By the Friday, the whole town was in on the Party, beneath the unforgiving sun, the blues fans boogied, shimmied, got drunk, and availed themselves of the spring water that flowed freely all over town, almost as freely as the beer! The variety of acts was great, even though I has some misgivings about the inclusion on the Thursday night of Fito and Fitipaldis (or Emerson and the Fitipaldis as I couldn’t resist christening them) -who were plainly a Spanish ‘chart’ band, and an undeniably big draw. A commercial decision? Certainly. The right decision? I’m not so sure.
The Friday night saw the likes of Little Mike and the Tornadoes – a fast talking New Yorker who delivered a powerful set…then we were assailed by Janiva Magness, a woman who, if the bio in the programme was to be…
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The festival not yet upon us, we continued to explore the town of Cazorla and surrounding areas, discovering the amazing story of the ‘open air’ church that would form the back drop for one of the blues stages. The history of the creation of this building reads like a Monty Python sketch, the architect designing and building it adjacent to the mountain, and on top of a river. The mountain promptly collapsed upon it, the church in turn collapsed into the river, then the rains came, the river had nowhere to go because of the rocks and church debris blocking its course, so it promptly rose up and washed everything about twenty kilometers away. This sort of thing happened often. Personally I think God was trying to tell them something, but well, the Catholics were clearly a stubborn bunch. It stands today as I…
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I’d only been home from Italy for a day when me and my partner Miki set off on our Motorhome, The Boomobile, inland towards the Spanish town of Cazorla. This beautiful place has hosted a Blues festival now for nigh on twenty years, and it’s somewhere we’ve been meaning to visit for a while, but my own gigs have often clashed, so this was the first opportunity we’d had.
We broke the four hour journey by overnighting by an embalse, or dam, built in the 80’s, resulting in a beautiful vivid green lake in the middle of a hot dry wilderness. A cafe by the shore was a welcome sight, serving ice-cream and beer to die for, and we undertook a huge walk around the dam and surrounding landscapes to assuage our guilt at pigging out!
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Apologies for the delay in my travelogue…I meant to write about this ages ago, but…..I’ve been, uh, travelling! A few weeks back WITCH CROSS converged on the picturesque area of Altopiano in Northern Italy to headline the Friday night at the Sun Valley Metalfest. We came from all directions, two from Denmark, one from Sweden, and one from London. As for me, I flew from Spain on the Thursday morning and consequently enjoyed a wonderful day exploring the beautiful old town of Bergamo.
The Citta Vecchia sits perched atop a hill overlooking the newer part of town, and can be accessed by a vertiginous funicular railway, which is fun. Once you emerge into the old stone streets and passageways, you are transported into another world, albeit peppered with fabulous cafes and pizza restaurants. Needless to say, I indulged in these culinary delights..well, “when in Rome..” or in this case…
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Today, reunited Danish heavy metal cult WITCH CROSS stream the entirety of their comeback album, Axe to Grind, at tastemaking web-portal InvisibleOranges.com. Released this week by HELLS HEADBANGERS on both CD and LP formats, WITCH CROSS’ Axe to Grind is the band’s first full-length of all-new material since 1984’s heavy metal classic Fit for Fight, reissued to widespread acclaim last year by HELLS HEADBANGERS. Picking up where they left off in the glorious ’80s, WITCH CROSS nevertheless inject their trademark power & glory with a newfound urgency and grit that never betrays their roots in the ancient ways of heavy metal mayhem. Neither “old school” nor “new school,” WITCH CROSS prove that the masters are back – and school’s in session! Hear the proof for yourself, as the entire album is streamed for a limited time courtesy of InvisibleOranges.com: http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2013/07/album-stream-witch-cross-axe-to-grind/
Tracklisting for WITCH CROSS’ Axe to Grind
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It’s been a long time coming….but the day has finally arrived! “Axe to Grind”, only the second full-length album by WITCH CROSS is on the streets today via Hells Headbangers on CD and a choice of blue or black vinyl LP or digital download. Click on the links below to order and get your Metal fix!
Two Phil’s for the price of one!
Since returning from Ireland a couple of weeks back, my French artist partner Miki and I have been putting our heads together and created the beginnings of what we hope will become a series of joint artworks. By that, I mean, I create my own comic-style characters, usually, but not exclusively, musicians, and then hand them over to Miki in a fairly simple state for her to continue with in her style. It’s already thrown up some interesting stuff, such as Muddy Waters, and there’s more to come!
-But today I wanted to share two different takes on one of my idols, the late great Phil Lynott. The one you see above is my basic drawing given Miki’s treatment, she added the Howth peninsula where he used to live, and is buried. The second is what I came up with as I continued to work on that basic idea on…
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I’d like to present today the first in an artistic collaborative series by myself, and my partner, the French artist, Miki. My drawing style is very different from hers, and in a bid to create something a little bit unusual, I suggested that I should draw the basic character, and then turn the project over to her for completion, and indeed, the end result of this first effort looks exactly like a cross between her style and mine! We’re really happy with it, and we will be creating some more over the coming months. I picked Muddy Waters for a number of reasons, one being that Pinetop Perkins played in his band for a while – the late blues piano legend whom I met in Austin on my BLUE ODYSSEY trip a couple of years back, and also did an art work of (see link) ….and Muddy…well, I always loved the story of his first visit to England in 1958, when all these English high-brow blues purists accustomed to the more sedate acoustic blues Big Bill Broonzy and the like were shaken to the core by his loud electric guitar and stompin’ beat! Muddy’s ‘shock and awe’. I like that. So here he is, out by Lake Michigan, in a snow storm over Chicago ( which it was when we arrived there after exploring the Mississippi delta in 2010) Muddy, like so many other bluesmen, made that journey to the windy city, so it seemed a fitting backdrop. Hope you like it! If you like it a lot, then you can buy it in a variety of formats by clicking on the widget below.
Way back in the mists of time, in a quiet suburb of Derby, a host of young teens saw the decade morph from the 60’s to the 70’s, and were like-minded in their willingness to be swept along by, and participate in, its musical backdrop. We were a disparate group of lads, drawing on equally disparate influences, but we had that all-encompassing entity – music – in common. There was a whole host of us, but the main players in the very early days were myself, Adrian “Fos” Foster, Mike Emery, Tim Gadsby, Paul Bunting, Tony Billinge, Colin Hidderley and Steve Carter. Some of us hadn’t even really sorted out who would play what. I started out on drums, moving much later to bass. I vividly remember rehearsing in Steve’s garage, running through one of his own songs, ‘September’, and Tim was on bass. Most of us went our own way of course, and drifted towards the music that most appealed. As our tastes an dinterests diverged, Fos and I pursued the ‘Rock’ route, and indeed still do, and Steve and Tim leaned towards folk. It still fills me with immense pride that quite a collection of us from a small part of Derbyshire have taken our boyhood dreams to levels we probably couldn’t conceive of back in those rose-coloured youthful days. I am certain that my unwavering dedication to my musical career has its roots firmly planted in those early times with my childhood friends. Without those experiences, I would not be where I am today. My career is well documented in these pages, Steve and Tim went on to record as ‘Firkin the Fox’, “Dr. Big Love’, and worked with the likes of Dave Pegg (Jethro Tull, Fairport) and a host of respected Irish musicians. Their music is a far cry from mine, but it is imbued with a deep sense of Englishness, whimsy, and romance, and optimism. Tim blossomed into a fine bass and fiddle player. Ataxia has robbed him of the dexterity to continue, though he continues to make music with computers. Steve felt it was high time awareness was raised about this condition. It is often misunderstood. Watch my friend Steve’s (stage name Steve Bonham) video below, learn about Ataxia. Tell your friends, and help if you can.
I’ve just said bye to my son Corey after he spent a few days with us here in Spain. I really don’t get to see him as often as I would like, and it was wonderful for Miki and I to have him around. Living here, you get into a routine and often don’t take the time to get down to the Playa like the tourists do, so it was fun to do that with him.
He starts his second year at Huddersfield University today, studying Music Production, and he already has more technical know-how than this old-school rocker! What’s great though is that it’s a shared interest, and we can talk about production ideas, gear, new music, etc together.
We all had a great meal together at our fabulous local Chinese – anybody visiting Turre, we can heartily recommend it!
The next time I see him will probably be in the UK when I’m rehearsing with Christie for the Estonia shows, and he’s promised to come along to watch.