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Hoorah! We have our first confirmed AIR PLAY - TWO (2) shows played some new material over the weekend - Jim Morrish on Radio Friendly in Cork played "Things'll Be Different", and Everett True on totallyradio.com played ... er... "Things'll Be Different". HOORAH! Funnily enough, both spelt my name wrong (in the usual way) too - but still, ZANG! AIRPLAY for all!
I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside
Living in the deepest Midlands for 14 years I got used to the idea of the sea being a very very long way away. Imagine my CULTURE SHOCK then, when, on Saturday, we headed off to LEIGH ON SEA and arrived within an HOUR of leaving my own front door. I couldn't believe it - it takes me nearly that long to get to work!
Leigh on Sea was LOVELY, it was proper Old Skool seaside, even making the effort to make the tide go out SO far you couldn't even see the sea. BRILLIANT! AND we saw a jellyfish! The only sad thing about the whole expedition was that we only discovered the REALLY nice pubs as we were going back to the station for the last train home. We shall RETURN, be sure of that!
The review below, or a version of it, is now online at indiedisco.com... who'd've thought being a music journalist was so peasy eh? OK, yes, EVERYONE, but still I was quite excited by the whole thing. They have just asked if I'd like to "sum up" the UK's indie scene, but I have no idea whatsoever about what it might be. I think, perhaps, it would be best just to stop now, before i start making things up. That would be awful.
posted by MJ Hibbett, (click here for permanent link)
Yr Finest a-hour
I went to see REM last night! My dear friend Mr Myland's little brother (he's only 5!*) had a couple of spare tickets, which i SNAPPED UP, and thus The Love Of My Life and I headed on down to Brixton to see them. It was ACE! OK, some bits were a bit boring, but most of it was AMAZING - just like when I saw them at Glastonbury, in fact. They started with "Finest Worksong" and "What's The Frequency Kenneth", and Michael Stipe he WORKED the room, bless him. Strangely some of the more recent songs came across the best, especially "Answers From The Great Beyond", which ROCKED.
The encorse started with "Everybody Hurts", and when the whole crowd started singing "HOOOOLD ON" towards the end it really was PROFOUNDLY moving. Then, typically, they did a bizarrely pointless and dull new song, and finished with "The End Of The World As We Know It" which was honestly one of the best things EVER seen by me at a gig. We all BELLOWED the "Me and Leonard Bernstein" bit, and when Mr Stipe went "Right?" and we all shouted "RIGHT!" back - that was GRATE! There was much politely murmured singing on the way home too.
Oh yeah, and the Brixton Academy - what a GRATE venue! Not only was it nice to look at, had reasonably accesible bars, and toilets that you could get in to, you could actually SEE from wherever you were standing!! BRILLIANT!
Those Songs In Full
This is what we came up with at the end of last night's festivities:
Songs We'll Almost Definitely Be Playing Live:
Payday Is The Best Day
Billy Jones Is Dead
The Symbol Of Our Nation
Things'll Be Different *
Everything's Turning Out All Right (everything) *
Songs We'll Probably Do Live
Hey Hey 16K
If You're Too Turned On
Make The World Go Blind *
Fat Was A Feminist Issue
The Merchant Ivory Punks
Where Is My Torch?
The Girl Who...
Songs To Try Out Next Time, Or For Soundchecks, And That:
Falling For Trust *
Stop, Look and Listen *
Red & White Sockets
Back In The Saddle
I was back up in Leicester last night - originally intending to go to an AAS Board Meeting, a CANCELLATION and a set of fortuitous circumstances meant that I actually ended up going to a Validators' Practice! HOORAH!
Truly, it was a beautiful thing to greet each Validator as he (Mrs Pattison did not attend, unfortunately) entered the room, it has been far too long since we were last together in ROCK. We worked out that it's about a YEAR, in fact, since last we gathered purely to ROCK, which meant it was ALSO about a year since Tim had last played drums, or since Rob had last played Bass. This made us all, shall we say, a little rusty in places, but when the MAGIC was there, it was there a LOT.
Many valuable lessons were learnt and theorems proved. First and foremost, after years of SWEATY LEGS in practice, I took a leaf out of Tim's book, and changed into some shorts. FANTASTIC! Also for the first time I tried using my Acoustic instead of one of Rob's electrical guitars, with my new Dean Markley pickup. MJ Hibbett HEARTILY endorses Dean Markley Acoustic Pickups, they're FANTASTIC.
I'd made a BIG list of songs we could have a go at, and we ROMPED through them at high speed, casting some aside, putting a few back to next time (when we've all had a chance to listen to them again, and remember how they went), and marking up the remainder for USE. We even tried out "Everything's Turning Out All Right" (which had never EVER been played by the Band before) and the heavily reworked versions of "The Girl Who..." Towards the end Mr Fleay displayed his UBER FAN credentials by reeling off a long list of Even More Obscure Than Usual MJ Hibbett Golden Oldies, which led to us having a go at "Red & White Sockets" and "Mr Right", songs which even I haven't played for YEARS. It's a lovely thing to have actually been GOING as The Validators long enough (and however slowly) to actually have a CHOICE of songs we can have a go at, rather than desperately trying to learn new songs to build up a full set.
It was FUN, and I'm EXTREMELY glad we had the practice NOW rather than, as originally planned, the week before the first gig. That would have spelt DOOM.
INSPIRED by the sight of that Amazon Factory piled high with Harry Potter books (where the workers were BANNED from having a sneaky peek inside) I've now enabled the MJ Hibbett Online Emporium (www.mjhibbett.com/buy/) to take advance orders, if anybody wants one. The Official Release Date is still July 21st, but if you pre-order I'll put them in the post a few days beforehand, just to make sure - imagine the Local Pride you'll feel if YOU are the lucky first person to get hold of a copy, OH! how you will LAUD it over your neighbours!
They Pulled Me Back
After all the excitement last week of Actually Getting the first 100 CDs, I was feeling pretty relaxed about the remainder turning up this morning... and remained relaxed until it WASN'T morning anymore, and I had to come in to work. GOODNESS ME. It turns out that the Delivery Van broke down, so now they're being delivered to our long suffering production agency, who are going to send them round to me in a taxi later in the week. They're lovely, aren't they?
It's just STRUCK me that, now that the CDs are OUT and also ABOUT, there might feasibly be people reading this who HAVEN'T followed the rest of us through the THRILLS and EXCITEMENT of Getting An Album Manufacturerd. If this is so, then baby you have missed out - check out prior postings, and THRILL to my repeated telephone calls to see when they're being delivered! GASP as I go to visit the manufacturers again! WEEP with FEAR as I realise in the nick of time that I've done the artwork wrong! And APPLAUD as I end up having to sit down and make the first 100 mysefl!
I've just finished reading "Rat Pack Confidential" - HA! They have NOTHING on the KER-RAZINESS of today's modern independent record label, right kids?
Gigs are flowing in now - someone just rang to offer us ANOTHER London gig (t.b.c.), whilst it looks like my return to Winchester is sorted out. For those who don't want to go to the GIGS page, here are those dates again in full:
4th July - The Verge, Kentish Town, London (DUO gig, with the return of Tom on violin)
24th July - The Railway Inn, Winchester (solo)
1st August - Upstairs at The Garage, London (Silver Rocket Club)
2nd August - The Victoria Inn, Derby (with The Validators!)
14th August - The Windmill, Brixton (More Validator action)
... and then we should be playing in Hull again in October and maybe Stoke around September. There's also possibilities of gigs in Leeds, Leicester and Sheffield around then too. We're ROCKING ON to Christmas!
It's OUT there!
I spent most of yesterday hand assembling 100 copies of the album, making sure the writing on the CD itself was aligned, and BLESSING each one individually. 76 of them have now been POSTED, and some of them have actually ARRIVED at their destinations, my first footsoldiers in this year's campaign of ROCK. It's all TERRIBLY exciting. After all this time people are FINALLY going to hear these songs - I've been very CONTROLLED this time, only breaking ranks a few times to INFLICT individual records on people. I wonder what everyone will say? I think the new stuff is MUCH more involved and groovy than the old, but what if nobody notices?
Oh well, we can only wait and see can't we? Oh, and if you just can't WAIT to find out, don't forget you can always download three of the 18 tracks (plus "Programming Is A Poetry For Our Time", and "EXCLUSIVE" track) via the album sampler. Go to it!
Readers, I am GIDDY with excitement, for I have just assembled the first EVER fully formed copy of "This Is Not A Library" by MJ Hibbett & The Validators, and it is a beautiful thing. I have also just placed the CD into my computer, and was relieved to discover that the Futuristic Multimedia WORKS!
I feel like crying to be honest, I can't believe that after all this time (nearly three YEARS) it's FINALLY here, finished, done and in my hands. And it looks FANTASTIC. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!!
Come on Sherpa... just a few... more... feet...
I'm beginning to think that the delivery of these CDs is becoming a MICROCOSMIC ECHO of the Album Recording sessions, such is the unstoppability of its delays. The CDs I thought would be coming on Friday, then Monday, and were then put back to Thursday are NOW not coming until NEXT Monday, as the inlays went off to the wrong place altogether! HOWEVER, Key are being very nice and also apologetic, bless, and TOMORROW I am told I will be recieving TWO deliveries - one containing 100 CDs in their boxes, and another containg 100 inlays. THUS i get to spend my birthday putting them all together, before sealing them up in jiffy bags and sending them out - wahey!
This does, I guess, allow to put a little bit of even MORE Added Voodoo into each one as I send it out, and whatever form they come in I'll be glad to see them. Rest assured, gentle readers, if they DO turn up tomorrow I'll let you know, that the REJOICING may BEGIN!
Mr McClure and I went up to HULL at the weekend to play at the Adelphi. The Aldephi is WEIRD - I'd always pictured it as being like an old run-down cinema, but actually it is a knocked through HOUSE, in a very ordinary row of terraced houses where there's absolutely nothing else going on at all. It's STRANGE. Gig was also a bit odd - it was Eddy The Promoter's birthday party, so most people were there to see him and all the other associated mates they'd not seen for a while THUS they weren't that interested in us. Fair enough really, I'd've been the same in their situation, and on we went with the set, discovering that Tom coming on for an Accompanied Section was a Really Good Thing, although I was a bit surprised to find, for the first time ever, "Boom Shake the Room" NOT going down really well.
So afterwards we sat down for a drink, and for the next half hour nobody bothered us or said anything at all - again, it was a bit disheartening, but fair enough really. Then people started coming over and saying they liked it, or stopping me on the way to / in / on the way back from the loo, to say how much they'd enjoyed it. Towards the end of the evening people got quite emotional about it, and there was even HUGGING. One chap in particular was BRILLIANT, he said he liked "Easily Impressed" because it was about liking your job, and he LOVED his job. He was head gardener at a massive stately home type open garden, and his job was, he said "To find beautiful things and make them even more beautiful". What a FANTASTIC thing to say, he was BRILLIANT.
Also people kept saying "See you again in October!" and it turns out they were saying this because, apparently, we're going with the whole band to play in October! Hoorah! The other band playing, I'm told, are made up of people from 6 other local bands, doing their first gig as a SuperGroup. Good golly, there might even be PEOPLE there!!
Yesterday we drove back in glorious sunshine. Aaah, summer! and ROCK!
Further And Further Away
I didn't get into work until quite late today, I was sat at home GLARING at the front door so as not to miss the VAN coming round with my CDs... until about 10.30am,. when I found out they'd slipped off the schedule and now weren't due until Wednesday. CURSES. However, I've got the day off for my BIRTHDAY on Thursday, so they're going to come then instead -i reckon this'll be a bit more Added Voodoo, but also it means I don't have to PANIC about not getting in to work for ages, but it'd still have been nice to have a copy now. Oh well, I return you to the words of Mr J Logan from last time...
So Close, And Yet, So Far
I've been sort of (well, not sort of at all - ABSOLUTELY) hoping that the album was going to turn up tomorrow... well, to be honest, I was more hoping that it would have turned up TODAY, but I've just discovered that it's not going to be arriving until MONDAY now. Now, this doesn't make much difference to anything really - promo copies are going out next Thursday (i.e. on my BIRTHDAY, for Added Voodoo Power) and everything's all ready packed up (76 envelopes with 76 address labels on one side and 76 "if undelivered" stickers on the other containing 76 letters and 76 press releases), but I am EAGER to get my hands on them, so it's a tiny bit disappointing. Also me and Tom are off to HULL on Saturday to play a gig there, so I was rather keen on the idea of having a few to sell then.
Still, NEVER MIND, it's been three years already, and as Johnny Logan would doubtless tell us, what's another weekend?
So far the Promotional Campaign for the new album has been a thing of BEAUTY. Some might suggest this is because nobody's actually HEARD it yet, but i SCORN them. Today Mr Dresden sent out emails to Radio Stations, to check that we've got their correct address and to let them know about the sampler, and already a load of people have got back in touch with us. As with the email to webpages, this really is a beautiful thing that fills my heart with JOY - yes! There ARE some lovely people out there, BLESS them all!
Today I have been and bought FORTY POUNDS' worth of stamps! Forty Quid - for STAMPS! That's a LOT, to go on about 80 envelopes, ready for mailing out. Handily, I've got last week's Sopranos and this week's six feet under to watch tonight (I try to avoid a two week TV backlog, that's how EFFICIENT i am) so all I need is a big bottle of water and OH! the exciting fun I'll have in store.
I bet Bruce Springsteen doesn't lick his own envelopes.
It's Quiet... Almost TOO Quiet...
I find myself swishing around in a small pool of quietness at the moment. After an ACTION FRENZY at the beginning of the week I've done most of the things I can do for the moment, and find myself with little to do but WAIT for further information from the factory. It's very exciting, but I'm keeping a tight lid on things, not getting myself too... ZANG! IT'S COMING!
Sorry. In other news, Mr Pattison was in That London last night, so we met for a pre-train BEER, which was lovely, and we savoured one of the last times we'll be able to GO into a pub together without being mobbed, oh yes. He had some DELIGHTFUL news too, and there was much happiness.
Meanwhile GIGS are slowly being added to the gigs page. I'm hoping to sort out a London gig for the Validators soon (as part of the AAS 5th Birthday Celebrations, whoo!) and I'm pretty hopeful we'll get something sorted in Stoke, also Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester and maybe Cambridge, and another solo spot in Winchester. I'd REALLY like to have them all in an exciting Big List Of Gigs, but as I keep reminding myself, It's A Marathon Not A Sprint, and if we're still doing gigs on the back of the album in OCTOBER then that's only four months away, as opposed to the 35 it took to get the album done.
Scream If You Want To Go Faster!
We're moving on... today I went to look at the artwork proofs for the album. This is meant to be a time for me to check that the manufacturers are doing their job, but inevitably it ended with a lot of me saying "Oops! Sorry!" and sending new versions of half the files... still, is sorted now, and again we move on. "Tuesday or Wednesday" for proofs mean we bang on schedule to get albums at the end of next week. LAWKS!
Also even more of the online fraternity are replying, beautifully, to Mr Dresden's emails. Goodness ME but I'm getting excited about this now, the only thing keeping me from leaping about the room is the fact that i've been awake since 4am. Did you know that the tube doesn't start from Leytonstone until 5.33am? I didn't, until today, at about 5.20am, when I got there. The reason for all this was to get to Heathrow in time to meet my lovely brother off the aeroplane - he's been in Australia for the past 18 months, so there were MANLY TEARS and much hugging. He then went off with the parents, whilst myself and ANOTHER lovely brother went to find ourselves sitting in the morning rush hour, but with our body clocks set to LUNCH.
Aaah, it's lovely though, I'm well chuffed that he's back. And now I'm off to collect the Love Of My Life from the Railway Station. She's been away for two nights, rather than 18 months, but that was LONG ENOUGH.
I spent much of Saturday working on the press release for the album - blimey, you wouldn't think it'd take an hour a paragraph would you? It was HARD WORK, especially as I had just read a How To Write A Press Release article saying "Don't use elaborate adjectives, fancy language, exclamation marks, vulgarity or excessive capitalisation". This left me a bit stuck... but it came out pretty well in the end, even if the Love Of My Life instantly spotted about 20 Basic Errors like the fact that the headline made no sense whatsoever. It's DONE now though - HOORAH!
Also on the publicity front, Steve's been emailing some webpage people about the album, to try and get them to publicise the sampler (at www.mjhibbett.com/sampler/) and it's been beautiful. Within an hour almost a third of them had emailed back to say "Yes please, DO send us a copy of the album!" and many have suggested other places to send it to as well. Isn't that lovely? I've always found the New Media (hem hem) MUCH more open and friendly than the traditional press or national radio (although local radio people are FANTASTIC), and this just reaffirmed that belief. Thanks!
This morning I nearly got knocked down by a cyclist while I was halfway across a zebra crossing. This happens ALL THE TIME round here, as they Completely Ignore traffic lights, pedestrians etc - this, along with the fact that you REALLY have to check the "Sell By" data on milk, is on of the things about living in That London that I find most MIND BOGGLINGLY annoying. As it was Monday Morning and i would much rather still have been in bed, I turned and STRUCK him on the shoulder (that's how close he'd got) and said "[Hey!] this is a [flipping] Zebra Crossing! You [rotter]!" He stopped and VERY SMUGLY said "Learn Your Highway Code". I pointed out that not only was I already moving across the junction, but that, as previously mentioned, it was a zebra crossing, to which he replied "Don't be so self righteous" and pedalled, smugly aware. SELF RIGHTEOUS?!?!? He nearly knocked me over ON A ZEBRA CROSSING! CHRIST! I called back "[flipping] [rotter]!" to which HE called back "I could have killed you!" I KNOW! THAT'S WHY I WAS ANNOYED!