Fifteen years, and what have I got?

I have now been in bands for fifteen years. It was the end of June 1994 when I first started rehearsing with a band. It never came to anything… does anyone’s first band? I generally tossed around from pillar to post looking for something that was going to happen. Nothing did… until March 1997.

In 1997 I joined Joe Lazarus. That happened. That came to something… not a lot… but we did get a record deal, and we played the Leadmill. How many people could say that back in ’97. We generally ran around like headless chickens playing any tosh little pub where the landlord had a crap night and wanted to put a band on in the vague hope that they could get some more people into their dive hole. Remember The Tut n’ Shive in Doncaster? – I do. It was a dump. The stage was tiny, we were too loud, and we had to be heard above the talking, shouting, fighting, and the pissed up bird in the corner puking her last half all over her boyfriend. Happy days…???

We recorded an album, sold hardly any copies, and with all good intentions signed a deal that seemed to be perfect… then split up.

1999 saw a change of direction. I joined Deadline – my first proper rock band… got my first leather trousers… and continued playing in front of family and friends in similar dive holes – but lucky breaks came, and went, and came, and went. Nothing much happened. We played a few festivals in front of unappreciative crowds, trying to write the music that they wanted and to fit in with the in-bands. Tyketto, Ten, Magnum… we aspired to be playing alongside them.

Actually… two of the above – I did.

It all started on Sue Ashcroft’s 40th Birthday. We met Keiron Dargan. He pulled his strings, brought Firehouse over, and the Classic Rock Society bought a gig. I pulled my strings and made sure we were on the billing… and definitely ended up getting the shitty end of the stick… a 25 minute set shoved in the middle… no soundcheck… it was crap… and actually – Firehouse – where the hell did that bulge in CJ’s trews suddenly appear from? Sausage in foil anyone?

The following year – Tyketto. We bloody paid loads out to get that tour, and we got shafted – again. Good venues… shitty set… crap arseholes who think that it’s really funny to give the “poor little support band a short set” so Tyketto could get their mandatory 2 hours, even if the venue was only open for 2 hours 20… London was notable in set length – I recall we played just 5 songs. We drove an overloaded minibus all over the bloody country, half loaded down with Tykettos merchandise. We had no sleep… and it was still crap.

Ever feel like a mug?

It carried on for a few years… Deadline gets tour on proviso Deadline provides backline, transports backline, loads backline into venue, gets a pissy little short set with no soundcheck because some ego-maniac Yanks have to make sure their monitor balance is perfect around 6K, sit around yawning whilst a crowd raves over the headliner and ignores your merch, and then to cap it all off get the ultimate insult of fuck all help from the headliner when it comes to load out because they “need a shower”. No showers for us… it’s in the headliner dressing room and we “mustn’t go in there”.

Definitely used.

Well in 2008 after much of this – including Great White with broken ribs, White Lion through Europe (although – granted – White Lion were better than most) I was given the push to jump ship. Kev had noticed my interest in Crimes of Passion was waning rapidly. I wasn’t digging the music… I was getting my musical talent cramped in a big vice called “Metal” and didn’t feel like the band needed someone like myself who could play in 7/8 time one minute and push a syncopated beat the next. I jumped at the offer… I bailed out.

Farewell Crimes of Passion.
Farewell being some egomaniac Yank’s box pusher.

In 2008 I made the best decision of my life. I put a cryptic message on the CRS website announcing a bassist was available – I wanted into a prog band. I was fed up of dum-dum-dum-dum basslines… but everyone within the CRS new me as a rocker… they would give me a wide berth – so I wrote the advert from the third person… and it’s here.

Guy Manning gave me a call – and I told him the deceit at the very start. I tried out… and we both agreed it was good. It was very good actually!

Since then, Manning has started to switch from support to headliner. They’re our gigs… our rules… and we get to say how long we play, take the money, and have fun.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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