Sunday, December 03, 2017

What do musicians do when they're 'busy doing nothing'?

Well at the moment, off the top of my head;

*Maintaining 8 Social Media Sites, 2 proper websites and a mailing list.
*Making finishing touches to a 'home movie' style music video.

*Planning bespoke music lessons for each of my students.
*Researching appropriate material for each individual student based on their own requirements, level and interest.
*Planning a couple 'rig rundown' style youtube posts.
*Catching up on another month's worth of accounts.
*Digital marketing.
*Sending tracks to radio stations.
*Testing/experimenting with new pedal board sounds (more on this soonish).
*Recording a guide track for a potential track on the next Blue Yellows release.
*Scheduling Spring/Summer 2018 gigs.
*Writing and recording for a solo album that I definitely won't have time to release until late 2018 or more likely 2019.
*Rehearsing for 3 types of live show, solo singer/songwriter, original band (The Blue Yellows) and commercial cover band (Rickety Wireless).
*Getting some 'home made' CD versions of Raffesia Dreams made up for a mini-run.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Please note this gig is now CANCELLED due to the sale of the venue to developers.


Update 11/11/2017
We understand that The Box venue has been sold with the plan to demolish it and replace with a multi-story car park...  tragic and infuriating news.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Beaten by Brian

Funky Monk

Sometimes being a musician is playing to a full hall of people who are hanging on to every note and word, others, like for me today, it is trudging through heavy rain with heavier-still equipment on your back, sore from 2 weeks of the similar, day and night, toward one of your delayed trains, one of two trains and three buses for the day, delayed by the storm which will ultimately cut your work short that afternoon, work you'd still been preparing for at 3am that morning.
Ah well... you can't win 'em all, and when mother nature steps in, this time in the guise of Storm Brian no less, combined with an organisation understandably not wanting to put it's members from the risks of impending high winds, well, that was that.

Many at the Mexon Street Market, this being a special Halloween Themed event had put a huge amount of preparation into this, there are a lot of very disappointed people tonight, but hey ho, all you can do is go onwards and upwards...




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Enzo - Words and Music Fest

Sunday October 15th, 2017 (updated with photos 20/10/17)

Roland, Yapp & Jacson. Photo by Chris Driver.

A bit of an extra special show I've performed and hosted in the last couple of years or more is Enzo Acoustic Zone, a part of the Words and Music Festival at the yummy coffee and pizza emporium that is Enzo.
I had the delight of introducing some of the most captivating and beautiful sound-makers in the UK, if slightly below the radar of many, namely Ian Roland's melodic, folk-orientated band with stunning musicianship and vocal harmonies Roland Yapp and Jackson and the hypnotic Ruth Theodore. Apparently (based on a conversation with Ruth's mum while walking back over to their hotel) Ruth is self-taught on the guitar and doesn't have any conventional knowledge on how your supposed to play or even about standard tuning, so she's taught herself her own, entirely unique way of playing, and hypnotic it is, too.
Wonderful songs, thanks all. Plus top talents in their own right Tim and Dayve who organised the sound and made it all actually possible!

Many thanks to photographer Chris Driver for these pics:

Me! Photo by Chris Driver.
The quite brilliant Ruth Theodore, Photo by Chris Driver.


Ruth Theodore. Photo by Chris Driver.
The wonderful Roland, Yapp & Jackson. Photo by Chris Driver.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Making Moments at Words & Music Fest.

12/10/2017

Tonight it was a pleasure to make an appearance on stage with Nigel Stonier and Special Guests as part of the 10th Words and Music Festival.
A great night!


One of his guests was the brilliant Tracey Browne who I caught soundchecking to an empty ballroom before the show. Not normally the done thing to share soundchecking shenanigans so I asked her of course.




Friday, September 15, 2017

Rafflesia Streams.

(Updated 22/09/2017)

Rafflesia Dreams is OUT TODAY on ALL digital outlets and services! 

Many people of you will have your own preferred favourite for streaming &/or downloading service. If you are not sure which one to use however, please help support my music by using bandcamp as they send much more of the money you pay directly to the artist (me!).. AND they're cheaper too so, well it's here: https://jonathantarplee.bandcamp.com/album/rafflesia-dreams

It was awesome to get this comment from sunny California within hours of release all those interweb outlets!


To celebrate the album and preempt it's release on all well known digital outlets, the night before I was delighted to appear on Tim Lee's burgeoning radio show on Redshift, The Doorstep Mixtape. I was the 'B-Side Artist' in the second hour, but the whole show is a great listen!



Or... just the shortened 'funny bits';

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mind over Matter.

For some reason I felt more relaxed than usual before taking to the stage for MindFest 3.
I, along with my fellow band-family The Blue Yellows seemed focused and relaxed enough to take some big musical risks, some of which payed off. It's something I really love about live music, the chance to go for completely playing with your gut instincts, surrendering to the groove that you and your fellow bandees are creating with it's inherent, overpowering emotion, and simply going for it, all out! Drummer Dave for instance spontaneously came up with a whole new drum pattern/rhythm for the final chorus of No Tobacco and it was great from where I was standing.

Many thanks to Rona, from awesome prog/folk band We Are Nomad for this shot of The Blue Yellows
The whole festival was for the important mental health charity MIND. Mental Health issues are close to the heart of most (if not all?) creatives (note, for instance, some previous witterings on my Social Anxiety) and I think part of the reason for the supportive feeling in the room might have been down to this. It was also great to see some really good friends, though again, as usual at a gig, I hardly get to speak with them
I was lucky enough to catch some great acts including Rivers and Kidd, Hayley Stangelove and Tim Lee, who all seemed on especially good form (sorry about the crappy pics, guys, see below!). It was fantastic to hear, for instance, 'Chains' by Hayley, one of my favourite songs, not just by Hayley, but one of my favourite songs of all, by anyone.
The whole weekend is a great testament to the hard work of Glyn,  Tess and all the team at Colossus Productions putting on such a huge two-day event for the important work of this charity. Well done folks, and thanks!

Drummer Dave managed to get back from his hols in time to make
rehearsals the night before, plus a bit of impromptu football!
Back stage at The Box, Crewe where it all happened.

Rivers & Kidd brought their quirky songs and were on great form.

Cathartic new songs from Tim Lee's much anticipated 'Into the Woods' album.

The hugely powerful and beautiful voice of Hayley
Strangelove.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Everything but the plums.

Thanks to original Riot Grrrl Steph for these photos.
Sometimes music making seems as easy as the proverbial falling off a log (a true proverb I can attest to, by the way) and so it was today.
I was though, just playing a small part in a big project. Jose is making an album of 'caravan sessions' consisting of recorded songs, all or many of which he is co-writing.

Jose is a super-talented producer as well as musician,  better known back in Spain where he has won awards in short films for soundtracks he has composed and recorded. He sent me a song a few days ago, one that has a long history in fact (which I may go into when it comes out), perhaps three quarters written. I added some lyrics and a 'bridgey part' and today we met up, in said caravan, to record.
Super-smoothly it did go: After a bit of working out who would do what and how we would transition from one part of the song to another we went for 4 takes in all, and now left him and Steph to work out where it goes from here. Steph had already started experimenting with her backing vocals on this track before I left, she is also playing a major part in terms of writing and recording on this whole project/album and I can't wait to hear it in it's entirety when it's all done.

So, a brilliant afternoon, the only downside being some offered, but forgotten plums! They have a tree for which our rainy/sunny August has worked wonders, resulting in a ... swarm(?) of plums... a plumage(?)... I'm sure one of you will provide the collective name, anyway, more than can be consumed by a household alone, but I sadly forgot to remind them about some of the offered surplus!
Thanks, you two, for having me along for the ride on this part of the journey, it was a great experience today!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Blooming Beautiful!

Aug 6th, 2017

Another August and another lovely invite to Martin and Elaine's friendly hospitality and mini-festival no less, in their gorgeous back garden. Playing with The Blue Yellows of course, or at least 3/4s of us while Em is away on holiday.


I feel I let the Yella Fella's down somewhat with a voice totally under-powered and under-tuneful almost from the off, however... something I realised later might be partly down to being generally dehydrated from having run out of drinking water at home (I live on a narrowboat, keep up!) and not having had time to replace it, or, therefore, drink very much at all that morning, my own stupidity at not realising this getting in the way then, really.
Nevertheless, it was a truly lovely, gentle day again in the most gorgeous garden, yummy food and very good company.

One of the most memorable performances came from songwriter Tim Lee, in fact I had that experience of completely forgetting where I was and totally existing inside the music as he played his song, 'A Curious Cure'. This is a common experience I have regularly when I play music (in fact I think musicians should aim for this state) and quite often when listening to great music alone, but rarely when feeling more nervous and conscientious when I'm with people. Anyroadup, Tim also made a really comprehensive write up of the whole day, and some very special performances, right HERE if you want to read more.

Many thanks to all involved and especially Martin and Elaine... Special!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Big Cheese.

Today I played the worlds biggest Cheese-based festival, no less and the biggest one-day festival in the country, I'm told, The Nantwich Show.
It was lovely to see some familiar faces, especially some very special folk who I hadn't seen for several years but, well, we go wayyyy back. You know who you are!

Last night I had to fix this pickup housing (and clean the guitar),
The fix turned out to be easy enough once I tried holding the guitar
upside down!

Special thanks to all at the lovely Redshift team, and to those who bought CDs!
Many thanks to Jonathan White for this photo.



Redshift Radio ran the all the music & events in the Community Gardens.

Singer Molly Gibson takes to the stage.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Musician for Hire!

July 22nd 2017
Now that music forms the main part of my income, I have to get used to the idea of very short notice gigs from time to time, luckily my semi-acoustic and acoustic guitars were already packed following a more technically full-on rehearsal than usual with Rickety Wireless the night before. 

If it had been a gig with The BYs for example, I would've needed maybe an extra hour to get stuff unpacked from my strat/SG bags and into the acoustic/semi set up.

Here's what I said on my 
instagram account about this gig supporting the opening Mexon Street Market Thanks very much to the team there who rallied round for me and really looked after me, not something you take for granted in music!:



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

All for Alsager!

July 16th 2017.


Packed out in front of the stage.
Thanks to Stath Kyrantonis, one of the hard-working Alsager Music Fest organisers,  for this photo.

P
Many thanks to Martin Butterworth for this photo.
art of my preparations for this gig was, I explained in this instagram post, was to stop my continual problem at gigs of the unscheduled 'moving of the dials' of my delay pedal, which is otherwise a beautiful sounding bit of kit. and it worked, no unexpected psychedelic moments!

I think I'm right in saying that I've been lucky enough to perform at every single Alsager Music Festival since it began a few years ago, but this was the best one yet personally as I got the excitement of playing with my mighty bandee-pals The Blue Yellows!



Introducing a song, or summit.
Many thanks to Ceri Bugg for the photo.
This is now one of the best music festivals you will find anywhere. Any fellow musos reading will know what an enormous physical, psychological and emotional burden is behind all the work that goes into every gig, especially at the gig itself, but events like this make it all worthwhile, the organisers work on this all the year round and it show, hats off to them! The crowds who came along to support us... many familiar faces and many new ones, you were incredible, thank you so much from all of us at BYs central.
We hope to see you again soon!

I'm always in a constant battle with my nerves before a show something I wrote of, recently; sometimes winning (successfully turning the nerves into a quietly focused excitement) sometimes not so much... it's especially hard sometimes when so many good friends turn up to see you and support you and you know you really ought to acknowledge them and chat with them and thank them for coming, but you also want to be locked away somewhere to work on blocking everything out and getting into the zone, and warming up on the guitar. So, I'm really delighted to see them, but end up feeling incredibly guilty that I hardly spoke to them! So, thank you, you know who you are, and sorry!

Something that did help me relax was finally getting to see the wonderfully talented Gary Wilcox and various different combinations of bands he is in. As a talented songsmith, radio show host and musician, Gary is one of those people who seem to be at the fulcrum of something of a scene; for one thing his radio show really helps a lot of under the radar talent out there and he also either fronts or is in the bands Wilcox-Hulse, Don't Call Me Ishmael some of whom stayed on with the rest of The Taskers who were also ace! All fabulous bands that all have something of a folk-rock element and great vocal harmonies or backing vocal combinations. I especially enjoyed DCMI who were sometimes lilting, sometimes stonking, but always drawing you into emotional musical stories. Great stuff!


Our own set was inspired and pushed on by the amazing crowds. Thank you Alsager Music Fest, thank you to your amazing team of organisers putting on this brilliant, brilliant event, to the lovely Lodge pub, thanks to those who came along, strangers and friends!
YOU make it all worthwhile!



Em from the BYs enjoys  Gary Wilcox with young Casper.

HUGE Thanks to David Barrs for all his hard work videoing and uploading!!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Cars in the Arts Lab (*and a sad discovery while writing this post).

Multi-Disciplinary artist Mark Sheeky has a regular arts show on Redshift Radio featuring all new, all never previously released work. It's a fantastic concept and to be honest with you, I'm amazed he manages to make a whole hour long show each week of the work submitted, given the context, but I guess it just goes to show how much is happening out there.

Mark requested submissions on the subject of 'Cars' and I couldn't resist. I wanted to make sure the dark side of car culture was included. After all, some 1.3 million people are killed on the roads each year worldwide and car use is a major contributing factor in global warming, which threatens much of life on Earth, particularly coral reefs at the moment and ultimately all life which depends on a diverse eco-system, like humans. *As Heathcote Williams put it, cars represent "a humdrum holocaust, the third world war nobody bothered to declare" (In Autogeddon, 1991). 
*See bottom of post.

I knocked this up in a few hours. You can hear the original version on the 'listen-again' mixcloud of Mark's show (this is the 1st track on the show). Today, I have also added drums.
There are no synths here, the whooshing sound representing cars racing about is actually slide guitar of sorts, actually an empty beer bottle on my Firebird and shed-loads of reverb!

The plan is to make this a temporary download, so if you like this dark soundscape, then download it quick. As Mark says in his show, wear headphones to make the most of it.





Listen again to Mark's show below:


*Heathcote Williams, particularly his piece 'Autogeddon', has been enormously influential and inspiring for me. In researching a link for this blog post, I have just found out that he died, just a few days ago on July 1st.
Please read his outstanding works Whale Nation and Autogeddon.
RIP.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Social Anxiety and Performance.

July 2nd 2017

I am (very) often told that "You CAN'T be shy, the way you get up on stage and do what you do, I could NEVER do that". In fact it's very common indeed among performers.
I've always been what I once thought of as 'very shy', more recently came to think of as being 'introverted' and, having worked with youngsters in education and got used to the lingo, now realise is what's now known as having Social Anxiety.

It doesn't mean I don't like people or socialising by the way (these are among my very favourite things in fact!), it just means that socialising is often very draining for me, and can be exhausted by it and will need to re-charge. Alcohol can really help though!

I was going to have a stab at writing a long, eloquent piece on this but there are people much better at that kind of thing (google it, you'll find tonnes, no doubt) so I thought I would strip it right down to some key revelations, personal epiphanies no less. surrounding my own experience of social anxiety.


I get the feeling that performing your own songs is very different to say either acting, or playing in a tribute band for instance. I often hear that actors got into acting because they wanted to be someone else, or that in acting they are channeling/becoming possessed by the character of another, whereas as a performer of my own songs, I feel in a way the opposite to this, that I am emotionally very naked and raw, in fact that my emotions have to be raw and real for me to do this. But I might be wrong about actors and the like, I don't know..

Is it worth it? Well, in a facebook comment on a link to this post, Phil Gemmell put it better than I could:



I'd love to know what you think, or about your own experiences, whether you have similar issues or even very different ones, for instance; I think a significant number of performers have almost the opposite problem, that they are extroverts who therefore really rely heavily on the approval of others to cope. How is it for you? Anyway here goes..



My Top Ten  personal epiphanies surrounding my experience social anxiety (what are yours)?


1. As a kid, teen and so on. Social anxiety stopped me doing some things I really wanted to do. 'Small' examples include one of my all-time heroes Chris Packham (who has a lot of issues himself but... well,  read his book!) regularly coming to work at the same place as me for a time to discuss animals and their habitats to groups of children and families, so I could have had the chance to meet him regularly and even try to strike up some sort of working relationship, but did I even meet him once? No
I used to be a major petrol-head to (I know, I know...), and had a season pass to Oulton Park, I was once offered by a friend of my dad's a pit-pass so I could experience all the goings-on in the pits, with a specific team, during the races, but no, I said I'd be much happier out watching on a windswept embankment.

2. My 'stage fright' used to be so bad, I gave up live performances/'gigs' for what ended up being eleven years.

3. 
A person who ended up being a great personal friend told me that when she first started seeing me, with a group of mutual friends in the pub, she had thought I was very arrogant and aloof. I was utterly amazed by this mis-reading of my being too shy to talk to anyone and too worried about saying the wrong thing. I did find this hilarious though (we had already become really good friends by the time she told me this).

4. 
A(n ex) girlfriend of mine pointed out to me that I often walked about with my mouth/face covered by one hand (e.g. with one arm folded across my chest as a prop for my elbow, if that makes sense). I had no idea I was doing this until then, but started adopting a more 'confident-looking' type of walk.

5. This led to me adopting lots of other techniques to look and/or sound confident (some of which, later on,  I took from my own advice to students stressed about presentations, researching what you teach is important, folks!).

6. The realisation that the times when I am most anxious or nervous are often when others think I am most relaxed or 'chilled'. I suspect like a lot of other people with related issues, I keep my inner feelings inside and 'hidden' and often being really quiet is a defense mechanism (are you like this or do you do the opposite?) Think rabbit being eyed by a fox. If however, I am making very silly, surreal comments, I am probably OK, or pissed, or most likely, both! I am usually very happy when tipsy, as a lot of the anxiety filters crash away, though I have to be careful about this, obviously!

7. I accidentally (no, really.. but again it's another story) got into teaching and ended up being a lecturer in F.E. which is MUCH more stressful than getting on stage. I did bar work, even more stressful, at times, as you have to 'perform' but with little (and often extreme lack of..) respect. Though both can also be a lot of fun. I thought, if I can do THIS, I must be able to get back on stage!

8. The realisation that performing my music/songs is a vital part of who I am and the need to express my most inner-being or soul, for want of a better phrase.

9. The adoption of techniques that help me get into the relaxed/focused state I need to be in to be be able to perform. I use lots of techniques that help me get into the zone and ready to perform. These are mostly 'inner' techniques that might not be obvious, but they include breathing techniques, mindfulness, and lots of things that come from a book by the Dalai Lama no less, co-written with a psychiatrist called The Art of Happiness. I know, it sounds like a terrible self-help book and probably is. My mum had it and I started reading it a bit and then reading it all, and I found it really helpful!
I also use some opposite sort of techniques that involve kind of burning off excess nerves and anxious energy. In general though on a gig-day I try to psychologically/emotionally/spiritually slow myself right down so that I can release it all on stage that night. I realised at a recent gig that I am (sometimes) getting much better at this, I was surrounded by lovely people who are really nice and who I know quite well, but, well it was that 'loneliness in a crowded room' thing and my anxiety about what to say to them and/or how to join in was much worse than performing on stage, so I couldn't wait to get on stage to avoid the conversation-related stresses. Well, it's a victory of sorts!

10. Knowing that it's not something I 'suffer' from. It's just part of who I am, a big part. I won't answer the phone or invite you round, I might well not turn up to the party I really wanted to go to, but this is the other side of being the same person that writes songs, needs to be in nature and can happily fall asleep playing guitar having done nothing but play guitar, on my own, all day long (on the now very rare chances I get to do this!). That's time never wasted!


Update 3rd July 2017:
 I have made my facebook links to this article private for a few days due to the large number of responses. This is because lots of discussion about my private situation is something I find really stressful, so I don't want to have to be fielding loads of comments on this, though I appreciate this is done in a big-hearted way so I thank you for that.
*Just to reiterate - I am absolutely fine, I have had these 'issues' all my life, I don't even consider them issues, they are just a big part of who I am/my personality. I wrote this post as it is a missing piece about who I am as a musician so it's important to include it, I think.*
Please feel free to comment on your own experiences, but don't feel sorry for me, I'm fine.

Thank you. xx

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Bonnie Time on The Radio

Studio swamped with the trappings of partydom
23/06/2017 
(Updated 27/06/17 to include listen again feature).

Last night I was delighted to be asked to guest on a special Redshift Radio show celebrating the birthday of the brilliant veteran broadcaster Paul Boniface.

As well as having a perfect, velvety radio-voice, he's a lovely and interesting fella.

Catch him when on air when you can!

The great and the good from planet Redhshift were there and when it was my turn;..

 I played Watch Out! (or I'll stick you in my poem) from Rafflesia Dreams ..

and There She Moves from Attachment Theories

Then Paul and I chatted about everything from long-distance walks to Paul's champagne breakfasts!




Listen Again here:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Home made.

Updated June 4th 2017

I'm going to be doing some home made films about 'The making of'... my new experimental album Rafflesia Dreams as I roll it out hopefully over further formats. Here they are so far:


You will only ever be able to get all 14 tracks, including bonus tracks, via the bandcamp link here. So have a listen and get downloading if you like it!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

On the Offbeat, Off the Rails.

Many thanks to Tim Lee for this photo.
The creative Crewe people at, well creativecrewe.co.uk put on a fab festival, The Big Event Festival, in the huge hanger-like former railway 'shed' that is now Crewe Heritage Center.
It was lovely that so many old friends turned up, not that I had much time to spend with them in my pre-gig tension or post-gig emotional exhaustion.
I did get to enjoy some fabulous artists before our set however including the jangly rockers with Beatlesque vocal harmonies The Continental Phase.
Good friends and brilliant songwriters Tim Lee and Dayve Dean both performed lots of as-yet unreleased material and it was great to hear their fine vocals in a place with such a huge, natural reverb.
You can also read Tim's experience of the occasion HERE (a blog-post within a blog-post I tell you, it's all here).
Raven's Way had a kind of post-folky retro thing going on and did an incredibly moving version of 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes', a wonderful Sandy Denny song. They were minus a (poorly) fiddle player but all sounded great, especially my fellow finger-picker guitarist Pete but then, I am biased.


A typical thing happened with me during our Blue Yellows set, and I should know better by now. A couple of songs in and I had lost so much of my vocal ability that I felt as if I was singing through a narrow straw, so wasn't able to go for the songs in the way that I wanted to, yet a few songs later and I had recovered... proof of lack of vocal warm-ups (again!). MUST DO. The gang did me proud, as always though, I'm very lucky to have you, thanks guys (and girl).
The Continental Phase opened the day.
Dayve Dean arrived in time to play a great set.
Me with drummist Dave, who'd had the
Purple Yellows treatment.
A very appreciative crowd, thanks all, and to all the friends I hardly got to speak to at all.
The Blitz team did a superlative job on the sound as we have come to expect and the Offbeat Beers were very nice indeed, I look forward to more of them when I have a few more pennies.
Tim Lee with great new songs.
(Sorry about my rubbish photo, Tim).

Monday, May 01, 2017

Lymelight Festival 2017


Fierce crowds were kept back by the security fencing!
Most of the band seemed more than a little bleary-eyed on arrival in Newcastle Under Lyme, our tiredness probably matched by the dull, drizzley skies which greeted us. We enjoyed the brilliant Kez Liddle's dreamy music before we went on. Finding we had a slightly longer slot at this, the fabulous town-center music and arts extravaganza that is The Lymelight Festival than we had originally been told,  so after a quick chat we added 'Love is the Answer' to the set list.

And... the Sun came out!


We added 'Love is the Answer' to the setlist
after the Radiohead cover.


We were super impressed with dreamy singer songwriter
Kez Liddle.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Making it Up in CW6

A pre soundcheck shot
  Sat, April 22nd, 2017

The CW6 Festival was the first Tarporley gig (well, nearly) for this Tarplee, here!

With The Blue Yellows, we were playing this picturesque and incredibly bijou festival, complete with pristine weather and plenty to do for all, especially if you love getting your sparkle on (most of the band did!), as it was all run by the lovely people at The Make Up Project and for a wonderful cause, St Luke's Hospice.

Thanks for having us!

A big thank you to Rik too, from event planners Speeches and Cream,  who did a superb job with stage management and sound engineering on the PA with top-notch equipment. Check the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/speechesandcream

It was nice that my sister Suey, and music-mad niece Indigo (who was in a Merry Hell video shoot today!) could make this one, too.

Chilling with the band
A rough stage-plot 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tip of the iceberg. What do musicians do all day?

The gig, the show, the concert. The album, the EP, the single. All just tips of giant icebergs.

What lies beneath?

Hours and hours of daily;

Rehearsals,
Songwriting,
Emails and social media messages to venues, promoters, sound engineers, radio stations, fellow musicians,
Form filling: Performing Rights society forms, Sound technician tech-specs, contracts.
Researching and communicating with good potential venues, festivals, promoters, media-makers,

Designing and creating posters, videos and other promotional material.,
Preparing and repairing instruments and other equipment,
Maintaining/trying to advance social media presence on various popular platforms,
Website updating and maintaining,
Maintaining 'peripheral' websites such as musicglue, BBC Introducing and dozens of others so that you keep/advance your presence there,

Problem/issue solving; Dealing with issues relating to the logistics of a specific show with all the people mentioned above,
Writing press releases,
Getting advance copies of recorded material to music mags/bloggers and other acclaimed reviewers,
Traveling to rehearsals and shows,
Practicing your instrument(s),
Studio work; recording, messing with files, production, contracts, liaising with studio managers, producers, fellow musicians.

Liaising with peripheral producers; music distributors, CD/sleeve designers, artists and graphic design companies,
Maintaining records for HMRC, doing tax returns from various income streams including different record distribution services, music tuition, royalties, music sales and more,
Getting involved in symbiotic promotion of festivals and other bodies you are involved with,
Fitting in all the other 'stuff of life',
Writing this!
All good fun though of course, if that's your thing! :P
From a Blue Yellows rehearsal (from instagram)

From a Rickety Wireless rehearsal
(pic from Instagram)



Saturday, April 01, 2017

Rock'n The Box

Photo by Tim Lee
A gig at Crewe's proper rock n' roll beautifully 'distressed', graffiti-bejeweled much loved venue, The Box. A fantastic team in operation here from Glyn, the captain of the good ship Colossus Productions at the helm to Tess, Harry, Stevie P who was recording it all (and interviewing us) for The Cat Radio and not least Adrian on the sound. 


This was significantly the best sound we have ever had at this venue on stage, and presumably out front 'in the room', given how good the other acts sounded. If you're in a band, you will know that sometimes you have to deal with terrible sound-scenarios on stage. Imagine singing but not being able to hear your own voice other than perhaps a faint, heavily echoed, fractured effect off the back wall of the venue which is now out of time with the 'live' instruments around you. Imagine hearing only one instrument where you are, harshly drowning everything else out. imagine not being able to hear another instrument that provides vital cues to where you are going next, musically. It shouldn't happen but it still does. 
If, like at this event, you have a great sound on stage, it means you can really dig into the sound, really enjoy it, and it gives you the confidence to perform really well. So often, a good performance is so much to do with having a good sound on stage. If it sounds crap on stage, no matter what 'form' you are on as a musician, or how well you might be communicating as a band, you're probably screwed, but the public probably won't why, and will think it's you.  I think I've made my point, thanks team - thanks Adrian!

We, that is of course The Blue Yellows, were there to support our stoner-rock friends Brave New World who were on the best form I've seen (heard) them in, do check them out! Again sound-guy Adrian would certainly have helped with their fab sound (and everyone was talking about the sitar effect afterwards)! They're onwards to The Cavern Club, no less, next. You can read more about their night from the point of view of their ace-of-bass (not to mention incredible songwriter and producer guy) Tim Lee on his blog at https://timleesongs.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-middle-aged-rock-n-roll-bass-player/


Also in support role was the brilliant James Johnston, sporting a Bob Dylan T shirt, a powerful, gritty vocal and superb songs. Inspiring stuff. Do yourself a favour, go to the bottom of this post and listen to his new EP, Before I Lose My Mind.
Photo by  Kirst of KRPR Services




The rest of my gang enjoying a truly rock n' roll pre-gig ritual

Great to have such smiley company in the Green Room