When out on the road on my own my set up has slowly increased from using just a guitar; to then adding the effects pedals, to then adding a small set of chimes; to then adding a mini synthesizer; to then adding percussion.
However as the title so eloquently states.
The Chimes They Are A-Changing (boom ching). I must credit my keyboard player Dave Smale for making such a cracking joke.
Anyway I have invested in a larger set of the same size chimes because I loved the tone of them dearly.
Unfortunately this means I will have to consider getting to know a few more scales to get my head around the keys. However a little education can’t hurt from time to time. Even with a mind as stubborn as mine.
For the entirety of the evening the music played between bands was surprisingly enough ‘Ocean Colour Scene’. Not a band you expect to hear whilst in a dingy Tokyo Suburb Livehouse. But none the less they were a feature of the evening and are one of the most well known bands I have ever shared a billing with.
My brush with fame occurred back in 2007 when I had just finished my first Australia/New Zealand tour. I returned home to find this show on offer. It was a wonderfully surreal experience for me at the time. Playing to an arena of people on my lonesome. And so in tribute to my memory of that night being evoked I chose to open with the song I opened with on that tour.
The tune is called ‘Note That Says’ and is still currently unreleased. However I managed to break my low E string within the first 5 seconds and pretty much had to stop and apologise. The crowd gave a roar of enthusiasm for my bad luck and were given a further example of OCS whist I rushed to restring.
For my final 2 songs I was joined by Callum Grant of ‘Callums Whisky Tales’. He had played a cracking set earlier in the night and it was a pleasure to have him adding his sounds to my tunes ‘Varit’ and ‘Map of Shibuya’. The show ended with an epic ambient jam as myself and Callum Looped and delayed our effected guitar tones.
However, without a doubt the craziest day for my of 2011 was 27th July 2011, a day in which I played 12 shows in 12 different venues. And to top it all off I had set myself the challenge of not repeating any songs. Except for a couple of alternative versions.
This crazy day came about as a result of a guy called Peter Heath who (for charity) organised it so 12 bands would rotate around the island of Jersey playing 12 different venues in 12 hours. A mental concept and one I loved the thought of.
But of course I couldn’t do it alone. And fortunately a good friend and fantastic singer/songwriter/rapper/all round nice guy Marcus Harley AKA Harlequin Knights stepped up and offered to do the driving for me.
Show 1: 11am – The Star, St Peter.
And We’re off! After a morning munch and fuel up we arrive at the first pub to perform to the hardcore drinkers and music fans who are waiting outside prior to opening time. I generally keep it mellow busting out the odd cover.
Set List: Holding Back / We’re On Fire (Crashland Cover) / Dare We Claim Victory / Resonate / …And That Doesn’t Happen
Show 2: 12am – The Moulon De Lec, St Ouens.
A couple of days prior to this Marcus and myself met up and cobbled together a song we titled ‘Advice’. This second show of the day remains the only performance of that song. There was also a little room for some spoken word.
Set List: Advice (with Marcus Harley on vocals) / Nothing Left To Prove / Revisited (Spoken Word) / A Common Destination
Show 3: 1pm – The Country Inn, St Mary.
A very weird show as I caught the lunch time crowd in a very sit down kinda vibe. So the set remained either folk guitar led or ambient and mellow.
Set List: Breathing Without Living – Ambient Version (My Pet Junkie Song) /Compromise / City at Night / Stalemate Circumstance
Show 4: 2pm – The Farmhouse, St John.
Playing the opening and closing songs from my debut and an as yet unreleased 15 min epic. The show was outside and so with the sun shining it was a great vibe to play to.
Set List: Wake Up Call / Because / Note That Says (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
Show 5: 3pm – Trinity Arms, Trinity.
This was one of those shows that never really sat right. The audience were loud and at times offensive. I felt distracted and after the first tune decided to disappear into the world of Smashing Pumpkins songs for a couple of tunes in order to distance myself from the heart on sleeve nature of original material. I finished with a self penned song that I felt at least personally was directed at the audience.
Set List: Cage Is Ratteling / Cherub Rock (Smashing Pumpkins Cover) / Stumbliene (Smashing Pumpkins Cover) / You Know What You Are
Show 6: 4pm – The Rozell Inn, St Martin.
A real lovely pure acoustic show. It was nice not to have to worry about the pedals for a while. It was also great to see a few friendly faces were following us from pub to pub.
Set List: Cotton Mill Greys / When You Go Home / This Time Tomorrow (My Pet Junkie Song) /Time & Places /Headlights /Peace Comes Easily (My Pet Junkie Song)
Show 7: 5pm – The Pembroke, Grouville.
The audience were crazy, And so was I. A great energy show to play.
Set List: Varit / Map of Shibuya / Pish
Show 8: 6pm – The Tivoli Tavern, St Clement.
The audience were even more crazy. Some folks really have peaked by 6pm. Marcus rapped at break neck speed during this time.
Set List: Breathing Without Living – Rock version (My Pet Junkie Song) / As Stubborn as a Sandfly / Blind Faith (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
Show 9: 7pm – The White Horse, St Saviour.
Chaos!!! as we discover the pub has no PA to use. The audience seem disinterested in music and more interested in the football playing on the big screens that circle the pub and the games of pool that dominate the floor. One guy expresses his lack of expectation from looking at me. At this point I’m ready to leave thinking a break wouldn’t be a bad thing. However before I get the chance to slink away Marcus has accepted the challenge with the words. “Oh yeah you think we aint all that, then check this out!” At this point he looks to me. So without hesitation I break into the funkiest strumming pattern I can think of. Suddenly Marcus is in full flow free-styling away to the groove. His words humorously pick apart members of the audience, ourselves and the whole fucked up situation we’ve found ourselves in. As we are not confined to a stage or restricted with leads we are dancing around the pool tables whilst the players have to wait for us to finish. I separate segments of Marcus’s rapping with a vocal break that is the chorus to ‘Sleep Tight’. It was like being in a musical and we were the music. Honestly one of the more surreal moments of my life. We finished on an epic note and before the ovation had finished we were out of the pub and chilling on the beach for a 10 min rest. I was so happy that Marcus hadn’t allowed me to bottle it.
Set List: Sleep Tight – Extended hip hop version (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
Show 10: 8pm – The Original Wine Bar, St Hellier.
The next place was in the heart of town and it was really was a messy environment. At this point I would confess I was starting to wain and it was only Marcus’s enthusiasm that kept me going.
Set List: A Watchful Eye / You Know The Score – Dub Version (with Marcus Harley on vocals) / You’re Schizophrenic That Makes 3 of us (My Pet Junkie Song) / Paragraph 3 Subsection B
Show 11: 9pm – The British Union, St Lawrence.
My penultimate show of the day and the one where I really lost my rag. The place was really mellow and 90% of the audience were polite and listening. Unfortunately the 10% who were not were shouting at me in a drunken slur. What’s even worse still is one of them was the land lady of the pub. Who was stumbling around and hurling abuse whilst interrupting the songs.
Set List: Designed To Stop / Make A Little Silence / Been Smoking Too Long (Robin Frederick Cover) / Initiate
Show 12: 10pm – The Tree House, St Brelade.
The best till last I do belive. Many friends showed up to see the day end and the atmosphere was electric. I had been holding back on playing any of the real big rockers till the end of the day and so it was the perfect time to bring them out. Marcus Harley once again took the show to places I never could and we also were joined by good friend and long time touring buddy Jersey Bob. It was only thanks to Bob that I was able to be in Jersey in the first place. The place and the people rocked and in a weird way it felt like I had one some kind of award and people were celebrating with us. A great way to end one hell of a crazy busy day.
Set List: Sleep Tight / The Distance From Ear To Ear / You Know The Score (with Marcus Harley on vocals) / Watching Paint (with Marcus Harley on vocals and Jersey Bob on Harmonica) / Misfit Theatre (with Marcus Harley on vocals)
So finally after what felt like the tour that would never end I have had the chance to enter the studio and begin work on my 4th album.
Prior to this I had 2 days of rehearsals with drumming legend and long time friend Leon Camfield.
I still feel very unsure of the direction of the next record and so decided to just throw pretty much all of the new material I have his way. He digested it with ease and when we took to the studio with Producer Chris Hollis on the 4th January. It soon became clear that prioritising the tunes may not be needed as it looked like we may have time to record them all.
Chris Hollis has been the producer for my last 2 records and coming into the studio together after 2 years apart seemed to have us both wondering if we had grown in different directions. However when it came to the crunch we were both able to focus on the music with a professional and enthusiastic attitude.
The mood remained high for the day as Leon ended up notching the drum parts down for 18 tracks. We even had spare time at the end to record a bunch of ideas down and experiment with one song.
All in all a great way to start not just the new record but the new year.
I am grateful to Leon and Chris for their professional attitude and workhorse manor during what could have been a very stressful and disappointing day. But turned out to be nothing other than a joy.
20,000v is a live house that has become infamous in Tokyo because the last location of the same name was burnt down. Now they have a new place and it`s as well kitted out as before.
I`m sharing the billing with Gogatech (who some may remember toured with me in the UK earlier this year) and Callum`s Whisky Tales who has become a gig sharing regular during this tour. However, The most striking act for this show was without a doubt was MogurakaMaigo もぐらか迷子.
Roughly Translated this name means ‘the lost mole’ and basically it`s a dude in a mole costume who sings like he is confused. But to his credit there is a bunch of very interesting elements to his playing, technique and character that keep you intrigued. The music is beautiful fragile and experimental.
For my show I was spoilt for musicians to share the stage with. After playing a couple of solo numbers I was first joined by Adam Erdossey on Baritone Sax. He suggested we have a crack at the song ‘Results are Classified’ from my first record which had only just been re-introduced to my live set the show prior after a year out of the set.
After a couple of tunes I was joined by Eric Gebow who finished the night off with some additional drums.
Great vibes and a pleasure to share the stage with some other players 🙂