Who’d a thought! ... the start of a new third decade (my first of course). The ecology of the planet continues to go to hell and back and it still needs kids to tell the UN to DO SOMETHING... too little too late I fear... and now they’re being ignored.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic and loaded with a government of self-invested, arrogant profiteers who insist on putting their pockets before the people they are supposed to serve. They have engaged in free-form eugenics by ensuring defenceless people in care-homes are culled on the altar of ideology. We are rapidly slipping into a world-wide fascist government, run in the main by unelected SPADs fronted by buffoons.
BUT, on the other hand I’m still kicking my heels locked in splendid isolation... that’s summat I suppose Why I still remember when this was all fields...
I think I missed the revelation that the Cabinet are now indulging in ritual cannibal dinners on Thursday evenings before breaking up to return to their taxpayer funded manses in GlousterWosterHamptaCotswoldshire. There to pick up on their infuriatingly interrupted ptarmigan and peasant shooting pastimes, with their lizard families before giving their offspring (neatly stashed in a publicly-funded, private indoctrination creche) their weekly 10 minute phone call. It’s not suprising really given the death grip that the ruling elite now have on the mainstream media - spearheaded by good old Aunty Beeb.
I’m either beginning to despair or I’m cracking up - not sure which - but I digress.
Even more of my bits have stopped working altogether and the remainder continue to seize up quite nicely thank you. Last year I became an orphan. Mentally I remain in the late 90’s. Even more of my contemporary musical colleagues have dropped off their proverbial twig. Sad but inevitable? I still wonder how many more of these pages will I be putting together in future? I hope I’ll manage at least a couple more.
The house project that we took on two years ago is now almost complete. New front door needed and we’re done bar the cosmetics. Music is firmly back in the front of my list most of the time and I’m still frantically trying to catch up.
It remains a productive period musically, despite the lack of live gigging. The difficulty remains making the time to find like-minded musicians with the time and willingness to perform for minimal cost and maximum fun, locally.
I have just put together and released a video to accompany the song ‘Stolen Moments’ taken from the album ‘The Jester... Thinks...’. It is one part of the trilogy of songs ‘Lady of the Song’, ‘Stormbringer’ and ‘Stolen Moments’ that I composed about the Michael Moorcock character, Elric of Melniboné. The lead vocal on the track is provided most expressively by my long-time colleague and collaborator, Mick Shedd. I played the other instruments in my various guises. I particularly enjoyed playing the guitar on this track. I think it is both articulate and emotive. Some of my best work. Check it out and let me know what you think.Alan Ibbotson At The End of The World’, the follow up to his album ‘One Good Summer’ for the Rising Records label. We released the album just before Christmas. I mixed and mastered both albums as well as performing on a few of the tracks in various guises. My work on the new album was equally rewarding and great fun. Check the clips out and buy or download the albums. They are well worth it. My Amie’ taken from the Pig’n’aif album, ‘Electronicalis’ was released last year, The album itself is due for release as soon as I can get it out there. It’s a Prog/Electronica album, heavily synth and guitar synth based with a seasoning of the usual instrumentation as well. I was pleased when Factory Fast Records of New York USA picked up the option to include this track on their ‘Dance with Destiny’ compilation album
Please click on the
‘Musicalis Grumpiosa’ (Grumpy Music) is a project very close to my heart and is progressing alongside the ‘Electronicalis’ project. Another one that I really need to get finished and released in order to clear the decks for new material. But I’ve got to say that the material on this album really does make me laugh. It has a very wry perspective on life. Probably based on hind-site.Rollin’ Stone’, one of our favourite tracks taken from the ‘Pig’n’aif Blue’ album featuring the excellent vocals of Mel Day. Our second was ‘Cycles’ taken from the Pig’n’aif album ‘Handover’. This was a track that I first wrote way back in 1969 and demo’d in 1970 before introducing it to the Golgotha set list in Scotland. It has been played around the country with a number of bands, but was never formally recorded until we released the ‘Handover’ album. Mel Day’s voice beautifully brings this rock ballad to life.
. ‘Handover’, was released in February 2015. It was composed of original material which had been hanging around waiting to be polished for a long time. It is a retrospective re-work of material going back to my first days of writing, brought up to date with modern recordings and treatments.Handover on their compilation albums. The first ‘Oh Girl’ appeared on the Hot, Sweet And Blue album in August of 2015. The second ‘Dead Man Blues’ appeared on the Road To The Sun album in November 2015. The third track, ‘Cycles’ appeared on the compilation album ‘Curtains Against the Wind’ released early in 2016. A really good body of work. Check out clips from the compilations by clicking on the album covers.
I thank Brian and the Guys at Factory Fast Records, and we continue to pick up a lot of Radio and internet play in the States and worldwide as a result. Great news.
We still have the Pig’n’aif core musicians plugging away in the studio, and that’s great fun of course. We released the second and final Pig’n’aif album from the jam-band line-up. ‘Pig’n’aif Blue-ish’ is the follow up to ‘Pig’n’aif Blue’, and takes over where the previous one left off. Both albums have received a lot of good critical acclaim from the press and media (click on the images for reviews and audio). The ‘Pig’n’aif Blue-ish’ album is again composed of old blues and rock standards but with even more of a groove and interpretation twist. Check it out, you’ll see what I mean. This was the last time I will be visiting this musical area for a while, but it was fun to do.
In the last few years I have written, produced, re-mastered and collaborated on, a significant number of albums and videos. The limited edition vinyl release of the Phoenix Rising classic album is now sold out at HIgh Roller Records and is on it’s way to becoming a collectors item (especially the red vinyl version). I have a few copies myself which I may make available for sale in the future if you contact me directly. We have a new Phoenix Rising album titled
My primary recording gear has now been bolstered by a Kemper profiling amp which immensely simplifies the workflow around guitar recording and brings the added bonus joy of re-amping (or second guessing, depending how you think about it). The amp sources continue to be my rack mounted Mesa Boogie TriAxis and Simul Class 2:NInety valve amps. I use these with Palmer load DI boxes and Impulse models of my stage rig on the second channel of the TriAxis output. The second channel of my power amp is used on the Axon Guitar Synth setup. The whole thing is incredibly versatile but I still use my Orange rig or Vox AC10 occasionally (especially for live blues based stuff) just for sheer simplicity and fun. Of course I have taken to opportunity to model of these into my Kemper - sweet...
For guitars, I switch between my vintage Gibson Flying ‘V’ my custom-made Phoenix ‘V’ which has a beautiful, powerful character all of its own and is a joy to play live. Looks good as well eh? (Click the image for a better look) I also use a Variax alongside the others for a bit of variation. I am currently recording with a very nice sounding Les Paul, kitted out with 490s and ‘Jimmy Page style’ multi-tap wiring. Very variable tonal quality and is an excellent foil to and a real change from my beloved ‘V’. And then, there’s always my 70’s Strat for those glassy tones and my Fender XII for the chime. Enough said.
I’m still thinking that maybe I’ll finish that novel this year? The problem is getting the uninterrupted time to sit down and think about it. Every time I do that I get a new riff or lyric idea and have to put that down before advanced senility wipes it from my head or the arthritis makes it impossible to play (even more frustrating). But, I would like to see how the novel turns out...
Please feel free to click on the mug shots on the right for some potted history and links.