With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

This is it, my 1,000th blog post! January 22, 2017


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Well blow me down with a feather, knock me down with an empty washing up liquid container, hit me on the head with a silk handkerchief or spank me with  a lollystick! This is my 1,000th post on this blog. It has taken eight years, but wow I am amazed that I have got this far with it. As a special offer to my blog followers and Facebook friends I opened this post up to you. I asked you to send me one song or artist and those songs and artists would form the content of this post. I did promise to say something nice about your choice and I will certainly try to stand by that, even if you have sent me a song that you know I do not really like, actually there were very few of those.  So here we go and there is no particular order or sequence to this by the way.

First up was suggested by a man who is exactly one year older than me, Vijay Ragoonanan. His choice is the first one that I received and it is a pretty classy one too. It’s “Train In Vain” by one of my favourite bands, the Clash. It was their first top 30 hit in the US and was largely called “Train In Vain” to avoid confusion with the Ben E King classic “Stand By Me” as the common refrain throughout the song is ‘stand by me’

Next up are three songs from the same family Caron Godbold Darbyshire Williams, John Williams and their wonderful daughter (who is also my Odd Daughter) Amelia. Caron chose “High” from the Lighthouse Family which was hers and John’s first dance song at their wedding. This remains the band’s most successful song, it reached the top ten in eleven countries, including number one in Australia back in 1998. John chose the timeless Don McLean song “American Pie”.  McLean has spoken very infrequently about the meaning of the song other than to confirm that the day the music died refers to the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash on February 3rd 1959. However many people have speculated that it summarises much of America’s relatively recent history along with some related music history, for example ‘the quartet practised in the park’ is believed by many to refer to the Beatles. Amelia’s offering was One Direction with “History”. One Direction are one of the handful of acts that have remained a success long after their reality TV star burned out. This song gives a co writing credit to band members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne along with Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett. Released at the end of 2015 it currently sits as the final single from the group now that they all appear to have gone their own way. It made it to number 6 in the UK and only hit 65 in the USA.

Sam Claypole has the next song and it’s American crooner Barry Manilow with “Could It Be Magic”. The lyrics were written by Adrienne Anderson and the music by Bazza himself. As with most Manilow songs the production is damned good. It was produced by Barry along with Ron Dante. It has been covered by many acts, notably by Take That and Donna Summer. My favourite version of the song is Donna Summer’s and I don’t really like the bombastic over production on the Take That cover.

The next offering is from someone who I went to school with back in the 1970s, Susan Norris. She has given us the sublime UK number one from 1968 by Fleetwood Mac, “Albatross”. This remains the band’s only UK number one, albeit with a very different incarnation of the group from the mega selling troupe that straddled the globe with ‘Rumours’ in the late 70s. Did you know that “Albatross” allegedly influenced a Beatles song? Apparently it was a strong influence on “Sun King” from 1969’s ‘Abbey Road’ album.

Top bloke Andy Copeland has selected the next track, I work with Andy and he sees me as some kind of old cockney geezer and provided me with the nickname Albert! Anyway as a result Andy proposed anything from Chas ‘n’ Dave, so in order not to disappoint I will treat you to “The Sideboard Song” from those cheeky London chappies. The song just missed out on a top 50 UK chart placing peaking at number 55 in 1979. It was taken from their very cockney titled album ‘Don’t Give A Monkey’s’

Someone else that I work with has the next song in the list and it is in my opinion an all time rock classic. Adrian Caines thank you for bring us Rush with “Spirit Of Radio”. Interestingly this is the only act that will feature twice on this list, more from them later. The song was released in 1980 and comes from what I believe is their seventh studio album ‘Permanent Waves’. It is still the band’s biggest UK hit having peaked at number thirteen. The song has been covered by the Catherine Wheel and sampled by Saint Etienne.

Simon Pattinson, a tireless promoter of new (and often local) music brings us York band Faux Pas who launched their first EP at Fibbers in York a few weeks ago. They have already performed at the Leeds Festival and have had some airplay on Radio 1. This teenage 4-piece have a very bright future I reckon, what do you think? The song is “I Hate Dancing”.

David Burr requested Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia with “Unity Hymn” which I have struggled to share with you as I can’t find a link that will play you any more than 30 seconds of this classy song. If you have a link feel free to share it. I have listened to the track on Spotify where it is credited to Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia (featuring John Hiseman, Peter Lemer, Malcolm Macfarlane, Paul Westwood, Anna Gracey Hiseman and the London Gospel Singers). I have added a link to a whole show from 1991 though. Barbara is a very experienced and skilled jazz saxophonist who has been playing professionally for many years. She received an MBE in 1996 and in the early part of this century she had to retire from playing for a while due to Parkinson’s Disease, but she is back now and is a permanent member of Colosseum for whom her husband Jon Hiseman is the drummer.

Among the liveliest of my Facebook friends is Katie Jane Hardy and she has chosen “Ain’t It Fun” by the Dead Boys. Originally fronted by Stiv Bators this band from Cleveland, Ohio were around at the first flush of punk from 1976 to 1979. Stiv sadly died in 1990 after being run over by a taxi, although the band did get back together in 2004 and 2005. “Ain’t It Fun” comes from their 1978 album ‘We Have Come For Your Children’.

Someone else that I went to school with in the 70s, Jane Price, selected the next song and it is a 70s classic; “Heart Of Gold” from Ole Shakey himself, Neil Young.  Taken from the album ‘Harvest’ in 1972 it is so far Neil’s only US number one single. Backing vocals on the track are courtesy of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

I would like you to thank Shaun Flannery for the next song, it is “Angels” by Robbie Williams, who as Shaun pointed out to me is a Brits Icon winner, personally that just proves to me how meaningless the Brits actually are. Now many of my regular readers know that I am not a big Robbie fan and one of my least favourite songs ever is “Angels” (along with John Lennon’s “Imagine”). But I did say I would try to be nice. The song was co written by Robbie, Guy Chambers and Ray Heffernan. In 2005 a UK poll voted it the most popular song that was requested at funerals in the UK, I’m not quite sure what that says about it. Robbie has had seven solo UK number one hits in the UK, although “Angels” only made it to number four back in 1997.

I used to work with our next contributor and we have also been to a few gigs together too, Simon Hernaman has chosen “Rockwrok” by the John Foxx incarnation of Ultravox. It was released in 1977 and was taken from their ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album. The B -Side of the single was an alternate version of “Hiroshima Mon Amour” from the one on the ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album

Karen McPoland struggled to choose just one song, in fact she offered me three and asked me to choose. A couple of you gave me an initial choice and then changed your mind, so who knows, perhaps they might all appear on a future post, 1,001 perhaps? Anyway I chose the Eels from Karen’s list with “The Look You Give That Guy”. The Eels were formed in 1995 by Mark Oliver Everett also known as E or Mr E. His father Hugh was a physicist who was one of the first people to propose the potential existence of multiple universes or the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics. The song is taken from their 2009 album ‘Hombre Lobo’ and was a big hit in Belgium.

My good friend and regular Reading Festival buddy wanted the Glass Animals to be included, so obviously they will be. They originate from Oxford where they formed in 2012. They have played a number of festivals around the world and released their second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ last year. I have chosen “Youth” from that album.

Someone else that I used to work with many years ago picked the next song and it’s a bit of a Prog classic from Yes, thank your Graeme Card. It comes from ‘Yessongs’ which was the band’s first live album. The track originally appeared on the studio album ‘Close To The Edge’.

Jon Reeton is next up with “No Bravery” from James Blunt. I was never a big fan of Blunt, but I have great respect for his deftness at self-deprecation. I think he has an incredible sense of humour, but his music doesn’t do too much for me. However Jon pointed out how meaningful the lyrics are even now and I find it hard to disagree with that. The song was written by Blunt with Sacha Skarbek and can be found on his debut album ‘Back To Bedlam’ from 2005.

A little bit of reggae next with “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” by Dawn Penn, thank you to Carl Rogers for this one. The song reached number three in the UK charts in 1994. Penn first recorded a song with this title in 1967 and it was based on a track by US R & B singer Willie Cobbs which in turn was heavily influenced by a Bo Diddley song. That is why the 1994 release from Dawn Penn credits both Cobbs and Diddley as writers.

Paul Terry offered me two choices and I wonder if he might be surprised that I chose Justin Bieber from the two? Anyway while I can’t say I am a Belieber I do like some of his more recent stuff. Especially “Love Yourself” which was written by Ed Sheerhan along with Benjamin Levin (a.k.a. Benny Blanco) and Bieber. It spent six weeks at number one in the UK chart.

Suzi Stacey my online witchy sister has picked a Rolling Stones classic “Mothers Little Helper”. Obviously this is not a drug related song, well ok it definitely is. Don’t do drugs kids otherwise you might live as long as Keith Richards. Hang on that sounds like a good thing though right? OK I sound like I’m high now, just enjoy the song ok.

I told you that there would be another entry from Canadian rockers Rush and I wasn’t lying. This time it is “Tom Sawyer” chosen by my mate Andy Golborne. It was the opening track on their 1981 album ‘Moving Pictures’. VH1 named it the 19th Greatest Hard Rock song of all time in 2009.

Now we have a track from the late, great Gary Moore which also features the late, great Phil Lynott. Thank you for Jacqui Parkin for choosing this one, I think it is a true classic. The song made it to number 8 in the UK singles chart in 1979. It was written by Moore and Lynott. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey also plays on the track.

The next song is very much one of my favourites as it was the first dance after marrying my beautiful wife Catherine. In fact this is Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman)’s choice. It is the truly sublime “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave. Just listen to it, is there anyone out there that doesn’t like this song? It is also the only song that I know that includes a reference to an ‘interventionist God’.

Sara Hayes has chosen the 25th song which spookily has the number 25 in the title, it s Edwin Starr with “25 Miles” a fabulous slice of Motown genius. It reached number 6 in the US chart and 36 in the UK chart when issued as a single in 1969. It was written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and Edwin Starr. This song was also a big hit on the Northern Soul scene in the UK.

Rachael Baines-Holmes picked the next song and it is a slice of punky class; the Dead Kennedys with “Holiday In Cambodia”. It was written by the band’s front man Jello Biafra and John Greenway and it was the second single to be released by the group when it came out in 1980. It followed “California Über Alles”. Both songs were included on the album ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’.

So there you have it twenty-six songs provided by a selection of my friends. Thank you for being a part of this and for reading my blog and putting up with all the puns and shit that I post on Facebook. Finally though I will leave you with my selection. I have said loads about it on previous blog posts and it is without doubt my favourite song of all time. “No Woman No Cry” Bob Marley and the Wailers taken from the ‘Live At The Lyceum’ album from 1975

 

Slowmother – a classy rock band from Milan November 8, 2016


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One of my great friends shared a band with me on Facebook. The friend is Mr Nick Horslen and the band who are very new to me are Slowmother. Their sound has elements of classic rock, prog and a degree of dark menace, which is something that I personally love in a band. They describe their music as Chemical Blues which also works for me. Your experience of listening to them may lead you to describe them very differently from the way I have. But I will be surprised and disappointed in you if you don’t conclude that they are a bloody good band indeed!

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Slowmother are based in Milan and are made up of Alessio Slowmother on vox and guitars, Grazi Mele on drums and backing vocals and Pietro The Butcher on bass and backing vocals. Obviously all their names are the names that they were born with……. right? They sound like a very tight band with some great songs, especially the phenomenal “Drugs” and “Liar”. Vocally I find them reminiscent of Stiltskin whose singer Ray Wilson also went on to front Genesis briefly in the late 90s. I would definitely pay to see this band, so let’s hope that they come to play in the UK soon. Let me know what you think of them. Check them out on Facebook, Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

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Reading Festival 2015 – Day 3 – Sunday 30th August August 31, 2015


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Where Fires Are – good band, great vocalist and the few songs we heard were pretty good.

Shura – great chilled out dance music. Dance to this lot for too long and you’ll sure need plenty of Sure deodorant though.

Ghostpoet – probably not a real ghost but a bloody good poet. I need to listen to more of his stuff.

Special Guest – at the BBC Introducing stage. I didn’t have a clue who he is. Apparently it’s Jack Garrett. Nope, I’m still none the wiser. But he does have a great voice, which I think would work better with a band. But then again he is also a very talented musician.

Skinner – sexy, sassy, ballsy just like the blurb. But on top of that Skinner has an amazing vocal talent and writes great tunes. The band are damned tight too.

Joel Dommet followed by Russell Kane – awesome comedy, I nearly pissed myself ……… literally! Where’s Megan?

Maccabees – sadly I only caught two songs. But this is a fine British band.

Jamie T – what a great troubadour. I think Zombie is the song of this years festival.

Manchester Orchestra – grungey and when you think of loud, then trust me this band is louder.

Little Comets – they’ve come a long way since I first saw them around five years ago. It’s like Vampire Weekend had a shot of Geordie. Excellent!

Frank Turner – oh man! What a perfect end to the festival, Frank Turner playing most of his best songs on an acoustic guitar for 90 minutes. Including an excellent cover of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” Who needs the Libertines when a legend like Frank is in the house.

Roll on next year. Will the Zimmer Twins be back? Let’s wait and see ………..

To be honest I don't believe that I would crowd surf there!

To be honest I don’t believe that I would crowd surf there!

 

Reading Festival 2015 – Day 2 – Saturday 29th August August 30, 2015


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Baby Metal – not actual babies, but proper pop metal. I am now a big fan of this lot.

Fidlar – no fiddles, they’re not needed, these guys are superb.

Marmozets – even better than last year. Super awesome!

Slaves – the true spirit of late 70s punk lives on in these blokes, although maybe with a sprinkle of Jilted John. A great band though.

Spector – not Phil obviously, but they have got even better than the last time that I saw them.

Circa Waves – confetti waves at the end, this will be a hard band to follow. Brilliant!

Wolf Alice – not big and bad, but not bad. But a bit of a comedown after Circa Waves. We left their set a little early to see Royal Blood.

Royal Blood – a really well deserved Main Stage for this powerful band. The singer did try a little too hard on being cool though.

Bring Me The Horizon – can you actually bring anyone the horizon? I think not, however that really doesn’t matter. This band deserves to be immense. I reckon that they will headline the Main Stage here very soon. Probably on of the UK’s finest rock bands at the moment. I should add that the band’s public service announcement was hilarious.

Metallica – wow what a masterpiece of a show! It worked for the Metallica family and the more casual fans. The music and visuals were supremely good.

the people that we met today made it like a mini United Nations of rock. Two Metallica fans from Belgium and thanks for the band recommendation of Black Box Revelation. Then to the Metallica super fan from Spain who stood in the same spot for twelve hours. Dude we are not worthy. He also pointed out the band’s producer and manager along with members of Slayer in the mixing tower behind us. We also bumped into the Cheltenham crew again and there was not a hangover present in any of them.

two down and one to go, let’s see what day 3 brings! Hopefully no burrying!

 

Reading Festival 2015 – Day 1- Friday 28th August August 29, 2015


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Hello dear readers. It’s that Reading Festival time of year again. A time when I give you my humble opinion on all the acts that I get to see. I have maintained a very short review style for this year. I would love to hear who you liked best. My good friend Nick, myself and Richard an honorary Zimmer Twin probably all agreed that Limp Bizkit were superb.

Incidentally I took no pictures or video, because as a fan I prefer to watch the action in real-time and not through a tiny phone screen!

Return To Rome – no don’t go to the Italian Capital, stay here please

Drenge – good band and we didn’t get drenged!

Palma Violets – not from Palma and not very violet but these bastard sons of the Libertines and the Clash are pretty good.

Panic At The Disco – no panic, no disco just a stunning set from an awesome band including a brilliant cover of Bohemian Rhapsody!

All Time Low – not low, quite a high for us. A great band

Bastille – storming (geddit?) a good “afternoon on the Main stage” band. Brilliant covers of “No Scrubs” and “Rhythm Of The Night”. (TLC and Corona)

Peace – not too peaceful thankfully, rather good in fact.

Run The Jewels – well they’re not Run DMC are they?

Limp Bizkit – neither limp nor biscuit, but a band who for me have become top class. Hats off to Mr Durst and co.

New Found Glory – no longer new, no longer lost, but still glorious.

Django Django – I’m not sure which one is Django or indeed which one is Django, but either way they are an excellent band.

Another mission was accomplished in that I don’t see Mumford and Sons. Largely because I no longer see the point of Mumford and Sons anymore.

I should add that given some of the people we met there was definitely something strong in the Happy Meals! Kirsty from Cardiff and Anya from Cheltenham via Ireland, I hope your hangovers/ come downs aren’t too bad! Gary from Cheltenham via Scotland, you’re a top bloke! Finally I haven’t seen many people as excited as Mark the postie from Swindon, he is a big Limp Bizkit fan.

Day 1 was a good’un though. Let’s see what day 2 brings.

 

Reading Festival 2014 – 22nd to 24th August August 25, 2014


Usually you get three review posts from me for each day of the festival. But this year I am taking the lazy route. I will just be doing a single review of the whole shebang. Also it will be somewhat different from usual, this is born out of necessity as I just immersed myself in the music and the vibe and didn’t really bother to take notes. What follows is a departure from the norm for me and a bit of fun too. There is a list of the acts I saw and next to each there will be marks out of ten and one word to reflect my memory of that set. Some of these words may be obvious and others will be cryptic, if you want to know more about them please feel free to ask in the comments.

 

Day 1 – Friday 22nd August
Crossfaith 7/10 pretty
Red Fang 7/10 dervish
Rufus 8/10 nuts
Shambles In A Husk 6/10 shouty
Phil Nichol (comedian) 9/10 Eskimo
Deaf Havana 6/10 hair
Fat White Family 7/10 hype
Jimmy Eat World 8/10 veterans
Enter Shikari 9/10 banging
Vampire Weekend 9/10 headliners?
Jamie T 9/10 surprise
Bipolar Sunshine 7/10 happy
Metronomy 9/10 synchronised
Queens Of The Stone Age 9/10 party

 

Day 2 Saturday 23rd August

Jeff Leach (Comedian) 8/10 Ben

Marmozets 9/10 Heavy

Royal Blood 9/10 Bass

Peace 8/10 Magnificent

Hives 9/10 Entertainer

Foster The People 8/10 Kicks

Imagine Dragons 10/10 Thanks

Jake Bugg 9/10 Cool

Arctic Monkeys 10/10 Rocking

 

Day 3 Sunday 24th August

Glenn Wool (Comedian) 7/10 Canuck

Romesh Ranganathan (Comedian) 9/10 Brown

Billie Marten 8/10 Joni

Young Guns 9/10 Tunes

Papa Roach 8/10 Coby

Clean Bandit 7/10 Disco

Breach 7/10 Rave

Maverick Sabre 8/10 Soul

Schoolboy Q 3/10 Unauthentic

Kooks 10/10 Funky

Horrors 9/10 Pyramid

The 1975 10/10 Sophie

Disclosure 8/10 Fractals

 

To sign off I have a message for the festival organisers. It’s great that you switched the screens on the Main Stage to portrait view from their original landscape setting. However you need to fix the tech so that we can actually see interesting stuff on them. There were far too many shots of a singers ear, a guitarists arse or just a drum kit with no drummer in the picture. Also please move the fun fair back out of the main arena, it really doesn’t need to be there. All that aside this was one of the most enjoyable Reading Festivals that myself and my good friend Nick Horslen have been to. We have been attending them together for around 13 years and I went to my first in 1975. I’d love to hear what you folks thought of Reading and Leeds this year. Who do you think will headline next year? How about Iron Maiden or AC/ DC? I reckon Muse will headline. I’d like to see PIL on the bill too.

 

 

Reading Festival 2014 – The Preview August 18, 2014


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Here we are again, time for my annual pilgrimage to the Reading Festival with my good friend Nick Horslen. Collectively we are the Zimmer Twins a.k.a Bald Guy and Silver Dude. So what is on the agenda for us this year? well there are plenty of bands that we have seen many times before, particularly on the Main Stage. Friday on that stage looks very appealing, particularly Deaf Havana, Jimmy Eat World, Enter Shikari and Vampire Weekend all of whom we have seen before but entertaining none the less. There is a joint headline thing going on that day with Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age. I’m not too sure about the joint headline thing but both are very good bands who I have seen quite a few times. Friday on the NME/ Radio 1 Stage has a couple of acts that I’d like to see. Notably Warpaint, Metronomy and Gerard Way.I really don’t want to miss Aluna George on the Radio 1 Dance Stage either. I can see some big clashes cropping up for us that afternoon! As for the Lock Up Stage I really want to see Brody Dalle. I am never going to be able to see everyone I want to on that day. Some tough choices need to be faced clearly. I haven’t even considered any of the other stages yet either! As usual I would appreciate any recommendations from you folks reading this, especially if it makes our hard choices a bit easier.

Saturday’s Main Stage line up also looks good and once again it features many acts that I have seen before; including Pulled Apart By Horses, The Hives, Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg and the Arctic Monkeys. But I have to see DZ Deathrays on the Radio 1 Stage first thing on Saturday. I saw them at the Woolpack in York a couple of weeks back and they were awesome. Also on that stage on my to see list are Royal Blood, Cage The Elephant, Die Antwoord, Chvrches and Bombay Bicycle Club. Then maybe Architects on the Pit stage. Band Of Skulls and We Are Scientists on the Festival Republic Stage. I also want to pay a visit to the Alternative Stage for some comedy. Does anyone have the ability to clone me so that I can attend every stage? Please send me the details, what do you need? A DNA sample, blood, sweat, tears, a stool sample? just let me know because as you are all well aware; you’re never alone with a clone!

Sunday’s closing night on the Main stage is good, but at the moment I prefer the other days. Although missing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Blink 182 would be disappointing. However Disclosure headline the NME/ Radio 1 Stage that night and I don’t want to miss them either. On that same stage on Sunday I also fancy Clean Bandit, the Horrors and the 1975. Blimey this doesn’t get any easier does it? Then of course there is the Klaxons on the Radio 1 Dance Stage. The Lock Up stage is headlined by the magnificent Gogol Bordello with support from the Frankly (Turner) un-missable Mongol Horde.

OK clearly I will enjoy loads of acts but I will also be disappointed at having to miss so many. I await your recommendations dear reader, along with your plans for cloning me. The Zimmer Twins will see you there!

If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!

If you squint you can just about spot the Zimmer Twins in that crowd!

 

 

 
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