This weekends antics -life in a function band!

For many years now I have been playing in a wedding band called superfuzz.

We play all over the country and have a great time even though it can be tiring as it’s normally a late finish.

This is one avenue any musician of a good standard can go down to earn some money using your skills

On Friday we were in derby playing at our drummers daughters wedding and it was nice to see everyone having a bop and a great time. Last night we were near Doncaster and it was a very big affair with a huge marquee, pizza stands, champagne stalls and fireworks. We were due to finish at 12 but the guys wanted us to play on so after a bit of negotiation we played on till about 1.30 ish.

By the time my head hit the pillow it was 4.00. That was a late one. We had a lot of fun, a few beers and got paid for playing music.

It ain’t Glastonbury but it beats working for a living!

Superfuzz are available to book for your party or wedding. Please see their website for more details.

The best guitar riff ?

Check put my favourite guitar riffs.

1. Johnny b Goode by chuck berry.

2. Smoke on the water by Deep Purple.

3. Whole lotta love by Led Zeppelin.

4. Satisfaction by the Stones.

5. Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix

6. Black Night by Deep Purple.

7.  Sweet child o mine by Guns n Roses.

8. Iron man by Black Sabbath.

9.Sunshine of your love by Cream.

10. You really got me by The Kinks.

The greatest frontman

my band mates and I are always discussing this subject. What some people love in one singer other people dislike.

I suppose all great frontmen gave certain characteristics in common. Voice. Image. Charisma. Stage presence.

Here is a top ten that I have put together.

1 Jim Morrison.

2. Mick jagger.

3. Roger  Daltrey.

4  axl rose

5 Freddie Mercury.

6. Ian Gillian

7. Paul Rogers

8  Dave Coverdale

9  Liam gallacher

10. Ian brown.

 

Muddy Waters

One of the greatest and influential bluesmen was McKinley Morganfield better known as Muddy Waters.

Born in 1913 in clarksdale, Mississippi he was playing the guitar and harmonica by the age of 17.

By the early fifties Muddy had recorded several blues albums with some great songs including the classic “Hoochie Coochie Man”

Muddy was one of the first bluesmen to use an amplified electric guitar. He played slide to great effect on his fender telecaster.

With a huge voice and blues songs that had a band and amplified guitar-sound he bridged the divide between the delta blues and rock and roll.

Muddy died in 1983 but his musical legacy lives on!

FIVE pointers for your first private music lesson

1. Arrange a day and time that suits us both. Lessons can take place at your home or workplace or wherever is suitaible for you.

2. Organise a quiet space for the lesson to take place with plenty of space to move around especially if you are learning the guitar.

3. Be ready to start your lesson when I arrive and a cup of tea or coffee wouldn’t go a miss!!

4. Getting to know you and your ability: if the instrument you are learning is new to you then we will start from scratch. If you’ve had lessons or have some ability already then I will need to assess your skills.

Depending on what you want to learn I can either teach you from the Rock School Grade book or song based.

5. As the lesson comes to a close I will give you suggestions of things that you could look at for next lesson.

The rise and demise of cream.

Cream were formed in 1966 by Ginger baker. Eric Clapton joined on the condition Jack Bruce was hired as bass guitarist. Clapton was already very established on the music scene in London and was considered the best blues guitarist in England.

The band produced 3 albums. Fresh cream in 1966, Disraeli gears in 1967, and Wheels of fire in 68  which was the worlds first platinum- selling double album.

The powerhouse trio were well known for their long live blues improvisations. Jimi HEndrix was a big fan and the band were forerunners to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep purple and Black Sabbath.

Unfortunately the band was not long lived due to tensions between Bruce and Baker that had festered for some time and Clapton saying that at one gig the volume was so loud that he stopped playing and neither Baker nor Bruce realised.

The bands biggest hits were “I feel free”, “Sunshine of your love” and “Crossroads”.

Cream are well worth checking out if you are into blues guitar with Clapton arguably doing his best work here with Cream.

Top 5 tips to becoming a skilful musician.

1. Choose a fantastic tutor.!

A good tutor can really help you come on as a musician. There is no substitution for someone who has been playing for many years showing you the correct techniques and secrets to playing that you would never pick up anywhere else.

2. Start early!

Its no secret that Mozart started composing when he was just 5 years old and did his first public performance when he was just 6! The earlier you start playing the better. As a child our brains are like sponges soaking up everything we hear and trying to replicate what we like best.

3.Practice! Practice! Practice!

However much natural talent you may possess you will never get better without loads of practice! I remember getting my first guitar. I couldn’t put it down. I practiced whenever I could. I remember hearing a story once about the late great jimi Hendrix that he used to take his guitar to the toilet with him!

 

4.listen to the greats!

Its amazing how much you pick up from listening to old recordings of the greats. My dad would always be playing Chuck Berry, The Stones or Eddie Cochran and i listened with great interest to their guitar licks and phrasing as well as their different tones and settings. Chuck especially was so influential with his guitar playing and stage presence!

5. Join a band!

I formed my first band at 15. The interaction with other musicians can’t be underestimated at making you a better musician and just as important having fun! After all that’s what it’s all about in the long term.

 

 

Keith moon. A true bad boy of rock.

Keith moon was famous for playing the drums with The Who. Before The Who exploded onto the rock scene drummers generally went unnoticed and tapped out a simple beat. Moon played with a free flowing energetic swagger, his arms swirling like helicopter blades. When he came off stage he looked like he’d ran a marathon.

Moon was as wild offstage as he was on. Often destroying hotel rooms , drinking and taking drugs. His nickname was Moon the Loon. He got bored when the band weren’t touring.

His drinking got out of hand in the early seventies with him drinking first thing in the morning. He was leading a destructive lifestyle. At a show in the 1973 in California moon passed out on his drum kit. The roadies tried to help him but he passed out again.  Townshend asked the audience if anyone could play the drums and a guy called scot halpin stepped up! In 76 moon passed out again after a couple of numbers.

On the 7th September 1978 Keith Moon died at the young age of 32. He was the first hellraiser of rock and a great musician. As with many great musicians  he succumbed to the excesses of a rock and roll lifestyle. The Who continue to play even now but their best years were when their wild man of rock was behind them.

Bob Dylan show.

I went to see one of my favourite artists on Friday the 6 th of may and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

For starters Bob didn’t say a word all night which didn’t really bother me but a “hi thanks for coming ” would have been nice.

Onto the music and Dylan played a collection of his songs from across the 6 decades his incredible career has spanned. Standing side on playing a piano for most of the gig and wearing a cowboy hat he also sang a few covers by Frank Sinatra!

Re-working some of his old classics like “blowing in the wind “and “desolation row” were interesting but sometimes it was hard to tell which song was which as he spat out the tunes in a similar rhythmic fashion. I turned to my brother to ask him what he thought of this version of “blowing in the wind” for him to reply ” is that what it is?”

I suppose sometimes it’s nice to hear a song as you hear it on the record but to be fair when you wrote a song 50 years ago it’s hardly surprising when an artist wants to change it

Poor sound quality didn’t help matters but his band were very good and for a guy of 75 to be up there and still touring is a testament to this songwriting genius.

All in all I’m glad I went but maybe in my head I was expecting a 20 year old bob with his acoustic guitar and harmonica singing me a classic folk song with that unmistakable voice of his.

Maybe I was just born 30 years too late!

 

 

 

 

A sad day for music

When I heard that Chuck Berry had died I felt very sad. I had grown up listening to his music because my mum and dad played played all the old greats on our record player.

Chuck is my favourite guitarist. No one plays like him. No one has influenced the genre of rock and roll like him. The duck walk. The Gibson 335. The cheeky grin.

 Chuck mixed the major and minor pentatonic scales to great effect. Johnny b Goode being a great example of this. Of course everyone has their influences and T bone walker was one of Chucks. He was also a great guitarist and performer.

Music is about entertainment and Chuck was a fantastic performer. He worked the crowd and his famous duck walk was his showpiece.

Releasing his last album at the age of 90 his career spanned an incredible 60 plus years. A true genius.