Ye Gods... the back end of the second decade of a new century!! Where did that come from? Why I remember when this was all fields... Even more of my bits have stopped working altogether and the remainder are seizing up quite nicely thank you. Mentally I remain in the late 90’s. Even more of my contemporary musical colleagues have dropped off their proverbial twigs. Sad but inevitable? How many more of these pages will I be putting together in future? I hope I’ll manage at least a couple more.
Last year was most traumatic. We moved house for the first time in 35 years, and took on a significant project into the bargain. Music took a back set for most of the year, ‘cos every time I sneaked away to play someone found me and wanted something doing. I was probably very wicked somewhere in the past.
It remains a productive period musically, despite the relative lack of live gigging. The difficulty as always, is making the time to find like-minded musicians with the time and willingness to perform for minimal cost and maximum fun, locally.
I helped out a mate of mine, the hugely talented folk/rock musician Alan Ibbotson, by producing his album ‘One Good Summer’ for the Rising Records label. I mixed and mastered the album as well as perfoming on a few of the tracks in various guises. Great fun and really wothwhile. the final album is a tour de force for Al. So much so that 3 of his album tracks are being picked up by Factory Fast Records, for compilations. Good stuff.
The video teaser ‘My Amie’ taken from the Pig’n’aif album, ‘Electronicalis’ was released last year, The album is due for release in 2018. 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 albumHandover, was released in February 2015. It is composed of original material which has 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.
The first track ‘Oh Girl’ appeared on the Hot, Sweet And Blue album released in August of 2015. Thanks to Brian and the Guys at Factory Fast Records, we continue to pick up a lot of Radio play in the States. Great news.
A third track, ‘Cycles’ appeared on the compilation album ‘Curtains Against the Wind’ and was released early in 2016. A really good body of work. Check out clips from the compilations by clicking on the album covers.Musicalis Grumpiosa’ (or Grumpy Old Music) rock album, which deals with more mature day-to-day issues seen through my rather jaundiced personal humour. I am really looking forward to that one escaping. There’s some really funny stuff on it...
Meanwhile. 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 is 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 ‘After The Fire’ in the can and scheduled for release this year (that’s not a schedule...). This album features definitive studio versions of the Phoenix Rising material and includes some Digitised version of Danny’s drums taken from original recordings. It will bring the Phoenix Rising saga to a close and all new heavy rock musical development will be done under the Pig’n’aif banner in future where it naturally belongs. Still, ‘After The Fire’ promises to be well worth the effort, as those songs deserve to be released in their definitive versions at last. You can find out more info on that story on the Rising Records Website and Phoenix Rising Website.
My primary recording gear has now been bolstered by a Kemper profiling amp which immensely simplifies the workflow around guitar recording. 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. I have modelled all 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 a 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. 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.
Please click on the