With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“She used to be a girl of simple pleasures, a breath of spring to chase your blues away” Blog Advent Calendar Day 14 December 14, 2014


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Ladies and gentlemen and those that aren’t quite sure it is now December 14th and that means that my Christmas advent blog posts for 2014 have reached Day 14 which in turn means that we are at the letter ‘N’. With that in mind I have decided to pick a band from Scotland for todays ABC of British bands entry. Please allow me to welcome the mighty Nazareth to this post.

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The band formed in 1968 and the original members were Manny Charlton (guitar), Pete Agnew (bass), Darrell Sweet (drums) and Dan McCafferty (tonsil-shredding vocals). The band still tours although Pete Agnew is the only one of the original members still with the band. There are no middle east or biblical overtones to the band’s name. They are named after a town that is mentioned in the classic song “The Weight” from the Band. That town is Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The line is “I pulled in to Nazareth, I was feeling about half past dead”

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The band was probably at its commercial peak in the early 70s when they had three UK top 20 albums from 1973 to 1974. I used to own two of those on vinyl; ‘Razamanaz’ and ‘Loud ‘N’ Proud‘. They also reached the top 20 of the album charts in Norway six times between 1980 and 1989. Their latest album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone’ has charted in four countries this year; Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria. This is probably the last Nazareth album to feature McCafferty’s vocals as he retired due to ill-health last year.

nazareth-website

 

Their biggest success in the UK singles chart was with “Broken Down Angel” which peaked at number 9 in 1973. Their cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “This Flight Tonight” made it to number one in Germany that same year. In 1975 they released a cover version of the classic ballad “Love Hurts” it made it to the top of the charts in Canada and South Africa. Dan McCafferty has released a few solo recordings over the years and his cover of the Rolling Stones “Out Of Time” almost made the UK top 40 in 1975, stalling at number 41, I used to have a vinyl copy of that too. In 1994 Guns ‘N’ Roses covered Nazareth’s “Hair Of The Dog” on their covers album ‘The Spaghetti Incident’. Supposedly Nazareth had previously turned down an invite to play at Axl Rose‘s wedding. They might not have entertained guests at Mr Rose’s wedding, but you can enjoy Nazareth now.

 

“Feet don’t fail me now take me to the finish line” July 11, 2014


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Before Lizzy Grant became Lana Del Rey she went through quite a few names. One of the best (and I thank the NME for pointing this out) is probably Sparkle Jump Rope Queen. Under that moniker she launched a few songs onto the internet in 2008. They included “Elvis“, “Blue Ribbon” and “Axl Rose Husband”. Lana was rumoured to have dated Axl Rose a couple of years ago. Personally I think she could do so much better! The question is was it just a rumour? At the height of that rumour she appeared in a Guns ‘N’ Roses t-shirt at the Jazz Cafe in London. Both Lana and Axl have a Scottish lineage and one of the bonus tracks on her current album is called “Guns ‘N’ Roses”. So did she or didn’t she date Axl Rose? You know what I really don’t care. I simply love Lana’s tunes!

ldr big hair

lana del vol

 

 

 

 

 

 

“So never mind the darkness we still can find a way” March 7, 2014


MjAxMy02ZTFmY2VlYzY1OGY0ODcxSaul Hudson’s father designed album covers for many artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. But unless you know that Saul Hudson is legendary guitarist Slash that wouldn’t mean much to you would it? Do you know of any other rock stars parents that are also artistically talented in some way?

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“Foreign life forms inventory suspended state of cryogenics” – Advent day 18 December 18, 2013


slide_18_2087138aIt’s the 18th December and by now the regular readers among you will know exactly what that means won’t you? yes it’s day 18 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent calendar posts. So the songs for today both have the number 18 in their title. we are so far down the line now towards Yuletide that my Spiderman Advent Calendar has hardly any chocolate left in it. What Advent Calendar do you have?

wing1The first song for today remains one of my favourite 70s songs. It is “Eighteen With A Bullet” from Pete Wingfield. The bullet in this instance is used to describe a particularly well performing song on the US singles chart. strangely enough the song did enter the US top 20 at number eighteen, presumably with a bullet back in 1975. It reached its peak of number 15 a week after that. In the UK it made the top 10 reaching number 7. Reggae singer Derrick Harriott did a great cover of the song. Wingfield has been quite an active session player and producer. He produced Dexys Midnight Runners first album, ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels‘ , the Kane Gang’s first album ‘The Bad And Low Down World Of The Kane Gang’ . Pete also produce “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and the album ‘Sunshine On Leith’ by the Proclaimers. “Eighteen With A Bullet” can also be found on the soundtrack to Guy Ritchie‘s 1998 film ‘Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels‘. The Pasadenas (who I once saw at a corporate function) biggest hit “Tribute (Right On)” was written by Mr Wingfield too.

1991-hangar_18_fcNext up it’s the mighty, massive, metal Megadeth with “Hangar 18”. The song was released as a single in 1991. It made it to number 26 in the UK and number 25 in the Irish charts. It comes from the band’s album ‘Rust In Peace’, a UK number 8 that was released in 1990. The song relates to alien conspiracy theories involving the 1947 crash at Roswell. Hangar 18 at an US Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio is supposedly where some of the alien remains and the alien spacecraft is stored. The lyrics were written by the band’s drummer Nick Menza with the music coming from frontman Dave Mustaine. Slash jammed with the band at one point and while some people thought that he might join them he decided to stay with Guns ‘N’ Roses.

 

“My lonely days are over and life is like a song” January 20, 2012


I have some sad news to pass on, which by now you may already know; Etta James, soul singer extraordinaire has passed away after a long battle with leukaemia and dementia. The former Jamesetta Hawkins died just days before her 74th birthday. Unfortunately she was never as successful as some of her contemporaries such as Diana Ross. Personally I feel that Etta’s voice was streets ahead of Ms. Ross.

Etta seemed to be able to turn her voice to many different styles; soul, blues, rock and even some bawdy numbers. My lovely wife Catherine aka Catwoman wanted a special mention in this post as Etta’s “At Last” was the first song played after we signed the register at our wedding last September. That is one of many songs played that day that still mean a lot to us both.

Etta had a hard life being mostly abandoned to a number of carers by her 14-year-old mother after her birth in 1938. She also struggled against a serious drug addiction for many years. She has been the recipient of six Grammys including two for her earlier songs; the previously mentioned “At Last” and “The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry)”. Both were Grammy Hall Of Fame Awards in 1999 and 2008 respectively for  qualitative or historical significance. “The Wallflower” was her only US R & B number one back in 1955 when she was still a teenager.

My thoughts go out to her family, friends and fans. RIP Etta James.

 

“And I know what you’re thinking, you still think I am crap” July 4, 2011


So it appears that I now live in the place that everyone else in the country would like to live, according to a recent survey. I live in York, an obvious jewel in North Yorkshire’s and indeed the UK’s crown. I’m not sure it was the most popular place when I moved here in 2007 so I suppose I could assume that it has become so popular because I live here. What do you think? Anyway I really enjoy living in the north, in my opinion it is a million times better than London. But in fact that could be said of most other places in the UK. So what do I think are the best reasons to live in York, apart from the obvious one for me which would be my fiancée Catherine aka to regular readers as Catwoman. I will try to complete this as a top ten, but in no particular order.

The history – walking the wall is always a wonderful experience when you consider the thousands of years of history below your feet. Vikings, Romans and the Scots have all occupied York at some time or another

The Maltings – in my opinion the best pub with the best beer in York

Dusk – in the daytime a rather excellent coffee bar and at night a rather unique club (This is definitely not a view shared by Catwoman)

The Mediterranean Barbers – The only place in town you can get a full wet head shave (Just the thing for those of us, like me, that are follically challenged)

The Minster – I am not a religious person at all but the magnificence of this building transcends religion. Obviously I ought to mention Archbishop John Sentamu here, a truly wonderful character

Guy Fawkes – in my opinion probably the last person to enter parliament with honourable intentions and he was born in York

Rafi’s Spice Box – all the ingredients (apart from the meat or veg) and instructions that you need to make an excellent curry

Castle Museum – always something new and with a brilliant recreation of a Victorian Street (the National Railway Museum and the Yorkshire Museum are worth a visit too)

Travelling Man – it may be the only comic shop in York, but even if it wasn’t it would still be the best. Staffed by a great team who keep me supplied with the best Marvel has to offer!

Cedar Court Grand Hotel – this building used to be the railway offices which is where I worked when I first met Catwoman. It has been a hotel for just over a year and last October we went for a meal in the restaurant there, where I did the traditional popping the question on one knee. To complete the circle we will be getting married there in September. Does that mean I will become Mr Catwoman?

Apologies to the places and things I have missed. I could easily have come up with ten more. (Notable omissions which make up that additional 10 are; York City FC, Rowntree Park, Fibbers, The Duchess, Oak Street, Little Betties, The Blue Bicycle, City Screen, York Library, the Vinyl Record stall outside M & S) I would love to hear what your favourite things about York are whether you live here or not. If you’ve never visited this wonderful city yet then pull your finger out and get yourself along here. I may even meet you in the Maltings for a swift one! But I am half Scots so don’t expect me to buy you one! I have said on many occasions before that this is a music blog so let me finish with a few songs that are about city life.

Obviously there is a real dearth of songs about York itself, although there are thousands about it’s young offspring from across the pond. You know the place, so good they named it twice? Well my city is so good it only needs one name and that is York!

“Big City” – Dandy Livingstone

“In The City” – Eagles

Paradise City” – Guns n Roses

“In The City” – Jam

“Dancing In The City” – Marshall Hain

 

“I don’t wanna take no pictures I just wanna take some shots!” November 25, 2010


Did any of you see Will.i.am‘s appearance at the American Music Awards at the weekend? It would be fair to say, well in my opinion anyway, that he looked like a bit of a knob. he was wearing a Lego baseball cap, at the usual hip hop style or indeed chav style jaunty angle. Only it wasn’t really proper Lego was it, because Lego is mostly square and that hat certainly wasn’t square. I wonder what the other Peas thought of it. There was also a great piece in the Guardian about it as well, which actually had the hat dissed by a kid who went on to make his own hat from proper Lego. Click here to read it.

I reckon he must have felt like a bit of a brick (misprint!)

Obviously many other rock stars have worn hats that were somewhat loud; Slash and Jay off of Jamiroquai to name but two. I just felt that Will.i.am’s millinery disaster zone was even worse than one time Guns n Roses member; Buckethead. What did you, dear readers think of it?

I also wonder whether that mild obsession with the Danish plastic toy will lead to worse things for Will.i.am, like Lego Porn, you have been warned!

But back to Will.i.am and the other Black Eyed Peas, have you seen their new video, for the new single “Time(Dirty Bit)”? There is a lot of pixellation that makes them seem somewhat Legoized. See what did I tell you it really will be Lego porn next!

 

“Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters, Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes” October 9, 2010


Yet another smorgasbord of random stuff today, starting with a link to a rather spiffing website; Animated Albums. Most of them are quite subtle and many are very funny, especially a few of the Morrissey ones. I’d love to know what you think of them.

The NME has a report that Slash is moving into making horror movies. The former Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver Axe Hero is moving into Axeman territory. He says he wants to make horror movies as scary and thrilling as those of the 70s and 80s. I guess working with Axl Rose must have been like being in a horror movie at times. I hope he succeeds. Read the story here.

 

Slash has tea with Ozzy, that's not very rock n roll is it? But wait, who's that in the maids outfit? It's certainly not Sharon is it!

 

As part of the celebrations for what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday his widow Yoko Ono has done a number of things to mark the occasion. Firstly courting controversy among some Beatles purists by allowing Lady Gaga to pose next to Lennon’s white piano. She also held two concerts in LA billed as We Are Plastic Ono Band and including appearances by the following; Perry Farrell off of Jane’s Addiction, Japanese electronic auteur Cornelius, Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, Tune-Yards, RZA off of the Wu-Tang Clan, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Mike Watt, Nels Cline, Sean Lennon, Carrie Fisher, Joseph Gordon-Levitt,Vincent Gallo and of course Lady Gaga. Yoko was joined by Gaga for a number of songs, including a version of Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”. Read the NME report here

 

Lady Gaga decided to try microphone swallowing before she committed to sword swallowing

 

 

Gaga sings Lennon.........what a cheek (or two!)

 

 

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 2, Saturday 28th August August 30, 2010


Day 2 is here and my feet are blistered from wearing new and very heavy (steel toe capped) wellies, I wore them again today, but the forecast looks good for better shoes on day 3.  The first band we saw was Soul Circus on the BBC Introducing stage. They were on when we arrived so we didn’t see their whole set, but they were very good, the vocalist in particular was excellent. We stayed at the Introducing stage for the next band, they were Penguin from Wakefield. I think it’s fair to say that they rock!

After that we paid our first visit of the weekend to the Alternative stage aka the Comedy tent, we were hoping to see Kevin Bridges but his flight back from Edinburgh (he had been there for the festival) was late. He was replaced by an American comedian and I use that word reluctantly, he calls himself Neil Hamburger but his real name is Greg Turkington. He got off on the wrong foot and went further down that same road throughout his act. Firstly he told all the folks that were there expecting Kevin Bridges that they could “fuck off” and then called those of us who remained “pieces of human shit”. The audience was to barrack him for his whole act with chants of “off, off, off” and “you’re shit and you know you are”. There was a fair array of missiles sent stage wards too. The only way he could have redeemed himself would have been if his jokes were funny, they weren’t! The funniest thing he said was “I guess I’ll do my encore now” as the compere opened the backstage curtains. But for us it was entertaining for us anyway!

Over to the Main Stage next for the fabulous Gaslight Anthem from New Jersey and they were an amazing live band. I know they are close to Bruce Springsteen and I reckon they could turn on a lot of the younger generation to Bruce. I would definitely pay to see these boys. A trek back to the Introducing Stage was next on the agenda for the mystery special guest slot. It was Everything Everything with a couple of acoustic songs and an interview for Radio 1’s Live Lounge. They finished with a Shakira cover and given what was going on in the crowd I’m amazed that they didn’t get a fit of the giggles. There was a guy on someone’s shoulders in the crowd and he was wearing a leather fetish mask in the shape of a dog’s head. If that wasn’t funny enough he then produced a large black strap on dildo which he fellated, much to our own and the rest of the audience’s amusement. If you re that person then get in touch, I’d be happy to give you a mention on the blog!

The Festival Republic stage was our next destination for I Blame Coco. It would be fair to say that Coco does pop and does it very well. (Feel free to insert your own Coco Pops joke here). We returned to the Comedy Tent after that in order to redress the Neil Hamburger experience. JJ Whitehead, a Canadian, was the performer and he is a very good comedian. Much of his act is really well thought out observational comedy and he works the audience really well. I loved the story about pretending to be retarded at Disney in Florida. The next band we saw, albeit briefly was Chapel Club. I liked the sound of them and will be checking them out on line, some good tunes. Then it was My Forever at the Introducing stage (we really have been there a lot!) This was jangly indie pop with an edge and done really well.

I don’t how I have managed to miss Frank Turner on all my many visits to this festival, but I didn’t miss him this time. He was abso-fucking-lutely brilliant. He has passion, power, excitement and an audience that love him. I also see him as a Billy Bragg for this generation and I will definitely be buying some of his material when I get home. I hope he’s back next year too. We stayed for the first part of Serge Tankian’s (off of System Of A Down) set. He had and orchestral ensemble and introduced the rest of his band as ‘The Flying ****s Of Chaos’ (word starred out for the more easily offended of you dear readers, well actually I’d prefer that my Mum didn’t see that I had used ‘that C word’, those of you who are not easily offended can click on the stars to see the missing word on Wikipedia). He was good but not as good as when I saw him before a couple of years back. We joined Nick’s son Jake, who was with his girlfriend Suzie in the Festival Republic tent to see Villagers. The lead singer Conor came out on his own for the first song, cue my joke about it being a small village which did amuse one Villagers fan standing next to me. This is a very good band and I would say genre defying too. I reckon that if the original Wicker Man movie had a house band this would be them. I can almost picture Britt Ekland’s body double dancing to them!

So now for the Libertines, their entrance was preceded by Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”. This was all very sentimentally Albion, but guys cut the schmaltz, you did this for the money! I have seen them here twice before and as always they were very good, but for me they will never be a truly great band. I may take some stick for that comment, but folks it is just my opinion ok? The crowd loved them though and it seemed that over exuberance in the crowd caused a short break in their set in which Pete and Carl were escorted from the stage. Arcade Fire were today’s headliners and any reservations I had about them filling that were quickly blown away. They were bloody amazing and even managed a little dig at the previous night’s headliner’s Guns N Roses by saying how punctual they were. The vibrancy, energy and power they display is phenomenal. The stage set including the film projection was at times weird and disturbing, but added to an overall brilliant experience. Obviously as they have performed with David Bowie before I was hoping for an appearance by the great man, but despite seeing some helicopter traffic during their set it never happened. I guess I should have crossed my toes as well as the fingers!

So in summary, Day 2 was another excellent Reading day. We’re knackered but still looking forward with excitement to Day 3!

 

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 1, Friday 27th August


It’s been a year of waiting but here is the first of my posts from this year’s Reading Festival. Thankfully the rain had stopped but it had left parts of the festival site looking a little like the First World War trenches, my sympathies certainly extend to many of the more unlucky campers, presumably those who arrived last. Personally I ‘don’t do’ camping and will be staying at my good friend Nicks during the whole event.

We finally got through the gates just after noon and managed to catch a very brief glimpse of a band I had hoped to see purely because they have an excellent name; Wot Gorilla? I didn’t see enough to say much about them sadly, but they seemed ok. Next up we saw Crazy Arm, a tight, strong band very much in a rock mould. Harlem were next and again it was a brief glimpse, but I would suggest that these guys know how to party. A local band appearing on the BBC Introducing Stage had been recommended to us by BBC Radio Berkshire; Amy’s Ghost they were superb. Shades of Kate Bush and Florence (off of Florence and the Machine) influences among others, also very theatrical. I even bought their album from the delightful singer who stayed around to talk to fans until the Beeb told her she had to leave.

New Young Pony Club, were accomplished with a great rapport with their audience. We watched them play a couple of songs in our bid to see as many bands as possible in a day. I would say very much destined for a reasonable career, sound as a pound I would say! Billy Talent were next on the Main Stage; very punk, very loud and they mean it maaaan! After this it was a more chilled sound with Girls who are from San Francisco, but maybe the flowers on the mic stand gave that away. A good band though even if the singer/ stroke guitarist did adopt a one-legged flamingo pose occasionally a little like Ian Anderson off of Jethro Tull. We’re Only Afraid Of NYC were quite reasonable, but we only caught a brief glimpse before heading to the Main Stage again for Gogol Bordello, probably my favourite band of the day. This is the third time I have seen them at Reading and once again they were brilliant. This is truly a superb band that knows their audience and knows how to have a great time. I hadn’t realised quite how cosmopolitan they were either, including members from Russia, Ethiopia, USA, Ecuador and Scotland to name but a few.

Sketches met while at Leeds University and know how to really funk things up; I reckon they’d be great in a small sweaty venue. We only saw a short part of Pulled Apart By Horses set, but I think I may have to check them out on-line when I get home; these boys know their stuff and hit some excellent riffs. Heading past the Main Stage again we chanced upon NOFX. We only heard one song which was about assassinating George W Bush, so that makes them alright with me. Disappointedly we managed just the briefest of glimpses of Egyptian Hip Hop, but it was a good glimpse and I will certainly be exploring them more on-line. You have to love a band with that name, who are neither Egyptian (at least I don’t think so) or Hip Hop (well they didn’t sound it anyway). Back to the Main Stage for the Lost Prophets, these boys were truly fucking ace, we were singing and jumping with the rest of the crowd, another of my favourite bands of the day.

The NME/ Radio 1 tent beckoned next for Delphic. A brilliant dance band, but I might have benefited more with a spliff beforehand, but seeing as I don’t do drugs that was never going to happen, but a great set none the less. We stayed in place for Mumford And Sons and I have never seen that tent so crowded, in fact a number of people passed out in the crush. The crowd was mental for Mumford (hey could that be another band name?) and the band played like they felt it too. I like them, but I’d probably only see them at festivals. I probably lost a few pounds in sweat from that experience too

We then went back to the Main Stage to await the arrival of Guns N Roses, well Axl Rose and some other musicians really. Boy did we wait, they were an hour late coming on and at best were like a G’n’R tribute band. The booing started way before they hit the stage and continued afterwards too. Axl had no interaction with his audience and I think his voice is shot as well. In all my years of going to Reading I have never seen an audience so small for a headliner on the Main Stage or an audience so muted in their applause and reaction. I always felt that Guns N Roses were a poor headline choice and now I’m sure I was right. You could always hear the sound of barrels being scraped and dead horses being flogged.

We actually didn’t stay for the whole of G’n’R but alternated between LCD Soundsystem in the NME/ Radio 1 Tent and Marina And The Diamonds on the Festival Republic stage. Both of these bands were very entertaining and each of them was way better than Guns N Roses. I’ve liked a lot of LCD’s output and I will be buying Marina’s album soon as well.

So now it’s time for some brief R and R before we make our assault on Day 2. In the words of Arnie, I will be back soon, ok I know he never said soon, but that’s just slightly more English and genteel isn’t it?

 

 
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