Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Still burning

Malcolm Owen died 40 years ago today. 40 years! Where on Earth has that time gone eh? 

As someone who is lucky enough to play the music of The Ruts on a regular basis I know, both from speaking to countless people and from the reaction that music still receives, just how much it still means to people - and I know that music will live on forever.

To reflect this Episode 9 of Ruts TV was a something of a Malcolm special, although it also featured Paul Fox heavily too. Dave and Segs reminisce about them alongside footage of The Ruts, Henry Rollins talking about the influence they had on the punk bands in America and more - if you missed it when it went out live last Friday you can see it and all the previous shows here. That's the end of series 1 - Ruts TV will return in the not-too-distant future, albeit in a slightly different way, but there'll be more news as and when we have it.

With Britain attempting to claw it's way out of lockdown Ruts D.C. are looking at yet more cancelled shows (bah!) and are still waiting for copies of our '40 Years Of The Crack' live album. This is all but inevitable due to backlogs at printers, pressing plants etc but we'll hopefully have the first batch soon - at which point Dave, Segs and myself will have to sign 500 albums and 500 CDs. Quite how we're going to do that in these days of social distancing remains to be seen, but I'm sure we'll find a way. It can be ordered along with all other band merchandise including face masks - yes that's right, face masks as demonstrated by Dave and Segs here in possibly the most bizarre advert ever! - via the band's online shop.

Talking of record releases the new Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants EP 'History' is available now from Time & Matter Records - it's currently available as a 500 copy limited edition 2 x 7" single numbered set (how cool is that?!) which I'm told is selling well, so if you'd like one it might be good to move quickly. You can also order it via the T&M link above, and why not get volume one of Alvin's autobiography 'Diminished Responsibility : My Life As A UK Sub And Other Stories' while you're at it?

Retro Man is an excellent blog that's well worth following - Steve's always-enthusiastic writing covers all manner of bands from the obscure and oblique to the mainstream and more, and I was delighted to be asked to contribute to his series of Lockdown Lowdown podcasts. He asked some interesting questions as well as inviting me to choose some music, and you can hear the result here - cheers Steve!

And life in lockdown has produced a very unexpected - from my point of view anyway - collaboration with ex - Public Image Ltd and Department S bass player Pete Jones; a few weeks ago (gawd knows how many weeks exactly, time doesn't seem to matter anymore does it?) he sent me a backing track with a 'see what you can do with this' directive. In a situation such as this I tend to default to either (a) backwards guitar, (b) slide guitar or (c) a bizarre combination of the two; in this case option (a) seemed to be the best bet, along with a riff that might sound just a little bit like a rather obscure Deep Purple track. I'll leave you to find out which one - it was an accident, honest! 
One of the things I've been attempting to do lately is to learn how to use GarageBand, the free recording thingy (that's a rarely used technical term!) that comes on a Mac computer; I've been doing reasonably well, but hadn't encountered how to record backwards guitar - at which point I discovered Pete Johns, an Australian chap with a mind-boggling command of said recording medium. After a wee while - ok, quite a long while - on his website and YouTube channel I was ready - the resulting track 'World In Sunlight' can be heard here, and incredibly will be available as a download next Friday 24th July. That's my birthday, and I'm bound to say that having new music released on that particular day is one of the best presents I'll ever get, particularly in these uncertain times.

Oh and Liverpool have won the Premier League. I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get to see that happen again - well done lads, I never doubted you for a minute... well, not that often anyway... 

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