Nothing I say is written in stone.....
|Thursday December 13th 2001|
|Saturday December 1st 2001|
|Wednesday November 21st 2001|
|Tuesday November 20th 2001|
|Saturday November 17th 2001|
|Wednesday November 7th 2001|
|Tuesday October 30th 2001|
|Tuesday October 16th-Saturday October 20th 2001|
|Sunday October 7th 2001|
|Thursday September 27th 2001|
|Thursday September 20th 2001|
|Friday September 7th 2001|
|Wednesday July 25th 2001|
|Monday July 23rd 2001|
|Saturday June 30th 2001|
|Saturday June 23rd 2001|
|Tuesday June 12th 2001|
|Thursday June 7th 2001|
|Wednesday May 23rd 2001|
|Wednesday May 9th 2001|
|Saturday April 21st 2001|
|Wednesday March 21st 2001|
|Sunday March 18th 2001|
|Saturday February 10th 2001|
|Wednesday January 31st 2001|
|Sunday January 21st 2001|
Sunday January 21st 2001
Sig, our keyboard player, has left the band, his mojo just don't work no more. Picture him stumbling round the fleshpots of Crystal Palace. If you see him at gigs, buy him a drink, show him you love him. We'll carry on with Dave and Karl doing the keyboard stuff between them. At the moment we're working on a new song called "She Hangs There In The Dark Like A Saint In A Cathedral". I wish I could've called it something sexy and succinct like "Be Bop A Lula" but it came out as "She Hangs There In The Dark Like A Saint In A Cathedral". That's how it is, a constant struggle for my soul between Leadbelly and T S Eliot....
Wednesday January 31st 2001
Wonderful gig at the 12 Bar. Time Out trailered us as "splendid". Worldwide premiere of "The Way Of The World", the title song of our album, due out approximately April. For an encore I launched rashly into a half-cocked rendition of Doomsday Strum and forgot the words to the last verse: I must have lost my bearings when I realized I was singing the bit about naked Japanese teenyboppers to a couple of Japanese ladies in the front row.
PS I saw the mighty David Johansen at the Garage a few days ago and now I want a double-bass player too. If you're up for it, you can contact us on this site (see contact page for details), but not if you're hung up on chops.
Saturday February 10th 2001
A Rough Trade (RoTa) session at Notting Hill Arts Club. This time Time Out deemed us "rather fine". Another great gig! Just think of all the credit we're racking up in Rock n'Roll Heaven!
Sunday March 18th 2001
Twisted a.m. Lounge at the Windmill, Blenheim Gardens, SW2
I liked the ambience, I liked the records DJ Lenny played, I liked the sassy females and the cowgirl boots and I liked the fact we even got paid (Cheers, Tim)! Good gig. (Strange new atonal spin on Pod's guitar solo in "Jezebel" but then we've never denied Les Dawson was a profound influence on us). Next up, Marianne Hyatt pole-danced around her mic-stand, and, over programmed beats and guitar and string-bass played havoc with our hillbilly hormones. Great vocals, great lyrics, great songs.
Who's for Low at Shepherd's Bush Empire on Thursday? And Yo La Tengo are there soon and Sparklehorse at the Borderline.
Wednesday March 21st 2001
They played our album in its entirety after the Sandy Dillon gig at the Borderline last night.
Saturday April 21st 2001
The Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford
We set up on the floor in front of the stage so as not to disturb All About Eve's pristine arrangement of stools, fairylight-bedecked mic-stands and multiple guitars....Dave's first gig as percussionist and keyboard-player, but the boy done good. World-premiere of 'She Hangs In The Dark Like A Saint In A Cathedral'. Midway through 'Lazarus In Flames' the power failed and I stepped boldly into the breach, ready to do my Lenny Bruce thing (how the fuck would that've gone!?) but the venue's splendid techs had things back up and running before I could frame so much as a solitary aperçu.....We finished what turned out to be a cracker of a set and All About Eve were still strumming earnestly away as our sleek black limousines pulled gently away into the balmy Dartford night. Songdog --- like Frasier --- had left the building....
Wednesday May 9th 2001
Supporting HAMELL ON TRIAL at Upstairs at the Garage
Ed Hamell's album -- "Choochtown" -- is a scorcher, so when we heard this gig was happening we definitely wanted the support slot. He's a one-man Panzer division, a Jerry Lee Lewis for these degraded times. He gave us copies of his live album: one of the songs is about the time John Lennon told him to fuck off! He's a showman and a brilliant lyricist and he's hip too, which is a big deal in a world where the straights rool OK. We need more people like Ed Hamell for the same sort of reasons we need World Bank and WTO protests. Buy his record motherfuckers!
Our set was really cool (us and Hamell On Trial: what a line-up!). But I did go and accidentally activate the drum-machine during the last song! It's that goddamn Les Dawson factor again!
PS We're supporting Lift To Experience soon. I recommend their record too.
Wednesday May 23rd 2001
Supporting David J at Upstairs at the Garage
We were offered this one at short notice. We played a lovely set but there was way too much chattering in the bar area for my liking. What the fuck do they talk about? Football? Property prices? The different conceptions of Will in Nietzsche and Schopenhauer? The latter, you reckon? According to Schopenhauer the only respite there is from the ravages of the Will is rapt contemplation of the aesthetic, so why not just shut the fuck up and get lost in a little rapt contemplation of Songdog? (Nietzsche said misanthropy was the greatest danger, but sometimes I feel twice as misanthropic as a London bus driver, and if technology ever stretches to ground-to-ground missiles fired from a Martin acoustic then those fucking diarrhoea-gobbed retards are cinders.) Still, a lot of people came up afterwards to say how much they'd enjoyed it, we got some new names for the mailing list, payment and a rider, so it was still a hallelujah sort of evening. David J used to play bass with Bauhaus. He asked Corrinne for a copy of our LP. Corrinne stayed up all night after the gig --- not for the Tenpole Tudor all-nighter happening downstairs but because she was off to Amsterdam on a two-day schmooze early the next morning.
Thursday June 7th 2001
Album Launch for "The Way of the World" at the 12 Bar
" ..Don't expect hand-clapping fillers or on-stage hilarity .." warned the review in the Evening Standard (and I've had the Littlest Hobo reference explained to me now!) but some of the audience mistook the gig for a New Year's Eve piss-up and spoiled it for a lot of people. I figure Bacchus was to blame (whereas sometimes it's philistinism, other times jealousy). And the drum-machine mysteriously failed to kick-in, as did the sampler --- both functioning perfectly at sound-check! So it got a bit tense up there, but still some of the versions really sizzled --- with special mention for "She Hangs In The Dark " and "Jezebel". Met Nick Hasted, thanked him for his review in Uncut (he's doing an interview with us for the next issue: we'll do it on Monday back at the 12-Bar. Picked that venue because I love the vibe of the place). Mark Mulcahy did a set after us but I felt too wired to stay and listen. (Thom Yorke cites him as his favourite singer). There was free tequila at the bar and PG Tips backstage. Anyhow, a big thank you to Andy and all the staff at the 12 Bar for helping to make it a great night.
And can I just say how superb Hawksley Workman was at the Borderline last Saturday. And how fine his album is. And his book. Some people laughed and talked throughout his set too. I guess if you chunder out the boogie in a Stereophonics pub-rock style at least you drown out the prattling arseholes
Tuesday June 12th 2001
Leicester International Arts Centre (supporting Lift To Experience)
I played in Leicester once before, back in the bad old days, to a load of bladdered freshmen at the University, and Christ was it dismal! (Mind you, I didn't like the band I was in myself then! Crap management, demoralised band-members -- you name the disease, we had it). But tonight was a like a whole different experience in a whole different corner of Eternity --- a great audience, a lovely big 9k rig with a brilliant sound (and a first-class mixing job by Jon C.), and an immaculate version of "I Love My Angel's Plastic Wings" to kick things off with (I ballsed it up big-time at the 12-Bar!) --- so, in my head, I pretended this was the album-launch! Josh Pearson sat in the front row during our set and suggested an album-swap afterwards. Tonight the Apocalypse unfurled at the Texas-Jerusalem-Leicester crossroads. Their set was magnificent (whereas last night at Water Rats I felt the venue had been too small to contain them) . Ian, the promoter, is a man of taste (he put this bill on, for starters!) and yes, we most definitely accept his invitation to go back.
PS Clem Snide excellent at Dingwalls last Sunday.
Saturday June 23rd 2001
Got a great 4-star review in the Times to cheer us on our way up the M40. No sign of Radiohead on the streets. Today's Independent ran a nice little trailer for tonight's gig (their LP review apparently due in early July). We'd thought of debuting "So The Lord Sent Chantal" tonight, but chickened out.
Charlie Gillett mentioned us twice on his show tonight and had been hoping to play a track but time ran out....
Saturday June 30th 2001
RoTa @ Notting Hill Arts Club
Third world temperatures up on the street - infernal ones downstairs in the gig itself. Despite a good preview in Time Out and a smoochy pic (a nod at the sleeve of "Scott", taken in Toronto last year) the audience was smaller than expected. I guess Euterpe's just no match for Helios. But it was still a great gig --- Lazarus In Flames tucked its thumbs into its belt-hoops and just cut loose!
Pod says Velma (one of the support bands) were good --- sexy cerebral types with a hard-on for Test Department (remember them?)
Monday July 23rd 2001
Birmingham Songwriters Festival, Ronnie Scotts, Birmingham
Lovely venue, superb sound on-stage and off and an audience that seemed to hang on every word, so easily the best gig since Leicester. Slaid Cleaves is a little too mainstream country for my tastes -- though I'd never dream of telling him that, but the singer in the local duo that went on between us and Cleaves harboured no such inhibitions and was at pains to tell me that he'd heard our track on the Uncut CD but that our music "isn't my sort of thing" and then proceeded to get up there and do that dated, drawling indie-boy thing that moves nothing in me but my bowels --- though I'd never dream of telling him that! But we'd had all kinds of good tidings on our way to the gig, so I was in a really good mood and wished him no more harm than that he remain just as talented as he is.
The record's doing well. "Rainy Night In Chinatown" sounded great on Charlie Gillett's show the other night. The Independent gave us a good review on Saturday and we'll have our mugs in Metro on Wednesday. Plus the recent upturn in our fortunes seems to be pissing quite a few people off, so all's well with the world! And I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all our well-wishers and an even bigger FUCK OFF to all those who ain't.
Hot tip of the week: M Ward's LP "End of Amnesia" is absolutely beautiful.
Wednesday July 25th 2001
Radio 4 at Notting Hill Arts Club
God, yes! Where did all these people come from? Tonight we did debut "So The Lord Sent Chantal" and it got a great response. In the bar area - as ever - they yapped like the babbling heads in Beckett's urns (though less poetically), but I take it less personally now, it happens at all the gigs I attend and even Neil fucking Young suffers it, so I guess it's just the miniscule attention span of the grievously dumbed-down. New Rough Trade signing A.R.E. Weapons were on before us, bristling with attitude but low on aesthetic payload. Or maybe they sound great on record. Or maybe attitude's enough. Matt from Muse was drifting about early in the evening, I don't know if he caught us or not.
PS Saw P.P. Arnold at an album launch and I'm in love! Incurably!
Friday September 7th 2001
UNCUT night at Borders Oxford Street
James Dean Bradfield was perusing the shelves as we soundchecked (out to plug a gap in his Harry Potter collection, I guess) but wasn't around come gig-time. (Spotted him too at Dingwalls a while back and Pod took a piss alongside him at the Hayes Island public toilets a few weeks ago!). The gig was great, lovely audience and no noise (I know I go on about this, but here's Elliot Mazer watching Neil Young performing "Helpless" to a mob in Ohio: " .The quieter Neil got the louder the crowd became .He's in this little magical space singing and playing and they're all acting like it's a football game." Hear hear! ). Debuted "The Girl On The Escalator at HMV" - I was terrified, I'd never sung the song through a microphone before, but it went well and the audience seemed to like it. Nick Hasted will review the gig in the November issue of Uncut.
Shot a video for BBC Play UK a few weeks ago at a ballet school near Hatton Garden. We didn't know the venue until the night before, so it was too late to organise massed ranks of posh totty throwing Swan Lake-type poses behind us. After us they filmed Lowgold and Ash.
On August 2nd a major label (The Management adamantly refuse to let me name names!) offered to take over the album, re-release it, take out an option on the second one, etc. Advice was sought. Them that know tell us the record's doing just dandy all on its own, the risk would be all ours and that we should stick as we are for now .?
The Amsterdam schmooze bore fruit, and we're off there in October!
Literary tip: Ludwig Wittgenstein --- the boy can write, I think he'll be famous ..
Thursday September 20th 2001
12 Bar Club
Great audience, impeccable sound and all the new material seemed to go down well, including the new arrangement of "Cold Coffee and Ava Gardner" that we came up with last weekend and had to quickly re-rehearse at soundcheck tonight (features Karl on mandolin). Jon put on "Shipwrecks" as we left the stage and it sounded just the perfect song to exit to.
Saw Kelly Jones outside the 12-Bar the other day. Can't abide his blokey music but was struck by how handsome he looked! And in yellow!
Bjork's "Vespertine" is a dazzling feat of sonic architecture. Unearthly. As is the Zim's "Love and Theft" (but of a different kind of unearthliness. If Bjork's record evokes the crystalline beauty of a glass cathedral, Bob's summons up a dusty, purgatorial desert bordertown where the dead souls of Time Immemorial carouse on the penumbral breeze). What I mean is, I really like both these records!
Thursday September 27th 2001
Live session for BBC Radio Wales
We did six numbers for the Owen Money show on BBC Wales in Cardiff. Owen was off playing celebrity golf (!!!) so his show was hosted by Mal Pope. (Owen's a nice guy, etc. but can be a bit of a cheesemeistr, so Mal was a very welcome substitute!). The other guests were Tim Rose (he wrote "Hey Joe") and Alan Clayson, plugging new editions of his George and Ringo biographies (he's also the author of the only Jacques Brel biog in English). Both guests were eloquent and knowledgeable and a great time was had by all (Tim Rose borrowed my guitar for an impromptu song). The producer, Gary Price, is a splendid fellow and man of impeccable taste! (And thanks to Cynthia, his assistant, for looking after us so well). Didn't feel right letting porters ferry our gear around the building but that's apparently how they do it there . Meanwhile, back in Oakdale, Karl's parents listened to the show on the radio and liked us! I said LIKED US! ..
We're going to tomorrow's launch party for the Barbican's "Beyond Nashville" season. Jim White'll playing on Nov 2nd. A true star .. Corrinne and Lenny are off to Manchester on Saturday for the In The City thing. We'll be rehearsing. Most of the next album is already written and arranged and we'll be recording it before Xmas, I hope. We're currently working on a tune provisionally entitled: "Love On A Spike".
Eef Barzelay's voice (he's the singer/songwriter in Clem Snide) is really something. He could sing anything and make it sound great. And he looks like a post-modern Buddy Holly.
Sunday October 7th 2001
Live session for Radio Ceredigion
(That's Radio Cardigan to non-speakers of yr iaith Gymraeg, where Eirwyn Evans has been playing the album a lot. I did a phone interview with him about a month ago). The station operates from studios in an old school next to the railway station in Aberystwyth. I saw hardly anything of the town but the mid-Wales scenery we drove through to get there was magnificent and the session itself was great. Did five songs live and then Eirwyn (and Dan, his engineer) played "In The Well of Lost Causes" off the LP. Corrinne gets tapes of all the sessions we do but I never listen back to them, I daren't! During the intro to "The Girl On The Escalator at HMV" Dan fell off his chair, they ran out of the studio laughing and I did the whole number trying to stifle a giggling fit. But there was nothing much to giggle about on the journey home --- it took SEVEN FUCKING HOURS thanks to tailbacks on the M6 and M1. But a grand way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Diolch yn fawr, gentlemen.
Alan Clayson's e-mailed us a review, a highly complimentary one, that'll appear in the next issue of "Record Collector". " .oblique lyrical metaphysics ", " Morgans's tenor a thing of wonder ", ". an acquired taste, but one that might linger to the grave ". More! More! So much more gratifying than the cry of "Arse!" that some knobhead in Cornwall once regaled us with during a particularly tender and heartfelt moment of the set. I harbour grudges, me.
Off to Amsterdam on Tuesday.
Tuesday October 16th-Saturday October 20th 2001
Access to Amsterdam festival
Four days of adventure and excess! Like the Toronto annual bash, all the venues in the city are given over to artists' showcases, with seminars and brunches throughout the day. Our showcase was at Fantasio in the Nationaal Pop Instituut building on a damp Thursday evening. An English webzine, Klubkat, turned up to cover the gig and a lot of people in the audience must've known "I Love My Angel's Plastic Wings" from the UNCUT CD judging by the response it received. A great gig, nice and confident and relaxed.
Saw showcases by Michael J. Sheehy, Jackie Leven and Michael de Jong, all at the Melkveg where we tended to hang out most. Chris Carr was everywhere, his flight-details for the trip home scrawled on a beer-mat in his pocket, all his worldly goods in a carrier-bag he kept mislaying. Respect! . I'd only ever spent one evening in Amsterdam, a long time ago, I hadn't realised what a great city it is. We picked up a banjo cheap --- it'll be cropping up soon on a Songdog tune somewhere near you.
Jon rushed round venues in his role as Fuzzpop supremo (and had to babysit skunked-up band-members who shall remain anonymous) and Nell took a canal trip with some carousing Germans. Corrinne kept discovering lovely places to eat so Lenny had more meals than he'd ever planned having. Met Charlotte Greig and John Williams and Ian Matthews .
I didn't want to come home. I mean I really didn't want to come home! Grubby, philistine England soon reasserted itself --- I was somebody's 'mate' as soon as I landed, there was a camera crew awaiting the arrival of Melanie B. and my cabbie on the two-hour journey home from Heathrow in the rain was a London 'geezer' (the absolute worst type of Brit) regaling us with tales of football, golf and the BNP. Rule fucking Britannia, eh? But it's now almost a week later and in my head I'm still going Dutch .
On Wednesday night (24th) Pod and I played a set downstairs at The Garage supporting an outfit called The Cranes (who I'd never heard of, though they packed the place). I didn't get to hear their music but they were nice people
Tuesday October 30th 2001
Almost an utter waste of time --- but "Blackwood Boy" and Charlotte and her guitarist Julian Hayman were there, so we played to them and pretended it was Wembley Stadium packed with adoring multitudes. We'd been put on with a local band, and their wives, girlfriends, aunts, etc huddled up the back and partied till their husbands, boyfriends, nephews, etc took the stage. One of them wore a Hallowe'en mask, so me and him were never going to bond. Is this the famous Taffia we read so much about? Or were they all at home poring over Nicky Wire's lyrics? (Snigger snigger!)
Ed Hamell was booked for the following evening, so I scrawled a message on the DJ booth: "Dear Ed, hope you're keeping well. Don't panic, just say you're popping out for a pizza, then turn right and make a break for the M4. Regards, Lyndon". Afterwards, we loaded the gear in a Noah-type downpour, with a member of the local constabulary reminding us that pavements are for walking on, not parking on. Roll over, Colombo.
In Leicester next week with the Handsome Family.
Wednesday November 7th 2001
The Charlotte, Leicester
Supporting the Handsome Family. It was great to see Brett and Rennie again, I quizzed him about Greil Marcus's "The Beatles of the alt-folk movement" remark. They were so modest about it! Man, if he'd said that about us I'd be strutting ! Last time we played Leicester it was great, but this time the venue sucked a little (Charlotte Greig told me it was a bit of a dive when she came to see us at Cardiff's Barfly last week - another dive!). It's a Dublin Castle-style pub venue with a PA designed more for cranked-up indie-band karaoke than our kind of stuff. The resident engineer was a miserable bastard that mixed the opening act - a local group --- as if it was an attempt from all those miles away to drive Osama bin Laden screaming from his underground bolthole, sort of 'Leicester declares sonic war on Al Qaeda'. I suppose the rest of us were to be written off as 'collateral damage'.Thank God he wasn't mixing us. But the audience was good and seemed to appreciate us ( though we felt our performance was nowhere near the band on best form and the foldback rendered the onstage sound akin to fingernails on a blackboard). So, hey, Ian, can we make it the other place again next time?
Lenny had his car broken into. Were they after free Songdog LPs, the bastards?
Saw Bonnie Prince Billy at Shepherd Bush Empire last weekend. Superb. Great band, great sound. He came back alone for an encore and did five acoustic tunes back-to-back and you could hear a pin drop all the way back to the furthest corners of the packed hall . And I won't even bother going on about Leonard Cohen's new record, you'll already have assumed it's magnificent, and yep, it is.
Saturday November 17th 2001
FINGS WOT I 'AVE SEEN AND DONE THIS WEEK (GORDON BENNETT, YOU'RE 'AVING A LAUGH AINCHA!)
I'm writing (or trying to) new words to two old melodies ("Bang Bang Stars Collide" & "It's Not A Love Thing" for the historians) because the tunes are beautiful and I'd love us to record them as new songs but stylistic cohesion would demand a different approach lyrically (it worked a treat with "Shipwrecks", which originally existed under the name "I Salamander", if anyone's interested!). And we're re-working "Party Frock", but with the same words and title, just a new arrangement . I call this the T.S.Eliot method, pop-pickers -- refine, re-contextualise, until the perfect expression of an original idea is achieved. (Or a jewel of a tune is given a setting that befits its luminosity!). Or whatever ..! (Fuck me, Tel! It's a bit "War An' Peace" innit!).
Tuesday at the 100 Club: Matt Ward was brilliant. He did a cover of David Bowie's "Let's Dance", which I'd always thought of as a magnificent vocal and drum sound and a tacky suntan (I haven't heard it in years, and no doubt, like everything quintessentially Eighties -- that hellish decade! --- it probably sounds fucking awful now) but which Matt proved to be a really great song, lyric included. He did "Carolina" at the piano and it was even better than it sounds on guitar. And "O'Brien" is a song I'd be just proud to have written .
Wednesday at the Borderline: Chris Whitley. I'd never heard of him, but Chris Carr recommended the gig, so ..I found the guy steel-wheeling behind him almost as impressive as Whitley himself. "He took it all so far, but boy could he play guitar" .
Thursday at John Calder's place: a reading of Beckett's "Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit" followed by wine and a chinwag on aforesaid dialogues, Beckett's masterful declaration-of-intent. And as for the artist's "fidelity to failure", Sam, tell me about it! Worse, perhaps, than itchy scrotal sores, that compulsion to express, I know
Friday at The Spitz: Hawksley Godlike Workman! He's a prodigy, a Renaissance man, he just makes me so fucking jealous! The crowd went apeshit for him. The new songs sounded so great you ache for the next record. The guy should be a world-class star: he's the anti-Robbie. He might even crack Straightsville UK --- I could imagine him on Capital Radio, Uncle Chris Tarrant spinning "No Cissies" between "Rock DJ" and "Trouble" or some patronising competition to win tickets to see a Spice Girl play darts at the Arsenal or whatever. The guy is just depressingly outstanding (Hawksley, I mean, not Chris Tarrant. Chris Tarrant is just depressing).
Saturday: Strumming a ditty live on LBC -- "Goodbye Isabel".
Did a song on Wendy Lloyd's LBC show. She'd been at the Spitz last night too.
I just heard Ken Kesey's dead.
Tuesday November 20th 2001
Session on BBC London
Pod and I did "Goodbye Isabel" and "The Way Of The World" on Bill Overton's programme on BBC London. Bill warned us (on air!) that he'd be checking this diary to see he didn't get a slagging --- as if, Bill! As if! In fact, when I come round to compiling my "Man Of The Year" list in a few weeks you'll definitely get a nomination! So come on, Songdog fans, fuck Capital! Tune in to 94.9FM instead!
Wednesday November 21st 2001
Gig at the Spitz, and a jolly good one it was too! Spiffing, even! We did 12 songs and debuted "Gigolo Moon" among them. Wonderful sound, great audience, lovely venue. Katy Carr did a twenty-minute opening set, just her and her Wurlitzer, and made quite an impression. Then Lorimer did an excellent stripped-down acoustic set. (Nothing does me in like those churning viola lines ). We encored with "Blind Picasso" and a tentative stab at a work-in-progress, "Your New Best Friend". (And who chose the records played? He must be so cool I'd have sex with him!). Rob came up from Worthing for the gig: I hadn't seen him in years but Time had not ravaged him. METRO published a fine review today and a nice big photo.Talk of us playing St. Petersburg .? The White Stripes were across town at the Astoria, but I think red and white is just so last year, and so we opted for black and blue. A huge and unironic thank you to all those who came out to see us (and paid £9 a head for the privilege!) and to Clear Channel for putting us on.
Saturday December 1st 2001
So the Dark Horse is dead and another nail hammered in the coffin of my youth. I had it in for George for a long time because of his grouchy take on his Fab-ness (his walking out at Twickenham was like the Holy Ghost didn't want to be friends anymore with the Father, Son and Ringo) and the fact he'd have faceless musos like Willie Weeks on his records when he could've had Paul McCartney, but Christ, in the end all that mattered was that he was a Beatle, a band so special that after them (and Dylan) the entire history of popular music is just people farting about in their slipstream. (NB Now and then you encounter the odd nerd who likes to play down the Fabs' godliness: you can date these weirdos to the generation that came of age during the punk years and swallowed the Clash's "No More Beatles" bollocks. But hey, boys! Joe didn't mean it, OK! It was only a career move! A posture! Wanky and embarrassing, yes! But no more sincere or meaningful than posing in combat gear next to squaddies manning barbed-wire emplacements in Belfast!). I saw George once, clocked him watching a band from the back of the stage. Fuck! The man who wrote and sang "Long Long Long" and "Within You Without You"! The man that played the solo on "Nowhere Man" and "A Hard Day's Night"! The third most important person on the fucking planet! And the man whose rockabilly jangle sounded even more sublime when the dreaded blues-rock/prog movement introduced the notion of axeman fretwank. Years later, his guitar intro to "Free as A Bird" still made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up the first ten times I heard it. I loved the hoarse vocals all over the "Dark Horse" record (and even a novelty number like "Ding Dong" still made me feel ridiculously optimistic about the future one long-gone New Year. Me! Optimistic!). As for his post-Moptop stuff, he fared no better no worse than the others --- a couple of good albums each --- especially "John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band", "All Things Must Pass" and "Band On The Run" --- and then the odd great song every now and then. So, grumpy or no, George has been one of the great great great outstanding figures of my life. And it's real shitty news that he's gone.
Hare Krishna, George.
Thursday December 13th 2001
1) Smog at the Old Vic last Sunday ---spectacular. Wonderful band, and Bill's such a star. The new album's just as good as "Dongs of Sevotion". All he said all evening was "Thank you", then, later, "Thanks, kids" and, as he came back on for the encore, "What d'you wanna hear?" . I would've bought the t-shirt but it only came in fucking orange!
2) Went to Chip Taylor's gig at the Borderline last night expecting to see P. P. Arnold again but there was no sign of her. I was heartbroken. How could she stand me up? Doesn't she love me anymore? So where was she? And who was she with? Pat, call me! . I didn't want to spoil the party, so I went. (I didn't know Chip co-wrote the old Hollies hit "I Can't Let Go").
3) I've been playing "All Things Must Pass" a lot lately. What a masterpiece.
4) Uncut's got a 50 All-Time Best Rolling Stones Songs issue out. I was asked for my Top 10 and I wrote a bit on my first choice, "Paint It Black" (it's printed in the current issue but with a crucial line edited out!). I should've penned a line a two on each of the others, maybe blagged myself more column inches! Made me play the mighty "Let It Bleed" again.
5) We're doing some gigs in Spain in early March and then Moscow and St Petersburg in April. Before then we'll be recording another LP, we're currently 'playing in' the 12 songs.