Moore:Music ®

Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

Vagabonds of the Western World – Recording in Cong, Ireland by way of South London

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Last Thursday I set out for Alicante, spending the night in a nearby hotel in order to feel remotely human when I caught the 7.30am flight to Stansted, England. This however, was not my final destination, but any further headway would be denied to me until gone 5 o’clock that afternoon. Faced with a mind-numbing day in this most soul-destroying of airports, I had sought alternative possibilities, and given that Witch Cross had been invited to participate with a track for a new German release tribute album, I jumped on the train down to South London, where our guitarist Mike Koch has his studio. “I can give you two hours” I said, and we set to work laying down as much vocal as I could manage. Things went so smoothly, he even had time to make me a ham and cheese bagel, so, a good result there!

Speeding back to Stansted I cast off my cloak of metal and surrendered to the folk music demos that my old friend Steve Bonham had furnished me with. As I escaped the hubbub of the city for the countryside, greenery flashing by, it seemed that my environment was mirroring this musical transition. I’d lived with this collection of Steve’s songs for a week or so, and had spent time in my studio firstly playing along, then expanding and weaving my own bass ideas around the well-crafted songs and lyrics. The last time Steve and I had collaborated musically seemed like, and in fact was, a lifetime ago. There was still an Iron Curtain, a Yugoslavia, and a Shah of Iran. The Beatles were all alive, and perhaps even more scarily, had only broken up a mere 3 years or so previously. We were young lads, stumbling over our instruments in the confines of our various parents’ garages, and it was a lot of fun. We didn’t play by the rules, because we didn’t have the slightest idea what they were. As I think I’ve mentioned before, it is a source of immense pride to me that our little village and surrounding environs on the outskirts of Derby has produced so many musicians and songwriters. Adrian Foster and I went on to perform in 80’s band Tubeless Hearts, and we still play together in ‘Yellow River’ hitmakers Christie to this day. Steve, and another couple of friends from those days, Tim Gadsby and Paul Bunting, went down the Folk route, culminating in a successful band with a number of album releases under their belt – Firkin the Fox. Enlisting the services of Fairport Convention/Jethro Tull stalwart Dave Pegg to their cause certainly did them no harm at all, and boosted their credentials. Steve and I may generally follow different musical paths, but scratch the surface and the similarities are surprising. there is a mutually deep respect for the written word, the importance of a lyric, the unwavering conviction that the ‘story is king’. It’s something I like a lot in Steve’s lyrics. They evoke emotion, create imagery, as all good songwriters strive to do.  It was a deep pleasure to be asked to perform on this collection of songs, closing a musical circle that’s been left open for some forty-odd years.

Tom & Steve in the control room

Tom & Steve in the control room

As the plane came into land at the fantastically remote Knock airport, I surrendered to the moment, and embraced this land of myths and legends, of tall tales and romantic visions, of relentless green and rushing rivers. From the moment ‘Matt the Taxi’ greeted me, I was among friends, some old, some new.

King Canute required....

King Canute required….

Mountain View studios awaited…but not before a meal in Ryan’s Hotel on the Friday night, when we ate, drank and were indeed merry!

Me & Tim

Me & Tim

So good to see dear Tim Gadsby again, who had generously lent me his basses for the session. Robbed of his ability to play the bass as he did so well due to the effects of Ataxia, I was honoured to have him by my side casting a watchful eye over proceedings as I laid my parts down. More than anything, I needed him to be satisfied with what I’d done.

Laying down some bass with Pat Coyne at the desk.

Laying down some bass with Pat Coyne at the desk.

I connected wonderfully with Tom Leary, a superb guitarist and fiddle player, who tours with the likes of Lindisfarne and Clem Clempson. We swapped stories, songs and generally had a great time.  I was stunned by the talents of Pat Coyne, who, in between making sure everything was recorded correctly, would  randomly pick up a banjo or guitar and play like he was hard-wired to heaven. Similar moments that had me scraping my jaw off the floor were the arrivals of Stephen Doherty….a likeable lad who wandered in and played the flute with such feeling and grace that I began to believe in the supernatural.

Whistle while you work...

Whistle while you work…

This train of thought was further strengthened when Jimmy Higgins arrived and raced through his percussive bag of tricks, layering a Celtic groove rich with the sounds of brushes, snare, bodhran and shakers that alternately caressed and drove the songs in equal measure. To say he was ‘on the money’ would be an understatement.

Jimmy on the Bodhran

Jimmy on the Bodhran

The atmosphere in the sessions was relaxed, though workmanlike, as there was a lot of stuff to get through, not least of which a new song that Steve dropped on us upon arrival! Chris Lydon, a.k.a. ‘The Bishop’ provided a steady hand along with Pat marshalling the sessions to maximum effect and getting the very best out of everyone for the good of each composition.

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On the Sunday morning, I stole a moment after breakfast to explore the village of Cong, where Mountain view studios is situated. Despite a grey veil of drizzle and the intent of the lakes and rivers to take over the roads, I found it a charming place, boasting a beautiful old Chapel, and a myriad of brightly coloured cottages that seemed to be only outnumbered by the local hostelries! There was a statue near the church, of a smiling man holding a laughing woman in his arms.

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The face seemed familiar, as did the name of one of the pubs I had just passed – ‘The Quiet Man’. The penny dropped. The statue was none other than John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, who had starred in the film of that name, which was filmed in this very village. Matt the Taxi told me, as he drove me back to the airport after three wonderful days, that he’d had a call some years ago, enquiring if it would be possible to book a room at his Bed & Breakfast for a lady.  He’d asked the name as he took the booking and, upon hearing it, refrained from making any humorous comment, which turned out to be a wise decision, because the lady in question turned out to be Maureen O’ Hara herself, revisiting the site of what she refers to as “….my personal favourite of all the pictures I have made. It is the one I am most proud of…”

Matt himself was most impressed that she would want to stay in a B&B , and not one of the fancy hotels nearby, and indeed he describes her as a lovely down-to-earth lady. As I write she is still with us, aged 93, and I wish her good health. I understand why she would want to come back here. I do.

ryans hotelL-R: Chris “The Bishop” Lydon, Tim Gadsby, Tom Leary, Me

Kev Moore

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March 1, 2014 Posted by | Music, Recording, Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Tale of two Phils…

Since returning from Ireland a couple of weeks back, my French artist partner Miki and I have been putting our heads together and created the beginnings of what we hope will become a series of joint artworks. By that, I mean, I create my own comic-style characters, usually, but not exclusively, musicians, and then hand them over to Miki in a fairly simple state for her to continue with in her style. It’s already thrown up some interesting stuff, such as Muddy Waters, and there’s more to come!

Phil Lynott S(1)

-But today I wanted to share two different takes on one of my idols, the late great Phil Lynott. The one you see above is my basic drawing given Miki’s treatment, she added the Howth peninsula where he used to live, and is buried. The second is what I came up with as I continued to work on that basic idea on my own, adding a Black Rose and Irish green clover as a backdrop. Two vastly different takes on the same subject, but great fun to do!

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You can buy one or both of these by clicking on the respective widgets below!

Art Prints
Sell Art Online

Kev Moore

May 17, 2013 Posted by | Artwork, Music, Rock, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dublin 3 – Scorpions over the River Liffey – Michael Schenker live

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During our visit to Dublin, I was hoping to catch a gig or two, and as luck would have it, we dropped on a beauty: Michael Schenker on something of a comeback trail, 20-odd gigs in to a long tour, playing at the Vicar Street venue, confusingly located on Thomas Street (go figure!)  I’d long been a fan of the troubled German’s melodic style and distinctive tone that he could wring effortlessly out of his Flying V. ‘Force It’ by UFO was, and is, one of my favourite 70’s rock albums. These days he plays a selection (4 in all) of Dean ‘V’ guitars. But the guy’s still got it. Tonight was interesting for one very special reason. Several weeks ago, never having seen or heard Michael Schenker, my  partner, the French artist Miki, had chosen him as a subject for one of her successful series of musician paintings. We had no idea he would be appearing in Dublin when we booked the trip, and as he walked out on stage and stood in front of her, she remarked how touching it was to actually see him in real life, never dreaming it would happen as she’d painted him. You can see her painting below, with a link to her site if you click on the image.

Michael Schenker by Miki

Michael Schenker by Miki

A bonus for those of us in attendance tonight is the inclusion of two ex-Scorpions: Herman (The German) Rarebell on drums and the perennially smiling Francis Bucholz, playing a rather tasty top-of-the-range Warwick bass with a plectrum, and producing perhaps one of the bass live bass sounds I’ve heard in a long time. The line up was completed by Wayne Findlay, a great addition to any band with 2nd guitar/keys/vocal skills, and upfront Doogie White, delivering the Lead vocal with an almost pantomime flair. He shone particularly on the Phil Mogg tracks. What was striking was how the band seemed to be really enjoying this gig, nods and smiles all round throughout the set, which proved infectious to the watching Dublin audience.

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A triple whammy of “Lovedrive”, “Another piece of meat” and “Assault attack” pretty much had everybody hooked from the off, as we were treated through a journey through classic Scorpion tracks such as “Holiday”, “Rock you like a Hurricane”, to UFO’s “Lights Out” “Doctor Doctor” and “Shoot shoot”, truly justifying the “bit of a mouthful” billing as: The Temple of Rock Lovedrive Reunion tour.

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It was great to see Schenker on top of his game again, and looking like he was enjoying himself. I think there is a lot more to come from the Mad Axeman, including a new album from this line up in the Summer.

Kev Moore

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Rock, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dublin 1- “..and you may ask yourself, how did I get here..?”

"My other house is a bungalow..."

“My other house is a bungalow…”

 Dublín, we thought…yes, why not? And lo, it came to pass that we booked our trip to the Emerald isle. Had we known what awaited us, perhaps we would have booked something a little less problematic. Like Afghanistan.
It started as we rolled up at the car park that we had diligently prebooked. It was locked. A sign informed us that they were at the airport and would be ‘a few minutes’. A few minutes came and went and we decided to phone them. He’d been there all along. Apparently, the booking hadn’t been taken. Even though, on my two previous visits there, he’d urged me to ‘book direct’  because it was ‘better’. Mmm.
Anyway ,no harm done, and we arrived in good time. However, my ire was further raised when, finding a space on a table in order to fill my tray at security, some Bolshie Irish git started…
“Dere’s a queue here y’know”. I looked him squarely in the eye (at least I think I did, he was a bit pissed) and said:
“Don’t worry mate, I’m not stealing your place, I’m just unloading my stuff, it won’t go without you! ” ooh, he didn’t like that. He had a rebuttal:
“Some people have no manners!” I just burst out laughing. He didn’t like that either.
“Just get over yourself mate” I replied…
The fun in security didn’t stop there, as continuing the habit of a lifetime, miki was stopped and asked to empty her bag, revealing the usual culprit , a metal tin containing some art supplies.
“What is this?” Asked the security woman
.”Coloured pencils” said Miki
“What is biological pencils?” She responded. We were going to be a while, I could feel it. Luckily, one of her compatriots had been gifted with half a brain so the peseta finally dropped, but not before she insisted that she’d thought they were tattoo needles. I didn’t realise a prerequisite of joining airport security was that you had to be whacked off your tits on hallucinogenics…..
They seemed to be a little over zealous with the sizing of the hand luggage. You know the company. It rhymes with Brian air…anyway, the woman came along checking all the bags with a cardboard box, then, when we got through passport control, everyone…and I mean everyone, had to put their case in the dreaded metal frame. This is the frame that old ladies get their cases stuck in and the airport staff watch impassively as they risk heart attacks trying to remove them. But it really took the biscuit when my partner was asked to put it in by one member of staff, and then again by another two minutes later. We refused. What did they think it was? Expanding chuffing luggage? Undeterred, we soldiered on. Convinced our troubles were behind us, which in one sense they were, as the guy who’d heckled me at security had failed to get the jump on me when the gate was called, but….there was so much more to come. The majority of the flight was uneventful, save for the fact that the inflight magazine uncharacteristically offered three different meals at nearly 50percent off. Too good to be true? Well, yes as it turned out, as they didn’t have any of these fab meals available. Go figure. Well, we started our descent, approaching Dublin. It looked a bit dodgy outside, and Miki was getting worried. ” don’t stress” I told her,” it happens” , and truth be told, I’d had plenty of bumpy descents, but then I noticed the engines revving again and the unmistakable feeling of ascending. All this time we were fed zero info. Eventually, the captain said.:
“Er…we can’t land at dublin due to bad weather, we’ll probably have to divert….somewhere. “. This deliberately vague stance went on for some time and I began to wonder idly about the fuel capacity of a 737 and indeed how many airports there were to the west of Ireland before we hit the new world.
Finally, we started to see lights. A lot of lights. A big city. Doesn’t look like Galway bay, I thought to myself. The captain enlightened, and stunned us.
“We’re about to land in Liverpool . We’ll give you more info…..later.”
So, a little bit diverted then. A different frickin’ country. Now it was going to get really fun.
It was unbelievably hair-raising as we came into land, he was fighting it all the way. My guess is we had to come in on approach unbelievably fast, so he could maintain control against the savage winds. all I know is, he stomped on those brakes so damn hard I felt like I was meeting myself coming back. It is the only time I’ve ever applauded a pilot and meant it.
Eventually ‘the cap’ emerged from his cockpit, not to take the applause, but to deliver, well, no information at all actually. It appeared he was as much in the dark as we were. Well, when I say ’emerged from his cockpit’, peeked around the door would be a more apt description. He addresses us on the mic , having a running argument with one guy, trying to explain why we were denied landing at Dublin. Apparently, the whole of Ireland closed down as we made our descent, as did all UK airports North of Liverpool .
There were no free drinks, no refreshments of any kind for at least an hour. One stewardess gives away her own water after arguing with ‘number one’ (HEAD STEWARDESS WHO MUST BE OBEYED!) about the morality of witholding supplies.

Firemen at Liverpool airport discuss whether to allow passengers to dehydrate...

Firemen at Liverpool airport discuss whether to allow passengers to dehydrate…

Suddenly, several fire trucks are brought alongside…”don’t be alarmed” says the cap,” it’s to protect the refuelling dude from the winds.” ..and there’s me thinking they’ve come to pump some free drinking water on board.
The Captain says, in answer to a torrent of passenger questions:
“I can’t say whether its a yes or no to free refreshments or hotel rooms, but my instinct is definitely not! ”
Amazingly, they start selling drinks and snacks, they are now making money out of our misery. After about two hours, some passengers opt for the last chance to leave as the captain offers to escort them to the terminal building. Even as I write this, the plane is rocking crazily on the Tarmac, we’re not going anywhere yet. It transpires that there is only one dispatcher here at Liverpool at this time of night. It’s now 2.18 am. There are a number of other planes that have been diverted here, and one guy to deal with them all, which he has to do, in person, in turn. The people that have disembarked need bags from the hold apparently. All are removed in the gusting winds, sifted through, and returned to the hold. Not that there’s any great rush, we’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. One interesting aspect was that the mouthy git who accosted me at security was one of those who chose to disembark. He also felt it necessary to go and confer with the Captain several times. Self important arse. Liverpool has my sympathy.
It’s now 2.30 am, the captain has returned. What further fun has the night in store for us?
It appears we are not alone, as I think Michael Jackson once sang. There are fifteen planes here that shouldn’t be, not counting us, which makes me believe that the two flights that left Murcia before us, bound for Glasgow and Newcastle respectively are here as well. We are in a miserable queue of misappropriated aircraft waiting to complete their journeys. We are in a weird kind of aviatory limbo, where our only sustenance comes from a team of stewardesses plagued by internecine strife and low supplies. Eight planes are ahead of us, and I draw some crumbs of comfort from the knowledge as we rocket down the windswept runway once again, that there are still seven behind us. This time, Dublin is kinder to us, and allows us to land. It’s gone 3am, and we head to the car rental counter where we discover their staff, predictably have given up the ghost and gone home. We bite the bullet and go to get a taxi, but we have to join a queue. Outside. In the cold. And the wind. Eventually it’s our turn, and we are confronted by the most hyper guy I’ve ever seen who must be out of his gourd on angel dust, pcp or something. He is dangerously manic, drives suicidally, and curiously, for a taxi driver who is Irish, and not from Mumbai, has absolutely no clue where the Travelodge Dublin south is. I kid you not. He dumps us where he thinks is right, after frightening Miki half to death by succeeding in driving more scarily than our flight could ever have been, and zoomed off with the words “you’re on your own.” I imagine he was found this morning wrapped around a Belisha beacon listening to Ebeneezer Goode on his iPod. At least, one can hope.
Naturally, the Travelodge where he dropped us was not the one in which we were booked. Thankfully the night bloke graciously gave us a complimentary room, once we had proved to his satsifaction that we should have been at the other one and had already paid. Not that it took the sting out of handing over twenty five euros to our kamikaze taxi driver for the privilege of being dumped in the wrong place. It was twenty three actually, but he sped off without considering the old fashioned principle of giving change.
 He certainly didn’t deserve a tip. The only one I would have given him would have been: “Don’t ever drive a car again”.So today, we pay another ten euros to go back to the airport to get the car we should have had last night. Except it’s not there. We have to get a shuttle bus to where it is. So we do, and then we go into the office to pay. It rejects my credit card. It rejects Miki’s credit card. Finally, using an obscure rarely used one in the bowels of her purse, we are finally able to pay for the damn thing and drive away. We’re in the correct Travelodge right now. It’s raining, then it’s not. But it’s always windy. Yep. It blows.

Maybe we should have gone by boat.....

Maybe we should have gone by boat…..

Kev Moore

April 26, 2013 Posted by | Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , | Leave a comment