Thursday, January 29, 2009

South City Radio - A Double Dose

Yesterday was a truly fun day and a small milestone in my journey as a musician. A little while ago I met a chap called Patrick at one of CT's RAW nights (thanks CT!!) and he invited me on to his radio show. I was delighted to accept, of course, but I had little idea what was in store for me. His show is called PH7 from the Neutral Zone (PH7 - neutral - geddit? Actually it took me a while) and yesterday was the day that I made my way to Peckham to take part in his show. I had originally thought that I would just be having a small chat and playing a couple of songs, but as we planned the show in a local squat (more on that later) I realised that it was going to be much more than that. In the end it turned out to be a whole hour dedicated to my songs, influences and recordings - such a fantastic experience for me. I think I played four or five live songs (I'm just listening to the show now to remind myself) plus a couple off CD and talked about some of my early musical influences. I have to say I'm particularly pleased that the show featured both Abba and Bruce Cockburn - now when was the last time a radio show had both of those artists on at the same time. Anyway, you could be listening to the show right now as you read this - so head over to South City Radio's Shows list and scroll down to where you see my picture and listen to the PH7 show for Weds 28th Jan.

After a very enjoyable chat and some live songs we headed back to the squat where Patrick was preparing for his second show of the day. This is a totally different beast. Airing at 10pm - live from the Peckham squat, this show is a chaotic mix of talk, music, noises, improvised singing and whatever else was going on. It all ends up with a big jam and makes for an unmissable show. I don't think this one is available to download later so if you didn't tune it you wouldn't have heard me playing practically my entire catalogue live in a disused pub - complete with some "interesting" drumming and background vocals provided by some of the visitors that night. You would also have heard a very rare cover version of California Dreamin' !! Actually the background vocalists where three super girls one of whom was amongst the squatters evicted from Mayfair during the day (you can just about make some of them out in the picture above).

I managed to get in a few plugs for my gigs and also the 15 Minute Club, Surface Unsigned and my friend Frog's nights on 2nd Thursdays at the Montague Arms. It was there playing for just over an hour so you can imagine how much I was enjoying myself.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to the show as much as I enjoyed recording it, and I just want to say a big thank you to Patrick and Roxie (the producer) for making it so easy and enjoyable.

See some of you on Sunday, or at a gig real soon!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Radio Play And Shrek Rap CD

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be playing live for PH7 in his Neutral Zone show on South City Radio this Wednesday (28th Jan). They played one of my songs on the show broadcast on the 21st which featured Steve Bolt and Chosen Fume, which you can still hear via their website. Tune in live tomorrow at 7pm, or if you can't listen live revisit the site and download the show at a later time.

The double book launch and live performance of Shrek Rap went very well (see below) and if you would like to own a copy of Shrek Rap (by Casdok) on CD (also featuring The End Of The World Part I and After All) then please send me an email: music @ (without the spaces) with your address, I would ask for a donation of a minimum of £3 all the profits from sales of the CD will be donated to autism related charities (to be confirmed shortly) - payments can be made via PayPal at the same email address or via the button on my Music page. If you would prefer to have the song via MP3 download, then please make your payment and then contact me by email, and I will send you a link to download the three songs and album cover.

For more information about the books the launch was for, then go here

Do not forget Surface Unsigned Festival 09 at the Boston Music Room on the 1st of February. The format is a kind of battle of the bands, so I really need your support. If you cannot attend then please consider texting your support (see below). Contact me for tickets (email music @ - without the spaces) as you will save £1 on the door price if you buy from me.

1st February 2009, 9.30pm
Surface Unsigned Music Festival, Boston Music Room, 178 Junction Rd, Tufnell Park, N19 5QQ

If you can't make it then to support me please text "LONDON 6004" to 64343 to vote. (You must be 16+ to vote, texts cost £1.00 plus standard network charges. Please get permission from the bill payer. Customer services: or contact us on 0800 434 6076).

Details of more gigs coming up can be found here.

Many, many thanks again for all your support!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Double Book Launch - Countdown

Today is the day of the double book launch and my once-only performance of Shrek Rap (by Casdok) - I'm intending to update this Blog during the day, so do check back often.

I'm up and, coffee in hand, I've just listened to the three songs for the Shrek Rap one last time on CD and on my iPod. In all honesty I could fiddle around with the mixes for a couple more weeks, but there is no more time, so I've drawn the line in the sand and am about to start pressing the CDs for tonight's launch. In any case all three songs (Shrek Rap, The End Of The World Part I and After All) are very much "live" acoustic recordings, and I'm pressing them all myself - so there is very much a "handmade" feel to this release, which is good. This is very much a unique and limited pressing CD - so get ready to place your orders!

CDs burnt: 10 CDs Printed: 1

I've just had my version of the Little Chef Olympic breakfast - two free range eggs, British bacon, mushrooms, gluten free bread, baked beans (take note Heston!) and, of course, HP Sauce. Oh and a glass of orange juice too. CD burning progressing well. Time to catch up on some emails.

CDs burnt: 20 CDs Printed: 7

Have just worked out that I need to leave here at 4:45pm to get my train. The day suddenly seems really short!! Have loaded the route from the station to the venue into my iPod (fantastic gadget) - so I can't get lost on the way. CD burning halfway through: got to press on!

CDs burnt: 26 CDs Printed: 15

And my guitar is out of it's case. This is important as at some point this afternoon I will need to practice what I'm playing tonight. The guitar was actually tuned to an open D tuning. Not for me you understand, I only play in standard E tuning, but for the poor chap from Low-Fi Lung who was playing on the same bill as me at The Living Room, Islington last night. In one of those sickening moments that haunt all musicians of wooden instruments, his guitar slid off the piano it was leaning against and onto the hardwood floor - snapping the neck in the process. Total nightmare. I loaned him my guitar to finish the set, but it was hardly any compensation: it's a truly horrible thing to break your instrument. Listen and learn kids - put your guitar on a stand, or lay it flat on the floor - don't take risks!!

CDs burnt: 31 CDs Printed: 23

Hi DJ Kirkby! (see Comments below) - that sounds like quite a breakfast although perhaps more brunch at this time of day. A regular royal feast. Yeah, the walk to the station is 30 minutes from here, so hence the early leave. Let's hope the train isn't cancelled, as the next one is an hour later.

CDs burnt: 32 CDs Printed: 26

Coffee and Creme Egg break. I've also submitted the CD track listings to CDDB - so you if you have iTunes or similar loaded then you should get the track names automatically. Nothing more annoying than having to type in the track names yourself, especially as they are only written on the CD itself!

CDs burnt: 39 CDs Printed: 32

Point taken about lunch (see DJ's second comment below) - where has the day gone!? Very nearly there on the CD burning now. Oh, I should say that DJ Kirkby is the author of one of the two books being launched today - worth noting for those occasional Blog visitors. The heater is on in the rehearsal studio, so I'm close to the first run-through of the day.

CDs burnt: 40 CDs Printed: 40

That's it - the first batch of 40 CD Singles are ready to go. Time for a break from computing and have a bash at playing through the tune. See you in half an hour or so. Do leave a comment in the meantime. Even if it is only what you had for lunch.


Why is it, do you think, that I decided to compose the music for the Shrek Rap with my capo on the guitar at the second fret? I'm not actually singing it, so the key the music is in is not really relevant. How very odd. Oh well, too late to change now - have run through the Rap twice, and it's sounding just fine. Resting my voice now, as I wouldn't want to get any throat problems before tonight.


Just chilling out a bit now, starting to get a little nervous. I want to make sure I take everything I need... I usually forget something. Ham salad for lunch.


Just seen the website for Rosie's Vineyard (where the book launch is) - looks very nice indeed. I always enjoy that first cold glass of wine after I play, and this looks like just the place to drink it.


There are a few ritualistic elements to a music performance, and all artists are different. One of my small rituals is that I like to put on my stage clothes to do my last practice, to get into the right persona as it were. So I have changed and got myself into the right frame of mind. My outfit for tonight is the one that uber-stylist Jeffrey Bryant helped me pick out - it certainly make me feel both comfortable and more like an artist. Funny how clothes can do that. Right, last time to practice then it's time to pack.


Okay, that's it for now. I'm all packed. I don't think I've forgotten anything, but we'll see. Heading out in 15 minutes or so to walk to East Croydon and get the train. Just want to get on with it now really. The waiting before you play is really the worst bit of live work, but it's all part of the job. If there is Wi-Fi at the venue then I'll try and update the Blog from my iPod, otherwise, if you want to hear how it went, tune back here tomorrow morning. I should be home by about 1am, and will write up something then.

Wish me luck!

01:11am Tuesday

Back. Home. Safe. Too much to really express here right now, in fact it hasn't really sunk in yet. I met some great bloggers, had a fun (but very brief) time, learnt a little bit more about Autism (there is plenty more to learn) and even had the presence of mind to buy a copy of both books and get them signed by the authors (so unlike me).

Oh and the Shrek Rap went well (so I'm told) - I'm waiting now to see the videos to make my final judgement, but there were no big mistakes. So, phew. I'm so glad and grateful to have been part of a special evening - I only wish I could have stayed longer and talked to more people.

So thank you Denyse, Chris and Jen for your faith and trust to let me get involved in your creations. I look forward to seeing you again and finding more outlets for your writing and the Shrek Rap.

Night night all, see you tomorrow.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shrek Rap - The Single

I'm very excited to announce that as part of my commitments to DJ Kirkby's book launch I'm am recording three new tracks to put on CD to sell at the event (and over the internet). All money raised will go to the Portsmouth Autisim Support Network (and other selected charities). The single itself will feature the following tracks:

1) Shrek Rap (by Casdok)
2) The End Of The World Part 1 (Acoustic)
3) After All (Acoustic)

All three tracks have been recorded in one take - with a "live" feel. Shrek Rap was written by fellow blogger Casdok and features a backing track created with my Boss LoopStation RL-20 pedal. This is a pretty fair representation of how I'll be performing it on Monday, although there is always scope for improvisation in this approach and no two versions will be quite the same!

TEOTW I and After All have both been recorded very simply, the former in two takes (the end part was created separately using the loop pedal again) and the latter in one take - that is to say that the guitar and vocals were recorded at the same time. I've been looking forward to recording a version of this song featuring my ever improving picking skills.

I'm just in the middle of mixing the last of these tracks, and once it's all done I'll let you know how you can get hold of a copy either on CD or as a download.

If you are free this Sunday or next then please come along and see me play at The Living Room in Islington (this Sunday) or The Boston Music Rooms (next Sunday - 1st Feb). Also please do vote for me in the Surface Unsigned Festival by texting "London 6004" to 64343 (Please remember to include a space between the area and the band's unique number otherwise we will not be able to use your vote. 16+. Texts cost £1.00 plus standard network charges. Please get permission from the bill payer. Customer services: or contact us on 0800 434 6076). As far as I am aware there is no option to vote other than in person on the night or via Text.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lost And Thieved

Three gigs in as many days, but not all my own this time. Monday night I was at the inaugural RAW (Real InterActive Writing) workshop and open mic night at the Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town. It was my first time there and I was highly impressed not only by the standard of contributions, but in the energy and attitude of the performers, next one is the first Monday of February, I expect it to go from strength to strength this year.

It's Tuesday night and I'm heading through the extreme cold to a venue I've not been to in a while. All I really remember about playing and seeing bands at the Water Rats is that it's extremely loud! Well I wasn't disappointed. I went to see Thick As Thieves (pictured above) perform and they did not disappoint either. Their sound is a combination of Iron Maiden, Nirvana and perhaps shades of Guns N Roses but with an inventive twist or two. They seemed to be reading my mind through the evening, as no sooner had the thought "oh they should get the drummer to join in the harmonies" enter my head, but Lo! it was done. Okay smartarses, I thought, where are the quiet bits to go with the in yer face noise - and Lo(2)! a quiet vocal section ensued. There were other examples of this, but I can't remember them now. All in all it was certainly enjoyable, and above all LOUD! In fact they have subsequently informed me that their middle name is Loud (which I guess makes them David, David, Loud and Emma - or perhaps Thick As Loud Thieves - not sure) - which means that I will probably have to make my middle name "Earplugs" next time I go to see them play.

On Wednesday I went to see the Lost And Found Orchestra at the Southbank. This is a big show from the people that brought us Stomp, and I have to say it practically defies description. Within the show are elements of music, dance, comedy, theatre and, er, DIY. It's quite a spectacle and I thoroughly recommend it.


There are too many shows coming up to mention here in detail so I'll mention just three and list them all at the end.

On 26th January I am very excited (and slightly nervous) to be performing my interpretation of the Shrek Rap by fellow blogger Casdok. This will be at the book launch for From Zaftig To Aspie (details below) written by DJ Kirkby whom you will probably also know from the Blogging sphere. I don't want to give too much away about my performance, but it will be combining elements of my live show (most notably looped pieces like The Prophet) with a spoken word delivery that (at the moment) seems to be somewhere between Lou Reed and Baz Luhrman! Whether or not a recorded version of this track will ever make it into the public domain is uncertain, so if you really want to hear it - you'll just have to be there!

Very early notice, but on the 12th March at 2nd Thursday at the Montague Arms, I'll be performing another interpretation of a written piece. This time it's a piece by Daniel Lehan.

Finally, please, please, please consider either coming along to, or texting your support for my Surface Unsigned Festival 09 appearance - I need say no more!

Happy New Year to you all!


10th January 2009, 7.00pm
The Rialto Club, Raynes Park Lantern Centre Coffee Shop, 195 – 205 Worple Road, SW 20 8ET

11th January 2009, 8.00pm
15 Minute Club @ The Living Room Oxford, 1 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY

25th January 2009, 8.00pm
15 Minute Club @ The Living Room, 18-26 Essex Road,Islington, N1 8LN

26th January 2009, 8.00pm
From Zaftig To Aspie - Book Launch
Jardin Du Vin in Rosies Wine Bar, 87 Elm Grove, Southsea, Hampshire, PO5 1JF 87
- one-off performance of Shrek Rap by Casdok

1st February 2009, 9.30pm
Surface Unsigned Music Festival, Boston Music Room, 178 Junction Rd, Tufnell Park, N19 5QQ

15th February 2009, 7.30pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St. Katherine's Docks, London, E1W 1AA

22nd February 2009, 7.30pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St. Katherine's Docks, London, E1W 1AA

26th February 2009, 8.00pm
Fused Lounge Bar, 21 Lee High Road, Lewisham, SE13 5LD

12th March 2009, 9.00pm
2nd Thursdays @ The Montague Arms
- one-off performance of a Daniel Lehan piece