Matlock, and its surrounding area, including Darley Dale and Matlock bath, in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District is somewhere dear to my heart and inextricably linked with both my Mum’s and Dad’s side of the family, all of them hailing from there. The Grand Pavilion, a Georgian building that stands imperiously by the river side deep in the gorge where Matlock Bath sits, has long been a focal point for entertainment. In the post-war years, my Dad well remembers attending concerts and watching Dance bands there. In the 1980’s, I performed there myself with my band Tubeless Hearts.
So it really piqued my interest when my Dad mentioned that it had been at considerable risk of demolition in recent years, and was now in the hands of a trust committed to saving this historic building. I’d been canvassing around to fill out dates for my visit from Spain in June, when, with our new project Straight Shooters, we’ll be making a special appearance at the Quad in Derby, and also in Burton -on-Trent, but more about those shows in another post.
After connecting with Andie Brazewell at The Pavilion, we now have a date in place for Straight Shooters – Friday June 6th – we’re hoping everyone will come along and support the event – priced at just £5 a ticket, and help fund the restoration of this beautiful venue.
You’ll be in for a night of classic British 70’s rock, courtesy of the music of Free and Bad Company!
I was recently invited to perform at the opening of a Museum exhibition. Now, having been in the Music business professionally for nearly 35 years, this might be something I could take offence at! But, this is no ordinary exhibition. It is The Rams Collection. Curated by Andy Ellis, author of several Derby County books and a lifelong Rams fan, it is an extraordinary hoard of Derby County Football Club memorabilia that reaches back into the 19th. Century and takes your breath away, particularly, if, like me, you have supported The Rams all your life. Collections like this are fascinating. It is not always the ‘grand pieces’ that draw the gasps, it can be the discarded golden goal ticket, one of so many thousands that lay strewn across the terraces following a match. It evokes a memory, a passion from the past, perhaps something that provokes conversation between Father and Son, as the younger generation finally gain an insight into what it was like to support the club in yesteryear. During discussions about this exhibition which I sat in on with Andy and Peter Bonnell, Curator of The Quad, I saw some amazing stuff! -But i won’t spoil the surprise, come along to opening night and see for yourselves!
It was C. V. Wedgwood who said: ‘Without passion there might be no errors, but without passion there would certainly be no history‘. – Well, there’s no passion like that of a football fan, and DCFC’s history will be on display at The QUAD, Derby for all to see for 3 months during the summer. I’ll be taking a small band to open the exhibition performing tracks from my DCFC CD “Fan Fayre for the Commons People” live for the first time, comprising Mike Koch my musical cohort from B.C.Sweet and Witch Cross on guitar, my lifelong mate Stef Cybichowski (After the Fire, and soon to be BCS!) on Drums and special guest Tom Leary (Lindisfarne/feast of Fiddles/Clem Clempson) on fiddle. Derby County Club Captain Shaun Barker will be doing a DJ set to follow.
For our part, while I’m over from Spain, we’re hoping to turn it into a fun little ‘micro-tour’. – On Saturday June 7th, Me, Mike and Stef under the name of ‘Straight Shooters’ will be performing an exclusive set of Bad Company and Free numbers at the Uxbridge Arms in nearby Burton -on – Trent, and we’re looking at a venue to host us on the Friday night too. to complete a hat-trick, if you will!
Last week, I headed once again to the UK and mixed business with pleasure, taking in an England U21 international at Derby’s iPro stadium with my Dad, and in fact having a bit of a road trip with him down to Great Yarmouth on the East coast, where he witnessed me performing with Bootleg Counterfeit Sweet (Formerly B.C. Sweet) at ‘Yarmageddon III’ – the Legends of Rock Festival 2014. “I don’t know how you do it, Kev” he was moved to say following our 90 minute set which I took to be praise!
The gig was electric to be honest. The band has been through some upheavals of late, and injury has prevented us from installing our new drummer, but Martin ‘Magic’ Johnson stepped into the breach magnificently and powered through the show with barely a foot, or indeed a stick, wrong.
Marc, who runs the band ‘offstage’ was visibly relaxed as we move into the next chapter of B.C. Sweet. I’ve never seen him smile so much on stage! this was due in no small measure to the professionalism exhibited by Martin as he battered away behind us. Of course, we are blessed with a canon of pop classics that is the envy of many bands, songs from Chinn and Chapman and Andy Scott that represent the very best of 70’s glam rock. We are a rock band, and try to deliver all the songs with the power and punch they deserve. If we can do that, the iconic status of the hits does the rest, the crowd pumping their fists in the air, and singing along word for word. It’s a bleak old place in the Winter, Great Yarmouth, but the sun was out at Legends of rock last week. Thanks to everyone for making it a night to remember!
Next week, a repeat performance, as I fly again to the UK, to attend the Derby v. Forest East Midlands clash – Come on you Rams! -and then literally run out of the stadium to catch the train down South to perform once more with B.C. Sweet at the ‘Yesterday Once More’ festival in Brean Sands. Get ready to rock!