Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Own Musical Career

I've been in radio silence mode for a while and told almost nothing here, which was remiss of me, so, let me see if I can righ that palpable wrong.

First of all, Vaccination finally gave up the ghost in April 2012.  For a while, we truly did feel like the best band in the world but it all ended in the New Cross Inn when I got so pissed off that I walked off stage and listened to the rest of the set from Richard and Chris (and nobody else) while trying desperately not to cry.

I'm glad to say that Richard and Chris and Luke from Vaccination are working together as The Child Wren, With Chris on vocals and accordion, they hve become something sharper, less improvisational perhaps, a kind of folk for the end times.  In May 2014, they played at the Tottenham Festival of Musical Legerdemain, which was my feeble attempt at being a musical impressario.  (Note for next time, don't try planning an event like this on your own, and if you do, try not to have intensive radiotherapy in the middle of the planning period).

With a Vaccination shaped hole in my life, I needed to fill it with something.  Early in 2013, I got together with a bunch of musicians to form The Band of Malcontents, which was a lot of fun but we never got past the rehearsal stage.  That wasn't because any of us were less than brilliant as musicians, but simply because life got in the way.

And then, in August 2013, I finally got together with Dave and John from The Pennebakers to form a new band.  I called them e-Cog Zero (after my oncologist told my doctor that I was at "Performance level ECOG Zero", meaning my cancer was no worse than when I was diagnosed).

We played our first gig in November 2013, just before I went in for Radiotherapy. We had no drummer then and that was a problem, but over the gigs we've played, we've found ourselves getting better and better.  At the abovementioned Tottenham Festival of Musical Legerdemain, Richard Winstanley of The Child Wren, played Drums and we were a lot better than we were to begin with.  Since then we've found a new drummer in the shape of Keith Sharp and since then, things have been better and better.

As a result of the 'success' of e-Cog Zero, Mike Fleming has now, sadly wound up the Swampies, which was also fun, but John and I don't have time to do both bands justice.

Feel free to get in touch via our facebook page if you want to be added to our mailing list when we start it.  We want to make this really work.

My Marc Almond top five

I've been posting these top fives as part of an exercise on a page on facebook, and suddenly realised, I've been neglecting this blog and it should be here as well, so, here's my faves from Marc.  Hope you enjoy them as much as me.

1. What Makes a Man a Man
I didn't grow up with Marc because I'd already moved from Deliverance to Cambridge before I heard of him. This song though, I knew because I'd heard Charles Aznavour (of all people) do it first. It speaks to me. My sexuality is not that of the song and yet I found myself growing up so different as to be practically an alien. It's a beautiful song and Marc does it beautifully, so very beautifully.
2. Tainted Love
I DO like eighties synth pop, but prefer something with a real edge, and this song has that. I love it so much. So much so, that after I had buried my singing and Cabaret in a shallow grave and built a career of a faceless bureaucrat on top of it, and built a stone sacrcophagus around the remains, THIS was the song I sang in a bar in Almeria when I decided I dared to sing again. Ladies and Gentlemen, "Tainted Love".
3. The Bulls
Brel, I did grow up with and this song, The Bulls, was one of my favourites. Marc GETS it, he really gets it, that's why I love him so much. Sorry to post a video with just a record sleeve but I can't find a live video where you can hear Marc's voice properly. Marc and the Mambas sing "The Bulls".
4. Ruby Red
Back to pop but Marc does it so beautifully and bitterly. This is the darkest of dark pop songs, with a pretty beat, something to dance to if you ache for the eighties, but with Marc's voice, insidious and wicked to seep into your nightmares when you go home alone, or worse still with someone you'll nver love in the morning.
5. Torch
I know there are a lot of better songs Marc did, it hurts to leave out Jacky, and Marc's version of Caroline Says, and hell even some entire albums but for my last choice, I've picked a piece of eighties synth pop. Sorry to go there, but one thing that makes this song so special is the fact that it was on Top of the Pops, for fuck's sake! All those teenies and their moms and pops were watching and they did this... oh my, so magnificent. Welcome to my room Marc. I love you.