Here's a column I wrote for the legendary REAL OVERDOSE zine years ago, I'll readily admit the writing isn't great, but hopefully I've improved a bit in recent years!
Not much of a BEATLES fan, well not really at all, but I always liked that question that John Lemon asked. As I write this it is Boxing Day, and what have I done? Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with details of my chrimbo doings! Nothing is really achieved at Christmas other than eating too much and drinking too much, heck I do that most of the year! Saying that (and without wishing to get all telethon) I always appreciate what I do have at Christmas, and how I don't really have much to bitch about. Local bands and some zines are always bitching about how crap the music scene is and how nobody wants to see punk rock shows anymore. But they never actually do anything about it. So nobody comes to your shows? Well do you put on a show or do you just stand there looking mean and moody, but don't actually perform? Do you chat to people after or go and sit in the back of your car? I must just say at this point that after a JUNK CULTURE show me and my drummer do tend to sit in the back of my car for a bit, but we do invite people along, and leave the door open invitingly! Playing your instrument (or attempting to and failing as in the case of my band) is one thing, but do you give your crowd something to actually remember? The best gigs I have ever been to have resulted in stumbling home with friends and saying things like, "wow, did you see it when the bassist fell over?" or, "did you see that singer was giving it so much that the veins in his head were pulsating like a snake swallowing a pissed off pit bull?!" Okay so you don't have to do anything over the top like SLIPKNOT or suchlike, but the thing that makes a really good band is finding the middle ground. The other thing is that some bands I have come across like to take themselves a bit seriously, and get a bit precious. I accidentally nearly stumbled into this hole recently. Somebody offered to remix my band for free. I politely told them that we would, "bear him in mind", forgetting that this phrase to a musician is the equivalent of say, "nah, fuck right off!" His response was that I shouldn't be so precious with my music. Which got me thinking. Some of my bands best breaks have been when we have taken a chance on something that didn't look worthwhile. We have played gigs for free and found out there was a promoter in the crowd that was looking for a band like ours. We have played at someone's birthday party and found out there were zine geezers about that were impressed and wanted to know more. Another mild irritant is when bands pass on gig offers because they think they are playing a town too much, or they haven't got any new songs to play, who do you think you are? Fucking REM? The person that corrected me on this matter was SCRUFF of LOVEJUNK, who said that several cool bands started off as house bands like THE RAMMONES, BLONDIE and THE YARDBIRDS. Okay so that last band weren't so cool! The point is that it is not cool to be precious, getting as many people as possible to hear you through whatever means possible is the only way to get anywhere. Use that remix offer, go on that dodgy compilation, play that gig a million times! Going back to my earlier point, one of the things that always interests me is a band that is prepared to make an effort, I think it is something that comes through on stage. Are they there because daddy bought them a new guitar and they wanna have a go at dodgy NIVANA covers before soccer practice, or are they there because they actually care about what they do and are just happy to be having a drink and playing some dam cool loud punk rock and dam the consequences!
Okay, enough of my bitching! As the year plays out (so what) I wanna to give Kudos to a list of people that is so long it wouldn't fit in Real Overdose! In particular I really want to thank everyone that has helped my band over the last year, I'm not going to mention names, you know who you are! I wanted to give special kudos to the JUNK CULTURE guitarist Graham, who in the last year has experienced the death of his father, his first job in 14 years, has become father to two dam healthy twins and has handled it all with style!
For a last note I wanted to warn of the perils of text messages. I have always had people dialling a wrong number, and asking to order a pizza or something. I have always tried to treat the caller with quietly jovial dignity. Hell, I do it so often that most of you lot reading this have probably heard me utter, "awww buggur," no matter where you live! When I got a mobile about six years ago it got a little stranger. It appears that when you get fed up with YodaFone or HellNet and cancel your contract, they give your number to someone else. The difference with getting a wrong number on a mobile is that nobody ever believes you. "hello, is that Jennifer Jockstrap?" me -"er no, it's Andrew" him - "are you sure?" and so on and so forth! Why don't they believe you? Today it went one step further, here's a brief transcript
MESSAGE - ( '0') Mis Me? ()'"'() No?! (")_(") Hmm! Dnt wana talk2U den!
MY RELPY - Who are you?
MESSAGE -Don't you remember me. I am the Phantom… You know me….
At this point I got a bit freaked out!
MY RELPY - NO
MESSAGE - Ok answer this one question… Whats your name? I have you in my phone as sexy girl…
Ok, time to put an end to this
MY REPLY - I am a 22 stone man, I like curry and speedway
Not true, but the most repulsive thing I could think of with my visiting mum trying to look at the phone!
MESSAGE - Muje apka fohtu kichna hai?
okay, bit freaky, does anybody know what this means?
MESSAGE - Would you like to talk?
Okay, far too freaky, phone now being switched off!
To some up my entire column for this issue, here the best thing that I have ever heard anyone say, "The world is fully of nutty people doing crazy things."
Kinda perfect huh!