With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“They joined together and decided not to fight” Blog Advent Calendar Day 6 December 6, 2014


TheFarmNot long to go now until the bearded weirdy drops down your chimney is it? Today is 6th December and that means it’s day six in this years Advent blog post series. In case you are new to this site let me remind you that this years theme is the ABC of British bands and today we are at the letter ‘F’. I have chosen Liverpool’s the Farm to appear behind the little cardboard door on todays advent calendar. Let’s face it, they’re better than chocolate aren’t they?

616e5b539694f09ffa5b400cc46ec280The band formed in 1983 although they didn’t score their first chart hit until 1990 when they had two UK top ten hits with “Groovy Train” and “All Together Now” both from their album ‘Spartacus’. That album was produced by Stan Cullimore and Paul Heaton off of the Housemartins and Suggs off of Madness.

3l“All Together Now” is about the unauthorised spontaneous truce between German and British soldiers on Christmas Day 1914. This was the first Christmas of the first world war and the soldiers stepped out of their trenches for a game of football. Sadly the powers that be made sure that it never happened again. The song has been rereleased for football reasons twice as well. For Everton’s 1995 FA Cup Final appearance and for the England team in their 2004 European Championships campaign. There is charity recording of the song scheduled for release on 15th December in aid of the Shorncliffe Trust and the British Red Cross. Shara Nelson, Clean Bandit, Gabrielle, Alexandra Burke, David Gray, Guy Chambers, Amelle Berrabah, Mick Jones (off of the Clash), Jermain Jackman and Gorgon City are among a number of artists who took part in the recording. Buy it, you know it makes sense!

 

” You must explain why this must be Did you lie when you spoke to me?” Blog Advent Calendar Day 3 2014 December 3, 2014


theclash1

December 3rd and day three of my ABC of British bands advent post for 2014. So as it’s day it must be the letter ‘C’. This sounds a bit like Sesame Street doesn’t it? Anyway today’s band is going to seem like an obvious choice for my regular readers; it’s the Clash.

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I love the ‘London Calling‘ album and it often appears in many of the ‘best album’ lists that magazines publish when they run out of ideas. But did you know that it appears in the best albums of the 70s lists in the UK and the best albums of the 80s in the USA. This is because it came out in 1979 in the UK and it wasn’t released until 1980 in the UK.

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Now I hope that you enjoy this little selection of Clash ditties that were hidden behind the little cardboard flap on the advent calendar for today.

 

 

 

“In the back of a dream car twenty foot long” December 28, 2013


Bowie9_1200_SMLDid you hear Mr Bowie‘s Elvis impersonating Christmas message on 6 Music‘s ‘This Is Radio Clash’ show presented by Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon this yuletide? I didn’t when it was broadcast but I have now! (Click here to hear it on the Rolling Stone magazine website). I know that Bowie was an Elvis fan and that he shares a birthday with the King, January 8th albeit 12 years apart. But I have never heard him do the voice before. It has been said that Bowie was trying to get Elvis to record “Golden Years” but it never happened because Elvis went and died on us.

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The Stone Roses : Made Of Stone – World premiere simulcast York City Screen Thursday 30th May 2013 June 2, 2013


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On Thursday 30th May I attended a simulcast of the world première of the new Stones Roses documentary ‘Made Of Stone’ at York City Screen. The cinema is part of the excellent Picturehouse chain and was one of 200 UK cinemas that were broadcasting the première which took place in Manchester. There was a live link to the activities on the red carpet for the first hour and personally I found that part terribly dull, not helped in my opinion by Edith Bowman‘s interview style. She seems to ask a high percentage of closed questions. The most interesting interview she did was with Shane Meadows, the director of the film. The interview with Mick Jones off of the Clash was embarrassing in my opinion.

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The film however was a million light years from being dull. I would say that it is probably among the best music documentaries I have ever seen. It didn’t set out to tell a chronological story of the band, although some of the montages which included previously unseen footage were excellent. Much of that material was provided by the band themselves directly to Shane Meadows. This included some grainy Super 8 ciné film of Ian Brown and John  Squire on motor scooters from the early 80s. The film is essentially split into three parts; The resurrection press conference and the Parr Hall in Warrington free show; Then the rehearsals and finally some stunning footage from the Heaton Park gigs.

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I really loved the rehearsal element. It showed just how close the band really are and it was incredibly intimate and insightful. Apparently some of the rehearsal footage was shot by Shane Meadows using a Super 8 App on his iPhone. Does that mean we’ll all be making films soon? The filming and editing of the Parr Hall show and the build up to it was wonderfully entertaining. Especially the sequences of the people queueing up to be among the lucky 1,000 attendees. I order to get a wrist band for the gig you needed to bring along some official Stone Roses merchandise or CD/ Records and obviously to be in the first 1,000 people in the queue. One bloke arrived still in his paint spattered overalls having not even bothered to lock up the house he had been working on.

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The finale of the film is truly amazing and culminates in some superb footage from the Heaton Park gigs. There must have been countless cameras used and I hope that the video includes much more footage of the shows. Some clips of the pre Heaton Park warm up shows were shown leading up to the big gig. You saw the band back stage in Lyon meeting one of their Manchester United (or Mani United) heroes; Eric Cantona. Is it just me or does he look like Grizzly Adams these days? I’m sure that Liam Gallagher, who made a brief appearance in the film wouldn’t have liked that part. The classic non encore from the Amsterdam is also included. This was where Reni threw a bit of a hissy fit following some problems with his ear monitors and went straight back to the hotel. Ian Brown then had to come back on the stage and announce to the disgruntled audience that this was no joke and that the drummer had gone home. This culminated in the classic line ‘What can I say? The drummer’s a cunt!’ To be fair that is a little rich coming from a soon to be middle-aged man who wears his jeans low enough to see most of his undercrackers!

Stone Roses Live_1

The posters and trailers for the film include the line ‘this film will make grown men cry’. Well I didn’t cry, but perhaps it’s just because it’s not my generation and not ‘my’ band in the way it is for the hardcore Roses fans. But even with my eyes remaining dry this was a five-star music documentary. I urge you to go and see it if you can or put the DVD (scheduled for release in October) on your letter to Santa Claus. But you know the drill by now; if you have to sell your Granny to get a ticket then say bye bye Gran today!

 

“When you know your heart is light, electric is the love” May 29, 2010


So here we are on another UK Public Holiday weekend and guess what? It’s raining. Someone once said to me that there is an easy way to tell when it’s summer in the UK. Do you know how? Well it’s quite simple really, the rain is warm! So here I am stuck indoors so I thought I’d put together a slightly random post that captures a lot of the stuff I have been meaning to blog about for a while, so here goes.

Steal The Smile contemplate doing a cover of Blinded By The Light

Firstly way back on the 13th May I finally got to see my son Luke play a gig with his band Steal The Smile. They were the second band on that night in the FaceBar at Reading. The band on before them were, and I’m being nice here, in need of an awful lot more practice. Apologies to the bands that followed, but we left for some scoff at TGI Fridays! Steal The Smile played a great six song set which included some of their older and newer stuff along with the obligatory Blink 182 cover. I can tell you that all the boys in the band are looking forward to seeing Blink at the Reading Festival in August. It was a real pity that Steal The Smile were once again badly let down by a promoter in that they had to hang around for three hours for a sound check that never actually materialised and by the time they played there were nowhere near as many people as there could have been. The band wasn’t paid for this gig, but I bet the promoter was! What is it with promoters, and I use the term loosely here, who simply book a venue and some bands and do bugger all else? Is it a stupid assumption that promoters ought to promote? I think not! So if there are any good promoters out there (i.e those with brain cells that at least run into double figures) then get in touch with the boys and book them! You can find them on Facebook and MySpace. Keep visiting too, as there is a revamp being lined up and possibly a lot of new stuff!

Steal The Smile live at the FaceBar in Reading May 13th 2010

There were a couple of quite amusing moments during their set. Firstly the sound guy was trying to speak to them over the sound of the music and clearly couldn’t make himself heard. It did make me wonder how much he actually knew about sound! So finally Luke just gave the instruction “Articulate” like a rock n roll Dalek, needless to say there was still no response from Mr Sound. The other part was just before the final song when Luke said “This is the point in the show where I usually tell the audience how beautiful they are. But with a large part of the audience being my Dad it seemed a bit strange” Johnny then made a point of telling me that he thought I was beautiful, hmmmmm I worry about the drummer! Finally on Steal The Smile for now, it’s not too late to get hold of an exclusive free song from them, just click here for  a previous post of mine to get your mitts on it!

Next up Glastonbury has lost U2 this year thanks to Mr Hewson’s back problems, which were apparently quite serious. Anyway there is a little silver lining in that their replacement will be the Gorillaz. In their current incarnation the Gorillaz contain not one, but two, former members of the best band ever; the Clash! yes Mick Jones and Paul Simonon are both in the touring band and bizarrely wearing sailors hats as part of the new album Plastic Beach’s nautical theme. I think I may have to get a hold of some tickets for their tour later this year. Read the BBC article on the revised Glasto line up here. Below you can watch the video for the first single from Plastic Beach, it’s called “Stylo” and features Damon Albarn, Mos Def and Bobby Womack

On May 24th there was the news of the tragic death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray aged just 38. I have taken some stick from many Slipknot fans in the past for using an incorrect picture of them without masks, but whilst that has been a bit of fun and banter I am sure all fans of the band are pretty upset and hurt by his death. To lose a music hero is not pleasant, I know how I felt on hearing about the death of John Lennon, Bob Marley and Joe Strummer. So my sympathies go to Paul Gray’s friends and family and to all Slipknot fans around the world. In his memory here are the band with the video for “Psychosocial”

Yesterday saw the sad news that Gary Coleman the diminutive star of the US sitcom ‘Diffr’nt Strokes has died. He had kidney problems all his life which meant he never grew above 4 feet 8 inches. His most famous catch phrase from the show was “What you talking about Willis?” Willis being his older brother in the show. Hed was clearly popular in the music fraternity too as the testimonials on the NME report of his death show. Kind words from Blink 182, Janet Jackson and Katy Perry

And finally for this post, have you seen the new Miike Snow video, for his song ‘The Rabbit’? It’s really strange. It has a bearded kid and a re-enactment of a 2 Live Crew album cover. Click here to see it. Let me know what you think of it

 

“And who needs love when the sandwiches are wicked?” January 3, 2010


It’s January 3rd 2010 and also the first time that the once mighty Leeds United have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford since 1981. Not only that but it counts as a serious giant killing act in the long traditions and history of the FA Cup. After their financial meltdown a few years back it’s about time Leeds had some great news. They are likely to be promoted this year too. Read all about todays game here. As for the fourth round let’s do the same to ‘Arry’s Spurs!

You're not singing anymore LOL

Leeds were the team I put my faith in when I first got into football, I never lived near the city, in fact I grew up near London. I can still remember the classic Leeds team from the late 60s; Sprake, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, Gray and Madeley (sub). Immortalised in David Peace’s excellent book ‘The Damned United’ the 70s team were hard, tough and dirty. The sad thing for me is that they finished 2nd more than they finished first.

Champions!

Strangely enough January 3rd is also the 40th anniversary of my first ever visit to a football match. It was Chelsea versus Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London in the third round of the FA Cup. I supported Chelsea that day, mainly because my Uncle Ben who took me was a died in the wool Burnley supporter. That game was a 2 all draw and Chelsea won the replay at Turf Moor in Burnley. In another strange coincidence Chelsea went on to play Leeds United in the final and sadly beat them in a replay which was held at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground (another coincidence indeed). On the way to the final Leeds beat Manchester United in the semi final in the second replay

My Aunt June (Uncle Ben’s wife) was due to go to the Chelsea versus Burnley match with him but she gave her ticket to me after a somewhat traumatic experience I suffered at school. I used to write stories and sometimes read them in class, mostly limited and simple sci-fi with mild horror elements. I was influenced heavily by Marvel Comics (especially the Fantastic Four), the Pan Collections of Horror Stories and Gerry Anderson’s TV work (Stingray, Thunderbirds etc.). At a parents evening my parents were informed by the school that I had an imagination that was much too vivid and that reading American Comics and Horror stories was bad for me. They advised my folks to get rid of all my comics and horror books, so they did. In those days people often did what the ‘powers that be’ told them to, so I have no issues with my parents. However I do take great issue with the school, even now. Why on earth would you deny a child the chance to expand their imagination? It has never made sense to me. I could understand if they had said I should broaden my reading material, but to take most of it away, that just smacks of censorship!

Have any of you experienced anything similar?

I had around 90 of the first 100 Fantastic Four comics, number 3 was the lowest one I owned

Anyway as I often say this is a music blog so here are some appropriate songs

Leeds United & Leeds, Leeds, Leeds” – by the Leeds United Football Team – this single actually made the UK charts in the early 70s. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the names of all the players I mentioned earlier.

Fantastic Four Theme” – taken from the 1967 animated series

The Fantastic Four Song” – Ray Wall Band

Leeds United” – Amanda Palmer – this is one weird song, but I love it!

 

“Why not phone up Robin Hood and ask him for some wealth distribution” August 21, 2009


Hello dear readers this I am sure will be quite a short post, but then good intentions and all that stuff eh? Anyway today is August 21st and it would have been the 57th birthday of the late great (it’s like those ls & gs never went away!) Mr John Graham Mellor who was perhaps known better as Joe Strummeroff of the Clash amongst others. Sadly he died way to young on 22nd December 2002 aged just 50 (spookily enough that’s my age now!) Click here to see the Clash with the supreme “London Calling”

Joe tells that guitar who is Boss!

Joe tells that guitar who is Boss!

His father was a diplomat and as a result Joe spent his childhood in many different places including Egypt, Mexico and Germany. He was actually born in Ankara in Turkey. The first band he was a part of was called the Vultures and this was during his time in Newport, Wales in the early 70s. During this period he also became a gravedigger for a time (a job that Rod Stewart undertook for a while as well fact fans!). He eventually came back to London where he busked with friends, it was around then that he became know as ‘Woody’ Mellor after Woody Guthrie. He formed a new band in 74/75 with friends from the squat he was living in at the time. In fact it was this property that gave the band their name, the 101er’s. The address was 101 Walterton Road in Maida Vale, London.

Joe seemed unconcerned that he had left the barbers before his haircut was finished!

Joe seemed unconcerned that he had left the barbers before his haircut was finished!

In 1975 he told everyone that he wished to be known as Joe Strummer, which seems like a self deprecating view of his role as rhythm guitarist. In April 1976 an as yet unknown band, the Sex Pistols (perhaps you’ve heard of them now) opened for the 101ers at the Nashville Rooms in London. Strummer was extremely impressed by the bands attitude and ethos and decided he needed a new direction. He was approached later that year by Bernie Rhodes and Mick Jones. At the time Mick was in the London SS and wanted Joe to join as lead singer. Joe was keen but the band split up before he had the chance. But that led to the opportunity that produced one of my favourite bands of all time the Clash. Initially the band consisted of Joe, Mick, Paul Simonon (it was Simononwho gave the band their name), Terry Chimes and KeithLevine. They played their first gig, curiously enough supporting the Sex Pistols in Sheffield in July 1976. Shortly after this Chimes decided to quit the band and Levene was sacked. Nicky ‘Topper Headon became the bands drummer. In the incestuous world of punk and post-punk Levene went on to be a part of the initial line up of Public Image Limited (PiL) with John Lydon.

This is either the Clash in full swing or the Shadows have gone punk!

This is either the Clash in full swing or the Shadows have gone punk!

By now the band had signed to CBS. The fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue’ had said that “punk died the day the Clash signed to CBS. Is that true? Well I’ll leave you to your own opinion. Anyway the Clash had a run of excellent albums, their debut album was the eponymously titled ‘The Clash’ and for me still sounds sharp and exciting today. But my favourite Clash album remains ‘London Calling’ It’s just so diverse and has some excellent lyrics andtop tunes. Here the boys with “Complete Control” their excellent dig at CBS by clicking here.

Joe never quite mastered his letter in the bands potential cover of "YMCA"

Joe never quite mastered his letter in the bands potential cover of "YMCA"

Joe later went on to front the Mescaleros and used to play a few Clash songs in their shows. He remained a keen politcal animal playing benefit gigs for striking firemen and such. I guess in many ways it was the Clash that made me think differently about politics andI thank them for that. I certainly never agreed with everything that they said or did, but I definitely started to think more about things after getting into the Clash

Joe as always you remain sadly missed and to remind us finally of how good the Clash were here is “White Man In The Hammersmith Palais

 

 
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