Saturday, June 01, 2019

Your Disobedient Servant writes...


This is getting ridiculous.

Blame Facebook. Well, that's what I'm blaming anyway. After all, it can't possibly be my fault can it?

In the good old days - 'old' days are always 'good' aren't they? - if I'd wanted to bang on about myself in Cyberspace I would have to find a computer (usually in a house, maybe even the one that I lived in) before logging onto this here blog and spending ages humming and harring, writing and rewriting, editing and re-editing... whereas now it just takes a few seconds on a mobile phone or laptop and my self-centred ramblings are there for all to see. Progress? Maybe. Of a sort. 

When I last found my way onto these hallowed pages Ruts D.C. were about to embark on their '40 Years Of The Crack' Tour. That was three months - a quarter of a year - ago. It all went wonderfully well as I regularly reported on my Facebook page (see what I mean!) and we're currently gigging sporadically over the next couple of months including Camden Rocks tomorrow, The Rebellion Festival in August and more - full details can as always be found on, you've guessed it, the band's Facebook page. We're also putting together some new songs which will hopefully form the basis of a new album to be released next year, and planning several other outings before 2019 is over. Exciting times!

I've also been gigging with the excellent Punky Reggae Party (I bet you can guess they do, and indeed where this link takes you) as well as starting a new band with some old friends playing new wave covers - we're called The Slogans, there's no Facebook page yet (or if there is then I haven't seen it!) but you can bet your trousers that there will be...

And I'm pleased to say that I'm about go on tour with Alvin Gibbs And The Disobedient Servants. I was very pleased to be asked to play on two tracks on the U.K. Subs's bassman's debut solo album 'Your Disobedient Servant' which came out earlier this year to rave reviews, and I'm even more excited to be asked to play in the live band, which also features the Subs's drummer Jamie Oliver (yes, that really is his name!) and Godfathers guitar slinger Steve Crittall (he's not on all the gigs on this tour sadly but hopefully will be more involved long term) along with various other guest guitarists (all of whom play on the album) at some of the shows along the way. I will no doubt be reporting as often as I can on you-know-where, and if I've got any sense I'll keep some sort of tour diary which I'll write up here in due course. Just like I used to do in the good old days eh?

Let's hope so.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ruts D.C. '40 Years Of The Crack' Tour starts tomorrow!

The game is afoot - after what seems like an age (it was announced last summer!) the Ruts D.C. '40 Years Of The Crack' Tour is finally upon us. We're playing 17 shows with The Professionals are special guests, during which we intend to play the first Ruts album 'The Crack' in it's entirety alongside other material from the band's illustrious history - I don't want to sound big-headed, but it's got all the makings of a great tour. As always I'll be attempting to update my Facebook page as often as possible, and if you're coming to a show then please say hello - after all, without an audience it's just like a rehearsal, only louder...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Work, rest and play

As the '40 Years Of The Crack' tour gets ever nearer Ruts D.C. have been rehearsing. And rehearsing. And rehearsing. Well - failure is not an option; this can't be good, it has to be great, and it can't be great, it has to be brilliant... without wishing to sound too complacent, it's all going well although there's still a lot of work to do. But do it we will!

After one such rehearsal Dave, Segs and myself found ourselves in the hallowed confines of The Little Crown in Deptford drinking Guinness (which is excellent there, and well worth trying if you find yourself in the area!) and signing posters (like you do - well, like we do these days, there's a tour coming up you know!) when Sinead the barmaid (first name terms and everything!) asked if we'd play a show there one day. Well said Dave, we could maybe do an acoustic show - at which point someone (me!) suggested that we play there to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Ruts single 'In A Rut'. We could invite some friends, stream it live on the band's Facebook page, it'd be great... and so at 7 pm on Friday 11th January 2019 we did indeed play an acoustic show at The Little Crown in Deptford to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of 'In A Rut'. We invited some friends (including Ali McMordie of Stiff Little Fingers and MC Spee from Dreadzone - celebrity mates ahoy!) streamed it live on Facebook and it was great. I'd tell you more but details are necessarily sketchy.. well, remember how I good I said that their Guinness is... 

Besides rehearsing and drinking I managed to get along to a couple of shows from this year's Resolution Festival at The 100 Club - The Vibrators give a boisterous performance while The U.K. Subs played their first album 'Another Kind Of Blues' to the riotous approval of all concerned. And I've played my first gig of the year last night with Punky Reggae Party, at The Bread And Roses in Clapham where the heat inside contrasted with the cold outside and a fine time was had by all. I'm at The Cavern in Raynes Park with them on Saturday 2nd February, after which all roads lead to the Ruts D.C. tour, if they don't already. Not a bad start to the year then.

And in case you missed it, you can see the Deptford performance from soundcheck to gig and beyond here. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

10 out of 10

I bet you've often thought to yourself 'that miserable chancer who plays the guitar in Ruts D.C. - I wonder what his 10 favourite albums of all time are?' Well wonder no longer my friends, as those lovely lads and lasses at Louder Than War have given me the opportunity to tell just that to the whole wide World. Click here to discover the winners - including a 20-album sub's bench - and see what you think!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae

So. 2018 then. Not a bad year?

No, not a bad year. Well, I didn't think that it was.

Then again considering that it began for me with my Dad catching The Flu then developing pneumonia I suppose I was rather hoping for it to improve... within a couple of weeks of that (and with him thankfully at home recovering) Ruts D.C. were gigging in Japan and Hong Kong then touring Australia and New Zealand before embarking on a British tour supporting Stiff Little Fingers. If that was all we'd done I'd be saying that it had been a good year, but we went on to play many more memorable shows - The Rebellion Festival in Blackpool is always a highlight, but the Rebellion Amsterdam weekend was wonderful; we also made our first visit to Denmark, played a tattoo festival in France, gigged on a boat up and down the River Spree in Berlin and more including a visit to Abbey Road Studios - little if any of which got reported here. It's all been on my Facebook page - which is a somewhat woolly excuse for this being only the twelfth blog posting of the year. There was a time when used to do that in a month. But I guess times change... maybe there'll be more here next year?    

Talking of 2019, I'm hoping to play some more shows with Punky Reggae Party. Having first gigged with them back in the summer (an incident that incredibly is reported somewhere in these hallowed pages!) I've since played a couple more gigs with them including a fine show at The Cavern in Raynes Park just before Christmas - hopefully they will be many more to come, the first of which is at The Bread And Roses in Clapham on Saturday 19th January. I'm also putting another band together with some old friends, but more news on that as and when I have it. And Ruts D.C. are heading out on the '40 Years Of The Crack' tour in February, with (hopefully) more to come after that.

So hopefully 2019 will be a good year for me and my guitar - and I hope it is for you too. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

'Hey hey hey - we're all riding on the ghost train...'

Ruts D.C. in Aarhus, Denmark, Friday 14th September 2018
Well - so much for me getting back into blogging eh? Maybe I should just try for a monthly bulletin? 

In my defence your honour I have been updating my Facebook page regularly, which I suppose is for want of a better word 'easier' than writing extended pieces here. I think it's the immediacy of being able to put something up more-or-less as it happens that's so appealing, whereas it takes a fair bit more work to get things onto here. 

So - since last we spoke... 

Ruts D.C. played three shows in Germany and visited Denmark for the first time - a splendid if rather tiring 4 days. The good news is that in time honoured tradition I took the usual scribbly notes, the bad news is that I can't find them. Bugger! Oh well... there are enough other scribbly notes that need to be written up here before those!
As we're playing the '40 Years Of The Crack' tour in February we're obliged to go underground from now until then, although I'm pleased to say that we're appearing at The Inkmas Tattoo Festival in France on November 18th. Hopefully a few other shows will come in too... that said we've got plenty to do between now and the tour - there are 5 songs on 'The Crack' that we've never played live, and in addition to learning them we've got to put a show together. There are talks of back projections and stage sets - maybe we'll use them, maybe we won't. It's the music that's important - well, I think that it is anyway. And that magnificent music will be available again on vinyl very soon - Dave, Segs and myself spent a day in the hallowed confines of Abbey Road Studios last month with noted mastering engineer Geoff Pesche cutting a new vinyl master of the album. Well I didn't do much, other than stumble around thinking about The Beatles - who incidentally were working on the song 'Piggies' from the soon-to-be reissued 'White Album' 50 years to the day earlier on September 19th 1968. The things I know eh?

So then - Hallowe'en. I'm obviously far too miserable to have anything to do with it under normal circumstances, but these are far from normal circumstances... today sees the release of the new single by Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants - the appropriately-titled 'Ghost Train'. Alvin is of course the bass player in The U.K. Subs who's also previously played with Iggy Pop and Cheap 'n' Nasty among many others - here he's joined by Subs sticksman Jamie Oliver and Godfathers guitar hero Steve Crittall, alongside guest guitarists Brian James (yes that's right, the chap that wrote 'New Rose') on the B-side 'Clumsy Fingers' and, incredibly, your humble narrator on the A-side. How on Earth did that happen? Anyway I might be a bit biased here but I think that it's a great record - you can hear and indeed buy a copy here. See what you think - there are only 300 vinyl copies so I wouldn't hang about if I were you...

And talking of tattoo festivals (now there's something that I never thought that I'd ever type!) Neck played The London Tattoo Convention last month, supporting the excellent King Kurt. 'Twas a roaringly good event with some frankly astonishing sights - let's see what we see next month... and I may well have a bit more time to play with them and indeed a few other people now, as my time with Big Al and The Blistering Buicks has come to an end. I'll miss playing with the lads, but when you've gotta go, you've gotta go. And you never know, it might leave me with a bit more time for blogging. 

Well, as I say, you never know.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

'Didn't you used to write a blog Leigh?'

Yes. Yes I did.

And I will again, honest.

'Well, why don't you write it at the moment?' 

It's... er... it's just that... I've... well, I've been really busy. God knows how and at what, but there doesn't seem to have been time to do anything other than work in Balcony Shirts and play the guitar with Big Al Reed and the Blistering Buicks. I must have done something else?

Yes, of course I have - I've been to The 100 Club a few times. I saw Glen Matlock with the mighty Earl Slick on guitar, and The Chords UK with Chris Pope on fine form among others.. and last month I played at The Gwyl Pontardawe Festival with Neck, a splendid if rather rainy event in Wales. Of course I've done things. Of course I have. Haven't I? 

Hmm... I guess we all have times when we feel as though things are passing us by? And this, my friends, is how I've felt lately. Strange. However...

This week Ruts D.C. return to the stage. Thank Christ for that. We've got three gigs in Germany (Hannover, Hamburg and Berlin) and we're playing in Denmark at the Atlas Paere Punk 40 Festival in Aarhus, all courtesy of our good friends at Muttis Booking. And I for one can't wait - I've never been to Denmark before, and the Berlin show is on a boat going up and down the River Spree. That's more like it!
Usual rules apply - I'll update my Facebook page as often as I can, and I'll take a load of scribbly notes that might or might not get transcribed here one day. And by the very act of typing this here I appear to be back blogging again. 

As I say, that's more like it.