A Palace in the mind is worth two in the band
Well we all know what its like… after months slaving away… you pop out to the local brick merchant’s to get that last missing brick to complete the building of your very own personal palace… only to find that the local council have completely changed the local building regs while you were out…! Crazy! Why do they do that?
Luckily we’re far too busy in this little ol’ band of ours to be building palaces…. In fact the only roots we’re looking to lay down will be of the musical variety.
It’s been a while since the last blog post… one of the pitfalls of being in a busy band I guess..! The Good news is that Sack now has new reading glasses… his first for about twelve years, so I guess they were about due. All he needs now is a new memory and we can get all caught up on what we’ve been up to these last few months… our second summer as Banjaxeld.
As a result there will be a certain amount of ‘condensing’ but there’s loads of stuff, and people I want to mention, and as you probably know by now I’m not averse to the odd ramble and detour through the improbable terrain of the psyche… so we’ll see just which side of ‘compromise’ this all ends up on…!
March of the Spring Bunny Cullers
April started with an interesting rehearsal, gelling the four piece unit like a non-animal sourced fulsome fruity taste bud terrorising edible glue, a consequence of which begot a tongue-in-cheek impromptu variation of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’…. fresh from the ‘skankin factory’…I think we’ll try to bottle this one… give it a rub every now and then… and see if the genie reappears…!
The first half of the month saw us in Norwich at The Fat Cat Brewery Tap for a laid back(ish!) Sunday afternoon, and our first Friday night gig at The Blueberry. After an evening back on half the band’s home turf at the Plough and Sail in Lowestoft there followed more album mixing and final vocal bits at Gary Frost’s home studio with Sack and Jeff.
One more session a week later with Matt finishing his guitar parts, and Sack overseeing the last few mixes… and eventually we had an album…! Well almost…! Except for the little matter that Gary needed to master and encode the tracks… but it was a smoking barrel as far as we were concerned.
Apart from finally completing the album, one of the undoubted highlights of the month had to be our gig at the Thurlton Queen’s Head. Only our second visit here but a great atmosphere and we were joined on stage by Pauline Goffin, who had gone to the trouble of going all the way home to get her sax.
Granted that she only lives just opposite the pub, but it’s the effort that counts, and you can judge for yourselves because cleaver ol’ Emma French used her impressive smart phone device thingy to grab a video of the occasion… and the sound’s not bad either!
We liked it so much that we have plans to work with Pauline again in the future.
To B minor or to B major…. that is the key question!
May was quite a frustratingly disrupted month musically, but in my personal experience such adversity often brings out the opportunity for creativity …not quite so much fun being skint though!
We knew we were without the percussive services of our Sir Vince for almost the entire month, so adaptation and re-prioritisation became our new best friends. Well, that and stand in drummer Mac (Martyn McCarthy)!
But our first adventure of the month, or to be more precise, Jeff and Sack’s first adventure of the month was a last minute invitation to play a short busked set at the Edge Bar on the Claremont Pier in sunny Lowestoft. We knew we wouldn’t have Vinny available for this, and Matt also had to pull out last minute, but we didn’t have anything better to do, it was virtually on our doorsteps, so we thought a Jeff and Sack duo could be a bit of a gas!
What made it so enjoyable was that after a couple of duo numbers, we ended up being joined by Guitar George and Will Phillips on guitars, and Az Wright on drums… that’s three fifths of Cielo…! We just jammed it around our set, threw in a couple of covers and let loose …bluesing it up …and rockin it out.
The Cielo boys seemed to enjoy themselves too, I think we all got quite a buzz from it. And… we also got to see the full Cielio do a set killer later on.
We actually had Vinny for the following evening which was also in Lowestoft at a packed Mariners Rest. We also had the pleasure of Jamos and Gail Spencer doing support slots, and two thirds of the Indebtors in the audience. This was due to be our last Lowestoft gig until Carlfest at the end of August, however due to unexpected circumstances we were asked back there just a couple of weeks later to play at the wake for one of the pub’s regulars who sadly passed away. Needless to say it wasn’t a solemn affair but there were some sober emotions that required some sensitive consideration.
In between all this we were also bouncing the final mastered mixes of the album tracks around, with in the end, virtually no tweaking, moaning or histrionics, before all of a sudden we were being presented with the fully finished, and ready to go to the presses, Master copies by Gary. With illustrator Shaun Speight in the final stages of finishing the album cover, agreeing a launch date, and venues to confirm, it would be just a matter of an agonisingly frustrating few weeks before we could get it out there.
Aching for erode…!
You may have heard or indeed seen on national news the devastation caused by last winter’s storms along the east coast. Images of properties tumbling into the ever encroaching North Sea were all over the news, especially those properties in the Norfolk seaside village of Hemsby. A local charity action group ‘Save Hemsby Coastline’ was set up to raise monies to help shore up the local coastal defences in a bid to provide erosion protection for local businesses as well as properties, as it seems the local out of touch authorities have been too busy playing politics to give a damn about the electorate’s little lives.
The other reasons we got involved were; firstly…. Matt only lives a mile or so from Hemsby, so it’s his local community that’s affected. Secondly Matt and Pally, The ‘Broken 7’ boys were asked to organise and put on a ‘Music Madness Day’ at the Lacon Arms in Hemsby to help raise money and support. And thirdly… well we all like a day out at the seaside don’t we!
It was a lovely day, loads of great acts on, well attended, Mac playing with both Banjaxeld and Monkey Spanner (…though not both bands at the same time…!). Not everything went to plan though. Sack developed a bad toothache and took a couple of codeine painkillers… ever fallen out with a dose of codeine…? It ain’t fun and while Sack’s tooth pain completely vanished, the rest of him was battered to shreds by the darker side of these particular painkillers. A couple of pints of water and a couple of hours later and Sack was recovered enough to mumble about shows having to go on and gear still having to be lugged around! But we all played the gig OK, made one or two new friends, got to see quite a few old friends.
At the end of the day it seemed as though it had been a fairly successful event. Unfortunately this positive energy was later dampened by tragic news of the (unconnected) fatal stabbing of a local lad which took place during that evening about a quarter of a mile up the road from the pub. I guess it’s a sad fact of the times we live in that it’s not just coastal erosion that places like this face but also the relentless tide of social erosion. Either way, a tragedy is a tragedy. Meanwhile the ‘Save Hemsby Coastline’ fundraising will be ongoing until adequate sea defences are in place… which may take some considerable time!
The 23rd of May saw us returning to the St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth for the annual three day Great Yarmouth Beer Festival. After our successful appearance last year we were given the Friday headline spot, supported by some great acts, and as typical as it is of a musician to blow his own trumpet, I think we did a damn good performance, despite the odd couple of technical glitches that initially seemed intent on causing irritation and frustration!
Ironically, given the tribulations and elations of the previous month, we finished May with our debut at the Green Gate in Caister, supporting the televised boxing…! Well not exactly… but it did feel very much like that. We did two full hour sets, but had to be finished before the live boxing was broadcast on the big screen behind the stage area. It was a great evening, even though I’m no boxing fan. A good crowd developed, and we were appreciated before the main event. It got real noisy whilst we clearing our gear away though..!
Hokey Cokey in the Smoky!
And when we woke up the very next day it was June! A chilled Sunday visit to The Mariners in Great Yarmouth was just what was needed. What started as a sit down session, got a bit livelier in the second half, but as always at The Mariners, we had a great time, the audience had a great time, and Jeff got to talk loads about his favourite subject, Shed Cat… again! I think we started to get that summer vibe feeling thing stirring at last.
A change in emphasis to semi-acoustic mode was the mind-set for this week with our first London gig beckoning as part of the bill for ‘A Main Yard Affair’ at the very trendy Number 90 Bar Restaurant in Hackney Wick, on the opposite bank of the canal to the now rather empty 2012 Olympic Park! While we were waiting to go on, we thought we’d do a bit of a busk out the front of the building, Sack thought he’d video it… and he did…!
We’d been invited to play this gig thanks to recommendation of the very lovely and talented Nakisha Esnard, whom was also playing this gig… and she mercilessly grabbed us after our set and held us hostage to record a podcast interview for her blog site which you can listen to below:
Goin’ West in the East for some Midsummer ‘Hunny’
We were without Sir Vince again the following weekend, so we had a two week gap to… well to pick up the first batch of the new ‘Feels Good to Feel Good’ CDs…! At last… the finished article… a tangible product… and hopefully just the first of many more offerings to come. We also got a bit frantic organising the album launch gigs… and pulling in rehearsals with both Gary Frost on his keys, and separately with Jamie Roe… and loads of sarcastically wonderful admin type stuff that just has to be done!
And after two stressful weeks off a trip over to the west coast of Norfolk for a Summer Solstice gig at The Wash & Tope Hotel in Hunstanton was actually a very welcome distraction.
We took a friend of Matt’s with us who just happened to be visiting him that weekend, Mark from ‘up north’… we thought he’d give the locals a fright… he actually did a nice support slot… this despite the accomplished accompaniment of Matt’s Taylor guitar!
When you live on the sunrise coast in the east, there really is something magical about watching the sun set over the west coast… in the same Solstice day… and all without leaving the same county. It also gave us the first opportunity to hawk a few of the new CDs..!
Apart from the necessary rehearsing for the upcoming album launch, we always like to ‘cut loose’ from the ‘business of the day’ and squeeze a little ‘let loose time’ in, and to us jammin’ is like a ‘natural state of being’, a kind of meditation medication for the soul… anyway this is a little something we conjured up in the melting pot of the moment… along the way.
Another mad couple of weeks to come… but that’s for another blog…. and will be in another blog… promise.
Next up will be the story of the ‘Feels Good to Feel Good’ album launch and the beginning of the ‘next phase’… whatever that may be?
Take it easy people… but above all be fruitful and abundantly fertile.
Our new album ‘Feels Good to Feel Good’ is now available to make you feel good… why not make us feel good and get yourself a copy…. they’re available either at our gigs (…don’t be shy!)… or you can order from: http://www.banjaxeld.co.uk
…or just click on the pic to get there quick…..
The Osborne Files: www.facebook.com/osbornefiles
Monkey Spanner: www.monkeyspanner.info
Gary Frost (MDM Recording / Icecube Records Ltd): www.Icecuberecords.com
Broken Seven Events: www.facebook.com/pally69
Shaun Speight: www.behance.net/speightartist
Nakisha Esnard: www.kishamusicsound.wordpress.com/
Millie Manders: www.milliemanders.wordpress.com/
Jamie Roe Band: www.jamieroeband.co.uk/