On air

My radio experiences generally boil down to the good, the bad and the ugly. More about the good in a minute.

The Bad was a phone interview with a one man station. He meant well but was so nervous that we were virtually swapping roles, with me trying to put him at ease. His stilted and irrelevant questions lurched me totally off-topic into a bizarre rant about Mrs Thatcher.

The Ugly: A more established internet music station had me do a live worldwide broadcast from a pub. Consisting of a lengthy interview followed by a full live set – no pressure there then….

Instead of sending someone who was interested in my music – indeed any music – I get Mr Dodgy-Sheepskin-Jacket-Sports-Reporter-Man. He must have read that I used to be in a punk band, because he was onto “punk” like a terrier with a bone for the duration, heedless of the torrent that has passed under the bridge since those days. “Why are you a PUNK?” “How do  PUNKS feel when they rehearse?” “what do PUNKS eat for breakfast?”  When I finally got to perform, the vocals were so low I couldn’t hear my own voice, despite flashy broadcast rig. Seems I was disturbing the bar staff who couldn’t take orders with background noise. As  a PUNK I should have trashed the place but I put it down to experience.

The Good

Here we go

Here we go

You probably get why I was wary before my guest spot on The Parsons Knows Local Music (Radio Verulam) But this was the Good experience – in a comfortable studio chair. With simple, to-the-point, relevant questions; no fumbling and no weird curves. Denise Parsons has been doing the show for barely a year but comes across as a seaoned pro, while genuinely loving what she does. Which made it so-o-o-o-o much easier for me .

Day Of The Triffids

Day Of The Triffids

Don't know what this is but it looks important

Don’t know what this is but it looks important

Heres a link to the the video taken by Denise’s studio assistant, Kevin.

or listen to the podcast on Soundcloud along with other regular broadcasts featuring a distinctly-higher-than-average level of talent from local acts.

Kathy Freeman’s songs are on Bandcamp. First featured song on Denise’s show: “You, me and Alcohol” Second featured song “Here it Comes” ( A new version on You Me and Alcohol will be on Kathy’s next album, due out in Autumn )

More about The Parsons Knows Local Music  on Facebook and more about Kathy Freeman on her website

They run a tight ship at Radio Verulam

They run a tight ship at Radio Verulam

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Making the scene

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I never made permanent membership status for any subculture (“broke musician” doesn’t count ) but not for lack of trying. I’d always so wanted to belong to one scene only, with whatever  exclusive music, cars, clothes, hairstyles and unwritten social codes went with it.

It started when my big brother was hanging around with exciting people who smoked, listened to jazz music and only wore black. I dreaded them  spotting me in my school blazer (navy blue.)  Brother’s beatnik pals  hit the road and drifted out of my life, and the  logical next stop was hippie-town. Maybe I’d have lived my whole life out as a late-blooming flower child but  history intervened.

Heading West

Heading West

I was  living in a quasi-commune and even baking wholemeal bread for a while, when  along came punk and blew a big hole in all that Earth Mother rubbish.  I never wore flares again, and  only just missed hacking off my waist length hair and spiking it. I settled for bleaching my  fringe to  near-extinction My  former hippy pals blanked me in the street. So much for love and peace, man.

 

accs live 2

 

I  truly BELONGED  to punk for a while, but the intensity of that  flame dwindled as the eighties arrived along with a sea of synths and whining vocals.  The spirit remained, but my focus had to change.

For a moment  I was into motorbikes.  I earned a few  stripes by riding pillion on a Triumph from London to Liverpool and back. In the snow.  I’d  get a brief acknowledging nod from the bros in the biker pub with my honorary status as “righteous chick”. But that’s as far as it went.  The Biker Chick’s lot was not for me. Deep down I knew I’d always favour a shedload of musical paraphernalia blocking my hallway over a shedload of oily engine parts. And more importantly I couldn’t face a lifetime of never being able to have big hair because of the helmets.

Then there was Psychobilly, which could have been my default landing after Punk’s demise, but wasn’t.  I saw the seminal  Meteors in the Ace, Brixton in 1983, but the penny didn’t drop.  Several years passed before my next encounter,  when Joyryde supported Demented are Go at the Dublin Castle in Camden.  The sight of twenty sweating  fans with full body tattoos and Mohawks  (that was the men) wrecking on the dancefloor wasn’t my lightbulb moment though I liked what I was hearing. More years passed, before a chance meeting led to  playing guitar for the Death Valley Surfers. Once more I had that magic list of who to  hang out with, what to wear and what bands to listen to.

Death Valley Surfers

A cool ride while it lasted, but belonging to  the one tribe was  eventually thwarted; partly  due to  wrong hair (again)  and no tattoos, and largely  by the obstinate part of me that insisted on writing  and performing off-genre songs. My own psychobilly band got stick for not being “pure psychobilly” and I realised yet again, I couldn’t rest in anyones else’s comforting but temporary subcultural space.

Songs about not fitting in: HERE

Loner

 

Kathy X was formed in Berlin in 2002 by Kathy Freeman, survivor of the UK punk scene. The trio has played on the European psychobilly circuit and also more mainstream events over the last decade, sharing bills with Dick Dale, The Meteors The Long Tall Texans  and    Horrorpops  amongst others. The album ALL THE WAY equals punk/rockabilly roots with a few wild detours……celebrating over a decade of cool shows and hot songs – featuring both current material and buried treasures. Check it out here  

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Cheers! More about Jack Daniels…

” I like Jack Daniels and I ride fast cars…”

Fast Cars and Jack Danielsthe story behind the song….

Sounds  clichéd , but  the inspiration really did come to me in a dream.

A girl was playing a video game in a dark sleazy bar. With typical dream logic, the other drinkers were simultaneously the characters in the game.  They were NOT nice people.  She knew she’d lose. She was destined to play victim. The game was pre-programmed. She was mourning her future before she’d even got there.

 “And I  will pay, pay, pay for the punishment that is to come”

Woke up with a feeling of desolation and the song followed within a few days. The dream’s message ? Throughout a one-track pursuit of all things exciting, shiny and dangerous, deep down I knew it would all go pearshaped and that none of the fun came without a price tag…..

 “Don’t know where, and I don’t know when…but I know just how this story’s gonna end….

Fast Cars and Jack Daniels performed by Kathy X at the Schokoladen Berlin

No Scotch, thanks. I’ll have a Jack Daniels

 I was 18 years old, preparing to go to a party. And learning how to cook.  Before leaving, I ate some home-made soup. The main ingredient? Parsnips.  Bad move. From nine till late o’clock I was drinking God knows what. Chased down with a generous measure of Scotch. Not rocket science to figure out what happened to my stomach. Since that night I’ve treated parsnips with caution, and the taste of even the finest, Glenwhatever 12 Year single malt carries a faint warning note. But Jack Daniels was never a problem. For my digestion anyway.

For the last word on spirits raise your glasses to George Thorogood.