Category Archives: It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll

For all the things I have done and been in my life, there has been a constant soundtrack. Thought I’d share a few.

#365rocknroll – A Year-Long Track List

Every day of 2015, I put a YouTube track up on my Facebook page (Julian M. Miles), linking them using the hashtag #365rocknroll. For the last week, there were two tracks a day – and there was a bonus track on New Year’s Day. A year of digging about in my musical archives. It was fun. Here’s what I put up, without the anecdotes and observations – just the music.

1880 – Gold – 26/07/2015

Abney Park – Tribal Nomad – 10/01/2015

Abney Park – Born at the Wrong Time – 31/12/2015

AC/DC – Let There be Rock – 15/01/2015

AIIZ – Treason – 25/08/2015

Airbourne – Running Wild – 01/07/2015

Alestorm – 1741 Battle of Cartagena – 20/07/2015

Alex Boye – Let It Go – 20/08/2015

Alice Cooper – Under My Wheels – 11/02/2015

Alligator Stew – Blood Money – 25/10/2015

Amaranthe – The Nexus – 03/03/2015

ASP – Werben – 23/06/2015

Asphalt Ballet – Soul Survive – 24/08/2015

At Vance – Princess of Ice – 19/04/2015

Atomic Rooster – Devil’s Answer – 03/10/2015

Avenger – To Wild Too Tame – 10/11/2015

Bee Bumble and the Stingers – Nut Rocker – 18/05/2015

Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Not Fragile – 02/04/2015

Bad Company – Shooting Star – 01/08/2015

Badlands – Dreams in the Dark – 12/01/2015

Baptized by Fire – Juggernaut – 07/08/2015

Bar Room Prophets – Better Run – 10/07/2015

Baton Rouge – The Price of Love – 22/02/2015

Beggars and Thieves – We Are the Brokenhearted – 09/01/2015

Beitthemeans – Mr. Devil and the Black Magic Woman – 04/10/2015

Beloved Enemy – The Other Side – 13/07/2015

Ben E King – Stand By Me – 08/08/2015

Beowulf – Slice of Life – 01/10/2015

Bernie Torme – Shoorah Shoorah – 06/11/2015

Bill Haley and the Comets – Rip It Up – 30/09/2015

Black City – The One You Sacrifice – 07/10/2015

Black Label Society – Fire it Up – 19/07/2015

Black Majesty – Six Ribbons – 05/06/2015

Black Mountain Prophet – Too Much of a Good Thing – 20/12/2015

Black n Blue – Without Love – 04/07/2015

Black Oak Arkansas – The Wild Bunch – 15/11/2015

Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell – 19/01/2015

Black Water Rising – No Halos – 26/08/2015

Blackberry Smoke – Scare the Devil – 14/07/2015

Blackberry Smoke – Leave a Scar – 27/12/2015

Blackbriar – Until Eternity – 30/10/2015

Blackfoot – Diary of a Working Man – 08/03/2015

Blackmore’s Night – Way to Mandalay – 05/10/2015

Blind Guardian – Carry the Blessed Home – 02/09/2015

Blindside Blues Band – Bad Woman Blues – 11/10/2015

Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues – 19/03/2015

Blue Man Group – The Current – 15/07/2015

Bon Jovi – Runaway – 22/03/2015

Boomtown Rats – Born to Burn – 28/03/2015

Bourbon Crow – I Wish I Cared – 30/08/2015

Brandi Carlisle – The Story – 02/06/2015

Brantley Gilbert – Kick It in the Sticks – 01/02/2015

Bruce Springsteen – Candy’s Room – 20/06/2015

Bryan Ferry – The Price of Love – 01/01/2015

Budgie – I Turned to Stone – 11/11/2015

Bullet – I Sold My Soul – 05/02/2015

Bulletboys – Smooth Up In Ya – 10/02/2015

Burning Kingdom – Watching as it Burns – 04/04/2015

Carfax Abbey – Purified – 15/08/2015

Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes – 06/08/2015

Cats in Boots – Long Long Way from Home – 28/06/2015

Chastain – The Wicked are Restless – 12/11/2015

Chateaux – Run in the Night – 31/08/2015

Chingon – Malaguena Salerosa – 12/05/2015

Christopher Lee – Name Your Poison – 11/06/2015

Ciara – Paint it Black – 05/11/2015

Cinderella – Shelter Me – 01/05/2015

Cirith Ungol – Maybe That’s Why – 23/09/2015

Cobra – Looking At You – 14/02/2015

Coney Hatch – Music of the Night – 27/02/2015

Coronatus – Silberlicht – 23/04/2015

Cozy Powell – Na Na Na – 02/10/2015

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary – 15/10/2015

Crimson Glory – Lost Reflection – 17/03/2015

Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers – John the Revelator – 09/07/2015

Danny and the Juniors – At the Hop – 16/05/2015

Danny Vaughn – Bad Water – 20/05/2015

Danny Vaughn – Remember When – 29/12/2015

Danzig – She Rides – 02/05/2015

Dark Moor – Devil in the Tower – 13/02/2015

Dark Star – My Lady of Mars – 29/04/2015

Dave Edmunds – I Knew the Bride – 17/01/2015

David Bowie – Sorrow – 04/01/2015

Dawnrider – They Conquered – 17/07/2015

Dedringer – So Still – 13/11/2015

Deep Purple – Fireball – 28/12/2015

Def Leppard – Bringin’ on the Heartache/Switch 625 – 28/08/2015

Delta Goodrem – Innocent Eyes – 07/03/2015

Demon – Don’t break the circle – 21/06/2015

Desmond Child and Rouge – Last of an Ancient Breed – 27/07/2015

Diamond Head – In the Heat of the Night – 24/09/2015

Dio – Evil Eyes – 06/10/2015

Dion & the Belmonts – Runaround Sue – 14/01/2015

Dirty Sweet – “Rest Sniper – Rest” – 04/06/2015

Disturbed – Prayer – 10/03/2015

Disturbed – Sound of Silence – 29/12/2015

Doc Holliday – I’m a Rocker – 06/09/2015

Dokken – Nightrider – 21/03/2015

Dragonforce – Operation Ground and Pound – 09/04/2015

Drowning Pool – Bodies – 17/10/2015

Dukes Nitemare – With a Smile – 09/08/2015

Eddie Cochran – Twenty Flight Rock – 16/03/2015

Egoist – All Alone with You – 16/07/2015

Eisbrecher – Schwartze Witwe – 04/02/2015

Elmore James – Dust My Broom – 12/10/2015

Elvis Presley – Return to Sender – 17/02/2015

Emilie Autumn – Opheliac – 25/09/2015

Eric Steel – In the Heat of the Night – 16/11/2015

Fiona – Ain’t that Just Like Love – 17/11/2015

Fire Inc. (Streets of Fire OST) – Nowhere Fast – 29/07/2015

Firewind – Falling to Pieces – 25/05/2015

Five Finger Death Punch – Never Enough – 07/01/2015

Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side of Heaven – 27/11/2015

Foreigner – Hot Blooded – 02/07/2015

Free – Fire and Water – 18/08/2015

From the Inside – 21st Century – 10/08/2015

Gangstagrass – Two Yards – 17/04/2015

Gary Hughes – King for a Day – 27/01/2015

Gary Moore – Back on the Streets – 02/11/2015

Gauntlet – Beyond the Wall – 13/03/2015

Gene Vincent – Be Bop a Lula – 03/01/2015

George Thorogood – One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer – 05/05/2015

Ghoultown – Drink With the Living Dead – 12/09/2015

Gillan – Vengeance – 27/05/2015

Girlschool – C’Mon Let’s Go – 18/01/2015

Gloryhammer – Angus McFife – 22/04/2015

Goanna – Solid Rock – 15/05/2015

Godsmack – I Stand Alone – 21/10/2015

Gothic Knights – Up From the Ashes – 18/11/2015

Gothminister – Monsters – 28/09/2015

Grand Prix – Samurai – 22/07/2015

Great White – Face the Day – 27/08/2015

Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas – 25/12/2015

Gregory Isaacs – Poor and Clean – 26/12/2015

Gun Barrel – Battle Tested – 08/09/2015

Guns ‘n’ Roses – Paradise City – 21/08/2015

Hawkwind – Urban Guerilla – 25/03/2015

H-Blockx – The Power – 16/12/2015

Heart – Crazy on You – 16/04/2015

Heavy Bones – Turn It On – 29/06/2015

Heidevolk – Nehalennia – 24/12/2015

Hell in the Club – Another Saturday Night – 25/07/2015

Hellanbach – Everybody Wants to be a Cat – 14/09/2015

Helloween – I Want Out – 19/11/2015

Hibria – Tiger Punch – 22/01/2015

HIM – Solitary Man – 17/05/2015

Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’ – 10/10/2015

Hugh Laurie – Swanee River – 03/09/2015

Hurricane – I’m On to You – 31/01/2015

Ian Hunter – Once Bitten Twice Shy – 20/03/2015

Icon – The Whites of Their Eyes – 05/09/2015

Intaferon – Get Out of London – 20/11/2015

Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name – 05/08/2015

James McMurtry – Can’t Make it Here – 20/09/2015

Jeep – Wild Rover – 01/06/2015

Jeff Paris – Illusions – 17/12/2015

Jethro Tull – Broadsword – 01/01/2016

Jettblack – Explode – 21/11/2015

Jimmy Barnes – Do or Die – 09/06/2015

Joe Cocker – With a Little Help From My Friends – 24/07/2015

Joe Perry Project – Let the Music do the Talking – 06/05/2015

John Cafferty & Beaver Brown Band – On the Dark Side – 15/06/2015

John Lee Hooker – Down Child – 14/10/2015

Johnny & the Hurricanes – Red River Rock – 24/01/2015

Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down – 11/07/2015

Judas Priest – Better by You, Better Than Me – 18/04/2015

Judas Priest – Worth Fighting For – 31/12/2015

Kansas – Silhouettes in Disguise – 13/08/2015

Keith Hudson – Felt We Felt the Strain – 23/10/2015

Keith Urban – Where the Blacktop Ends – 19/06/2015

Kid Rock – Wasting Time – 26/09/2015

Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes – 23/07/2015

Kooga – Across the Water – 15/03/2015

Krokus – Bedside Radio – 23/11/2015

Krypteria – Sweet Revenge – 06/06/2015

Laidlaw – A Little Time – 27/09/2015

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song – 24/11/2015

Leverage – Wolf and the Moon – 26/03/2015

Little Walter – Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights – 09/10/2015

Lonnie Donegan – The Battle of New Orleans – 11/12/2015

Loreena McKennitt – The Mummer’s Dance – 30/12/2015

Louis XIV – Louis XIV – 27/06/2015

Love/Hate – Black Out in the Red Room – 06/07/2015

Lyle Workman – Code 3 – 05/04/2015

Lynch Mob – No Bed of Roses – 30/03/2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird – 28/05/2015

Magica – All Waters Have the Colour of Drowning – 24/04/2015

Magnum – The Teacher – 23/02/2015

Magnum – The Spirit – 26/12/2015

Manilla Road – The Riddle Master – 18/03/2015

Manowar – Carry On – 09/05/2015

Marillion – The Unexpected Guest – 22/06/2015

Marilyn Manson – Coma White – 30/07/2015

Marshall Hain – Dancing in the City – 12/06/2015

Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See – 02/08/2015

Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell – 25/11/2015

Medicine Hat – Too Far Gone – 29/11/2015

Metal Church – End of the Age – 19/02/2015

Metallica – Enter Sandman – 10/09/2015

Michael Bolton – Everybody’s Crazy – 12/03/2015

Millennium – Power to Love – 03/06/2015

Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod – 23/12/2015

Molly Hatchet – Boogie No More – 25/02/2015

Montgomery Gentry – What Do Ya Think About That – 05/07/2015

Montrose – Rock Candy – 23/05/2015

Moon Dog Mane – Roll With the Punches – 16/08/2015

Motley Crue – Kickstart my Heart – 16/01/2015

Motley Crue – Too Fast for Love (Leathur) – 25/12/2015

Motorhead – Lost Johnny – 02/01/2015

Motorhead – Louie Louie – 30/12/2015

Mud – Dynamite – 15/04/2015

Nancy Sinatra – My Baby Shot Me Down – 01/04/2015

Nazareth – Broken Down Angel – 07/02/2015

Nightranger – Reason To Be – 14/11/2015

Nightwish – I Wish I Had an Angel – 09/09/2015

NRG – Instruments of Destruction – 14/06/2015

Olympus Mons – Through the Ice and Snow – 07/09/2015

One Minute Silence – I Wear My Skin – 08/05/2015

Overkill – Feel the Fire – 19/05/2015

Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train – 17/08/2015

P!nk – Fuckin’ Perfect – 28/11/2015

Pallas – Arrive Alive – 23/08/2015

Pink Fairies – The Snake – 11/05/2015

Powerwolf – Amen and Attack – 13/04/2015

Powerwolf – Armata Strigoi – 28/12/2015

Preacher Stone – Southern Hospitality – 06/12/2015

Prism – Don’t Let Him Know – 28/07/2015

Puff Daddy – Come With Me – 08/04/2015

Q5 – Steel the Light – 16/06/2015

Quartz – Satan’s Serenade – 30/11/2015

Queensryche – The Needle Lies – 31/03/2015

Quireboys – Whippin’ Boy – 25/06/2015

R Dean Taylor – Ghost in my House – 13/05/2015

Racer X – Heart of a Lion – 24/05/2015

Rage – Cry on a Hill – 28/01/2015

Rainbow – Tarot Woman – 03/05/2015

Rammstein – Feuer Frei! – 15/09/2015

Raven – Don’t Need Your Money – 29/08/2015

Rebel Meets Rebel – Nothing to Lose – 11/09/2015

Rebel Syndicate – Welcome to the South – 29/03/2015

Revolution Saints – Turn Back Time – 13/01/2015

Rick Springfield – Motel Eyes – 16/10/2015

Riot – Warrior – 01/12/2015

Rob Hustle – Call the Cops – 04/08/2015

Robert Johnson – Love in Vain – 13/10/2015

Robin Beck – Hide Your heart – 01/03/2015

Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil – 14/04/2015

Rory Gallagher – Brute Force and Ignorance – 12/12/2015

Roughhouse – Can’t Find Love – 24/06/2015

Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman – 25/04/2015

Ruby Friedman – You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive – 18/12/2015

Rush – Temples of Syrinx – 26/06/2015

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Don’t Shoot – 28/10/2015

Samantha Martin & the Haggard – Six White Horses – 27/10/2015

Sammy Hagar – Red – 22/05/2015

Samson – Losing My Grip – 29/05/2015

Samuel L Jackson – Stackolee – 27/12/2015

Santers – Racing Time – 19/09/2015

Saracen – Heroes, Saints and Fools – 22/09/2015

Savatage – Handful of Rain – 21/09/2015

Saxon – Princess of the Night – 11/04/2015

Scarlett Jane – Aching Heart – 07/11/2015

Scorpions – Catch Your Train – 27/03/2015

Seree Lee – Victory – 20/04/2015

ShanyTown – Cry for the Bad Man – 08/11/2015

Shark Island – Somebody’s Falling – 22/08/2015

Shinedown – The Sound of Madness – 10/05/2015

Shooter Jennings – Southern Family Anthem – 26/04/2015

Shotgun Messiah – Jihad – 30/04/2015

Skid Row – Monkey Business – 28/04/2015

Skinny Molly – High Price of Low Living – 12/08/2015

Ski’s Country Trash – Hell Yeah – 23/01/2015

Skyhooks – Women in Uniform – 15/02/2015

Slave Raider – Take the World by Storm – 02/12/2015

Slick Lilly – Lower Side of Nowhere – 13/09/2015

Sluagh – 7 Rings for the Foolish King – 03/11/2015

Small Faces – Tin Soldier – 25/01/2015

Smoky Fingers – Old Jack – 13/12/2015

Smoky Robinson – Tears of a Clown – 14/05/2015

Sniff ‘n’ the Tears – Driver’s Seat – 16/09/2015

Soil – Halo – 31/07/2015

Sonata Arctica – Wildfire – 18/07/2015

Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us – 10/04/2015

Spiral Castle – Spirit of Albion – 18/02/2015

Starz – Violation – 01/09/2015

Status Quo – Mystery Song – 20/02/2015

Steelheart – Steelheart – 31/05/2015

Stereoside – On Our Way – 03/08/2015

Steve Earle – Copperhead Road – 07/06/2015

Steve Jones – God in Louisiana – 13/06/2015

Stevie Ray Vaughn – Rude Mood – 08/07/2015

Stick McGhee – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show – 27/04/2015

Stone Fury – Shannon You Lose – 09/03/2015

Storm – Machine Gun – 09/02/2015

Stray – All in Your Mind – 26/05/2015

Stryper – Battle Hymn of the Republic – 12/07/2015

Styx – Queen of Spades – 14/08/2015

Sully Erna – 7 Years – 08/06/2015

Supercharger – Get What You Deserve – 04/05/2015

Superswamp Heroes – Livin’ Proof – 18/10/2015

Surgin’ – When Midnight Comes – 21/02/2015

Survivor – When Seconds Count – 30/06/2015

Sweet – Wig Wam Bam – 06/01/2015

T Rex – 20th Century Boy – 21/01/2015

Talon – Paradise – 30/05/2015

Tarot – Grey – 07/04/2015

Ted Nugent – Stranglehold – 05/03/2015

Tenacious D – Tribute – 07/07/2015

Tengger Cavalry – The Wolf Ritual – 21/12/2015

Tesla – Little Suzi – 18/06/2015

The Almighty – Free ‘n’ Easy – 12/04/2015

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun – 26/10/2015

The Black Crowes – Hard to Handle – 31/10/2015

The Black Keys – When the Lights Go Out – 19/12/2015

The Blasters – Blue Shadow – 02/03/2015

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow – 01/11/2015

The Devil’s Daughters – Pass That Bottle – 21/05/2015

The Grip – Be Yourself – 09/11/2015

The Jarmels – A Little Bit of Soap – 06/02/2015

The New Black – The King I Was – 29/01/2015

The Offspring – Why Don’t You Get a Job – 26/11/2015

The Rattles – The Witch – 07/05/2015

The Rods – Nothing Going on in the City – 11/01/2015

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog – 02/02/2015

The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again – 24/10/2015

The Wildcards – St James Infirmary – 29/10/2015

Thin Lizzy – Cowboy Song – 19/08/2015

Thunder – She’s So Fine – 24/02/2015

Thundermother – It’s Just a Tease – 03/12/2015

Thunderstone – Tool of the Devil – 24/03/2015

Tiger Army – Forever Fades Away – 15/12/2015

Tishamingo – Devil’s Love Song – 03/04/2015

Toby Keith – Bullets in the Gun – 03/07/2015

Tom Robinson Band – Power in the Darkness – 11/08/2015

Tony Christie – I Did What I Did for Maria – 06/04/2015

Triumph – Lay It on the Line – 06/03/2015

Trixter – Tattoos and Misery – 28/02/2015

Turisas – Rasputin – 16/02/2015

Twisted Sister – What You Don’t know – 03/02/2015

Tygers of Pan Tang – Suzie Smiled – 26/01/2015

Tyketto – Forever Young – 08/01/2015

Ugly Kid Joe – Cats in the Cradle – 20/10/2015

Undertones – Get Over You – 05/01/2015

Unsun – Time – 04/12/2015

Urge Overkill – Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon – 29/09/2015

Uriah Heep – Stealin’ – 30/01/2015

Uriah Heep – Lady in Black – 22/12/2015

Van Canto – Last Night of the Kings – 22/10/2015

Van Halen – Ice Cream Man – 17/06/2015

Vardis – The Loser – 11/03/2015

Vaughn – Haunted – 05/12/2015

Victory – Seven Days Makes One Weak – 08/10/2015

Vintage Trouble – Nobody Told Me – 04/09/2015

Visions of Atlantis – The Poem – 21/04/2015

Von Groove – C’mon C’mon – 18/09/2015

Voodoo Circle – Cry For Love – 23/03/2015

W.A.S.P. – Love Machine – 07/12/2015

Warlord – 70,000 Sorrows – 17/09/2015

Warrant – Uncle Tom’s Cabin – 10/06/2015

Warren Zevon – Transverse City – 20/01/2015

Waysted – Heaven Tonight – 08/02/2015

Wednesday 13 – Keep Watching the Skies – 26/02/2015

White Lion – Lady of the Valley – 21/07/2015

White Sister – Dancin’ on Midnight – 12/02/2015

Whitesnake – Steal Away – 19/10/2015

Wildfire – Wild Dogs – 14/12/2015

Wolf – Soul for the Devil – 14/03/2015

Woods of Ypres – Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) – 04/11/2015

XYZ – Nice Day to Die – 08/12/2015

Y&T – Hungry for Rock – 09/12/2015

Zac Brown Band – Fox on the Run – 22/11/2015

Zephyr – Hard Chargin’ Woman – 10/12/2015

ZZ Top – La Grange – 04/03/2015


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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in It's Only Rock 'n' Roll


Goodbye to the Man in Black

I lost one of my very few icons barely a week ago: (Ian) Lemmy Kilminster.
(For all but the last few weeks, I ‘knew’ Lemmy as Kilminster, not Kilmister. Doesn’t seem right to correct that now.)

We hadn’t spoken in decades, and I’m nothing but just another fan he chatted with half a dozen times (and once complimented my then-fiancee on her amazing cleavage, as she bounced off him at the Marquee, one evening many years ago, before sharing a knowing grin with me).

I first heard Motörhead a few weeks after they released their debut album in 1977. Something about that album hit me so deep. It is still my favourite Motörhead album, and I wear the first four lines of ‘Lost Johnny’ across my upper back. Whenever no music can reach whatever strange mood I have arrived in, the album ‘Motörhead’ will retrieve me.

For me, Lemmy was the living example of ‘no compromise’. There were vanishingly few examples of that back then, and even fewer now. From the simple expedients of wearing black at all times and only getting suited and booted when he pleased, to the cheerful admission of a speed and whiskey fueled life, he always did things his way and you either accepted it or you could go and fuck yourself.

As far as I can see, the phrase “sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” only truly applied to him. Because he did the rock ‘n’ roll life for over 50 years. No-one has survived that better, and been that honest in accepting that your lifestyle will kill you. As well as creating a wealth of music; many of the songs with incisive lyrics. Of course, many of the songs didn’t have incisive lyrics, because Lemmy wrote rock ‘n’ roll. When the music is felt by your body, it doesn’t always need to speak cleverly to your mind.

I often wondered what Lemmy made of twenty-first century life. Such an erudite man watching a world failing to heed the lessons of a history he knew so well.

We’ve just lost one of the only rockers who could remember a world before rock ‘n’ roll. Time passes, and I am beginning to suspect that the losses outweigh the gains.

Goodbye, Mister Kilminster. It has been a privilege to witness your life and share in your music.

Music that I will, without fail, continue to play as loud as I like. 🙂


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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in It's Only Rock 'n' Roll


The Art of Party and the Shoggoth in the Punch

My previous post about the Birthday Trophy Shelf reminded me about a couple of parties I’ve been involved in. Which has engaged the rock ‘n’ roll time machine. We’re going back… Way back…

Early eighties. The local rocker community still considered Metallica’s Kill ’em All to be the precursor of a new heavy metal genre. Hell, I still liked them. 🙂 Anyway, I had a birthday approaching and it fell on (or near – memory is unclear) a Saturday. As we had all come together at a local venue call ‘The Balmoral’ and adopted it as our rockin’ home – even after it moved – it seemed only natural to invite my shaggy, fiercely independent and deeply clique’d extended family back for a shindig.

There was a ‘problem’. My mum. Deeply religious and as fierce in her belief that I was ‘going through a phase’ as I was in my belief that rock ‘n’ roll was my home. So, careful negotiations ensued. Lies were told. Permission was granted after a month-long parental objection erosion campaign.

On the afternoon of the day, breakables were cleared away and the downstairs was ‘streamlined’. My ridiculous hi-fi was moved into the dining room with due reverence for the sacred wiring. (The dining room being the furthest point in the house from mumsie’s bedroom.) Something like having ground zero next door instead of on your own lawn, in effect. The lounge would be the ‘crash room’. The kitchen was, of course, the hub of the weirdness.

And on that note, we approach the heart of this tale: the punch. Using a twenty-litre wine-making drum, we started to pour litres of fruit juice with glee into a Smirnoff (several litres) and sugar base. This was enhanced by using up all the spirits in the wine cabinet that mum was happy to get rid of. As early evening approached, we geared up and departed for the pub.

Upon the kitchen table, the lidded drum of punch stood. Using a camera view from horror films, our vision slips inside. In the fruit-scented darkness, a dim light helps us see: the liquid, nascent party fuel, stands quiet. Then a little bubble rises to the surface. It is followed by another. More follow. A happenstance of frankensteinian fermentation. It lives. 😀

Several hours later, a motley crew staggers the two-mile journey back. It had been a long walk. The punch, served in half-pint glasses, was welcome. Everybody quaffed except the few non-drinkers (me and err… no-one else). Music started. A convivial evening of mild rock ‘n’ roll excess was expected.

The punch had other ideas. It had waited, quietly fermenting, for between four and six hours. It would have its victims.

My party took off. I was sober. I watched perfectly ‘normal’ (yes, sceptisism is valid) rockers lose their inhibitions, to a greater, lesser or weirder extent. Everyone was what, to this day, I take to be the quintessential definition of ‘blotto’ – that fine English term for happily, harmlessly, utterly drunk. The night became an exercise in damage limitation. Not that I considered it that. I was just preventing people getting too out of hand. Thankfully, there were no pugnacious types. But things happened outside my purview and the night, while being rather a lot of fun, became a series of discoveries:

A friend of my ex, and her fella, retiring to an empty room for some together time. My bedroom. My bed. GERROFF!

The lounge door stuck. People couldn’t get in. The hall became a packed traffic jam for a while, until I forged across the melee and tried the door. It swung open to my mates happy grin. He’d just discovered that the lass he fancied was taken with him too. Party be damned, immediate carnal discovery on and over the three-piece suite had to be done.

Someone was violently ill in the downstairs toilet. Unfortunately, they didn’t lift the lid beforehand. (It was twelve years before the culprit finally confessed.)

My ex and her best girl getting very friendly on the stairs.That was the moment I learned to divorce my emotions from my actions, because an awful lot of me (and half a dozen other voyeurs of both sexes) wanted to let that bout continue.

Someone fed the dog what I suspect to be chips and curry sauce… Poor Dusty. The next day his arse was the world’s first poop airbrush. (I still don’t know who did that.)

And so on. Random groping, surreptitious fucking, a lot of falling over, headbanging, a stack of heavy metal kids shootin’ the shit and puttin’ their narrow world to rights; character assassination, bonking in the bath (your secret is still safe with me) and mother complaining – until being so scandalised upon her second foray that she retired to her bedroom and did not emerge until daybreak.

Come dawn, I stood amidst a scene of devastation. About thirty bodies carpeted the downstairs floors. Not even snores were to be heard. The Party Shoggoth had laid them all out, rearranged the joint, and shlarfed off to find a place to rest and digest.

Mum descended the stairs, and in that silence of unwitnessed mortification, she looked at me and quietly said: “We are not doing this again.”

Then she looked about, and with that wonderful sang froid that only mothers can bring to bear, she said: “I’ll put the kettle on.”

And so, the survivors were roused with a NATO standard coffee (white with two sugars) apiece. Everybody got one, regardless of preferences. Most tellingly, they all happily drank it.

Except Paul. He woke, smiled, said: “Good party”, then rolled over, pulled out the unopened bottle of Bacardi he’d hidden behind the dresser, popped the cap and took a breakfast-sized slug.

He was still hitting the bottle happily as he departed into the clear morning, wandering off up the road singing an obscure rock ballad to himself, around puffs of his cigarette.

In his wake, but in other directions, the rest of my guests departed. Bleary-eyed, dishevelled, grinning into the morning sun. We rocked.

I may achieve little more in this life. But I have thrown one proper rock ‘n’ roll party.



The Green Park Hop

Sitting here with a mild outbreak of lonely-and-pissed-off-with-life caused some eccentric connection to occur and a memory surfaced… The rock ‘n’ roll time machine is taking me back three decades…

I spent a lot of my time going to gigs at Hammersmith. It was a long train journey and the last train back to the South Coast meant you could just about see the whole gig, encore/s and catch the train if you left quick and got lucky.
Anyone who’s heaved out of a gig in London will remember the roiling crowd. In my case, it was a moving mass of leather, denim and attitude, with side orders of chips and loud. Getting into the tube station could be a problem, let alone getting a train.

After that herculean task was achieved, most folk changed at Earl’s Court to head for Victoria. But an old gig-going companion introduced me to a cheat: rather than fight the hordes, ride the line to Green Park and change onto the Victoria line. No crowds, more room to get a move on.
But getting a move on is where the ‘last blast of the night’ came in. To go from Piccadilly Line to Victoria Line at Green Park, you had to traipse down a long, straight corridor. We didn’t have time to walk if we wanted to avoid kipping on the platform at Vic for a night. You had to run. Flat out, just short of a sprint, hair flying, cutdown and leathers blowing back, ‘normal’ people heading for the walls as the pack stormed through.

It was a rush. The momentary power of mob-induced fear giving us a grandiose coda to the gig. Heady but harmless, I thought. Until one of the last times: I had linked up with a different crew to blow through the corridor on the ‘Green Park Hop’.
As we hollered and ran, an old lady loudly commented: “Bloody hooligans running wild!”.
One of the gents with me pulled up and turned to her with a smile: “We’re not runnin’ wild, missus. We’re runnin’ fer the bloody train.”
Her indignation vanished and with a smile she said: “Thanks yer for stopping. Now yer better bugger off sharpish.”
We did, chuckling – and we made the train.

That running with the pack feeling was superb. But what I remember most is the relief in that old lady’s eyes when she realised that we weren’t a threat.

Leather and denim and respect.

No matter what your tribe, have courtesy towards everyone until they prove unworthy.


The Touch of Distant Thunder

I remember being crashed out in a friend’s bedroom, listening to early Black Sabbath on a summer evening, windows open as a storm rolled in from the West. The peals of thunder fitted themselves into the music, raising my hackles and the charged air only enhanced the atmosphere. We talked across every subject as teenagers do (or I hope they still do, emerging from behind their consoles and phones briefly), while the storm lashed outside. Rain blew in the window and things flew around.

Even though we were both stationary, the feeling of being alive, of being part of something yet infinitely above things was awesome. For a moment on that summer night, we were gods. Or at least dark avatars of storm.

The moment came and eventually departed. I am sure that the coincidence of heavy metal and profound events in life cemented my love of rock music.

I do not care. I can listen to certain tracks and I am restored to be that dark avatar of storm, years unravelling and taking my worries and fatigue with them. For the length of a track, I am manifest destiny, I am indestructible and I can do any-fucking-thing.

Then, as all things must, the track finishes. I pack my air guitar away and grin. I know it’s just a momentary transport, but the echoes stay with me.

And that is precious. To walk with the mists of power wafting through your soul. Or something like that 😀

Because that is why the longhair you see doesn’t really seem bothered by the minutae of life. He knows there are greater things coming and that the trivia is not the all of life.

May you have something that restores your child, your belief and your magic.

I can recommend rock ‘n’ roll if you’re still seeking.


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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in It's Only Rock 'n' Roll


Let There Be Rock

As a child smart in all the not very practical things being raised by his great grandparents, I had a lonely first decade. That shaped me in ways I still have not fully understood. With the arrival of my brother to mum and my new dad, things became strange and then returned to being the same. My only resource was me. Mum trusted the good lord to raise me well, which was a mistake. He and I stopped talking very early on. By the time my brother was five, I had been a thief, a consumate liar, a vandal, a thug, very much a loner and more than a little wierd, topped off by the fact that mum’s faith kept me going to a Sunday group called Crusaders for long enough for me to become a Templar Knight in their attendance based reward system. Looking back, I was ripe for an epiphany.

At school I struggled due to sheer laziness. I was a librarian to avoid bullies that had followed me from junior school and an English teacher described me as ‘glib’. I could talk my way out of damn near anything involving reasonable people. By the age of fifteen I was on track for moderate academic success and a steady job doing something average.

It was that year, 1977, when one of my wilder friends from wargaming briefly let the odd kid in on his other life. That summer, due to circumstances, all his usual mates were off with family. So I got to hang out with him as a last resort. On top of that, I discovered that some girls liked a lad who read and was funny and hated football.

I had become the disk jockey at the church youth club and discovered rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins (the only version of Blue Suede Shoes that counts). Apart from that, the rest was pop pap as far as I was concerned. One evening, my mate was listening to me whinge about the music and said “Listen to this”.

What came out of his speakers hit me so hard. I did not know that it was a brand new debut LP release by an unheard of band. All I knew was that the music reached deep inside me and settled in to stay. The album was ‘Motorhead’. After that, he played me Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’. That night, I cycled home in a daze.

I have never looked back with regret on that moment. What ‘heavy metal’ gave me was somewhere to be. Somewhere to find the words to express emotions half-formed inside of me, music to fit the words from the books I had read.

Thirty-five years later and my love of rock music is unabated. I still find new bands producing music that just reaches through whatever mood I am in to lift me into a place I can never describe but have not found any other way. This stuff is me. Down by my breathing, my faith and my love, there is heavy metal scaffolding that supports and defends what is truly me from all comers.

The Rolling Stones said: “It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – but I like it.”

I would go one step further: “It’s rock ‘n’ roll. I need it.”

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in It's Only Rock 'n' Roll

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