Monday, December 26, 2005

Snowboarding again!

Well, it's that time of year again. Thanks to Snow and Rock doind another nice service job on the ol' board, it's off to verbier 7th January for some boarding with:

1) No broken bones
2) The right size bindings!

I'm hoping this time around will see me totally burn upbthe piste-and what a piste, Inghams use verbier as their photoshoot place for their brochures. Not since Val D'isere (where I broke a rib, oops) will I have had the opportunity to come down such spectacular slopes. Huge wide open spaces, and the knowledge that finally I'll have the board secured to my feet perfectly. Those last few days in Canada with new SIZE L not XL bindings were a revelation: ankles not burning, front edge work a dream, turning a piece of cake, even though I was nursing a broken wrist!

I'm resolute: I'm going to have a spectacular time. I'm even going to take the ashbory bass and the new korg pandora so I can perhaps have a jam somewhere!

I'l keep blogging to this blog rather than starting a special one like I did last time, I think the URL for that one was - the diary of a broken man, arf arf ;)

Xmas stuff:
Best pressie this year?
I got a dalek and some really nice oakley snowboarding goggles from Nic. Top stuff. Also iPoddery gadgets a gogo. I do love Nic.

I got myself a half decent acoustic, a polycarbonate backed Crafter, stunning stuff!

Right, more food!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The christmas break! Interesting new year...

Well, a few things are a-changin' for the new year I guess...

First, the Panasonic gig went well - the guys from the PA company and the rest of the band pretty much got there before I did, despite coming down from Oxford to the newbury racecourse, and me coming across from windsor... good PA too, good sound - loud, and seemed to fit the bill.

It's wierd seeing people you see during the day really have some fun - lose their usual external appearance and go for it!

And I'm happy to say the amp survived and sounded great, both at that gig and at the gig we did at the Jericho tavern the other week. I've consulted a few people and there's a consensus emerging that the problem was most likely a dodgy solder joint: my repair should hopefully see the amp be more reliable in future. I'll wait and see before trying to find another one.

It's a christmas break now, with January having a weeks' worth of snowboarding during which I shall NOT be breaking anything.

Y'see, on my return (well, a couple of days later) we're off to do some recording with Andy Chatterley of Skylark in London. Should be fun!!!

Oh, and if I'm lucky (cross fingers) I might get made redundant from the day job, with commensurate redundancy package which will really help Nic and I to stop renting houses, finally. I really need to build a studioroom with all the trimmings, and you just can't do it in a place that isn't yours... a good basement would be ideal ;)

Gotta go.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mr Fixit

I've got this habit, see.

I tend to try to be ready for the worst when it happens. Nothing so grey suit as life insurance, etc - I'm far too busy trying to make sure the active years of my life are spent enjoying it rather than worrying about the output of the Great Financial Experiment that is Pensions and the financial markets (see, they've got you over a barrel: create something so hideously over-complex you HAVE to hire accountants and managers to "look after" you money.... paranoia? No, it's just the way things turn out with humans.....!)...

No, I tend to carry tools and spares. I heard this is something bassists do instictively - we've always got the soldering iron, the gaffa, the spare cable, etc.

Maybe there's something about being that sort of person that means you play bass - not instinctively a risk taker, OK at the back, enjoy your moment in the sun every so often but can go back to the obscurity of keeping everything running smoothly....?

Recently though, I've started fixing just about anything Janeiro related ;)

Van won't start? I'll have a go (not completed that one yet, the van needs the preheating circuit overhauling as well, no doubt about it)...

Need cables in 10 mins flat at a gig? I'll just solder some up....

3 Microphones busted? Hang on a tic.

Precious in-ear monitors need foam casing in a flightcase? No problem.

And last night, I found out that Jake's MOTU (a firewire recording interface module his Mac is plugged into) has been crashing a lot. After some brief perusal of the menu structure ("hang on, that menu there - see that - it's not meant to do that flashing with random "*&£^%$ characters thingy") I found the Master Reset menu and lo! It's reliable again!

Once again, embedded software which hasn't been tested enough. Sigh! I wish I could get into that if I have to stay behind a desk! At least the freebies would be cool ;)

To cut a long story short, I must remind the guys occasionally that I can't fix everything, or a) they'll get pissed off when I don't fix something (I have my limits, I'm just a hacker and cleaner in the end) and b) I'll start feeling like I have to volunteer all the time!

Sometimes it's a right pain in the arse being a dweeb. I always like to know how things work, it's like some form of compulsive disorder, and when they don't work? Well, that's worse, because then I want to know how it _should_ work, so I can fix it, and... well, you get the picture.

Anyone else reading this drivel get the same sorts of impulses?

Whee! Something else to fix! My brain!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Week? What week?

I'll try to remember what happened.... Tuesday's big meeting included the decision to change name AGAIN.... so we're soon going to not be Janeiro any more, which (in this very private forum!) I'm coming to terms with. I like the name, but it's not my shout alone wether we keep it or not. So that's that!

The van broke down again, so we couldn't get the stuff back to the studio for a full rehearsal: Terry wisely ducked back home as he'd been at the studio all day working on stuff with Jake (there is some great stuff in the pipeline). I stuck around as I wanted to test the newly repaired stack for longer than a few minutes, and besides I'd lugged that damn thing around! So we did an acoustic vocal workshop, which was actually quite cool and fun.

Wednesday was actually a day off. Just as well, I wasn't well!

Thursday was a gig night, I had to be careful what with the cold and all. Jericho tavern, no less, in Oxford: Amy, sound wunderkind and general top person was pretty blown away by us (literally - the venue is, I fear, more used to solo David Gray style acts!), and it was a good gig. Bit crowded with 8 people on that tiny stage!

Friday was the Panasonic Xmas Party, and also the day Panasonic decided they couldn't stop Reuters from releasing this story so they'd have to tell us that it's the second year there will be redundancies. Who knows, this time it might be me! Joy.

The party was good though. Late one, and it's wierd having guys you work with in an office see you in your "real" guise: Lots of good feedback though.

Gotta scoot, it's monday night and that's recording night! Parasite tonight.

Tomorrow night... Ben Folds for the second time this year! That'll be a hoot.

Last night was fun though. Although still shattered from the Friday night fun, we went to Dan the Drummer's place and had a Turkish Food Frenzy in honour of his 22nd. Nearly the whole band turned up and Jasmin and kids! Top stuff. I've never seen anyone dance like that to Underworld...

Cheerio peeps


Friday, December 02, 2005

Of Warwicks and Meltiness... and Franz

Well. A few things to tell you about...

The Warwick Saga
Well, I worked out what happened to the Pro Tube IX last night. After revealing the innards, I discovered that the earth cables from the poweramp stage back to the main enormous toroidal transformer (these are solid-core cables, mind: REALLY thick, and designed to take a LOT of juice) had, in fact, unsoldered themselves from the board.

No kidding. They'd melted their connections off. And were drifting around in the case! Thankfully no harm has come to any components, and the board is OK.

However, the construction of the amp in this critical area is frankly sub-standard: there should be binding posts with BIG surface area for the current to flow through: soldering to a pad on the board with not-enough-solder will not do!

I've managed to fix it myself (no chance I'm sending the poor bastard to be kicked around the floor by TNT again!) and it seems fine now, but I don't think I'll be holding onto it for that long. Although it is now an absolutely fine piece of equipment, sounds great, fantastic routing, bi-amp and effects capabilities, I can't rely on it to run close to flat out without unsoldering those connections again - I reckon the gigs we did recently where I had to use the stack to provide all the bass for the Bridge gigs were the ones that did the harm. Even if it was (god forbid) a manufacturing error (not enough solder put in) I still don't think I can trust it entirely, even after my repair, which is undoubtedly better than it was when I got hold of it from new.

So, at least I have a working stack for the next gig, which is cool. But I also have to research gig-ready amp heads with the capabilities I need. Which is frankly a pain in the arse. I am not a natural shopper :)

What was the other stuff again... oh yeah, Franz Ferdinand. That last posting was put up before they came on (actually, it was uploaded before the second support act came on - and to think, we thought we were late, they opened the doors at 6:30pm (who does that, fer heaven's sake?) but no band at all went on until 7:30!

Anyhow, when we got there I ended up being interviewed by a swiss TV company who were there: they wanted some pithy and enlightened comments about why I thought Franz were a great act. While blinded by their cameras and slightly in awe of the situation, I blarted out some stuff about their being "new-old" and having punkish energy. Nic interjected (thank god) by pointing out they'd got art college background, which was a nice touch. Thanks hun!

Well, this got me thinking about the kind of band Franz F is: we saw them at a small student venue in Leicester, and to be honest they totally blew me away. I actually became a Franz fan that day, their raw, focussed energy suited their music perfectly and they got a huge feedback from the packed small venue.

That got me thinking - Alexandra Palace is titanic in comparison, and the ticket prices were much higher. Different audience, bigger venue: would their music stand the change? I expressed this to Nic before they came on and said that I couldn't ever see them playing Wembley Arena: wrong type of music, too angular, too "indie", too.... something I'm reaching for here and can't find.... too "arty"?

As it turns out, I was right. Their music didn't fit very well that night. Plus, to be honest, a lot of the energy seemed to have vanished! Their new album is a great album: the songs are all strong, in fact it feels like there's less filler than the first album. But onstage on wednesday night, Alex the vocalist looked and sounded exhausted, and they all seemed so much more static: that could be because they've been hard at it for 2 years, or maybe because it's harder to look like you're giving it everything on a larger stage (ever seen Mick Jagger trying to cover a football pitch sized stage? It's like watching a couple of twigs trying to start their own fire) - either way, they just didn't set me on fire like at the leics gig.

But that's just my opinion. Nic agreed with me though, so we actually left before their encore (gasp!) - along with, I might add, an awful lot of other people!

Honest people, in places they almost sounded so tired that they might not have rehearsed enough. That can't be right!

I've posted a review on WhatsOnStage about it.

Oh well. It was worth it to try out the TomTom5 navigator, which chose a great route from Nic's work at Amersham. A404/M25/M1? Cool!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gigs that are not janeiro

never fear, silent watching millions. I'm not moonlighting. I'm at Ally Pally in london (holy cow, free parking!) to see, yes see, Franz Ferdinand. Late getting here, but thankfully only missed the first act. Phew. Thank you tomtom, I'd never have thought of using the M1.

In other news, the warwick pro tube ix head i use has gone phut. regular readers will know TNT totally shafted it shipping it back from a warranty job, but I got it working OK then. It's finally unresponsive to my efforts. Arse.

Another warranty jobm NO TNT this time.

Sigh. still, the ever-ready ccl combo stood in. cool.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tinker Tinker!

Good rehearsal last night, bit long - I was knackered by the end - but long for a good reason, we had a rethink of a couple of areas of some tunes. Cream of the Crop sounds MUCH stronger now, and the intro is going to have some people really smiling :)

Tonight's gig will be a test of how well I can remember things we worked out and learned while I was tired: I should really always take the minidisc recorder and a couple of mics along. I'll be doing that in future, it's a great tip to record all of your rehearsal sessions if you can, then archive off the good stuff. With that MD recorder there's a really long play function which puts about 6 hours on one disc. The quality is low, but it doesn't matter: it's still about as good as a reasonable mono MP3, which means the structures and melodies are preserved.

Currently on the Pod: Kylie(!) - "Spinning Around" - great bass playing on this track from a bass player I can't find the name of: really tight playing, with great note length choices and a neat line in bubbling octave/5th reaches at the end of a bar. I'll have to try to steal that one in the right place!



Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Totally GREAT night at Bridge!

Wow, that was SOME gig.

As ever, soundcheck was basically finally achieved with minutes to spare (this brinksmanship stuff is scary!) - Dan and I can now play about 8 bars and the guys on the desk are happy, they're really settling into a fine groove getting our sound week to week, top stuff.

And the sound?

It was REALLY good. Our best yet, Neil says! Sorry - Our MANAGER Neil. Another step to professionalism! Woohoo!

We even got a [ really positive comment from a couple of loony dancers ] on the Janeiro messageboard. Cool! I've been printing and distibuting flyers with the Janeiro website URL on all over the place. Hopefully it'll pull in more traffic. I'd like to pull the mailing list onto the site itself soon, so we can have info to hand on our legions of fans :)

I wonder how long it will be before I have to hand the website over to professionals? That event will be joyful, tinged with perhaps a small amount of regret. It is fun having some control of it!

Anyway, great gig. Lots of good comments on the Bass sound - fat, dense, not overwhelming everything else, all the good stuff I like to hear - and the monitor mix onstage was so good that I was sort of in a "pocket" - all I could hear was Dan's drums, SOME of Terry's keyboards from the drum fill and Terry's monitor. The guitars and vocals were on the other side of the stage - wierd! I was wearing emergency earplugs though, they're a bit more vicious when it comes to rolling off the top end.

Things are looking interesting on the gig front too: we've got a gig at the Jerico Tavern in Oxford: the place where Radiohead, Supergrass and Ride were discovered and signed(!), although it has to be said that was all 10 years ago. Can you believe the place was theme-pubbed???? Turned into one of those soulless "It's a scream" crapholes! Someone's taken pity on it and resurrected a fine music venue. Excellent.

Right, I'm off.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

An announcement... shortly!

It's going to be a good one, fear not. After Monday Janeiro should be fully managed by the Great Neil Ferris, a man of energy, enthusiasm and distrust for PCs (a Mac man, and the better for it no doubt!). Neil's got plenty of history in the industry, and he's been scooting around talking to friends (he's got some GREAT friends!) about us and generally (I believe the phrase is) "biggin' us up".

Excuse my dip into hoodiespeak, I am over 30 but I'll try to keep up with anything for the sake of the band. Heh!

Should be a great gig next tuesday: we've got the same sound guys, and it's good to be building up a rapport with some new guys (although we really need to get set up faster, soundchecking should be a little less time-constrained!), the sound last tuesday was great. Nic's going to come see us and take some video, which I will hopefully be able to get onto the website if I can locate the cable to stream it off the camera lol

..:: Totally different tack... ::..
My extended family covers most of the world, and I've often thought that one of the reasons we tend to get on well is we don't live in each others pockets: we've got a yahoo group which we all post to occasionally when there's news to post about, like marraiges, etc (hatches, matches and despatches, so to speak) - it's a cool family to be in.

Speaking of cool, the entire house is like one big wooden-beamed icicle. I'm freezing!!! You have to have some form of heating on all the time in whatever room you're in! I guess I need to bite the bullet and try to insulate and fill the gaps in the windows. This place seriously does leak heat like a sieve. God knows how much of the cash is going out of the windows and roof!!! I should try to take a look at the roof avec frost and see where it's melting to get an idea of how much lagging I need to do... including the end of the house with the enormous Wasp nest in it (argh) which I'll have to go cave-diving past the enormous chimnet to get to (double argh) after some daft builder put the water tanks in the gap (D'oh).

I've got to go practise now. The Korg Pandora Bass thingy I've purchased is top stuff: the aux now has my iPod plugged into it and I've been getting down to some serious playalong like I used to a few years back: all I need is a coupld of cables, the pandora and the iPod and I'm in bass heaven, plus I can do it anywhere. Even in a tour bus (crossed fingers for later)...

Speaking of tours, Students are fickle beasts, ain't they? The Janeiro tour got chopped down a fair amount when a whole load of venues didn't confirm: I suppose I should have checked before I stuck them on the website, but I was in something of a frenzy at the time. Oops!

Oh, and don't use flickr to post to Blooger anymore, it's simply not working. Extra linebreaks, the picture causes the sidebar to plummet underneath the text on the page.... anyone'd thing blogger were knobbling it so people use their mobile blog facilities instead... shurely not? Slightly paranoid, but it's got to be said I'd have expected the flickr photopost to blogger to be working right by now. It's just not working, and hasn't for months..... what is going on?

Enough of this drivel, I have to exercise my fingers in other ways.

Stop sniggering.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bridge gig comes good!

We did it! we won them over! we reeled em in with slower tracks that groove, so less shock to their systems when we started, then cranked it up, and the dancefloor stayed full!

Everybody is totally relieved. This is a tough crowd in here, we're up against a disco upstairs which plays abba regularly and the dj down here plays straight RnB through garage to ragamuffin!

And we've got a gig in a good london club, oxford ball of some nature. Must've been the drunk polo shirt lads who danced like demons, bless em!

Sigh! Happy! And Jamie wishes everybody a happy evening and wednesday. And hello to his admirer on the janeiro messageboards:)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Andy W plus StreakyRed


Adjust your perception-that's Andy with a wig!


The guys think it's wierd, it's like a badly-gelled mushroom of shiny hair with red highlights. Actually, under a hat it's not that bad, first Nic, then George couldn't stop laughing heh heh

I'll be trying it out 2night...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rhythm Section Session... cool

FMO solo entry,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.
Great evening: Dan and I had a cool time working through some stuff and locking it down. This pic is the whiteboard in the studio, with my scribbles of the drum rhythm entry into Funks Me Off's solo sections...

We locked some stuff down, like the stuff we do in the verse sections of "Are you gonna keep me waiting"...

Hours went by, with only 2 people in the studio... and I barely noticed! Lots of concentration.

Waiting Scribbles,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Ryhthm Method....

Stop sniggering, this is serious.

Well, not really.

Tonight I intend to inject some serious fun into Bass with a session of Dan and I going apesh*t in a funky style: a workout where I hope to stretch my chops and work on some technique in a way that playing songs doesn't.

I think it's a good idea: you can actually regress if you don't push all the time, and gigging regularly can have the opposite of the desired effect, i.e. becoming a better all-round musician! My hands are the strongest they've ever been, but I need some mind-biggening :)

Dan is always up for these sessions as well: I think I've yet to meet a drummer who is so energetic and fired-up about the bass/drum dynamic. He thinks we'll end up in the pages of magazines about the close-knit way we play.

I think he might be right :)

We've got a good mind-link happening, and sessions like tonight's enhance that.

Here's to it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Exhausted but happy :)

Well, that was one hell of a gig. The new PA guys had some great gear, but I suspect it was pretty much the first time they'd used it, and their flyers gave the impression they don't usually mix live bands... so Bridge in Oxford was, of course, going to be a great way of them practising ;)

Young crowd tonight too, I think we need some contemporary covers to pull them onto the floor before we play them originals: they get chased away by our stuff. The sound we keep getting in the bridge doesn't help either!

Plus, I was knackered. I need more sleep again...

Bleah. Hot choc and bed. Night all!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

total blast!

that was a corker! a tues night residency gig that went really well! even my solo has high and low points, but tonight I actually enjoyed it, really dug in!

All round good stuff; only jakes rapid segue into cream of the crop left me playing a 4 string bass on a 6 string track! yipe!

pulled it off though.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Planning... a solo? Me?

Well, last night's practise was a revelation. In spite of my exhausted brain, I managed to pound a structure (gasp) for the "Funks Me Off" solo into my head. Dan and I are going to trade 2-bar solos, which is cool.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ho Hum...

Well. Tuesday night was an experience! The place was heaving, but I'm not sure that the crowd of well turned out freshers (no, seriously... a skirt that short is designed for only one cheek) were ready for the janeiro experience!

Plus, our new arrangements def need a lot more work, and I've worked out that a weekday gig sees me doing an 18 hour day. 7am to 2am the next day, then I have to try to get back into work the next morning... so I was pretty zombied by the last tracks, which include the solo-spattered "funks me off". I'm not scared to say I was in another world... and not in a good way!

There's the rub; this is the hard part, where my stamina gets tested. It's not helping having sleep apnea problems-my doc is dragging his heels arranging an ENT app-but I've got to work out how to balance this lot AND practise MORE.

It's got to be done: nothing ever came from caving in and giving up, no matter how hard it's getting. This is about ressurection, not the death of dreams at the hands of reality.

Anyone know where I can score some ProPlus?

L8Rs -yawn-


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Just recovered... I think :)

Well... Janeiro gigs demand more than a couple of lines :)

That quick post (done from the passenger's seat of the car as we sped around the roads of Surrey and Berkshire) from the P910 might have been a little quick ;)

It was a great gig. The guys at the venue were fantiastic: we actually got a rider we didn't ask for(!) when they delivered a case of bud, a case of J20 and a case of spring water, all chilled, to the dressing room (yes, a dressing room, and right next to the stage with a door onto it as well!). We were nicely lubricated before we went on... I abstained until after the gig as ever, when I laid into a bud or three.

Soundcheck went really well: Larry, the top fella who books and mixed the acts, did a fine job of mixing us on the night - and agrees that we need a tame sound engineer of our very own who does our mixing and knows the songs, so he can whack up this channel and that during solos, etc. We must have run through 5 or 6 tracks soundchecking! He revealed later that his sevret is levels, not EQ'ing, which must be the mark of an experienced engineer: that ranks as one of the best sounds I think we've ever had! I actually had an onstage monitor, which was a revelation... and slightly offputting :) Usually I can hear myself enough through my earplugs (which I'm totally used to wearing after so many years of trying to protect my hearing) that I stay roughly on pitch. Anyhow, I digress (as ever) - Larry revealed later it's all in the levels - ironically though, the Warwick Head pumped out too much level for his desk: he needed a DI to bring it down some: too hot! I'll remember that and buy a DI box I reckon.

So we killed a little time visiting Cafe Piccolo in Farnham, which I can recommend - but watch out for too many capers on the pizza and maybe a little bit too much vinegar in the salad dressing :) I posted a message to the janeiro yahoo group about that earler....

So we got back to the venue, and people are arriving. There's the luvly rider of juices and booze and water we can stay hydrated with, I performed my usual pre-gig ritual (very cleansing, say no more) and wasn't nervous after that, we do a big "Go Janeiro" with Neil F in the dressing room and finalise a setlist for a shortish 30 minute set with encore, and wait to be told what the final song before we go on is (DJs were on that night). Good music in there too on thursday nights: a real nice mix of old style stuff with occasional new bits: I grooved down to Old Jamiroquai from the first album while propping up the bar after we came off stage!

And we got some good feedback from the gig too. Lots of people saying they liked our blend of styles: someone noticed the latin influences, like the rock angle, etc - explicitly mentioning that they hadn't seen anything like us around, which is great.

Larry said we'd got the best reaction of a first-time-there band he'd ever seen, which is a real accolade!

I've got to go come up with some more content for the Janeiro website now... so that'll have to do.

Biggest memory of the night: the lesbian and the gay guy kissing in the front row while we played, which apparently is a good indicator of how hot the audience thought our music was :) Take a trip over the the janeiro site and look at the pics of the night if you fancy...!


Friday, October 21, 2005

farnham a corker!

just came offstage; a shortish set but much appreciated, we've got loads of top people saying how they loved our stuff, and a couple of guys saying my bass solo rocked. nice!

Our music is so hot we got a gay guy and a lesbian kissing at the front of the stage! now that's hot.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hold on to the energy....

Got in late this morning, slept in, which is probably a good idea given we're on at midnight in Farnham tonight... decided to pack the car at home when I get back there en route: I can shower, restring the 6 string, etc etc, then set off.

Just spoke to Dan on the phone - fun and games getting themselves down here from Oxford, they're hiring a van as Rich's van is still needing all the work done to get through MOT... which I'm fronting the cash for and getting back from the mythical management loan.... ah, a band in hoc! How moderne! How in tune with today's society! I wonder if there's any debt consolidation companies for musicians?

Tonight's going to be insane, I can just feel it: there's a rising energy I can't stop (but I've got save some of it - once we soundcheck at 7 we wait 5 hours before going on!)... plus, rediscovered PlanetFunk on my iPod and totally into it - "Inside All the People" is a great track, part Duran Duran (esp the vox) and part dance: all groove.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Weekend Started There...

Late friday, set off home with a great deal of fatigue in my heart (just physical, mind - Janeiro keeps my spirits up) and tried to wrestle with wether or not to pop into london again to get the new Warwick fretless fixed.

Yes, you heard right.... fixed.

I dunno, maybe it's a sign of the times. Warwick must be one of the best mass-manufacturers of quality bass guitars, I've seen an article on their factory and it's impressive, keeping the human touch in the finishing and set-up after a lot of good high-tech machinery does the grunt work horribly accurately (which is why they feel so well put together). With that in mind, I reckon couriers have struck once again. Remember my amp-head and how it was totally trashed by TNT.... I reckon this poor warwick got a right doink in transit to the Bass Cellar in london.

Basically, dodgy volume control. The back pickup (much beloved of mine, I love a nice jazz bass type honk, especially through a humbucker) kept winking in and out, and had a fizz setting in between :)

Fortunately I worked out how to demo the problem (i.e. reproduce it for the shop) and the Bass Cellar were more than happy to fix it there and then - I went home with a working bass. Good show. But it was a pain in the arse to have to go into london again just to get a birthday present fixed (there were other things that happened that made it worthwhile - excellent thai lunch thanks to the sublime Nic! - and lots of shopping in other places which made things interesting in a sunny autumnal london stuffed with tourists. Trafalgar square's a lot nicer than it used to be...

The possibility of this type of saturday was not on my mind as I drove home... I just thought I'd have a nightmare trying to get the bass fixed and not have it for days and days!

The weekend was dominated by me working on some transcriptions I found in a Jaco book of some pieces I've always wanted to play, but as ever only one of the transcriptions seems to be up to scratch. The work someone did on "Blackbird" seems immaculate, and "Chromatic Fantasy" looks good and sounds great (only abour 25 bars in so far), but the transcription of "Donna Lee" is completely out in places, which is a pity. I know the main part of that really well but have only ear-trained the first few bars of where Jaco bugs out and really starts soloing freely, but the transcription of the part I know and can play up to speed (so I know it sounds right) is really badly out in places, so I've got little confidence in the solo parts.

Pity someone couldn't have run it by Jaco.

Never miind, another rehearsal tonight, and I've got the full compliment of basses with me. Roll on winter proper so I don't have to keep bringing 3 full-weight (these are heavy babies) basses up several flights of stairs for the day so they don't fry in the car...

Our first Uni tour gig is on thursday 20th: down in Farham. Nice and close to me, it means I can go home en route, I think ( I'll have to check that! ).

Practise tonight should be great: I've got all my gear, and T the KBP is comin' up. And I've got new music on the pod! Woohoo! Oh yeah, Nic got a colour pod in london for far less than Amazon is charging: they're clearing the shelves for the arrival of the video pods. £179 for a 20Gb colour full-sized pod, not too shabby - £30 less than last week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oops! Nearly denied people the right to free speech there...

I didn't realise Blogger had added a wobbly text human verify thingy to comments, but it's optional and wasn't turned on. I was deleteing about 5 spam comments a day from my blog, and I had enough and nearly left the blog with all comments turned off!

But now I've re-enabled all previous comments and enabled the verify box thing, so there's a step to go through before the comment can be posted where you read some slightly garbled picture of some letters and type them in. Bot progs can't do that. Yet.

Yeah right, seen what the insurance sales sites do? Guys like eat passcode verification systems like that for breakfast.

Honestly though, crappy spam in blog comments? What's the point?


Sunday, October 09, 2005

... And the deed is done!

Yes, I got a new bass ;) I've added a brand new Warwick Streamer 5 string fretless Jazzman to my collection, another unique instrument in the pack!

Nic and I went into london early(ish) and made it to the Bass Gallery in London for about 12:30pm. I then spent about an hour trying (to my astonishment!) a wide range of available 5 string fretless - from a convertible upright/wearable to a lakland deluxe 5 with a nice cherry burst finish. Some really nice basses, including a bizarre Italian one with a buzzard-style body (not quite that mental) and reverse stringing which neede the action taking up about 3 miles :) None of them set my world alight, so after a little lunch in a camden pub we set off for Tin Pan Alley and WOM (World Of Music). The bass place there has more stock than space, and to my continuing surprise they had a 5 string warwick fretless streamer. After a brief time trying to get a little attention amongst the throng (you do NOT just pick up basses in there, they're all pretty expensive!) I tried it out, and fell for it almost immediately. Same feeling I had playing the 2002Ltd FNA jazzman last year.

I will be taking said piece of beauty in wood form to the rehearsal tomorrow, and it'll be stunning. Already playing Jamiroquai's latest album on it with not too many problems - and there's no markers on the edge of the board for the frets, or lines on the front! It's tightrope walking time, people...

I'm a happy bunny. Also got some new strings, Warwick coated jobs. Say they last 3 times longer, we'll see how things go... the FNA Ltd Ed 2002 is string with them.

All in all, a great saturday.

In other news: Janeiro have more gig dates! We're doing a uni tour to round out the year, and kick off bigger things (hopefully!) - sprint over to to find out more.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The 5 Gear Twitch

I know, I know. Crap pun. but here is I, about to nod off for the night, tapping into the p910, and tomorrow it's my birthday!


I think it's time for another bass ;)

Hopefully tomorrow I can find a new (note, demo models not accepted!) 5 string fretless of some pedigree. Another delightful combination of strings and things that I don't have yet. More beautiful wood to play!


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Long evenings... no practise?!?

here's me, snatching a second while I rinse my teeth and blog using my phone, after an evening of intense picture gallery manipulation for the Janeiro website ( Biggest gallery of pics yet! I'm off to pick up the 6 string in a minute and pluck a little lithe fitness into my fingers.

Just been doing a little google name searching for concorde artists international, who are arranging our university tour (first date 20th oct, see janeiro website for details!). They arrange live shows for lemar, girls aloud, steps(as was), lulu(!), the prodigy, blue... and now us! Neil really does have some cool contacts, and he's been in touch plenty. Nice.

Cheerio gentle reader. Have you spotted the new background for the other bits of my website yet? I've left the blog the same for now.

anybody else getting as pissed as I am about the bots using blogs comment fields for spam? pain in the arse, I'm erasing 3 or 4 a week!

oh well.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tony the Tiger would say...

Well, you can guess. Good practise tonight, really got some energy back into me after an exhausting couple of days: Nic and I had a little too much wine last friday night (we did watch 40 First Dates though, which was eye-wateringly funny after said wine - it is funny though, I'd recommend it), so Saturday was a little upside down stomach wise, which was inconvenient to say the least... as we drove up to Nic's folks place to pick up the Janeiro artwork from the Double Decker Bus, where it has been for the last 5 or so weeks since the Party in the Park gig. The vinyl still looks pretty good, but the mounting board wasn't waterproof so it's going to have to be remounted. No biggie.

So Saturday was frantic driving: Sunday was a practise day but to be honest I was still feeling washed out from friday's excesses. Oops! Nic and I got into the day slowly with one of our amazing brunch fry-ups. Protein overload!

Trouble is, I'm always really lethargic at practises which don't have all of us there: Janeiro's sound suffers a lot when someone's missing, and in the case of keyboards, we suddenly become a 2 guitar one bass several vocals band: all those classic rhodes/hammond/etc sounds are missing and the largesse of the sound vanishes, so I tend to lose a lot of energy as a result. Driving back on Sunday I was feeling a little deflated :)

Today at work was pretty crappy too, took ages to wake up fully but still dragged myself out of bed OK and then got penned in by the traffic on the M4, which seems to affect the A4 at junction 7 of the M4 really badly, and therefore pins me into Dorney. Argh. Going south to the M3 is an insane way to try to get to Thatcham, so lord please no. I sat down, had tea, left later and got to work in the usual amount of time, but much later than I meant to. Spent the whole day feeling really drugged up, and not much better driving up.

But once we got playing, I was alive again - 3 songs in and I was capable of pogoing. Nice!

Terry's great, knows a lot of Stevie Wonder really well, and learns the Janeiro material really quickly. Nice.

I'm off to bed - I should post more often, in fact Terry was telling me he caught this blog and liked it. Thanks mate, see you next week!


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Andy makes ANOTHER online milestone....

Well, I expected there to be a little bidding at least... maybe I pitched it too low! The X60 I put on ebay last night was sold by the time I checked on it before 10am this morning. Mind you, I did pitch the "buy it now" price at a bit above what I'd just seen an auction for another X60 go at.

I think I'll up the ante for the next one!

So now I have to get the whole package together... and mail it to the guy second class registered post. No problem. I'll get me car tax at the same time...

Was talking to Neil F the Manager last night, he's been selflessly winding through the roads of southern wales looking for fun places for Janeiro to hang out and record. A place called "the pop factory" - combined audio & video production facilities - quite a place, apparently. The website looks impressive...

Must text Terry and ask how he's doin'. And Jamie too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

At last... Andy enters the bi-directional eBay age

Another dweeb moment I must cut down on these.

I've got an item for SALE on eBay! No biggie in the enormous scheme of things that is eBay's continuing conquest of the known (used) universe, but it's something big for me. Provided I can make a little cash, I need the dosh to feed my janeiro habit!

Speaking of which, if what Neil says is true, the luvly Terry Keys-Man thinks we're a band (well, i could have told him that...;) with lots of energy and good feeling - he's into us! Now all I have to do is text him and confirm that ;)

Jamie continues to improve - I'll chuck him a text as well and ask how his eye is.

Here's hoping my item attracts a little attention on eBay: I watched another x60 go for 43 quid odd before I decided where to pitch mine. £35 quid "buy it now" to you mate!

MySpace... Interesting.

More Janeiro related electronickery... I've opened a MySpace account for the band. Looks like they have some BIG names who use the service - guys like HIM(tm) and the Bloodhound Gang...

Check us out!

That should have put a button to it on there... wonder if it worked?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Quick test...

I'll post about how cool last night was a little l8r. Right now, does this direct email-to-blog work better than the annoying flickr, which keeps mangling text?

I'll try moblogger next. Excuse minor dweebage. Normal funk will be resumed pronto.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Comings, Goings...

Janeiro Junk
It's going to be fun at rehearsals today. We've parted company with Javier from Janeiro (it's in the news and everything) so we now need a new keyboard player. While it's true that I obviously have lots of confidence in Janeiro as a band with a future, I can see Javier's problem - he needs money, and Janeiro isn't going to be hugely profitable overnight (just read the tales of what happens to manufactured pop acts!). He needs to be able to pick up paid gigs at the drop of a hat to keep cash coming in: in london, it'd probably be easier for him, but oxford just ain't that big.

So, today I make my way up with a keyboard player named Terry - spoken on the phone, sounds like a friendly chap. Jake knows him from a few years back (Neil F does too) and speaks highly of his talents: Terry makes a living in London and has satnav, so I think it's probably fair to say he must be pretty damn good! I can only hope he can spare the time...

Since we're going to be doing this touring thing soon, there's going to be a lot of hard work coming up, in terms of time and travelling: I'm going to have to make it up as I go along regarding work - good job I've got flexible working times.

Andy's Birthday
I've never decided if it's proper to keep marking the years after you hit 30... mind you, I'm the one who advocates doing what the hell you like as you get older, and not subscribing to "sensible stereotypes" as an excuse not to do things that scare you or threaten the cozy semi-detached status quo.

So I'll be celebrating this year, just not sure how yet.

I'll be buying some form of bass though! 2 options currently exist...
1 - a Ned Steinberger upright bass, either the NS or EU series
2 - a 5-string fretless, not sure what yet, possibly one of the new Yamaha carved-top series. Pretty. :)

I think option 2 is gaining ground purely because I'd like a pro quality fretless - I'd be able to tinker with the 4 string I made then, and use it as a back-up bass.

Either way, I want this bass to be something really special - right up there with the others, they've all got value to me both in sentimental and sonic terms. The 5 string Hohner B-Bass V sounds great now I've cranked up the output level (I set it way too low years ago when all I compared it to was the Aria passive).

It's all go...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bleurgh! Head Cold! Still, happy.

Like the title suggests... I got a head cold, starting Tuesday (I was supposed to be in a 3G training course until Wednesday, so I shall remain unenlightened until I catch up on notes, I guess) and it's still with me now. The full sweats, sneezing, upset stomach feeling I always get with a proper cold. I've decided it's my body's way of telling me to slow down for a bit - I'm doing about 13 hours a week in the car, covering nearly 500 miles in that time. Lots of concentrating, then it's usually big concentration required at rehearsals and work, so I think my Red Bull habit (I did cut back to only one before rehearsals 3 times a week) might have been a sign of something!

I'm a red bull addict, and my name is... hang on, I'm so bushed I'll have to look it up... oh yes, I am Andy. Hear me sneeze. CHOO!

Well, we played the Summer Shutdown Fesitval last saturday. Great fun, although the weather was really REALLY bad - at times, heading up there from Crawley Towers, I thought we were going to have to do 15MPH cos the wipers couldn't clear the screen fast enough! Seems like monsoons are now the norm for end aug/start sept - global warming my arse, God is trying to drown us Ark-style for keeping MPs in jobs!

Anyhue (tm Nic) we got there OK, I brought ALL my kit (including the 100Kg of amp stack) and as we drove in I realised my Skid Pan Training (many tas to Nic's folks, that was great fun) was going to come in handy - REAL mud gets a bit slippy ;) It could be regarded as a positive, but they wanted me to use a Crate 300W stack on the stage instead of setting up my stuff: it was loud enough, but, surprise surprise, pretty FUBAR'd - the input socket missing the retaining nut ring (why do theoe bits always end up going missing?????) and the thing having the general patina of wear from a punk existence :)

I do like to keep my gear top-notch if I can, it means it doesn't let you down when you need it most. (should have repaired that Q-tron sooner - it's perfect now!)

So, I acquiesced and used their Crate. Just as well, there was nowhere dry to stash gear, really, so I left mine in the car pretty much up until we went on: if I'd had to carry any of the stack I would have ended up arse over tit, with anything up to 39 kilos of amp bit on me. Not good.

The set went really well - the sound actually settled down about 2 songs in, which is pretty good for a totally fresh stage with no soundcheck - and we soon settled into the usual grinning madly stuff. Jamie and Richie went mental during "Funks me Off" and played behind their heads(!) - they do keep each other going, it's great fun to watch. Yours truly really got the meat out in the bass solo, I even inserted some 2-handed tap Billy Sheeham style into it!

We stuck around to see the next act, who were a London based bizaare jazz-hiphop collective who mixed live drumming breakbeats with decks (and a respectable MC) and - get this - a 6 foot statuesque sax playing laydee who could blow a mean BARITONE sax - this thing was almost as big as she was!

All in all, an excellent day. The organiser loved our set, and said very nice things which I posted on the Janeiro Website which I've been updating while I've been ill. Much bigger now, with a lot more content and better navigation. I just need to put more pix on there - we've got some great ones!

Nic's away in NY (although she should be on the plane back as I type this) - so it's been a bit lonely apart from having the cats about, and they haven't moved from my side the whole time!

Managed to harvest a few apples as well - this weekend sees Nic & I off up to Tom's to sell him a Xantia and make lots of cider. Wheee! There's so many apples on the tree it's groaning under the weight, so I put Nic's secateurs (sp?) on 40ft of pole and ran a string up to the handle. I can cut apples off the tree 30ft up!

Unfortunately it's so tiring it just makes my cold come out with all fists swinging.

Well, I'm off to splutter somewhere else. Peace out... as they say


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jongleurs - too much electricity, not enough...

Great gig last night, full of fun (the music), frills (Jake's fluffy hat) and frickin' power losses!

I'll lay out the scene in some form of chronological order as usual, before it drops out of my head entirely.

I got to the venue for about 4:20pm, which is a record for me - the A34 was kind, bless - to find Dan and Jamie had been there ages: the stage was set up, and Flash Harry's PA company had arrived with the rig - the same rig that gave us a GREAT sound last time we played in Jongleurs. So it was spit-in-yer-palms time and unload the car.

I should add that last night in Oxford was like taking a more or less constant steam bath. The whole place felt like hanging your head over a kettle, so everybody got very VERY hot and pretty sweaty. This is good to see in an audience, but not so great when unloading and setting up for a night's fun.

Once everything was set up, the usual soundcheck stuff started. Dan's kit sounded great from the off, and we even got the chance to jam a couple of numbers and I've got to admit, the sound was actually really good. Only slight glitch was taking the bottom end boost off my bass under advisement from our esteemed sound engineer: after the first set everybody kept asking why the bass was so low - so I cranked the Warwick's boost up again and all was well :)

We've seen the pictures Marchello (sp?) has been taking of us all along (right back to the first gigs at Bridge next door) - they're actually pretty good, especially the B&W ones. He nearly incurred the wrath of Jake as some of his pics of Georgie definitely home in on what might be called her photogenic assets... some of the B&W contrasty shots look like perfume adverts, they'll go great as promo shots, etc. Jake has cut a deal to actually get us the pics, very reasonable price too. Marchello gave us quite an impressive photo montage on a Mac G4 powerbook, backed by Jake's recordings - mesmerising stuff. Fortunately there aren't too many shots of me - I'm more impressive sonically that physically! I do need to shop for some impressive stage clothes though.

So. We're soundchecked, and the sound is pretty good, except for a rather low amount of bottom end ;) We now have about 2 hours to kill until 8pm when we agreed to meet back up: Jamie was nippin off to a local pub where he gets subsidised beer (Sponsorship deal in the offing? "This Jamie was brought to you by Carling Black Label!") and Richie, Dan and I all headed for Oxford's Noodle Bar. Top nosh, and a very smiley waitress who seemed to be enjoying herself. Good place, I can recommend the mixed meat yo min noodles. Wierd names for their dishes in their - "yo min" "mai fun" "ho fun" - sounds like Snoop D D's kinda place!

After food we decamped (in the increasingly scary enclosing darkness of a storm-to-be - smell the ozone!) to a lebanese restaurant (they have chateau Musar wine, yet! Supposed to be really nice) where we indulged in cider and an apple hubbly bubbly session - my first time on a hookah! Left me with a huge smile, it's a very mellow way to pass some time after a meal. I can recommend the one in Oxford!

While we were in their the clouds emptied a huge load onto the town, which cleared the air a bit. Luckily we got back to Jongleurs in the dry-ish. We had some of those great debates you can have between really relaxed people when you're out for the evening - I need to egt out with Nic like that more, like the West End in London - dinner and a show, that sort of thing. You know how you sort of kick back, don't walk too fast, talk and take in the scenery, the people, the vibe - all the stuff you don't get time to do in modern life when you're always trying to get somewhere or get something done. Just filling a little time between pleasureable pursuits!

We started pretty late, with a decent and enthusiastic little crowd getting really into what we were doing. Jake donned the pink fluffy hat again (which found its' way to Dan in the second set!) and Georgie contrasted herself nicely from the last Jongleurs gig by dressing entirely in black!

Great first set - like I said though, not enough bass, as I found out in the intermission from good friends! - with "Disco" getting an airing, at last (one of my favourites, a real rolling funk thunder) - and receiving an unscheduled drum break which melted beautifully back into the track! Dan's a trooper.

So we rolled of the stage after the first set, happy things are going well. I actually broke my golden rule and had a strongbow(!) 'cos the place was like a high-set sauna.

Second set starts out, and I've cranked the bottom and top valve boost back up on the Warwick, and it's sounding very sweet indeed.

But wait! I can't hear any keyboards and Richie's guitar's gone quiet! We'd tripped a fuse on one side of the stage. Quick as a flash (arf arf) our Glorious PA Demon from Flash Harry's rolls an extension from the still-working side of the stage and.... that side goes out too! We're silent! Only Dan can keep things rolling now, and he gives a little drum tech solo which gets some people movin nicely! We tried to run lines from the bar, but everytime that right had side of the stage was plugged in we'd go out like a dodgy bulb.

Turns out it's Xavier's keyboard - and it's happened before(!) I need to get my soldering iron on that thing, it's in need of more TLC than Eastenders plotlines. Once we isolated his keyboard (we had the Korg there, thankfully!) we could continue with no problems. Nice. "Funks me Off" saw some of the best solos I think we've done - I was actually smiling at the end of mine - but I really want some fingerstyle in there as well... it's too easy to just beat the hell out of the warwick mith my thumb in some vaguely syncopated Dorian grooving!

Big finale... and we're off. The breakdown of the PA, drums etc takes us up to about 1:30am, and I'm home by abour 2:40 as I had to pull over on the A404 briefly for a "power nap" - not done that before, but I was worried about falling asleep at the wheel! - it worked perfectly, the remaining 20 mins of my journey I was alert and awake no problems. I can recommend just pulling over and stretching out having set an alarm on your mobile for 20 mins hence!

Keep it peaceable Funqy People!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

view from the event!

wow, what a day. I've shaken hands with a bloke who was in blue, the excellent drummer from McFly, KT tunstall who was really nice (she's from St Andrews like me), Tyler James who gave us some great advice as he sat behind his car, parked next to ours, in the VIP parking lot, and Lucie Silvas who jake thinks is stunning and was really friendly! She has nice boots, kurt g from selfridges.

Don't be disparaging about McFly's talents, they're amazing on stage, live and really tight!

There's more detailed recollections of what I remember on the Janeiro website at the Janeiro website. We had a great time, arriving on the amazing JaneiroBus - pics to follow! - but we were really pushed for time so we didn't get the chance to motor about Oxford in the stunning Janeiro logo emblazened routemaster london bus! Great fun coming into town in it though. A million thanks to Nic's dad, my dad-in-law, whose passion it is to keep such an iconic piece of engineering running.

The song went really well, Jo from the FoxFM morning crew was utterly splendid all day, she schmoozed on our behalf more than I could have hoped in my wildest dreams! We chatted for hours, and boogied together backstage during McFly's set, although I got the cues wrong. oops!

George now has at least one mobile number of a handsome superstar... and not just the rest of the Janeiro! heh heh!

A fantastic weather day too.

Right, off to see the rest of the band in a restaurant in oxford. just dropped off all the gear at the studio, thanks to the herculean efforts of my gorgeous wife Nic, who has, in the last week:
1. made up Tshirts, 18 of
2. created and organised all the artwork that went on the bus, including putting the vinyl prints on mount board late last night
3. drove all the way up to Greetham in Leics where her folks stay, arriving at 10pm last night and staying up until 2am(!) getting the ads on the bus
4. drove me back to the studio here in Crawley 2 drop off the gear.

she has a massive headache now, no shock with the massive workload in the last few days!


right, I'm off into oxford! see you around, come to jongleurs next wednesday!



Saturday, August 27, 2005

It's the night before P-day... and all through the house

The only creatures stirring are me, three cats and three rats!

Well, tomorrow all the prep comes together. Nic has shot up to Greetham with art materials to adorn our "special advertising vehicle" which we'll be turning up in - this'll get Oxford talking - I hope! Nic has been truly spectacular this whole week, especially given the trouble I've had sleeping all week - which, I might add, has nothing to do with nerves! I've been to the doc again about my throat, it seems to have stretched really badly and I'm waking up with huge headaches and a thumping heart... so I want to get fast-tracked to laser scarring for the back of my crap throat to pull it back into some kind of shape that lets me sleep again - if only on my side!

We got another shout from the lovely Jo Thoenes this afternoon after I revealed we'd be coming along in an "interesting vehicle"! She'll get to see what it is no doubt! Thanks to Dan ze Drums for being alert of ear and hearing that one this afternoon.

I've been madly working on the Janeiro website - which now contains a link to our mini-site on Arkade where the demo of Cream of the Crop has gone on sale at the staggering sum of 99p! iTunes here we come! ho ho!

Jake's been getting his car covered in the Janeiro logo, Nic has been making T-shirts so that people with flyers look like they're associated with the band (there's a few close friends and family going to be there!) - if the flyers attract even 1% of the crowd we'd fill Jongleurs on the 31st 3 times over!!!!!!!

Hopefully we can create a tsunami of interest which will sweep us to big things!

Meantime though, I've got to keep playing in a new set of strings I've just stuck on the 6 string, which I'll be using for our little one-song slot tomorrow. I've been practising hard, and it feels pretty good: I'd say I'm at one of the highest levels of one-ness with the bass that I've ever had. It feels so natural at the moment: it's something I get sometimes when programming, but it's not as visceral a feeling as really nailing a tune with 6 other people and watching faces in the audience get carried away by the sheer fun coming off the stage.

I've always loved this.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Funky Funky Funky!

Last night Janeiro did a lot of talking during rehearsals of the 1 track(!) we get to play on Sunday: we've got some interesting things planned!

We've nailed down our track, it should sound great with plenty of crowd pleasing moments squeezed into the small slot. The vocals are sounding really good!

Now I have to start ringing people and organising stuff... I wonder what the Oxford Mail's number is? We've had almost a full page spread in their newspaper (the 22nd Aug edition) - and they archive online! See it here...

Gotta scoot. The day job required my attention! Could it be I could move to music full-time?.... I keep hearing adverts telling me it's never been easier to register as self-employed!

Woohoo! Tunnel long... light is bright.... getting closer?

30,000 people to impress and only the rest of the week to organise and practise for it!



Monday, August 22, 2005

Another gig - in the sun - I got to DANCE!

Yes, I finally had an area big enough to jump in! "Do Your Thing" always makes me want to jump around... and in the studio I have to watch my head, and all the gigs we've done so far I've had to stay static!

Great fun, we played on the back of an artic flatbed with the plastic stuff on. Good PA, a bit of feedback, but not too bad, apart from the gain on my amp being at full for some reason after a bass change(!) luckily I noticed the volume change!

Dan's kit went on in one piece - the scaffold was put together offstage in a little area ( they'd fenced it off for holding our gear before getting it onto the flatbed - a fair lift for a 38 kilo bass cabinet! ) then lifted whole onto it, not too shabby and very useful potentially for the sunday Party In The Park gig - I'm guessing we'll have to set up even faster than usual. Phew.

Jake and George were both a bit crook for the gig and rested up before coming down for the soundcheck. Once we got going Jake became his usual crowd pleasing self... it's like watching Dr David Banner turn into the Hulk sometimes, he's a monster onstage :) He even crossed to Javier for his solo (the flatbed wasn't that deep so we kind of spaced out all the way along it!). Dan's drum solo was outstanding! I even managed to get mine about right!

After the show I got called over by some really cute kids who were going to the PITP thing on Sunday - they said very nice things about the band and wanted CDs! We've got to get a pro recording done! It's all moving so fast...

In fact, yesterday moved so fast I didn't have time to say Hi to Dean, who I spotted after the gig.

And... for the first time... I GOT PAID!! It covers diesel and a bit more, but very welcome it was too.

And many thanks to Sam for posting pictures of the gig (good 'uns too!) on the Janeiro Yahoo Newsgroup! Join to see 'em via the link at

Friday, August 19, 2005


originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.

My sincere apologies for the title/subject. It's just that...
Yes, we're goin to be taking the stage at the Party in the Park in Oxford South Park on the 28th of August, alongside such pop luminaries as Rachel Stevens, Liberty X and McFly!
Now, this is something heh heh! I'm typing this as Nic drives her wired husband home!
The Story of the Night, by Andy
OK, it's me. but I only know what happened to me!
Nic and I got to Banbury at 3pm! Really early, but I knew the other guys were in town already trying to get flyers to all the hairdressers in town! There you go Jamie, your efforts are immortalised!
After a quick walk around town, during which I bought a couple of music bits (couldn't resist it! boss SYB5 synth we got into the venue via the backdoor and loaded all our gear. Rich and I gorged on Bernard matthews best from Farmfoods to get change to park the van!
The soundcheck was very late, which was actually lucky, I was REALLY paranoid that since we were on at 7 we'd have no audience!
No time to get paranoid and nervous, we were on 10 minutes after we soundchecked! A huge shout to the talented guys doing the sound on the night, you ran out of channels but not ears, we had a great sound! Iuckily the Janeiro gig machine carries too much gear so Javier mixed himself to mono (eek!) and we just squeezed in!

I had great fun dancing 2 everybody else!
At the end of the night, the voting happened! SO MANY GORGEOUS PEOPLE!
The fox dj's voted 4 us, then the people voted 4 us!
All hell broke loose!
I wanted to thank every single person there, l just jumped down and started hugging everybody single person at the Janeiro end of the bar!
Anyone I missed out I THANK YOU!
Nic's banner with our logo designed by my bro Mark was top stuff, right next 2 the O2 banner at the back.
RIGHT! We've hit the A404 so this entry ends here!
We are all utterly panning ourselves.

Adult Pampers, anyone?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Q-Tron's fixed!

I ran a soldering iron over the internals of the Q-Tron in an effort to stop it cutting out. After some rather heavy handed abuse (click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-kick-thunk-kick-click-click-) turning it on and off, it still hasn't gone silent yet.

We'll call that a win.

Unlike England's cricketers... yesterday evening's rare spot of Hollyoaks mental flatlining turned out to be cricket flatlining instead, which was actually pretty cool.

I don't know why everybody was getting do wound up though, the crowd were behaving like it was a football match, which is just surreal when you see 13 white figures standing in the middle of a field doing pretty much sod all for long periods of time...

Well, I'm winding myself up nicely for Thursday's final in Banbury. Nic's been making a banner for the stage, which looks excellent: we took the Janeiro logo (as seen on the group site, and soon, the website) and used the projector to blow it up as big as we could - nearly 2 metres wide. Nic has been applying fabric paint to fill in and it's looking pretty good! A large black border and some blackout material backing and it'll be something we can hang behind the band which at least says who we are... rather than gigging at Jongleurs under their sign and being paranoid :)

We've made the final selection of songs, now all I have to do is try to practise my parts. No sniggering at the back.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Another good result?

Another good result?
Another good result?,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.
To my shame, I wasn't listening last night. I was enjoying a pint at a pub in Bourne End called 'the bounty bar' which you can't get to by road. It's by the thames, serves totally mental real ales like 'grumpy cow'!
so who won last night's heat? I don't know, but Jamie said it was another shock result, so l assume the Ambient Oxford Iads got through!
If that's so, then it's time 2 rehearse like never before and make sure 'Disco' holds 2gether! This is like some dream, it's all moving so fast!

a t bp

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jongleurs, Light Ropes, Q-Trons, Monitors, Dressing rooms, Door Staff...

It's all in an evening's work for Janeiro!

I've decided what we commited last night were random acts of funk. Random google ahoy!

I got there about 5.30pm, to find Dan, Richand Jamie were well and truly set up! The running theme of the beginning and end of the evening, which was the three of them expending vast amounts of energy carrying nearly everything from place to place, was established early on. I'm not supposed to have roadies yet!! They're great lads, my car was empty within 5 minutes of parking round the back of Jongleurs. Those back stairs are scary though.

Disconcertingly, the staff of Jongleurs appeared to be having a training course on customer awareness. A frighteningly attractive bunch, they were being assailed in David-Brent style presentation, with the secrets of conflict resolution and how many different words there were for the names of various illegal chemical substances they could expect to find up people's noses etc. A bit wierd to listen to while you're plugging stuff into other stuff. When she mentioned ecstacy I wanted to stick my hand up and say "doves!", which nobody else got. Then when she mentioned crack I just about creased up. It's all in the delivery. Not the crack, the lecture.

After some jiggery and a little pokery we located a solid wooden table we could perch my monolith Warwick stack on. See, the stage in Jongleurs is sort of built for comedians. Who'da guessed? (shrugs) :) So my stack ended up obscuring part of the jongleurs logo, which was cool as from the right angle, I thought we'd get confused for a band called jongleurs, which wouldn't sit well with the venue chain. Basses were perched behind Jamie's stack on the right of the stage. In all, a tight little set-up, with a little room for George and Jake (looking browner than the sauce after their holiday!) for boogie at the front. Javier's set up teetered precariously on the left, and Dan's drums looked spectacular dead centre.

We sorted out Rich's marshall amp problem, the crackles and drop-outs are in the pre-amp. Seeing as he uses a POD all the time, he plugged straight into the poweramp direct in, and bingo! perfect.

And I brought the light rope! I curled it a couple of times around the amp and ran in up the mike stand. Not bad, I called it my funk cable, giving vibes to my vocals from the basslines. It's only a conceptual thing... heh

The dressing room (my god, yes, we had a dressing room) was the built-for-one job the comedians use, so a 7-piece had to work in shifts ("George, are you done yet?.... I really need to go!" {crosses legs} - then "George, did you have to? Pheeeewwwww!" Lots of giggles there etc heh heh) but it did fine, I even managed to shower my head after getting overheated setting up, etc. Nic brought me a care package, bless, as well as herself (it's improtant I can see her at gigs, good grounding in reality, plus her eyes are riveting even at 30 feet away, you can still make out the wolf rings!) - a bottle of Tesco diet Kick drink (buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) and deodorant, halleluijah!

First set went really well: Jake's idea of starting out with a quiet-ish track meant we'd warmed up nicely before ploughing on. Jav's soloing on the night was really nasty! Tasty chords and really off-the-wall sequences, the lad's a genius. The ends of "hooked on you" got extended but sounded really tasty, flowing grooves.

When we came off stage I was beaming! Lots of good noises. People popped downstairs to Bar Risa but they all came back up again when we restarted, which took far too long as a couple of sad muppets posing as Virgin Records A&R men (one of whom was apparently rather interested in Georgie) wasted Jake's time ("vanished again? I'll find him!" quoted his mum. Luckily, as ever, Dan seemed to know where he was) - but they were ejected from the building by our very very good friends, who protested that even if they were lawyers or the some of some tosspot sheik they were still vulnerable to a good kicking and would they please kindly apologise. Which they did. Yay!

Also during the intermission, I was on my way to the Gents downstairs and met up with a couple of young oxford "laydeez" who were off to get some cash. The doorstaff suddenly seemed to prickle as they tried to get outside, but lo! It was actually good natured ribbing (as demonstrated by the fact they got back in!). We were paying the lads to look after security, and they were great. Really dry senses of humour, big lads with scary haircuts but obviously pussycats under the surface (of course, as anyone who has dragged a cat out of a tree will tell you, they've got some serious weapons).

Second set was a little more wobbly but with stacks of energy (although I really do need more rest before gigs like that - I'm not sleeping well at the moment, for other reasons than stress, etc! Even Tesco Kick in large amounts wasn't working at that point) - but the bloody Q-tron cut out the clean signal I was using at the beginning of "Disco" so I got paranoid about batteries running out and started fiddling with levels before I finally cottoned on and kicked the nerfing thing back into life! It did suck a little out of my sails though, I was rather embarrased.... :) I'll be dismantling that and fixing it this evening. Sigh! So much for buying good quality FX in San Francisco. Haight Ashbury that was too!

Jake's dad (Mr Big himself!) did a stupidly good job of blowing some very hot harmonica on "long train running", where the Q-tron redeemed itself a little with nice squidgy noises. I tried to keep myself reigned in at least a little, you can go a bit mental on that one.

With I'd had the opposite feeling during the solo in "Funks me Off!" I'll leave it there. I know I've mentioned I should lock that solo down, but this is crunch point: by the 18th (presuming we do that track - we definitely don't have to, and I can see reasons why it's not really a festival track!) I WILL have that solo LOCKED DOWN AND PRACTISED. Dan's solo was stunning, a real tour de force. His confidence in what he's playing has been starting in the last 2 weeks, I would almost swear he's not scared of that solo anymore! His dedication makes me hang my head in shame. A bit.

Lots of good feedback (vocal, not PA) at the end, not least about the sound, our best yet. After a brief period swanning around and finally getting a beer in (my apologies to Dean, I'll get that drink off you on the 18th mate ;) I finally got away at just after 1am, rolling into home at 2am and not being able to sleep until 3!

But by god, it's worth it. I was talking to Dean about this blog: it really has been a resurrection. The funny thing is, it's now becoming so resurrected I need to start considering my options in other areas of my life: a flower is growing, a little dream of an idea I had thought I lost a while back turned up in an unexplored corner of my heart on the way to the rehearsal wednesday afternoon. I could really do this and keep doing this.

I couldn't stop grinning and laughing as I drove up the A34. It's real, it's alive, something is actually happening! The hair on my neck stood up, I realised it's in my blood!

Oh, and someone told me Party in the Park can get 30,000 people. Permission to cack my pants sir.

A t' B P

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

from the dressing room!

from the dressing room!
from the dressing room!,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.
wow, so this is where Jim Tavare got ready for his act... we actually have a room to get ready in, but i reckon if we get ready in shifts we'll make it heh heh! i might post again with a pic from the stage!

Woohoo! Wierd voting a gogo...


First Janeiro ( folks - currently redirecting to our YahooGroups mailing list until I put a proper site in place!) win the monday heat, then last night we hear a stupidly good track exit the FoxFM BOTB competition as well!

Funny thing. We were all together last night, first rehearsal back together with Jake and George back from holiday (both bronzed and fit-lookin', perfect for tonight's gig in Jongleurs), so we tuned in for the entrants into the tuesday heat. First band was a singer/songwriter from Banbury (so if he'd been in the final he'd have been on home turf) with a really polished track (actually I reckon it might even be more polished than our 1-week-to-record-and-mix rushed demo), second was three guys with a rather melancholy but melodic demo which sounded pretty rough.

To our shock surprise, band 2 obviously galvanised support from a lot of corners and win with 75% of the vote, so the robbie-williams quality track is out... bizarre, that act sounds like it would be killer onstage! I wonder what the 3-piece will sound like...

You can only shrug and accept good fortune.

Well, I'm off to Jongleurs to set up. See any of you who will be there, there!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Oh dear god.

We won! We won the semi-final heat last night.

My heart was in my mouth, eurovision-style, as they played the whole track at 7:30, our one was on first. It sounded pretty good through a 38Kbit windows audio stream, the bass came out well and the width of Jake's well-mixed layered vox came out well too. The extra compression added by Fox didn't swamp the track and the kick was still crisp enough to do the job.

Then the Wailing Jacks track played, a real blinder in the style of the Strokes (as Debbie the Fox DJ pointed out). Then all hell broke loose texting people to tell them what to text and where to text it to!

And we waited until after 8pm for the results... 2 extra songs after 8pm later and Debbie announces the winner has a big margin, with 93% of the votes cast and nearly two throusand of them! Of course, I'm still in "don't get excited" mode so I assume Wailing Jacks have mobilised their fan base out of Brighton... then Debbie plays our chorus again, and I'm stunned. This must be what it feels like to win the lottery!

So Nic and I break out some bubbly and field a fair few texts and calls: then Jamie the Guitarist's voice appears out of the speakers, he's managed to call in and plugs our gig tomorrow night in Jongleurs in Oxford! Great!

All in all, a triumphant night. I couldn't sleep, I think I've only have about 3 hours and I'm still feeling elated. Hopefully I'll manage to stay awake at this evening's important practise, the first in a week with all of us there as Jake's been on holiday to Malaga - I can just see him and George in Magaluf!

Phew. Must calm down. Coffe and flapjack!

hee hee!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Little fluffy clouds and Foxes

A great weekend. The folks finally managed to get both of themselves (an odd transition from singular there) up to our place at Dorney, along with Benson the non-driveable retriever. When I say non-driveable, I'm not referring to any engine troubles or perhaps the lack of steering wheel. He just gets incredibly nervous in cars... so they're feeding him gentle doggy tranqs before travelling :)

Taking advantage of the BBQ still being up after last weekend's stupendously rained-on BBQ (the half-oil drum job in under the gazebo still!) but not feeling the worst effects of the weather, we fired up one-third of it and comfortably fed 6 people (my bro and wife came over too). Then we all sat about drinking far too much until close to midnight with the garden electrics comfortably lighting up the whole patio, along with Nic's glass lanterns. Top.

Janeiro Update
Dan got a call from Fox FM telling us we're into the next round, so we're into the last 8! Apparently it was a unanimous vote from all the judges, so Jake's polishing and slight lyric change - "So get the fox on your box", yet! - seems to have done the trick. He and George put really good layered vox on there - we'll need to coach our vocal talents to get it sounding as good onstage!

Javier got himself a paying gig last night so he wasn't about last night. Jamie, Rich, Dan and myself had a great time blasting through some tracks without vox and keys, which is actually a good challenge. We even played a track at half speed just to see if we could do it. Not bad, it only started to reggae at the end :)

Then we retired to the control room upstairs to audition other tracks of Jake's to see what we thought about other ones - there's so many of them we had to use iTunes star rating to mark out the ones we think'll translate quickly and effectively to the band as a whole!

Everything's set up for the gig at Jongleurs in Oxford on wednesday 10th. A better venue than Bridge, I gather - with any luck, it'll have a good effect on our sound, which has been a little.... overwhelming, shall we say? heh!

Friday, August 05, 2005

The FoxFM recording is complete!

Complete, and mastered, and handed in to Fox FM (who apparently have very foxy secretaries, according to Dan). It's sounding very polished! Lots has happened, so I think I'll use a list...

Since the 27th: (takes deep breath)
- Confirmed gig in Jongleurs in Oxford on the 10th August
- Recording of "Cream of the Crop" finished, Jake managed to lay down vocals and mix it before he left for a week's holiday in the sun with George
- Stunning rehearsals with Dan, Jamie, Rich and Javier - the pause while we were recording left us hungry to really funk out live. Last night's was outstanding, Dan's solo left my chin with carpet burns
- I've seen a piece of paper from Ark Records! Didn't read it though, I was (as ever) in a hurry to get home before the witching hour...
- We now have a proper name - "Janeiro" - as in Rio De. Everybody seems really happy with it!
- I went geek-mental and registered the name with, registered the domain - is being squatted on by a feeble search engine - and started a group on yahoogroups for use once we get a devoted following ;)

Someone finally pointed out last night I should have a boosted patch for taking the solo in "Funks me off". They're so right, I'm so lazy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thursday approacheth....

... when I get to record another version of my take from Monday. Hopefully this one'll be locked in and tight, Jake, Dan and Rich were all chopping drum loops for the authentic drum track after we finished recording. Jake's been back trying to get the definitive drum sound.

It's all rather fun!

I'll really have to try to get some time in this evening so I can be solid tomorrow: this would be one of the hardest tracks to play, it's got to be spot-on, and there's still something of an issue for me about the last section of the track to make the feel slightly different after the Black-Eyed Peas style breakdown section in the middle. I used to go back to the original bassline, but I tried a little emphasis in the first half of the bar on the guide bass on monday and quite liked it.

The studio at Crawley, by the way, operates flawlessly. There's a 4 way headphone amp downstairs with talkback from the control room upstairs coming back down the 16 channel flylead with full balanced XLR breakout box on the floor in the recording room.

All it really needs it some soundproofing downstairs and a little bit of kit to isolate the drums a little more.

More Ben Folds on the 'Pod at the mo. "My Philosophy" always makes me laugh. Ben plays it really well live, you'd think playing tracks from a few years back to tens of thousands of people would mean he had less fire in his belly when playing it, but I swear when he played "the luckiest" his empathy for the track assumed physical form and moved across the crowd. Spellbinding.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Recording! And the age old question...

...What do we call the band? Yes, Gigolo needs another name! We've got a couple of ideas, but they're not ready yet!

We're recording a lil rough demo as i type this into the P910, so we can use it to get gigs, and George just learned from Jake that when you yawn your throat is like an opera singers. "i can't wait until i next yawn", she quipped laconically :) never a dull moment here!

I just pretty much aced my take. Only a small bit of the 2 handed tapping lost a note, and the feel on the chorus isn't going to match the bass kick, but this is only a rough quality demo to get some gig action, including a crack at the oxford Party in the Park! Closing date for demo entries is the 5th of August, so we're getting our freak on! Working on "Cream of the crop" at the moment. Not sounding too bad, but I can hear my little timing problems! argh!

As you can tell, I am typing as I listen.

I will post again when I have completed cringing! heh

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sheesh, I'm brown!

Heaven is...

This is the pool where Nic and I have been skulking for the last couple of weeks, in a little cottage in Metochi in the south of Crete. Miles away from Heraklion and Malia (the faliraki of Crete!), this little quiet haven is a great place to do nothing but alternately attempt to bake and drown yourself, smearing white stuff on yourself in between.

In short, heaven. All of it here...

I took a couple of issues of Bass Guitar Magazine with me, some interesting articles in there including DIY tips for fitting aftermarket EQ systems, although admittedly only into Fender basses, which leaves mi slightly out in the cold as I've tried all the Jazz basses and wasn't impressed... if you remember, gentle reader, it was after trying all 3 "grades" of jazz bass I ended up buyiong my adorable Warwick :)

We're back now, I didn't want to post to the blog from the phone (the GPRS service was patchy too) I thought I'd wax lyrical once I got back.

Gigolo stuff...
Oooo - meetings are starting! We've got 7 gigs between now and the end of August, we need to cram 20 in by christmas so that's a great start. First rehearsal back was monday, and it went well considering I haven't played a note for 2 weeks: even remembered the excellent new midsections for a couple of songs we worked on before I left.

Jake looks tired though, I'm worried he's doing too much, not just with the band but all the other work he's doing.

The Crawley Retreat Studios look fantastic though - the extra room upstairs is now a chillout area(!) and the multicore is installed between downstairs and upstairs - all 16 channels of it with 3 talkbacks for headphones - and I'm told the drum sound is good, kit's fully miked up.

Wicked. There's so much going on! Nic's settling into her new job, seems like she might enjoy it, and she's still trying to decide between a fully loaded new look Citroen C5 or a Jag S-Type twin turbodiesel. These are not choices I expect to make off music salaries anytime soon (or indeed, at all!)...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Knackered but still happy.

Alas, my falsetto is getting falser by the minute... can't seem to shake this cough! I was saddened to hear of the death of Richard Whiteley: although not an avid watcher of Countdown, it's one of those shows which has entered british conciousness so deeply that even the format of the show is used in stand-up comedy (a sure sign of a much-treasured cultural gem). He also had the capacity of use his demeanour to great effect when delivering some quite surreal humour, I seem to remember. Good on him.

The Band
Things continue to continue! No concrete stuff about deals, signings etc but Dan and I are developing quite a bass/drum rapport: his right foot, coupled with the extreme spring he puts on his bass drum pedal, means he can really pile in the kick drum rolls. Combine that with the re-emergence of my machine gun triplets using slap and snap, and we're locking together in an almost primus-type way. The stuff we were writing last night had a stone cold groove to it!

The Studio at Home
I have started to unpack! The monitors are out, the speakers are out, and just breaking the back of getting a few things out of boxes has made me feel like I will get it all done eventually!

I'll be coming home from the rehearsal tonight slightly earlier than usual, I think: this level of tiredness can't continue... I may be making myself ill, and it's off on holiday soon to Crete! We've got various parents who are being kind enough to mind old pond towers for us. I tempted my Dad by offering the services of the projector so he can fly his flight simulator on a massive screen :) He was quite interested. Heh!

Monday, June 20, 2005

3 showers in one day? I don't take a bottle at all...

What a weekend... had to go into the loft in the soaring heat of the emerging English Summer. Outside temperatures hit 30-something degrees, and inside temperatures hit this 30-something :)

Ah, the joy of stashing boxes. I had to have 3 separate showers on Sunday, with an evening rehearsal with Gigolo. Which was OK, we actually started writing some new stuff which I've captured onto minidisc. Good groove, and the beginnings of some structure! We've all decided it's time to get a multicore connected to the studio upstairs from the rehearsal room so we can get recordings done easier. We could even do some semi-pro bits for gig promo stuff. That'd be cool.

Ah, Gigolo... the name... apparently it doesn't go down well with the company men who came to see us in Oxford last wednesday, so we might be looking to rename again... I'm still fond of Neo, which was one of my suggestions and made it to the final round ;)

Tricky thing, naming a band. How do you get across that urban groove/soul/funk feel in a name?

Any suggestions... hey, email me!

In other news, Jake likes my website and thinks I'll do the Gigolo one. I'll make sure it's plastic enough so I can change the name at a moment's notice... heh heh!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Darkened stage...

Darkened stage II
Darkened stage II,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.
Thought I'd post a pic of the stage after we soundchecked. You can just see my Warwick Stack on the right, behind the slats of the strange wall thing. The PA stacks look so mean!

- - - - - Slideshow!!!! - - - - -

Found out Flickr's slideshow feature looks fantastic - fades in and out and everything ;) - you can check out the slideshow of my Gigolo pics...
[ ..:: Here At Flickr! ::.. ]

Music Music Music Music!

We gigged last night. Bridge again...

Fan-tas-tic gig! I've uploaded all the pics I took with the VS3 I had in my pocket to flickr - [ The Flickr Photos are Here! ] - not a bad haul, but I really need to get my hands one some of the pics taken by the club photographer, a thoroughly gallic lookin fella who can crawl around a stage without being noticed taking closeups of hands, faces, drums... pretty pro with the flash going off in the corner of my eye during several songs!

We've got some interest from a French label as well, a bunch of "senior" guys were there last night with Neil, Jake's ex-manager (don't know what their relationship is now; Neil seems like a friendly sort, and apparently they spent a long time working very hard to get Jake noticed in London).

As ever, lots of good feedback from people in the audience - the club was full! My lord, Oxford seems to have some beautiful people in it... also the usual rash of drunken dimwits ;)

My "funks me off" bass solo came off really well for once - I introduced a hamonic rhythmic slap section into the middle, and it worked! I really, really need to congeal that whole solo and practise it until I know it backwards!!!

I loaded 100 - and - something kilos of gear into the car (cabs, amp, basses, stands, mic stands, mics, recording equipment, cables, clothes - I wore the dreadlocks! - a mixer which might have been used, jake's keyboard, which I'd fixed the night before) and forgot my shoulder bag, which contains all my cash cards. The Xantia was almost empty - oops - so I had to cadge 20 quid off Abid here at work (bless him!) so I could get to the gig and back! Fortunately it stretched to Pizza Hut salad plate at £5 as well, so I totally loaded it up with pasta and stuffed myself with good carbs, which definitely kept me going until 2am when we finally finished breaking down the 5Kw PA system (loads of overhead: didn't have to run it flat-out, therefore fidelity sound, good reproduction and less boom! Nice) which Nobby the Great had brought and mixed up for us at 24 hours notice - what a star. Good gear too, mackie 32 channel live desk, the works.

Jame and Richie were kind enough to let me scoot off once I'd loaded the car (we'd already done Nobby's stuff). Getting it unloaded back in Dorney was an exercise in tiptoeing around with 30 kilo cabs and amps! :)

All in all, a deeply rewarding experience, although not financially... yet. We had to pay for the PA last night (well worth it it was too!) - I've got to keep an eye on how much I'm spending on diesel, rehearsal rooms etc, just in case things get tight and I need to work out what to do - just having moved house to a place far away from work (well, compared to Rosemore) I'm unsure how money will get spent from here on in! This is the first month... cross fingers ;)

Man cannot live on smiles alone...

But if he could... I'd be totally full up right now!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Not Strictly Musical...

Not Strictly Musical...
Not Strictly Musical...,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.
Well, the resurrection is in full flow with the Gigolo project, so allow a little leeway, gentle reader.

The kittens we adopted this year finally went in for their ops. once healed, they can finally venture out and bring back dead things instead of toy mice. the new pope could use that as a great counter-doctrine!

Either way, this is Talisker in her darth vader outfi.