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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Myself ! May 12, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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A while back one of the young lads on the road got an electric guitar. He subsequently spent days strutting his stuff on the street causing much jealousy. So I went up to the attic and found my old guitar and my daughter went out on the road with the guitar. . . yer man didn’t appear again with his guitar.
Questions were asked why I had a guitar? So I had to confess about my musical career (or lack of). It prompted me to go back up and see if there were any old tapes hanging around. There were 2 and when I listened it wasn’t too bad.

Many of you I’m sure played in a band at some stage or another. Some of course with more success than others. Well having dug around the attic I found two old tapes of me in my musical prime…. and have a few songs here making their public debuts all of 20 plus years since they were first recorded. Needless to say they are not studio quality, there are mistakes, songs cut off early and some of the tracks even lack vocals, not alone that but I couldn’t find a tape which contain my favourite tracks.
In the late 70s my younger brother took guitar lessons in school and got a cheap steel string guitar to play on. A few years later he got another guitar with nylon guitar strings and I started fiddling around with his old guitar. An electric pick up then entered the equation and soon we were up in a friends house making ‘music’ on a regular basis. Bongo drums, a pencil placed in between the last two guitar strings and then flicked made some wonderful noises. We taped ourselves, played it in school and rightfully were told we were shit.
Undeterred we kept at it until there was a core of myself and my friend. At this stage I had got myself a really crap electric guitar and he had got his hands on a bass. Writing all our own stuff we gradually started to improve. The tapes were now sometimes greeted with ‘that couldn’t be you’ which was encouraging.
A drum machine arrived and soon almost every weekend was spent practicing, we’d send off tapes to the radio and record labels. We’d dream of being interviewed in our local pub and Kevin the barman would continue his form of bringing over two pints as soon as we sat down.
As with most bands the name was a constant source of chat. We were ‘Syndrome’, then ‘MIN’ (Male Inebriated Neurotics), ‘River Oji’ and others that neither of us can recall. So we’ve gone for a retrospective “10 years 1 gig” here.
We’d practice after the pub until all hours, go to my friends late Grannys house in Brittas Bay for spells during winter. Play a bit and walk up to Jack Whites or McDaniels , return and then play some more.
Eventually we figured we better play live somewhere. We took our time and eventually played a friends 21st in the Students Union in Maynooth.
For some reason we felt we needed a drummer as we figured the drum machine wasn’t going to appeal with a live audience. So we got a drummer , the catch being his guitarist friend had to join too. Even worse he could play the guitar properly, read music and all that.
So it was as a four piece we played our only gig. Reaction was good and our dreams grew again.
The drummer and extra guitarist then left and we were back to the drum machine. We continued on but the world of work started getting in the way. In 1994 my bandmate left the country for a few years and I later emmigrated to Cork for a period. Wives, family, work, children all came along and that was the end of that.
An enjoyable musical adventure though.

*I sent a draft of this post to the other half of the band and lo and behold he has found 20 plus tapes of far better quality and will take time to ‘remaster’ some of them. So expect a follow up post at a later date. He also wrote this bit about the band.

It was a journey. Starting with nothing but the desire to play music. Hundreds of hours over the years. Al would arrive up with a riff and we’d fumble it out into a song before heading off to the pub. We never played any covers, apart from one time late in the day which was Just a Huster by The Leather Nun as Al never ever learned to play a chord. But boy could he come up with nice riffs. It was great fun.

The quality of the recordings reflects the fact that they were mostly recorded on the go in glorious stereo. The most we moved onto was recording guitar and bass and then overlaying another guitar, a casio keyboard and vocals. The drum machine and the mixer sucked. This was when that stuff cost a packet, far beyond the reach of penniless students devoting as much as we could to pints. It was never about gigging or proper recording to me. Our limited technical ability, part time approach meant we never could have really gone into a studio with the necessary practice at the time.Our stuff was very hit or miss. I have tapes of 15 go’s at a track, find one ok and move on.

We never talked notes, keys or any musical stuff because we never learned any of that. Sure, I went and learned how to play, and became extremely good at the guitar but never had Al’s riff writing ability. But this made for a happy partnership. Trying to build structures around a brilliant creative mind.
It was cool getting a mail from Al about this as I dug out a bunch of tapes a few months ago and am listening to them in the car. Crap stuff, amazing moments, fast versions, slow versions, loud versions. Cool memories.
Summer project to pick out some nice stuff (and we have a few) and work them out properly. So, year, 10 years, one gig, a whole bunch of cassettes and great memories.

As an aside, we did have some nice times down in Brittas Bay and did spend a lot of time in Jack Whites bar. Tom Nevin was a really nice bloke and his wife was a bitch. Plain to see.

Anyway please excuse the crap videos, crap sound quality and enjoy…. comments and recording contracts welcome 🙂

Just to give an idea of how songs evolved I’ve included different versions of two of the above songs below the ‘more’

Crackly ‘harder’ version of ‘Lonely Babies’

‘Gazing’ instrumental

Comments»

1. WorldbyStorm - May 12, 2012

Reminisicent of Durutti Column – in a good way.

Thankfully any traces of the few (very very few) groups I was in have been destroyed by the guilty parties over the years. It’s amazing that you and other people involved were able to keep this stuff over the years.

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Dr.Nightdub - May 12, 2012

I hear ya. A bunch of us formed a band, played one gig at the old TV Club which was favourably reviewed in Hot Press by Bill Graham – though it helped that he demanded to be let join the band after seeing our soundcheck. I lent a tape of the gig to a friend who then moved to Cork and that was that.

“As with most bands the name was a constant source of chat.”
Any advance on The John Wayne Memorial Dancing Lizardmen?

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WorldbyStorm - May 12, 2012

Now that’s a name Dr. Nightdub. No disputing that… 🙂

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anarchaeologist - May 12, 2012

All Concrete and Darkness?

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Dr.Nightdub - May 12, 2012

That was Mk 2, after some personnel changes, although I remember some dispute over whether the band name was that or All Conquering Darkness. Either way, a bit too goth-y for my tastes.

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2. LeftAtTheCross - May 12, 2012

Great sound IEL, slightly muffled but I guess the acoustics in a room stuffed with election posters is always going to be a bit dodgy 🙂

Seriously though, loving the wafting guitar and the melancholy vocals.

I reckon there’s the makings of a Left-blogoshpere musical supergroup there in the making. You CLR lot should get your act together and do a benefit gig for the Cuban 5 or something. I’d offer to help but I got stuck on the riff for Blitzkrieg Bob about 25 years ago and never progressed beyond that.

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WorldbyStorm - May 12, 2012

Hey, that’s all you need. It’ll work for Ramones style punk, krautrock, synthesise it and it’s electronica. That riff is everything…so welcome aboard comrade.

IELB can do guitars, you can do rhythm, Dr. Nightdub is welcome to do anything at all and I’ll do some keyboards. We need drummers… bassists… etc, etc. It’ll be the Polyphonic Spree before we’re finished!

Or as Robert Christgau once said about the Ramones ‘it’s the same joke (he didn’t mean it in a negative way) but if you like it you’ll love hearing it again and again”. I’m paraphrasing. He put it better.

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irishelectionliterature - May 12, 2012

LATC glad you like it.
Funnily enough where we played was an unused granny flat which we did up by wallpapering the walls with pages of the NME, Hot Press and all sorts of posters.
We’re going to go on a hunt for photos as there will be a follow up post or two at a later date.

Kept the tapes as I liked to listen to it and we had rather a lot of tapes as you can gather.
If anyone wants I can post up (or send on) mp3s of some of the tracks which are possibly of better quality ad you can listen to them over and over!

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Joe - June 29, 2012

This left blogosphere supergroup? I predict trouble over the lyrics.

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ghandi - June 29, 2012

and also who was a member and whose wasn’t even thought they might appear to be.

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LeftAtTheCross - June 29, 2012

IEL, yep, really like that sound a lot. Although like Joe I’m not sure about the lyrics, I can’t really make them out, but then who really listens to lyrics anyhow, music is more of an overall sound thing with me anyhow.

Joe, there’s your chance to get in on the ground and pen a few tunes about the GAA 🙂

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Joe - June 29, 2012

I wrote one full song in my life. About 8 years ago. “A day in Kilkenny” (to the tune of “the Ould Orange Flute”). About a trip to Kilkenny by 33 8-year old Dubs to take on the local kittens at the hurling. And we bet them!

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WorldbyStorm - June 29, 2012

Know exactly what you mean LATC. That’s how I hear music. Lyrics are very song dependent and much of the time I ignore them.

Interesting, Joe. Must get you to do a recording and we’ll put it up on the site.

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3. irishelectionliterature - June 29, 2012

A few more tracks remastered and lots more to come….

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LeftAtTheCross - June 30, 2012

My eldest downloaded “Silence” for her iPod, she’s heading off to the gaelteacht tomorrow and liked the sound when I was playing it in the kitchen this morning. Prepare yourself for the teenage groupies IEL 🙂

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irishelectionliterature - June 30, 2012

Wow!! just made the rest of them downloadable too.

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4. Another old tune …. « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - August 22, 2012

[…] few months ago, I showcased some tunes from my ten years in a band. That starting a root through boxes of tapes and some further tunes and a set was uploaded to […]

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5. This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Myself again ! | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - May 16, 2015

[…] Years ago I popped up some songs from my days in a band.. . Well I have some more and it’s weird because I hadn’t listened to them at all in the […]

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