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!
First Of all I would like to say 'hello' as this is my first column in RealOd, and a pleasure it is too! This column's subject may sway a bit from issue to issue (depending on what mood I am in!) But for starters lets have a little celebration about what it's like to be in a band.
I went down to the only decent guitar shop in Ippo a few days ago and was a bit startled to find out that they would no longer be serving my bands piffly needs as they basically couldn't arsed anymore! They are running a studio out back in the hope that they will discover the next big UK garage unit shifter or something. It's real bastard actually, no other shop will let us go in and try out loads of really expensive nice stuff and then have us leave without buying so much as a plectrum or one of those stoopid egg shaker things. Whilst I was chatting to the owner who was trying to convince me to part with money to go record there (sorry we don't do garage, bedroom maybe, but not garage) I mentioned that I remember the shop first opening, to which he replied, "yeah, 12 years ago." This is when it struck me, have I really been doing this shit for twelve years? So what have I accomplished? Stardom? Riches? Chicks? Cocaine habit? Sadly none of those, apart form the cocaine habit where I am in agreement with the great Ian Brown, "Coke can fuck off!" If you want to have a small dick and talk bollocks do it for free, stand naked in the freezer section of your nearest hyper mart (dick shrinkage) and talk bollocks as you explain yourself to the boys in blue when they come pick you up! Anyway enough of my fantasising, back to the brief history of my musical career in a roughly chronic logical stylee, or maybe just chronic, we'll see!
The beginning. I was aged twelve living in a village where if you didn't spend all of your time standing on the bus stop staring at the co-op you were hated by the whole village. The only decent thing to so was to start a band with my three friends. Two of them were the vicar's sons so we instantly had somewhere to practice (the vicarage) and somewhere to drink cider and smoke pipes (the Sunday school rooms). I was the singer, but after our first recording session using someone's dad's camcorder I was asked to stop making the god-awful noises that I thought was singing! Still wanting to be in the band I sold everything that wasn't bolted down and took a trip into Ippo to buy my first bass. Although I couldn't play (and still can't really) I was allowed to stay in the band as my band mates found out they could turn my volume right down. Our first gig was in a local village hall that we hired for £10, and managed to fool about 150 people into cramming themselves in for the night. My dad was one of the bouncers and one of my fondest memories was him coming backstage (the kitchen) and holding up a west side story style broken bottle saying that we had better get on stage. That is still the most profitable gig I have ever done! The manager of an Ipswich guitar shop leant us all the equipment we need, and later got the sack for it. Next scene, three years later. I strolled into radio Suffolk and demanded that they give us a session, and for some reason they agreed. We turned up and they promptly confiscated our distortion pedals. What followed (completely live at lunchtime) I would rather forget. I later redeemed myself by taking over a show on ICR, Ipswich's only alternative radio station. Fast forward three years. After six years of playing shitty gigs and under 16's disco nights I was getting a bit jaded by the whole rock and roll thing. My band mates were all now grade 8+ on their instruments, not allowing me to write, and all about to bugger off to Uni to become doctors and the like. Enter Jon Culture. On the way back from college there always seemed to be this pissed up punk called Jon. After a while we got talking and he invited me to audition for his punk band. He enticed me in by saying that he had a guitarist that could play three 'para chords' intrigued I went to meet him. Enter Graham Culture, one of the cider swigging punks that hung out on Corn Hill in Ipswich. Leaving behind the musical virtuosos I entered the brave new world of punk. After the first practise I was asked to simplify the way I played, the biggest compliment I have ever had! A year later we played at the Drum and Monkey in Ipswich with a load of metal bands, one of which threatened to break our legs if we went onstage and played punk. There was only one solution, beer and lots of it! During that set we managed to break a hole in the stage floor, collapse the drum kit and not get all the way through one song. The two best things about that gig were Graham not finishing any song because he was getting bored and would much rather use his playing hand for picking up his pint, and the second was Graham screaming, "fuuuuuuuuuuuck off," down the microphone as the bassist of one of the other bands was leaning onto the stage trying to hit him! That is where we got our reputation from as being a 'get drunk band'.
So here I am, twelve years later. Still can't play, still playing shitty gigs and not making any money, and still getting up in the morning thankful that I am in a band!
One last thing though, "Do you really like it? Is it is it wicked?" NO, FUCK OFF! If you have no idea what I am on about, I envy you!