Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Brilliant Corners Part 2

Bob sported a Mohican, drove a motorbike , did stunts and thought he was Steve McQueen ( This is actually why our label became McQueen after SS20. Also we had got tired of the Russian chic thing by then) Bob played the drums and scared a lot of people because he was from Southmead. A district in Bristol known for its psychopaths gangs and violence. He didn’t scare me and Chris because we were from Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston and those were tough places too. Ah but I race ahead! Prior to meeting Bob, me and Chris had been rehearsing with Dan (Pacini) who was a few years below us at school. Dan played trumpet, so we were playing with Dan then met Bob. Bob wanted to drum in a punk band and I told him that’s what we were. We sounded more like a garage band that sometimes strayed into arty dance pop territory, particularly when Dan was playing. This was not a lot as Dan went to university at the time we decided to put our own discs out, which was around 83. At this time I had enrolled at Filton Tech to get some A levels so I could go to Art College, where i could spend all my days writing songs and maybe paint something from time to time.
At Filton Tech I immediately made good use of use of their facilities to screen print the sleeves to ‘She’s Got Fever’ . In the back of the Melody Maker we saw an advert for a company that mastered and pressed records for a hundred quid. The place was in Folkstone. I have no idea where we got the money to do this.
Me and Chris took a box of ten records to an alternative record store in Bristol called Revolver Records ( Revolver later became a huge business for independent releases. Sadly the shop closed many many years ago) The two guys who ran the shop, Lloyd and Mike actually agreed to stock the record. But said we needed to get some press if it was going to sell. Now I just looked at the back sleeve of ‘She’s Got Fever’ and it says that we were distributed by the Cartel, and that was Revolver and a whole load of other indie labels. So what this means is that Mike and Lloyd agreed to put the record out on the strength of a tape of the songs? Surely not, maybe we took the record in without any sleeves and they agreed to put it out and i printed the sleeve later. Yeah that sounds about right. Sleeves, yes the perils of DIY sleeves, I did the red sleeves then I foolishly let Winstone (Forbes) who was working for a screen printer, do the second single pressing. His red ended up pink, and both he and Bob managed to glue the sleeves to the record. Mike went berserk because we gave Revolver a hundred records that got sent back. Mike was always going mad with me and Chris. I’m sure I will remember more instances the further I get into this. So at an early stage I knew the business side of things were well kept away from Winston and Bob
We got press like this; We bought the NME , Sounds and Melody Maker every week, we wrote down the address of their offices, bought a return ticket on the National Express to London and an A to Z. After going around the circle line for what seemed ages we found ourselves staring at an intercom. I think it was on Wardour Street. Above the intercom was the letters N.M.E written in ball point pen ’ You press it’ said Chris ‘ No why don’t you press it’ ‘ You’re the singer so you should press it’ ‘ What’s that got to do with it, it was your idea to come here so you press it. Yeah and that’s why you should press it, because it was my idea now you should do your bit!’ said Chris. This went on for ages until we bottle it. We decided to go to the pub and make a plan as to who would press the intercom. We got drunk instead. Sometime later I pressed the button and a bored London accent drawled ‘who is it ?’ I said ‘The brilliant corners ‘ ‘What the fucks that? ‘ said the London voice’ ‘erm were a band and we got a record to give you’ A pause then the door made a buzzing sound, we pushed it open. Who had I spoken to? Nick Kent? Charles Sharr Murray? Paul Morely? no not Paul Morley he was the Manchester guy, this was a Londoner. Maybe it was that brainy guy Ian Penman, after reading a review of his he got me looking in the dictionary to figure out what he meant by Hegemony and Niallism.
We went up some floors pushed another door open and we were inside the offices of the NME. The place smelt of vinegar and fags. Sat at a desk beyond piles of records, paper and a broken typewriter a huge un cool looking guy in a stripy shirt and thick glasses stared at us. We edged closer, I moved my hands towards his out stretched hands .His enormous hand that was bigger than my body, butchers hands, hands that had probably killed off the dreams of naive bands from the provinces, He crushed our poofy little fingers and said ‘Danny Kelly what you got?’ In silence we gave him the record. I was thinking wow Danny Kelly! Ive read reviews by this guy, mmm does not look like how I imagined him, he looks normal. He stared at us, we did not look normal, we were emaciated, quiffs, dressed all in black and totally tongue tied. ‘ We get hundreds of records every week , can’t promise it will be reviewed, gigging?’
No, no we were not gigging. ‘ Yeah doing loads of gigs’ we lied. Let us know when your in town we like to see bands before we review. He said. With that our audience with Danny Kelly seemed to end, a phone rang , he chatted and ignored us we stood around for a while. He gave us a look ‘like what the fuck are you two still doing here’. We went back to the pub and got pissed. We had given our record to Danny Kelly! Unbelievable! A few weeks later I was reading the NME ,Charles Sharr Murray was reviewing the singles. Under the heading Great Unknowns , he reviewed our single. I could write a million words that would never adequately describe the rush of blood I felt going to my head, a giddy panic, confused excitement, hell I may have even ejaculated. I wonder if Liam Gallagher felt like that the first time Oasis were reviewed? I suspect he yawned and picked his nose.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Solo gigs

I have played solo four times now and four times with James ( Lynch) drumming behind my acoustic guitar. What follows are some connected or disconnected thoughts on where I have played and how it has felt.
The first solo gig I did was a year ago in Bury. It was a bit like standing naked in front of a whole load of strangers. Scary, nerve racking, but pretty exciting. I played a number of songs that became the current album ‘ 6 miles east of here 5 miles north of nowhere’ a whole lot of very new material that was partially improvised lyrics and a Brilliant Corners song ‘ growing up absurd’ that I last played in 1987. Surprisingly I remembered all the lyrics and it sounded pretty good just with a voice and a guitar. I remember thinking after the gig that it is really hard to keep an audience fully engaged when playing on your own. You cant use volume and power. Got me thinking I should use my voice more, perhaps more singing less story telling. The set was a really diverse bunch of songs and I think that people either enjoy that kind of thing or are confused.
I did some more dates in Bristol in unannounced support slots and honed the set down . To what the critic at the back of Mothers Ruin bar told me was ‘Essentially alternative British folk with nods to Americana. Lyrically adult, eccentric but unexpectedly moving. My chocolate tears ran down my cheeks as eels moaned a melancholy wail. My little demons note that you are not playing the fool but rather the eye of Noddy Holder. Populist yet non conforming.’ I had never met this critic before. I had no idea the meaning of his words but he offered to buy me a drink so I figure he liked what he had heard.
Around about the fourth time I played I was thinking the songs would really benefit from some rhythmic mood enhancing skin tickling. ( drums not drugs) James and I started to rehearse in my garage and everything flowed . I practically wrote the second album in 2 weeks. I assume there will be a second album and the first one is not yet out! (At school I was often described as a boy in a hurry). Having drums behind me means I can improvise more lyrically and musically. Doing this live really does give an edge to the set and at times it does come crashing down. We played at The Local , Crouch End, London with Alex Highton and Oh Ruin. There was a bit of crashing that night. Strangely enough there was a table of people in front of me who had come to the gig as they thought I was the guitarist from the Prog rock band Yes!
My guitar ineptitude should have put a stop to such thoughts. I played that gig with my eyes shut for most of the set ( never done the eyes shut thing before, I find it quite off putting) because I couldn’t bear them so close, lie 2 foot away, and grinning at me all the time.
I have played three times in a local bar called ‘The Thunderbolt’ once a ‘Word of mouth’ poetry story telling evening, once where I did acoustic songs then went electric for the second set. No one shouted ‘Judas.’ But I was told my interpretation of an old Corners song called ‘Teenage’ was very Dylanesque. Only a few weeks back I supported my own band The Experimental pop band in the bar. It really was a very good night, the EPB played well, I got to jump around. The solo set was the best so far although James didn’t enjoy it. He had tooth ache and got freaked out playing in front of John Parish and Gerard from the Blue Aeroplanes.
Last week I did an impromptu live set in the guest bar at WOMAD. There were lots of people outside sunning themselves and some parents and their children inside watching me, watching them look a little uncomfortable with 5 year old kids singing along to a song about sexually transmitted diseases.
In short i am enjoying the unpredictability of solo gigs and the freedom of it. I always thought that Jonathan Richmans thing of not having a set list and playing what you felt like on the day as pretty cool. I can’t quite do that but when songs turn into improvised songs and it works it feels great. I hope to play more when the album is out. Next gig is in a small pub in Bradford On Avon where I will be testing out new songs and erm blues improvisation- that’s not as bad as it sounds! On the 21.09.10 I am playing at Bristol’s cube Cinema

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Gig at the Rising Sun, Bradford on Avon, Saturday - 28 August 2010

This is a little pub in Bradford on Avon where owners Dave and Liz have been having folk and blues acts playing on a regular basis. Every August bank holiday they put together a weekend of music. I am opening the weekend playing on saturday afternoon. It gives me a chance to play in intimate surroundings, try out new songs make some songs up and play blues which i dont normally do, so its relaxed and fun. You can bring your kids and they can play in the garden. I would advise that with the subject matter of most of my songs!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Gig at the Thunderbolt - 17th July 2010

On the 17th July The Experimental Pop Band headline and play a live performance of their 5th album in the making 'Boxing gloves versus the crayon set' It finds the band fusing electronics with guitar, improvisation with pop and whole lot more.

The band were once described as playing pop music for people bored with pop music.

I return to the Thunderbolt with James lynch on drums performing solo songs. If you missed us last time you missed a wonderful set of acoustic melodramas way beyond the stereotype of 'the singer songwriter'. Everyone screamed and cried at the same time. I took that as a seal of approval.



£5Adv from Bristol Ticket Shop £6 on the door

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Brilliant Corners Part 1

There seem to be quite a few internet sites dedicated to the band but I guess this is the only place you are going to hear from me. So I will take this as an opportunity to use this space to look back, inform and maybe even entertain from time to time.

I will begin in the beginning. In the black n white late seventies a bit of black plastic called a record still had the power to change a young person’s life. For me it was The Buzzcocks, Bowie, The Jam, Roxy Music, Clash, The Damned, Dr Feelgood, Joy Division and The Kinks. It would also be Iggy, Dylan, and The Velvets but they came later. I wanted to be like the people who made those records, to me they inhabited a world I wanted to be part of and in a strange way was part of. They were talking to me; they were acknowledging my crummy life. Somehow mysteriously and magically they had teleported into my tiny mind and understood everything that no other human being ever had. They were my confidants, my soul mates. They made my existence bearable. They had something that I wanted. They represented something that I could aspire to at a time when there was nothing but violence, dread and emptiness. They also looked weird, cool and sexy. I knew I looked weird but I did not look cool or sexy. So it began; buying records, clothes, records, clothes, records , clothes, going to gigs , buying records, gigs, gigs, gigs, gigs, clothes, records, gigs. I gorged myself in the ways of rock n roll. Then one day I heard a voice in my head that sounded a bit like a Bristolian Johnny Cash (but higher pitched, sucking a gob stopper ). The voice said ‘I gort a base snow yew shurd by a gurrtar’

Way back in 1979 me and Chris (Galvin) full of youth and swagger decided to form a band . Chris had a bass and he told me to by a guitar. We formed a band called The Hybrids. In our 2 year existence we alternated between having a real drummer ( Jimmy ) and a Doctor Rhythm drum machine. We sounded something like the Jam meets Echo and the Bunnymen. Strangely enough considering I had only been playing guitar for 6 months we got gigs at the The Stonehouse , where we got quite a following of suburban mods and punks. I guess not because we were any good but because we were always smashing our gear up, more through nerves than real anger. We also got gigs at ‘nightclubs’ called Mistys where guys who looked like they had walked out of Miami Vice would beat us up because their girlfriends thought we looked ‘funny’ and ‘cute’ despite our best efforts to exude a quality of menace and cool.

The Hybrids never released any records but did record demo’s that I would send to Rough Trade records and John Peel. I remember getting a very nice letter from Rough Trades Geoff Travis saying how he liked our tape but he couldn’t put it out. Around 81 maybe 82 I met Bob ( Morris) when I was working at Clifton College as a chemistry tech. (It didn’t matter that I knew nothing about chemistry I somehow landed the Job, and get this , I went to the interview wearing a white tank top with no shirt on underneath. Summers back then were really hot! This fuddy old guy, actually he was probably in his twenties , just dressed fuddy like prince Charles, called Dr Hopely offered me the job) Bob was working part time as a washer up of test tubes. I would regularly put Sodium and other explosive elements in test tubes that would blow up in his face when he washed them. I have to mention that the previous washer up was Dan ( Catisis) a great guitarist who was in a band called The Glaxo Babies. They had put out a record with a song about Bruce lee that Bought and used to play all the time.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Brilliant Corners Discography

The Brilliant Corners Discography

Singles and EPs

SHE'S GOT FEVER (March 1984 SS21-SS20 7")

Track Listing:

  1. She's Got Fever,
  2. Black Water
BIG HIP (June 1984 SS22-SS20 7")

Track Listing:

  1. Big Hip
  2. Tangled Up In Blue
MY BABY IN BLACK (December 1984 SS23-SS20 12")

Track Listing:

  1. My Baby In Black
  2. Sixteen Years
  3. Rope In My Hand
FRUIT MACHINE EP (March 1986 SS25-SS20)

Track Listing:

  1. Meet Me On Tuesday
  2. Jim's Room
  3. Everything I Ever Wanted
  4. The Funniest Thing

BRIAN RIX (April 1987 SS27-SS20 7")

Track Listing:

  1. Brian Rix
  2. Trudy Is A Squeel DELILAH SANDS (October 1987 SS28-SS20 7"/12")

    Track Listing:

    1. Delilah Sands
    2. Is Anybody Home
    3. Please Please Please (12") TEENAGE (March 1988 MCQ1-MCQUEEN 7"/12")

      Track Listing:

      1. Teenage
      2. I Don't Want To Talk To You
      3. How Embarassing To Dance Like That (12")
      TEENAGE (March 1988 MCQ1-MCQUEEN 7"/12")

      Track Listing:

      1. Teenage
      2. I Don't Want To Talk To You
      3. How Embarassing To Dance Like That (12")

      Track Listing:

      1. Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me?
      2. Shangri La,
      3. Things Will Get Better (12"), Goodbye (12")

      LOVE IT I LOST IT (March 1990 MCQ3-MCQUEEN 12")

      Track Listing:

      1. Love It I Lost It
      2. White Gates
      3. I Cried, Loves Like This THE POPE THE MONKEY AND THE QUEEN (September 1990 MCQ4-MCQUEEN 7"/12")

        Track Listing:

        1. The Pope The Monkey &The Queen
        2. Ghost Of A Young Man
        3. When The Blossom Falls (12"), Silias (12")

        The 7" inch has a red love heart cover & the 12" a green love heart cover

        Albums and Mini Albums

        GROWING UP ABSURD (November 1985 SS24-SS20)

        Track Listing:

        1. Rambling Rose
        2. A Girl Called Property
        3. Growing Up Absurd
        4. Southern Mystery
        5. One Of These Days
        6. Mary

        WHAT'S IN A WORD (December 1986 SS26-SS20)

        Track Listing:

        1. Laugh I Could Of Cried
        2. Brian Rix
        3. I Never Said That
        4. Delirious
        5. A Very Easy Death
        6. Sweet Brendan
        7. Egotistical Me
        8. Boy And A Cloud
        Re-issued in June 1988 exactly the same except for a red cover instead of blue on MCQLP2-MCQUEEN


        Track Listing:

        1. Somebody Up There Likes Me
        2. Teenage
        3. Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
        4. Shes Dead
        5. Never A Young Girl
        6. Oh!
        7. Your Feet Never Touch The Ground
        8. Father Like Son,
        9. Trust Me
        10. Forever
        11. I Can't Wait That Long
        12. With A Kiss
        Re-issued in 1994 on CD for the Canadian market (PFTP-BC1 PEARLS FROM THE PAST) with the same tracklisting as the 1988 release plus Singles A's & B's ;

        Sixteen Years, Meet Me On Tuesdays, Jim's Room, Brian Rix, Trudy Is A Squeal, Please Please Please, Delilah Sands, I Don't Want To Talk To You, Love It I Lost It, The Pope The Monkey & The Queen, The Ghost Of A Girl


        Track Listing:

        1. Rambling Rose
        2. A Girl Called Property
        3. Growing Up Absurd
        4. Southern Mystery
        5. One Of These Days, Mary
        6. Meet Me On Tuesday
        7. Jim's Room
        8. Everything I Ever Wanted
        9. The Funniest Thing
        10. Under The Bridge
        11. Trudy Is A Squeel

        JOYRIDE (June 1989 MCQLP4-MCQUEEN)

        Track Listing:

        1. You Don't Know How Lucky You Are
        2. Emily, This Girl
        3. Nothing
        4. Grow Cold
        5. Hemingway's Back
        6. I Didn't See You
        7. Accused By The Angels
        Re-issued in 1995 on CD for the Canadian market (BOE-002 BLISS OUT ENTERPRISES) with the same tracklisting as the 1989 release (the cover is same as Why Do You...) plus Bonus Tracks;

        Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me?, Shangri La, Things Will Get Better, Goodbye, Ghost Of A Young Man, When The Blossom Falls, SS20 Collector's Corners: She's Got Fever, Black Water, Big Hip, Tangled Up In Blue, My Baby In Black, Rope In My Hand, Everything I Ever Wanted, The Funniest Thing

        HOOKED (Oct 1990 MCQLP5-MCQUEEN)

        Track Listing:

        1. Long Long Way To Go
        2. Where Are The Supremes Tonight
        3. The Pope The Monkey &The Queen
        4. Sandy Knows
        5. Gone, Positively Lips
        6. Sam
        7. Desperate Situation Blues Song
        8. Heaven Inside Her
        9. Take The Gun
        10. Subtle As The Bomb
        11. Love Is Over

        CREAMY STUFF the singles 84-90 (1991 MCQLP6-MCQUEEN)

        Track Listing:

        1. She's Got Fever
        2. Tangled Up In Blue
        3. Big Hip, My Baby In Black
        4. Sixteen Years
        5. Meet Me On Tuesdays
        6. Jim's Room
        7. Brian Rix
        8. Trudy Is A Squeel
        9. Please Please Please
        10. Delilah Sands, Teenage
        11. I Don't Want To Talk To You
        12. Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me?
        13. Shangri La
        14. Love It I Lost It
        15. The Pope The Monkey And The Queen
        16. Ghost Of A Girl (cd)

        Track Listing:

        1. Get It Up
        2. Around The Bend
        3. You Make The Days Seem Longer
        4. Death Of A Protest Singer
        5. I Like It Here
        6. Gushing
        7. Electric Slam
        8. La
        9. Jukebox Junk
        10. He Looks To Be With You
        11. Closer
        12. Always On A Sunday
        13. Electric Slam No.6

        Also included with the LP version was a 7" featuring Get It Up, Meet Me On Tuesday (folk version) 7CMP5

        BBC SESSIONS (November 2000 asklp117-VinylJapan)

        Track Listing:

        1. What Can I Do?
        2. Sweet Brendan
        3.  I Never Said That
        4. Happy Capital
        5. Arlington Villas
        6. Would It Be Sad?
        7. Anticipation
        8. Trust Me
        9. Oh!
        10. Please Please Please
        11. I'll Never Be The One To Break Your Heart
        12. Teenage
        13. Honey Whispers None
        14. Across The Border
        15. Nine Out Of Ten Unbelievers
        16. Hidden Snakes
        17. Tangled Up In Blue
        18. Sixteen Years
        19. My Baby's In Black
        20. Trash

        CREAMY STUFF (1991 - JE218 Jettisound VHS)


        My Baby In Black, Brian Rix, Delilah Sands, Teenage, Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me?, Love It I Lost It, The Pope The Monkey And The Queen

        Other releases on Various Artist Compilations

        Revenge Of The Killer Pussies
        She's Got Fever
        (1984 GRAM17 - Anagram Records)

        Bludgeoned : A Collection
        (1986 BLUD1 - Bludgeoned Records)

        Imminent 4
        Trudy Is A Squeel
        (1986 Food Records)

        On The Dotted Line ( Here)
        Everything I Ever Wanted (Live)
        (1987 EE3531 EMI Records)

        Bet She’s Gonna Go ( Live)
        1987 EE3531 EMI Records

        Brian Rix
        Indie Top 20 Beechwood Music

        War of The Independents
        Delilah Sands
        (1988 TTO3 Beechwood Music

        State of the Independents
        ( 1988 TT05 Beechwood Music)

        Airspace 2 ( The Sequel)
        Where are The Supreme’s Tonight?
        (1990 BREAK LP3 Breaking Down Records)

        Mind The Gap The Tape
        Not The Boy
        ( 1990 MTG2 Mind The Gap)

        Revolution No 9
        Drive My Car
        ( 1991 PAX Records)

        Who Covers Who
        The Goods Gone
        ( 1994 Cargo)