What up, people? This month’s blog is going to be a bit different, but I’m sure you will like it. Because I’m off on tour in late September (which I can’t wait for!), I’m going to cover all of my gigs and stuff from August and the first half of September. That’s means that when I get back home, you will all be treated to an extra-special tour blog! Your mouth is probably not watering at the prospect, but at least I hope you’ll give it a read! Anyway, you need to get through this month’s blog first, so let’s begin…
First stop was Bettws Rugby Club with 2 RUDE: A TRIBUTE TO SKA, a happy hunting ground for the band. This would be our fourth gig at the club, and just like all the others ones, it was bloody brilliant! It seems that our shows there are always very special, and that’s mainly because we always have an amazing crowd. But it’s the same wherever I play; if the crowd is singing and dancing along with us and giving off a massive amount of energy, it spurs my on to play at my best and give as much energy as I can back to them. What made this night a bit different was that I was asked to sign one of my drum sticks for a fan. It’s hard! Especially with a biro!
The next day 2 RUDE were getting together with Goldie Looking Chain to film a video for our version of ‘Ghost Town’. It was a brilliant experience; wandering around Newport looking for places to film, getting driven around in an old Mercedes-Benz car and getting loads of weird looks from passersby! But sadly, the completed video was only online for about a week before it had to be taken down. Apparently Jerry Dammers (ex-keys player from The Specials and writer of all their hits) had a problem with our version of his song, so he didn’t want it released in any way. It sucks that both bands put a lot of work into the track only to see it kept away from the public; I’m sure that loads of people would’ve enjoyed it! Nevertheless, it was fun while it lasted.
Anyway, the next stop for 2 RUDE was Delilah’s in Cwmbran, a relatively new venue that we’re never played at before (we have played at its Newport counterpart, and we had one of our best ever gigs there). As you can imagine, we were hoping to repeat that at this new venue. The night didn’t kick off the way we’d like it to due to some technical problems, but once we were on stage all of that was forgotten, and we just focused on giving the best performance possible like we always do. The show was a big success, and we got loads of great live photos to boot!
2 RUDE on stage at Delilah’s
The next weekend was a busy one. Two gigs for 2 RUDE, with the first being at the Royal Mail Pub in Newport. This was our second appearance at the pub, but it was the best appearance by far. We had yet another brilliant audience, the band was playing at their absolute best, and nobody tried to steal our stuff. Result! The next day we were gigging at the Llanarth Club in Pontllanfraith, for the second time in as many months. But this time we were booked by the club itself instead of being booked by a punter for a birthday party there. This meant we could expect loads of ska fans and thanks to the very bouncy and exciting atmosphere this creates, it turned out to be a very good gig. Just picture seeing some gorgeous blondes in tight dresses dancing very close together to the music, and you’ll know just how good it was!
One more gig with 2 RUDE left, and this one was for a wedding party at the Blu Bar in Newport. Well, we were actually told it was somewhere else; the guy who booked us forgot to tell us that the venue had changed! Anyway, once we arrived at the right place we had a really good night. This gig was my last one with the band for a while, and I will really miss playing with these amazing guys. I also had one more gig with POP FICTION in September, which was at Cafe Shore in Poole. That gig was a lot of fun because as well as doing our normal set, we also had to do an ‘Intro Quiz’ for the party guests. Basically, the band plays 10 seconds of a song and each of the tables try to guess what song it is. I really enjoyed doing it! But I can’t really say the same for ‘band karaoke’, where the different tables took it in turns to come up and sing a song with the band. To be fair, they were probably told that they were singing with the band with only hours to spare, but they were still pretty bad! Anyway, I will also miss playing with these great guys while I’m away and hopefully there’ll be another gig in the pipeline with them soon.
I’ve been very busy with teaching work this month too, making sure that my students have plenty of exercises and grooves to practice while I’m away. I will certainly miss teaching, not just because it’s my job, but because it’s very rewarding and satisfying. And I am certainly very grateful to my students for sticking with me all this time! But it hasn’t been all work; I’ve been playing plenty of Guitar Hero and Rock Band (playing 2112 on GH: Warriors of Rock is EPIC!). My mates and I held a brilliant game night too (which I narrowly lost), and I also went to the Mewla Rally on the Epynt ranges with my Dad on the bank holiday weekend. Despite the bad weather, it was great fun!
A shot of a Ford Focus WRC car, with a co-driver from Aberdare!
So that’s it for now! Thanks for reading my blog, but now you must prepare yourself for the next edition. It’s going to be A-MA-ZING!!
On September 12th, 1952, a wizard was born.
Happy Birthday Neil Ellwood Peart.
I LOVE YOU!!
A truly unbelievable player!
Have you seen him do the trick when he rolls the stick up and down his arm while playing???
My jaw drops every time!
This happens to me all the time…
I’m in my local paper!
The link to the article about me and my band ‘SjW’ is here. Please check it out!
Master of Puppets - Metallica
You know how you can remember when and where you first heard certain bands? Well, I remember hearing Metallica for the first time when I was 14. One of my best friends was (I say was) a Metallica fan, and he had Master of Puppets on cassette. We listened to it on the way to his birthday party that year, and I guess it stuck in my mind because it was both good and completely different to everything else I’d previously heard. But now I’m a lot older and wiser, the question is: ‘Is it still good?’
The answer is yes. It is without a doubt my favourite Metallica record, and I feel it showcases the band at their best. Everyone knows ‘Master of Puppets’, which is surely one of the all-time greatest metal songs, but thanks to the incredible guitar playing of both Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, every song on the record is full of brilliant thrash metal riffs and blistering solos. And although I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of Lars Ulrich’s drumming, he does a good job too. Anyway, as the ‘best album’ debate between die-hard Metallica fans rages on, this is my candidate. It’s a must-own album for metal fans, but I’m sure you all already have it. This pleases me.
Tom gives it 8 Thumbs Up!
Am I pleased to see you, or did I just put a canoe in my pocket?
DOWN BOY, DOWN!!!
Danny Carey - Great Drummer!
ALL HAIL THE HYPNO TOAD!!!!!!!!!!
If only I was as charming as this porcupine…
Wow… just wow!
Alex Van Halen has to be one of the most underrated rock drummers in history. How can this be?
HAVE YOU HEARD ‘HOT FOR TEACHER’?!?!?!?!
s04e12, Marge vs The Monorail
Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols
I have mixed feelings about this album. On one hand, I have a huge bone to pick with it (giggity); the rise of British punk rock in the late 1970’s effectively ended the popularity of progressive rock music (my favourite genre of rock), and from then on prog bands would be ridiculed and shunned by the mainstream. The release of Never Mind The Bollocks was a turning point in music history, and rock fans were now favouring three-chord songs over 20-minute epics.
But on the other hand, it has some killer tracks on it. Don’t get me wrong, I do like several punk rock bands, and I can appreciate that this album would inspire countless bands for many years to come. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the music, and this is good rock music. The best tracks are “Pretty Vacant”, “God Save The Queen”, “Anarchy in the UK” and “Holidays in the Sun”.
Tom gives it 7 thumbs up!