This isn’t so much a blog but a bit of writing to fill the hole where my blog should go. But isn’t that what a blog is anyway? So OK, it’s a blog. It’s also a welcome to my new website – which replaces Madhouse Rag, my former excuse for a website that masqueraded as a magazine and which because of one thing and the other (mostly the other) I have left untended for a long time. Some of the more foolish articles from it will appear on this site, maybe under “humour” (see “HUMOUR”) which I know some of you will agree with me is just pathetic and not that funny at all. Those who disagree with me and think it IS funny are the ones I’m really aiming at.
I would also like to say that having a stupid sense of humour should not collide with one’s (your) perception of me as a serious artist. I am serious and stupid depending on my mood and the circumstances of the day. In fact I get seriously depressed quite a lot, if that helps any.
I am working on my ninth symphony for example. Will it be serious or stupid? Well I know quite a lot of people who write “serious” music who are actually as stupid as fuck. At least I’m DELIBERATELY silly, and not all the time. I won’t be writing symphonies 1-8, because one’ s ninth is always the best, so I am going straight for it. Mozart was silly sometimes. Brian Eno is serious ALL the time (which is silly).
On a serious note, here’s the latest.
So towards the end of last year I was on tour with the lovely HAWKWIND. I can’t say it’s been an easy ride, but it was certainly rewarding. I co-produced their latest album, ROAD TO UTOPIA, (adding minimal but effective orchestral and sax instrumentation) and then did full orchestral arrangements for, and conducted their tour, - which was an entirely separate operation from the album, - totally different musically and conceptually. I really enjoyed making the album AND conducting the tour, and met loads of great people. The two backline techs Keith and Jimmy for example, who are gold dust or diamond geezers or whatever. The (Hawkwind) band themselves. The brilliant (sadly uncredited) Docklands Sinfonia orchestra. The support band (Blackheart Orchestra, a brilliant duo!). We got a great rapport going and the gigs were beyond fun.
What else have I done lately? Oh, yes, I wrote another bloody MUSICAL last summer! (Not “Men Who March Away”, which is separately represented on this site). I can’t actually say much about it because I’m not “driving it” and it’s in association with other people, but it’s a well-known comedy TV series that’s been converted into a stage version and I got the opportunity to write the songs, which are obviously “funny” . (Not serious, please note!). I love writing for the theatre. Particularly comedy because you can come up with the most ridiculous rhymes. The difference is of course that in theatre you have to use perfect rhymes, whereas in pop you can sometimes use “near rhymes”. I personally always use perfect rhymes whenever I can, in all situations. It’s harder but it’s much more rewarding. If I use a “near rhyme” I have to endure a period of self-loathing afterwards. More news on the new musical when my “associates” decide to announce the collaboration.
I’ve also done some work with a new band from Bath. This project is also currently under wraps, but at the moment I can tell you it’s very Americana/country/folk. Reminds me a bit of Music From Big Pink. We recorded three tracks during a week at the famous Rockfield studios in Wales, near Monmouth. This is the studio where Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded, and also where Coldplay began their career – writing “Yellow” in the kitchen there! It was the first residential studio in this country, still run by the original family who had the place when it was just a farm.
So what will 2019 bring? You may know we are looking at re-recording “The Hunting Of The Snark”, - through a Pledge funding campaign. Hopefully we’ll reach our target (it’s not a donation thing. - people just pre-order the album and that is supposed to finance it so we can make it, then release it independently). I am currently casting the characters, and I think the campaign will start to move once I can announce some names. The balance is that having names cost money, and yet you need the names in order to raise the budget. That drives the budget up, and takes longer to raise! Also, it’s a two hour double album recording with full symphony orchestra so it’s already quite a chunky budget. I’m being philosophical about it. Either we will do it this time around, or we’ll have another run at it another time. I do have some great names to announce soon though! If you feel like pre-ordering it or any of the other stuff connected with it, hit the PROJECTS button/picture and go to SNARK, then hit the link for the Pledge Music campaign.
That’s all for now. Have a great year and don’t run with scissors.