Friday, April 02, 2010

Disturbance at the heron house

So, Good Friday then. The long-suffering Shirley and I were talking earlier and trying to remember why it's called that - after all a day spent nailing someone up on a cross doesn't really sound that good does it? Well, it didn't to us... still my Good Friday began with a suitably peculiar incident when myself and East saw a heron crossing (i.e. walking across) the Cowley Road just outside Uxbridge; it seemed happy enough and wasn't bothered when East decided to take a photo or two of it on his phone although we were a bit worried that it'd get hit by a car - fortunately we watched it fly off just as one appeared in the middle distance. (It's interesting to note at this point that we didn't seem to be worried about whether we would be hit by a car as we stumbled down the middle of the road attempting to stalk our quarry with what I suspect was about as much subtlety as you'd get from a steamroller with a broken handbrake. Isn't drinking brilliant?!?) Unusually for us we'd been in a pub - yes, I know what you're thinking but it really was a heron - discussing the next moves for The Price. With the euphoria of the 25th anniversary now more-or-less subsided we can get a bit of a clearer picture of what we achieved and what we might be able to do next; I for one would definitely like to do some recording at some point this year but as always with that particular pastime it comes down to how we finance it as it's likely to be more of a vanity project than something that has any real commercial prospects. That said the Internet means that it's now so much easier to get your music into the public domain - as myself and East found ourselves saying at several points during the evening, if only it had been around 20-odd years ago - although of course you've still got to tell people that you exist (or exist again in our case) and then get people to listen to what you do, which was always the difficult bit. Oh well - I'm sure we'll think of something... and in the course of looking out old recordings to learn songs from I found a couple of unusual items of memorabilia which East put on our website yesterday - click here and see what you think of them!

Something that I've always enjoyed listening to on a regular basis since I first heard it over 30 years ago is the music of The Who. (Yes, I know, I've hidden it well haven't I?!?) The first album I ever bought with my own money was 'Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy' which I played so often that I knew how long the gaps between the tracks were! Really! If I had to pick a favourite Who album I think it would have to be 'Quadrophenia' (although that means that I haven't picked 'Who's Next', or 'Sell Out', or 'By Numbers', or 'Live At Leeds' which must surely be one of, if not THE greatest live albums ever... maybe this should be a posting in it's own right? Or a book?!?) as it surely contains some of the most ambitious music that Pete Townshend has ever written, alongside lyrics that tell the story of Jimmy the mod and his trials and tribulations in a manner that I've never really heard bettered by anybody. On Tuesday night myself and Big Andy saw The Who (augmented by a 5-man brass section and 2 string players) perform the album in it's entirety at The Royal Albert Hall in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust. The songs sounded as majestic as ever, and guest appearances by Eddie Vedder (playing The Godfather) and Tom Meighan (playing The Ace Face and The Bellboy) were both excellent. But it was a bit of an odd show - Roger Daltrey went out of time here and there prompting me to wonder if the onstage sound wasn't all that it might have been (or maybe it was all a bit under-rehearsed?) and Townshend looked a bit distant at times, 'though the strangest incidents occurred at the beginning and the end of the show. After a suitably noisy introduction from Iain Lee there was the best part of a 5 minute wait before the band eventually appeared, and at the end of the gig the band somewhat abruptly left the stage and didn't return for an encore, leaving many audience members confused and indeed annoyed. Mind you that wasn't as strange as Big Andy and myself holding the Gents toilet door open for Bruce Welch, or as annoying as us finding a parking ticket on Andy's car after the show. Bah!

Meanwhile on Wednesday night it was time for The Chicago Blues Brothers to return to theatreland, at The Garrick Theatre in Lichfield. With Dave away elsewhere and Tracy away on tour with The Soldiers Steve is on trumpet for the first time since our Skegness show in January, and Rachel is on vocals for the first time ever. She did a very good job all things considered, and it was a good show all round with everyone in good form and the audience up for it from the word go. The staff at the theatre were all rather serious - when I tried to take what was left of my pint of lager backstage from the bar to the dressing room the reaction of the lady on the door made me wonder what she would have done if I'd actually done something wrong... and it was a busy day yesterday for myself and Stuart the guitar repairman as after our usual stint at 'We Will Rock You' we did a couple of hours of restrings and adjustments at 'The Jersey Boys'. Once again there was a rehearsal, once again it was chaos - nice to know that there are some things that you can rely on isn't there? It'll no doubt be the same next week when we'll (hopefully!) finish our work there for the time being. But an interesting incident (from my point of view at least) occurred as we walked through Denmark Street on our way to our second theatre of the day. We went into the excellent Wunjo Guitars as Stu was looking for some machine heads - in there attempting to do his job amid the usual mayhem (it's a busy shop!) was Tom, the rep from from EMD Music who I used to see regularly at Pro Music when I worked there. After saying hello and catching up on what he'd been up to he asked why he hadn't seen me in the shop recently - as I told him what had happened I realised that the story of my last few weeks there says a surprising amount about people and how (a) they can sometimes have a very short (or at least selective) memory, and (b) they are so often only loyal to themselves. I really must tell the story here one day...

The day ended with myself and East wondering what the future holds for The Price, something which still seems almost unbelievable for me to be thinking about it in 2010 but was definitely a good way to start Good Friday. Let's hope the heron thought so too.

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