So who am I? Good question and something I’ve been trying to answer all my life.
Let’s just keep it simple for now. This is just about my music journey, how I got to be here. Right here, right now. But first an introduction.
I’m a husband and Dad (2 Girls), in my late 40’s. I was born in South London at the peak of Glam Rock, Mouldy Old Dough by Lieutenant Pidgeon was Number 1 when I was born. Not Bolan or Bowie or something cool, but a novelty record, something fun and throwaway not to be taken seriously. This may sum me up in a nutshell. I’ve never been cool, a phrase I use a lot. The irony that I have called my blog The Rebirth of Cool isn’t lost on me.
Music has been a constant in my life from an early age. Long road trips to Cornwall for holidays in the Summer whilst my Dad played Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry and other greats of the era. I’d always get excited when a Boy named Sue or My Ding a ling was played.
I also have an older brother by 5 years. A curse in many ways. But a blessing in others. He also played the guitar and was into Hendrix, ELO, Led Zep and many others, he also has a interest in Level 42 and white boy funk. Soul. Maybe. Not my thing but I’ll take the best and leave the rest.
My mum like most mums of the era liked Elvis, Dr Hook, Barry White, Neil Diamond and so on.
So it’s fair to say I have been exposed to quite a variety and range of music. Maybe this is why even now I don’t mind what I listen to as long as it’s good. As long as I like it. I love pop music and whilst my tastes fall into many Pidgeon holes its the pop sensibilities that is the common denominator.
My Obsession for music increased in the mid 80s onwards, one of the main reasons was due to my Dad’s job. He worked at Thames TV and often came home with boxes of promotional records that they were sent. He knew the promotions bloke and he passed them onto him rather then bin. Me and my brother loved those days, the excitement of seeing what was in the boxes. In short everything. Good, bad, ugly. Whilst over the years my vinyl collection has reduced due to financial circumstances, anyone that saw my 7 inches then was amazed!!!
I still kept the great stuff but I let go of some classics. I’ll happily cry about it to you, if you ask.
Anyway the late 80s for me was listening to rap and rock and indie and dance. New Order sat next to GNR to Run DMC to INXS to Acid House. Not all choices were cool. Wet wet wet were a fav for a while. First proper gig I went to with mates. Never Been Cool you see.
Whilst I enjoyed it at the time, I particularly enjoyed The Pasadenas and their Soul covers, tied in nicely with the film The Commitments. This was music I fell in love with, Motown, Stax throw in Pretty in Pink and it’s no wonder I love Otis to this day.
In 1989 everything changed. For a while I was aware of some Manchester music. The Chart Show was a must watch and the indie chart opened my eyes/ears to Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets but also non Manchester acts the Wedding Present, MBV etc.
But in the late summer a friend gave me a tape of two new bands and debut albums. One side was Carter USM. The other was The Stone Roses. Safe to say I didn’t listen to much Carter. That album for me is the greatest ever and the band pretty much still are especially on how they influenced my look, my thoughts and what I listened to.
The next year or so was pure Madchester. I was 17. Perfect age. The music, the clothes, the summer, the sense of excitement when NME came out. Who was on the front cover? It was a special time a glorious time, I saw so many bands during this period it’s hard to remember but it was all the new crew, Mondays, Charlatans, The LA’s, Inspirals, Etc. plus every week seemed another new load of records to buy, gigs to go to. Living in South London was a blessing. Get on the tube at Morden and off we would go. It was cheap and easy. Most I ever paid for a ticket was £20 from a tout ticket to see The LA’s. It was worth every penny. Most gigs were less then a tenner, a lot less. This is how scenes grow, making it accessible for youths to go out and see bands. Not rocket science. Once someone realised they could make money it all changed.
The early 90s were a strange time. I spent my time between going to gigs, indie clubs (Langtrys Beckenham mostly), and raving. I was never into grunge. I preferred The Wonder Stuff, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream and other similar acts of the time. There was no Roses or Mondays, but indie was doing well. I loved Heavenly records.. Flowered Up, St Etienne and a band called Manic Street Preachers. I adore MSP, never let me down and helped me through tough times more then most.
Pulp was a favourite, not quite World Of Twist but good, Denim had just released a great album, CUD another one I liked a lot. Pop music again but off centre, slightly strange. Cool but not Cool. It resonated. But still something wasn’t quite right, something was missing. There was a hole, a Stone Roses sized hole. We a wanted that band, blokes like us, with attitude and songs, something to believe in. We had to wait.
The Verve or just Verve were new, different and great, Suede, yeah it’s glam of sorts but beguiling. It was something better then The Levellers. We had New Wave of New wave as well. Exciting punk bands. Smash were great. Really exciting but it wasn’t really me or my mates. The hole was still there.
And then a Northern wind blew and it blew hard it blew so hard that it took the doors and roof off. Oasis had arrived.
Now in my early 20s I was still in the right place and right time. The next few years were Britpop central. Another glorious time. I’d moved in with mates and it was another exciting time to experience. Probably better then 1990 in many ways. So many of the bands I’d seen got bigger and bigger and bigger. It felt great. My music choice was right, I’d won. Any stick I took was justified and some. This was our 60s, our punk, our time. We all know the rest don’t we.
What next, well we had Trip Hop and Big beat – Chemical Bros, Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, Underworld. Dance acts got huge, super clubs emerged. EDM took over the world really, and pushed rock/indie,guitars to the side but hey there’s room for everyone right. I love this music and always will. My ears and knees don’t thank me now though.
Late 90s bands were good, some were even great, Embrace, SFA, Mansun, Beta Band all should be cherished. But the times they were a changing, it was a new millennium, the internet was here, mobile phones were actually mobile. For me I had bigger things to deal with, then just music….
Part 2 to follow….