06 March, 2014
Under the bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers (cover) Jess Greenberg
Wannabes, check this then get back to me...
03 March, 2014
John Mayer's performance on David Letterman Late Night Show 2013
Wish I were here...
Love from a stranger…
Just read your books on Metallica and AC/DC.Quite an eye opener! The Metallica one was very informative on the origins of the band and the downright nasty way they treated Jason.I must admit I found them increasingly hard to stomach musically from Justice onwards but live they're still a good night out! As for AC/DC a band that no one seems to really know that closely at all. I do remember the Kerrang feature you did on Rock N Rio in 85 where you mention AC/DC just ignored everyone.Seems like it's always been that way! Never quite realised the Iron Grip that Malcolm has on the band and also the possibility quite a few of the lyrics on Back In Black could be Bon Scott...
Anyway both good reads! Read your Zep book a year or so ago which again doesn't just regurgitate the stories we've all heard before. Read your Maiden one which being authorised I expect was subject to heavy editing? They are my favourite band but I still think there's more to be told that we may or may not get to hear about.
Will get round to the Sabbath one soon I'm sure.I do wonder that as the generation of Classic rock bands start to fall away who will we read about? I see you're doing a book on The Doors.I read the No One gets out alive one years back.
Anyway best wishes and all that!
02 March, 2014
Tangle Eye - Heaven (Alan Lomax Southern Journey Remixed)
And when they get to their destination, something better to be done...
The Doors - Riders On The Storm (ORIGINAL!) - driving with Jim
Dedicated to all Sunday drivers everywhere.
28 February, 2014
So here's my rock blog (for a change). I was speaking to Chad Smith last night on the blower and he made me laugh so much with some of his stories I really did have to wipe the tears from my eyes. Then, this morning, driving into my office, I actually gasped listening to the California Breed pre-release CD my friend Glenn Hughes sent me. This might just be the best rock CD you will hear this year (when it is released in May). Certainly there will be no better debut album from any rock band old or new this side of 2015. Spent the rest of the day working on the transcript of an interview with Bruce Botnick for my forthcoming book on The Doors. Bruce made me both laugh and gasp and also feel some of the other kind of tears. Like speaking with the wise wizard on the one day of the year he comes down from the mountain. Then just now Kevin Shirley told me a story via Skype that moved me so much I'm off now to hug my kids. Frankly, I'm exhausted and so rocked out I might need just the smallest thimbleful of red to calm my elderly nerves. I think tomorrow I'll go back to writing about the family...
24 February, 2014
Derek and the Dominos - Keep on Growing (+playlist)
The first time I heard Layla was on the great Stuart Henry's Radio 1 show - ma friends - while I was laying in the bath in my new bell bottom Levis waiting for them to shrink. Like you were supposed to back then. For those of you that missed Stuart Henry, my condolences, cos he was the master growler. One of the only man's man DJs I can recall apart from the equally great Tommy Vance, oh and of course the fantastically great Roger Scott. Next to them John Peel sounded like the arse-bouncer he really was, god bless him. Wait, yes, of course I loved Peel, too, but I'm talking about men's men, dig? Not silly cunts afraid to grow old still reading the poxy NME into their dotage. BTW, while we're here, did you know the new ABC figures came out a couple weeks back and weekly sales of the NME are now down to 20,000. Not long now then, eh kids.
So anyway there I was laying in the bath at my ma and pa's gaff, where I did then reside, being only 13 or so and not long-toothed enough yet to fuck off, which I absolutely could not wait to do, obviously. And on comes the sexiest opening guitar riff of all time - sorry Jimi, Jimmy, Jeff, Joe et al but really you can't touch this, or certainly never did in my bathtime - and dear god but my lid just flipped wide open. I had no idea who Derek was or what the Dominoes were but bit by bit over the coming weeks I pieced together the usual drastically edited version, as you had to in them there pre-internet phone in the hall property of the parents days. And it was a sad one. The band had broken up. The guitarist had died. And Layla was not even a hit single first time around but had to wait for a re-release a year later (1972). I have no idea if that's the real story but it's stuck to me ever since. Anyway, I kept this with me for years. I mean, years, kid. You know what years are? Or what it means to keep something with you that long? No, you don't. Go back to your phone, dummy. Until very, very late one night about five years later I was sitting listening to another Stuart rap, this one my hero at the time, a bearded Irish pirate named Stuart Kyle. Though it might have been Stewart. Anyway, Stuart/Stewart was the fucking man and I was always deeply delighted whenever I got the chance to hang with him, me being eight years younger and several rebirths inferior.
Anyways, Stuart banged on the whole Layla album. Double four-sided far out trip and I sat there toking and choking on it like there was no tomorrow which at the time I actually believed there was, see all boys are dummies really. I didn't get all of it. But I did the most important parts. And I sat there revelling in them. The whole manly tripped out pad in the country chick in the city vibe and I resolved that one day very soon I would have a beard too. I don't remember what happened to my bell bottoms.
21 February, 2014
dalai lama & bill laswell - life
I was 17, my dad had kicked me out, literally, my mother running down the street after me pressing a fiver in my hand, crying. I didn't care. I had a place to crash, the hippy house on Ealing Common, where they grew their own weed plants six feet tall in the garden it was the heatwave of 76, mothers were frying eggs on pavements, and though I was given a haunted room it was £20 a month and I was suddenly running wild and free, man. Well, kinda. Everyone in the house - the cool ones anyway that interested me - were into Buddha, Krishna, Wilhelm Reich, the UFOs were out there baby coming closer every day and we were ready, moving around the clouds like jigsaw pieces. Then Andy, who went to all these things, journeyed over the mountains to come back with the good word turquoise and silver on his wrists, told us about going to hear the Dalai Lama give a talk. I had no idea who or what he was talking about. But I loved to listen anyway. I was 17. They were all 25, about 10 of them, men and women, and I would steal their food at 4.00am and laugh and cry and laugh and cry, speed cycle, way it would go back then, Durban Poison, as Hotel California swung like an unshaded lightbulb in the room. Andy gave me the Lama's book. I read it it it. Somehow it mattered.
20 February, 2014
Been talking about a little project with my old mucker Kevin Shirley and it's a beautiful thing. I grew up as a very small child listening to my father and his other muso pals telling stories into the wee small hours sitting around the fire drinking and smoking and telling a dirty joke or two. This and the natural urge to write and read led me to this old pony I been riding now these past near 40 years. The point being, Kev is one of those storytellers that even at his darkest moments has you laughing. And of course it's all about music folk and the crazy bullshit that comes with them, some of it the best music you've ever heard, some of it the biggest crap you've ever had to wade through. And there's no separation. You can't have one without the other. And that's OK because once you grasp that, you are finally halfway home to some kind of sanity, and maybe even some measure of clarity, or at least knowing where to shine your torch when it works into the darkness which is always there whether you are up to it and not. Especially when not.
Anyway, Kev has been telling me some stories and I am enjoying every minute. Especially the one about...
18 February, 2014
John Mayall - Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (Full Album)
Sitting here writing up my Jack Bruce interview for BLUES, he reminded me that he was in this line-up of Mayall's Blues Breakers, though not on the original version of this album, though you can hear him on the later elongated CD version. Also reminds me of when I used to talk to Gary Moore about this record, and Geezer Butler who also loved it, and of course my young friend Joe Bonamassa, which reminds me of something else… Hey Joe - you owe me a call! Come on, man, make ya feel all right...
17 February, 2014
Began the day with a genuinely trippy early Monday morning meeting which it seems I was the only one who turned up for. Others did eventually arrive but by then the fact I'd missed breakfast to be here so early had taken over and I could no longer hear what anyone was saying. I'm sure it was all good though. Anything to get out of there and to -
- my next meeting. A far more convivial affair at Soho House where I met film director Mike Jeffries who wants to make a movie about a certain rock star that I used to know. Sorry to tease, my love, but in the movie world we never divulge more than that for fear someone might just run off with said idea. And besides, my stomach was now really starting to rumble. I ordered fish and chips with mushy peas. Which all the movie in-crowd are eating this year, doncha know. Or will be now.
Then onto a chat in a car with a tall, dark not so strange stranger named Robert, aka Super Agent to the Poor and Destitute writers of this world, namely moi. We had three things to talk about. One, we decided naaaaaw. The other we decided yesssss! The other we decided let's have a meeting -
Sat slumped in my chair on the train home feeling exhausted, my dear. So many cups of coffee, so little blood sugar left. Got back to my office tonight just in time to have that nice Mr Shirley on the Skype, telling me stories of how he once produced Jackyl, whose toe-tapping hit She Loves My Cock we both agree remains an unsung masterpiece, then showed Bon Jovi how to have a hit in the 90s with Always. Remember that one? Yes, you can blame the Caveman for that.
Now I must off. My little China girl in the local chop-chop-shop is waiting with more of those noodles and whatnots that keep body and soul going through the motions just long enough to finally - finally - get back to some serious Game Of Thrones box set action. Oh mother of dragons, come on baby light my fire...
16 February, 2014
Here is a review of my Black Sabbath book by something who seems to have actually read it. Thanks Steve.
Meanwhile, back at the clinic, I awoke this morning with what wife says is conjunctivitis of the right eye, and what I say is like having been punched in the eye by Mike Tyson in 1985. Pain! Bloodshot! Tears! And underlying that, a small but persistent throb from the other eye reminding me that I popped out last night for a wee drinkie or two with the 'boys' from the village. So yes, a one-two punch. But that's OK because today is my youngest daughter's 11th birthday and so the house has been full of screaming rampaging kids in full birthday party mode all afternoon. Some are even staying for a sleepover, and tomorrow being the start of half-term and therefore not a school day they will still be there in the morning at that point, wife confidently predicts, when my infected eye should be fully closed and stuck together. Hooray!
14 February, 2014
Well it had been one of those long white winters that never end. Not before turning black. We had settled for the night on the side of the mountain, it was early morning, about half past four, and that bitch was cold. Bob broke out the Charlie, he was sick with it and had been all year. The rest of us didn't want to know. Didn't want to end up like him a bag o bones no soul no way home not even for one night. Tublecaine the high priest northman pulled out his guitar began singing one of him songs he brings up times like this long yowls and mystic words full of signs and shaking vibration blues. I was on the coffee, hooked on the hot black sweetness, had abandoned sleep to the night things, was still just young enough to see it through a while bit longer shorter. And the wind she did howl. We had a tent so small our legs stuck out so we never lay long. There was women too when isn't there? These were old-young wise and traditional mouthy know every sort of thing besides the point hit you like a hammer to the knees you fuck around. Well, Tuble kept a-going through him repertoire and the night even she began to hide. No sleep till never not that that matter a hell hoo anyhow. Never trust one who say it so with no smile.
12 February, 2014
I was chatting with Kevin Shirley on Skype yesterday and we were having a chuckle about certain people we know who like to drop names the way most people drop sweetie wrappers. So anyway, I had a lovely talk this afternoon with Jack Bruce. Jack is one of the few truly legendary rock musicians I have never actually interviewed before, so this was going to be a treat for me, even if it amounted to not much. The fact that it turns out Jack is a brilliant storyteller made it perfect, though. The fact that I also really like his forthcoming album, Silver Rails, was another big bonus. It's really not that often that an interview ticks all the big boxes - actually liking the music (a lot), actually getting on really well (so that your 30-minute interview stretches to 90 minutes and still feels like 10), and getting to know someone knew (and being delighted you made the effort), and they are more than happy to talk you through all the hot spots of their career (in Jack's case, all of the far out 1960s).
A good Glasgow boy, which means he was never that bothered whether anyone thought he was good or not, who used to run home from school as a kid so he could press his ear to the speaker of the family radiogram to listen to Beethoven, at the same time as discovering original 50s-style rock'n'roll, wrote a string quartet at the age of 11, then bounced out of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music when he was 16 cos he refused to stop playing jazz, then rode his luck to London where… well, you can read all about it in the next issue of Classic Rock's BLUES MAGAZINE.
Suffice to say, Jack's back, baby. Jack's back.
01 February, 2014
Top down, motor running this week. Feeling the wind in my non-existent hair. I was just talking on the phone to Jason Bonham and he was saying he plays drums every single day now and how he would never have imagined doing that when he was in his 20s. Know what he means, I don't just write every day, something I could not do even if I wanted and I never really wanted in my 20s, I write chapters and features and transcribe and do several interviews every day and this week anyway pretty much every night. Sounds exciting, if you like that sort of thing, but it feels like you're just ill all the time. Thank god I do all that yoga, jogging, health food eating, water drinking and plain old praying.
No, wait. That's the other guy. The bizarro world me. Back in this one I'm still just a schlob falling down one hole after another, hoping that when I do finally get home in an hour or so my lovely wife will be waiting with something in her hand besides a frying pan.
27 January, 2014
Have been locked away in my cell writing and well, yes, it's starting to get to me. I believe there is such a thing as a word mine and that there comes a time when you just run out of new material to excavate. That's when you need to retreat, shine your flashlight in another direction, or just get get the lift back up to the surface for some air. Black as the king's beard and as easy to choke on.
26 January, 2014
Been tippy-tapping away in the old office for far too long again. Nothing new there. This strange heat-fever--grey sweat thing won't leave me alone though. This despite a visit to the Sainted Vanessa early yesterday morning. Perhaps wife's roast chicken dinner will make the difference. And just a very small, as to be minute, drop of goodness in some worn down and almost lost thimble, tipped over my brow like fluttering fairy wings, perhaps.
25 January, 2014
Well, old Bill, you can't keep him satisfied. One minute he's complaining he got no work on, the young uns all forgotten him, don't want to deal with his old school bullshit no more his disregard for word counts and deadlines and all that other computer generation crap. The next he is sick and ill down with the grey sweats complaining he has so much on he can't sleep nights, has no idea how he's gonna get through it alive, heading for a breakdown for sure this time.
This was how he was going again when I bumped into him today, hawking and spitting in the pale white afternoon rain black sky leering down on his old bald head poor sad fuck grumbling along his laptop flapping. "You just can't win, kid," he moaned, looking like he had less than 15 mins left in him. "Don't matter what you do or hoo you hoo, ya dig?" I ignored him, went about my own business. Loaded up my wagon and slapped the fillies asses with the strap gee-geeing 'em up hurrying home afore old Bill's sickness spread right across me and deep down way inside. That kinda crap its catchy, see...
16 January, 2014
It was the weekly meeting of the heads of hate and the Old Colonel was in a hurry. His piles were playing up again and anyway he rarely enjoyed these occasions, just another of his good works to perform.
First item on the agenda was the Do Gooders and What To Do With Them.
"I say round 'em up, shoot 'em through the head, and be done with it," said Tom the Diplomat. But that was Tom's answer to everything and the Colonel paid no mind. He disliked militant bores as much as the next sane man god spare us that pain in the arse, but he didn't want to kill them. Not exactly.
"Can't we just find them an island to live on or something," he sniffed. "Some council estate shithole where they can run around having a thoroughly wonderful time hating everything and complaining?"
"Not this time, I fear, sir," said the Deacon, tearing at his robes in obsequious self-loathing.
"But what is it they want this time?" huffed the Colonel.
"That's the problem, sir, they don't really know. They just want to right wrongs, live life how it should be lived."
"And tell the rest of us how to live too! Stupid buggers! Don't they know there is no should? That none of us cares? They keep coming up with rules but there are no rules. There is only what is, not what should be. Don't they ever see that, even suspect it?"
"Well, no, sir - "
There was heavy irritated silence while the Old Colonel considered his piles. It was going to be one of those meetings.
Jose Feliciano & Daryl Hall - Light My Fire - Live From Daryl's House
No explafeliciano necessary...
14 January, 2014
The song that brought sophisticated ennui, intrepid irony and beautiful wonder into my life at 14.
12 January, 2014
So I've quit Facebook and what a great feeling that is. I feel like I've been walking around with a hydra-headed lunatic chained to my back and now finally I've shrugged it off. And good riddance too. Freed from the poisonous cyber-hive I can now reclaim my thoughts without the echo of a thousand imbeciles crowding in on me. I include myself in that description too. There is something so facile about posting on FB that it turns us all into emotionally feeble, small-minded lunatics. I'm ready for something much bigger and bolder. And I've been ready for a long, long time...
11 January, 2014
Gary Clark Jr. - Bright Lights [Official Music Video]
Been working on all day and all night again, writing about the blues and the rock and the stuff that happens when you're doing that stuff too. If you're not careful. Lucky unlucky you. Like the video...
09 January, 2014
Summer 75 and I spent all day and night dreaming. Had been for years. First it was being George Best, then it was Rod Stewart, then Bowie, Dylan, Jimi, Colin Wilson, Philip K. Dick, others. This night it was Bad Company. Not specifically them but something like them. The idea of them. The one conjured up by a hot summer night in hippy heaven, drawing weed in the garden of love with some trippy princess of rock folklore as Shooting Star bludgeoned away in the background.
I JUST FOUDN THIS IN THE DRAFT FOLDER OF MY BLOG POSTS. IT DATES FROM TWO YEARS AGO. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT EMANS - EXCEPT THAT I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON A BIG BAD COMPANY PROJECT AND… WELL… BIT WEIRD...
08 January, 2014
Ritchie Blackmore Interview, 2013
The most hilarious interview I have seen in a long time. None more black...
06 January, 2014
BAD COMPANY - Don Kirshner's Rock Concert 1974
Been talking extensively to three of these gents lately. And some friends of relatives of the great Boz Burrell's. Very good company indeed actually...
03 January, 2014
Israel Nash Gripka - "Through The Door" (+playlist)
New favourites of mine.
Well, we worked all over Xmas my old lady and me and we're still working now. Tomorrow, though, we are officially STOPPING. For a couple of days anyway. Gonna kickback with the kids and go out somewhere and look at the lights of a dark afternoon winter sky. Please don't let it rain. Or if it really has to, make it be in spells, not torrents. Gonna take the kids to a movie tomorrow night, Frozen, they've been on about it so now we're taking them. Other than that, it's in the lap of the Weekend Gods. Let us hope they are not to weary to come to our aid...
Soul Power, Rock Candy Funk Party at the Baked Potato
2014 reaching back towards 1974 stretching forward towards the dawn of now. Baby.
01 January, 2014
Free - Free (Full Album) 1969
The real thing, kids. Begun in the studio exactly 45 years ago today. Listen deep and weep you weren't born so old or so far away and once-young.
31 December, 2013
Black Country Communion - No Quarter - Civic Hall
Close the door, put out the light...
30 December, 2013
Miles Davis Quartet - Blue Haze
She asked for a light and my hands trembled as I fumbled with the matches. She looked at me like she knew exactly what torment I was going through, though I hoped she didn't, couldn't, wouldn't. Knowing she did. I was 17 going on 75. She was younger than me and older than the dark. She was a girl, a woman, I didn't know what she was, where she came from, what it meant, too afeared to be told. Didn't know the rules, if there were any. While she seemed to know everything. Everything worth knowing anyway.
She looked at me pitilessly. Just another helpless fool falling apart in front of her, sort of thing happened all the time in her world. And to much bigger, better men, too. Not just scraps of meat like me. Doodles in the margin waiting for the real thing to begin.
"Wanna come out to the pictures?" she said. Was she talking to me or just testing? I had no idea about the pictures, no thought of going anywhere doing anything how or or why. Or why.
"OK," I said, dying dying on my feet.
"Come on then."
I tried to keep up as she led the way down the streets that she belonged on and I didn't. It was futile. Life was meaningless, full of meaning, lost without the key and I had never had it nor knew how to get it. I was just faking it till the next bus came and ran me over. Till the rain swished me away. Like a scene from a black and white movie French you know the one with the Miles soundtrack and the subtitles I was always too stoned to read. Too tired. Too not enough.
"Hurry up then," she said. Looking at me with disapproval. Why were men boys stupid little stunts so useless always. Always.
She knew and I didn't. Then now.
29 December, 2013
So I know you're all wondering but for Christ's sake don't ask me how my Christmas was or if I had a nice time. Not that it was so bad. Just that I wasn't like you lot, off enjoying myself. Oh no. Some of us have to work, you know? I did anyhow. As did the old lady. Either she was or I was and well yup for a rotten little minute there it did feel somewhat shitey. But now, well, it's all coming to a better end, thank goodness, the tree is packed away, I have nearly - NEARLY - finished the THING I've been writing over Xmas and maybe just maybe baby I will treat myself tonight to a very small dry sherry. And a plate of unbuttered bread. And a handful of birdseed. I mean, why not?
Meanwhile, how about this then to help y'all SEE IN the new year
Joe Bonamassa "Introducing Eric Clapton" to "Further On Up The Road" fro...
26 December, 2013
Lately Philip had begun to doubt his therapist. Not doubt him. Just whether they were getting anywhere together. They had come a long way in the four years they had been having their weekly meetings. But now Philip felt that perhaps they had come to the end of the road.
The thing is, Philip just wasn't feeling well in the head. He hadn't for years, maybe forever, but until now his therapist Mr Phelps had always been able to unravel whatever twisted torment was building inside Philip's head just far enough for Philip to deal with it. To be pos-i-tive.
These past few weeks though had not been good. They had spoken about it of course and each time they did Philip felt they were getting somewhere. Now suddenly that surety had vanished. Worse, Philip felt it wasn't his therapist's fault. That it was all of his own making. And that because of that he could no longer bring himself to talk about it. To his therapist or anyone else. He had mentioned some of it to his wife but she didn't know what to say either and Philip went away feeling even more of a turd on a stick. A real man would deal with these things without having to go down on one knee weeping into his soft warm beer.
Philip's next session with his therapist was scheduled for tomorrow and he was dreading it. He knew he'd passed the point of no return and would not be able to discuss how he really felt. It was, after all, Xmas, and he knew the minute Mr Phelps asked him if he'd had a good one he'd be forced to lie and say yes. And that deep inside Mr Phelps would sigh. Mr Phelps was only human too. He had his own problems. Lots of them. Like we all do. It was only Philip who was letting the side down.
Philip decided to go for a drive. Clear his head. His driving had been erratic lately and he had nearly had several accidents yet still he couldn't reign himself in properly enough to stop it happening. Now he simply let go. Philip drove and drove and drove. Until he finally ran out of petrol.
25 December, 2013
It was a cold rotten day in hell and Santa had had enough. He sat around on the big mounted cushions, too pooped to even drink. He looked on idly at the dwarves standing around in front of the fire smoking and playing the wii.
He sighed a deep heavy snow-deep sigh. I wish I could lose this gut, he thought. I feel like I'm carrying around a parasite. A joke version of me that stopped being funny so long ago nobody even realises it's really a joke anymore.
He leant over, tried to fart. Couldn't. Still bunged up from the pain pills and lack of veg in his diet, he hadn't had a decent shit in days. He just felt like shit.
His fablet dinged. He glanced at it wearly.
"Cheer up Santa! Be merry!"
He looked at it with disgust. Scrolled down for the name. Deleted it from his prezzie list. Leant over and tried again. No use.
What was it about this place, he wondered? Their reliance on fairy tales. Their refusal to do without the sugar coating. Their cheap laughs and famished ha ha has.
He wondered about Jesus. He hadn't seen him in ages. Once was he was always around this time of year. You couldn't avoid him. Now he'd checked out like the rest of them. Santa wished he could do the same. But he wasn't allowed. Against the rules. No chance.
22 December, 2013
Johnny Winter - destruction blues______
Wake your Sunday the fuck up.
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