NEW ALBUM ‘LOST AT SEA‘ OUT OCTOBER 20TH VIA SNAKEFARM (UK / IRELAND) PRE-ORDER HERE
NEW SINGLE – ‘DAMAGE CONTROL’ Filmed around the UK from fan footage
Chris Shiflett has announced the release of his new album Lost At Sea, which will be coming out October 20th via Snakefarm in the UK & Ireland. Pre-order here.
To coincide with the announcement, he has released the sultry summer anthem ‘Damage Control’, which comes with a video of fan filmed footage from his triumphant sold-out UK headline tour earlier this year.
Most of the new album was recorded in Nashville, working with his producer and collaborator Jaren Johnston, frontman of The Cadillac Three, as well as the songwriter behind nearly a dozen Number 1 country hits.
“We wrote a lot of these songs during the lockdown,” recalls Shiflett, who spent much of the pandemic at home in Southern California. “Then I began making trips to Nashville to work with Jaren. He and I have a lot of overlap, in terms of the music we like. We made a guitar-centric record that encapsulates everything I’ve been listening to over the years, from the most country songs I’ve ever recorded to punk rock and even songs that sound like a California version of The Clash.”
‘Damage Control’ is the track he’s referencing, which strays further from the country influence than most of the album. It’s also the only ‘old’ tune that Johnston and Shiflett included on Lost at Sea.
“All the other tunes were written in the months leading up to recording, but when Jaren and I were sorting out which songs to do he mentioned something about The Clash and I remembered this old one I’d demoed about 15 years prior,” recalls Shiflett.
With its layers of reverb, pulsing percussion and Echoplex tape delay, ‘Damage Control’ went through a number of versions before reaching its final form in the studio with Johnston.
“I love that the musical inspiration on this one was late-stage Clash, but we wound up layering it with banjos and what-not. Definitely takes it somewhere else. Ska-mericana?” Shiflett laughs. “There’s nothing better than when influences converge taking you places you never expected.”
Caught halfway between the honky-tonk saloon and the punk rock dive bar, Lost at Sea is both eclectic and electric, making room for alt-country crunch, guitar-driven grit and sharp songwriting. Tying that mix together is Shiflett himself, a musical Renaissance Man whose influences are every bit as wide-ranging as his resumé.
The new album also features a stellar cast of Americana all-stars. Among them are fellow guitar slingers Charlie Worsham, Tom Bukovac, and Nathan Keeterle, all three of whom laced the record with fiery fretwork. Shiflett also teamed up with several co-writers, partnering with Kendell Marvel, Cody Jinks, and others to fill Lost at Sea with storylines that pack as hefty a punch as the music itself.
The new single follows the release of the two-steppin’ fuzz-fuelled ‘Dead And Gone’ and the southern rockin’ ‘Black Top White Lines’, both setting the flavour of the album with its signature honky-tonk-meets-rock-and-roll sound and blending the lines between his previous albums – 2017’s honky-tonk homage West Coast Town and 2019’s gritty Americana fuelled Hard Lessons.
Special Guests will be announced in the coming weeks Is there a favourite track of yours that they have not played in recent times? … let them know on their Facebook Page HERE, if there is, they will try to include it in the December setlist.
Ash release details of their ‘Like A God’ single from the album ‘Race the night’ released 15th Sept 2023 Via Fierce Panda
Brand-new single from their forthcoming album Race The Night. ‘Like A God’ is the follow-up to last month’s lead single and album title-track ‘Race The Night’, which heralded anticipation for a record that promises to be super-charged, widescreen and with melodies to spare. It won instant support across BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2 and Absolute Radio, bringing with it what lead singer and guitarist Tim Wheeler described as “the sound of the band reveling in the sheer joy of being a band after being separated by time and distance through the insanity of the early 2020s.”
‘Like A God’ comes on fast as muscular riffing beats a path to its wild and raucous end. Wheeler comments: “Like A God pushes the rock aspect of the album to its furtherest limits. An ode to sexual apotheosis it revels in a carnal riff played with mantra like repetition before reaching a frenzied climax.”
New album Race The Night will be released on 15th September 2023 via one of their earliest label homes Fierce Panda. UK pre-orders are live now here. Race The Night is available across gatefold vinyl, CD, cassette and ltd edition vinyl formats.
An extended version of ‘Like A God’ will be included on a limited edition Amazon exclusive CD which is packaged with alternative artwork. Pre-order from Amazon here.
Hear new single ‘Like A God’ on streaming services here and watch the video below.
Ash will also be taking Race The Night on tour through the UK and Europe before the year is out, on a co-headline run with The Subways. Tickets are on sale now here.
Ash x The Subways UK / EU tour dates 2023
Sat 30 Sept – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK Sun 01 Oct – Marble Factory, Bristol, UK Tue 03 Oct – Rock City, Nottingham, UK Wed 04 Oct – Barrowland, Glasgow, UK Thu 05 Oct – Leeds Beckett SU, Leeds, UK Sat 07 Oct – NX, Newcastle, UK Mon 09 Oct – The Academy, Dublin, IE Tue 10 Oct – O2 Ritz, Manchester, UK Wed 11 Oct – O2 Kentish Town Forum, London, UK Sun 19 Nov – De Helling, Utrecht, NL Mon 20 Nov – Das Bett, Frankfurt, DE Tue 21 Nov – Bürgerhaus Stollwerck, Cologne, DE Thu 23 Nov – Faust, Hannover, DE Fri 24 Nov – Plan B, Malmo, SE Sat 25 Nov – Beta, Copenhagen, DK Mon 27 Nov – Rockefeller, Oslo, NO Tue 28 Nov – Debaser, Stockholm, SE Thu 30 Nov – Kesselhaus, Berlin, DE Fri 01 Dec – Beatpol, Dresden, DE Sat 02 Dec – Lucerna Music Bar, Prague, CZ Mon 04 Dec – PPC, Graz, AT Wed 06 Dec – Plaza Klub, Zurich, CH Thu 07 Dec – Technikum, Munich, DE Fri 08 Dec – Im Wizemann, Stuttgart, DE Sun 10 Dec – Botanique, Brussels, BE Mon 11 Dec – Le Petit Bain, Paris, FR
With August around the corner it seems only fair to welcome a bunch of banging 45s. As soon as we open the next sitting it seems dark forces are at work and more and more pile up so it wont be long before we have another round of singles for your listenign pleasure. Maybe next week maybe the week after but lets not get ahead of ourselves check out this wonderful fistful…
Kurt Baker – ‘Anchors Up’ (Wicked Cool Records) I don’t know how this guys head doesn’t explode with the amount of dynamite power pop melodied he has going off constantly. ‘Anchors UP’ is somethign of a lockdown be happy tune and boy does it make you smile.
‘Anchors Up’ started around an idea I had while living in Spain during the lockdown confinement. Being confined to your house was not a great experience, but I remember I used to take my guitar and play it next to my window, to get some sunlight. I guess the rays of sunshine brought a happy upbeat melody to my mind, definitely with the flavor of something Green Day might have recorded on their ‘Warning’ album, or maybe even the Kinks, which coincidently, I think Green Day was listening to a lot when they recorded ‘Warning’. Yeah baby I so get it. Then you get a whole bunch of barroom fun in the shape of ‘Sweet Alice’ with those picked notes and gang vocals, Woohoo!
The Rellies – ‘Monkey EP (Damaged Goods Records) querky retro batnicks The Rellies play with yur mellon man with the ‘Monkey ‘ groove – some choppy echo reverb laden riff and some fun time gang vocals signal the mayhem. The second single by The Rellies since releasing ‘Isabella is Annoying/ Brainwaves’ in 2020. Ryan, guitarist and dual singer and songwriter for the band describes the making of ‘Monkey’ during lockdown with his brother Riley. So some dudes spent their lockdown writing tunes or moping round and other just bashed out some tunes and monkeyed around check me into the latter they are bananas.
THE DROWNS / THE LAST GANG – ‘SPLIT’ (Pirates Press Records) Two of the west coast’s top punk bands, The Drowns and The Last Gang, have teamed up for a long-awaited split. Each band contributed a new track to this split with The Drowns offering the song “Subculture Rock ‘N Roll” and The Last Gang contributing the track “Pleaser.”
Theres a AC/DC rythm section vibe going on with this Drowns track from the Malcolm Young punch of that broken glass rhythm right through to the Bon scott vocal delivery. Excellent stuff really vibrant and catchy – I can feel it too baby!
As for the Last Gang track its got a West Coast punk style to it and it sounds tight in the delivery with a big melody on those vocals. For me The Drowns have it on a split decision.
Danko Jones – ‘Good Times’ (AFM Records) Hell Yeah! It’s Danko Jones in the room to fuck shit up with a suitably heavy riff -a – rama- lama -ding – dong. Catchy, Punchy, Heavy, melodic what more do you want? From the new album ‘Electric Sounds‘ it’s one of those earworms that will burrow down and take hold whilst you repeat the mantra OVER AND OVER. Always a pleasure.
Dictator Ship – ‘Electric Jehad’ (The Sign Records) a runaway train rhythm as ‘Electric Jehad’ gets down to business with a touch of Scandi Rock meets Southern Rock with attitude. A track you keep waiting to really cut loose and break out with a soaring wah infested solo but they show restraint and it doesn’t quite reach that peak. Cool solo though even if it does venture into a bit of prog garage thereafter.
The Goods – EP (Dandy Boy Records) Oakland California’s The Goods have just announced the release of their debut self-titled EP on Dandy Boy Records with an accompanying video for the song “David Jones Is Dead.” The Goods combine big guitars, huge hooks, and sweet British Invasion-style harmonies into a distinctive power pop tapestry on their debut. Self-produced in the band’s own studio in Oakland, CA, The Goods’ debut EP draws on decades of hooky punk and power pop from the 1960s through the 1990s. Mashing up those lush melodies with some ragged guitars and solid backbeat its power pop for sure and whats not to like especially in the summer sunshine. Get the beers on ice and lets party!
Anyways onto the tunes from the fuzzed-up guitar and spoken word vocal the story unfolds to the qwerky backbeat with added fucked up keyboards. Ding Dong Heads gone. There are those who would say swansea hasn’t moved on much from the 70s anyway but I say fuck em keep on playing boys. B side ‘Liar At The Bar’ is a more straight forward old school slice of rock but thats fine. Weird and wonderful
Chuck Ransom – Chuck Ransom (Savage Magic Records) When hes not rocking like a good un it seems Chuck finds time to record some power poppin rock n roll under his own name. During that crazy year when nothing happened, the vocalist from The Chuck Norris Experiment got a bad case of ants in his pants and ended up recording these two tracks at Meltdown Studios in Kungsbacka, Sweden. The lead track is like a Boys inspired crash and burn slice of good time Rock n Roll and to be fair its a banger! ‘Hit On One & Run On Two’ is most excellent and not far behind it is ‘Gotta Keep On Moving’ a bit more rock with a shade less power pop but its a toss up which one floats my boat the most. Hey Chuck gives us some more if its as good as these two.
It’s Friday night and when bands as cool as Continental Lovers and Sister Morphine are dewn tewn (that’s the Newportonian way of pronouncing “down town” just in case you thought it was a double typo) then there’s only one place RPM Online is going to be, especially when its FREE entry.
The unknown entity on tonight’s bill for yours truly is opener UPB. This three-piece relatively “unknown punk band” (think about it) are all local lads and apparently, they are also a band who avoid political subject matter within their songs. Then again that might just be singer/guitarist Matt yanking our collective chain, because what I can gather from watching their nine song set, is that all the songs drawn from their ‘Ranthology’ album (played in full here along with non-album track ‘Pirates’) are all pretty much politically charged or at least contain some poignant social commentary, albeit with UPB this all comes wrapped up with some instantly hummable melodies. Opener ‘The Thrill’, complete with its Sweeney intro being a perfect example.
Matt has more than a hint of Pete Shelley about him, so even when the band’s message is as blunt as ‘Fuck Off Boris’ there’s still a great hook to get stuck in your head, then when he switches into Jake Burns mode he has the aforementioned ‘Pirates’, a truly great tune, with which to weave his magic.
The best thing about UPB is that in the 30 odd minutes spent in their company here tonight I didn’t actually feel like I was on a night out in Zooport, nah I was in Blackpool (in my head at least) watching another great band at the annual Rebellion Festival and all that was missing was the sticky floor of the Empress Ballroom. As the band’s T-shirts proudly declare ‘Punks Not Dad’, and as long as there are bands like UPB out there it never will be.
That’s because it’s impossible to keep great music down folks, as the long overdue reunion of low-slung rock ‘n’ rollers Sister Morphine has proven. Yes, it might be over three decades since they were last out and about taking no prisoners whilst sharing stages with the likes of Gunfire Dance, Red Dogs and Last Of The Teenage Idols, but what’s thirty years when you’ve just released one of the surprise packages of the year in the shape of your debut album ‘Ghosts Of Heartbreak City’?
There are people here tonight who have travelled pretty much the width of the UK to witness the band’s second gig back together, and as the five-piece launch into their furious opener ‘Holy City Zoo’, it’s only the hints of grey in the hair of the band members that’s really the difference from how I remember them live first time around. Tight and brimming with cock sure attitude, this is incendiary stuff for sure, and as frontman Gaz Tidey (née James) quickly observes, if when his careers advisor told him as a 13-year-old that if he didn’t buck up his ideas he’d end up down the pit, then perhaps The Pit (as in tonight’s venue) wasn’t such a bad place to be after all. Thus, providing the almost near perfect intro to the band’s finest three minutes to date, ‘Nothing Dirty in the Truth’.
Unlike with the band’s first show back where due to the multi band line up it meant the band shared a backline and had only a vocal PA to help drive home their tunes, tonight, playing through a proper in house rig the guitars of Lloyd and (in particular) Nick cut though the humidity with razor-like precision whilst the mesmerising bass lines of ‘Hollywood’ Mike and the rock-solid drums of Denley Slade shake McCanns to its very foundations.
There are a few additional cuts included here tonight too, and these come in the shape of ‘Cry The Rain’ and ‘Days Of Wine & Roses’ which whilst these tracks do perhaps lean more towards the late ‘80s/early ‘90s flowery shirt scene of which the Morphine monster were very much a part of, that’s certainly no bad thing in my book, as it’s great to hear the latter track live once again after all these years, and it still sound so pertinent.
Look, I’ll admit I could be accused of nepotism here as I’ve long been friends with all the members of Sister Morphine, but they would also expect me to write the truth if they weren’t actually up to the mark. So, it’s with somewhat great relief that after Ben Hughes gave the band’s album a rave review on RPM just a few months back, I can echo his positivity when it comes to the band’s live show. Don’t believe me? Then just ask the punters that travelled from far and wide to be here tonight. It’s great to have the guys back it really is.
It’s great to have Continental Lovers frontman Joe Maddox back in Wales tonight too, because the man is not only like a brilliant ray of powerpop joy whenever he plays in our locale but as he reveals tonight, he’s also of Welsh heritage, with his father being born just down the road in Penarth.
The last time I bumped into Joe was when he was fronting The DeRellas at Rebellion Festival pre-pandemic and a lot has happened in the world since then, not least he’s gone and got himself a rather spiffing new outfit in the shape of Continental Lovers, and it’s a band you’re all going to love once you’ve heard them.
Taking to the stage to the intro tape of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll (Pt 2)’ opener ‘Tattered Star’ is a song that immediately takes you to a place somewhere between Joe’s old bands The Breakdowns and The DeRellas, then latest single ‘Paraffin Lips’ truly sets the touchpaper before ‘Tape Deck’ explodes in all our faces. BANG!
There’s an added edge and indeed image that bassist Keri K Sinn helps bring to the Lovers, being equal parts Noel Fielding and Johnny Thunders, he appears the perfect foil for his rhythmic partner in crime Rokket R Rik (a proper whacker of the drums not a tickler that’s for sure) over which Maddox and fellow six stringer Ben Webster can strut and pout like they are headlining their fifth sold out night at MSG not some basement bar in Newport.
The band’s debut single ‘Really Doesn’t Matter’ is a particular stand out for yours truly as is their exceptional cover of Stiv Bator’s ‘Make Up Your Mind’, a track which Joe states is likely to be the band’s next single. There are also times tonight where I detect subtle hints of both Phil Lynott and Tom Petty within Maddox’s songwriting and ‘Wedding Song’, which pops up mid set, is the most striking example of this. Of the rest of the set ‘St. Joan’, ‘Can’t Get Her Outta My Head’ and ‘Dale Arden’ all trash their way straight to our punk rock hearts before a double whammy of New York Dolls’ ‘Jetboy’ and Cheap Trick’s ‘He’s a Whore’ provide the perfect finale by which to send us all out into the cooling summer rain and our journeys home.
Make sure you check out Continental Lovers at Rebellion 2023, they play the After Dark Stage in the Arena on the Saturday at 11:45, the band have asked if you can, to please bring balloons. It’s going to be a one hell of a party folks!
When you get sent a promo of a band you’ve never had the pleasure of but it comes in the shape of a 12″ record I’m always mildly impressed. Not that things pass me by because I’m so hip I know every new band ever (far from it as it goes) but it shows commitment and when it comes in an arty sleeve with no PR sheet I am even more impressed because not being the lazy type I have to go search the interweb thing and find out who they are and whilst I do that I slip the record onto the death decks and turn it up to help with my investigation.
Firstly I find out they come from Hipster central London (Only joking – or am I?) then I read that they’re the loudest band in said town, so, I like the cut of their jib and that’s a confident bold statement to be fair. Firstly I like the artwork it’s bold and doesn’t give anything away at all. Fuck sake you don’t even get their name on the sleeve. As the needle drops you can instantly see how they claim to be louder as ‘Souvenir’ sets the LP up nicely. Theres a load of energy and choruses that are anthemic and snotty. ‘Draw Blood For Proof’ is a great example with a fuzzy rumbling rhythm and a gang chorus that could get messy in a live club situation its got some clobber behind it and a real sense of swagger.
Elsewhere songs like ‘Get Wild’ has a bit of indie suss as well as that post-punk punch with a hind of darkness goth going on as well and that’s a glorious place to be. The songs are really well written and arranged and they sound like a band who’ve been doing this for years and years.
Ten songs maketh a ten-track treat and I love hearing a band I’ve no previous with, and this lot has impressed me a lot with their work on ‘Asleep In The Ejector Seat’ I really like The Heat Inc if they like their brekkie on a slate and latte in a jar or a builders brekkie with a can of stella I’m on board because they know how to write a tune and do it with attitude and volume an impressive combination in my book.
A really impressive record from top to bottom and hopefully I’ll get the chance to catch them live in the not-to-distant future, and put that loudest tag to the test because these tunes played loudly on record sound fantastic so here’s hoping live they’ll blow me head right off, another top record released in 2023.
HeadCat is an American rockabilly supergroup formed by vocalist/bassist Lemmy (of Motörhead), drummer Slim Jim Phantom (of The Stray Cats) and guitarist Danny B. Harvey (of Lonesome Spursand The Rockats).
This coming September 15th sees the welcome reissue of the bands 2011 album ‘Walk The Walk…Talk The Talk’ on CD and vinyl, alongside the first CD release of the live ‘Dreamcatcher’ album (first released on vinyl in 2022 for RSD), and the debut release on double-vinyl, CD and digital of the previously unheard ‘Live In Berlin’ album, recorded at Huxley’s in Berlin, Germany on 18th October 2011.
The band was formed after recording the Elvis Presley tribute album by Swing Cats ‘A Special Tribute to Elvis’ in July 1999 to which the future bandmates all contributed. After recordings were finished they stayed at the studio and Lemmy picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing some of his old favourite songs by Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran. The rest of the guys knew them all and joined in. The name of the band was created by combining the names Motörhead, The Stray Cats, and 13 Cats, which resulted in HeadCat.
In 2006, the band released their first studio album ‘Fool’s Paradise’. It included cover songs from artists such as Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Jimmy Reed, T-Bone Walker, Lloyd Price, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash. On the recordings, Lemmy played acoustic guitar. In later years, Lemmy began to use his signature Rickenbacker bass in live performances.
‘Walk The Walk… Talk the Talk’, the bands second album, was first released in 2011 and features covers from the likes of Chuck Berry, The Eagles and The Beatles as well as band originals, ‘AmericanBeat’ and ‘The Eagle Flies on Friday’. It also comes on a new colour way – Half/Half Black/White. The CD features extended sleevenotes based on interviews with Danny B. Harvey and Slim Jim Phantom.
‘Live In Berlin’ is a previously unreleased live concert which was recorded at the Huxley’s in Berlin, Germany on 18th October 2011. It was produced by the band and mastered by guitarist Danny B Harvey. The double LP comes on red vinyl while the CD features extended sleevenotes based on interviews with Danny B. Harvey and Slim Jim Phantom.
‘Dreamcatcher’ was recorded at the Dreamcatcher theatre at the Viejas Casino in Alpine CA on 1st Feb 2008. It was produced by the band and mastered by guitarist Danny B Harvey. The new CD features extended sleevenotes based on interviews with Danny B. Harvey and Slim Jim Phantom.
HeadCat redefined rock ‘n’ roll in their own way as they took all of the elements that made this groundbreaking genre so exciting to generations of rockers and gave it their own eclectic twist.
Downstairs in Clwb Ifor on a school night – What could go wrong? Well as it goes pretty much nothing which is a miracle considering Pizzatramp are opening up the show after the third band on the bill has pulled out, anyway. With a new Bass player in situ, the dynamic hardcore trio set about the simple task of warming up tonight’s audience for Melbourne’s finest Clowns.
Jimmy sets about playing live with the same humourous, not taking the job a whole lot seriously but then proceeding to kick seven shades of shit out of his guitar with the vigor of an angry Mike Tyson who’s just been told he’s soft as shite and a big fat crybaby. Anyway, ‘CCTV’ followed by one of the set’s big guns which begs the question have they gone in too hard too early and shot their wad by playing ‘Millions Of Dead Goths’. I’m assuming most of the people in tonight have seen the band before and whilst they have only traveled from up the road they get away with insulting the city, the audience, and the general people of Cardiff the audience is lapping it up and laughing along with the between song banter unlike, it would seem, some recent audiences around England.
‘White Dog Shit’, ‘Rag And Bone’, and ‘I Hope You Fucking Die’ all go down a storm and it’s fair to say Jimmy is in good company politically speaking in Clwb Ifor so Tory bashing is a home run. there is even time for a new song as yet untitled but suitably brutal in attack, content, and delivery. Pizzatramp doesn’t really do disappointing performances from the big stages of Rebellion To Slugfest to warm-ups for Clowns Pizzatramp nail it once again. from the blink and you miss em the intro is longer than the songs of ‘Metallica Are Shit’, ‘The M4 Is Shit’, ‘Long Songs Are Shit’ into ‘My Back Is Fucking Fucked’ it’s already panning out to be a top nights punk rock courtesy of a sober Pizzatramp who put a huge full stop on their set by thrashing out ‘There’s Been a Murder’. Again, as I’ve said another excellent set from a top band. Now bring on the Clowns from down under.
Do something that means something is the mantra and this Australian fashion guru most certainly live by their words. With a new album about to drop in a month or two it was time to reacquaint myself with Melbourne’s finest noise bringers and tonight they set up in front of a sold-out room and open with a track or intro off the new record ‘Endless’ before spending the next hour trading shapes and kicking the living shit out of their instruments and covering every inch of the compact Clwb.
Stevie is on the prowl and from the off is hitting the screams of epic throat bleeding proportions as the likes of ‘Freezing In The Sun’, ‘Scared To Die’, and ‘Formalydahyde’ are despatched with aplomb. With only a few new tunes on offer, it’s left to ‘Nature/ Nurture’, and ‘Lucid Again’ to provide the bulk of the set which is fine seeing as they are a pair of pretty awesome albums anyway. ‘Soul For Sale’ was fantastic and raised the temperature in the room north by a few degrees. It is difficult trying to take it all in as Stevie moves into the audience and Hanny J gives it plenty of attitude inches behind throwing her Bass around whilst the twin guitar attack gives it some welly bookending the performance with some superb riffs and licks.
About the new record, they did manage to play ‘Bisexual Awakening’ which is slotted right in the set and hopefully, once the album is released they will be back again and bringing more of the songs to entertain us. Quite simply Clowns don’t do bad shows and perform with all their heart and soul leaving nothing on stage other than a pool of steaming sweat. ‘Not Coping’ is epic and is one reason why these Clowns are a force to be reckoned with playing crossover punk as well and in many respects better than anybody else. The energy they put out is staggering and most importantly they have the catalogue to back it up from ‘I’m Not Alright’ through ‘Bad Blood to ‘Endless’ Clowns delivered another stunning set to make another superb night out in the company of two most excellent bands. Part On!
It’s exactly 154 pages into ‘I Danny McCormack’ that you receive the suckerpunch (ouch) message that every young aspiring musician should take on board. This being… “drugs are always given a glamorous rock ‘n’ roll edge in the press, but there is no fairy dust and no pot of gold. Crack and heroin only lead to death, misery, and debt.”
So speaks the man behind the title of this book, and when you’ve lived the life he has, and he’s warning you about what will happen when you make just a few wrong decisions in life, then you best sit up and take note, because this book really is one of the most harrowing accounts of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle you are ever likely to read.
You also have to take your hat off to his co-author Guy Shankland from Vive Le Rock (and many other sites/magazines) too, because he’s the one who painstakingly assembled this paperback (initially offering up digital chapters as part of a Patreon campaign set up to help Danny) over a period of some two years, during which time his interviewee would often disappear for extended periods, and given his subject matter’s already acknowledged lifestyle, Guy himself must surely have wondered if the 184 page tome would ever get finished, never mind published.
If you are a fan of The Wildhearts, or in fact any of Danny’s other bands, you really must read this book, as it’s his account of his life, viewed without the aid of any rose-tinted spectacles. It deals with the ups and MANY downs and doesn’t really skirt around the issues that he faced (initially as someone just out of their teens) joining one of the UK’s most promising bands of the 1990s. Not least his long undiagnosed mental health condition, something he is now thankfully taking medication for.
As it’s Danny’s view there’s some things in the book that hardcore Wildhearts fans may not want, or like, to hear especially when the introduction to his life story is made by way of him recounting the time his femoral artery burst not long after The Main Grains had filmed their first video. Oh, and there’s the not so insignificant matter that he would have died were it not for the swift action of his partner Von (who quite rightly gets her very own special dedication at the front of the book).
Personally, I fell out of love with The Wildhearts a few years back, not because I felt they suddenly made poor music, but largely because I grew to dislike the way certain band members conducted themselves in the age of social media. It’s one of Danny’s bugbears too, and he touches on it whilst describing what it was like to once again be a part of a band slowly falling apart during the time of the ‘21st Century Love Songs’ album and subsequent tour. A chapter that whilst reassuring to me to discover that I was not alone in feeling the way I did, also made me feel oh so sad for the sorry state of a band I once considered truly untouchable.
Then again when you’ve grown up with heroes like Pete Way and Sid Vicious plastered all over your bedroom wall like I did, perhaps it’s the cold hard facts of a book like ‘I Danny McCormack’ that you really need to hear, and most of all, come to terms with and understand.
I should perhaps also add that it’s not all doom and gloom, there are some genuinely uplifting and laugh out loud moments within the pathos of ‘I Danny McCormack’, and as such I couldn’t help but, in my head, draw some parallels with Danny’s story to that of one Winston Ingram (of BBC’s Still Game fame). Both being someone who is always laughing and joking whatever life throws at them, who is loved by family and friends even though they can be a pain in arse to be around, and of course they are their own worst enemy when it comes to the excesses that life has to offer them.
Anyway, back in the real world, Danny and Guy will be discussing the book at this year’s Rebellion Festival where they headline the Literary stage on Friday 4th August. Danny promising that it will be a truly warts ‘n’ all session with things he dared not put in the book being up for debate.
If like me you can’t make this year’s Rebellion Festival though you can always order a copy of ‘I Danny McCormack’ (now into its third print run) directly from Guy via this eBay link. It’s not an easy read that’s for sure, but once you’ve picked ‘I Danny McCormack’ up, you’ll not want to stop reading it, it really is Danny’s true anthem to his life. It’s powerful and absorbing stuff!
Salut mes copains! Summer is here with a vengeance, at least in south west France. So, here come Les Lullies to inject some punk n roll goodness into your life. Warning; this is almost entirely sung in French. While their previous releases were mainly in English, don’t let this put you off. It isn’t necessary to understand the lyrics, even if they occasionally take on more serious subjects this time round. What matters is the tunes, and kicking off with the title track, =‘Bad Faith’, this should satisfy any fans of The Boys. It actually comes on like a punkier Téléphone (take my word for it), with a hint of the mighty Giuda.
‘Pas De Regrets’ is even more melodic, touching on The Flamin’ Groovies, certainly a more mature sound, but not straying too far from their blueprint. ‘Ce Que Je Veux’ (What I Want) and ‘Soirée Standard’ will sound great in your car, with your cheap shades on, addictive stuff. ‘Ville Musée’ has the jangle sound covered, like Hoodoo Gurus, plus a nice, wandering bass line.
‘Zero Ambition’ speeds things up again nicely, you should be pogoing around your gaff by now. They’ve thrown in all the punk n roll cliches, but it works. ‘Dernier Soir’ is like a lost classic from 1978, in a very good way, and there’s a cute cover of ‘When You Walk In The Room’ In English. Overall, the sound is very much the pop punk of The Boys/Duncan Reid, Continental Lovers and The Vibrators, while closing number ‘Animal’ could almost be Mud. These are, obviously, very good things. So, if that floats your boat, get over any language hang ups and invest in another great, independent band. C’est parti, mon kiki!