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I think it's time to CLOSE the Judge's Vote for songs to rerecord... largely because nobody else has voted for ages, so we might as well call it DONE! The four songs that have been chosen as candidates for rerecording are thus, in alphabetical order:
Down The Narborough Road
I'll Never Drink Again
The Primal Rhythms of the Bolivian Nose Flautist
One of these songs was very obviously chosen for "comedy" value because of its name... you'll probably realise which one (it's not the one you might think...) when you HEAR them. They'll be up and online on MONDAY, promise, hopefully with WORDS and histories too! Let's ROCK!
I did some more ARCHIVING this morning (I was sat at home waiting for our new TELLY to turn up, it is HUGE), making a start on the next section, which will be The Council. This was the band formed by me and Dr Neil Brown (i.e. the original Voon lineup) the day after Voon "finally" came to an end... well, until we started doing all the reunions, but anyway.
In my MIND The Council was always much the same as Voon, but GOODNESS ME it appears not, at least not according to the first tape that we made. Neil and I appear to be VERY EARNEST and VERY ANNOYED about pretty much everything, although mostly about not having girlfriends. The first six songs are about mature students hanging around with younger people (which annoyed us), people who CAN get girlfirends (which annoyed us), girls who wouldn't go out with us (annoying), jobs (annoying), and Sundays (also annoying). The last song, thankfully, was an instrumental, but I bet it was inspired by something annoying. GRR!
It was all a bit surprising, to be honest - over the weekend I'm going to do the live tapes and the second Proper Tape we did, all of which feature TIM. I've got a feeling that the arrival of Tim The Celebrity Drummer on the scene may have cause us to once more Lighten Up a bit. I've seen photographs of us dressed as COWBOYS at one of our final gigs, when we played an entire set of Country Classics like "I'll be your cowboy if you will be my sqaw", so SOMETHING must have happened. If it hadn't I feel we would have EXPLODED with RAGE!
I'll soon be ending the first stage of voting for Songs To Re-Record for the new EP... for new readers, we're going to rerecord one of the old songs I released on cassette many years ago, and I've asked about 10 people who HAD said cassettes to choose their favourites. So far there's one song that nearly everyone's voted for, and three with two votes each, with a few votes yet to come in. I'm hoping to get the finalists uploaded by the end of the week, so everyone can get a choice - stay tuned for more FACT, as it happens!
Sorry about the sudden lack of updates just lately - I've been DOING them, but blogger's been messing me about. Hopefully it'll all be OK now though, just in time to tell you about a New Song! It's called "Breaks In The Journey", I wrote it last night, it Strangely Moved me at the time, and it's in both Song Blog and the annotations. Whoo!
It's INSPIRED by a variety of things, most (very) recently by listening to the first completed section of The Hibbett Archive: The Casbah. This was a comedy club I used to run and co-host about 13 years ago in Leicester. We taped several of them on cassettes, which I've now put onto MP3 on CD, and listening back to them today made me appreciate that I've done an awful lot of pretty bloody GROOVY things in my life, NONE of which would ever have happened if I'd had a Life Plan and actually followed it!
At the moment I think I'm going to be recording it solo for the new EP, but as stated above, who knows eh?
There's a whole HEAP of more pictures over in the Gallery today. Most of the pictures are from our TRIUMPHANT gig in Hull (featuring documentary evidence of us getting a TREE on our rider), though there's a couple of new pictures in the general 2003 tour section, showing Validators getting paid in CA$H! It is a beautiful thing.
We've just confirmed another GIG, this time at The Social in Nottingham on Sunday 14th March. This is also with the full Validators line-up, and should therefore ROCK. We'll be getting together around then anyway to work up the songs for the much-mentioned new EP, so we might actually be Quite Good again by then!
As we're already finding it hard to find dates to get together to DO this recording I think it might be a bit foolhardy to try and do any Validators gigs (apart from this and the Hull one) until the EP comes out, but if anybody reading this would like ME, by myself and solo, to come and play somewhere sometime, do feel free to ask me about it, i am EAGER to ROCK!
In a BOLD MOVE it looks like AAS will be releasing it's first Joint Release this summer (pending final approval from The Board), as we'll be putting out "The Fair Play Trophy (again)" with Sorted Records. Practically speaking this means we'll be able to get it into the shops, but more importantly it means I will have full licence to discuss PLANS and SCHEMES with Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey again, which was ALWAYS fun before and doubtless will again. NOTED ACHIEVEMENTS of this sort of thing were LollopaLeicester (our actually fairly succesful gig nights) and The Durham Ox Singers. Who KNOWS what shall arise this time?
We've just confirmed a new GIG, in MAY! This'll mark a return to the scene of one of, if not THE, GRATEST ever Validators gig, as we're heading back to the Adelphi in Hull. This should be BRILLIANT! I'm also waiting on news of a gig in Nottingham in March, then maybe I'll try and play Leicester again in April, and of course there's still the vague prospect of my Scottish Tour at the end of February. I shall, of course, keep you INFORMED.
Annoyingly, The Lovely Brothers have a gig coming up on February 8th. GRAARGH! This is annoying because I am booked and away on holiday then, CURSE THEIR SCHEDULING - why oh why do today's young bands not ask ME first before booking such things eh? CUH! Anyway, it's at the Bull & Gate, so go see them (unless you're on holiday too, of course), as they are GRATE.
Crikey, talk about FENG SHUI! Yesterday I moved office, into a HUGE basement full of empty space, so that we could sort our desks out properly. My last office had a nice view, but was a bit of a PAIN otherwise as it was tiny and we all backed onto each other, the new one is an Human Habitat Expert's DREAM, it is LOVELY!
As a direct result I have done more work today than I have since AGES ago, AND [In My Lunch Hour] done LOADS of ROCK things. The Ultimate Voon THORT WAGON has rolled forward, I've been acting in my capacity as A&R Record Company GUY to Johnny Domino ("Why not let ME decide what goes on your album?"), I've written a new press release and am SENDING it off to get a Prestigious Gig for us in the summer time. It's been LOVELY!
Oh yeah, and in a couple of weeks you will be able to buy "Hey Hey 16K" t-shirts! Wahey!
After... er... MINUTES of tricky negotiations, agreement has been found on the line-up for Ultimate Voon, the latest Voon Reunion which is hopefully going to take place to mark the 10th Anniversary of Sorted Records this summer sometime. It's going to be the traditional Voon Classic line-up of me, Neil, and Simon, along with former lead-singer (and Neil replacement) Chris and... um... Tim The Celebrity Drummer. OK, he wasn't ever IN Voon, but he WAS in The Council, which to many, if not all, intents and purposes was the same thing.
We're going to do three gigs, and by golly it should be FUN. Hoorah!
Let The Archiving Commence
I started work on The Hibbett Archives over the weekend... it was a NOSTALGIFYING experience. I made up a list of tapes and materials I had in the drawer first, and came up with about 60 or so sets of stuff to get through - some of these are single songs, stuck on a single tape (like "Belle and SATAN", my contribution to a Belle & Sebastian tribute that never happened), whilst others are PACKED 90 minute recordings of whole evenings of stuff. It's DAUNTING.
Digging through all this stuff, I came across the "Perky Mixes" tape. This was something I did whilst REALLY bored one year (I think it was over the Christmas/New Year period). I decided to make up and record AT LEAST on tape a day, and appear to have done so for a good couple of weeks - there's about 20 songs on this tape, a couple of which turned into Voon songs, whilst the last few formed the start of "What's So Bad About Being A Grown-Up" (the first one of my tapes that was any good, really). Apart from that, though, what's left is a whole "album" that's mostly not too bad, which nobody has ever heard!
Crikey. What's that noise? Can it be ROCK HISTORIANS beating a path to my door?
I found it all quite exciting anyway, it was STRANGE to listen to all this stuff that I hadn't listened to for about five years, and that nobody else has EVER heard - that is, until the Drink In My Glass came in and said "Wow! What's all this? Is this YOU?!?" and seemed to think it was Quite Good. I was a bit shocked, as the REASON I'd never played them to anyone was because I'd made it all up as I went along, so the words didn't actually MEAN anything and the music was done for a LARF ... well, except for a song called "Not Everything", which popped up near the end and took my by surprise by being Rather Lovely.
After THAT I began PROPERLY - the first main block of stuff is going to be tapes of The Casbah, a comedy club I ran (over TEN YEARS AGO - ARGH!) and co-hosted. I'm doing this first so's I can give a copy to my former co-host Simon From Voon, in return for him doing the Voon Anthology for me which gave me the idea in the first place. If doing "Perky Mixes" was STRANGE, then doing this one was a TRIP BEYOND REALITY, as I heard a Youthful Hibbett telling jokes (and often dying on his arse), and found that nearly all the bands who played between the comedy bits, who at the time I'd thought were REALLY GOOD, were actually NOT that great after all. Except, that is, for my friend Chris, whose sounded surprisingly FRESH and MODERN, and of course VOON.
It's all extremely strange - we had a FOLK singer on at one stage, who did a song that was BLATANTLY ripping off Bob Dylan, although I had NO IDEA of this at the time, and who sang pretty rotten late '80's DIATRIBES about men being a "different species" to women. Hearing the audience LARF in AMAZEMENT at such an idea was pretty weird, and I kept thinking I'd heard references to everyday things (like BUFFY, or the interweb) which I couldn't have possibly heard because they didn't exist then.
It FREAKED me out - it's probably a good idea to start with these bits though, as they're the earliest things I have, thus cutting down the possibility of getting FURTHER FREAKED in the FUTURE!
The Laughing Gnome Problem
There's a RIPPING new WHEEZE on the way! It began when a Mr E Bewsher of Hull, wrote in to say (with regards to the new EP), "why dont you do the ' * Bonus tracks' thing , and slam on all the stuff off the old 7 inch singles thats not available elsewhere! "
I passed this Good Idea on to Mr F Machine, bass and brass supremo, who suggested that we REFINE the idea by RE-RECORDING said songs. SUDDENLY I was reminded of a REMARK made on Tuesday night at the AAS Board Meeting which gave me the Final Thought for the NEW WHEEZE - but let's just explain that repercussions of that conversation first:
Mr Whitaker had just got his tape player working again, and so had got out his old tapes, including the very very earliest MJ Hibbett cassettes - "some of these are pretty good", he said. To explain the SOURCE of these tapes further, many years ago (EEK! Actually just checked this - about NINE years ago!), in Leicester there was a sudden SPLURGE of band activity, led by Cornershop and then Prolapse, when suddenly LOADS of the people I knew and/or drank with in The Magazine and Durham Ox started doing Quite Well. They released records, got reviewed, did gigs OUTSIDE LEICESTER - everyone was doing really well except, that is, for ME! To be Historically Fair, listening back to the gigs and some of the songs I was doing then, at the very START of my Solo Career you can see why i.e. I Was BLOODY AWFUL. I tried to rectify the situation by recording LOADS of songs and handing out tapes of those songs to as many people as possible, in the belief that ONE of the songs on ONE of these tapes might get somehow into the hands of SOMEONE who would like them...
It didn't seem to work at the time, although now I can see that, actually, it DID - Mat K-Star ended up sharing a flat with Sean Fortuna Pop!, who heard and liked "Billy Jones Is Dead", which led to doing "Work's All Right" on the "Work Is A Four Letter Word" EP, which led to meeting Mr Whitaker and also Mr Fleay and THENCE came AAS and the mighty GLORIES thereof. At the TIME however, it didn't feel that way... ANYWAY, in the end there were FIVE of these tapes made over a couple of years, containing almost SEVENTY songs!
Many of these songs have been re-recorded over the years, on "Say It With Words" and the early singles especially, but there's still FIFTY that have never been heard outside the select circle of "lucky" people who got inflicted with them back then. SO, to return to the NEW WHEEZE, what I thought we might do is, instead of rerecording the songs of the recent past, we DIP FURTHER back in time and re-do one or two of the REALLY old ones.
THIS, then, is THE PLAN: I've sent a list of those 50 songs to all the people who I know got at least one of those tapes thrust upon them and, importantly, are still talking to me despite that. I've asked them to nominate between one and five-ish songs that EITHER they remember OR remember and like. When these votes are collated I shall come up with a new list of the top five most liked/remembered songs, which i shall DIGITALLY ENCODE and put up on the website, so that YOU, dear reader, can choose your favourite, and THAT's the one we'll record for the EP. I think also that anyone who DOES vote in this way can get a free copy of one of the TAPES from my Drawer Of Old Tapes (it'll probably be a VOON tape actually).
That's the WHEEZE then - cool, huh? The only SLIGHT problem I note is what we might call The Laughing Gnome Problem... there's two front runners so far, one being "Down The Narborough Road", which everyone's voted for so far and people always seem to have liked, and the other is a BLOODY AWFUL thing called "I've Pulled" which was one of the MOST AWFUL parts of the AWFUL idea I had for a Rock Musical called "Welcome To The Market" which, all in all, was BLOODY AWFUL.
However, unlike Certain People (yes BOWIE, i mean YOU) I shall not chicken out, if that's the one chosen. Hopefully in a couple of weeks my FATE will be in your hands. Exciting, isn't it?
Phew! Just had a bit of an update on the New Songs page, so that ALL the latest songs are now listed, along with links to annotations (except for the notes for "The Lesson Of The Smiths", which have mysteriously disappeared...). This also includes, as THREATENED, the words to "City Centres", which is VERY new. Go!
I went up to Leicester AGANE last night, this time for the AAS Board Meeting. It was a beautiful thing, especially when we realised that, very soon, we will be completely FREE from having ANY dealings with distributors! This would indeed be a beautiful thing.
We also had some pretty lengthy talks about the possibility of releasing "Fair Play Trophy", and I now think that we WILL do it, but as part of another EP like "Milk And Baubles" with a track from the album too, as well as loads of other tracks (er... which I'll have to record, I guess) so that, in the unlikely event of us NOT selling millions of copies in the summer, there'll still be a reason for people to buy it afterwards. We'll have to see how we go!
And then, when I got into work this morning, I found an email from Undereducated Records asking if I'd like to contribute a track to a compilation - i say YES!
I think I'm going to have to write a few MORE songs...
PHEW. After a MARATHON session last night, Kazoo IV: The Silence Of The Kazoos is DONE. When I got home from work I recorded two lead vocals and some backing vocals, mixed down two songs, set up my computer then uploaded the ANALOGUE tape of songs into, split, trimmed and compressed each song, put them into order, installed my new CD writer, BURNED the songs onto it, designed the cover, cut that out, and then made TWO copies... before it all went awry and i had to SCOUR the house for a paper clip to get the new CD writer OPEN again. Oy!
But it's now FINISHED, and will be going out to band members tonight - Whoo! _I_ think it sounds really good, but then I never can tell, so I guess I must GIRD myself for adverse reactions. It certainly sounds good to ME anyway, I am WELL chuffed, especially with how quick it is to do. OK, I know it's taken me about a month to do it all, but crikey, that's not bad considering I went and done it all by my lonesome. It was especially strange last night to be singing some vocals and then an hour or so later be burning the finished song onto disc. SPEEDY!
Not Finished Yet
Due to the below mentioned travelling I didn't QUITE get to finish the new tape over the weekend, although there's only a few vocal tracks on two songs to do, so hopefully it'll be done tonight. It all sounds rather groovy, ESPECIALLY (i reckon) some of the FX i got going on the backing vocals, not least the DALEK CHOIR on "City Centres" (the words to which I'll put up soon, as I was working them out as I went along whilst recording), and the Sort Of ADT (Artificial Double Tracking, that is, not pesticide) i got going on a few others. TECH TASTIC!
I also played quite a bit of Super Bass, that is, BASS really high up the fretboard through LOTS of distortion, so it sounded like LEAD BASS. Whoo! It were WELL GROOVY, the only shame is that now I've DONE all the bass and won't get to play it proper for ages again now. On the other hand, this might be the best thing all round - on Saturday I was GROOVING on the bass when The Leads In My Effects Rack came in to see what was going on. Me being me I immediately proceeded to SHOW OFF, and it was during a particularly dramatic 360 DEGREE SPIN that I forgot I was plugged into a four track and YANKED it off the desk, breaking the brand new tape lid. OOPS.
I was off to LEICESTER on Saturday, on a WHIM (as opposed to a train, aha!) to see Dr Brown for his birthday, and had a LOVELY time. The trip was given an added ZING by the fact that the good Doctor and a couple of other people there had heard Mr Steve Lamacq play "Things'll Be Different" earlier on in the day (what a nice man!), so I got to PASS IT OFF LIGHTLY for the rest of the evening. HOORAH!
Also Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey suggested maybe perhaps we should release "Fairplay Trophy" again for THIS year's European Cup ... I don't know, I've had a couple of Good Ideas about it since then, and am SORELY TEMPTED. Third time lucky, maybe?
I went to the Doctor's this morning, to finally get signed up with a doctor that a) didn't retire four years ago and b) is within walking distance of my house. I had to go in for a health check, and they were LOVELY - everyone at this new surgery is LOVELY, and the nearest they got to telling me off was saying "Maybe 16 units a week is a LITTLE too much" ... even though I'd specifically made up that number to sound like not much. Unfortunately when I answered "No, i haven't had a tetanus jab, why?" she produced a BLOODY GREAT NEEDLE and JABBED me with it. YAROO! It really hurt, AND I didn't even get a lollipop! What is the NHS coming to, eh?
CD ROM extras of the future
Phew! I am currently TOILING away of an evening in the DEMO MINE, as i STRIVE to get "Kazoo IV: The Silence Of The Kazoos" finished. It'll be 10 or 11 songs (depending on whether I can finish off writing "City Centres" this evening) all FULLY DONE with drums and bass, the LOT, for Close Colleagues, and hopefully it'll be the beginning of the creation of the NEXT album. Today's Idea For Album Title - "Ladies and Gentlemen: MJ Hibbett & The Validators", but we'll see.
When next we speak I hope to be finished - it's going to be a HARD ROCKING weekend!
Them Gigs Keep Coming
Exciting times AHOY in 2004 - this week we have been offered not one but TWO gigs, one in Hull and the other in Nottingham! Wahey! These are in the spring time, so I'm sort of hoping to do another mini-tour around then, although this'll probably be a bit more spread out than the lunatic GIG-ATHON I went on in October... more news when I get it SORTED!
I'm just listening to a BOOTLEG of the Kooba Radio Live Christmas Show I went to the other week, and it's VERY jolly indeed - you can CERTAINLY tell we'd been to the pub beforehand and you might guess that there was a fridge full of beer nearby... you might also think one of the WURZELS had come in to SLUR his way through the background, but unfortunately you'd be wrong. It's just me.
Also unfortunate is the FACT that they've decided it's a bit TOO "jolly" and "free", so won't be going out now. It's a shame really, as it was MUCH fun and the version of "Winter Wonderland" actually sounds rather nice and Christmassy. One for the Anthology Boxset i guess!
The Big Project for 2004
Over the weekend we had a BIG CLEAROUT in The Boudoir, as it was WELL dusty and mucky. I chucked out approximately 15% of my possessions (so if it's Good Books and Old Paul McCartney Cassettes you're after, check out Help The Aged in Leytonstone NOW!) on Friday, the Salad Dressing On My Lettuce and The Landlady did a MASSIVE clean up of EVERYTHING on Saturday, and then on Sunday we set up a DESK in the corner of the room, and everyone in the house apart from me put up some curtains. It looks decidedly CHI-CHI, also BIJOU now. Why, this morning i DREW the curtains for the first time, it was DELICIOUSLY STYLISH. I have also bought some furniture from Habitat with which to furnish it, it doesn't GET any more ChIC.
ANYWAY, setting up the desk meant chucking out the old cardboard box 'pon which my stereo had been sitting, an cardboard box PACKED with old cassettes, about half of which were live recordings. There's HOURS of these, going right back to my first gig EVER (with The Masters Of Nothing!), including The Casbah (my comedy club in the early '90's,), a metric TONNE of Voon gigs, and also lots of The Council, various other bands I have been in, and quite a few radio sessions and early solo gigs. It is a LOT of stuff, which I never really bother to listen to as it's a pain in the arse finding the bits I want to hear again amongst all the DUST and TAPE and that.
HOWEVER I don't want these to get lost or anything, as it's big chunks of my LIFE, so I've decided to embark upon THE HIBBETT ARCHIVES! AHA! My GRATE new idea for the year is to DIGITISE the LOT, dividing up all these gigs into MP3-sized nuggets, and then putting them all onto CD, even with photographs where I've got them. When they're done I can give COPIES to the other people involved, as a) that'll be lovely b) they'll really like it and c) I can then chuck out the manky old cassette versions without relying on my one CD copy.
And yes, it will mean I'll HAVE to sit and self-indulgently listen to tapes of MYSELF again and again, but that is a price i am willing to pay for the sake of the HISTORICAL RECORD. Well done me!
I also discovered a small pile of copies of a few tapes by Voon and The Council, so i might do a COMPETITION, or something. Whoo! Won't THAT be exciting eh?
He refers to a thread on the Posh.net (that is, the unofficial Peterborough United supporters site) messageboard talking about ME, specifically ME mentioning Andy Clarke during "Boom Shake The Room" on Steve Lamacq's show.
Playlouder print ME
That Playlouder.com interview I was on about the other day is now ONLINE - it was actually on the front of their webpage on Saturday, I think, but I didn't look then. It's there now though, here, in fact.
Did you hear it then? I spent a very pleasant afternoon in the kitchen today waiting for Our Bit to come on Steve Lamacq's show, FIELDING text messages from various pals asking when it was going to come on. Eventually it DID, and MY! the confusion! There I was, sat in the kitchen in Leytonstone, listening to MYSELF, LIVE in a studio on the other side of London?!?! What Strange Magic be this eh?
Anyway, it sounded DEAD GOOD i thought, especially Boom Shake The Room and ESPECIALLY especially the bit where i went WRONG and dedicated group of singers FILLED IN for me - I'm not sure if it's going to be on the Listen Again thing at all (it doesn't get mentioned anywhere on Steve Lamacq's page at all), but I've taped it anyway, so you can always come round to mine to hear it, i guess.
Except for that "remark" about "Jamaica" at the end. I'm sorry - I was TRYING to go for the Obvious Gag, but MESSED IT UP. I felt embarrassed at the time, and I feel embarrased now. In my defence, Mr Lamacq just SAID it at my, i knew not what was going on. Other than that tho, a pretty ROCK way to start the New Year - HOORAH!