Tuesday, July 03, 2007

video (games) killed the radio star

Since my operation I’ve had many well wishers enquiring as to how I’m feeling ‘in myself’. I’m not a fan of this phrase; however I have been very civil and honest in my responses and confirmed that I’ve never felt better and that I’m actually having a whale of a time!

Sadly however, Lisa is off sick too, which is obviously terrible for her, but it bad for me too as it has slightly affected my daily routine. For starters at 1pm when I’m usually in the font room listening to some records and reading, Jeremy Kyle was on our telly! I couldn’t stand it so I had to leave and start watching Seinfeld in the bedroom earlier than scheduled. I even decided to forgo my nap and Lisa’s presence even affected my daily movie watching. According to my schedule, Citizen Kane was Monday’s movie de jour, however we watched Rocky Balboa instead.

I’d like to point out at this juncture that with the notable exception of Rocky V, I’ve not seen any of the Rocky films. I’m often laughed at by peers of mine when this fact is brought up but despite enjoying boxing I’ve never felt the inclination to sit down and watch any of them. (It’s the same with Rambo too, though I saw First Blood for the very first time the weekend before we went to NYC) Anyhow, Rocky Balboa was lent to me when Jon and Eve came round to visit. Jon thought I may be running out of films to watch so loaned me a few choice DVDs from his impressive collection which included the aforementioned Stallone ego fest. Safe to say it wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it amongst the worst films I’ve seen in a very long time. Not all that surprising is it?

Anyway, so Lisa’s not well, so I decided to get up after her alarm had woken me. I came down to the back room and switched in the radio, which was still on Radio 6 from last night. On a whim I decided to enter a competition for a new X-Box. I e-mailed my name etc via the BBC website.
About a minute later I received a call from the producer, who was from what I can ascertain calling me to make sure that I’m succinct and not going to freeze on air. Safe to say, a minute later I received another call from another producer to inform me that I’ll be on air in 30 seconds….coool!

Anyway- you can listen back here (aprox 8:40am):


I didn’t win, but it was fun. I was squashed between Blondie and Interpol.

Oddly, it was on this day about 4 years ago that I made my second Radio 6 appearance, when the band recorded a live session for Marc Riley, I remember the date as it was my Dad’s birthday (as is today obviously) and at the time he was attempting and subsequently succeeding in walking Mt. Kilimanjaro at the time.

My first ever live interview performance was for Radio 6. At the time I’d already done several recorded sessions for Radio 1 XFM etc, which at the time was nerve wracking enough (though the second Peel session wasn’t- that was just a joy to do!) so going down to London to appear on Gideon Coe’s mid morning live BBC Radio 6 show did have the butterflies going in my stomach.

Sadly, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

I was supposed to be picked up by our (now ex.) manager who was to drive us to the BBC HQ on Great Portland Street. We’d planned to set off at 6am in order to make good time. Our manager had even hired a car for it, however after waiting for him for 40 plus minutes I had the feeling it wasn’t going to be so straight forward. I tried to call him but there was no answer. I called Tim and Ellen who were the only other band members travelling down for this acoustic session, and they’d been trying to reach him too but to no avail. We re-assured ourselves that because he’d made such a big deal of the session, there’s no way he’d have forgotten…or would he?

After another twenty minutes or so we had to come up with a contingency plan, and despite never driving further than Hull before Helen stood up to the plate and offered to drive us to London. Of course, they live the other side of the city, so I had to wait nervously for another thirty minutes before I saw her car arrive. At the time I had an acoustic bass guitar that had been leant to me by our ‘other’ manager. It was awful and looked the type of thing that the lanky cunt from The Manic Street Preachers would use or a session musician (the scourge of we crappy indie band musicians), but I was just happy (as a bass player) that I was permitted to attend an acoustic session.
I sat in the back of the car and laid the guitar, which had no case, across my lap and proceeded to chew my finger nails for 4 hours until we’d arrived.

After we’d crossed the Runcorn Bridge our manager, Glenn called me panicked and flustered to say that he’d slept in because his house mate’s toddler had unplugged his alarm clock. We didn’t believe him but he said he was going to set off and reckoned he’d get there before us and we could follow him as he knew the way. He didn’t but called every 30 minutes on route to check on our progress and being generally as unhelpful as someone can in these situations.

By the time we’d started to leave Liverpool, the traffic on the motor way had started to get heavy- and continued to do so until we reached the outskirts of a pre-toll road Birmingham and the motorway was at a virtual standstill. It was a proper race against time.

At one point it was looking like we weren’t going to make it and Ellen had refused to go over 75 mph he shouted down the phone at me “Tell her to out her fucking foot down” I decided not to pass this message on for fear this may cause more problems and in my own style suggested that if possible and safely we could go a little faster.

Obviously he had called ahead to inform them of our impending lateness and from text messages I received from friends listening to his show told us that they’d announced that we were running late, stuck in traffic etc on air.

We found the BBC Studios easier than we thought possible and screeched up outside and ran into the building with guitars in hands. Our radio plugger met us in the reception and he wasn’t pleased, but we did the only thing musicians do in these scenarios; we blamed our manager. I don’t think I’d apologised so many times for something that wasn’t directly my fault before.

We had a few minutes to tune the guitars and discuss what songs we were going to do.
I remember Tim asking our radio plugger if we had to do our new single.
His eyes widened so much that they encompassed the entire of his skinny bald head, making him look like a Tex Avery cartoon.

“OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR FUCKING NEW SINGLE! That’s what they’ve invited you here to play!!”

I wanted to reason with him that surely the DJ plays the new single and we play non-single tracks, but decided ‘not to go there’.

We were then bustled into the studio and met the DJ. We sound-checked and were on air with 15 minutes left of their show. The DJ, as nice as he was, just asked us what food we’d eaten on route. “Ginsters Pasties or homemade sandwiches” and other question of this ilk for seven or so minutes.

“What a buffoon” I thought and laughed along with his quasi humours musings.
We played the two songs okayish, though the acoustic bass was a terrible idea. At the time, as Simian was still in the band there would have been no way he’d have let me get away with playing his guitar parts to the songs though he couldn’t attend the session. I recall the band being a political nightmare at the time, Steve and I ensuring that the equilibrium was maintain between the other band members- a tough job to say the least.

It all went very quickly. After we’d finished and exchanged niceties with the DJ and production staff our sweaty and stressed looking manager burst in dispensing apologies all round. I thought the whole thing was hilarious, but it appeared I was the only one in the band who thought so at the time.

Glenn then offered to take us for food where he grovelled some more, and took us to meet some more radio pluggers and PR type folks, most of whom we’d met before and all of whom were very nice. I loved grassing Glenn up about him sleeping in. I really got a kick out of it. I think I heard him say in response “Christian’s baby had unplugged my alarm clock!” at least two dozen times. Also I remember it was the day after
Jemini had got nil points on the Eurovision Song Contest. This was slightly embarrassing to us as our ‘other’ manager was at the time their manager and released their single in his own record label!! I think at that point I knew we were fucked but stupidly remained optimistic.

Things got tense as we’d been up since 5am and it was a 4 hour journey home and Ellen by her own admittance was getting cranky and wanted to go. This just made our manager more cantankerous and argumentative. “I’ve said I’m sorry, you still made the show…it wasn’t my fault it was Christian’s baby who must have unplugged his alarm clock!”

I remember saying: “We were on a break!!!” in reference to ‘that’ episode of Friends in a hopeful attempt to clear the air. It didn’t work though Tom laughed.

We had to leave early, and as ever I was left to pacify the ‘artists’ and ‘the management’ individually. Glenn said he could give me a lift home though he was visibly upset at the way he felt he’d been treated. I did actually feel sorry for him, which I did throughout his tenure as our manager, though I felt he had it coming as he’d been pissing the band off now for sometime. I politely declined his offer as he was unquestionably the scariest/fastest driver I’d ever had the misfortune to be in a car with- something of a joke amongst those who knew him- plus he smoked heavily and I couldn’t be arsed listen to him bitch about the band. Instead I opted to go home with T&E.

Considering Ellen had never driven to London before she did a bloody good job at getting us there on time and in once piece, though I can recall on the journey home wishing at some point that I’d gone with Glenn instead as we pulled into two service stations to sit down take a break a coffee etc. and arrived home some 5 and a half hours after we set off.

This was a clear sign that I must have been thoroughly shattered as in the cold light of morning I would never in a million years have got in a car again with this oaf.

Rock n’ Roll!


Richard Thompson – I’ll Tag Along

Micah P. Hinson- Patience

No comments: