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!
It’s always nice to combine work and play, and last week was no exception, as I flew to Leeds to rehearse and perform with Christie. We’d been invited to headline and close the J fest at The Carriageworks theatre complex in Leeds city centre, and it gave me a chance to catch up with guys who aren’t just band mates, but good mates: Jeff, Simon and Fos. Add into the mix our old mate from our 80’s band Tubeless Hearts, Trevor Midgley, who popped into the rehearsals on Wednesday and it was full-blown nostalgia! I also got a chance to see my son Corey, currently assisting at Chairworks Studios near Leeds, and my daughter Hollie and grandson Cohen, so I was well-pleased everything came together in such a timely fashion.
The Christie set rarely alters down the years, it’s a tried and tested formula that surrounds the hits with ‘complimentary’ pieces that are either of the same style, the same era, or both, and for the most part it works well enough around the world. This night though, Thursday June 6th, as well as being the birthday of my late Mum (never mind the anniversary of D-Day!) was an anniversary that impacted upon the gig. As we prepared to launch into the famous upbeat riff of Jeff’s multi-million selling worldwide number one, he announced to the crowd that it was exactly 43 years ago to the day that ‘Yellow River’ had topped the UK singles chart. Unbelievable. The crowd went mental, and as we brought the night to a close with a 100 mph version of Johnny B Goode, the crowd gave us a standing ovation, which was in no small part an acknowledgment of a local boy made good, returning home, 4 decades after taking a Leeds band to the top of the charts for the very first time. Although we’ve been with Jeff for a mere 24 years (!) – It was nice to be part of that last week.
Still on a bit of a nostalgia trip, I suggested to the lads as we left the venue, that we take a trip down memory lane and head for Redbeck’s transport cafe just outside Wakefield, where, back in the 80’s we would regularly meet up with other working bands and compare gigs and have a laugh. Those days are long gone, but Redbeck’s amazingly, is still there, and still serving the same all-night/all-day breakfasts that you could live on for a week! Good times.
I learned today, quite by accident, that one of my favourite songwriters of all time, Will Owsley – has died. Almost all of you will be unaware of this man. He has consistently written some of the greatest melodic pop since The Beatles, and yet remained largely undiscovered. The final, terrible irony is that, following his suicide, his existence is so ‘below the radar’ that I have only just discovered his death, some three months after it happened. Here’s a video of him performing one of his greatest songs “Oh No, the Radio” -in my opinion a perfect pop song.
Will Owsley, quite simply, in the 2 solo albums he left us, plus his work with The Semantics, was worthy of rubbing shoulders with Lennon, McCartney, Ray Davies and Neil Finn. He was that good.
I am deeply shocked and saddened by his death. My thoughts are with his family and friends. He took his life in Franklin, Tennessee. I was over in that state earlier this year, and I wish I’d had the courage to seek him out and say hi. He was truly an undiscovered genius, and his music will live on. Those who stumble across it by accident will find something that now, has become more rare and precious than ever. R.I.P. Will.