I've decided to limit myself to one blog a month- we're still waiting for Waz to make his debut entry, but since there's been nothing since Dan's salutary effort, and it appears that some people enjoy looking at this site (fancy that!), I've got nothing better to do than put some words down for your entertainment. If your boss catches you reading them at work (as I will undoubtedly get caught writing them), they should be worth it.
We've been getting generally good feedback from the two songs we put on the website, which is quite heartening, (even more so for John, who wrote them, I guess). It's not been the sort of shrug-of-the-shoulders 'yeah, it's all right', nor the overly hyperactive 'Oh! Well done! You're brilliant!' sycophancy that is often just said to make the recipient feel better because the end result is garbage, but a nicely balanced view. Some people like Shiftwork, others prefer Pretty But Not Beautiful. We've had responses from people whose opinions we value; one who we thought would hate us really loved the songs. Another called it 'indie-by-numbers'. Fair enough, I've always said that it's impossible to please everyone and you shouldn't try. There's nothing worse than someone desperate to impress their audience rather than accept criticism and move on. I just think of the Alan Partridge 'I love wine' scene where he's squirming to get his job back.
Just as an aside, and for a bit of trivia, the lineup for both songs is essentially the same - John on guitar and lead vocals
Sharon on keyboards
Martin on rhythm guitar,
me on bass
Andrew on drums
Dan doing synth on Shiftwork and glockenspiel on Pretty But Not Beautiful
It's interesting that these two were put up, as these are Andrew's drumming songs; apart from one new one that I've got in the works, Dan plays the drums. It'd be nice to get some more songs done with Andrew on drums as their styles are very different (the difference reminds me of Levon Helm versus Richard Manuel in The Band) and it adds a lot of variety to our sound. It takes up a lot of time when we play live, swapping stuff round, but we're working on that... anyone know any jokes?
Thinking about it, our versatility is probably one of our strongest facets; musically we're pretty good, not technically perfect (I'd say Dan is the 'best' musician by dint of his drumming skills), but none of us have any aspirations to be Dave Gilmour or Rick Wakeman, apart from the capes. Even so, between us as a sextet, we have two drummers (plus two 'trainee' drummers), four contributing songwriters (though I'd prefer to have six!) five guitar players, five keyboard players, five potential singers, six percussionists and (now that Sharon has decided to give it a go on one song) six bassists. It's enough to make your head spin.
We had a potential festival gig in Cornwall this weekend supporting Hawkwind(!), but Andrew's on holiday and I'm not quite sure how well we'd go down without a naked lady onstage (no, Sharon won't do it). If you are in Cornwall go and see Syrus play. That's my brother's band. They're very good, but I don't think they've got a website. They're on just before the 'Wind.
Our next gig isn't until the 10th September in London. I have mixed feelings about this one, simply as it's going to be on a bill of four other bands who seem to have little in common with us. The promoters have a policy of booking audiences rather than bands, which is good as it makes for a large audience, and exposes you to other bands who might pique your interest, but makes for interesting running orders; we're on in the cushy middle slot, but the 'headliners' who are on at 11.30 are a group of 13 year old skate punks called The Flaming Monkeys. On the plus side, having seen Syrus play there, the stage is nice and large, the sound engineer is very very attentive and knows what he's doing. Plus the soundboard recording of the gig is excellent; a nice source for new sounds to tie us over until we record properly later this year.
If you fancy coming along, let us know. I'll try and get the flyer scanned and put up this week. Likewise if you want to send me birthday presents for tomorrow, let me know. ;)