Duncan Reid & the Big Heads – Glasgow preview

Duncan Reid & the Big Heads – Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow 6th October 2017

Duncan Reid returns to Glasgow with his Big Heads this October to play a hotly anticipated gig. I say hotly anticipated as anyone who has seen the band play before will know that those with a ticket for this are in for a treat.

Last year they played in Audio with support from Heavy Drapes and The Media Whores and, in my opinion, was one of the top gig of 2016. Apologies for anyone who has read previous blog posts, I may have mentioned this several times…

Anyway, that night saw 3 sterling sets, each band was totally on form. Duncan Reid & the Big Heads provided a masterclass in entertainment – they had it all – the tunes, the songs, the banter and so much energy!

This year, the support comes from 3 Minute Heroes and, once again, Heavy Drapes.

Duncan was good enough to take some time out to answer some questions in advance of the gig. You can find this interview further down the post.

But first, the man responsible for bringing the band back to Glasgow is promoter and all round good guy, Alex “Mainy” Main. I caught up with him to find out more about his experiences in gig promotion.

Alex “Mainy” Main – Interview

You promoted last year’s Duncan Reid & the Big Heads gig (one of THE gigs of 2016 – have I ever mentioned that before?) and you are promoting their Glasgow gig this year too.

As a music fan, I love going to gigs. I would love to go to more (better hope my wife isn’t reading this) but work and family commitments don’t always allow. I like to support the effort the bands make to get their music “out there”. I’ve been to plenty of gigs that have been packed. However, I’ve also been to some (too many) that have had amazing bands playing, but only a handful of people have turned up.

I don’t know if a lot of people put much thought into the work that goes in to promoting and putting on a gig. I thought it would be interesting to get another angle on gig experiences and what it takes to make it happen for us, the punters.

thegingerquiff: How did you get into gig promotion?

Mainy: I have no idea. It feels silly saying that out loud, but I really don’t. There is no one moment that stands out as a beginning. I just drifted into it from the position of being a music fan.

One day you are doing the door for a mate in a band and the next you are the one putting the show on yourself. Then there is a point you lift your head up and five gigs are under your belt and people are calling you a promoter.

It was evolutionary in so many ways. One thing was just the catalyst for the next. Before I promoted any shows I was writing for other people’s fanzines, and then putting out my own, doing the door at gigs for friends and touring bands, sometimes doing the merch.

Then people started to get to know me and at some point someone must have approached me to put a show on and I said yes and that was it. No great mystery or entertaining rock and roll story to it. Rather mundane really.

It wasn’t a result of coming out of a college course on it all as so many seem to know, (Equally mundane) and there’s no one person that I learnt the ropes from either. (Possibly exciting)

I’m a drifter, the proverbially jack of all trades, but master of none.

tgq: Well to me it looks like you are master of several. Probably a stupid question based on what you’ve just said about things being a blur, but what was the first gig you were involved in promoting?

M: That’s a tough one as it’s all sort of lost in the mists of time. I was involved in a 4 Past Midnight gig in Nice and Sleazy (Glasgow) and that could lay claim to being the springboard I jumped from.

It wasn’t my show, but it allowed me to see the process at play. I honestly can’t recall the first solo promoted gig at all. It’s part of that drifting process. I have a dim memory of being contacted and asked for the name of Glasgow promoters and when no one was biting to put the band on I did it myself as I wanted to see them. That’s a common theme across the years. When no one else has been interested then I have done it. Not a great business philosophy.

tgq: It must be a great feeling when you sell out a gig you have been involved in promoting or hear people raving about it. What are the most memorable gigs you have promoted?

M: When people don’t just have a good time, but rave about it being the best time. Thats when a gig becomes very emotionally rewarding.

I had a show in Kilmarnock with Mike Peters (The Alarm) and there was a point when he walked into the middle of the crowd with his guitar and microphone and sang with everyone surrounding him. The atmosphere was electric and the people who were there certainly experienced something magical.

That stands out, but there are so many more. The Damned Damned Damned gig with Brian James and Rat Scabies was as raw as a gig can be, but the fire and passion from the band and the people attending made it something very special. Hurray for the Riff Raff, All the Eureka Machines gigs I have been involved in, Duncan Reid that you have mentioned.

I’m now concerned that I will miss someone out. So much water under the bridge and I know I will be thinking later about this one or that one.

tgq: I’m glad you mentioned that Duncan Reid gig and I’m sure you can be forgiven for missing someone, as you said, you’ve been involved in loads.

Thinking about any personal experiences, what is the impact on a you or promoters in general and bands when there are only a handful of people turning up?

M: The impact can’t really be measured. It ranges from the financial to the emotional.

Both my partner and I had a show that we lost over a thousand pounds on. The finger of blame couldn’t be pointed at the artist, or the venue, and of course we picked over our involvement. To be frank we did everything we could have done too. All the boxes were ticked off. It was just one of those things, but I needed bailed out to make sure everyone got their agreed fees. Then I had a few weeks of living like a hermit and existing on supermarket brand spaghetti hoops until I could get back on my knees.

I would be exaggerating to say back on my feet. I wouldn’t wish that sort of experience on my worst enemy. Well maybe the most deserving. It’s not like a month of spaghetti hoops will kill them.

That’s an extreme example of course, but often everyone is just looking to break even. Losses are common. There’s no money in it unless corners are cut and artists are being abused. Very often it is a ‘one gig to the next’ survival course and while I take my hat off to those who do it I also think we are all probably mentally ill too. It’s madness.

As for the artists, the finances are what cover getting them from one venue to another. It puts fuel in the van and food in their mouths. If only a handful of people turn up at a show then that makes their lives very difficult. Bands that are doing the circuit at club level are never ever living the high life. It’s an ongoing struggle for them.

On the emotional level it can be heartbreaking for the promoter if you are invested in the gig. The artists are people you respect and like. If it’s not purely business then it is horrible. Just indescribably horrible to look about you and count the people attending on the fingers of one hand. Especially when you know it has no reflection on the talent of the people performing.

And who knows how difficult it is emotionally for the bands and solo artists themselves. The head down and lets get on with it attitude that gets people up on a stage to entertain an audience, no matter how small, can’t be understated. They are all heroes in my book.

tgq: So there you go folks, if you want to ensure Mainy can avoid spaghetti hoops for dinner, get your finger out and buy your Duncan Reid tickets. And while you’re at it have a look and see what other gigs you can get along too.

On a more serious note thought, I know recently your posters have been going missing and re-appearing on e-bay (don’t buy these people – if you want one – contact Mainy or get one from him at the gig). This is obviously a pitfall, but what are the other pitfalls of promoting live music?

Oh, don’t get me started about that. Anyone stealing posters is a problem, as is the simply removing them to be replaced with a poster for another show.

What they are really doing is limiting the reach of the advertising. It’s all brutally cut throat. You hear people talk about unity in the music world, but there is very little of it in reality. Most of the pitfalls come down to other people and their actions. The lack of a communally supportive approach is a serious problem. Very few want to help others out. It’s a selfish business from top to bottom.

It’s not really that complicated a concept to grasp that if people want a better and more vibrant scene then help, and don’t hinder. Don’t take a poster down; don’t replace it with your own when there is space for it elsewhere.

Little things like that do matter.

So yeah, now that I have got that off my chest I suppose I could list other pitfalls, but they are so wide and varied that this would become an essay.

Some you have no control over such as a venue double booking a night. Others are unavoidable, for instance you could have a gig booked for months, a mid-level rock band. Two weeks before your date a well known band in the same genre is announced for the same night. There’s not a lot that can be done about that. You can’t forward plan to avoid things that come out of left field.

Then there are the problems that you can avoid. For those it’s just a matter of common sense being applied. Independent promoters, good ones, are probably all fantastic at problem solving on their feet. You never know what is coming next.

tgq: What advice would you give someone who was considering promoting live music?

M: It’s probably twofold. First is that if you are considering independently promoting gigs as something that will provide an income that will pay the bills then don’t. It’s that simple. Go and work for a promotion company rather than do it on your own. Or just do something else, anything else.

Maybe one day if you can secure a job with an established company then contacts will be built up to make it worthwhile, but in general it isn’t something that will keep a roof over anyone’s head. Like artist the success rate is minute and the failure rate is huge.

But if it is something that you need to do, your passion, then look about and do a bit of research and copy what works. Ditch what doesn’t, streamline what has come before.

And don’t over extend yourself (I’ve been there). Always treat people with respect of course. Always pay what you owe, and enjoy the highs as there will be lows. Oh, and start working on a thick skin too.

That thick skin is essential.

STOP PRESS:

M: I gone did one of those dang interview things about promoting last night.

I missed a bit out about word of mouth promotion. You can’t buy it and it’s the best. So tell someone about the Duncan Reid gig today.

If you are attending tell anyone you think might like it too. If you’re not coming along that’s fine, but be that proactive lover of ye oldie good times and do tell someone who you think would love it, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?

Spread the word far and wide, shout it from the rooftops, whisper it in an ear, slide it in a note across your desk and wink at the guy from accounts at the same time, ask not what Duncan can do for you, but what you can do for Duncan.

 

Some great advice and wise words there. Many thanks to Mainy for his time. I’d recommend you look up his interesting blog too, Reservoir Droogs and its associated facebook page.

Thats the thoughts of the promoter. What about what we can expect from the headline act?

 

Duncan Reid was kind enough to spare some time to answer some questions about his background in music and what we can expect from the band.

Duncan Reid

Originally a member of first wave of punk band, The Boys. Bass player Duncan “Kid” Reid along with fellow band members Matt Dangerfield, Casino Steel, Honest John Plain & Jack Black released a series of punk/power anthems in the shape of I Don’t Care, First Time (with Reid on vocals) & Brickfield Nights. The band released albums spanning the years 77 – 81.

Reid now has had 3 albums under his belt now under his own moniker. (With the 2nd and 3rd albums adding The Big Heads.)

All three albums are packed full of power pop anthems, effervescent tunes, captivating stories & thoughtful lyrics. Debut solo effort “Little Big Head” (2012) 2014’s “Difficult Second Album” (believe me it is far from difficult to listen to) and latest album “Bombs Away” (2017) featuring topical title track “Bombs Away”.

Live, the songs take on an added vibrancy and zeal. I’ve seen much younger bands with about as much get up and go as roadkill. Duncan Reid and the Big Heads ooze charisma.

tgq: So Duncan, you were there from the start of punk as a member of The Boys, what are your stand out memories from that time?

DR: So many to mention! Drinking with Joe Strummer at Dingwalls. He was so interested in everyone. In fact, most of the memories involved alcohol!

Playing in Paris for the first time to the select band of about 20 punks who lived there. It was a small club of people in the know at the time.

A general feeling of danger. Punk produced great feelings of anger in the long haired public. They were threatened and often reacted angrily.

tgq: I’d love to be able to say I had a drink with the mighty Joe Strummer.  I’ll buy you a pint on the 6th then I can say I had a drink with the legend that is Duncan Reid.

How would you compare that time to the music scene now?

DR: It was a time of change.

It was new whereas now tends to be more of a nostalgia trip looking back. Then we were looking forward for the next new thing.

tgq: I mentioned earlier The Boys released some classic tracks in their time – what are your personal favourite Boys songs and why?

DR: The two ultimate classics are First Time and Brickfield Nights. Great songs.

I’m very proud to have sung First Time as it’s one of the best songs ever. I can say that as I didn’t write it!

Can’t disagree there, and it feels like a good excuse to leave this here:

tgq: Your name in The Boys was “Kid” Reid, you’ve have held on your youthful good looks – what does the picture in your attic look like?

DR: Dreadful!

People ask me the secret of my young looks. I say it’s down to my diet of recreational drugs and chocolate!

tgq: This is a bit of a Smash Hits question . You have very unique and suave sense of style – why the colour scheme?

DR: To be different! I like black but so does everyone else.

I like looking at people who have their own style so try to provide the same service to everyone else.

Tgq: And a great style it is too. You are a great storyteller in your songs and lyrics – where do you get your inspiration to write from?

DR: My own life and things I come across. It’s quite a common source for songwriters. After all, what do we all know the most about? Our own lives is the answer.

tgq: Absolutely.

You and the band put everything into your live performances, last year’s gig in Audio was one of my favourite gigs of 2016, and you have a knack of drawing in and involving your audiences. It appears you are really enjoying the performances yourselves too. Tell me more about the Duncan Reid live experience.

DR: As you say it’s energetic.

We try to be the most lively, tuneful, and best looking band in existence and, of course, exceed all our targets on all fronts!

Lately we’ve been playing for hours. We play all the songs we know then start playing ones we don’t know. It gets interesting!

tgq: You’ve released 3 tremendous albums now as Duncan Reid/Duncan Reid & the Big Heads. Do you have any favourite songs across these albums?

DR: I think Bombs Away is one of the best things I’ve been involved with. It’s up there with First Time.

My favourite tends to change every day as all the songs are so brilliant!

What’s next for the band (obviously one highlight will be October 6th in Nice n Sleazy and it will be hard to beat)?

DR: Of course.

We carry on touring and are thinking of a live album which many people have asked for as we are quite different live to on record. Far more raw.

So there you have it – if you want a night with the most lively, tuneful and best looking (not to mention nattily attired) bands around today get yourselves along to a Duncan Reid & The Big Heads and don’t plan on getting home early

Make sure you are there in plenty of time on the 6th of October to catch all three bands. Show your support for live music and local bands

 

The Media Whores – Mercury prize nominees for Dangerous Minds

Who are The Media Whores?

The Media Whores are a Falkirk based “political power pop punk” band (description courtesy of Vive Le Rock) who have now have three albums to their name.

  • Debut “Starfishing”
  • 2013’s “Pornophonica” (9/10 in Vive Le Rock)
  • and latest release “Dangerous Minds” (2016) (again 9/10 in Vive Le Rock) and was also long-listed for the Mercury Music Prize.

Although Dangerous Minds has been out for a while now, it seemed like a good time to catch up with the band following the Mercury long-listing.

Media Whores at the 100 Club – photo courtesy of MWHQ

Band members are:

Craig A – vocals & rhythm guitar
Doogie Mackie – bass guitar & backing vocs
Martyn Heath – lead guitar & backing vocs
Andy Russell – drums

Recent shows

The Media Whores have been prominent and noticeably busy since the album release. This included playing alongside an impressive list of bands on landmark gigs and tours. Read ’em and weep:

  • The Damned’s 40th anniversary show at the ABC in November 2016.
  • a run of dates with Big Country marking the 30th anniversary of their album ‘The Seer’.
  • supports with Blue Aeroplanes and The Godfathers,
  • playing for the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day at Europa Records, Stirling.
  • Eddie and the Hot Rods, including at the legendary 100 Club, marking the 40th anniversary of ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’.
  • supported Stiff Little Fingers on their 40th anniversary date in Scotland during the Edinburgh festival.
  • some gigs with the re-formed Valves.
  • and a recent run of gigs with Ruts DC, including the 40th anniversary of their first gig!

Ally: All this and a line up change in March 2017. We changed guitarists with Jimbo MacKellar leaving and Martyn Heath coming in. Martyn’s first gig was the Record Store Day gig in Europa Music, Stirling.

It would be amiss not to thank Jimbo for his sterling efforts, drama and entertainment!

political post-punk with a conscience

In my questions to the band I described them as “political post-punk with a conscience”. This was a result of and reflection on the subject matter covered in their songs.

Take just a handful of songs from latest album Dangerous Minds. Subjects here include protest songs against fracking (“Frack Off“), to bemoaning the growth of online relationships on “Computer Love Affair” commenting that they

“deconstruct real relationships and drive(s) social ineptitude for many people”.

Police corruption in “Raking it In” and on “Black Widow” a “vitriolic swipe” directed at successive Tory governments and their

“privatisation of the NHS, the Post office and begs the question “how come these things are all decided by minority cowboys that I don’t vote for” “.

(Quotes above all from Craig)

The band have also covered mental health issues in their songs – these have been influenced by very personal situations.

Ally:  “Like most people we have been affected directly and indirectly with mental health.

We lost 2 friends in quick succession to suicide and one is referenced in the song “Vinyl Head” on Dangerous Minds. It is essentially a song about the love of vinyl and record shops, but also a love of love and one line references a lost friend.

Craig A is the lyricist for all apart from ‘Skinny’ which I am immensely proud to have co-written. It is about eating disorders, depression, anxiety, size zero, photo-shopping, body-shaming. The full range of both female and males depression and anxiety, and specifically eating disorders.

If, like me, you like your music not only with great tunes but also thoughtful lyrics and topical subject matter then Dangerous Minds is the album for you.

I urge you to go and buy a copy, but not just yet…

I have been in touch with the band’s manager, Ally, recently. He arranged for Craig and Doogie to answer some questions for thegingerquiff.

Thanks to Craig and Doogie for taking the time out to answer these and to Ally for organising, providing photos and background and also answering some questions!

MERCURY MUSIC LONG-LIST

thegingerquiff: You have been around now for nearly 10 years and are 3 albums in. How does it feel to finally have some wider recognition and have “Dangerous Minds” long-listed for the Mercury Music prize?

Craig A: It feels fantastic, we are very proud of the Dangerous Minds album and of the Mercury nomination. (We are) very happy that this gives our work wider recognition throughout the music industry;  and introduces the Media Whores to a wider audience.

Our previous albums have always been well received and have received excellent reviews from the music industry (Pornophonica and Dangerous Minds were both 9/10 in Vive Le Rock). This type of press really helps us communicate with an audience and ultimately helps sell our records and fills up our shows.

Doogie: That’s 9 years we have been together and suppose it is a form of recognition for a stand out album in this current time although the long list is better than the short list.

tgq: It doesn’t make sense to me that the likes of Ed Sheeran made the short-list. I don’t think that is in the spirit of the award. (In terms of artists getting exposure and a monetary prize to give them a step up to the next level). What are your thoughts on the short-list?

Craig – It is a real honour (and objective recognition of our music, our lyrical content and our attitude) to be nominated. Music is such a subjective medium and is a very competitive industry. The short list is what it is – the opinion of a panel of judges as to what they consider to be worthy of the short list.

You have to be in it to win it and we were in it (up to a point). Good luck to those who made the shortlist and good luck to the winner. It will help their career and raise their profiles in a crowded marketplace.

Doogie: It’s what we expected. It’s all too safe and comfortable. The industry doesn’t like a change but it needs one again and has for a long time. There are so many people that are fed the music and just go with the flow.

Ally: We felt the album, with the lyrics, tunes, sound, artwork, everything about it, may have been left field enough to pique the judges attention.

One of the start points of our thought process, during the recording when thinking about titles and art, was the now rightly maligned NME running a piece saying there was no protest music or politics in music any more. Well there clearly is, in the underground, outwith their metropolitan bubble and cliques of what is hip this year!

However, the shortlist felt entirely predictable, safe and mainstream but also not genre or regional representative. I mean 5 finalists from not only London, but South London!!

Ed Sheeran does not need the exposure or even the cheque that the award generates, but I hear he does support many issues, including mental health issues, which we all should support.

However, no-one can ever lose sight of the fact that the world needs guitars, bass and drums and machines that kill fascists!

tgq: I couldn’t agree more. You make a valid point about Ed Sheeran and what he does outwith the public eye. He certainly seems like a genuine bloke. It would be a boring world if everyone had the same tastes.

However, it does definitely seem that due to the subjectivity of whoever was on the judging panel, there was an uneven distribution in the short list.

In my opinion, Dangerous Minds shoulda been a contender!

MEDIA WHORES background

tgq: I know we are focussing on the present and the Dangerous Minds album, but lets go back a wee bit. What was your inspiration for starting the band? Give me a bit of insight into your progression over the years?

Craig: As a music fan, the inspiration for starting a band was always lodged within the creative process and the opportunity to perform your original music to people. Being in a band is great fun; it allows you to travel, to see new places, to gather life experiences and to meet new and like-minded people. Music is for life and not just for Xmas.

The progression has been incremental and since the release of Dangerous Minds in 2016 we have had honour of sharing the stage with some of our heroes – Damned, SLF, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Theatre of Hate, Spear of Destiny & Ruts DC, as well as having the opportunity to play the album in its entirety from start to finish as it was conceived at packed out album launches in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Doogie: We have all been in numerous bands over the years, some of us together at different times and some attaining more success than others. With this camaraderie we knew this would be worthwhile in making music.

MEDIA WHORES INSPIRATION

tgq: Dangerous Minds (along with your previous releases) is a thought-provoking album with many potentially controversial topics being covered. These topics include, as mentioned earlier, mental health which is a subject close to my heart.

The album could be described as intelligent post-punk with a conscience. Obviously you take a lot of inspiration from issues of the day. Tell me more about writing the album/songs?

Craig: Can’t Say Whore (on the radio) …. fuelled by frustration and the band have had some resistance from the “DJ” gatekeepers on mainstream radio – Galloway, Gelalty et al, ….. playing  the same 20 manufactured insipid pop  songs, beamed out from hypocrisy central, on sickening repeat.

The DJ community are quite happy to popularise misogyny and sexual exploitation of women but won’t play a song by “The Media Whores”, which ironically has no sexual connotation whatsoever.

Zombies in Mayfair….dedicated to the corporation sluts with their eyes glued shut…… Big business “wants to own the machine and it wants to own the vaccine” – generating wealth from the sickness, exclusion and misery of the vast majority of this “great” Britain.

Do You Think I Am Lying?….The centre for social justice and the assessment criteria of the Welfare reform act, fit for work decision-making, entitlement to disability benefits and the institutional bias that everyone is “at it”  come under fire in this acerbic piece of tribal warfare.

Doogie: As you say there is an inspiration from issues of the day, these can be from either what’s going on in our country or all around the world. We see and hear about all issues everywhere worldwide.

We know you can write songs about anything and everything but we have seen bands and played with bands who aren’t saying anything at all. They would be as well singing the wheels on the bus go round and round!

Yes, I think I’ve seen some of those bands….

media Whores live

tgq: I’ve seen you live on a few occasions. You were part of the line-up that was my gig of the year for last year. (with Duncan Reid and the Big Heads and Heavy Drapes in Audio).

Media Whores live – La Belle Angele – 16th Sept 2017. Photo courtesy of Gary Alexander photography

You’ve also just completed a string of dates with Ruts DC. The feedback I’ve heard is that both bands were on fire.

How did you enjoy playing with them and how did the opportunity come about?

Craig: It was fantastic, an awe-inspiring experience. Ruts DC are lovely people and we were treated really well and received excellent audience reactions. NB Thanks for the wine Segs – pity I dropped it.

Doogie: We have supported Ruts DC on two occasions previously which were a great experience and again this was a fantastic run of shows with them. The band and crew are absolute gentlemen and a professionally run outfit. They like our sound and what we are doing so have been talking about doing more shows with them in the future.

Click here for a review of the bands recent gig  with Ruts DC – from La Belle Angele, Edinburgh on 16/09/17.

Your next gig is at the end of the month in Bridge of Allan. What is next for The Media Whores (gigs/releases)?

Craig: Finish mixing new EP, launch shows and promotional tour of UK towards the end of 2017/early 2018. Thereafter, early in 2018 we will record and release our new album and we are, very, very excited about that.

Doogie: Gigs can come along and be confirmed at anytime at short notice. We have a few festival slots coming up at the end of the year. We have recorded 4 new songs for a new ep to be released as soon as all music and artwork is complete.

I’m also excited about the E.P. and the follow-up to Dangerous Minds. I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for release dates and gigs.

Keep up with what is happening in the world of The Media Whores by following them on Facebook & Twitter.

The current list of gigs looks like this – with more being added all the time:

30th September – Bridge of Allan
21st October – EH6 Festival – the Granary, Leith
26th November – Bannermans, Edinburgh with Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels
16th December – Lancaster alldayer Punk festival at the Bobbin
22nd December – Smash, Edinburgh with Angelic Upstarts

2018
24th March – Mad Hatties, Inverness

Media Whores Manifesto

tgq: For anyone who is new to the music & convictions of The Media Whores, how would you describe the bands manifesto!

Craig: Talk truth to power and say it like you see it. This is a class war and we are all soldiers.

Media Whores are essentially a protest band. Unless you never look up you will realise there is plenty to protest about in the current political and economic environment. VLR quoted that MW are “political power pop punk perfection.”

Doogie: This manifesto is still being put to the testo. We aim to continue playing and writing in the way we do, there is no plan other than that is the plan. 

Ally: Keep on keeping on, doing our own thing, not in a clique or cliché and discombobulating the masses!

Vote Media Whores!!! (And thanks Doogie, Sultans of Ping – Wheres Me Jumper? is now going to be in my head for the rest of the day)

Get the Album!

tgq: Opportunity for blatant promotion time – Where can we get hold of Media Whores releases and merchandise?

Doogie: We have our own slot/space in HMV music shop, yes our own slot/space!

Amazon, NHC Music Glasgow, Love Music Glasgow, Europa Music Stirling, Noise Noise Noise shop Falkirk, online on our Facebook page and at gigs. Also on Spotify

Ally: The label we are on Twenty Stone Blatt has worldwide distro, which is why we generate sales and reviews from as far afield as Australia, America, Germany and Sweden! The physical product is out there in shops and also for the more modern among us, download on iTunes, Spotify, deezur and Amazon!

Thank again to Craig, Doogie & Ally for their time and contributions and congratulations on the Mercury long-listing. l look forward to hearing the new songs and catching the band live again in the not too distant future.

Media Whores Manager – Ally Gemmell for press and booking enquiries/T: 07747750420/E: themediawh@yahoo.co.uk

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Damage & Joy Tour – Glasgow

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Live – 23rd September 2017

You wait years for one of your favourite bands to play a hometown gig. Then you see them three times within a couple of years (it would have been four if I’d managed to get a ticket for the 6Music show). Well it’s nearly hometown – I’m not sure the East Kilbride’s Bruce Hotel or The Village Inn would be big enough.

Since the Psychocandy re-union tours, The Jesus & Mary Chain have continued on a stellar resurgence resulting in some of the best live gigs in the band’s history.

Damage and Joy as an album sits right up with all the Jesus and Mary Chain classics. It is also head and shoulders above some of the insipid “indie” dross that made the Mercury Music Prize final shortlist. (Check back on the blog soon for a feature on a sterling post-punk band who were long-listed)

damage and Joy

This being the official tour of the album, Damage & Joy tracks would heavily feature. As it happened, the band plundered their entire back catalogue with non album singles and songs from Psychocandy, Darklands, Automatic, Honey’s Dead, & Munki.

The Van T’s went down well with early comers, and there were many of them. Being a Saturday night in the O2 ABC I’m sure that those in the know would have been ensuring they didn’t get caught out by the early curfew in the venue.

As regulars at gigs in the venue we took up our usual position and joked that we should “sponsor” the floor space, much like you can buy named bricks in your favourite teams football stadium.

The anticipation in the venue was palpable as we waited for the main event. The lights went down and a mighty roar went up as the Mary Chain took to the stage.

Damage and Joy – Live

They opened with Damage and Joy track “Amputation” and we were hit by an intense wall of sound and relentless light show. The song is one of the many highlights of the album, played live the band take it to another level. Love the “wine today, piss tomorrow” analogy in the song.

No chance to take a breath before appropriate Darkland’s favourite “Happy When it Rains” was swiftly followed by the raucous “Head On” from Automatic. (Interesting/useless fact time – when I saw Pixies recently playing their cover version at Kelvingrove Bandstand  it was the 3rd song they played too)

I knew by this time it was going to be a classic Mary Chain performance. Jim’s voice was commanding and distinct. The band was clamourous and solid.  William didn’t miss a note while skulking in the shadows stage right, obvious by his famous mop of hair.

The sound in the venue is great and I have enjoyed many gigs there. However, if I had one grumble tonight it was the presence of a larger than normal quota of arseholes. Nothing to do with the music. It only spoiled the night slightly and the music won out. But I do feel a ranty post about gig etiquette coming….

A trio of songs from Damage and Joy followed. With “Always Sad” we were treated to honeyed backing vocals from Bernadette Denning. “Black & Blues” and “Mood Driver” were next up with the band proving their new material is already up there with the classics.

Fan favourite from Automatic, “Between Planets” was followed by a sleazy  “Snakedriver”. The song with one of the best opening couplets in any song – not just in a Jesus and Mary Chain song. “I’ve got syphilitic hetero friends in every part of town, I don’t hate them but I know them, I don’t want them hanging round“.

Old and new combined and complimented each other with a sublime trio of “Teenage Lust”, Darklands “Cherry Came Too”, and the “Hey look out here it comes” of “All Things Must Pass”

The bands first top twenty hit “Some Candy Talking” got an airing with a vigorous reception and sing-a-long. Lets face it, every song was receiving a fervent reception with Jim humbly thanking us several times throughout the set. He certainly wasnt “tongue-tied and tied to the tongue” when it came to “Halfway to Crazy” providing a perfect version of the impassioned song.

Jim introduced the next song as Agadoo saying they hadn’t played the song for a while so it may be slightly ropey – then launched into a far from ropey perfect rendition of a crowd-pleaser in “Darklands”

It was time for the last song – yeah but we know it’s not. A searing “Reverence” was delivered with a blisteringly elongated intro. A perfect end to the main set.

Encore

The band returned with another backing vocalist with a divine velvety voice in Madeline Cassidy to treat us to the classic “Just Like Honey”. Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you the old myth that the Jesus and Mary Chain were all about feedback because they couldn’t play. The melodies and tunes that were always there endure and continue to be perfected.

“Cracking Up” gave us the nights first of two rambunctious tracks from the under-rated Munki album. Having toured the Psychocandy album extensively in recent years, we were still treated to a full throttle version of “In a Hole”.

Announcing the last song, Jim thanked the enthusiastic crowd once again before “War and Peace” ended the encore.

They think it’s all over – it is now

But it wasn’t over there. The band returned for a final time to an uproarious and appreciative audience to give us a cool purring “Sidewalking” ending in familiar cacophony. The bands final farewell and last words for the night came in the form of the brilliantly sneering “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll” with its thinly veiled swipes at the music industry.

 

As perfect a performance as I’ve seen from The Jesus and Mary Chain. They easily proved there is life in the old dogs and they can show the young whippersnappers how its done.

 

 

Morrissey – Spent the Day in Bed

I was wishing I had taken Mr Steven Patrick Morrissey’s advice and “Spent the Day in Bed” when I was listening in to Radio 2 for the world’s first play of his new single. I was sitting in my car on the M8 going absolutely nowhere….

Morrissey joined twitter yesterday with his cryptic first tweet being the title of the single. I must admit to be slightly concerned about Moz on twitter. He often opens his mouth and spouts a lot of mince these days. And look what Trump gets up to on Twitter….

Anyway, back to the song and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

When the jaunty organ intro began I was intrigued, then Morrissey’s familiar dulcet tones kicked it. The song advocates that we “Stop watching the news, because the news contrives to frighten you”. How true and how Morrissey. The tune is upbeat with the organ refrain continuing throughout, and Morrissey adding devil-may-care vocal delivery, but with his familiar morbid humour “life ends in death, so there’s nothing wrong with being good to yourself.” 3 minutes 30 seconds later and I was happy and looking forward to the album.

If there is a minor irritation for me it is the pronunciation of news as “nooz” from the archetypal Englishman. Though if I think about it, this may well be fully intentional.

As the song fades out with the “no bus, no boss, no rain, no train”  refrain and “no highway, freeway, no motorway” I think to myself “I wish……..”

low in High School

Next up for Morrissey fans – 2nd October on BBC6 Music, performing tracks from upcoming album “Low in High School” due for release on 17th November (plenty of special edition pre-orders available).

October also sees the re-release (repackaged and reissued, extra tracks – in the box set, yes, but I’m not sure about the tacky badge…..) of the Queen is Dead. I expect I shall be sharing my thoughts on this and the new Morrissey offering at some point.

 

Gun – Favourite Pleasures is a welcome return for this Glasgow band

Gun

I’ve followed Gun since the beginning. Enjoying seeing live gigs with the likes of Texas and Slide when they were all starting out. Their first album, Taking on the World, was packed full of riff laden tunes. Shame on You, Money and Better Days all songs which I still play regularly.

The three bands went on to varying degrees of success. Gun scored a number of hits and changed line-ups several times over the years. One period had Little Angels Toby Jepson on vocals. I freely admit that this part of the band’s career passed me by slightly as I was never a fan of Little Angels.

However, the ever-present Gizzi brothers have kept the band going and now their settled line up as resulted in a major return to form with recent album Frantic and new release Favourite Pleasures.

The band now consists of Dante Gizzi who moved from bass to vocals. (After taking on lead vocal duties on the excellent El Presidente album). Giuliano (Jools) Gizzi on electric guitar and alongside him, Tommy Gentry. Andy Carr on bass guitar and Paul McManus on drums.

Gun – Favourite Pleasures

I’m going to be really clichéd, but Favourite Pleasures has already become exactly that for me since first listen. I was only four tracks in when I knew the album would be one I listened to often. I’m sure I will still be listening in years to come.

From the off, I’m hooked with the lush opening riffs and Dante’s distinct vocal on “She Knows”. “Here’s Where I Am” bursts into life with is bombastic glam intro thundering on throughout the song. It also reflects shades of Muse (but without the pompous singer). Then its the turn of title track “Favourite Pleasures” with its funk influenced guitars that make you want to jump up and dance, before the familiar gratifying Gun sound on all-out rock number “Take Me Down”. What a start.

Single “Silent Lovers” has an almost Madness like intro and pounding guitar and drums throughout. “Black Heart” another tune full of pulverising hooks and riffs. “Without You in My Life” has another stomping guitar line before we get “Tragic Heroes” another of the album highlights (in a highlight filled album) with thoughtful lyrics about artists with talent and tunes being shafted by record companies and money men.

Penultimate track “Go to Hell” is another bruising rocker with a straightforward message, before the tempo is brought right down for the poignant piano and vocal of “The Boy Who Fooled the World”. The song has sentiments that I’m sure many can relate to in lines like:

“…..listening out for the next big thing, got my fingers on the play and record…”

and

“There is something about a song that gets in your head, you could hear it just once and its hard to forget”.

This last quote is one that resonates with me for this album as several of the songs do just that.

ADDITIONAL TRACKS

The album ends there unless you have the expanded CD which offers up another famous Gun cover version. I’ve enjoyed these in the past. From their successful take on Cameo’s “Word Up” to their version of The Smiths “Panic” and recently charity single Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone’s a Winner”.

This time we get, quite literally, a party piece in the shape of Beastie Boys “Fight for Your Right (to Party)”. Having seen this live when they played with Backstreet Babies and Black Star Riders earlier in the year it was obvious how much fun was had by the band, it was just as much fun listening.

The additional three tracks (“20 Storeys”, “Come Undone” and “All I Really Need”) are worth shelling out on the expanded edition for with all continuing in the similar “Gun” vein as the other tracks on the album.

This album deserves to be played LOUD and if there is any justice should be a massive hit for the band.

I am more than sure the bands Christmas gig in the Barrowland Ballroom on 2nd December will be a special night for both band and “Gunners” & “Gunnettes” alike.

BUY

Go to Gun’s website to buy exclusive bundles or to find links to other ways of purchasing the album.

 

Daniel Wylie – Interview and new Cosmic Rough Riders album

Daniel Wylie has been around the Scottish music scene for around 30 years. From his beginnings with The Thieves and their catchy debut single “Talk Your Head Off” through various incarnations of Cosmic Rough Riders and solo releases. He has just released new album as Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders and it is a great listen. On the album, he has enlisted the help of some other well-known names within Scottish music to record the album with.
Daniel took some time out to answer some questions for me.
New Album and previous releases
Thegingerquiff: This album is the latest in a growing list of releases from you via The Thieves, Cosmic Rough Riders/Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders and solo.
How does this album rank for you amongst all your releases?
Daniel Wylie: It’s definitely one of my best. I think it sounds fresh and exciting and has some of the best melodies I’ve written so far. The guitars roar and overall, the album has a real edge to it.
I was trying to reverse the process of band gets older and makes blander records…I wanted to make an album that sounded like it was  made by a young band at the height of their creativeness…edgy, fresh, melodic music…and I think, with the help of my collaborators, we managed to do that.
It’s not a boring, burned out, end of career type of record…it rocks and it has tunes you’ll end up singing in the shower.
Tgq: What are some of the highlights for you from your back catalogue?
DW: I stand by all my albums. At the time of release, I can guarantee I thought they were all great. I don’t listen to them now but I know they’re good and I stand by all of them.
However, if I was to choose a personal favourite, it would be Fake Your Own Death. I think it’s my Automatic For The People. An album of beautiful songs.
A lot of folk only know my Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine, album which is frustrating for me as I know I’ve made better records since.
influences and inspiration
Tgq: Where does your inspiration come from in your song-writing? Both musical influences and themes for your songs.
DW: I almost always start with a melody. Some little tune will just pop into my head…I’ll grab my acoustic and find the chords to fit it…singing any old words that come into my head at the time. I’ll record the idea onto a cassette on an old ghetto blaster I’ve had for years.
When I go to make an album, I’ll go through my tapes and pick out the best melodies, then get to work on the lyrics.
Inspiration can come from anywhere and nowhere. I love early R.E.M. Steely Dan, Neil Young, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. If you’re going to be influenced by other people’s music, you may as well listen to the best…to the masters. My taste in music is wide and varied and it all influences me.
Lyrically, I like relationship themes but I also like to throw in something dark. I know my limits and occasionally I’ll push myself beyond them and come up with something a bit unusual for me. Melody is king though…if you don’t have the tunes, you might as well be a poet instead.
 Origins in music

Tgq: Going way back in time now. I remember seeing The Thieves several times back in the day and also remember your spot on Channel 4’s “Famous for 15 minutes” with Harry Enfield.
You never got to the stage of releasing an album. What happened with The Thieves?
DW: The Thieves did record an album but it never got released as we pretty much broke up after recording it…and no one knows where the tapes are.
The Thieves, was a great apprenticeship and it lasted for a few years but there comes a time when you have to recognise that no one is offering to sign you and that must be for a reason. We had a great time and a great following around Scotland but a couple of the guys were losing patience because the record companies would come up to see us and say…you’re almost there…we didn’t know what we were supposed to do different to make us the real deal that a record company would want to sign…so we split…and I went solo under the name Cosmic Rough Riders.
The biggest change for me was when I started to play along to R.E.M. records and realised how easy a lot of their songs were to play…and what made them truly stand out was the quality of the tunes…it made me a better songwriter.
Tgq: Your band for this album reads like a list of the great and good of Scottish bands. With the likes of Neil Sturgeon (Goldenhour), Johnny Smillie (Thrum), Jim McCulloch (BMX Bandits/Soup Dragons), this has resulted in a stunning album. Tell us a bit more about working together.
DW: All of those guys are great songwriters and musicians in their own right. They understand how the studio works and I’m very lucky that I can call on them to play on my records. They make it easier for me to make a record. I’m grateful that they are willing and able to share their talents with me…to help me sound better.
Neil Sturgeon, Johnny Smillie, Stu Kidd, Steph McKellar, Jim McCulloch…also Raymond Meade and Tom McGarrigle…I salute you all.
 music in the 21st century
Tgq: It is easy for joe public to listen to music these days with all the streaming and download options available. However, it is probably harder today for bands & musicians to make a career or money from it.
I have the vinyl of your new album. (I’m a bit old school and like to see and feel the product as well as listening!). What changes have you seen and how has it impacted you? (I know vinyl has made a comeback recently but also conscious that it is an expensive business to self release vinyl)
DW: I understand the benefits of streaming with regards to reaching more people…listening on the move and so on…and I’ve just recently given in and allowed my music on streaming sites…but in order for me to keep making music, I need enough people to either buy the CD or the Vinyl. Even buying the download from iTunes or Amazon, is more of a help than streaming.
It’s getting more difficult to continue making albums and I know a bundle of folk who have already given up music or are just about to give up. It’s easy to get down about it and feel sorry for yourself…but ultimately…I just get on with it.
I’ll be making at least one more album…an acoustic album. Every time I make an album, I feel it could be the last…this one will be no different…it’s my last until I see that I have enough money to make another.
 get the album!
Tgq: Where can we get our hands on the album?
DW: You can buy the CD and Vinyl direct from me via www.facebook.com/danielwyliemusic . Just message me on Facebook. You can also buy it on ebay. The digital version is on iTunes,  Amazon and other download sites. If you live in Spain, you can buy the vinyl direct from the label…You Are The Cosmos Records…from their website. It’s out there…if you want it…you will find it.
gigs?
Tgq: Do you have any plans to play live dates on the back of the release?
DW: I’ve just had the all clear after a couple of years of heart trouble and a couple of minor procedures…but even so…I have no plans to play live…however, this might change…if something came up that I liked the look of…and if it paid enough, then I would certainly consider it.
Scenery for Dreamers

The album is eminently listenable. It combines rockier tracks reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub/Big Star, which probably isn’t surprising based on some of the backgrounds of some of the musicians on the album, with some beautiful acoustic ballads.

The opening track “Rope (Everybody Lies)” is just one of the many guitar orientated tracks on the album. Despite the downbeat nature of the lyrics, the song is upbeat with its “ba ba ba” refrain and melodies.

This refrain is repeated on another song a few tracks later, this time on moving ballad “A Gravestone Without a Name” bemoaning the futility of war.

“Cold Alaska” is another of the albums more exuberant songs. With sanguine melodies and guitars leading up to a vocal break, the track ends with guitar hooks anyone would be proud of.

Side one closer (yes I’m listening to the vinyl) “Jingle Jangle Morning” is another guitar hook laden track with expansive soaring vocals.

“I Dream About You” feels like waking up from a dream. Starting with an echoey vocal and Smithsy acoustic guitar before bursting into life with driving guitars and effervescent lyrics. The song slips between the two effortlessly throughout.

“I Want to Kill Your Lover” comes across like a beautiful melodic ballad with acoustic guitar. Then you realise what the lyrics are saying and the song takes on a whole new almost stalker-like feel.

Vibrant guitars again on “Full Moon on the River” with lyrics celebrating the beauty of life. Then the tempo comes back down again on album  closer “(Won’t You) Just Smile” with a Simon & Garfunkel acoustic ballad feel and fade to close.

An exquisite album awash with tunes, melodies, harmonies and huge hooks that will have you listening time and time again.

Crimedesk and Thirteen – Album/EP reviews

It’s a bit of a coincidence that I received Crimedesk’s album and Thirteen’s EP within a few days of each other.

I say this, as I’ve recently featured Drunk Gods and earlier this year I saw all 3 bands in Ivory Blacks. It was a great nights entertainment. 3 very different bands in sound but all enjoyed by a small but enthusiastic crowd.

In another coincidence, the gig should also have featured Heavy Drapes. I also wrote about recently, unfortunately they had to pull out at the last-minute.

Crimedesk – Louder…..FASTER

Crimedesk have been around and about since ’79 and are a hard-gigging 3 piece punk band from Fife featuring the 2 Alan(n)s on guitar and bass & vocals and John on drums.

The new album “Louder…..Faster” kicks off with “The Louder You Scream, The Faster you Go”. It has a bit of a Psychobilly/Meteors feel to it, both in style and in that Alan’s vocal has a gruff sound to it like Paul P. Fenech. A rollicking start to a solid album.

With “WTF You Looking at” you pretty much get a song that you would expect with a title like that. The chorus spat out with some venom.

Anti-war song “Future Engraved (Death no Glory)” has a poignant lyric and some nice harmonies from the outset.

One of my favourites is “Never Give Up, Never Give In”, I like the positive sentiment of the song, the almost football chant of a chorus and the guitar breaks

“Freaky Street” has another memorable chorus and references (from what I have gathered from covers/live shows) band favourites The Stranglers.

Album closer “Manky Hoor” won’t win any plaudits from the PC brigade but is a great sing-a-long track.

Another of the tracks says, “What You See is What You Get” and what you get from Crimedesk is a thoroughly enjoyable album of melodic punk songs.

Get the album at one of the bands upcoming live dates or contact them in their Facebook page.

Thirteen

Falkirk based Thirteen describe themselves as “Punk Rock ‘n Roll from Scotland”.

They have a harder edged rock sound, with an obvious punk influence.

Spirit of Resistance is a fast paced opener with frantic guitar and drums. The 6 song EP features a number of songs with a protest type theme – which you may expect with the name of the EP – as well as the title track there is “We Will Overcome” and “The Day the Killing Stops”.

We Will Overcome has a Smashing Pumpkins feel to it. Dolly has a very distinctive voice not unlike Billy Corgan’s.

Tattered Sleeve is a song about growing up as a disaffected youth in the late 70’s with punk as the soundtrack to life. “’76 when this all started, the first time you felt alive

EP closer “The Day the Killing Stops” has a moody bass intro with drums and guitar building into the opening The Day the Killing Stops refrain. The song builds to its crescendo before fading out to a lone bass drum beat and the final refrain once more.

If you like your punk with a fast paced harder guitar sound, you’ll enjoy this EP.

Get the EP from their bandcamp page or at one of the bands upcoming live dates.

 

 

“What have you got to be worried about?” and other unhelpful comments….

Depression isn’t real!

Just recently this Twitter account has been brought to my attention.

I say Twitter account rather than using the associated name, you can see it for yourself, as I don’t want to humanise this entity in any way. The idiot appears to be devoid of any humanity whatsoever. This is just one of many tweets they have made on the subject.

Thankfully, I have never come across this nonentity before. I have no idea who they are or indeed any desire to find out any more about them. It appears though that they are a kick boxer – I think they have had one kick too many to their head.

The tweets I did read have no bearing on reality whatsoever and are among the most hateful & unhelpful comments I have ever seen relating to depression and anxiety. I hope they get help for their delusions at some point.

ignorance isn’t an excuse

Unfortunately though, and judging by some of the responses on Twitter, this attitude is still too common. I am not going to let this idiot or others like them get to me, you need to rise above. There is something lacking in their life that they have to spend so much time talking about other people and their issues. Enough about that – I’ve already spent too much time talking about them….I don’t want this to be a platform for promoting bullying and intolerance.

This type of thing really puts the cause of mental health awareness back. If people who are thinking about speaking to someone about how they are feeling read something like this, it could be the thing that stops them from speaking up.

It also made me reflect on the prevalence of people like this and comments like “What do you have to worry about?” and the simplistic “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” often spoken by people that have a lack of understanding about how mental health impacts different people.

“What Do You Have to Worry About?”

Let’s take “What do you have to worry about?” for starters.

I’m willing to bet that loads of people who have suffered from anxiety or depression or similar have had this (or something similar) said to them or asked of them at some point. What the people asking don’t realise is that it’s a question that the individual has probably asked themselves time and time again, over-analysing and trying to work out what the hell is wrong with them!

Take myself for example, I’ve got a good job, a lovely wife, 2 great kids, friends, extended family, a home, money, I go on holidays, I have “stuff”……..but it didn’t stop me being affected with anxiety and depression.

The thing is it isn’t necessarily worrying about any one thing in particular. Where the anxiety/depression often comes from is much more complex, and is entirely dependent on the individual concerned. Some of the things that got me to that place were:

  • Perfectionism/unreal expectations – setting yourself unrealistic goals, that ultimately may be unachievable, and then beating yourself up as you haven’t achieved. Ultimately the results may be way in excess of what others have expected, but you haven’t met your OWN expectations. Continue in this manner for some time and you convince yourself you’ve failed.
  • Over-planning – a bit like the above in setting expectations. Thinking that you need to constantly be achieving something. Writing loads of lists of what you need to do and then re-writing and feeling like you’ve failed if you haven’t done EVERYTHING on the list when you set yourself the time to do it.
  • Over-analysing – every decision I made, every conversation I had, every meeting I was at, every conference call I was on. Where did I go wrong? What could I/should I have said differently? I wish I’d said/done this/that. Never what went well – always what went wrong….

These are just a few and I’m sure others can relate to these and many more.

The anxiety/depression comes from trying too hard to do too much for too long and something has to give.

Being asked the question or having the comment directed to you is one of the least helpful things that anyone can say. It just exacerbates everything you already think yourself.

To help, what you really need to understand are the deep-rooted reasons for the way you behave and react. Personally I found that, until I went that deep, I couldn’t start to put in place the strategies to overcome and cope with the unhelpful behaviours that led to the anxiety and /or depression in the first place. That isn’t an easy journey as you can end up feeling worse before you feel better, but for me the destination meant the journey was worth it as I know I am now mentally strong enough to deal with my brain and the way it works.

Don’t Worry – Be Happy!

That brings me to seemingly throwaway comments like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” If only it were that simple!

A lot of people I have spoken to who have been in a similar position, have experienced these sort of comments, maybe worded differently but with the same intent. They have heard this to such an extent they feel they need to have a mask to hide how they really feel.

Maybe they try to be the life and soul of the party and smile even though inside that is the last thing they feel like doing. They try to help others and take on extra tasks so they feel “useful”. However, no matter how much they do to keep active and busy, the one most tiring thing is trying not to let the mask slip.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is or where you’ve come from it can hit any of us at any time. Given the right (or should that be wrong) circumstances coming together at the same time, just like with physical heath, your mental health can suffer.

I’ve said this numerous times before and I’m not going to apologise for it so here I go again……

Depression and anxiety doesn’t discriminate.

I also blog about music as it is something I love so let’s take some of these as examples.

Chester Bennington from Linkin Park recently took his own life. He was the singer in a successful band, had money and apparently everything to live for including a lovely family. Look at the picture his wife recently posted on Twitter taken shortly before he died.

 

He looks happy doesn’t he? But what was really going on? We’ll never know. He looked as if he was “Being Happy” but look what happened to him.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of this in the music industry – Billy McKenzie from The Associates, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, Stuart Adamson from Big Country/Skids – all seemingly successful in their careers but all took their own lives. “What have they got to be worried about?”!

I love the music of all of these bands and saw Big Country live several times. One of the bands “party pieces” was playing Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” live. Given what I said earlier about wearing a smile when it is sometimes the last thing you want to do and with what ultimately happened with Stuart Adamson, it adds even more poignancy to the song and is hard to listen to now.

“People say I’m the life of the party,

‘Cause I tell a joke or two.

Although I might be laughing, loud and hearty

Deep inside I’m blue.

So take a good look at my face.

You’ll see my smile looks out of place.

If you look closer, it’s easy to trace

The tracks of my tears.”

Recently Ginger Wildheart and Sinead O’Connor have both gone through very public episodes where their mental health was suffering. When you are in the public eye and this happens, there seems to be an equal amount of support and criticism. A lot of the criticism comes about due to assumptions that because these are successful people they should “have nothing to worry about”.

That’s the danger of the modern world and instant reporting and commenting via social media. I am just glad they are both receiving the help they need and will continue to do so. I don’t want to wake up to the news one day that one of them has succumbed to the same fate as the others.

Can You Be Happy?

Of course you can! It may take a lot of work and effort but you can be happy – it is just not as easy as flicking a switch.

Maybe it is something you need to keep on top of constantly so that you don’t feel yourself sliding backwards.

Maybe for some people, prescribed drugs will help, for others therapy or CBT. Maybe it is a combination of both.

Maybe you need to accept that you won’t always be happy, but you raise your own awareness of this and have strategies to cope.

Maybe you need to talk about it.

The important thing to remember is, you don’t need to wear that mask, it is OK to not feel great sometimes.

Do talk about it though, don’t hide it, don’t just smile and say everything is great if it is not. It is hard to open up and talk, but it is worth it in the end.

Sometimes a bit of irreverence is good too. I’d recommend the book “F**k It”, also with this in mind, I’m going to leave you with the thoughts of Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton who wrote and recorded a song together based on their personal experiences of mental health issues……….. Sometimes you just have to say “Fuck You Brain!”

Kiss This Tarbeach NYC in Glasgow – Review

I’m not long back from attending “Kiss This” in Broadcast and a huge thanks needs to go out to all involved. What a brilliant night.

I had been looking forward to seeing the 3 bands together for a while and none of them disappointed.

The warnings were out in advance all over social media – the gig was a sell-out, returns only and the first band would be on PROMPT at 8pm as it was an early curfew.

Sure enough, and true to the word, as I arrived at the venue with my mate, there was a queue of people waiting to pick up their tickets and the first band were already on.

The order of the bands hadn’t been advertised to ensure maximum attendance from the start and as we got downstairs, the venue was packed for the first band, who happened to be ReAction.

REACTION

Big Carson had to be careful he didn’t brain himself on the low beam right in the middle of the stage. As always the band played a flawless blinder of a set with all the ReAction favourites. They slipped in a few cracking new tracks too – “Kill Time”, “Been There Done That” – written by Scott, and “Kamikaze Baby” – destined to be one of my new favourite ReAction songs.

The early curfew meant trying to get through as many songs as possible in the allotted time – at one point Joe mentioned they still had 5 songs to play in 6 minutes. This also meant a choice on whether to play External Menace’s “Someday” or “I Wanna Be Your Dee Dee Ramone”. An impossible choice given how great both tracks are. The audience choice was “Someday”, much to Bryson’s dismay – “that’s right pick the fast one and kill the drummer!” Storming set.

It was pretty warm from the start but by the time ReAction had finished it was a sweat box. Quick opportunity to get a diet coke(!) a quick chat with Jonzip and a hello to a few folk I finally managed to meet in real life rather than in the virtual world then it was the turn of Heavy Drapes.

Heavy drapes

There were plenty of MoNkArOcKs t-shirts on display in the venue. New bass player, ex Scars guitarist, Paul Research was also resplendent in a MoNkA creation with “Heavy Bass” on it like a statement of intent. And he followed through – awesome first gig with the band.

The searing set contained all the crowd pleasers – all the Heavy Drapes staples. “Number 1”, “Into the Blue”, “Nightrippin'”, and of course, my personal favourite “(I Wanna Be) Maladjusted”. “Guest backing vocals” on “Hanging Like a Suicide” were provided by Charlie from Dublin, who was one of several folk tonight who had travelled some distances for the gig.

I’ve seen the band several times over the last year but I thought tonight they were outstanding. My mate had last seen them on this very date last year. His comment that the band had come a long way since then spoke volumes about what has happened in the last 12 months. Looking forward to the album…(and the French EP!)

THE ZIPS

Another quick turnaround and then it was the turn of the Zips to end the evenings proceedings. Kicking off with topical track “Hear Hear” – “our country, at war, with itself, and its people, this dis-united kingdom“.  The set included songs from throughout the bands back catalogue.

Every track went down a storm with a melee of bodies, singing away with huge grins, slamming into each other at the front. I wondered if we’d all be there in another 10 years singing along to “50 Years of PuNk RoCk”!

The band included an old track played live for the first time “Take Me Down” which can be purchased soon on new Gary Crowley punk/new wave box set.  Jonzip started to thank everyone who had travelled to be at the gig only to be reminded that “we’ve only got 30 minutes….”. The set ended with classic “Don’t Get Pushed Around” which was enthusiastically received – included a microphone takeover/stage invasion by several enthusiastic gig goers.

And there we have it 3 blistering sets by 3 of Scotland……….nay, the UKs finest proponents of this thing they call “punk rock”. As I walked up the stairs I realised I had been enjoying the bands so much I had no photographs of said bands to add to this post! So photos are courtesy of Chris Davis and John McLaughlin.

Can’t wait until they do it again! Just one thing though. PLEASE, next time, don’t make it on my wedding anniversary – Ha Ha.

 

Heavy Drapes – De Liberate speaks…

Heavy Drapes

I’ve been banging on about Heavy Drapes for some time now. Recently things have really started going stellar for the band. They are one of the most talked about bands on the punk scene.

The band has very definite ideas, knows exactly where it wants to be. Important it has the tunes and the image that live up to those ideas. Lead singer De Liberate’s swagger and confidence is not unfounded.

Having seen the band on a number of occasions in the last couple of years, they never fail to disappoint.  Heavy Drapes have a tight sophisticated sound that doffs its cap to the classic punk 76-78 era. The songs are laden with hooks and memorable, catchy choruses. I find that even some of the unreleased tracks regularly become my earworms.

The band must be one of the busiest with promotion and gigging. They are always on the road playing the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland and now further afield.

In the run up to Kiss This, I was reflecting on some previous gigs featuring Heavy Drapes.

A couple of gigs stick out in my mind. Audio in Glasgow last December sharing a bill with ex-Boys bassist Duncan Reid & the Big Heads and Falkirk band The Media Whores. 3 great bands coming together to be one of my gig highlights of 2016.

Another was the “Dread Meets Punk Rock Southside” gig in The Rum Shack that also featured fellow Tarbeach label-mates ReAction (also playing Kiss This alongside The Zips) and young punks The Minority Rule. A great night was had by all – bands and punters alike.

If the band continue on their current ascendency, I’ll be pleased to be one of the people who can say “I was there” at these and other gigs.

The Edinburgh based band, some of whom originate from closer to my neck of the woods (East Kilbride/Glasgow) are made up of De Liberate – vocals and attitude, Richie Stiv – guitar, Billy Chaos – drums and new member Paul Research on bass.

The band recently returned from a show stealing set, by all accounts, on the Empress Ballroom main stage at Rebellion festival. And on return from the festival, the news broke that original bassist Jerry Dangerous had left the band and was to be replaced by ex-Scars guitarist Paul Research on bass duties. It was sad to see Jerry go, but at the same time a bit of a coup to get a replacement of the calibre of Paul.

Suffice to say, Heavy Drapes are going places.

INTERVIEW – DeLIBERATE AND PAUL RESEARCH

I had an opportunity to ask DeLiberate and new bassist Paul Research a few questions recently. I really wanted to find out about Rebellion and the lowdown on the band changes. As I should probably have expected, De Liberate was very frank & honest in some of his answers.

I wasn’t one of the fortunate ones to have seen their set at Rebellion. However, I but had seen nothing but praise everywhere on the back of the bands set. I wanted to know how it felt from the bands perspective and also how the departure of Jerry had impacted them.

Rebellion

Thegingerquiff: Things are really happening in the Heavy Drapes world just now, you returned from a triumphant gig on the main stage at Rebellion and announced the departure of bassist Jerry, to be replaced by Scars legend Paul Research. For anyone that wasn’t there, tell us about the gig and what it meant to you?

De Liberate: This band could have died at 2pm, Friday 4th August in the Empress Ballroom. It was a critical moment. If there was no audience, that would have been a clear message that we were not what the people wanted.

I met Darren, who heads the event, the previous night. He said we were going to kill it, we’d be brilliant. I really did admire his enthusiasm and positivity but I wasn’t in that headspace, yet.

We arrived backstage an hour before our stage time along with our main man Billy Hunt who keeps an eye on us and makes sure everything happens when it should. We met Billy last year at Rebellion and he’s become a very good friend. He lives in Ireland and he was heavily involved with the shows we did over there in June.

We had a bit of a chat, a beer, individual time with the stage manager ensuring everything was in place from a tech and performance perspective and then I’m on my own. The musicians in the band are with the tech guys side stage which is somewhere through a maze of corridors. Someone had mentioned the hall was huge but empty.

15 minutes is a very long time when you’re on your jack in a large dressing room with only a mountain of beer for company, no internet connection, no coffee and no smoking. I opened a beer, sat on a chair and I went through the band’s timeline in my head. Achievement after achievement, one goal after another exceeded but there was an awareness that this could all go wrong. I knew we would deliver on that stage but playing to 50 or less people in a huge ballroom was not what I had dreamed for the band. We had worked our balls off to get here, it was 18 months of blagging, bluffing, shouting, more blagging and hemorrhaging cash, it had to work. It really had to work or the band wouldn’t exist at 2:40pm.

The guys were back, looking calm while I’m climbing the walls. They mentioned that a few people were in but it was quiet. We decide to go for a smoke which is a bit of a hike. A chat with other bands and crew outside, including The Exploited bass player, Irish Rob, who’s worked with us before and had requested to do our sound at the Empress without us knowing. He’s bloody good and that gave us a boost. Our tunes/sound is at its very best on a mammoth stage. At least we would sound huge while we crash and burn. A quick band selfie and back to the dressing room.

The door bursts open, it’s Billy Hunt. He’s taking the guys side stage to hook up with the crew for last-minute checks and he’ll come back for me 5 mins before showtime. He mentions the hall is getting busy. I’m then I’m on my own, again.

Billy’s back, he’s firing me up with his excitement. “Let’s do it. Let’s go. It’s busy”. He’s in front of me, out the dressing room we go, through the maze of corridors and into the band chill out area. I’m behind Billy with all the clobber on, Seditionaries’ shirt, big fuck off creepers and the largest shades I could find. I’m swaggering behind Billy and I could see Jeff Turner from Cockney Rejects with his mates. I had to pass them and I knew I was gonna get some verbal. I was getting closer and I was thinking, fuck it, I can handle this.

“What the fuck is this”?

“Alright Jeff, how you doin, De Liberate, Heavy Drapes”. Big smile and I’m off through some doors with a voice shouting, “You look fuckin great mate, fuckin great. Give ’em some”. I could have misheard that comment but it sounds good and I’ve now convinced myself it actually happened, so there’s no going back.

I’m side stage and I get a glimpse of the crowd and it’s a sea of heads from the front to back. Rikki Stiv, for some reason, was as calm as you like. He pulls out his camera, takes my photo and both of us stand at the bottom of the stage stairs waiting on the nod to go on.

We get the green light and we’re off. Our entrance is planned, the way we delivered the songs was planned. The first 60 seconds was the guys taking positions and me stumbling my way around the stage and getting a good look at the audience, knowing there will be shouts from the crowd to get started. Its theatre and we’re aware of that.

“We’re Heavy Drapes and we’re a fuckin’ punk rock band.” And we’re into what is a 10 song,  40 min set. We nail it in 37 mins, according to the stage manager. We leave the stage to a thunderous roar.

I’m backstage, collapsed in a heap of wet Seditionaries’ and my phone’s ringing. It’s Peter Coyne from The Godfathers (top bloke) and he’s wanting to meet for a chat in 20 mins, he’s next to the mixing desk. I couldn’t do it, I was a mess. Wayne Barrett was there, who loved it I was told. Christ, we were minutes from extinction and now we’re the band of the moment. This was how I wanted it to be. We were going up the punk ladder rapidly. I looked up from under the towel over my head and Jerry said “I’m off, see you at the next gig”.

The 3 of us hung out at Rebellion for the remainder of the weekend. We partied so much, we had nothing left to give. On the way home up the M6, we stopped to grab a coffee and make the decision on Jerry.

BAND CHANGES

Tgq: Sounds like Rebellion was a brilliant weekend! Can you tell me more about what happened with Jerry?

De L: We went through one of the most challenging and demanding days knowing Jerry had already left the band the week before. He quit two days prior to our Rebellion warm-up shows in Sheffield. We couldn’t believe it. He quit while we were on a band chat arranging the finer details of our next London trip.

He had done this twice previously, sudden verbal outbursts of aggressiveness. His words were “I fucking quit, go and find someone else, I’m out”. His decision to leave was a personal one. We wanted him in, not out. This wasn’t part of the plan. We decided to sleep on it, maybe Jerry would chill and contact us.

Nothing all next day from Jerry. I’m at home and I phone our guitar hero. The gravity of the situation has kicked in. Billy Chaos is up North trying to chill, there’s rubbish internet and he’s completely out the loop but he knows about Jerry and he knows we’re trying to come up with a plan of action to save the day. We agree a list of 3 potential replacements.

Gary McCormack (ex Exploited) was the first name. We had been in a band with Gary briefly in the mid 90’s called Slider and were courted by various major labels before we fell to pieces. Gary looked the biz and could play.

Paul Research (ex Scars) was the most unlikely name to come up but it did. It was ridiculous, he was a guitarist and known to be a bit of player. He was already a punk star, it was a stupid idea. I had only met Paul for 5 secs after our Edinburgh show with UK Subs. I was actually standing with Alvin Gibbs and Paul walked past and we said hello, although we had never met. A quick hand shake and he was off. In the 5 secs we had, he got his message over about what he thought of the band. We blew him away.

3rd on the list is Glen Matlock, completely stupid because it just is. Glen did stay on the list and as a last resort, when everything else is lost, I would contact him. It would have been easy, absolutely nothing to lose.

What actually did happen was, we called Paul Research and put the proposal to him. We had 8 days until Rebellion and 2 days until our warm-up shows in Sheffield; it was looking like the warm-ups would have to be cancelled.

Would he like to join the band as bass player and be ready in less than a week? The answer was Yes.

To learn a set of songs is a huge task but the added pressure of being able to deliver them in the manner we needed for the Rebellion show, note perfect, one after another, relentless, with no chat, seemed like an impossible task; on an instrument which you’re not familiar with, it seemed ridiculous.

I received a message from Jerry to call him, this was the day prior to the first of two Sheffield shows. We had a lengthy chat and although his head was fucked, he agreed to my offer of coming back onboard. Paul Research very kindly agreed to stay on standby but he was absolutely driven by the thought of joining the band and made it clear he wanted the job.

The journey to Sheffield was fine. Jerry was a bit distant but we had no issue with that, he was a quiet guy normally anyway. We hung out with friends for the weekend, warmed up and came home with 5 days until the big one.

3 of us travelled down to Blackpool on Thursday and Jerry arrived on the Friday, 4 hours before the show as planned. And that takes us back to me in the dressing room……

Tgq: I also asked Paul how he felt about joining the band.

Paul Research: I’ve been a massive fan of Heavy Drapes for about a year, and I’ve known Richie and Billy for years in and out of various bands. There was talk of me coming on for a “supersub” appearance at the 100 Club show, so Richie and I started jamming to prepare for that.

Initially it was just the two of us, and we’ve since gradually gathered a bunch of other players together, and been writing and recording – that project is called Voicex. So when I got a call asking if I could step into the bass role, I already knew we could play and write music together. An easy decision to make.

DEBUT ALBUM

Tgq: I know you are in the process of recording your debut album. How is that progressing?

De L: We started working on ideas for the album at the end of last year. We secured the services of Mark Freegard, who has a fantastic pedigree, including the production of Manic Street Preachers, the Breeders, Erasure, Del Amitri and the list goes on. He was also involved with Sandinista – The Clash.

Mark has understood what we’re trying to achieve and he believes the best way to deliver the best result is for us to only use the instruments we play and capture it live in the studio. To do this, you need to be playing the tunes at gigs, the song takes on a new life and you start to get a better feel for the dynamics and arrangement. Most of the tunes on the album will have been through this process.

The album will have 12 tracks, just like our favourite albums; we are firm on that, and any more than 12 is too much. We have recorded and mixed 6 tracks and we’ll start work on the next 6 between now and the end of the year.

We’re receiving a lot of requests to have the 4 EP tracks included, this appeals to us because it would tie up all the tunes we’ve written since the band got together. We’ve worked on 2 of the EP tracks for the album, these were produced by Mark Freegard, they sound much more urgent and have more depth; they sound massive in comparison to the EP production (which is actually 4 demo tracks remastered and released due to the demand).

We’ll have the album complete and ready by January and then we’ll be in negotiations with record companies to secure a release date. We will go with the label who understand what this album is all about. It’s not just another album by another band, this is THE album, it’s special, it’s the shot in the arm the punk/alternative scene needs. It’s been said that this is the most anticipated punk album in decades, if that is the case, then from our side we need to ensure we nail it, from a record company side, they need to realise what they have in their hands. We have our sights on Europe and America, we know the American market will lap this up, if they hear it. So, it needs to be a label with clout. I wouldn’t say no to Geffen.

We’re being asked constantly when the album is out, which is a good thing but what needs to be made clear is, if we were just another punk band, we could have knocked out a couple of albums this year but this isn’t about knocking out any old tune, it’s about getting it right and thinking about what you’re trying to achieve. You don’t go top 50 USA by knocking stuff out. Sex Pistols first show was Nov 1975, their album was released September 1977; we’re on the same timeline. This may be the last album the band ever does, it’s our legacy and we’ll take our time thanks very much.

BACK IN THE DAY….

Tgq: You’ve all had some previous experience and success in the music industry, with 3 of you being the core of Baby’s Got a Gun and obviously as mentioned (a number of times) earlier, Scars. What are the key differences and challenges you see now compared to your previous incarnations?

De L: Heavy Drapes is an opportunity for all of us to get it right. Paul has already been in a band at the top-level and delivered an album which has been documented as being special. Through numerous conversations, I know Paul feels he has much more to give and he is 100% convinced this will be with Heavy Drapes.

As for us other 3, we’re the same as Paul. We’ve got an opportunity to be part of something which is pure and untouched; it’s not been manipulated, watered down, copied or influenced by the dollar. It’s real rock music containing no bullshit.

PR: In some ways some of the old challenges have disappeared: the cost of recording demos is minimal now, you used to need a record advance or a bank loan and it was a huge gamble. Plus you can reach an audience with YouTube and SoundCloud in a way that was literally inconceivable in 1977. But the market is shrinking now, and because it’s easy to generate music it is harder all the time for the audience to separate noise from signal. Also, people don’t want to own music or to pay for it. It is expected to be free and always available on demand. So it’s harder all the time to make your living doing it.

Tgq: Paul, what are the things that stand out for you during your time with Scars?

PR: Recording our first single was a highlight. I was blown away but how well everyone performed in Scars, it was exciting to hear things that the others were doing in the studio environment. It really gelled and carried a lot of power. We had a similar experience recording our album. It wasn’t always fantastic, but Scars usually delivered when it really mattered, on the big occasions. Heavy Drapes also has that sense of drama for the big occasions.

Tgq: So, going back to the beginning, when and how did Heavy Drapes come about?

De L: The idea of Heavy Drapes goes back to 2007. Rikki Stiv and I advertised for a drummer and bass player. We jammed for a while with a drummer called Mark Rabies and bass player called Martin. We never had a name but we did have 25 punk cover versions nailed. Martin had an alcohol issue and would slide down the studio wall while drunk and sleeping, mid tune. He never came back after Mark Rabies hit him on the head with a full can of beer during one of his slide down the wall incidents. Rikki pulled in a guy called Jerry to play bass, who ended up being Jerry Dangerous.

We got asked to play a couple of shows, a private party and charity event in the late summer of 2007. We named ourselves The Stivs, after Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys and went out and played our set of covers. These gigs worked in the sense that Rikki and I knew we wanted to write tunes and get a bit more serious about it. We kept Jerry, moved on Mark Rabies and drafted in Billy, later to become Billy Chaos.

We wrote some tunes, including the 4 songs which appeared on our EP last year. Lined up a run of gigs at The Box in Glasgow, that was April/May 2008. Played to 20 people at the first gig and the next two shows were busier. We were picked up by the mainstream music agency, Regular Music. They secured us dates with the New York Dolls, Hoodoo Gurus and Stone Gods (the Darkness).

We also had management based in Los Angeles, that’s who arranged for the video of Into The Blue to be filmed at The Box in Glasgow. You can find this video on YouTube; the footage is dark, due to lighting rig being too large for the venue and it couldn’t be used.

We had everything going for us but I knew something was missing. We had our sound, we had the songs but I had no clue where we wanted to go with it. We did a show at Leith Depot in Edinburgh which ended with us completing 5 encores and finishing with God Save the Queen with police sirens and a massive street brawl. This was July 2008, we had been together less than a year, did 7 gigs and wrote approx. 7 songs. We imploded that night in Leith. I knew I didn’t want to be in a band at this point in my life. On hindsight, if we dropped into the punk scene at this point, we’d have ripped it right open, as we have done now.

We got together again in 2011 to play a one-off charity event. We then tried to play the same charity event in 2012 but I got ejected from the venue just as I was about to go onstage (I was in the wrong company).

Tgq: Where & when was your first gig as Heavy Drapes?

De L: In the summer of 2015 I was offered the Electric Six Scottish dates but I didn’t have a band, although Rikki, Jerry and Billy were up for it, we wouldn’t have been ready. I was also offered the support slot with 999 in October 2015 and that was far enough away to give us some time to get ourselves together. We agreed to do the show.

On 3rd October 2015, Heavy Drapes did their first show opening for 999 in Bathgate. We barely had a set of songs and only a few rehearsals under our belt but we destroyed it. We knew prior to this show that this time we would be much more direct and focused. We wanted to be the biggest new punk band in the UK and release the best punk rock album the world has heard in a long time. We wanted to deliver the message that punk rock doesn’t have to be the way it is, it can actually look and sound like us. Punk can be new, it can have influences from the decades post punk, it can be explosive, have swagger and it can have tunes; big tunes which are all-inclusive with potential to appeal to a broad demographic. It can be fun.

HIGHLIGHTS

Tgq: I mentioned earlier some of my favourite experiences of seeing Heavy Drapes. What are some of the key highlights along the Heavy Drapes journey so far for you?

De L: Key highlights so far would be; securing 5 Rebellion slots in 22 months, Blackpool 2016, Blackpool 2017, Dublin 2017, Amsterdam 2018 & Blackpool 2018. Uncharted water for the Rebellion team. No other new punk rock band in the world has achieved this I’m told.

Being included on 2 Vive Le Rock magazine cover CD’s, one of which was the best 16 new bands in the country.

Playing to 2000 people in the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool, and knowing they were there to see us.

Glen Matlock telling me he thought Heavy Drapes was a great name and him being thrilled when I told him it came from a line in a book called ‘Only Anarchists Are Pretty’, describing the heavy drapes hanging at the rear of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Sex’ shop on London’s Kings Road, the same shop where Glen worked on a Saturday as a teenager.

The one thing which brought me joy above anything else was the front few rows at the Empress Ballroom, it was all people we knew, friends we had made on our journey since that first gig with 999 in 2015. There were faces from London, Dublin, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Nottingham. These are the people who make as many sacrifices as the bands do to make this whole scene happen. We were very proud to be with them, as one, when we conquered Rebellion in August.

Tgq: DeLiberate, I’ve heard you talk at length about some other bands you enjoy playing with/listening to, like Duncan Reid & The Lee Harvey’s. What new bands are you excited about just now?

De L: New bands, I’ve seen more bands in 20 months than I have over my lifetime. I don’t believe I’ve seen any good new bands. Bands who I’ve seen and rate have been going for some time.

The Lee Harvey’s are special, they play straight forward punk rock, no frills, like Ramones/Undertones, good lyrics and good songs. We now class them as mates. We played Dublin with them this year and it was one of the best nights we’ve had, as a gig and a night on the town. They rocked Rebellion with us in 2016 and 2017.

Do ‘Knock Off’ and ‘The Blue Carpet Band’ count as new, I dunno, they’ve been going a fair bit longer than us. When does something stop being new? I’m thinking too hard.

No, I’ve not seen any good new bands.

WHATS NEXT…..

Tgq: There are a number of great gigs coming up for you – including playing with Duncan Reid and 3 Minute Heroes in October (as I said, your gig with Duncan Reid in Audio last year was one of my gig highlights of 2016) and also with 2 of my other favourite bands on the Scottish punk scene, ReAction and The Zips in September, what else are you particularly looking forward to in the next 6 months?

De L: The next six months is crucial. We have our first London headline show at the 100 Club, London. I’m told it’s going to sell out. We have 3 top London bands on the bill and I think it’s a fantastic night for Edinburgh and Scotland, where we have are top of a bill that people are saying is the cream of new talent in the UK.

We need to raise the roof to put our stamp on it.

We need to deliver the album of our lives and present it to the world early 2018.

We need to shine at Rebellion Dublin, Amsterdam & Blackpool.

We’re now entering an exciting phase in the band’s history, it’s a white knuckle rollercoaster ride and we have no idea where it will end up. I suppose we know where we’re going, we’re just not clear on how we’re going to get there.

Thanks a million to De Liberate and Paul for taking the time out to talk to me and for being so open about recent events. I for one am thoroughly looking forward to seeing the band in the next few months before they take a break from live gigs to finish recording the album.

You can catch Heavy Drapes at the following gigs for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

For anyone who hasn’t heard the band, check out their video for Into the Blue:

Heavy Drapes discography:

Should I Suck or Should I Blow (CD EP) (UK release) – self-released – Suck 1976

4 track EP

  1. Should I Suck or Should I Blow
  2. Into the Blue
  3. Hanging like a Suicide
  4. (I Wanna Be) Maladjusted

Should I Suck or Should I Blow (CD EP) (US Release) – Tarbeach Records – tar010

4 track EP – same tracks as UK release – different cover.

Should I Suck or Should I Blow (7” Yellow vinyl) – Tarbeach Records – tar010

A-side – Should I Suck or Should I Blow?/Hanging Like a Suicide

B-Side – Into the Blue/(I Wanna Be) Maladjusted

Heavy Drapes/ReAction split single (7” Red vinyl) – Tarbeach Records – tar007vs

Heavy Drapes side: Into the Blue

ReAction side: Hey Patty Hearst

Heavy Drapes on compilations:

Tarbeach Compilation: No Animals Were Harmed On Any Recordings On Tarbeach Records.(Charity Release – supporting NYC musician Sonny Vincents family) – Tarbeach Records – tar016 CD

Heavy Drapes track featured is Nighttrippin’

Vive Le Rock cover CDs:

Let it Roll: Heavy Drapes track featured is Should I Suck or Should I Blow

Recharge – 15 of 2016’s Year-busting tracks: Heavy Drapes track featured is Into the Blue

Heavy Drapes current releases available from Tarbeach Records

Follow Heavy Drapes on Facebook & Twitter

MoNkArOcKs

Fancy some quality Heavy Drapes clobber?

New VeRy LiMiTeD Heavy Drapes t-shirts also available now – designed and made by Phil Gallagher and Rachel Forsyth of MoNkArOcKs. Get in NOW to get yours before they disappear, they are limited to 77 and are all individually numbered.