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.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Slightly Disturbed Amphibian

Slightly Disturbed Amphibian
Slightly Disturbed Amphibian,
originally uploaded by Spammy Spamton.
0K, I admit it. I am really just testing the P910i posting to the blog.

But the picture does express my feelings at the jamster crapheads who pollute every single ad break with the noise I stuck on my handset 18 months ago...

Good rehearsal last night, but I must start checking the levels I'm using into the MD recorder before I start recording! digital distortion is not pretty.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rehearsals.... more rehearsals....

No, not a "water, water" desert type moment, I'm really enjoying them at the moment. Had a legitimate 2-handed tapping moment on monday, so good I recorded it on the new P910i I've just got - top handset, it's actually restored my faith in SonyEricsson after the joystick on the T630 started acting up after only 8 months.

Ooops, got to go - another rehearsal!

Must start thinking about a Gigolo website. Something stylish. Don't want to put shockwave all over it though, pain in the arse.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Music update!

Well, it's about damn time...

The Band
OK, it's time I referred to the band by their correct name, Gigolo - a name I didn't initially warm to, but which encompasses a lot of the touchy feely funk/soul style I enjoy. I can see myself in a band called Gigolo now, and visualisation is half the battle. Hmmm, bit poncey, that. :)

There's all sorts of really exciting stuff being said, but being "experienced" (see: "not fooled again"!) I'm taking them with a pinch of salt. Jake does have great contacts though, he spent a lot of time in London trying to get signed, big showcase gigs etc: these contacts are apparently very impressed by what we can do.

And after last night's rehearsal, I think they'll be even more impressed - a spontaneous breakdown section was inserted into one of the tracks: I started playing a really simple motif on the top C at the 12th fret of the 6 string Tobias bass, then Dan started playing a really heavy metronomic beat. Now the guitarists both start harmonising with the motif, Javier starts this brilliantly squidgy little synth thing, then....

I dropped my left hand and added the bass in while keeping the top motif going with my right! Two handed tap, in the tune, and both parts were really poking out nicely. That bass is a beauty: good to look at, fantastic to play, and top sound. All this with the Q-tron on for more max squidgyness.

The breakdown sounds so sonically dense, and yet the parts lock really well: you can pick things out and really groove to it.

This is so much fun - I've never been in a band like this. Let's hope it's all going to get even better!

Give Me Road Pricing And Give Me Death...

Of out-of-town shopping centres, anyway. I got ranty with some mates on a mailing list so I thought I'd lazily post it here. It's got... feeling. ;)

It relates to recent stories regarding road pricing proposals here in teh UK and a press release from Friends of the Earth...

- - - - - - - - - -

Well well well. One sentence mentioning alternatives to the car. What a surprise. We've spent the last 20 years becoming more mobile so we can contribute to this wonderful open economy. No more jobs for life, etc, live farther from where you work.... And now...

Big stick, no carrots.

Don't get me wrong, we've got to change the way society thinks and works, but we've come too far. Out of town shopping centres, lack of bus and train (and moving them into private, profit making hands) links and services (thanks Dr Beeching) - all these things came as a consequence of the wonderful physical mobility which (pardon my simplifying) essentially tory doctrine about upward social mobility (have a car and house, be successful) created.

It's interesting that alternatives really aren't getting mentioned, apart form the usual glib crap about the railways never having carried so many people (ask a commuter while he's breathing someone else's armpit) and more investment than ever (stat crap)... Labour would hate to give the impression they want to nationalise a resource like trains which might, if actually taken seriously as in other european nations, get people from A to B and creating wealth like good little ants...

Oh - and 2p a mile sounds great. Now, how the hell do I work out how to get to work on B roads which are carrying all the other traffic which doesn't want to pay £1.35 to get past J11 of the M4?...

And I haven't even talked about the technology involved (part of which is in my technical sphere) - any estimates coming out of government about how much this will cost, when it will work etc should be laughed at with an Uzi.

I've had enough typing reasoned responses to stuff like this. Unless we stand up as a nation and tell these overstuffed lawyer career politician crapheads to go get a real job for a while and come back to earth where the rest of us live, we're doomed to be force-fed half-baked politically-warped ideas like this one. Voting is pointless.

There, I said it again ;)