I was profoundly confused today when I woke up to discover that I’d written about all my favourite insects and hadn’t mentioned The Beetles. How could I have missed them with their spindly legs and their shiny backs? There were creatures everywhere today, black-headed gulls, European herring gulls, sandpipers, wagtails, cormorants, squirrels, butterflies and it made me wonder why humans find it so easy to kill creatures as pests or food. Or even just for fun? There’s a whole tragic debate going on in England at the moment about the culling of the badger population. The farmers say they bring disease to their livestock but the evidence is sketchy. Instead of being sure, the plan is to kill them anyway just to be sure.
Like the environment, we are all consistently contributing to animal pain (me included) by wearing leather or by sitting on a chair. How do we travel without hurting the Earth? It’s so hard. I don’t drive but I do fly and I am driven. I don’t do as much as I should and I just read an article about plastics that was so disturbing. It seems that we live on a planet that humans are sending to hell. Can you imagine what people will say in 200 years about racism, sexism, cruelty to animals and abuse of the environment? One hopes they would be appalled.
The chlorine from the pool is giving me day-long fits of sneezing due to an irritation caused by those nasty chemicals in the water. Another thing that happens is that the older women get into the pool, perfumed up and the chemicals react with the perfume and create a really unfortunate overpowering blast of sweet toxic death flowers. It’s tough in the pool. Today was busy and the medium lane is down for disaster. The fast lane has people that know they are fast and the slow lane has people that know they are slow but the middle lane has people that don’t know they are slower or faster than medium. With limited time it can be tricky to get the mile in and you’re not allowed to overtake. I also realised today that I am always first in and always last out, such dedication!
If I said: Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, Steven Wilson, Blackfield, Temples, John Grant and Bon Iver what would you think I was referring to? My usual line, answers on a postcard.
Lee Kerslake, the drummer from Uriah Heep, has died. They were the first band I ever saw (at Liverpool Stadium). It’s been another bad year for death. I was quite disturbed by the length and the names on this list.
I had two sessions today (both alive), Chris in New Jersey and Jeff in Ohio. It seemed that there was so much to talk about the world we live in. A lot of the songwriting and guitar guidance sessions involve discussion, analysis, philosophical exchanges. Music is about a lot of things, not just strumming a guitar and opening your mouth to sing. There’s so much to know and so much to feel and music seems to be a contradictory clash between mathematics and magic, that takes some explaining.
Last but not least we sent out a newsletter today via Mailchimp. If you would like to sign up for it you can do so at the top of this page in the sidebar. We don’t usually bombard you and you can always unsubscribe if you don’t want to receive it but you may miss out on the free Cadillacs and Lamborghinis.
Music today was inspired by the graffiti on the sea wall at the beach and my T-shirt.
Badger were formed after keyboardist Tony Kaye left Yes and in fact, their first album One Live Badger (1973) was recorded at a show supporting Yes. Quite brave putting out a live album as your first record I thought. The bass player and singer was David Foster who had played with Jon Anderson in pre Yes band The Warriors and co-wrote two songs on the second Yes album, Time And A Word (1970). The drummer was Roy Dyke from Ashton, Gardner & Dyke who had a hit in 1971 with the song Resurrection Shuffle. Dyke married Hawkwind’s dancer Stacia. Dyke coming from Liverpool was also in The Remo Four and they were the band that backed George Harrison on his Wonderwall album (1968). The guitarist was Brian Parrish from Parrish and Gurvitz who made one album in 1971, produced by George Martin.
Badger played a kind of Progressive Pop Rock that only lasted this one album, their second album White Lady (1974) going in a more soulful direction with the addition of Jackie Lomax on vocals. With Parrish and Foster gone Paul Pilnick from Stealers Wheel joined on guitar and Kim Gardner from Ashton, Gardner & Dyke on bass. Gardner had also been in The Birds with Ronnie Wood and The Creation. He was also an artist. He went on to open The Cat And Fiddle Pub in Los Angeles, a place that I used to frequent for the vege cottage pie. Sadly he died of cancer in 1971.
Big Star’s first album (1972) was a revelation, sadly not many people got to hear it the first time around. The legend has grown but the personnel has shrunk, both Andy Hummel and Alex Chilton died in 2010 aged 59 and Chris Bell in 1978 aged 27. I saw the second wave of Big Star live at The Fillmore in San Francisco. I also saw Alex Chilton live in New York twice, once in the eighties, once in the nineties, with very few people in attendance. I met Jody Stephens in Memphis when he showed me around the Ardent Studios. At one point he pointed to a drum kit and said: “That’s the Big Star drum kit”. I nerded out and said: “Is that the kit you used for the roll on The Ballad Of El Goodo?” – “Yes,” he said. “Wow,” I said.
Song Of The Daze is Big Star – Thirteen: