Advance party on site at Glastonbury. Everyone gets a wristband!
Advance party on site at Glastonbury. Everyone gets a wristband!
Seems a long time since Chelsea, yet at the same time…….anyway, I liked that venue. Small (550 capacity) but it had everything. Seemed user-friendly. For the performers, it was near-perfect. Then to Holmfirth. Quite a different kettle. Big space. Big noise and a Fan Convention, too. Stewart’s quiz was a stinker. I would have to Google myself all over the place to get more than 50% of the answers right. I’d like to know how many correct answers the winner managed. Do tell, Stewart. And did the wee collection of AAA Passes we sent go down well? I wish I could have been more generous, but I am not a big hoarder of my own career’s memorabilia.
What a year that was. The list of high-profile performers’ deaths seemed never-ending, beginning almost twelve months back with the shattering realisation that Bowie had gone, and the dreadful shock of losing George Michael on Christmas Day capping it.
Status Quo and my band might seem like odd bedfellows, but there’s something about their fans that I like. And they don’t mind me, it seems. Rochester was good enough, but Caldicot Castle was a real blast. New bass player, Kuma Harada, has boosted the feel of the rhythm section more than somewhat. He is keen to take a solo, too, on Best Years when I throw it into the set. I’ve struggled to get bassists to look like they are enjoying themselves for a lot of years. Billy Dyer does, and now so does Kuma. I like players who like playing, and show it. But he won’t sing. “You won’t like my Japanese accent”, is his excuse. And that’ll do.
The “Rock For Ronson” event proved a real joy. It was good to see old friends like Suzi, Mick’s widow, for the first time in many years. Mick’s sister, Maggi, sang “Ziggy Stardust” with my band backing her, and his daughter, Lisa, performed two Bowie songs that her dad had made his own, musically, with Earl Slick on lead guitar, and my chaps. Steve Norman joined the band for the whole set, and shook the old City Hall to a tremor with a blistering saxophone solo and improvisations n “Cavaliers”.
I'll keep this brief. It's been quite a crazy time lately. Baby born; baby now, finally, named: Cameron (after his strong Scottish ancestry) William (after his South African bloodline; father-in-law is Willem) Nice.
Click Read more to see proud Grandad with the wee bairn. He's a cracker.
How do I put this without feeling my age, or even older than my age? Straight to the point then: I am a Grandfather. On February 3rd, 2016, daughter-in-law, Lieze, and my son, Kerr, were gifted a healthy and, dare I say, beautiful (aren’t they all?)
I wanted it to be a clever, dastardly stunt. I didn’t want it to be true. David Bowie dead? I mix with people who were close to him. I never felt a hint of a serious medical problem from any of them. David, cancer? His friends were as loyal as he’d obviously asked them to be. That in itself speaks well of the man. My thoughts are with those who were his family and friends. I hadn’t actually spoken to David since Marc Bolan’s funeral. But the Beckenham days have always been with me, so a certain friendship, with the smallest of Fs, has endured. For now, many
Manchester came a little too quick on the heels of rehearsals, to be truthful, and a few endings must have seemed ragged to the sharper-eared and more critical among the audience. But those peccadillos were soon behind us and it all got better and better by the show. That’s touring for you.
Now Greta Joy is married. My little girl, aged 30, has tied it with Nelson George. It was a faultlessly brilliant day and evening. We were extremely proud of Greta. She is clever and modest; witty and compassionate; charming and loveable…….
The recent festivals have gone well, Brentwood being like playing "at home". We live 40 minutes from there. Holt was special. Beautiful setting: an amphitheatre in the woods around Gresham's School. A thousand souls (sold out many weeks in advance) prepared for all elements that might get thrown at them. It had poured the day and evening before, so the track downhill to the backstage area was slippy, but the weather stayed fine for us; clear, blue skies and a cool, dry evening for the show. I saw many anoraks with hoods. Not needed after all! Mona and Lisa Wagner were with us, on stage with us for the first time. What a debut…
We were fired up for Rochester. The girls, Mona and Lisa, were with us and we’d already done a sound-check before the bad news was broken to us backstage. I wish Rick Parfitt better health; he’s had a rough time of it for a few years, apparently. Here’s a phot, taken by Barry, of the magnificent view from the stage:
We spent a few days in a recording Studio recently, and “Ordinary People” came out sounding like a potential R2 play-lister…..if only! I’ve added an extra 12 bars of new melody and lyric (a Middle 8, which is actually 12). The files (that’s the digital recording) are on their way via the Ethernet to Matt Butler for re-mixing. We’ll release it as a single in the autumn, in the hope of getting some air-play around the country, serving as a boost to publicity for the November tour. And that tour is…..
In Bruges. Please advise.
It’s always the way with good, old friends, the ones you truly connected with back then, don’t speak to or see for year after year and then BANG! They’re back in your world and nothing really has changed. I spent the most convivial half-hour today on the phone to Duncan Mackay, he in Cape Town, South Africa, I in Suffolk. We connected truly. The familiar cracks were exchanged within seconds, not even minutes, and the loose ground upon which mates shuffle and dance and banter was established as though in a breath. For 30 minutes neither of us let up. Except, that is, to listen. We talked and we listened. Duncan will come to rehearsals and play off-book (no notes). He hasn’t toured since the old King died, but sounds like he’s chomping at the bit for November’s promise.
You’ll remember that pledge I made on stage at the Concert At The Kings Festival, All Cannings, Wiltshire, last May? Proceeds go each year to The Macmillan Nurses. I was not aware of this until a stage manager mentioned it as I waited backstage, a minute before show-time. It stayed on my mind through the first few songs. I was playing a new guitar, a fine Taylor, a 310-CE electro-acoustic model. It wasn’t sounding so great in my monitors and I had to send word to the engineer in the wings. I looked out at the 5,000-strong crowd and explained: “This is a beautiful guitar. New guitar. Really good instrument. So it should sound fabulous.” I remember holding it up and toying with extraneous thoughts. I looked down to those on the barriers and told them, “You can have this guitar”. We built a rapport over the next few songs, the guitar up for auction, starting at £1,000. I wouldn’t accept less. My guitar techie came on to swap instruments and told me “It’s up to two grand”.
My Godson, Archie, is 18 years old today, Armistice Day. Archie will probably read History at University, and his main interest is Military History. I have found him a gift relevant to that. Dinner at The Shard, where we will look down on to the moat of ceramic poppies and no doubt marvel at such a sight. Art is stupendous when installations such as that are given free rein. No un-made bed, or random scattering of bricks, this one! We will be finishing our celebratory evening at around midnight, or so I’ve been warned by Archie’s dad.
Steve was in Spain visiting his dad, who turns 88 years old soon, and could not attend Lincoln Anderson's funeral, which took place in Weeley Crematorium, Essex on Thursday. Steve wrote the following tribute, which, with Lincoln's wife Shereen's permission, was read in the Chapel by Barry Wickens.
Tractors tugging carts of grain are trundling past our house til way past midnight. Between downpours, thunder storms and the fear of Bertha, the arable farmer knows full well when the time is right. Now is right. And it has been right for two weeks or more. The harvest started early here on the Essex/Suffolk border.
Listening as I write to the Best Years compilation. I passed the test CDs a few weeks ago, but the real thing is a pleasure to hold and play. It’s a sharp, bright, clean and sympathetic cut by one of Abbey Road’s master mastering engineers, Andy Pearce (Andy, it’s brilliant, flawless, thank you). Check the backing vocals and horns on Panorama. Sensational.