Cue much laughter when said punter responded that Carl was barred!

The “hits” kept coming with another of my personal favourites (and judging by the reaction for most of the crowd too). From amazing “concept” album “When in Rome, Kill Me” (check it out non-Cud believers), Only (a Prawn in Whitby) with everyone in the venue singing the refrain.

Exclusive! Apparently, the band will be going into the studio in the next couple of weeks. So Carl was keen to share! And that the next time they played they would have a new single to play. Don’t worry Carl – your secret is safe with me.

Rich & Strange, the bands biggest chart hit (Number 24 with a bullet!) followed the singalong of Through the Roof. Well, lets face it, every song was a singalong tonight. Interesting fact time from Carl! He sings the refrain “Rich and Strange” 34 times during the song. He then started to do the maths about how many times he’d ever sung it. The answer …….. I’m too old for this, infinity times. Oh and by the way the answer to the burning question from one member of the crowd who shall remain nameless. “Well are you?”(Rich and Strange). Carl – “Not even in the least”

After Carl took us high in his Purple Love Balloon, the main set was done, but of course we all knew it wasn’t over. They hadn’t played all their singles yet….

The band returned to play a rousing Robinson Crusoe and were joined onstage by an enthusiastic punter who I can only describe as a “Cud Bez”. Then into their final 2 songs. The storming covers of Lola (replacing cherry cola with local delicacy red kola) and Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing. Amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, just as we thought it was all over the band launched into one final treat. The brilliant “I’ve had it with Blondes”, with witty opening couplet “I was a teenage stamp collector, I’d lay on my back and you’d stamp on my face”. It had everyone bouncing one last time and singing every word back.

One other couplet in the song states “Let me say it one more time, Things get worse when you get old”. From one happy old man tonight I would have to say not on tonight’s evidence they don’t!

Carl left the stage promising they’d be back. I hope I’m not waiting another 26 years but for tonight at least, it was well worth the wait.

Thank you Cud!

Dead Hope – Songs from the Second Floor – Album and gig

DEAD HOPE
LIVE AT THE OLD HAIRDRESSERS

I ticked 2 new boxes last week.

I went to the Old Hairdressers for a gig for the first time (tick 1). That gig was by Dead Hope who were launching their debut album “Songs from the Second Floor” (tick 2).

I’d be promising Keith that I would go to see them every time they’ve played a gig. Unfortunately I had missed every one to date. Due to a prior engagement, I wasn’t sure if I’d make this one either. In the end, I got there in time to see the last few songs by support band, Curdle.

Curdle

As I arrived the band were just finishing “Love Butt”. A song about loving Dave Gahan but thinking he’s a bit of a dick. With Sid Vicious (the My Way scene from The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle) being projected behind the band, it was a good start to the evening’s entertainment.

I hadn’t heard Curdle but on the basis of the few songs I saw/heard, I’ve added them to my list of bands to investigate further. They are a 4 piece all female band, with a slightly goth look.

Their sound resembles the likes of Babes in Toyland, Hole and Pink Kross. Songs like “Give me Yr Phone Number” and “Your Body, My Head”, with its beautiful vocal melodies over fuzzy guitars and sparse drums followed. Their final song (with theremin for added eeriness) sealed the deal for me making a mental note to catch them live again.

For anyone who is at a loose end and looking for a gig to go to, they are playing the 13th Note on Saturday 19th. The gig also features with Strega Pez, Anna Secret Poet, Bratakus and MISC.MEAT.

There was no between band pint for me as I had the car. I took the opportunity just to enjoy some of the between band music including PiL and Fire Engines. A good soundtrack to enjoy before the headliners.

Dead Hope

As the band took to the stage Keith kept the Sid theme going with his Sid n Nancy t-shirt. Behind the band the movie “Gummo” was projected on the wall. A dystopian film following a group of nihilistic youths trying to fill their seemingly meaningless lives in a town devastated by a tornado. It made me reflect on where the link was with Dead Hope. (The band have used images from the movie on previous gig posters and videos). Perhaps the use of film is a reflection on the band’s name?

The band consists of Scott McCluskey on vocals and guitar, Andy Crone on bass and Keith Martin on drums/percussion. They are “influenced by Crass, Raymond Carver and Orson Welles”

For a 3 piece they create a great noise. Andy & Keith are a tight unit and play a powerful, melodic rhythm. This is overlaid by Scott with an array of aggressive, angular, distorted and fuzzy guitars, helped by a selection of fx pedals. His vocals are both at times melodic and aggressive sometimes within the same songs (Hate Both Sides). I knew a couple of the songs from tunes the band had released. Specifically Truth Be Told & Swordz, but the whole gig made me feel that I had known the band and songs forever. I found I was sucked in and lost in the music at times.

They have a timeless sound easily standing side by side with classic Sonic Youth  and The Fall. Albeit with a more tuneful singer! At times they  reminded me of gigs I went to in the 90’s by the likes of Glasgow band Urusei Yatsura and their ilk.

In all, a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. I left the sweatbox that The Old Hairdressers had become, with a copy of their album “Songs from the Second Floor” in my sticky mitt. As I walked to the car I hoped that I would have an opportunity to repeat the experience in the not too distant future.

Dead Hope
“Songs from the Second Floor” album

I jumped into the car after the gig and popped the album straight onto the CD player. Where I should add it has been a permanent fixture since.

Much like the bands varied musical, film and literary influences mentioned above, the album title also has a cultural reference. This time to Swedish movie of the same name. A surreal series of unrelated bleak tales which point to the often futility and at times horror of modern life. On a lighter note, it also references the bands rehearsal space which is on the second floor.

The album art features a stark black and white image from acclaimed photographer Ed Kashi. It depicts a crowd of youths jumping over a pile of burning junk on wasteground.

This is a band that has clearly thought about what it wants to say. Not only in terms of the music but in the imagery it uses to link to the music. “The devil is in the detail” (Pigs)

It is hard for me to pick out highlights. The album delivers from start to finish and has plenty of great tunes, hooks and lyrics throughout.

From the opener Pigs kicking off with its driving bass and featuring the first line  “Would it be alright, to burn you all alive”. All the way through to energetic closer Swordz I was drawn in. As that song closed, I pressed play again to start from the beginning.

The album never disappointed me. After Pigs comes Thieves and Vultures with its choppy guitar line and vocals delivered in almost staccato style. Truth Be Told, the most familiar track on the album for me, is a stand out. Not only on the album, but also stands head and shoulders above many other releases by established bands over the past few years. I particularly like the line “the pointless conversation became my inspiration for everything”. This speaks to me of not accepting the norm and doing something about it.

Freaks, where Scott spits out the lyrics with vitriol and I really believe him. Hate Both Sides which starts off melodic but the refrain is delivered with fury. By the time Name the Saints comes round, I’m disappointed that there are only 2 tracks left on the album.

Album closer Swordz includes the lines “So this is it, this is your final test” and “there’s no point to prove”.

In my humble opinion, Dead Hope have proved their point. They have passed the test with flying colours. “Hope” is certainly not “Dead” for this band. I hope to hear much more from them in the future.

That’s my opinion. Its time for you to make up your own mind. Have a listen to Truth Be Told and see what you think yourselves (link in the sidebar). I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Then buy the album!

It is now available to buy physically and digitally from Bandcamp.com . I’ve shared links to this and the band’s facebook page.

Music is My Escape – using music as a coping strategy

Music is my Escape……..I posted this image on Facebook some time ago. However, I only recently took some time to really think about what this means to me. Mainly in terms of music being one of my “strategies” to deal with anxiety/depression.

I know there are many people who have different ways of dealing with their own mental health. Music isn’t something that helps everyone, but for me it is important.

I’m in a good place thanks to strategies I have in place. That includes using this blog as kind of a therapy. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for some time. Music has been a constant as a crutch/fall-back option for me. Music soundtracks my life.

If I think back to when I was a teenager, I remember sitting in my room listening to music and getting totally caught up in it. Just as the quote in the picture states, I was escaping into another world where it was just me and the music. I know for sure that I’m not the only person to have done this. I listened, analysed lyrics and studied album sleeves for hours on end. Depending on my mood, some songs seemed to have been written especially for me. Different songs took me to different places.

Now, all those years later, music can still have the same effect on me. I can be at a crowded gig and completely lose myself. Even at a gig in a massive venue, I can forget I’m surrounded by thousands of people. I can happily go to a gig on my own and blend in to the background just enjoying the music. Feeling the bass go through my whole body. Taking in the whole experience – the lighting, what the band are up to on stage. Even closing my eyes and just listening and feeling the music. For that hour or 2 nothing else matters. There is no outside world, everything that matters is in that one time and place.

As I’m sure others can relate to, there are different songs or bands I go to in certain situations. Just listening to these particular songs or bands can take me to a specific time or place in my past. These memories can be really vivid and I can remember the intricate details.  What I remember seeing, the sounds and even smells and I’m right back there in the situation. I also have music I listen to for when I’m angry. Music for when I’m sad. Music for when I’m happy……

Yes, music is my escape.

Music is my escape – am I running away?

But are there any drawbacks to that statement too? Could there be any negative connotations of escaping into music?

Well, the point I just made above for a start. There is a potential danger in me dwelling on times past rather than the present. Yes, it is good for me to use music and memories as an anchor to bring my mood back. I do understand I need to ensure that is exactly what I do. If I was to get constantly drawn back to these memories, there is the possibility of getting fooled into thinking that the grass was greener then. That can have the impact of worsening any current situation.

Then there is the very definition of escape – running away. Escaping into music could be me running away from issues and not confronting them. The old fight or flight adage. Do I face my anxieties and deal with them or do I “run”? Do I try to block them out with music, to some extent almost wallowing in them and let the anxiety win? Fortunately, I know I have the ability to face my anxieties and deal with them. Using music is one of the tools that helps me to level the playing field. Getting me in the right mind-set to deal with them and take the right actions.

I am still confronted by my social anxiety from time to time. I mentioned earlier that I don’t mind going to see bands on my own as I can get “lost” in the music anyway. On occasion though, I can get dragged into overthinking situations. That can spoil my enjoyment of the whole gig (or other social situation).

I’ve known me to be at gigs and see someone I know, but instead of rushing over to say hello, I’ll try to avoid them. I’ll worry overly about what I’ll say to them if they come and talk to me. I convince myself that I’ve lost the ability to be spontaneous or converse. Instead of relaxing and enjoying the gig, I can almost forget that there is even a band on. I can end up analysing the situation in my head and trying to plan what any potential conversation will be like. I can also convince myself that I don’t need to talk to them as they are deep in conversation with someone else and won’t want to talk to me. In extreme circumstances, I’ll make excuses not to go to an event at all.

It is not that I don’t want to speak to people. I’m a sociable person and I love being in company and having a good night out. However, in the situations I described, I have got to the stage where I’ve told myself I’m going to open my mouth and say something stupid. Then I’d beat myself up for hours having convinced myself that whoever I’ve spoken to thinks I’m a complete arse. I can say with some confidence now, that is totally irrational and I know it comes from a perspective built from core beliefs that were developed years ago. These are often mostly dormant, but then when the right (or should I say wrong) set of circumstances arise from time to time, they can reveal themselves and shade my view of things.

Plato – Music gives soul to the universe

To end on a positive note, I know that personally I am in a good place to deal with these circumstances & anxieties. I believe over time and with the right support, I have currently built up better self-awareness and a tool box of strategies. I’m able to see the warning signs of these situations happening and use the right tools to turn things around and confront what is going on.

I may have made that sound too simple but I know from experience it isn’t. One of that the hardest things is to realise when you need help and to find the right person to talk to. To open up to about how you are feeling. I know that the people closest to you are often the hardest to talk to as you may feeling you are letting them down (you’re not). Or you don’t want to burden them with your issues (you aren’t).

I do find it easier to talk to someone who is disassociated from your own situation and you know won’t judge you. Once you have made that initial step and you allow yourself to accept that you aren’t stupid, you aren’t weak and you aren’t letting people down, you can then work on taking the next steps to help you deal with whatever the situation happens to be.

So, YES, music is a great form of escape for me. It is one of the ways I can positively change my mood to help me deal with the situations life throws at you.

Can you think too much?

There is a Night that Never Goes Out…..

I had a catch up with an old friend the other day. I say “old” friend as it was only when we talked we realised just how long we’d known each other! That friend is Robert Winning and when we spoke we realised it must have been about 26 years ago when we first met.

It was 1991 and I’d been to see Morrissey at the Caird Hall in Dundee. The gig had finished early after around an hour as Morrissey was losing his voice. He was due to be playing the following night at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. Obviously there was a concern that it might not happen. I remember I was working close by the concert hall that day, so nipped out in my lunch hour to see what was happening. The number of despondent looking be-quaffed individuals sitting on the concert hall steps at the top of Buchanan Street, one of whom was Robert, told me all I needed to know. Sure enough, the gig was cancelled!

I don’t remember if that was exactly the first time we’d met. We did meet often in King Tuts and that had opened its doors the previous year, however, it is a day that remains in my memory.

The cancelled gig was rescheduled in the July of that year, and when it did go ahead, I seem to remember Frisbees, cigarettes and maybe even a red pullover, being thrown towards the stage during “Mute Witness” & “Our Frank” and also memorable for some brave soul jumping from the balcony onto the stage at one point!

However, Robert remembers the original cancelled date as being one he remembered for meeting “so many people that are still part of my life to this day”.

I wanted to ask Robert about his Strangeways Nights, how they had started and what led him to his latest venture – “There is a Night that Never Goes Out”.

Disclaimer – The following is taken from some notes I took during a telephone conversation with Robert. It is as accurate as I can decipher from my notes. I made a mental note to myself that if I’m going to make a success of this blog I need to get better at taking notes or record the conversations!

I asked Robert what made him start running the Strangeways nights and Facebook group?

“Probably the reason was that over a long period I had met a lot of people, become good friends with them and enjoyed their company. However, there had never really been anything that had brought everyone together. I had an idea of what I wanted to do in my head for so long. Then in 2010 got offered a night almost adhoc in The Flying Duck. There were a couple of bands playing and they wanted to do something different afterwards. I said we’d do it, a Smiths night and it was massive for us, set us up to do so many more nights over the next 8 years.”

The first “official” Strangeways Night followed the next year.

“I got talking to Dave (Ross), he was exceedingly supportive and always has been about good ideas for nights like Strangeways. He was running the Black Sparrow Pub and we used the basement which held about 80 people. We wanted to create a night that was special to the people that went to it – like Blow Up in London, Divine! In Glasgow, like Blitz was to the people who went there.”

“In 2013, the Strangeways Nights moved to Heavenly, a vegan café/bar owned by friends. Dave had left the Black Sparrow and we wanted the club night to stay with friends. The club had turned into a night with an increasing number punters wanting to pay and queue to get in!”

Ultimately, the night moved to the Admiral Bar (again – the Dave Ross factor), due to the popularity of the night and to accommodate the size it had become.

I’d been at a few of the nights myself, and I’d seen first-hand how popular they were, I also knew that people made a special effort to attend. I asked Robert about this….

“People come from all over to the nights, Manchester, London, all over England and Ireland too. People arranged weekends to come and see friends and specifically come to the nights. Probably at one point there were more people coming from outwith Glasgow than people that actually lived here” 

“The furthest someone has come for a night is from Chile. Ok, they didn’t come just for Strangeways, but made sure that their trip to Glasgow coincided with the night!”

Having run the Strangeways club night and Facebook group for so long, I asked Robert if he had any memories that stood out.

“All the nights are special and it is always good to see folk there that keep coming back. There are a hardcore of about 30 people who are always there and are unwavering in their support – they know who they are”

 “In terms of specific things that stick out, there are a few. In 2011, we hired a bus and did 5 dates on that Morrissey tour. It was a time I’ll always remember, touring around with people from all over the world to go and see Morrissey.”

 “One Strangeways Night stands out for perhaps the wrong reasons. It was in Heavenly and they were selling White Russians for £2. However the bar staff didn’t really know how to make them and the measures were much larger than they should have been. It must have cost the pub a fortune as everyone ended up drinking them and everyone ended up hammered. It was messy!” 

“The other thing that sticks in my memory is what we call the “Strangeways Chorus”. On every night we run, when it gets to around 11pm/ midnight, everyone starts singing along to the songs. You can turn the music off, and we do, and everyone continues to sing. That’s pretty amazing to see.”

 “Of course, I couldn’t do the nights without the support of Hugh Haggerty and Carlo Zanotti. Carlo is the brains behind the operation, he designs all the posters and logos!”

After 8 years of running Strangeways nights, which have mainly focussed on the music of The Smiths and Morrissey, you’ve decided to “retire” these nights for the time being. What is the reason behind this?

“It was becoming harder and harder to be creative while doing the same thing, playing the same songs, and the more we did the less special they felt.

 “When you are playing the same records all the time, the magic begins to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Morrissey & The Smiths but I’d like to think I have a fairly decent record collection that is more than just those records!”

 “From my own personal perspective, I wanted to play more & different records. I want to keep it fresh”

Many thanks go out to Robert for taking the time out to talk to me. All the information you need to know for “There is a Night….” is below and obviously also on the Strangeways group Facebook page (which you’ll find a link to in the sidebar).

I’ll leave you with some some final comments from Robert:

“There are some great club nights in Glasgow, like Optimo & Divine, but I don’t think there is anyone that does a night like Strangeways/There is a Night, that has a real sense of community as well as just playing great music – plus Dave (Ross) always says we have the friendliest punters!”

So are Strangeways nights no more?

“If you notice the night is called Strangeways presents, so no we’ve not left it totally behind and we may have some special Strangeways nights in the future”

Watch this space!

There is a Night that Never Goes Out – 26th Aug 2017

“After a sell out and successful night in May the Team behind Strangeways are getting together to throw another “There is a night that never goes out …” party. 

 Saturday 26th of August at the Admiral Bar Glasgow 

 The focus on the night will be 80’s and early 90’s alternative music. Think of every cool 80s film and your half way there. 

Guest DJ for the night will be Gavin (Camera Obscura/ Sunny Govan Radio) Dunbar 

Expect to hear music from:

The Jam, Depeche Mode, The Specials , New Order, The Jesus and Mary Chain , OMD, Haircut 100, Orange Juice, The Cure, Joy Division, The Wedding Present, The Pastels, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Duran Duran, The Pixies, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Violent Femmes, Simple Minds, The Go Betweens and many more.

The night is non profit, all money raised will be going to the Starter Packs charity. In addition all money raised will be matched by Barclays Bank. 

 Tickets available here …

http://www.wegottickets.com/event/411601

 We hope you enjoyed the last one and want to come back for more”