Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back to work, back to the future, back to front, back in black (etc etc)

Saturday and it's gig time again, this time at The Wheatsheaf at Leighton Buzzard with The Pistols. My back still hurt but was nowhere near as bad as it had been- it's actually quite difficult to think how it could have been worse 'though I suppose it could- it's now more of an ache than a pain, if you see what I mean. I've been as careful as I can be but it's really difficult to remember not to bend down, or to lift, or to pick up... and I've got painkillers, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants to take, all of which could be seen as ideal preparation for a Pistols gig (I remember telling the paramedics on Monday night that the morphine they were giving me was 'research for my next gig'. They've probably tipped off the drug squad.) In a rather bizarre experiment I tried walking around the front room with my Les Paul strapped on to see how I felt; I managed about 10 minutes with no ill effects (I did get caught in front of the mirror for a while but I'm not admitting that here) so took this to be a good sign. Liverpool beat Sunderland and my brother Terry came round with his daughter Anna to see how I was, all of which contributed to an optimistic mood, especially when they decided to come up to the gig with us. I phoned the venue to check it wasn't 'over-18's only' (for Anna, not Terry) to be told that there was no problem bringing her along but could we not swear so much at the landlord this time. Hmm...

The Wheatsheaf's been going for years as a live music venue- I think The Price nearly played there in the early '9o's with, of all people, Glen Matlock so there's at least 15 years on the clock. There's plenty of Pistols t-shirts around and aside from the rather worrying addition of a strobe light to the lighting equipment (I hate 'em!) a good gig's in prospect. I'm not drinking (I'm in enough trouble already!) so I spare East the embarrassment of ordering me a soda water and lime. Anna seems at home- at one point attempting to order a WKD- and there's much innuendo from the other band members as to how I got a bad back in the first place. I managed to get a high bar stool on my side of the stage in case of emergency which I used to great effect in between songs; generally I felt ok 'though I found I was almost waiting for my back to start hurting and so was on edge all the time. To take my mind off this (a bit) I had a new toy- Stuart the guitar repair man's friend Tony has built an overdrive pedal based on the classic Ibanez TS 808 'Tube Screamer' which he gave me to try out. It sounded good 'though I found it wasn't quite enough of a lift for the solos; in the second set I used my Digitech 'Screamin' Blues' pedal which really did the trick. Tony's an electronics wizard so will no doubt come out with an upgrade... by the second set there was much pogoing and even more swearing at the landlord (Toby- 'don't you think it would be an idea to get paid first?') and I got through it all without collapsing in agony which could politely be described as a relief.

Sunday and it's Barflies rehearsal time again. Another excellent session- we're up to a set-and-a-bit's worth of songs and sounding better and better. I sat down throughout- really weird, I like standing up and playing!- and effect pedal experiments were scuppered by the fact that I was playing through a rather well used Marshall valvestate stack which I don't think Jeff Beck could have got a good sound out of. Oh well. We're back in there next Monday evening with yet more new songs to learn in the meantime- should be fun.

Apologies to non-guitarists for all that stuff about pedals and the like. I'll get back to the gags'n'insults next time, honest!

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