Tag Archives: Music

Therapy? interview

So, I got my first shot at an interview for UberRock and who should it be but the the very band I know most about besides Deep Purple. Chuffed as mintballs I was, and so it was out with Word, and my thinking cap on. The results of it can be found here and I have to say I’m quite pleased as Andy Cairns actually properly seemed to engage with the questions. There’s a couple of daft ones but they were still genuine questions which I was curious to hear the answers to. Kakistocracy and Crutch are such good songs.

Other than that, all’s well with the world I guess. Latvia and Lithuania were fun. Flights were easy, and generally it’s all peaceful in my world. It’s bills’r’us time but hey ho. It continues to get me back established in the system and gives me history in the UK, something I’ve not had since 2007! 


Well, this is a turn up for the books. Or rather articles. Seems I’m at least writing a little bit again. I, sometime in the distant past, send off an enquiry as to if I could write a few reviews etc of cds and concerts etc and then promptly forgot about it completely. Then, at 1am I get pinged by the editor. Here’s a starter for 10! Review Sevendust. All I see is War. 

It’s actually pretty damn good (the album not the review). We (the entity formerly known as “wife” constituting the other member) had the chance to see them in Vegas many many moons ago but chose Drowningpool and Flyleaf instead. While I stand by that as a decent decision at the time, I’d be quite happy to go see these lot now. Anyway, if you fancy having a shufti at my musings you can find the article here via Uber Rock! 

Other than that, I guess I’m alive. Life ticks over as normal. No joy finding work which is frankly nuts. 44, fit, healthy, smart, and 2 years of Amazon experience behind me since returning to the UK should be enough to demonstrate that I’m prepared to do what’s needed but.. there’s not much I can do. With only my old Samsung Wave for internet access, and only a 6 month contract on the flat I’m in, it’s actually starting to look a little bleak again. Something needs to manifest quickly, but having applied for nigh on 200 jobs in 90 days… and getting ziltch in return, it’s all a bit soul destroying. Living on £5 a day seems to be beyond the concept of most which is as it should be because it’s simply not doable. Still… it’s clearing the puppyfat from the belly. Positives. The rosacea didn’t help, pretty much rendering me unemployable for anything which I might have been a public face for anyone, but, it’s eased again now. 


I love talking music with people. I get extremely passionate about it. There’s not too much which really stirs my soul but music can. Emotive, I suppose is the word. I’ve never been one for remembering band member names but titles and lyrics seem to stay in for years. The aforementioned local pub (see last blog) has a reasonably well fed jukebox, although it’s not as I thought an internet one. I get almost as much of a kick out of surprising people by knowing the songs they’ve put on as I do having people tap along to mine. Given the age range in there and the fact that some of my music would go down like a lead balloon, I do limit my choices though. Not because I’m concerned as to what people would think of me, but more for the respect of the venue and the customers. I guess it’s the wanting to please thing going on. Banging on a good ear worm and hearing people say “Gods I’ve not heard this in years” gives me far more pleasure than slinging on Rage against the Machine and having the local populous glower at me for 4 minutes!

I use my music. It’s cathartic. Often it says what I’m thinking but don’t have the words for, or rather, it’s not that I don’t have the words, it’s that my arrangement of them might well not be as skilled as the version I have access to which is already done for me. Some of it is stupid, some of it deep, but it’s rarely without some form of underlying twang. Bat out of Hell exhilarates me. Mother by P Floyd elicits memories of what my own mother did to me as a child, You Little Thief by Fergal Sharkey.. that’s anger and a massive feeling of injustice, and The Ghosts that Haunt me by Crash test Dummies says I’m not scared to show you me… if you’ll take the time to see/read/listen. The list is endless. The skill on the instruments alone on things like Child in Time by Deep Purple, or the 2cellos versions of songs, or indeed Hellsongs versions of classic metal which turn them into something rather beautiful, (See Run to the Hills as an example), could in the right moment bring a tear to the eye.

I wonder if others are the same. What coaxes what from whom? The Alpaca Weebl tune and Giraffe in my Loft… will never fail to make me chuckle. The Dangermouse intro works too. I grin at Prefab Sprout, smile at Colin Hay, struggle with Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars and the memories attached to the loss of an old friend, and then follow it up with Hurt by Nine inch Nails just to underline what I already understand : Everyone I know, goes away in the end. Another Suitcase in Another Hall tells a story I relate to, and 2 Beds and a Coffee Machine / Tell me there’s a heaven tell a story too, of another old friend and their struggle.

I remember the first day I walked into the Cheshire Cat. Wayne and I were suitably merry beforehand and we were heading in there purely because there would be a certain young lady there. We were 18. Highway to Hell was playing by AcDc and it was swiftly followed by Since You’ve been Gone by Rainbow. I was in love. I’d always had a love of music but this transcended it. This was my music, at my volume, with 200 other people who felt exactly the same way. I belonged, and I felt it! This was a place where who or what you were didn’t matter. The music made us all have something in common. It was our frame of reference to everyone around us. Ironic that my version of halcyon days was built on a wall of noise? Possibly. But nevertheless, to me, that’s as I remember it. Since it closed in 97 nothing has really come close asides from the Giffard in Wolves.

So maybe that’s why when I’m plonked in a pub and someone puts music on, that I sit up and listen and take note. Perhaps I’m looking for what this means to them. When I share… it’s almost always something personal of mine. And I’ve chosen to put it on display. “Here is a part of me.” More often than not it is purely for my own enjoyment, (but picked dependent upon the venue.. I’ll not play Spanish Train by Chris de Burgh in the Giff any more than I’d play NiN and Closer in the pub round the corner), but for those who care to listen, they might take something from it too… and that’s what I’m looking for in other’s choices.

They say eyes are a gateway to the soul. I think music is too. I’ve met a few people whose eyes I’ve struggled to hold, either because I find them far too beautiful and it renders me surprisingly shy/bashful, or because perhaps I’m not sure about being quite that vulnerable to that person at that time (or both!), but music can bypass that. And there’s the thing. Eyes can be the gateway to another person’s soul but music.. it can also be the gateway to your own. You can choose to scratch the surface, or go deeper, much deeper, either to share with another, or for your own self exploration.

I guess, it just depends on how much you want to display… to yourself, or others.

Can published music really make money anymore for smaller artists?

I was reading an interesting post from Fish about album sales and how streaming simply doesn’t cut the mustard for providing funds for tours etc earlier. It’s supposedly a reality check, and there are a bunch of people in the comments saying they all buy albums etc etc but honestly… there’s simply no reason to buy music now for the majority of people.

I’ve lived in a house without a proper stereo for nearly 12 years now. I stream all my music via Spotify or Grooveshark, or play mp3s copied from my music from years ago. The reality is, if there is no need to spend money to hear something, then people will not spend money unless there’s a special reason. The last CD I bought was at a gig, because it was a CD which we were told would not be available commercially, and was an acoustic album from an acoustic concert. It was representative of what I’d just heard, and thus had meaning, and as far as I was aware, it was unique to that tour. It was the equivalent of the old 12inch remixes I used to buy on vinyl.

I get that if people don’t buy albums, revenue isn’t created and ergo tours cannot be paid for… unless something changes with the way money changes hands… and I don’t see that happening, but if artists truly believe people will pay for something which they can listen to for free, they’re fooling themselves. £15 quid each for maybe 2 CDs every month or two is the difference between someone in a labourer’s/unskilled job being able to go out on a weekend or not. 

The answer? I don’t know. There has to be a way to generate revenue from streaming, or there has to be a way to alter the dynamic from how much an artist receives from the parent company. Perhaps Spotify needs to ensure that the cost of streaming is taken from things like mobile phone contracts, so that phones are sold with Spotify pre-installed and the monthly contract cost goes up £1, and make it impossible to install Spotify onto a phone which is not falling within that bracket. Then use that revenue to pay artists. 40 million downloads equates to an awful lot of revenue. 

Spotify has replaced the walkman/discman, and while years ago we all sat with our fingers over the record button listening to the radio waiting to grab a song or two, if we really wanted to get the best quality music, we bought it. I can’t help but think we’d do it again, if that was the only option available. Whether the public themselves would accept that though, after years of having free access… who knows?

Vi-Kings Sports bar and Brothers of Beer Leiden

I seem to have neglected to mention on here that Leiden has a cool heavy metal bar, or as google might like it, rock bar / rock pub.

Brothers of Beer in Leiden carries the name Hard Rock cafe and in truth it fits the bill quite nicely. Situated near Leiden town centre and in between Vi-Kings sports bar and The Duke of Oz closer to the shopping street, it does a mean set of metal, with a mix in of local and international bands passing through. Dutch is not essential but is always welcomed, not least as anyone pronouncing a dutch “G” who’s not used to it will give everyone a good chuckle! Ed and Remy, the two owners, are both great guys, and do what they can to make the atmosphere just like a metal bar should be.

I had removed this post due to a couple of issues but decided to repost.