I'm sure like me you were saddened to hear of the death of Rik Mayall last week. Although I can't claim to have followed every aspect of his career I remember Kevin Turvey well, and even though I somehow managed to all but completely miss The Young Ones (no, I'm not sure how either!) his appearance as Lord Flashheart in Blackadder II remains something of a classic, as does his all-too-accurate portrayal of scheming Tory MP Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman. We need more characters like Mr. Mayall don't you think?
Last Wednesday evening Back To Zero gathered at Soundlab Studios in Loughton to rehearse for this Sunday's show at The 100 Club with Eight Rounds Rapid and The Fallen Leaves. We tried a couple of new songs, ran through all of our older material and all agreed that we were really looking forward to this weekend's gig. Well, it is a rather excellent bill even though I say so myself! And talking of rehearsals The London Sewage Company were last night working towards our second public performance, which will be at the afore-mentioned 100 Club on July 17th supporting Menace and The Morgellons. Now that should be an interesting evening...
And it was certainly an interesting evening on Friday, when Ruts D.C. journeyed down to Brighton for a show at The Concorde 2. Now I've got some rather odd memories of this venue - the only time I'd previously played there I managed to break the headstock off my guitar (remind me to tell you the story one day!) and I was last there back in December 2006 when among others I saw Paul Fox play. Now I was about to play some of his best riffs on the same (repaired) guitar. I was halfway through the guitar solo in 'West One (Shine On Me)' when I realised that not only was I standing on the same side of the stage as he'd been when I saw him there but I was also more-or-less exactly where I was when my guitar got broken. As I remembered him saying how he always made a mistake when playing this particular solo, I - you've guessed it! - made a mistake. Hmmm... but this didn't put a dampener on what was overall an absolutely brilliant evening, despite the early showtime (it becomes a club at 11 o'clock and they rather unsubtly shepherd everyone out when the gig ends) and the heat (what a night for the air conditioning to fail!) Earlier I'd seen ex - Newtown Neurotics drummer Simon Lomond for the first time in ages (The Price used to support them back in the day and I saw them live many times) and he had Rupert Orton of The Jim Jones Revue with him who I'd not met before but who turned out to be a massive Ruts fan (good man!) He asked if we were going to play 'Something That I Said' - I told him that we hadn't worked a set out yet, but I'd make sure that we'd play it. (And we did - Segs gives The JJR a namecheck at the start of this clip from the show.) I also met photographer Syd Shelton (he took photos of The Ruts and many other bands as well as being very involved in Rock Against Racism) as well as seeing Adrian who writes the always-excellent Aural Sculptors blog, Andy Peart from Vive Le Rock magazine, original Price fan Dave Nash - it really was a night to remember in so many ways, not least as Horseman joined us for this unique version of 'Jah War'. Great stuff all round - and here is a review of the evening from the Nigeyb's World Of Joy. Nice photos don't you think?
As if to prove the old adage that you don't get something for nothing in life Saturday began with the realisation that there was only cold water to shower with. Oooo! If you ever find yourself about to check into The Ramada in Crawley then you might like to ask them if there's any hot water before you decide to stay there... we'd made the hour-ish journey there after the Brighton show in a bid to lessen the journey to Santa Pod Raceway where we were playing at The BWM Rally the next night; despite the freezing cold wash this proved to be a reasonable decision as we made it to The Ibis in Wellingborough before three in the afternoon. As we turned off the main road Segs smiled - 'I don't believe it, we're booked into The Priory!' We weren't - it was the pub across the road, not the well-known rehabilitation centre - but Dave and myself did accompany him to said establishment for a couple of drinks before heading back to our hotel to prepare for the gig (in my case by sleeping!)
We arrived onsite to find that the previous bands had run late, and with people already leaving to watch the England vs Italy World Cup game we eventually got onstage at 10 o'clock. Overall I thought that we gave a good show, but although we went down well the show lacked the somewhat triumphant nature of the previous night's proceedings. Ah well - the people that we spoke to afterwards really enjoyed it, so maybe I'm being a bit over-critical (again!) And we made it back to our hotel in time to see the second half of the match, so it wasn't all bad news by any means.
And I made it back home the next day in time to join Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks for a 5pm show at Ye Olde George in Colnbrook. I felt tired - let's face it, I was tired! - and as such didn't feel that I played too well, but no one complained. Well, not to my face anyway!