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!
Mother’s Finest, the legendary funk rock band from Atlanta Georgia, are asking YOU to participate in their bid to fund their first new album in 10 years. Visit their KICKSTARTER page to get involved!
Today, their guitarist Moses Mo released a video, detailing a brand new perk added to the bidding menu – the one-of-a-kind Mother’s Finest ‘shield’ guitar, built by Jordan guitars! Check out Moses’ video below and head over to the KICKSTARTER site to make your pledge.
BE PART OF FUNKIN’ HISTORY!
Way back in the mists of time, in a quiet suburb of Derby, a host of young teens saw the decade morph from the 60’s to the 70’s, and were like-minded in their willingness to be swept along by, and participate in, its musical backdrop. We were a disparate group of lads, drawing on equally disparate influences, but we had that all-encompassing entity – music – in common. There was a whole host of us, but the main players in the very early days were myself, Adrian “Fos” Foster, Mike Emery, Tim Gadsby, Paul Bunting, Tony Billinge, Colin Hidderley and Steve Carter. Some of us hadn’t even really sorted out who would play what. I started out on drums, moving much later to bass. I vividly remember rehearsing in Steve’s garage, running through one of his own songs, ‘September’, and Tim was on bass. Most of us went our own way of course, and drifted towards the music that most appealed. As our tastes an dinterests diverged, Fos and I pursued the ‘Rock’ route, and indeed still do, and Steve and Tim leaned towards folk. It still fills me with immense pride that quite a collection of us from a small part of Derbyshire have taken our boyhood dreams to levels we probably couldn’t conceive of back in those rose-coloured youthful days. I am certain that my unwavering dedication to my musical career has its roots firmly planted in those early times with my childhood friends. Without those experiences, I would not be where I am today. My career is well documented in these pages, Steve and Tim went on to record as ‘Firkin the Fox’, “Dr. Big Love’, and worked with the likes of Dave Pegg (Jethro Tull, Fairport) and a host of respected Irish musicians. Their music is a far cry from mine, but it is imbued with a deep sense of Englishness, whimsy, and romance, and optimism. Tim blossomed into a fine bass and fiddle player. Ataxia has robbed him of the dexterity to continue, though he continues to make music with computers. Steve felt it was high time awareness was raised about this condition. It is often misunderstood. Watch my friend Steve’s (stage name Steve Bonham) video below, learn about Ataxia. Tell your friends, and help if you can.
I’d visited Dublin before – some fifteen years ago, if memory serves. I was there in a professional capacity, fronting the embryonic Oliver/Dawson Saxon, hot on the heels of their release “Victim You”, under their original name of Son of a Bitch. We were playing at the Temple Bar Music Centre, right in the middle of the district of the same name name. The gig was amazing I remember, and as we left through the stage door at the end of the night, I recall seeing people hanging over balconies, spilling out onto the street from bars, just having a great time. But we were not long there, and couldn’t spend a long time in the city, as we had to head across country to play Galway Bay.
Cut to last week, and my visit to Ireland’s capital is much more leisurely. This time, I intended to visit the grave of one of my major musical influences: Philip Lynott. I needed to pay my respects to a man who was such a hero to me as I was growing up and discovering I wanted to be a musician, moreover, that I wanted to be a bass player/lead singer like him. I ‘met’ him….very briefly, as the embryonic twin guitar line up of Thin Lizzy were relaxing in the refectory of Derby College, back in the 70’s about to promote the ‘Nightlife’ album. ‘Met’ constituted a mumbled ‘hi’ from a tongue-tied awkward teenager, and a nod from the man himself, but it was good enough for me.
We found his grave on the promontory East of Dublin known as Howth. A strange sense of a circle being closed came upon me. Phil was one of a triumvirate of bassist/singers who had a profound impact on me becoming a professional musician. In the 90’s, I had the chance to impersonate him on the UK TV show ‘Stars in their Eyes’ , and some weeks later, I met Eric Bell, Lizzy’s original guitarist, who confided in me that he’d seen the show:
In the intervening years, I’ve travelled the world, played on some of the biggest stages, and now I found myself on this windy promontory kneeling at the graveside of one of the men who most certainly set me on the path I tread to this day. As I write this, his bassline to ‘I’m gonna creep up on you’ is pulsing out of my speakers, as alive as can be….and I realize that his music is his heartbeat, and that will never be stilled.
While we stood by the grave, Miki asked if I wanted to leave a drawing, and promptly produced her drawing pad and pen. I left this little sketch on his gravestone. It’s said that his Mother, Philomena, visits everyday. I hope she finds it:
Sometimes, I do really daft stuff. This is one of those times. A few years back I threw together a few eggs, and made an omelette of a video of ineggscrable puns, all to the tune of Irving Berlin’s ‘Easter parade’ on Electric guitar. Seemed like a good idea at the time! So, here it is again!