Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October Sessions

Well, its been eventful.
The main news is that due to my good friend Andy Ball's commitments to the Spice Girls tour, I have landed the job of looking after Dave Murray's guitars on the Iron Maiden 2008 tour. To say I'm excited is an understatement. It's going to be 8 long weeks away from home, working for one of my favorite bands from way back, and travelling through the world to far flung places on their own private 757. Before all that I have the Marillion Xmas tour to complete, with a set list to die for.
I hope to have some more dates with Carbon / Silicon early next year, which I hope don't clash (sorry!) with the Maiden dates as I really love working with Mick, Tony, Dom and Leo.

Went down to Putney studios last week to look after Francis Dunnery and band ready for his tour this week. It was an education watching them piece together a set over 3 days, and i also got to meet Peter Vitesse who's work with Ian Anderson I have admired for many years.

Gig wise I played with Soul Beaver last week, which was a very last minute call. Their keyboard player bailed out so Rich asked me to play the keyboard parts...on guitar! Despite only a couple of hours rehearsal the day before it was good fun. Kind of Booker T jamming with Thin Lizzy!

JakDog spent an evening in the Racket Club studios putting down two tracks which you can hear on our myspace site now. Gigs have now been put back due to my touring schedule until March / April, but we will try and fit some in beforehand.

Louise started her new job in Bicester this week, which brings her much closer to home and handy for when I'm away. Kids are off on hols this week, so the dog will have company during the daytime for a change!

I spent the last two nights creating two parts of a improvised track called 'Paris/Dakar' ready to send over to my good friend Will from Spingere. My idea is to lay down parts without hearing the original guide track, so I've completed separate guitar and keyboard tracks and Will can add his ideas to form one long composition. If it works we'll do more...maybe even a Cd's worth.

Right...going for a run...


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Yeah...I Know...

Been a while!
At least I'm consistent!
So...I shall attempt to sum up the past few months in bullet points only. I'm transferring my internet provider today and it's going swimmingly so far....zzz...

1. Finished 90% of the house.
2. Fired most of my band.
3. Hired most of other peoples bands for my own.
4. Started working for Mick Jones (The Clash) and Tony James (Gen X) looking after some very old guitars. Did a great gig at the Isle of White festival amongst others...
5. Shuffled the Racket Club live room, built a new drum booth and generally made it super sexy for the new album sessions.
5a. Helped get the original Marillion line up back together for one song. Historically it was a golden moment never to be repeated. Musically it was god awful. I laughed my ass off...
6. Did guitars for McFly last weekend. Great fun.
7. Saw Steely Dan, Smashing Pumpkins and due to see Beastie Boys instrumental set at the Roundhouse on Thursday.
8. Ran out of things to write.
9. Told readers to go and download my dear friend Will's new album here .
10. Went to bed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Our week off...

Reporting Back Sir...

I don't have a clue what we've been up to since i last posted. I have been away on tour for a week giving Marillion's new guitar tech the lowdown, before scooting off and leaving him to deal with flying Pink Les Paul's and broken amps. He's a top bloke and picked up my tips with just a slight hint of blind panic. Lou came out to the last date in Barcelona and we spend a lovely day together doing things which most normal adults take for granted...Like having coffee in a street cafe and walking around shopping without the children. Since we started our family early on we have rarely had time to spend on our own and it was a nice taste of things to come (once we kick those pesky kids out to fend for themselves!).
Once I got back to work I had forgotten that Lou had booked a cottage in Yorkshire for a week, so we headed north with two out of three kids, plus dog in the back. We were based just outside Whitby and had a nice relaxed week.
We spent this weekend tackling the small unfinished jobs in the living room, as the rain moved in on Monday and stopped any work being done outside.
The band rehearsed at the Racket Club a couple of weeks ago, and we are ready to gig. My new (Vintage) Melancon Telecaster is a dream, but I still need to part with 4 of my other guitars to pay for it! If you are looking to treat yourself let me know and I'll sort you out with one of my babies...how about a nice Tokai Vee Sir?
I have made a promise to myself to read more. Instead of the usual Music Biogs and travel books I'm getting stuck into some classics. I was never interested with books at school and have missed out on many authors which most people have read time and again. My first project is a novel I have often been meaning to purchase for years, but i did not have the slightest clue what it contained...Brighton Rock by Greene. I'm just heading into part two and I'm slightly worried that it could be the greatest book I could ever wish to read. Every single page is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with each letter carefully placed. Part of me feels disappointed that I did not discover it sooner. Feel free to shout out future suggestions!
I've been listning to Joanna Newsom's cd - Y's and trawling through Bill Graham's huge personal archive at http://concerts.wolfgangsvault.com/ . Take some time off from You Tube and check them out.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Clearing the decks

Far to frantic at work this week. Not enjoyable...but a good day Friday pulled us back on track.

Got stuck into the DIY this weekend. Finished the floor of the conservatory, installed power through the old wall (we now have electricity...eureka!) and even managed to have our Sunday dinner sat at the table. Still have a few things to finish but we are almost there. It's finally usable...

Decided to sell of some guitars as I have my eye on a very nice Gretsch. I hate getting rid of good guitars, but I cannot justify having too many. Four is a good round number and takes up far less space under the stairs!

If you are after a bargain head over to eBay and see all the guitars i will regret selling in the near future!

I have at last taken some pics of the shower room and dog. For those with an interest in such things :o)

Now playing: Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bark at the moon

Busy week all round.

The conservatory is coming along. Laid the underfloor heating and tiles this weekend. The last major job being connecting the electrical supply, but that can wait a little longer. Got woken by the kids at 7am this morning and decided to crack on with the grouting. Slow work but nice sitting in silence with the rain lashing against the glass.

Can't wait to get finished. Louise is starting designing hand made cards and it will be a great space for both her to work, and for me to play guitar a bit more often.

The band is now officially a 5 piece. We have a second guitarist in Paul and it's all systems go. Check out the myspace site for updates and gigs.

Took Amy out for a walk last night just as the lunar eclipse was underway. I had to drag her back in after 5 minutes as she was going mad. Took the telescope into the garden to get a better look. Saturn was lovely and you could see thousands more stars than usual, including the milky way (which is rare...I've only ever seen this once before as light pollution is normally bad in the UK).

Monday, February 19, 2007

By Request...

I've been told by some nice people at the Marillion Weekend to update this blog. Well, at least someone reads it!

Where to begin?
Shower room is completed and is a very lovely thing indeed. This means the band can resume...however not before the small matter of finishing the Marillion album and helping run the Marillion Weekend.

The album is the best thing they've done in 10 years. Its not the running order I would have gone with, and some of my absolute favorites have been chosen for the NEXT new album. However, the sound is lush and full, and the songs are epic. Its been in my car for a couple of months and i'm still finding new things within the virtual grooves :o)

The team at Racket have been non stop since...I can't remember!!
I'm just glad that the Marillion Weekend has been and gone. It was a massive gamble and could have gone VERY wrong, but the whole weekend was amazing. The setlists were great, with some choice cover versions. We have the footage of 'Hocus Pocus' and it's the best live Marillion video EVER. The crew were good fun and I really enjoyed looking after the guitars again. I had my trainee Lucy Spencer helping me with H and Pete. They certainly enjoyed having a female looking after their guitars, and if anyone needs a guitar tech you should talk to Lucy. She keeps saying sorry every 2 minutes even when she does nothing wrong, and then apologises for saying sorry too much!! But apart from that shes a true professional AND knows how to get unlimited free beer from the bar staff. Love your work, Spitroast!

I must apologise for everyone who kept asking for requests at the Racket Rock Disco on the Friday night. This was supposed to be a small affair with Lucy J, Stephanie and Myself spinning the wheels of steel. However, by the time I arrived Lucy and Stephanie were flagging (it had been a VERY long day), and after a 'frug' to Down Down by t'Quo they crashed out, leaving me with 2 cds of rock classics. People were being turned away as the room was heaving with air guitar acrobatics of the highest order, and we really did not have enough tunes to cope with the requests. Anyway, I do apologise for telling the drunk french bloke to come back tomorrow and i'll play Metallica. I did not have the heart or energy to explain to him that the following night was a Beatles tribute band...

Next time we'll run the Air Guitar championship over 3 nights...

More house and family updates soon.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


This months word children is: Manic.

The conservatory is up and just needs the floor to dry out and a few finishing touches...hopefully by christmas as it will become the dining room.

The downstairs shower room has been gutted. Louise and myself have spent hours with hammer and chisel, tapping away layers of old plasterboard on the former outside wall (now inside...the shower room is part of the extension) so we can look at a nice Claydon red brick whenever we use it. The rear garden looks like a builder’s yard at the moment, complete with old sink, toilet and shower tray...not to mention bags of rubble. I had a plan to lay floor tiles on Sunday morning, but ended up ripping up the floorboards in order to re-fit the plumbing. I eventually put some floor tiles down on Sunday evening after spending the day with my head through the floor. At least i now know what’s down there...

The band have taken a back seat since the aylesbury gig, what with the DIY run up to xmas. We are looking to tame the beast a little as it's becoming out of control, verging on motorhead territory which was never the plan. We have a new second guitarist coming in, and we want to get the vibe a little more Black Crowes / Stones style. I played on Saturday night with a soul band which was great. However, i missed our only chance to rehearse when Louise injured her eye whilst smashing the shower room wall (see above) and we spent 4 hours in oxford eye hospital. Thankfully she’s ok, but it did mean that the only time i got to play through the songs was during the gig! This actually made me play much better than i have done in a while.

The major news is that we now have a new addition to the family. We have a 5 year old Jack Russell called Amy, who has taken over the house. I wish we could have done it sooner as it’s got everyone of their buts and out on walkies. She's great fun and no trouble (unless you are a cat/dog/rabbit/badger/fox/car).

Talking of new additions, much love to Mr and Mrs C who are expecting their first born next year.