In the midst of last week's Croatian adventure I heard the sad news that Jon Lord of Deep Purple had died. I think 'Black Night' must have been the first thing I heard by the band as a youngster, but like many people it was their live album 'Made In Japan' that really did it for me. Yes the songs were a bit too long (well it was the early Seventies maaan!) but the standard of playing was so exceptionally high that it somehow didn't matter. The sound of Lord duelling with Ritchie Blackmore sounded incredible to me (it still does!) although by the time I heard it that line-up of the band had split up - I eventually saw them in late 1993 just before Blackmore left the band for the last time, and although tensions were obvious the band gave a tremendous performance. Here is a clip of the man himself demonstrating his mighty Hammond Organ sound - he was indeed a great musician who leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of work.
Last Friday saw The Upper Cut play The Dolphin in Uxbridge. When I realised that we were playing on the same evening as the Olympic Games opening ceremony I suggested to Noel the landlord that we should perhaps change the date of our show, but he was confident that not everybody would be watching the ceremony on television, and indeed there would be people actively looking to avoid it and would therefore come out to watch a band. I wasn't so sure myself, but it turned out that he was absolutely correct (good!) and there was indeed a good sized audience. I could see the ceremony on the television above the pub fireplace - by the time we got to our second set the teams were arriving in the stadium, which created the slightly unsettling feeing that they were marching to our music. Well, that was how it looked to me... it was our first gig for a while so there were inevitably a couple of mad moments here and there but overall we played well and those present seemed to love it, and after encores a-plenty I finally got to have a couple of belated birthday beers, during which our drummer Roger's wife Jill told me that a fella had just said to her 'that guitarist should be on the stage'. Let's hope he was right! A top evening.
There were more than a few mad moments the next night with Big Al Reed at The Kings Arms in Harefield, where myself and Upper Cut bassist Terry joined Dave on drums and Chris on keyboards (both of whom play with Big Al in Midnight) to form a band labelled by Al as The Cardiac Arrests. Al gave us all a perspective setlist and some CDs to work from, and with no rehearsal it was a case of turning up and seeing what happened... considering how difficult some of the material was (have you any idea how many chords there are in 'Born To Run'?!?) we made a good job of things, and the audience seemed prepared to forgive the bits where it went wrong. Probably the worst aspect of the evening was Al's Egnater guitar amplifier going wrong; his and Terry's amps went off for a second or two (presumably there was a power failure to the back wall where they were both plugged in) and while Terry's came back on Al's sadly didn't. There were no nasty burning smells (!) so hopefully it's something simple like an internal fuse. Overall however it was a good enough show to have us all considering looking for some other gigs for the band, which can't be a bad thing if you think about it.
In the meantime I've just returned for rehearsing with T.V. Smith, and am rehearsing with Ruts D.C. tomorrow. Time to set the controls for next weekend then - and that's not a bad thing if you think about it either.