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Friday, 13 August 2010


I'm blessed with a sunny disposition but the one thing that's guaranteed to put me in a funk is the fact I don't have a band. I've pretty much being living music ever since college, and spent almost a year without a band when I first moved to uni. Then one day, upon walking into a record store, I noticed a massive board covered in 'musicians wanted' type posters. I looked through a few, and one caught my eye in particular. It said "I play my bass with a screwdriver". I was sold. I called the guy and left a message, ended up meeting him to talk about music, met the only other guy who'd responded, and pretty soon after that we started jamming and made the sort of music that is utterly impossible to categorize.

The screwdriver bassist was called Paul (well IS called Paul- he's not dead or anything) and was/is a full-on hippy. We picked up more members, more steam, and became known as Fanatics of Xerox. Rather depressingly, if you put that into Google you only get a couple of mentions of us, and one of those is via the band FOX became once Paul went to India for a bit. Although the other is a link to buy one of our CDs from Rough Trade, which is pretty cool/bemusing.

FOX became Pan Pipes from the Grave, and you can hear our rather strange music HERE.

Pan Pipes from the Grave mutated into Black Jack Ketchum, and we only really stopped because I had to leave Nottingham. We were looking at getting going again when I moved back to Notts, but a little while ago split up with my girlfriend, who played keyboards, which both put a bit of a kibosh on the band and moving back to Notts (since I was going to live with her)...

Thing is, I can live without doing Black Jack Ketchum again, because it wouldn't be quite the same, but two things get me feeling all Blue Funk (the world's grumpiest superhero):

I don't feel complete without a band, as (live) music's been such a large part of my life for so long it now feels kinda empty without it...

...and the other thing is, that second chap who replied to the 'screwdriver' ad was a chap called Andy, who I did FOX, PP and BJK with, and is a really good chum. He's also coming to visit me tomorrow for my birthday, which is cool. But he's that sort of person who works with me, musically, like we're two pieces of the world's smallest jigsaw puzzle. Where, we can just plug in our instruments and go for broke, feeding off each other almost telepathically.

It doesn't happen very often, that sort of thing. I think it helps, playing in bands together for years, but it's one of the main reasons I'm trying not to resign myself to the fact that the chances of finding someone like that in Scunthorpe are pretty slim, if not impossible. Not even my existing musician friends are into the same music as me (though we do have some overlap with a few bands).

Plus, despite some of my friends hearing/seeing the aforementioned bands, they still don't treat me seriously as a musician. "Oh yeah Wayne makes noise ha ha ha", that sort of thing. "Your music's mental!" is another one. I don't know any proper chords, I can't read music past a basic level, and I have next to no knowledge of musical theory, because I've never needed those things. People go "Oh well, you need to know the rules if you're going to break them". What? No you don't! You do if you want to break them 'properly', the idea of which is an absolute joke. "I'm playing this in a so-and-so scale because this genre of music typically uses a this-and-this scale". Why not just go nuts and see what happens? Have a bit of fun for crying out loud. It makes me really bloody angry that I'm being shackled by bloody close-mindedness.

Arrghh this is both pretty angry and depressing. I occasionally write music on my own, which obviously I can do whenever I want, but I thrive on live shows, playing to the audience, having a laugh and going crazy. Thinking back to what it "used to be like" is quite upsetting because there's that underlying hint of "that sort of thing may never happen again". I may never again play a gig where a fan asks me to swap t-shirts with him, or get threatened to be beaten up because my music was "offensive" (in a musical sense, not a controversial/racist/etc way). Or scream so loud and hard that my gums bleed. Or climb on speakers and almost destroy the stage. Or sit cross-legged on a floor and play the same riff for ten minutes with my eyes closed. Or get a bit of funny banter going between the band and the audience. Or stunning a crowd into silence by being so loud they simply have no choice but to shut up. Or get people coming up to me with wide eyes and big grins on their faces, going "we have never, ever, heard or seen anything like that before in our entire lives". And so on.

Maybe it's impossible to "have everything". Maybe I'm being greedy by wanting to have the one last, final thing in my life that would make me truly happy. If there's an international pool of metaphysical 'good stuff' we all share, maybe my being in a band again takes some 'good stuff' from that pool, leaving less for some kid like me, ten years younger, who'll then never get the chance to have loads of crazy gigs and ace memories.

And if this were true, what does it say about me as person if I go "I don't care"...?

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