With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Swimming With The Blowfish – Hootie, Healing, And One Hell Of A Ride – by Jim Sonefeld August 4, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:14 pm
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For me, the mark of a great biography is the depth of honesty on show. A tale where the writer is willing to expose not just their success but also their very low points and failures. This book (‘Swimming With The Blowfish – Hootie, Healing, And One Hell Of A Ride – A Story Of Redemption’) by Hootie and the Blowfish drummer Jim Sonefeld has all of that and more. When he recounts the passing of his mother the emotion is almost palpable. Jim, or Soni to his friends and family, was always more keen to develop a career in sports, most likely soccer than he was in music but like the best-laid plans that changed. It is clear that after Jim joined Hootie, he nor none of the band foresaw the incredible success the band would experience. The band formed in 1986 and Jim joined in 1989. It was their first album, the magnificent ‘Cracked Rear View’ that sent them on a meteoric rise into the stratosphere in 1994 and spawned 6 hit singles across 1994 and 1995. In a grunge-driven industry the album overcame many odds and went on to top the US album chart and the first three singles all made the US top ten. This proves that great music will always win out! Sonefeld documents that rise with eloquent prose and the voice of a music fan who at times finds it hard to believe his luck. But it was that huge, and frankly, well-deserved success, that sowed the seeds of his struggles with alcohol and substance abuse. The hard-partying and rock star lifestyle were hard to resist for Jim.

It was his addictions that really shaped the next part of Jim’s life for many years. It strained and broke relationships and friendships and was clearly a factor leading to the end of his first marriage. Jim is brutally honest in describing the kind of person that alcohol and substance abuse had turned him into. I have known some alcoholics during my life and it is an awful disease. Jim Sonefeld eventually fought and won his battle with his demons and turned a completely new leaf following joining a 12-step programme. Surprising even himself along that journey he discovered a faith in God and followed a full Christian path to redemption. He now records as a contemporary Christian artist. So in spite of all the ups and downs, music became, and remains his constant in life. I am an atheist, but I applaud anyone who can overcome addiction whether that involves putting your faith in a God or something else. Sonefeld is a part of Celebrate Recovery which is a faith-based group that continues to help those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. The book does end on a wonderfully positive note on a few points, Jim remarried and remains very happily married with an extended family of growing kids. But it also highlights the latest, and hopefully not final, chapter for Hootie and the Blowfish; the Group Therapy tour which hit 44 cities from 2018 to 2019. I believe it takes great courage and humility to write a book in which the author completely opens his heart and bares his soul, Jim Sonefeld I take my hat off to you! Anyone who enjoys a great autobiography and any fans of great music should give ‘Swimming With The Blowfish’ a try. It also features a great foreword written by Hootie singer and now a major country star, Darius Rucker. The book is out now, published by Omnibus Press.

Click here to check out Hootie and the Blowfish on Spotify and here to listen to Jim Sonefeld’s music on Spotify. Click here to buy the book on Amazon.co.uk and click here to buy the book on Amazon.com.

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Song Chart – July 2022 August 3, 2022


Here comes the fifth monthly Mayhem Top 20 Song Chart, this time for July 2022 and it is still as eclectic as most of the previous charts. July’s number one is “B-Side” from a very young York band, the Corsairs who I was lucky enough to see play their first gig a few weeks ago at the Fulford Arms. Another local band, Vaquelin has now remained in the chart for three months in a row with “Roads Leading Nowhere” which was number one in May, dropped to number 20 in June, and is now at number 17. Last months number one by Randy Newman falls to number 8. Stevie Wonder’s “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” goes from number 3 last month to number 2 in July. The reggae flag is flown by Dave Barker’s “Smooths And Sorts” (no. 4) (for the fact fans Dave was the Dave from Dave and Ansell Collins) and “Your Honour” by Pluto Shervigton (No. 10). The Last Of The Fallen Angels featuring Hannah Robinson are at number 3 with the wonderful “Red Dress”. Hannah’s rather excellent single “Confusion” reaches number 7. Meanwhile another Last Of The Fallen Angels collaborator, MARQ Electronica is at number 5. Soul is represented by the aforementioned Stevie Wonder, Chris Clark, Michael Jackson, and a lost gem from Wilson Pickett’s time at RCA, “Mr. Magic Man”. This month’s number one in the artist charts was the late, great Sylvester, he is number 9 in the song chart with a classic b-side, “Was It Something That I Said”. As always there are some timeless classic artists there, notably the Sex Pistols and Steely Dan. Some more recent classic artists are her, Panic! At The Disco, and Biffy Clyro. Biffy arrive here courtesy of their cover of David Bowie’s “Modern Love” which is good news as this is the first time that the Dame has not appeared in the song chart himself! Toad The Wet Sprocket make their first appearance in the Mayhem charts while Hootie and the Blowfish take “Only Wanna Be With You” to number 6. The Hootie tune is there as I have been reading a review copy of Hootie drummer Jim Sonefeld’s rather spiffing new autobiography. That review will be on these pages soon! Finally, how did Slik (featuring a very young Midge Ure) make it to number 20 with “Forever And Ever”? Well, it is only me to blame, that is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. We would love to hear your thoughts on the Mayhem Song Top 20 Chart. Check out the complete list below and click here to access a Spotify playlist of the whole top 20!

1 B-Side – The Corsairs
2 You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Stevie Wonder
3 Red Dress – The Last Of The Fallen Angels
4 Smooths And Sorts – Dave Barker
5 You Do What You Want – MARQ Electronica
6 Only Wanna Be With You – Hootie and the Blowfish
7 Confusion – Hannah Robinson
8 You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Randy Newman
9 Was It Something That I Said? – Sylvester
10 Your Honour – Pluto Shervington
11 Modern Love – Biffy Clyro
12 P.S. – New Version – Toad The Wet Sprocket
13 No One Is Innocent – Sex Pistols
14 I Want To Go Back There Again – Chris Clark
15 Got To Be There – Michael Jackson
16 Viva Las Vengeance – Panic! At The Disco
17 Roads Leading Nowhere – Vaquelin
18 Dirty Work – Steely Dan
19 Mr. Magic Man – Wilson Pickett
20 Forever And Ever – Slik

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – July 2022 August 2, 2022


The Mayhem Artist Top 20 artist chart for July 2022 is here. Many of you know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I achieved a level of only 95% more obscure than other users in the UK this month, two points down from last month’s 97%. Although my obscure overall percentage remains at 99%! Regular readers will know that it also lists my most obscure artists, which currently are;

Promethium (The British metal titans returned to this list last month after a short break and they are still here)

Vaquelin (One of York’s finest young bands. You will be hearing more about them on this site soon). Check out the video for their latest single “Broken Window” below, watch it through to the end and you will witness my first acting performance, which I am sure will be winning many awards before long! I play old bloke at the bar with a pint of Guinness!

Hannah Robinson (talented singer who provided haunting vocals for the Last Of The Fallen Angels single “Red Dress”

The Last Of The Fallen Angels – (and speaking of the Last Of The Fallen Angels here they are, Conrad’s lot are firm favourites at Mayhem Towers)

MARQ Electronica – (The Talented Mr. Electronica graced the world with the rather fantastic album ‘Savage Times’ recently)

As for the June Top 20, Dame David and Kate Bush remain from the last chart, but this time Bowie drops from number 1 to number 4 and Kate Bush is up from 16 to 6. Soul music, specifically Motown is represented by the Supremes and Syreeta Wright. Meanwhile, reggae is represented by Burning Spear. Four of the five artists on the obscure list above are also in the top 20; MARQ Electronica (no. 3), The Last Of The Fallen Angels (5), Vaquelin (13), and Hannah Robinson (17). Classic bands and artists include Steely Dan, Nick Cave, Eminem, the Streets, Panic! At The Disco, and Hootie and the Blowfish. I am just preparing a review of Hottie drummer Jim Sonefeld’s autobiography ‘Swimming With The Blowfish. More recent but equally great artists include Captain Ska, The Beths, The Sheratons, and Yard Act. But it is disco music that makes it to the top of the pile this month thanks to the artist that made us feel mighty real, Sylvester! Check out the full chart below. I really would love to hear your thoughts on this chart. Please keep your eyes open for the fifth Mayhem Monthly Song Chart, just like an old-school top 20 singles chart! That one includes songs by eight of the artists featured in the July Artist Chart.

1 Sylvester
2 Hootie and the Blowfish
3 MARQ Electronica
4 David Bowie
5 The Last Of The Fallen Angels
6 Kate Bush
7 Captain Ska
8 Steely Dan
9 Burning Spear
10 Panic! At The Disco
11 The Beths
12 Nick Cave
13 Vaquelin
14 Supremes
15 Syreeta Wright
16 Eminem
17 Hannah Robinson
18 The Streets
19 The Sheratons
20 Yard Act

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Steal The Smile @ the FaceBar in Reading Thursday 2nd July 2009 July 8, 2009


STS at facebar 20090702

OK I’m a little later than planned with this review, but here it comes anyway. Many of you regular readers of this blog will know that I have shamelessly promoted this rather excellent band called Steal The Smile. I finally got to see them live last week. So have I given them a good review? well for that you’ll have to read on. Let me begin with the support bands;

First up were InColour. Sadly I only caught their last one and a half numbers but they sounded like a pretty good band, check them out on MySpace by clicking here. Sorry I missed the first part of your set guys.

Second were MotionInColour and as far as I know nothing to do with the first band apart from the similarity of names, boy this is confusing for an old bloke believe me! Anyway MotionInColour were pretty good, a really tight band with an excellent drummer. Shades of Counting Crows and perhaps Hootie and the Blowfish, although to be fair they are probably too young to remember either of those bands! They do have a great sound though soft acoustic building to pounding drums and great vocals. The singer also gave perhaps the best heckler put down of the night. One member of the audience showed the height of his intellectual abilities when he shouted “You suck” during a break between songs, without losing a breath the singer responded with “So did your mum last night” bloody sharp and bloody hilarious also a bloody good band. Click here to check out their MySpace page.

The penultimate band of the night were Francesqa, personally I’m not sure about the name, but hey, to each their own. Let’s face it both Radiohead with ‘On A Friday’ and Blur with ‘Seymour’ had far worse names before they changed. Francesqa are a pretty strong rock band, certainly their vocalist has a great voice and excellent audience interaction. The rhythm section work well together and provide an excellent engine for the band’s overall sound. I really like this band I’m just not keen on the name, check out their MySpace page here

OK so here we go with the main men of the night, the mighty Steal The Smile. Well let me start by using an American phrase that I really don’t use that often, these boys rock! I’ve said in previous posts about them (and there have been quite a few!) that they sound a little like Blink 182 although with a much more English identity, which is something I love. Far too many bands adopt fake American accents to sing, these guys are part of a great English rock tradition that stretches back to Syd Barrett and runs through the Clash, the Pistols and Paul Weller amongst others. They rock out in the way only English guys can!

Henry jumps to avoid some Ghostbusters style green ectoplasm!

Henry jumps to avoid some Ghostbusters style green ectoplasm!

It is clear that Steal The Smile have now been playing together for quite a while, their musicianship gets straight ‘A’s from me and they are developing a superb repertoire of their own songs. Their new single is fantastic, it’s called “Rome Was Built To Burn” and if you hurry to their MySpace page their may still be just a few copies left, otherwise you’ll just have to wait for their forthcoming EP. They played a few new songs including the excellent “What Would Elvis Do?” which you can currently hear on their MySpace page

Luke introduced a great cover version by telling the audience that if they didn’t recognise it they were ‘complete homos’ or that the band were perhaps playing it pretty crappily. Well even I recognised it so I guess I’m not a complete homo then! They also played it damned well, the song was Blink 182’s “All The Small Things”

Luke also has green ectoplasm problems at the FaceBar

Luke also has green ectoplasm problems at the FaceBar

So Steal The Smile are indeed a bloody good band, they can clearly cut it live as well as recording. Unlike some more successful bands who seem to have no sense of humour, these boys seem to have great fun on stage together too. Check them out on MySpace here, you WILL NOT be disappointed!

If you hurry you may still be able to purchase Steal The Smile's excellent new single "Rome Was Built To Burn"

If you hurry you may still be able to purchase Steal The Smile's excellent new single "Rome Was Built To Burn"

 

 
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