Tarbeach Records – NYC Record Label

Tarbeach webTarbeach Records

Over the years, there have been a number of essential record labels with Scottish roots that have given rise to some unforgettable bands and their music.

The list is massive but everyone must be familiar with at least one of these:

  • Postcard (Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera)
  • Creation (Oasis, Ride, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain, House of Love)
  • Creeping Bent (Vic Godard, Secret Goldfish, Alan Vega)
  • Chemikal Underground (Mogwai, The Delgados, Malcolm Middleton, Arab Strap)

And that is just scraping the surface.

Scottish Roots

Add a new one to that list – Tarbeach Records. Although NYC based, the label has Scottish roots and a number of Scottish bands on their release list.

To date they have an impressive back catalogue (see below) of releases from bands old and new – with much more to come.

ReAction Accelerator album cover
ReAction – Accelerator

I first came across the label when I bought the peerless debut album “Accelerator” by ReAction, but have since bolstered my Tarbeach collection somewhat.

In addition to the ReAction album mentioned, from a Scottish perspective, Tarbeach has been supported releases from the much touted Heavy Drapes and Glasgow’s legendary The Zips/Jonzip. These 3 bands recently played a sold out showcase gig “Kiss This” in Broadcast, Glasgow.

Kiss This Poster
Kiss This – Broadcast, Glasgow

Walter Stewart

I asked Walt Stewart about the origins of Tarbeach…

The label started in 2016. I had recorded an album in 2007 called “Thee New York Tarbeach Recordings”. It was an Avant-garde set. I continued to record as Thee Electric Fits, or Thee E-Fits or Thee EFF-its.

The reason for the labels existence is because I felt like doing something, more concentrated, other than these abstracted projects.

So from humble beginnings, the label has worked with a range if bands to get their product out there. Walt expanded on the ethos of the label.

This label was intended to be, and has become a self-functioning collective. I hope it is about giving bands a home and appreciating their efforts by releasing their music indiscriminately. That their effort is so natural, is nothing to do with the label at all. That’s the ethos.

We don’t have a roster (of bands), whatever is coming out will be on the website. We don’t have any CAPITAL to advertise ‘n stuff, if it’s out, it’s on the website.

All the more reason for anyone reading this to spread the word far and wide. If you need any encouragement – just listen to some of the bands that have released their music on Tarbeach. (See the list of releases below). I guarantee you’ll find something you like and be impressed by.

What about the music Walt likes?

I can swing from Miles (Davis), to Buttholes (Surfers), to Sparks, To GBV (Guided by Voices), to The Fall, to Milkshakes, to Pixies, to Reaction, to Monkey Don’t Care.

But most of all, I listen to the local scene. My fave bands of late are Pepper Kings, and GIFTSHOP.

On that note, being NYC based, Tarbeach naturally supports a diverse range of New York/US based bands, including some of those mentioned by Walt.

Again, NY and Glasgow have reflected activities around showcasing the bands on the label. As well as the recent gig in Glasgow there have been showcase gigs in NY in the last few months including Monkey Don’t Care, Pepper Kings and The Bowery Boys along with Golden Axe Attack and the Rose Pedals in Gussy’s Bar, Queens in June.

Tarbeach showcase gig June 2017 NYC
Tarbeach Showcase NYC

A truly international label. Loved by many on both sides of the Atlantic. Tarbeach artists regularly feature on Danny Mac’s Testifying Time Radio Show. On the other side of the pond, Walt (along with ReAction’s Joe Whyte) recently appeared on DJ Rob Select’s show

The label has also been involved in supporting Sonny Vincent and family after the much publicised tragedy that befell them. This was through the release of a compilation CD (details below) of bands associated with Tarbeach with funds raised going to the support fund.

Upcoming releases

Tarbeach has a busy few months ahead with a number of releases scheduled. Look out for the following exciting releases coming in the next few months:

October 31st:

Halloween sees the release of the second EP from Monkey Don’t Care:

Monkey Don't Care
Monkey Don’t Care

Monkey Don’t Care – “Pearl Necklace” CDEP – Tracks “She Goes Her Own Way”, “Slow But Sure Destruction”, “Lids of my Eyes” (Tar022)

3 great tracks of melodic alt-rock with distortion heavy vocals on a couple of the songs. “Slow but Sure Destruction” is a standout with its pleading opening bass over the sound of rain bringing a feeling of desolation but builds into a crashing epic song. “She Goes Her Own Way” brings the tempo back up again and is reminiscent of early REM.

November 17th:

(The) Meghan Taylor (fronted) quintet (GIFTSHOP) specializes in CBGB’s style punk mixed with 21st century pop hooks. GIFTSHOP’s dynamic live shows have earned them prime festival slots.

Giftshop band picture
GIFTSHOP

GIFTSHOP – “Despicable”/”Dontcha Know” – AA blue vinyl 7” (Tar020)

“Despicable” with its driving guitars and plaintive vocals is a straightforward fuck you to an asshole who thinks he does “the things that make him likeable”, but is really just ”despicable”. A fantastic 3 and a half minute romp. “Dontcha Know” shows a softer side to the band – more ballad like and with a real 50’s feel to it. Definitely not aimed at the subject of “Despicable”. Brilliant.

December 25th:

Pepper Kings – “Pepper Kings” debut CD album (Serial No TBC)

Pepper Kings band picture
Pepper Kings

I want to say the Pepper Kings are quirky. I can’t think of a better word to describe them, their sound is unconventional and often eccentric (Hoot Owl).

It would be difficult to pigeon-hole Pepper Kings. While not necessarily sounding like them – the band are off the wall in the way bands like XTC, Devo and Talking Heads are – doubtlessly a good thing.

The vocals at times reminiscent of varied vocalists like Jello Biafra, Calvin Johnson and Fred Schneider. Like Dead Kennedys, there is a serious side to the songs too, with “Casinos Mean Jobs” making a deliberate political statement.

You will categorically not be bored listening to Pepper Kings. I’ve only heard a selection of the songs from the album, but I look forward to hearing more.

(Date – TBC):

ReAction – “Out of My head” b/w “Crystallised Radio” 7” white vinyl (Tar013)

Reaction live picture
ReAction – Live

ReAction are a phenomenal band both live and on record. The energy from Big Carson is second to none and the song-writing and music is sophisticated and varied. The 2 tracks here showcase different sides to the band with “Out of My Head” being an in your face punk rock romp. ”Crystallised Radio” on the flip side is a dub remix of Accelerator album track “Crystal Radio” and follows on from Fireball in Dub (Warped Plan Remix) on the album.

I am excited for the future of Tarbeach and hope to see many more releases coming from the label continuing with the variety of music styles as they have to date.

Thanks to Walt and all the bands for the time and effort they put in to get their music out there to the masses.

I’ve linked to bands Facebook pages/websites throughout where possible.

Get the above releases and the back catalogue from the website – Tarbeach Music. You can find them on social media too – Facebook and Twitter

Back catalogue

Tar002Electric Fits – Opposable Thumbs (album) CD/DL

Tar003 – Electric Fits – Sonic Metamorphine b/w Being One (single) DL only

Tar005 – ReAction – Accelerator (album) – CD/DL

Tar007 – ReAction – Hey Patty Hearst/Heavy Drapes – Into the Blue AA split 7” red vinyl

Tar010/ Tar010CD – Heavy Drapes – Should I Suck EP – amber vinyl/Heavy Drapes – Should I Suck EP – CD/DL

Tar011 – Double pack of Tar007 & Tar010

Tar012EP – ReAction – Old School Rules EP – CD/DL

Tar013 – ReAction – Out of My Head – single – white vinyl – Final Release date TBC

Tar014/Tar014CDEX – Jonzip/The Zips 19 Forevva/Barbara Wire AA split 7” green vinyl/Jonzip/The Zips – CD EP with 2 extra hidden tracks – different colour sleeves

Tar015 – Triple Distilled – pack of Tar007/Tar010 & Tar014

Tar016 – Tarbeach Compilation – No Animals Were Harmed During Any Recordings – CD/DL

Tar018 – Monkey Don’t Care – “I Hear What You’re Saying But I Just Don’t Care” 3 Track EP – CD/DL

Tar019 – The Bowery Boys – “EP#1” 5 track EP – CD/DL

Tar020 – GIFTSHOP – Despicable/Don’t’cha Know – AA single – blue vinyl (released 17/11/2017)

Tar021 – The Pepper Kings – “EP#1” 4 track EP – CD/DL

Tar022 – Monkey Don’t Care – “Pearl Necklace EP” – CD/DL (released 31/10/2017)

 

 

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

Duncan Reid & the Big Heads

I’d been looking forward to this gig since the 3rd of December last year. Well, technically this gig hadn’t been announced then, but it was the day after the last Duncan Reid gig and I was still pumped. If anyone has followed previous posts they’ll know I rated it as one of my gigs of 2016.

On that occasion the support bands were Mercury long-list nominees The Media Whores and fast rising Scottish punks with a masterplan, Heavy Drapes.

That night saw all 3 bands put in top class performances so the last gig had a lot to live up to.

They have all had a great year since then.

media Whores, Heavy Drapes and Duncan Reid and the Big heads – since last year

As mentioned Media Whores were long-listed for the Mercury Music Prize with their 3rd album, “Dangerous Minds”. Post punk with a conscience, the album is packed full of songs on a variety of subjects with some well-constructed lyrics and the tunes to back them up. I recently interviewed the band – you can read this here.

Heavy Drapes and Duncan Reid & the Big Heads have both gigged relentlessly and had acclaimed performances at this year’s Rebellion Festival. Heavy Drapes with their first appearance on the main stage. Duncan Reid & the Big Heads playing on more than one occasion including an impromptu extra performance. They have also releasing a sumptuous 3rd album in “Bombs Away”.

There had been a lot of promotion and interest in the gig on social media in the run up so the anticipation was undeniable.

Nice n sleazy – 6th October 2017

As I walked into the venue, there were a number of familiar faces outside and a friendly face at the door in “Main” man and gig organiser Alex “Mainy” Main. As I ordered a drink at the bar I noticed that Mainy made a point of making everyone that arrived feel welcome. This was going to be more of an event than a normal gig.

WESTGAP

Being the all-round great guy that he is, he’d also arranged a collection for WESTgap. WESTgap are “an anti-poverty community group providing independent advice, information and advocacy relating to welfare rights, housing, homelessness, benefits, sanctions, fuel poverty, work, rent arrears and more.” A fantastic organisation providing an unfortunately much needed service in this day and age. Find out more about them and how you can help on their website.

As I stood and took in the surroundings, noticing the place filling up I was pleased to see how many regular friendly faces there were but also many more that I don’t know. I’m always pleased to see bands well-supported, if we don’t support live music we’ll see bands not able to continue and venues closing as has happened around the UK.

It has already been mentioned on social media, but it was satisfying to see how many members of other bands were in the crowd. I think it says a lot about the respect and high esteem in which Duncan Reid is held.

3 Minute Heroes

And so to the music. I said this wasn’t going to be a normal gig and I was proved right by opening act “3 Minute Heroes”.

A band of which I’ve heard loads of great things but never seen live before. Based on what I saw, it won’t be the last time. To call them a covers band would be doing them a dis-service. Yes, they play covers but they make them their own.

Their set was a run through of classic punk/new wave tracks such as “Sound of the Suburbs”, “Oliver’s Army”, “Beat My Guest” and “Ever Fallen in Love” amongst many others. I have to say one of the highlights of their set for me was a punked up version of ABBA’s “Does Your Mother Know”. They followed that with “Hungry Like the Wolf”. Is it wrong that I knew all the words to both these songs?

That was the audience clearly warmed up.

I mentioned the presence of members of other bands in the audience. It was also great to see the other 2 bands watching and clearly enjoying 3 Minute Heroes set.

Heavy Drapes

Next it was the turn of punks on the rise, and one of last year’s supports, Heavy Drapes. I’ve seen Heavy Drapes on several occasions recently and they just seem to get better and better. This was their second Glasgow gig with new(ish) bassist Paul Research after their appearance at Kiss This in Broadcast in September, his first gig with the band. Paul has settled in well and has added his own influence to the band with his “rollerbass” beefing up the sound.

The band played all the, by now, familiar tracks – all 4 from their debut EP along with other live favourites such as “Janie” and “Lets Free the Working Class”. The latter always has the crowd singing along to the “Up against the wall” refrain and is one of my live favourites.

DeLiberate dedicated “New York” to his dad before the band ripped through the song while he channelled the spirit, filth and fury of Rotten. They romped through “Get Your Head Skrewed On” and fan favourite and often set-closer “I Wanna be Maladjusted”.

That wasn’t the end though, they finished with a fine cover of “Search & Destroy” joined by friend of the band Chris on backing vocals. I’m sure that anyone that was there to see the headline act and caught Heavy Drapes for the first time will be a convert.

Next up for Heavy Drapes – a support slot for many peoples “favourite Pistol” Glen Matlock.

Set list:

Number 1/Should I Suck or Should I Blow/Into the Blue/New York/Janie/Nightrippin’/Hanging Like a Suicide/Muchos Respectos/Lets Free the Working Class/Get Your Head Skrewed on/(I Wanna Be) Maladjusted/Search & Destroy

And so to the main event. Headliners:

 

Duncan Reid & the Big Heads.

The last time I saw them they provided the lucky gathering with a masterclass in entertainment.

Tonight it was equalled…..and surpassed. The band were ebullient and dynamic throughout the set. Not only are they accomplished musicians and songwriters but they really look as if they are enjoying every minute of what they do.

Kicking off with the high octane opening track from Bombs Away, “Can’t Stop” they maintained the fire and spirit throughout. The title is appropriate as Duncan literally can’t stop, he bounces around the stage with more zest than bands half his age.

Next we’re off for a whistle-stop tour of “Montevideo” and I think we’d all like to join him for cocktails in the Clash City Rockers bar.

Power Punk with Pop Sensibilities

Duncan & the band write tracks that should be blasting from every radio station around the world and they deserve to be massive. Their accomplished power punk with pop sensibilities is addictive and easy to fall in love with. Sophie K Powers is an incredible guitarist, Nick Hughes a welcome addition to the band since the last time I saw them live and Karen Jones the powerhouse at the back keeping things together. And of course Mr Reid, bass genius and vocalist extraordinaire.

Just ask the youngsters (Jesus – how old does that make me sound!) that Mainy brought down from the bar who danced and sang throughout the set even though they had never heard the songs before.

The songs keep coming. The audience hanging on every word – and singing along including perfect “sha la la lee’s” on “C’est La Vie”.

I can’t possibly pick out one highlight in a set that was just one big highlight. “Thinking”, however, is a favourite of mine and as Duncan started the bass line recognised immediately by the gathered masses, it was obvious that it was loved by many more.

“Just Because You’re Paranoid” was introduced as a song he couldn’t imagine being played live when he wrote it, but is now a staple in their live set. Pure pop perfection with its effervescent keyboard parts and its Madness-esque sound.

bombs away!

The bombastic glam stomp that announces “Bombs Away” is another welcome intro and what a song it is. All masterful driving drums from Karen Jones, glam-tastic guitar riffs and melodic ooo-eee-ooo’s but with an eerily ominous message based on the idiot currently in charge at the White House.

And they kept coming…”Kelly’s Gone Insane”, “C’mon Josephine” (co-written with Andrew Matheson) and “That’s Just the Way It Is” continued the high-spirited performance.

Nick Hughes took centre stage and lead vocals for a well-received version of The Boys classic “Brickfield Nights” which resulted in a lively response from the crowd.

A vibrant and spirited “Soda Pressing” followed. Perhaps too vibrant as Duncan managed to break a string on his bass. A short lull ensued while quick repairs and temporary borrowing of Paul’s rollerbass took place. Nick ad-libbed and joked about that being the reason he wasn’t a song writer.

impromptu worm song

While repairs continued we were treated to an impromptu “Worm Song” which brought smiles to faces and an exuberant sing-along.

With borrowed bass, Duncan introduced “a song about 1977…..” before – well you know what song followed then…..

Another Boys classic – “First Time” with Duncan making a foray into the crowd all chanting along to the “oh oh oh” refrain. Phenomenal.

With curfew fast approaching it was a quick punktastic journey around “One Night in Rio” before the last blast of The Boys Hollywood Brats cover “Sick on You”. This saw euphoria breaking out with a pogoing frenzy and vigorous singalong.

There were smiles on faces all around – band and punters – as the gig finished. Tonight was an event that was not to be missed and definitely repeated.

gig of 2017?

I’ve seen some cracking gigs this year. Is this contender for my gig of 2017? You bet it is. Massive kudos to Mainy for putting it on again. What time next year?

As we all drifted away into the night, I met a lovely bloke who had just moved from Hamburg to Hamilton. He’d asked for directions to Central, but I ended up walking down with him. A massive Boys fan, he’d been looking on the internet and came across tonight’s event. He raved about the gig and we had a brilliant chat about the music scene in Glasgow/Scotland, he was stoked about what was coming up. We could have talked for hours! A lovely way to end a superlative evening.

Setlist: Can’t Stop/Montevideo/TCP/C’est La Vie/Baby Doll/Lets Skip to the Good Bit/Thinking/Just Because You’re Paranoid/Rolling On/Bombs Away/Kelly’s Gone Insane/C/mon Josephine/That’s Just the Way it is/Brickfield Nights/Soda Pressing/The Worm Song/’77/First Time/One Night in Rio/Sick on You

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

 

Kiss This Tarbeach NYC in Glasgow – Review

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

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

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

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

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

REACTION

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

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

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

Heavy drapes

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

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

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

THE ZIPS

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heavy Drapes – De Liberate speaks…

Heavy Drapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suffice to say, Heavy Drapes are going places.

INTERVIEW – DeLIBERATE AND PAUL RESEARCH

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

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

Rebellion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What the fuck is this”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAND CHANGES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEBUT ALBUM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BACK IN THE DAY….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIGHLIGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, I’ve not seen any good new bands.

WHATS NEXT…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heavy Drapes discography:

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

4 track EP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heavy Drapes side: Into the Blue

ReAction side: Hey Patty Hearst

Heavy Drapes on compilations:

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

Heavy Drapes track featured is Nighttrippin’

Vive Le Rock cover CDs:

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

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

Heavy Drapes current releases available from Tarbeach Records

Follow Heavy Drapes on Facebook & Twitter

MoNkArOcKs

Fancy some quality Heavy Drapes clobber?

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

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:

Heavy Drapes – coming to a venue near you soon….

News on the Heavy Drapes front. With the departure of Jerry Crowe on bass (all the best Jerry), the band are joined by former Scars guitarist Paul Research!

Look out for a Heavy Drapes feature on my blog soon.

In the meantime, here is a link to all the news on the band changes from Joe Whyte. (Louder Than War/Vive Le Rock/Re@ction/Jericho Hill)

Heavy Drapes meets Scars Exclusive

Southern Approach – Interview with David Munro Orr – Kilmarnock “legend”

So, when I decided I was going to start a blog, I knew I wanted to share my love for music and I wanted to shout about some of the bands that (in my opinion) deserve to get more recognition and exposure. (Not that this blog is going to get them that but hey, I can try!) So how would I get them on board and involved?

I thought, maybe I could approach someone I know that has been in bands all his life and has released some great tunes? But failing that maybe Munro would help (I jest Davy!)

So, here it is – my first blog and I’ve roped in David Munro Orr (Davy, Munro….. whatever you want to call him) to talk about Southern Approach.

For anyone that doesn’t know, Davy, among other things, is the singer from Ayrshire (Kilmarnock to be precise) legends, Southern Approach.

Munro, for anyone that hasn’t heard you or your music, tell me more about Southern Approach.

“Southern Approach are basically an 80’s inspired Goth/Rock band. Melodic, harmonic vocals with a driving rhythm section and riff driven guitars.”

And who is in the band?

“The band consists of Davy Orr and Shirley Guthrie on vocals, Barry Lewis on guitar, Neill Ramsay on drums and Philip Harkness on bass. We also have Sandy Doherty on guitar     who writes and records with us.”

You’ve recently recorded and released your debut album Restitution, this album has been 30 years in the making – why the long delay?

“It took us 30 years as basically we split up in 1989. And in the years we were together we just didn’t have the cash, technology or indeed the breaks to record an album. Remember this was the mid 80’s, we did record several demos though.”

Southern Approach in the 80s – photo courtesy of David Munro Orr

How does it feel to be back together as a band after that length of time?

“A couple of years ago after hearing that a couple of the band had been through some tough times, I asked the guys if they fancied reforming. Barry and myself had kept playing together anyway in Straw Dogs and Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers and we were all still in touch. It feels fantastic to be together again as life is way too short. It feels like the time is right now and probably wouldn’t have worked in the past. I reckon we had to have a bit of distance to fully appreciate what we have now.”

Southern Approach 2017 – photo courtesy of David Munro Orr

You are in, or have been in, several bands over the years. What first got you into music?

“I was 12 in 1977 and just getting into music. So I was drawn to bands like The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, The Ruts etc. Then bands like The Cult, Sisters of Mercy & New Model Army. As for getting into a band I think I was 16 or 17 and just an incredible show off, still am. I started on guitar but realised that I really didn’t have the patience or indeed talent so moved to vocals.”

You’re supporting Theatre of Hate in Paisley in October – how did that gig come about?

“The Theatre of Hate gig is incredibly exciting for us as we’re all massive fans. Basically the promoter is a mate of mine who heard the album, liked it and asked us to support knowing we were fans.”

I’m looking forward to that gig! I might even buy you a vodka. Maybe….

Anyway, whats next for Southern Approach?

“Next for Southern Approach is some more writing, videos and recording. We’ll play a few gigs every year especially interesting ones like TOH but we won’t be touring as the old bones wouldn’t take it, or my liver.”

Southern Approach – still from “Shake” video – photo courtesy of David Munro Orr

I’m sure there will be loads of people wanting to get hold of your album, where can they get it?

“People can download the album at Southern Approach – CD Baby or if they’d prefer a CD at Bellfield Tavern – Store

Musically, who inspires you Munro?

“Personally the people that inspire me are John Lydon, Malcolm Owen of The Ruts and Ian Astbury of The Cult vocally and as frontmen. I also admire people like Charlie Harper and Dave Vanian for their longevity and of course talent.”

Things are a lot different now than they were 30 years ago, what are the biggest challenges you see now and what advice would you give anyone starting a band in this day and age?

“I think young bands are far more clued up than us oldies as regards technology. Is it easier or harder with the Internet? I really can’t decide. What I would say is stop banging on about selling “merch” when you’ve played 3 fuckin’ gigs! Get rehearsing, writing, gigging and hone your talent. Play outside your comfort zone and not just to friends and family as you’ll get a better perspective from strangers and don’t give up too soon as we did in the 80’s. That’s my one regret we expected things to come to us and it just doesn’t happen like that.”

You mentioned earlier Straw Dogs and Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers (Box was a brilliant album by the way) I know you have “retired” from Straw Dogs, but what are the plans for Outstandifold?

“Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers will hopefully be writing, recording and gigging again very soon. We’re trying to get things sorted just now but it’s been difficult due to everyone’s other commitments but it will happen.”

What was the last album you listened to?

“I listened to Never Mind the Bollocks tonight on the drive home from work. My favourite album ever.”

What current band(s) would you recommend?

“I think Heavy Drapes are an excellent band. Real energy and attitude about them and great tunes as well. There are also some great young bands in Ayrshire like Huxtable who are a drummer and guitarist/vocalist who make some incredible sounds. And bands like Sonic Templars and Skaghoors who are both excellent. I must mention our old pals In the Plughole who gigged with us in the 80’s and have reformed and playing with us again.”

Well, thanks to Davy for his time. If all goes to plan, I’m sure we will hear more from Heavy Drapes on this very blog at some point….

I’ll leave you with a couple of snippets of info…….Someone reviewed the Southern Approach album and posted it on Amazon a while back – no idea who that might have been!

“What can I say about Restitution? As one of the tracks on the album says it’s been a “Long Time Coming”. 30 years in fact, but the result is worth it. From the opening of “Break in the Circle” through to “Waterfalls” the album is full of hook laden songs. I defy you not to sing along to songs like “Shake”, “Killing Fields” and “The Traveller” as if you’d known them for years. If you like your rock with a goth leaning, treat yourself to this full assault on your ear drums. Mike Scott once coined the phrase “Big Music” to describe some of his epic albums in the 80s. That phrase could easily be used to describe Restitution with its epic, soaring bombastic tunes. Buy now and PLAY LOUD!”

Southern Approach live dates:

Saturday 21st October 2017 – Bungalow Bar, Paisley (supporting Theatre of Hate) Tickets £15 from Theatre of Hate – Bungalow Bar, Paisley

Saturday 5th May 2018 – Bellfield Tavern, Kilmarnock with In The Plughole, Nyah Fearties and Skaghoors. Tickets – TBC Bellfield Tavern – Tickets

Please find links to Southern Approach Facebook page and Youtube channel in the sidebar under “Things Thegingerquiff likes” (also to Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers)