Monday, 16 August 2010
I met Ronnie, the original Cavern manager, through her band FRANTIC SPIDERS, Exeter's first and best 'Riot Grrl" band.
They had been making a name for themselves supporting the likes of Huggy Bear and The Voodoo Queens around the UK, and were on this occasion playing with us at Exeter Art College.
I was at the bar when Ronnie walked past carrying a ridiculously tall tower of glasses.
“Can you drink up please mate!” she barked at a frightened looking student in John Lennon glasses and a Doctor Who scarf, snatching his half-finished drink and adding it to to the top of her large stack.
When I got back to our van it was so full of empties you couldn’t fit in the amps.
“Somebody said you were opening a pub.” Ronnie explained. “I thought you could do with some glasses!”
They had collected about 400 of them.
“Hey, do you want to be bar manager?” I asked her, while the hapless Art College dudes walked around scratching their heads, looking for something to put in the dishwasher.
The Frantic Spiders had been played on the John Peel Show, and got ‘Single of The Week’ in Melody Maker for their “You’re dead” 7” single. They were on the verge of being signed to Elastica’s label before they went their separate ways.
Singer Charlie went on to playing in Spy 51 and Gay Dad, and Ronnie started here ultraviolent industrial noise band TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME.
TSS were a band that really tapped into the raw emotions of life, with Ronnie’s onstage personas, such as the bloodsplattered Psycho Surgeon, really acting as a protective buffer between band and audience. By that I mean the Personas protected the audience from the true content of Ronnie’s songs!
She is a great writer, and went on from TSS to become reviews editor for Rocksound.
I found this battered, never-before-seen, video we made for Toxic Shock Syndrome in the early 90s.
We filmed it in that Pet cemetery down by the bridge to the Double Locks.
Friday, 6 August 2010
KING LUDD on Fore Street was a great bookshop. For a couple of years it was THE place to go for rarities and books by Burroughs, Kerouac all that sort of stuff. It was killed off when Oxfam opened it's South Street bookstore - how could you cope with a shop that survived on donations when you had to buy all your stock in. Day in, day out John must have heard the 'I get all my stuff from Amazon' mantra from people sitting there bugging him on that chair by the counter with a free cup of tea!
One day we went in there to make a little film with writer Stewart Home (author of Cranked Up really High, Suspect Device and 1001 Things To Do With A Dead Princess).
I've got some videos somewhere of Stewart doing a mad spoken word performance at the Cavern. He'd been invited down by artist Fiona Symes to do a reading at the Art College. The photo at the top was taken at The Cube in Bristol where he was showing his 'film' Screams In Favour Of Desade.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
(N/B this true story won't mean anything to those under the age of 25)
Walking round the corner toward my house I heard a strangely familiar voice shout "Eh Tommy, I can't get this piggin' thing out of the car on me own can I?"
I'd come home to get a couple of spare cables from my house for the show we had on that night (Lapsus Linguae and Kids Near Water), and in my drive, no word of a lie were 70's comedy duo CANON AND BALL unloading some boxes!
I gave Bobby Ball a chin up nod and went into my house where Clare was watching TV.
"You'll never guess who Ally (our dog) just attacked outside on the road." She said.
"Yeah I saw them - Canon and Ball."
"No - it was Little and Large." She replied.
"No its definitely Canon and Ball." I contested.
"But I saw Lttle". She said
I grabbed the cables and went back to the club : outside, Syd Little was standing by the car, late afternoon sun glinting off his thick glasses.
Dunno where Large was.
For people who were born in the 90s here's Little and Large with Adam Ant on their show.
Malaysian kids are really into street punk and hardcore and we played some mental shows there. This one was in a restaurant that Joe Kidd had somehow managed to book out. Crowd surfers were getting seriously close to those massive ceiling fans!
More about this tour on my website http://www.artefiction.co.uk
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Dave Myers was on double Vodka and Red Bull, and was well up for fucking the system. Simeon was bent over thumping the bartop with the heel of his fist at the outrage of it all. "Obama, Hilary Clinton - I don't give a shit who's in the White House - they're all puppets of the Multinational Corporations!" Ever had this conversation at 2.30 in the morning, three sheets to the wind - I bet you have!
The Silver Apples show tonight was an important one ... if you know your rock and roll history.
Formed in 1967 the music of Simeon Coxe and drummer Danny Taylor not only pre-dated and informed Krautrock bands like NEU, but also directly influenced punkrock and hip hop. "Sid Vicious told me" Simeon said "that the Sex Pistols always played Silver Apples in the dressing room before going onstage."
We got lucky tonight actually, because all Simeon's gear is powered off a 110 supply and needs a step-down converter to fit The Cavern's 240v plug sockets.
I got one for £14.99 in Maplins, but the kid said "It should be fine so long as you're not running musical equipment off it."
It lasted exactly 52 minutes before burning out - but that was alright - Simeon didn't want to do an encore anyway!
*People don't seem to like this as much as the Zinfandel Rose, which is why I've got fridgefuls of it!
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Sunday, 1 August 2010
The North Wales Paranormal Society "looking into the possibility of doing a paranormal investigation at The Cavern Club when the club is closed". The thing is nothing weird ever happens in the club - I would know, I've been in there every day for 20 years taking photos on a regular basis! Surely, in all that time, something strange would have shown up on film.....
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
TESCO METRO are selling the new CLASH OF THE TITANS DVD for £10, but I'm not sure it will be better than the 1981 original... and it definitely will not be better than the 1963 epic JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, which contains that unforgettable battle between skeletons and argonauts. (After Jason kills the many headed HYDRA and steals the Golden Fleece, evil Aeëtes scatters the Hydra's teeth into the soil and prays to the godddes Hacate, whereby the army of dead warriors arise.) That scene looks cool even by today's standards, and was the work of special effects genius RAY HARRYHAUSEN, who integrated stop motion effects with live action, in a technique he termed 'Dynamation'.
When Annalise were touring Asia in 2000 I met Harryhausen in the coolest ever video store, TRASH VIDEO in Brisbane, where he was doing a Q&A and signing photos. It was a big deal to me because his films had been a major part of my childhood (I opted to be Harryhausen in a school debate about the most significant characters in history - beating Louis Pasteur in the final!)
Today Harryhausen is in his 90's and lives in the UK.
Incidentally, THE HOOSIERS, who played a the cavern a couple of years ago are also fans of Harryhausen. Their hit single 'Worried About Ray' is dedicated to him.
Friday, 23 July 2010
Robin Pike also taught KRIS NEEDS (singer of the Vice Creams and established punk writer) and TED COCKLE, MD of Island Records.
Here, Rob Stringer cites Mr Pike (pictured far right with me and some other kids) as a major influence in an Independent article from a few years back Rob Stringer: One of the most powerful figures in the music business
FOOTNOTE: BLACK MOSES's former singer Jim Jones is playing at the Cavern in Sept with his awesome band THE JIM JONES REVUE
Thursday, 22 July 2010
There's an amusing stagedive from Courtney three and a half minutes in. The sweater she talks about wanting back was a present from her recent boyfriend... Kurt Cobain.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Monday, 19 July 2010
"I was waiting outside the other night and I heard the Toyah covers act you had on." The guy from Call Cars said, as his meter ticked over. "She sounded quite like her."
"No that WAS Toyah!" I replied, getting into the car.
"What THE Toyah, the taxi driver scoffed. "In the Cavern?"
I think he thought it was the Australian Toyah or something, because the Toyah Willcox he knew was a massive star, the LADY GAGA of the 80's, with a bunch of international hit singles like Be Proud, Be Loud (Be Heard) and Brave new World.
There's no way she'd play in a 200 capacity place like this.
Well he was wrong, because she in fact played two dates at the Cavern: 25/10/93 and 10/11/93.
She brought a bunch of young lads from her home town of Salisbury as a backing band.
Check ot the proto-GaGa at www.toyahwillcox.com
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Its funny how you stumble upon a book that changes the way you think about things. In 1982 I had a dream in which I was reading a book called Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson. I didn't have that book, but I guess I must have seen the cover somewhere, because it was really vivid in my dream.
At the time I was studying Foundation Art at North Devon College in Barnstaple, and I used to catch an early bus into town before my lectures started at 10am. I was killing some time in Barnstaple Pannier Market flicking through some piles of books, when I spotted a copy of Cosmic Trigger, the book from my dream. Seeing it was actually quite shocking, and I immediately bought it.
Cosmic Trigger introduced me to many things that tied in with the sort of music I was into at the time, like Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. It got me reading further books by the likes of Crowley, Jack Parsons, Gurdjieff, William Burroughs, Wilhelm Reich and Timothy Leary. I was saddened when Wilson died in difficult circumstances in 2007, because his books had molded my reality.
Today I found that book walking back from Sidwell Cycles where I was getting the horizontal dropout fixed on my Santa Cruz. It was in the charity shop opposite Poundland, and weirdly enough I'd just been thinking about Robert Anton Wilson and the influence his work had on me.
Incidentally, someone had written 6 lottery numbers on the inside cover ; 3, 5 11 16 21 26. If they ever come up it will be the ultimate reinforcement of Wilson's notion 'that "reality" is always plural and mutable'...
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Follow the link to find a short interview with Steve: DIETER MUH INTERVIEW
Incidentally, the rare sleeve came about when we lost a batch of the proper ones and made do with some overprinted back pages from The Exeter Flying Post, which was advertising the Ep. I can't remember why I called it "Disgrace To The Corpse Of Kylie".
Monday, 12 July 2010
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Also starring in CBB4 was the loveable Maggot, from Welsh rap band Goldie Lookin Chain, who have played at the Cavern a number of times. Their funniest Exeter appearance though was at a show we promoted at Exeter University. All went well on the night, but the following day I had an angry call from the University saying GLC had damaged the changing room. "They inflated a bouncy castle used by the mother and toddler group" I was told "and jumped up and punched out the suspended ceiling."
"How did you know it was them?" I asked, having carefully checked the room before I left.
"Because there were slices of spam stuck to the ceiling tiles with 'Your Mother's Got A Penis' written on them!"
This refers to a GLC single of the same name - but you've got to admit its pretty stupid leaving a bouncy castle in the same backstage room as 6 cases of strong lager, a case of cider, two bottles of white wine, three bottles of red wine and a 1.5 lire bottle of Captain Morgans Dark Rum!
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Don't try this at home though. At least one kid ended up flat out unconscious after this stunt!
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
The Song Of The Wandering Aengus (W.B. Yeats)
Formed in New York City in 1967, SILVER APPLES combined the rhythmic freeform drumming of Danny Taylor with the avant garde electronic experimentation of Simeon Coxe, who created his own primitive synth ‘The Simeon’ out of a 1940’s vintage oscillator.
Their first record Silver Apples was released in 1968, and not only predated bands like Can, Neu and Suicide, but also anticipated many of the subsequent decades’ broken beats and industrial drones.
After the release of a second LP, Contact, the enigmatic group seemed to disappear, only to reform three decades later, with the original lineup of Taylor and Coxe eventually releasing their third record The Garden in 1989.
Coxe is recognised as a true visionary, and has been cited as a major influence by musicians such as Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3. I did this brief interview with him prior to his Cavern show….
Your work predated so many electronic genres, from Krautrock to Industrial. What inspired you to experiment with the oscillators and The Simeon?
I had a friend who was a classical music composer who had an oscillator and used to drink vodka and play along with Beethoven. One day, when he was passed out, I put on a rock record and played along- I was hooked! The next night I brought it to the club where my band was playing and plugged it into an amp and jammed along with them. They hated it, but I loved it, and never stopped. Every show Silver Apples put on was an adventure. The audience didn’t know what to expect and when we delivered, were either stunned or on their feet dancing. Same as today.
You had the two LPs out on Kapp … then a 30 year gap before they were re-released by MCA. What’s the story behind that? I heard there were loads of bootlegs around, did you benefit at all from them or was it a total ripoff?
MCA owned KAPP, so it was natural for them to do the re-release. As to the rest, they were total rip-offs but they sort of indirectly jump started the resurgence of interest in what we were doing.
Countless bands have been heavily influenced by Silver Apples over the years (LOOP, Spacemen 3 – right through the dance movement.) Are there any collaborations you have worked on that stand out?
I did an album with Peter Kember aka Sonic Boom of Spacemen3 called A Lake of Teardrops. It was released on SpaceAge Recordings and did well. I also did an album with a band from Somerset called The Alchemysts that made album of the week in the London Sunday Times. That was cool. I did a song for a German label with Alan Vega of Suicide that was fun.
People like Brian Eno have recently been experimenting with new technology, like iPhone Apps. Does any of this stuff interest you?
I’m still trying to learn how to play oscillators!
We’re going to be screening a preview of the Silver Apples Documentary before you play at the Cavern. Could you tell me a bit about that film?
I’ve only seen bits and pieces and rough edits- but I can say it’s packed with information about the band and its adventures.
When you’re not making music do you still paint? What other artists interest you (painters/filmmakers/writers)
Yeah I still paint and do performance and installation art. I particularly like the work of media artists like Bec Stupak and Seth Kirby, video artist Alyson Denny, musician Nick Hallett, all of whom are connected with the Joshua Light Show that I love to perform with. Mike Kelly’s electronic paintings/installations are always fascinating. I recently saw a performance piece by Elizabet Elliot and Adam Taylor/OneCutKill that was unique. Lots of stuff going on!
Silver Apples, the first and most radical avant-rock band, play at the Cavern on Tues 3 Aug following a special preview of a new film about them, Of The Moon.
Actually most of the photos I have of him are in some kind of weird costume. On one bizarre occassion, after we had closed, he popped out to go to the cashpoint and was away for quite a while. About an hour later a bloke casually walked in off the street and said "A friend of mine is being held up outside". Thinking some kind of mugging was taking place, we rushed out to find Ben literally holding a guy up by the waist - the man had tried to hang himself off the railings by the natural health centre with his belt, and Ben had caught him just in time. The scene was actually pretty funny because when the bemused paramedics turned up Ben was cradling the guy's head saying "Stay with me mate, stay with me." .... dressed as Captain Spaulding from House Of A Thousand Corpses! (See pic above.) "Who's had the accident?" the ambulance guy asked.
When we reviewed security camera footage it became apparent that the 'suicide' had been waiting around for a while for someone to go past and it just happened to be Ben. It had all been for attention - he even croaked to the paramedics "can I have my belt back".
The funny thing was how the other guy had seen Ben holding his mate up, not bothered to help, but slowly walked down the stairs in the bar to tell us about it. He even addded "I don't suppose there's any chance of a late one?"
Someone saw Ben the other day in Paddington Station - on crutches. Apparently he'd been walking across hot coals in some kind of a ritual, when a pissed up crusty pushed him back into the fire.
Just another day in the the life of the Troubled Troubadour! www.myspace.com/bengoddard