Sunday, 27 March 2016

The same, not the same. Horace Panter, the Specials after John Bradbury, and more

The many bands of Sir Horace Gentleman

Next month, the man who plays bass with the Specials, founder member Horace Panter, brings his latest project to Birmingham. This is his fourth band. Not sequentially mind – they all run pretty much at the same time. 

The trick is: Horace is now... going Country. That's in addition to a Blues outfit and a very purist Ska operation. Oh, and the Specials. Not bad going for a kid who bumped into Jerry Dammers at Art School in Kettering.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Pete Williams. What people remember. What fans want. What a performer is. Different.

Didn't you use to be...?

Pete Williams. On stage. In his element
Decades ago, I went to watch my beloved but useless football team (I could tell you but you'd die laughing) fold at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. I was heading home on the train, when a friend, a Wolves fan, called to wind me up. The train was full of Wolves fans, who rapidly clocked that I was being razzed. They sat back to enjoy the spectacle.

I handed my phone to a pal. He loudly name-checked me. Big mistake. 

Amused consternation in the Wolves camp. Coo – they had a DJ in their midst to tease! To be fair, they were actually very nice... for the next interminable hour of ribbing.

But one phrase in particular stuck in my mind: “Didn't you use to be Robin Valk?

Still am, pal, still am. And when I told this tale to Pete Williams, he fell off his chair laughing.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Call Me Unique: Better make time... to grab that chance.

The big break? How and why? Let me count the ways...

At MoFo a few years back; she's on the big stage at MoJazz this year
Let's say you're a struggling artist. You cover a lot of music areas. You have a following of sorts. Being good and distinctive (they don't always go hand in hand), putting yourself out there, gives you a chance of building a small local following. But just to get to there means effort, sweat and often a bit of heartbreak.

But how do you push on from there? How do you get to that point where the buzz is big enough to bring the big media operators sniffing around?

Mostly, the web muddies the waters while appearing to offer clarity. But sometimes you catch a break.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Miles Hunt. Straight outta Stourbridge to a world tour.

Friendly Company! The Stuffies are coming to yours

 Miles and Erica Nockalls - from The Wonder Stuff pledge page  
Like a thousand other towns across the country, developers and lousy town planning have ripped the guts out of Stourbridge. The town is a tangle of road improvements and pompous corporate new-build. It's totally out of step with the charming, human scale of the unprofitable parts left behind.

I head along old streets of small terraced houses, down a clearly ancient pathway behind a church. I fetch up in a quiet neighbourhood boozer, one of several I'd passed. No piped music, no fruit machines, no Sky Sports; instead, a large affable dog and some excellent ale. 

And Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff.