Monday, 30 January 2017

Inspiral Carpets

This post is dedicated to Craig Gill (the drummer from said band) who I met once at The Boardwalk watching my band playing live way back. The Carpets just happened to be in the venue the night we played and were really down to earth Manc blokes. He unfortunately passed away last year on 22nd November and will always be remembered as a great drummer. I was going through the Manc phase of music in early 1988 when I came across a cracking cassette called Dung 4 by a local band I had never heard of.
They sounded like a hybrid of The Doors, punk and garage at it's dirtiest. They were most definitely the first Manc band I fell in love with. Don't get me wrong, The Roses were shit hot but The Carpets were an Oldham band and with me hailing from Middleton I had a soft spot! I bought the Plane Crash EP on vinyl and that was it.
The first band I followed live. I will always remember seeing them live in Oldham when The Frank & Walters supported them. Top gig. My mate Pete Delaney at the time got really into them and when they realeased Life the debut album we went to The G-Mex which was a fucking great gig. I even bought a Cool As Fuck t-shirt.
As debut albums go, they could not go wrong. It was upbeat, funky garage rock which made a massive impact on the Baggy scene. They somehow got roped in with The Mondays and The Roses because of the blinkered Cockney arts media degree wankers who tried to pigeonhole the Manc scene. Clint Boon's Hammond organ sound was unique which gave them The Doors tag but it worked.
The 'difficult' second album was received not too well by the music press but remains my favourite Carpets album. It was ambitious, brave and explored new territory. If you listen to bands like The Horrors just listen to Further Away. A pyschedelic garage tinged epic which sounds so relevant today. I still listen to this album at least once a month!
Whatever was in their head after The Beast Inside sent them back to basics with this corker. Great album cover, garage sounds abound again and some more corkers. I must admit I was exploring different avenues at the time and didn't get Devil Hopping for a while.
but listening back now I regret that. Another great album from a band that I can only say remind me of why Cabbage are such a fresh new band. They excited me no end and turned me on to some great stuff. I remember sitting with Clint Boon at a music festival in Werneth one sunny afternoon and having a good natter with him and the aura I got was one of just a genuine music lover with a great ear for a tune. Life changer legendary Manc band!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Pixies And The Beginning Of My Manc Journey

The Hip Hop years taught me a lot about researching music and finding the history behind great songs. I am a massive advocate of the phrase "Everything came from the blues" They have all done it. The Stones, Led Zep, The Beatles, and most importantly to me Pink Floyd. As I have mentioned Dark Side Of The Moon was the first album I heard. But when I started delving back and discovered Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and A Saucerful Of Secrets it opened a whole new world of music to me.

Syd Barrett in my eyes was from another planet (well he was on another planet most of the time). He was a genius who left us too soon but played a big part in Floyd's history. I was a late listener to Floyd but soaked up every album they made. The music was not like anything else I had heard. Ummagumma with it's jazz tinged fucked up acid experiments, Wish You Were Here with it's massive ode to Syd Barrett, Animals which will always be my favourite Floyd album, The Wall which was epic but soon made me realise Roger Waters needed to take his head out of arse.
In respect though, Rogers Waters did make a cracking album after Floyd (The Pros & Cons Of Hitchhiking) alas he left the band before I finally saw them live at Maine Road with David Gilmour at the helm. They were that good I got tickets for London Docklands Arena with my mate which was my first ever trip to London.
And did I forget to mention Meddle? Oh fuck I did! Me and my mate Siddy dabbled in a bit of the old lysergic acid at the time and  could swear the members of PF on the inside cover were staring at us and smilng as if to say "We wrote this album for this reason"

Anyway, enough about Floyd. My next big passion was Talking Heads.
They blew me away. David Byrne was like one of the lads in school that was picked on for being a geek. But the music was awesome. Funky as fuck, clever lyricism, catchy pop music that was way different from Floyd but satisfying. The first album was raw punk clever shit that was produced in a toilet but was excellent. More Songs About Buildings And Food was amazing. Fear Of Music was bizarre shit but top! 

The album that got me the most though was Remain In Light. I didn't realise it ended up being album of the year in NME! The thing about Talking Heads that got me interested was that every album was different. Little Creatures was the one that made them massive but compared to the earlier albums did not do anything for me. When David Byrne went solo, me and mate travelled to Brixton Academy to see him. Ended up right at the front and I'm sure he winked at me! I even bought a T-shirt which I rarely do. It ended up getting fucking robbed by my sister!

After this phase of my music shenanigans I ended up being a father and got put onto a new music track by my partners brother Lee. He gave me a copy of Elephant Stone by The Stone Roses. At first listen I wasn't so sure but after a few plays I realised how good this Manc band were going to be. Only trouble is I started reading the NME and Melody Maker due to my interest and bought a copy of Surfa Rosa / Come On Pilgrim by Pixies. Blown away was an understatement. Frank Black actually shit me up when I first heard his screaming rants, but the tunes were mindblowing. Pixies made me want to start a band which I did (more of that later). The Manchester scene however was just starting to thrive and The Roses released Sally Cinnamon which killed everyone! The album which followed didn't do well at first but ended up being one of the best albums of all time. I tend to think through my years of listening to different music got me tuned into this. The Roses were a mix of psychedelic, punk, pop, indie, you name it, it was all in there. I had it on my Walkman non stop for about two months! This was the start of my love for Manchester bands and my search for good music from the music capital of England. Keep listening!!!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Hip Hop / Rap years.

I could actually write a book about rap and hip hop and get away with it! During school I experienced the breakdancing electro scene that is now a phenomenon. Me and my mates started buying the Electro albums which introduced British people to a new kind of music. I remember Grandmaster Flash (who I actually shook hands with outside The Hacienda in 1994!) Mantronix, Roxanne Shante, Bizmarkie, Marley Marl, too many names to mention. I remember having a shitty turntable when I lived on Langley and scratching like fuck with my LL Cool J album and Run DMC. The beats were just banging and mt dad used to go mad and tell me to turn it down. He called it boom boom boom music! I used to go to breakdancing battles at Cardinal Langley school where my mates used to have dancing battles in the name of Street Beat (The Forbes, Caro, Danny and others were all part) They won a battle against a crew called Breaking Glass who had Jason Orange from Take That in there as a breakdancer! I met a great guy called Andy Fairbanks during this time who shared my love of hip hop. We ended up being best friends and he had some decks at his house that we used to mix and scratch on. His younger brother Johnny was always moaning that he wanted a go but we never let him. Johnny ended up having one his arms amputated at a young age which was tragic at the time but never got him down. He ended up meeting Public Enemy and taking them shopping on Market St in town. He is now Semtex, a DJ on Radio 6 Extra, worked as PR for Sony Records and also DJ'd for Dizzee Rascal. Anyway my love for hip hop with Andy carried on and we used to take a portable tape player into school blasting out all the new hip hop tunes to anyone who would listen, I got a job on New Smithfield Market and would spend my wages on imports bought from Spin Inn on King St in town. The first vinyl I bought from memory was LL Cool J Radio.
I scratched this record to death on the track Rock The Bells and then the same with Run DMC - Peter Piper.

I was that mad into hip hop at the time I devoureed the tunes. UTFO, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, you name it! My first gig was Lisa Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, UTFO & Full Force and DJ Cheese at The Hacienda when I was 16. Used my mates driving licence to get in and was right at the front. Next gig was LL Cool J, Eric B & Rakim, and Public Enemy. Will never forget PE. They were so fucking different than anything I'd seen before. Guys on stage with AK's and army uniforms?? Fuck me!

I think Public Enemy were the hip hop act that totally got me into the rap scene bar KRS One. They were just so electrifyng live and Chuck D was one of the best rappers I had ever heard. I had gone through loads of good hip hop like Biz Markie, Marley Marl, BDP, Eric B & Rakim, LL Cool J, the list goes on but I won't. I just had a passion of hip hop at the time and it effected me a lot, considering I was a MOD and a prog rock headuntil I got into this funky shit!!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Prog Rock (Good Or Bad?)

Going back to the early Eighties brings back memories of learning how to rock climb, play chess, and discover role playing games on shit early computers like ZX81's and Spectrums with rubber keyboards. This was all down to my Uncle Con (rock climbing legend) who taught me loads about climbing severe rock faces in the North of England and making me shit my pants. I was already athletic but learnt how to become a rock climbing idiot with no fear. Then I discovered his vinyl collection at his flat cum climbing base on Langley. Flicking through I was enchanted by the surrealist artwork on the albums he owned. Biggest vinyl collection I had encountered anywhere. This was where my ears opened to a whole new world of music. Emerson Lake & Palmer, 
The Alan Parsons Project (who I later found out produced Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon)
Santana - Abraxus (first time I discovered amazing guitar trickery)
The Doors - Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (rare vinyl copy)
And the killer for me which opened my mind. Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon.
This was a bit of a transition for me from the normal music I was listening to at the time and I couldn't believe that people could play instruments like this and make a great sound even though it was a bit overblown and now may sound like a wankfest. But when you're a young teenager fascinated by music it has an affect. Carlos Santana was and still is a legend. ELP made some top stuff, The Doors will always have a place there due to their early garage sound. Alan Parsons just made me laugh and produced some good shit!

All in all Con had a great record collection and put me on the path to better things and to make things sound better he did have a copy of The Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks right in the midst of it all, Which just goes to show that you can blow the whole Kill All Hippy's scene right out of the water!!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

A Brief History Of Time (Its All About Me)

From the start. I was born in May 1970 in Harpurhey on Factory Lane (ironic or what?) to parents from Harpurhey and Lower Broughton in Salford so I think that qualifies me a Mancunian! We relocated to Langley Estate in Middleton in 1972 where my journey starts. My first experience with vinyl was walking around the house with a 12in record under my arm which I called a cocord. My mum swore that this was the time they knew I was a music nutter. The first song I really liked was Nellie The Elephant by The Toy Dolls which I first heard at one of my uncle Phils at his house in Harpurhey. 
The next song I heard which blew me away at the age of 8 or 9 was I Shot The Sheriff by Bob Marley. I think that song was the one that touched me and got me into the power of tunes.

Back to my house on Langley, my uncle Bob knew I loved music and brought me an LP which I thought was from another world. This album was David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. This was probably the moment I turned into a music junkie.
From then on I listened to the Top 40, bought Smash Hits and soaked in anything I liked. The music I preferred at the time was The Specials, Bad Manners, Selecta, The Beat, The Jam typical MOD stuff before I knew it was MOD! Thw early eighties brought some gem bands like Teardrop Explodes, The Thompson Twin, Adam & The Ants, Ian Dury etc. I suppose I was drawn to quality and hated the typical pop shit from an early age. Anyway, that's the early stages of my love of music and I will tell you more about the the next stage which may make you cringe but also may make you think I have a very open mind. If this is boring you, please let me know!!

Friday, 13 January 2017

This blog has had to be done because of a fucking great band from Mossley called Cabbage. I've even named the blog after one of their tunes which made me piss when I heard the lyrics and describes many floppy hat twat flare wearing joker who walked like a monkey in the early nineties. I was actually there when all this happened and would like to share my experience from a music junkies point of view when the Manchester scene kicked off big time. I will try to give you an insight to every kind of music coming out at this time but would also like to give you some funny stories and a history of the Manchester scene way before Madchester even kicked in. I am not a music historian but know my stuff (so I've been told) and hope to make you laugh and hopefully reminisce in some of the scenarios I have been in. The photos will make you smile when I finally dig them out! Enjoy!