Sunday, January 07, 2007

'Drummer brilliant, guitarist terrible, singing in a foreign language, bassist optional'

So says punk rock goddess and legend Gaye Advert. We're on a Westbound Central line train and we're discussing Scandinavian Death Metal. But how did we get there?

Friday and it's another 'we were punks once' evening for my brother Terry and myself. We're off to the 100 Club in London to see Eddie and the Hot Rods, supported by the mighty T.V. Smith. We catch the tube in to Tottenham Court Road and meet up with old mate Andy Knight in The Tottenham pub. I've known Andy many years- he used to come to see The Price regularly and I've also been to quite a few gigs with him (The Godfathers were particular favourites of ours). He's a great bloke and I always look forward to seeing him. Terry had never met him before but within a couple of minutes they were like old friends 'though I'm not too sure how much of this was to do with the fact that Andy had been drinking with former workmates all day and was therefore even more talkative than usual.
We got to the 100 Club just as T.V. Smith was taking to the stage. I first met him and his girlfriend Gaye around 1990 at The Anglers Retreat in West Drayton (I think!) when he was playing in Cheap; The Price went on to play with them on several occasions and I've kept in touch with him ever since- he played at The Rayners with us a couple of years ago for our 20th anniversary gig (see The Price website for pictorial evidence). Before his second song he mentions that it's '30 years and 10 days' since the first Adverts gig; then he plays 'No time to be 21'- he says he played it that night too. I thought it sounded great, maybe even better than when I first heard it somewhere around 28-and-a-bit years ago. An amazing thought... he plays a tremendous set, just him and an acoustic guitar, old Adverts songs next to new material, it all making perfect sense. He's so brilliant, he should be so much more successful than he is- but since when was quality any guarantee of commercial success?
Eddie and the Hot Rods were the first band I ever saw. Well I suppose they were actually the second band I ever saw since No Dice were on before them, but anyway... it was Autumn '77, it was at Brunel University in Uxbridge and they'd just released 'Do anything you wanna do'. They were just fantastic- I remember standing there and thinking 'why would anybody not like this?'. And by the end of the show I was thinking 'maybe I could do something like this...'. There's only Barrie Masters left from those far off days- I saw them a couple of times in the mid-'80's when John from our band was drumming for them and have seen them here and there ever since. But it really did all start for me that night at Brunel. Nowadays they've got Richard Holgarth on guitar who used to be the sound man at The Square in Harlow- a great guitarist who also plays with John Otway. They kicked off with 'Teenage Depression'- they started with that on the night I first saw them and I can never help but smile whenever I see them play it. Somewhere during 'The Kids are Alright' Simon the drummer drops his right hand stick- he just carried on playing without it, using his hand... there's new songs from new albums, old songs from old albums- it's great stuff and not just from a nostalgic point of view either. A terrific show- the last song's 'The Beginning of the End' which my mate Tom describes as 'the best punk rock song ever written'. Normally I would have to say that would be something of an overstatement- but from the performance given here I'd almost believe him.
Our evening ends with Terry talking to Barrie about boxing and me talking to Richard about Gibson SG's. Oh and both of us talking to Gaye and T.V. about heavy metal. Excellent.

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