'I've got the music in me!'
It's an odd thing but listening to your own music on the 'radio' is always a different kind of experience. More so if you get on the 'tele'. Well, among many of my 'I'm almost famous' stories was the opportunity to sign for Decca. I might have told you. We were promised a #1 hit (and this by a then famous and now infamous chap who certainly would have delivered on this promise) plus appearances on Top of the Pops etc.. We were to be the 'new mods'. Well they wanted us to cut our hair – nah – forget it! The irony being that most of us from that band went on to lose our curly locks!
Normal rejections go: 'close but no cigar'. Back then we were offered a whole box of cee-gars – but we just didn't light up. But I digress. Later on I got to play acoustic guitar on a beach in Cornwall for a BBC2 programme – and not long after that one of my songs was played on the radio across the south-west (as I recall). These plays got me PRS credentials. The first time I played live – and REALLY live, so we had to get it right, was on a Midlands radio station. We did an acoustic set and I recall ad-libbing somewhat (our backing vocalist lived in fear of me making up new lyrics on the spot). I think the royalty for that session was a quid (a pound sterling) – so I just pasted it on one of my walls – never cashing it in. Over the years I've had albums out and had plays right across the world. And though a lot of these stations were probably only listened to by 'one man and his dog' – there's still a 'frisson' when you hear your song being played in this manner. I can only imagine how a band felt when they entered the old Top Twenty – with the Sunday Night count-down. Talking of 'one man and his dog' – I often played at a place in Leamington Spa: The Crown Hotel. Wonderful and infamous at the same time. I had various items of clothing stolen from me there over the years (a very nice jacket and great belt spring to mind!). It was a place that the local prostitutes worked from. I also recall that the toilet for the band was a cubicle inside the kitchen! A cracked toilet seat being the perfect seasoning. Bon appetit! Anyway there were basically two huge rooms that were effectively joined – with a dividing wall knocked out (I imagine) between them. Thus, from the stage you had the immediate room (probably an old ballroom) and beyond that the further room – with seating at the back. I once played there with a big seven-piece reggae band (of sorts) and on one particular gig we were set up and ready to play but there was NO-ONE in the main room. In the distance, through to the adjoining room, there was a chap sat reading a newspaper with a dog near him, resting on the floor.
We decided we'd go ahead and play – I mean it was a paid rehearsal if nothing else. As we launched into the first song I could see, from behind the drums, the chap carefully folding his paper and taking the dog's lead and slowly leaving! That was motivating! We carried on playing though and later the prostitutes arrived and we entertained them and maybe some of their punters. The chap who ran the music side of things there had – apparently – sung to the troops in Vietnam (he was a well-spoken English chap as I recall). He lived in an old bus I believe. But here's the link to more recent news... I have been making contact with various radio stations I thought might well play some of our songs – and the first to ask for specific numbers (thus far) has been ChoiceClassicRock – you can find them on the web and hopefully we'll let you know when our stuff is played. The two songs they chose were: New World (Has Begun) a classic rocker AND the title track: Tall Stories on Short Street – a song about a Vietnam vet! So there you go. How to link up a hotel in the seedy part of good old Royal Leamington Spa and a track from our forthcoming album.
It's getting to be fascinating which tracks people like – I'll guess we'll have more idea about this when the album is released (July 31st) and folk get to download/listen.