Jason How – Four albums of Psychedelic & Pure Power Pop Genius

Jason How

I’ve only recently been introduced to the music of Jason How (cheers Joe Whyte). I’m so glad I am no longer a stranger to his music. Jason is a prolific songwriter, releasing an album per year over the last 4 years.

It would be difficult to pin Jason down to a specific music genre or style as there is a great variety of influences across the albums. His influences are apparent in the music, US West Coast psychedelia standing out, but also with the influence of 70’s punk/power pop and 80s indie.

Certain elements come together and bring to mind different bands and/or singers. Sometimes the combined elements together sound like Buzzcocks, others reminiscent of purveyors of perfect Punk/Power Pop, Duncan Reid and the Big Heads. It all depends on what album and what track you are listening to.

One thing is for certain. They all have big tunes, are hook laden, lyrically clever and sometimes eccentric and cover a wide array of subjects.

Suffice to say the fruits of Jason’s labours are eminently listenable.

Who is Jason How?

For anyone else to whom this might be an introduction to Jason and his music, I asked him to give me a bit of background on who he is:

Well my father started Rotosound Music Strings in the 1960’s and I have been Chairman since 1996.  

As you say I have been around music all my life and never really been that good a guitarist  so I thought I would try writing songs which I really enjoy and seems to come fairly easily to me.

I play guitar, bass, keys and vocals.

My real trade is in engineering I have designed and built most of the new string winding machines at Rotosound over the last 20 years. Following on from when my father died in 1994. 

Passionate about keeping the manufacturing in the UK!

….all about the strings!

www.rotosound.com

 When did you first start playing music? With the Rotosound connections you obviously have been brought up close to music:

 Started listening to music from an early age, my dad used to bring home all the albums by the bands Rotosound were dealing with in the 70’ s. From bands like ELO, Queen, The Jam, Wreckless Eric etc. Quite an eclectic mix.  

That eclectic mix is something that has obviously influenced Jason’s own music. Jason has his own distinctive sound but you can also hear a variety of influences within the albums.

What instrument did you start playing? What was the first song/tune you played?

 Started playing the guitar when I was 15. I remember that ‘A Legal Matter’ by The Who was the first guitar riff I learnt LOL! I remember picking out the guitar riff on “A Legal Matter by the Who as my brother had just lent me “Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy”, the early Who compilation.

I had an old Aria acoustic guitar, started writing tunes on my dad’s old Wurlitzer organ, just sort of instrumental things. Then started writing tunes on the guitar and finally adding lyrics.

My mate Jim Bishop and myself wrote a tune called ‘Lost my words in the mountains’ when we were about 16, then we formed a band called Wicked Cooker (terrible name) and wrote a lot of weird stuff with song titles like ‘Stop eating your chocolate biscuits’ and ‘Soapsuds in my binoculars’

Bootlegs are available for your further listening pleasure……

 That would be an interesting listen I’m sure.

The Music of Jason How

Where do you get your musical inspiration to write from?

I love the late 60’s psychedelic scene from the West coast in the US, bands like The 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watch Band and The Strawberry Alarm Clock. The Doors obviously.

 Also the 70’s punk scene I love and a lot of underground Indie from the 80’s especially a lot of the Glasgow bands like The Close Lobsters, The Vaselines (etc) and others like The Church, House of Love and Robyn Hitchcock!

 Lucky enough with my job to know some of these guys like The Stranglers, Wreckless Eric, Bruce Foxton etc….

As I said earlier, musically I can hear that range of styles/influences across the albums & just from the initial listen to “The Eve of Oban” I can see some obvious targets in your lyrics – corporate suits, political /government themes. What else inspires the themes of your lyrics?

Of late the political is as you say an easy target so I really write exactly what I think.

 I do try and add in some English whimsy and create some kind of mood with the music and lyrics. Eve of Oban was a stripped down lo-fi affair that could have been done in mono for a bit of fun!

I think running the business gets you thinking with regards to politics etc…. you try and see it from both sides but is quite difficult sometimes!

You’ve released 4 albums to date. The Tall English Sun (2014), Speedboat on a Magic Sea (2015) & The Eve of Oban (2016) and the latest Viscount Spoon Plays Sounds from the Cheeky Warm (2017). What is next on the horizon for you?

Had a bit of a hiatus this year (2017) as I feel like I have gone all out over the last 5 years so have just tried to empty my head and get back into it in 2018.

 Still trying to work out the next vibe for the next album. I have a lot of older songs knocking around but I hate going back to them. Would rather write new material if possible…….

I believe you pretty much play all the instruments on the albums – any thoughts of getting a band together and taking the songs out on the road?

Would love to do that at some stage I think it would only happen if the right group of people came together naturally. They would have to be into the music etc…

Doing the music alone is a double edged sword, you can do as you please but then there’s nobody to bounce ideas off and keep the quality control at the highest level.

 There you go, if the right group of people are out there…

Who are you listening to personally at the moment? Any recommendations?

Sad to say I’m still listening to all my old favourites although I am having a bit of a completist moment with Van Morrison right now…. “Astral Weeks” such a classic!

Also most of my fave artists are on the website! (Read about Jason’s favourite artists on his website http://www.jasonhow.com/)

Not sad at all, I often listen to my “old favourites”. Don’t get me on completist. I’m no-where near as bad now but back in the 80’s when the record companies released a 7”, 12”, 2 CD singles and maybe even a cassette single, all with different b-sides, mugs like me had to buy them all.

Thanks to Jason for taking the time out of a busy schedule to answer the questions.

Reviews

As I alluded to earlier, Jason’s albums are a joy to listen to and bring a smile to my face when listening in the car on some miserable drives to and from work.

The Tall English Sun

The sunny psychedelic influences of 60’s West Coast US bands is most apparent on debut “The Tall English Sun” (also featuring Keith More and Martin Johnson) with beautiful harmonies, tambourines and song titles like “Summer in Eden”,  “April Rained Forever” & Viaducts of Your Dreams” reflecting this too.

The whimsy Jason mentioned earlier is also apparent and there is a certain eccentricity to many of the songs and lyrics across all the albums adding to the appeal.

“Speedboat on a Magic Sea” continues in a similar vein where “The Tall English Sun” left off, complementing its harmonious psychedelic influences with three minute melodic power pop/punk – such as “Sunset in Deutsche Town” with the political comment starting to come to the fore in some tracks.

Speedboat on a Magic Sea

Songs like “Run like Falling Stars” are stand-outs with a rich acoustic intro building into a beautiful song with warm fuzzy melodious guitars and elongated outro.

Many of Jason’s songs across his output hark back to days gone by. “Looking Glass of Time” is, unsurprisingly based on the title, one of those, referencing 1969 and lunar moon landings, and spending days riding bikes and climbing trees.

Can Jason predict the future? “If I Could be President” could have been written by Trump, but with a great deal more intelligence and flair. With lyrics like “everybody’s gonna know who I am, everybody’s gonna hate what I am”, “I’d change the rules of the game” and “I’d gas all the scum, you’d be on the run” and a post punk feel, like a cross between Teardrop Explodes and Wire with its keyboards and angular sound.

 Eve of Oban

Album three, “The Eve of Oban” has a melodic late 70’s punk feel a la Buzzcocks on tracks like album opener “Tricked by the Blink of an Eye” (a brilliant opening to the album with its catchy refrain) and “Decoy”.

The political and corporate lyrical influences add an edge to some songs – “F**k the Government”, “Can You Feel the Benefit” and “C**ts in Suits”- while still maintaining the stirring feel of the music and injecting a bit of humour to lighten the mood.

As I indicated, one of the key proponents of power pop/pop punk in recent years has been “Duncan Reid and the Big Heads” mastering their sound over 3 albums to date. Jason’s intonation from time to time is similar to that of Duncan and this adds to the comparison. The exuberant sound of both bands is a pleasure to listen to.

Viscount Spoon Plays the Sounds of the Cheeky Warm

“Viscount Spoon Plays Sounds from the Cheeky Warm” is his latest album and sees a return to the more psychedelic and eccentric element of his repertoire, maintaining the power pop/pop punk leanings. Jason is in reflective mood on this album with the subjects for many of the songs harking back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

“Records from the Past” makes me want to do exactly what he says in the song “I just want to spend my Sunday afternoons, listening to records from the past”. It sounds like a perfect Sunday. Throughout the song there are references to a variety of the bands Jason has liked over the years from 60’s (Velvet Underground), to the 80s (The Smiths via House of Love). While slow burner “Badge Boy” builds into a melodic 60’s treat to the eardrums.

On “I Used to Think I was Mr Benn” Jason evokes memories of childhood and the aforementioned cartoon character. Anyone who reflects back now on Mr Benn will recognise the certain psychedelic element to the cartoon. Straight-laced Mr Benn in suit and bowler hat visiting a shop where “as if by magic the shopkeeper appeared” and provided him with an outfit and a magic door taking him on a variety of adventures related to said costume. Remarkable cartoon and striking song.

Linking back to 1985 again as he did on “Records from the Past”, Jason is in contemplative mood again on, funnily enough, the brooding melancholic acoustic number that is “Back in 1985” when “all of the colours were alive”. The iconic “girl with the elegant curls” gets her own tribute on “Oh! Diana Dors” summarising her sometimes tragic rollercoaster life in four minutes of brilliance.

Final track on the album is a strangely (based on its subject matter) uplifting song “3 Day Week” about the winter of discontent. The song has a jangly guitar intro which wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the indie discos I used to attend back in the 80’s.

All told, four albums of pure pop genius. I look forward to album number 5 Mr How.

Explore for Yourself

…. All about my music! http://www.jasonhow.com/

New post Brexit demo here….

https://soundcloud.com/jason-how/voice-of-democracy15

Albums available on iTunes.

https://itun.es/gb/Pmb1W

“Viscount Spoon…” is available on CD and also up on Reverbnation.

https://www.reverbnation.com/jasonhow/album/171575-viscount-spoon-plays-sounds-from

 

Ian Donaldson – Interview – “A Rainbow in the Basement” & “….And Then The Stars”

Ian Donaldson

There has recently been a lot of activity from one of Scotland’s stars of the 80’s – Ian Donaldson. Those of a certain age will remember him being the front-man for H20 with their chart hits with “I Dream to Sleep” and “Just Outside of Heaven”. (Good excuse to put this here….)

Ian has returned recently with a debut novel “A Rainbow in the Basement”. On the music front, he has also been back in the studio recording a solo album due for release early next year and has announced a couple of album launch gigs in Glasgow.

He was recently kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Ian, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this. When I first saw your debut novel last year and then saw the name of the author I was pleased to see you back albeit in a slightly different direction, but still in the creative arts.

A Rainbow in the Basement

thegingerquiff: “Rainbow in the Basement” is out now on paperback, I bought it last year when it came out and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book is set across 2 locations – Glasgow and the USA. Without giving any of the plot away, what was your inspiration for the book?

Ian Donaldson: It all started with a dream I have about 20 years ago. I woke up and scribbled down what I could remember of it. Strangely enough the same thing happened the following night.

I had the start of the book. From there it was, let’s see where Matthew wants to go and what does he want to say and who will he meet? I tried not to force anything and ideas and conversations just seem to follow.

tgq: I also started writing a book 20 years ago but I’ve not got very far! I keep going back and re-writing the first chapter every now and again. May be I can take some inspiration from you.

How long did it take to write? What was your writing process – were you disciplined and set aside time or was it just as the muse took you?

ID: We must have started writing about the same time Neil!

I don’t mean to make it sound easy – it wasn’t. I’ve lost count of the number of times I rewrote it and then put it away – unhappy and frustrated because it wasn’t ‘right’ – only to bring it out again and go back to the start.

I don’t know how to give in once I’ve started something. A curse and a blessing I suppose.

And yes – when I was working on it I was disciplined. I fought sleep and stole time to get it done.

(I detect a theme here – it started with a Dream…. You fought Sleep to get it done.)

tgq: I’ll bear all that in mind. I have enjoyed writing my blog since I started and I’m keen to get back to writing the book. Watch this space (maybe in another 20 years….)

What about a follow up to “Rainbow..”– have you any more books in the pipeline?

ID: I have started the follow up to Rainbow and another idea. It also deals with fantasy and reality, history and magic. And people.

tgq: I’m not going to give any of the plot away, I’d just encourage people to seek it out and read it for themselves. I look forward to reading your next book.

Just to whet your appetites if you haven’t read it though, here is some insight from the back cover of the book:

“…And Then The Stars”

tgq: I mentioned at the start that you have a new album coming out. Most people will know you from being the vocalist with H20 who had some memorable songs in the 80s – debut single “Hollywood Dream”, hit singles “I Dream to Sleep” & “Just Outside of Heaven” along with later singles “Take my Breath Away” & “Blue Diamond” amongst others. Also a memorable solo version of the Walker Brothers “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”.

I know you’ve played a couple of live dates recently as well as being out and about promoting your book. You have just announced your solo album “….And Then the Stars” will be released on Toy Town records early next year. Tell me more about the album – how did it come about?

ID: I have been working on new songs for the last few years. In between the times when Rainbow was in the cupboard due to my frustration and inability to know how to improve it!

Like the words and conversations in the book I decided to let the lyrics ‘out’ – for them to come from whatever direction they wanted to begin from and then shape them instead of writing for a market – oh, the people who liked H20 may like this or that.

It’s 30 years later, we’ve all grown, had families, experienced love and loss and ill health and had time to reflect on life. All the songs on the album tell a different story. Some are dark. Some are uplifting. Exploring different emotions.

tgq: I look forward to hearing the fruits of your labours. You were also part of Scottish “super-group” Four Good Men – tell us about how that came about and what are your highlights from that time?

ID: That came about by chance. I was DJing in a club. I got friendly with one of the stewards. He knew Derek Forbes from Simple Minds and suggested we meet.

We did and hatched a plan to form a band of musicians who had been successful before to do our best known songs. Enter Bruce Watson from Big Country and Smiley who played drums with Robbie Williams. It was a bit of a revolving door at times due to people’s availability so Kirk Brandon, Jim Prime, Graham Duffin, Malk Button, Steve Harris and Jane Button were some of the others who were involved.

We had some great times. Touring Canada and the US was fun. Playing festivals was pretty special. And writing some new songs that we played live for a time was very satisfying.

tgq: How does it feel to be back playing your own music again?

ID: Only one answer to that question Neil – the BEST feeling.

Not only to be playing the new songs, but to be performing some H20 favourites too. And being able to ask musicians that are wildly talented and who are also my friends is a great position to be in.

Being signed to a new label – Toy Town Records is a good feeling. Head of Toy Town is Gordon McNeil. He is also co-producing the album. He is very supportive and creative. The ideal place for me to be.

tgq: I know you have planned some live dates to support the album, tell us more about these.

ID: I have 2 dates arranged to launch ‘…And Then the Stars’. Fri/Sat 9th & 10th Feb next year at Websters Theatre, Glasgow.

Tickets are £20.00 available from toytownrecords.com and Websters.

This includes a ticket for the show and a signed copy of the album sent to your door a month before the album’s release.

I’ve ordered mine. Get yours quick before they’re all gone.

Ian’s uplifting new single “Ticker Tape Parade” is available now to download from iTunes if you can’t wait for the album to come out. (Spot the Dream to Sleep reference again)

Hear a short clip here.

Thanks again to Ian for his time, and I’ll look forward to reviewing the album & gig on 2018.

 

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

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.

Drunk Gods

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

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

Drunk Gods Album

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whats next?

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

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

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

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

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

DRUNK GODS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to hearing the new tracks.

Go and find out for yourselves now…..

Listen and Buy

Check out the Drunk Gods on Soundcloud.

Buy the album on iTunes or Amazon

 

Kiss This – Tarbeach NYC in Glasgow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tickets

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

Kiss This promo video:

Delinquents – About Last Night

delinquents – david hennessey

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

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

Thegingerquiff – How did Delinquents come about?

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

TGQ – How would you describe your sound?

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

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

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

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

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

TGQ – What was Rebellion like?

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

TGQ – What is the punk scene in Dundee like?

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

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

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

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

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

TGQ – What’s next for Delinquents?

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

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

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

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

Delinquents – about last night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strung Out Nights EP reviews

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World of Doubt EP

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

National Mental Regression EP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both EPs are available to stream on Spotify.

Open in Spotify

There is a Night that Never Goes Out…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So are Strangeways nights no more?

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

Watch this space!

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

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

 Saturday 26th of August at the Admiral Bar Glasgow 

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

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

Expect to hear music from:

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

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

 Tickets available here …

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

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