Sunday, 27 June 2010

Short Q and A

Here are my replies to a short "1950's - related" Q and A interview from yesterday (Good questions, Stella, hope you dont mind me reproducing it on here!!!)

Q. How would you describe your interest in the fifties?
A. I was brought up in a family with very strong musical influences. Buddy, Chuck, Fats and the like were always on our old big gramophone (not much Elvis though, oddly). The emergence of Rock and Roll music / youth culture as a rebellious force and as a generation with, really for the first time, expendable income (although I never had any !).
British / American / French cinema. 50's to mid 60's.
Great dancing / jiving - freedom of expression / the oft quoted sexual revolution ( I didn't have much of that, either!).

Q.Where does your interest mainly lie?
A. Mainly the music, but also the fashion - the girls / women looked fabulous. Also the culture . I am into old stuff such as Bela Lugosi movies and the like, Ed Wood, cinematic "pulp fiction" (I know there `s no such thing !!). I'm generally interested as it's recent history (within my memory to an extent) Funnily enough, I don't see it as nostalgia though, as its still current to me.
It has to be sincere though.

Q. Where do u get your inspiration from?
A. My inspiration comes directly mainly from the music, but also the art work as it were. The (B) movie posters were a superb now mainly lost art, except in parody, or tribute.

Q.Do u particularly like one style or is it a mix?
A. Mix. I Don't think there is any mileage in all the guys trying to look like John Travolta though, there is no mileage in that. If not done correctly it can become fancy dress.

Q. Where do u get your collectables from?
A. Don't think I particularly collect memorabila. There are some cool shops / cafe bars in the retro style in Manchester northern quarter - Afflicks' Palace and so on - I feel at home there.

Q. Do you attend events ?
A. Some times get to rock and roll events. I play my own concerts in that general style ...........I am actually going on to a rock and roll club in Blackpool tonight. I am a singer songwriter musician somewhat in the "style" of the early rockers. However I don't believe in just rehashing old songs - how can my "Johnny B Goode" be as good as Chuck's? Well it can't, so it's pointless to do it ---- I write my own material.

Q. What kind of people do you identify with?
A. the only people I really identify with really are musicians who understand the rock medium. Of course "rock" is a term that has been stolen by "heavy metal" type stuff, which leaves me cold. To me "rock", and "rockabilly", and "rock and roll" ,and "original rhythm and blues" can all mean the same thing, it just depends on what the flavour of the month is to determine which title is being used.

Q. Are past styles part of the mainstream ?
A. I believe that past styles are part of the mainstream . It was always this way, I also witnessed this with punk rock in the mid late 70's , which when it emerged had the nation horrified, but I just thought it was funny. Still do. Now punk is totally mainstream.

Q. Is there a current retro trend ?
A. Yes there is. Massive at the moment - It ebbs and flows some times it's popular some times you can't get arrested playing it it's so "out of style" but I don't mind, makes no difference at all to me.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Musical afflictions (2) Racey Drumism

(lat ;- drummous speediupious)
Symptom - Drummer cannot keep time , speeds up until by end of song singer can't fit all words in.
Cure - There is no cure, can be alleviated somewhat by starting songs at a slow pace, theory being that around the middle it will be at roughly the correct tempo.
This condition can be very useful for playing "Hava Nagila", especially if drummer does not know it's actually supposed to speed up. If he does, well good luck come the last verse.

Musical Afflictions (1) MINIDISC-ITUS

Symptoms - Common complaint, where vocalist is singing live with real musicians backing him / her - ie as opposed to singing to backing tapes - " minidisc-itus" causes singer to sing habitually to backing track arrangement and lose place in music.
Cure - musicians to completely ignore him / her and follow written arrangement. Singer can get to end when he /she feels like it.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Yamaha APX 10 LA

Yamaha APX 10 LA resting in
Wilderswood  Studio
 My main electro - acoustic for live work
- in fact the only one I use.
 It's played combo-amp free, direct into the PA system. This is a straight-forward top class guitar with a rich, full, realistic  acoustic tone, and importantly it's very feedback resistant with an onboard mini graphic equaliser, and volume control.   There are a lot of these guitars around, in various permutations and price ranges, and for good reason. They are really excellent, sort of an industry standard. I've seen Ralph McTell use one live, they have to be good to have that level of patronage.  Mine was used as a pure acoustic on my 2009 EP. For recording new (ten's gauge) strings help the sound along, of course.

EP includes
"Boogie Woogie 'Till The Cows Come Home
available as mp3 download on
Amazon, iTunes etc.
 The Yamaha is the one seen on the "Rockin' With" ep artwork.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Hamer Newport Pro

 This is my alternative stage electric guitar. I wanted a professional standard semi acoustic that was that little bit different, this little American really fits the bill. It's nice and reasonably light  but still very robust and sturdy.
The more I play it the more I like it, it sustains and it sings. As always, I have it fitted with "tens" strings, that gives perfect bendability with perfect tuning stability. (Or at least, it should do - if it doesn't, something's wrong! On this guitar -  perfection!).
An instrument like this isn't cheap, but it won't go down in value, so owning one is like having  money in the bank. And you can't play Johnny B. Goode on money in the bank!

Hamer Newport guitars are often used by Tim Mitchell (Shakira).

Washburn HB35

Dave Peters Birmingham UK 2012 Copyright Screamsville UK

Club gig, Blackpool Dec 2012 Copyright Screamsville UK

This is my 1984 Japanese Washburn S/N 8491. It's a cool rock and roll guitar, one of my main two stage electrics. It's had to have some work done over the years though -  a broken neck repair, then I had  locking tuners and a Buzz Feiten system fitted. So now it's really in tune and stays in tune. ( It didn't  actually need the locking tuners, I just had them fitted while it was in for other repairs anyway - and they are really good!) Like all the best guitars, I can use it for an hour set, put it in it's case, and come back to it a week later and it will still be in concert, or as near as a midges.)
 Nice slim neck, standard 2 humbucker configuration, just what the doctor ordered.
Live I mostly just use it through a Boss DD3 into my amp to get that rockabilly sound. I still have a Wem Copycat, but the little Boss pedal is just more roadworthy.   
 The Washburn is the lead guitar that features on the track "Boogie Woogie 'Till The Cows Come Home" - the first guitar you hear.

Ibanez Musician circa 1978

DP's Ibanez Musician
I bought this in Johnny Roadhouse, Manchester, around about 1990, for, I seem to recall, £130.00. A fair old bargain - these guitars are quite sought after nowadays. When I found it, there were three on the wall  hiding in the back corner, my southpaw and two right handers, tucked out of  the way and forgotten about (Perhaps it just seemed that way to me!). All  similarly priced, with hindsight, I should have taken the three.

But it's not all about the price, it's actually mostly about playability, and this plays so well that it's one of  my guitars that I'd  be most reluctant to part with.

It's an ace instrument, the neck intonation is spot on, with the action being low low low.
Solid bodied, and a bit weighty - but that's ok, it goes with the territory.

The internal electics in mine are all awry, so  I've got it  wired  just using the pickups as humbuckers (ignoring coil taps) nice and simple, out via volume and tone controls, naturally. For any style of playing , really that's all that's needed
A fantastic guitar, used lots - including for the album cover artwork. I often revisit this guitar and give it another outing.

Ibanez Musician  on
Rock 'n' Roll Outsider
 album cover

Dean Bass (Carly`s old bass)

In 1999 I needed a bass urgently for a Danish tour - I found this used Dean in Bonecat Music Middleton. it may be a cheappo - I really have no idea  - it has no model number or any form of ID,but  I'm told it's from when Samick owned Dean. On the back plate you can just make out someone has inscribed " Carly's Bass" so, left handed bassist Carly, I've got your old bass.

Anyway, I really like it, it's nice and good to play and deep deep deep. The neck pickup failed so I`ve put a replacement in I got from Ireland. It can be heard  on  several  of my tracks  including "Boogie Woogie 'Till The Cows Come Home".    I record through a Boss compression sustainer CS-3 DI (direct inject)  into the desk. That really works for me.

Bass playing favorites / inspirations, in random-ish order are :-
Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, Lisa Featherstone, Willie Dixon,  Duck Dunn.

Friday, 11 June 2010

John Barry Seven

Had a couple of photos, they had been in my family for years (almost fifty years, actually )-- they are of the JB7 ,and the reason they are in my possession is that my cousin, Mike Peters was in the band , he can be seen here playing his Framus bass. He`s standing between the legendary guitarist Vic Flick and JB (oh and Les Reed is the pianist).
Mike is well, lives in Leeds, I visited him a while ago, he`s an interesting guy.

I passed one photo out to Geoff Leonard for his JB biography (never checked if he actually used it, but he said he intended to),........ this is the other.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Happy to appear at a Help For Heroes fundraiser last Thursday night in Salford , near Manchester. I played a 20 minute set with my friends Liz Baker on keys / bass and Tony Heath on drums. They played a blinder. That's English for very well. Several artists on the bill with one early act who shall remain nameless over running by 100 per cent plus. That impacts as subsequent acts having their set shortened - and being later in actually appearing, of course.

Luckily we managed to sneak on before the very end - that is before the boy / girl duo with the huge PA system and backing tracks. Good thing too, as there can be a bit of a problem following the giant noise that eminates from such acts, then followed by a live trio with un-miked drums, little guitar amps etc. It's to do with relative sound pressure.

Plus it was way past my bed time already.