Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Steve Allan Jones Interview

Steve Allan Jones has been a touring member of The Alarm, was the music supervisor for the "Vinyl" soundtrack as well as being an on going member of Spear Of Destiny but that's only the tip of the iceberg as I found out when I caught up with Steve this month. 

How did you first meet Mike Peters?

I was 17 and had the lead in the Rhyl High school play.We were rehearsing in the drama studio.After our rehearsal this bunch of youths starting setting up a few amps and a drum kit. I stayed to listen to this god awful noise they were making. Somehow it sounded great! After they finished I shuffled up to say hello. Two Mikes were playing guitar Mike Evans and Mike Peters.. I asked if they wanted a piano player.. I was in!

You formed a band together while still at school, what can you tell us about it?

 Mike and I didn’t really know what to do.We jammed in the Bod Unig pub in Dyserth. There’s a fab photo of us jamming in Rhyl Youth Club..Mike and I,Steve Oldfield ,Glyn Crossley,Eddie MacDonald,Nige Buckle and Tony Babbington..Eventually we had a lineup . Harry Hippy was the name given to us by a DJ at the Stables nightclub where we rehearsed.We played a couple of school gigs and some Stables sixth form shows. In fact I think our first proper show was Mike’s sister’s 21st birthday party. I am pretty sure we played “If you Think You Know How To Love Me “ by Smokie!

You went to see the Sex Pistols with Mike in 1976, was this what inspired you to enter a career in music like it did so many others?

We used to go to a rock club in Chester called Quaintways. As we left one week there was a poster on the wall... next week the notorious Sex Pistols! We went and were blown away by the Pistols energy. This was very early on. After the show we ended up in the bar and the band were there. I remember Mike and I being tongue tied. In the end I think Mike nudged me forward (he was quite shy in those days!) and I mumbled something like “ How do you write your songs?” Johnny Rotten looked me up and down as if I was shit on his shoe and looked away with the words “Get the beers in Glen!” This encounter awakened something in both of us.  I am not sure we could see a career in music but we could see that writing our own tunes was a way forward.Simple direct tunes with hooks and energy. Although I had some formal music knowledge this punk rock didn't need that information.. For us the world had opened up and we wanted some of it.

What was the punk scene like in Wales? 

There wasn't one. I can only speak of Rhyl. By now Mike and I had gone our separate ways. Mike had formed the Toilets and I had formed Amsterdam.Mike  and various others had taken over the 1520 Club in Rhyl for punk nights.. Big in Japan played one night.There was spitting. Mike was more punk than me..I wanted to be Elvis Costello and Mike wanted to be Joe Strummer 

You were in a few bands in those Rhyl days – Stripey, Amsterdam and X Men what are your memories of those bands?

Stripey –cabaret - great fun learnt a lot.
Amsterdam – original songs, paid my dues gigging across the north west nearly had some success but again great fun.
 X Men-  the first band with a proper concept. Grey shirts ,two keyboard players.. sort of New Romantic . We played two gigs and went down a storm so rather than mess about we decided to move to London. Only Pete Picton (now in major league journalism) and I made it to London. Whereupon the X Men were no more.

Then came Tuphelo Torpedoes with Gareth Jones (Gaz Top) was that when things started to get moving? 

Well actually next was my stint with Glasgow band Berlin Blondes. They were signed to EMI then Gary Numan’s label. We toured a lot. Supported Theatre of Hate amongst others. After a tour with Hot Gossip (yes really) we changed singers and got in David Freeman. David had been in punk band The Flys. Great singer. He went on to write No More I Love Yous covered by Annie Lennox. The Blondes split despite having regrouped and had plenty of record company interest. I formed a new band Shazam with Pete Picton. Sort of electronic Northern soul. Then a band called War of  Roses. Again so near to signing a deal. We demoed for EMI amongst others. I remember getting very drunk one day and falling through a coffee table.. that was it .. no more music for me.
Anyhow..I had dropped out of music for a while and lost contact with The Alarm crew. I remember bumping into Gareth at Pete Pictons wedding. Gareth had some songs he wanted to play so we got the Tuphs together and played a few gigs. We also wrote a  couple of TV show themes together. I think Gareth’s enthusiasm got me back into music.

Steve Allan Jones - European Tour 1990
You joined The Alarm for the European dates on the Change tour, how did that come about and what stands out for you after all these years?
Was you joining (while Mark was touring with Sinead O’Connor) a band decision or helped by you being managed by Twists step dad Pete Buckle?

 I will answer these two together. I had moved back to North Wales to write my own stuff. Pete Buckle was an enormous help, providing me with the means to do a year of writing. Strangely enough Gareth sent me MP3s of those tunes so I am going to rework them in the New Year! Anyhow..Pete had a call from Nige to say that Mark Taylor had got another gig and could I step in. I seem to remember there was a moment in Pete’s office when I just didn't think I was up to joining the band. For one ,there were to be no rehearsals.. I was sent cassettes of the tunes and learnt them in North Wales. Mike, Nige and myself flew out of Manchester to the Netherlands on the day of the Towyn floods. I did the soundcheck and there I was that night playing! Terrifying. There were so many amazing moments on that tour. During a gig in Italy the sequencer went down on one song. Might have been Sold Me Down the River. So Eddie jumped back on bass .. I had held the bass line down while he did. The whole song took off.. Dave went for a walk round the theatre ...just a band playing but something special happened that night. I can still feel the buzz.

How did the suicide of Pete Buckle affect you?

We were on the European tour and I spoke to Pete on the phone. He sounded so different. I have spoken little about Pete’s passing and I like to keep my feelings about this private. However , I will always be grateful to Pete for everything he did to make me believe in myself. He was a remarkable man. Indeed Nige's mum Barbara was a source of wise words for many years too. I was very close to them both.

How did you take the news of The Alarms split, knowing the band did you see it coming?

 I could see it coming. The European tour was strange. Although the four lads were playing together something wasn't right.I knew them all since the early days and they were pulling apart. I could see some of the reasons too. I am sure that everyone has pressure in their lives but being in a band has to be up there with the most pressurised. You are work colleagues but also friends. You have your band life and your personal life. It is very difficult to find yourself amidst all the noise and travelling. On a personal level I was upset by the split. This isn't hot news but I was friends with them all and to see four mates fall out was hard to take. It’s one thing to split the band but the circumstances were traumatic. I am sure  that in hindsight,  the lads wish it hadn't panned out the way it did.

You continued to be involved with Twist and Dave Sharp post split, what do you remember of this time?

 I suppose after The Alarm split I thought I would go back to writing. However I had no manager and actually no work! That is when I fell into theatre work. However I digress..
Nige and I wanted to write dance music together. I flew out to San Fran and spent three weeks working on tunes. I think they eventually saw a release..its 20 years ago! Nige was instrumental in my adoption of the computer as a creative tool. Nige is also one of the best drummers I have had the pleasure to work with. I also played in Dave’s band for a while. Good fun. He is a very talented man.
I feel I should also talk about Eddie here. Eddie was in an early incarnation of my band Amsterdam. We were still kids really. Eddie has a real sense of a hook line and although he is not involved with music at the moment,his legacy as a songwriter stands the test of time.

Many fans will know you from the mighty Spear Of Destiny of course and from Kirks solo works both live and studio with the “Dutch Masters” series. How did you get the gig?

I think it was 2000. I had  a call out of the blue from Liam – Kirk’s manager. He said he had got my number from Si  the drummer in Dave Sharp’s band.  Liam said that a keys player had let them down and could I do the gig . It turns out that it was the very first Westworld weekend. So I got sent cassettes of the songs and learnt them as best I could. That Saturday I set up my gear on stage and Kirk came up to me and said where were you in rehearsals? I explained that I was the new boy. Once more I was on stage with a band without having rehearsed! Since then I have played with Spear /Kirk every year.

Your first Spear album was “Loadestone” I believe, what are your memories of that album? 

To be honest I can’t remember much! Kirk and I have a way of working together. I have signature sounds that Kirk likes and he will often say try that sound. I have learnt that Kirk is a unique songwriter with his own sense of melody. When playing piano I have developed almost a power chord style which, for musos out there often means no thirds!

What dictates whether or not you appear on a Spear album or tour, is it availability or whatever Kirk decides?

It is usually cost! Touring with an extra player can be the difference between profit and loss . Spear fans can hear me virtually on most Spear gigs as I have recorded various keys parts for use live. I think I have appeared on all Kirk /Spear albums since 2000.

You also featured on the following “Imperial Prototype” album, another personal fave of mine, with tracks such as “Berlin Berlin” and “Santa Clause” what are your favourite moments on record with SoD?
 Although I always love appearing on Spear albums, I prefer the Dutch Masters series. Usually Kirk and I plus a few guests.

The latest in the “Dutch Masters” series (Volume Five) has had great fan reactions, were you surprised at how quickly tracks like the cover of “Skyfall” spread around the net?

Not surprised at all.”DM5” is a fantastic album. I am very proud of it. Kirk always tries to push the boundaries and this time its resulted in a really wonderful mix. Skyfall..the story behind it..Kirk calls and says he wants to cover it and what do I think. Well I thought it was inspired. I worked out a rough piano arrangement and we began work..it became obvious that Kirk’s version was going to be different. I kept telling him to listen to the original. I could have told him the notes to sing but then he would be copying. All through rehearsals KB never quite nailed it. It would fall apart somewhere. I knew he would do it in the gig. KB and I have done a few Akoustik gigs but this year's Westworld and the short tour in the summer were the most nerve wracking. I think there lies the magic. We have both been in the business for a long time but I can honestly say that we were both nervous as hell. When KB sings those “money” notes there is no-one on the planet who can touch him for sheer thrilling singing.

How was the Westworld Weekend this year?  

Following on from the above .The Saturday afternoon gig. We finished with Skyfall..the electricity was in the air. We finished the song and for a brief moment there was silence. I think everyone didn't know how to react. I swear I heard someone crying. All I can say is that I treasure my moments on and off stage with KB and I am glad to say he is my friend.

How early on did you become involved in the “Vinyl” project?

Day 1! Here is my recollection of the story. Many years ago I was having a cuppa with Mike and he casually mentions  that someone had sent him a script based around the Alarm scam. I remember emailing Sara in LA asking her if she had heard of Jim Cooper (scriptwriter) or John Williams ( executive producer) Sara emailed back to say that she was going to see John about a project the next day! 24 hours later John had shown Sara the script and she wanted to direct it. Funny old world.
During shooting Mike called to ask if I could give a hand . I ended up working with the actors to learn the tunes that were used in filming. I also coached the auditionees. I was  filmed for that sequence but thankfully my performance ended up on the cutting room floor. Mike and I reshaped the young bands tune near the end of the movie too..

Did you know Sara Sugarman from your teen years? 

Yes and here the circle completes. The school play I was in where I first met Mike  featured a young third former – Sara Sugarman.

Can you describe the Vinyl writing and recording sessions, did everything come together as quickly as it appeared to on the making of DVD?

Mike and I had already started writing together for the musical. The film had been shot and Mike and I had seen a rough cut with original punk music from the 70’s. There was no way that the film could afford the fees to use those songs so Mike and I offered to write the soundtrack. The cornerstone was Mike finding the original Toilets songs. Mike and I were also trying to write new stuff for it too. We had a few ideas. My concern was that the new stuff and the old stuff wouldn't co-exist. So I suggested that if we were going to make this work, we had to try and recreate the spirit of punk. So Mike called Aerial studios and within a week we were there writing and recording. Phil Daniels,Smiley and James came up to contribute. Mike took the lead with the Toilets songs. Sometimes we literally played a song as we were learning it  and that is what you hear on the soundtrack! The basic tracks came together in one weekend. We then took those away and added to them at the Chapel. Mike was going out on a tour so we got everything we needed from Mike before he went. The song Breed Apart came about right at the end of these sessions. Mike had an idea  which he played to me. We worked on the chord sequence trying to add a twist to the structure. I remember saying to Mike about the major to minor changes in 68 Guns so we worked through the song to get something similar.

Did working with such a tight deadline help give the music a real urgency?

The tight deadlines were a help to get the spirit of the music right. With Mike away on tour it was left to Martin Wilding and I to add more vocals and mix for the film. It all happened quickly with four or five tracks going over to Sara every day. Even then that wasn't the end of it. Sara emailed a few times to ask for short incidental pieces. For example the music behind the young band leaving the chapel in the van was all me.. pitched changed and altered..at one point I am also a bit Buzzcocks! Wherever there was a music gap I filled it.
As we were replacing music in the film we had to keep to the tempos as closely as we could. Smiley is such a fantastic drummer that that was no problem! 

How was it with James Stevenson playing bass rather than his more familiar Les Paul?

That was Mike’s idea. I loved the way James gave some real oomph to the songs. He is a clever bloke!

You are credited as co writer on a total of five of the tracks on Vinyl, can you talk us through your influences and ideas?

“A Breed Apart”  See above

“Rip It Up” – Mike’s idea which we batted back and forth until we got the version you hear on the album. Phil added his lyrical slant to it too..The idea was to provide an authentic soundtrack to the Weapons of Happiness musical history

“La La La London” Again a Mike idea which we played in my studio initially.. the rhythm changes from verse to chorus.I listened to this yesterday and realised that the uncredited trumpet on this track is played by Stan the Man

“Cowpat Town” One of the ones we improvised in the studio. James had a bass line and I had a chord sequence. Phil provided the rest!

“Immediate Girl”  This is an old Toilets tune which we reshaped . I think I added the middle 8 section.. I wanted the duel  lead vocal to echo American new wave bands.

You are also the Music Supervisor for the album, can you tell us a little about what that involved? 

Traditionally the music supervisor  has a more unexciting role.. however if there was music required I was there!  Sara asked what I wanted to be credited as and as I had musically directed /coached and co-written songs it was easier to call myself music supervisor! I even edited La La La London to fit the picture we had.

Was your organ line on “Alarm Alarm” a homage to Dave Greenfield or just a way of getting the ’77 sound? 

It is actually a Hohner Pianet – a small cheap electric piano sound. A very Stranglers sound
Interesting fact. The soundtrack in the film and the OST CD release are different mixes.

How did you break into TV work?

As I said, it was Gareth who  initially helped. I still get bits and pieces and have recently teamed up with a major TV composer so 2014 may well see me work more in this field.

What would people have possibly heard without knowing it’s you? 

That is easy. For about four months of the year I write and produce childrens audio. You may have heard me singing and playing original or traditional songs on albums for Early Learning Centre or Marks and Spencer. For anyone reading this outside the UK I write for Imaginarium the worldwide toy company.  Gareth once said he was walking down Green lanes in North London when he heard me blaring out of a car! Even stranger The One Show was on a couple of years ago.It was a feature about caterpillars. I was watching it... but the soundtrack was me singing a song about Creepy Crawlies! Every so often in the background I hear one of mine. I also co-wrote an album with Pete Coyle (LotusEaters) which once got played in the background of the Emmerdale pub.

Your site states that you are working on a musical called “OXY” with Mike Peters and Paul Sirett, what can you tell us about it? 

Very little at this stage. Its a project Mike and I began well before the movie. Last year I said that either we moved it on or forgot about it. We moved it on. So much so that it has changed and morphed into its own life. I can say that it still has a lot of the both of us in it. I will also say that it is about two brothers who form a punk band in the 70’s.

What is Mikes involvement? 

From the outset we both wrote the synopsis and music. Now with Paul on board the split is three ways. It is a democratic way of working that we are all comfortable with.When the soundtrack appears you will hear what I mean.

Is it going to have a static run or do you hope to tour it? 

Both! It has been taken up and we are now in the hands of the producers.

You’re about to hit the panto season, what are you doing and where can we catch it? As I write I am in the Floral Pavilion New Brighton until Jan 5th. Jack and the Beanstalk. Cool cast, packed houses, cheesey jokes but the music  is poppy and rocky. Great fun and so different from rock and roll.

What are your plans for 2014?

The musical takes centre stage for me. If it  all pans out , you will  see the show this year. The first batch of songs are complete and we are all very proud of them. We have some more compositional work to do on it which will happen mid January. Nothing else confirmed yet however so what will be will be. I am writing a new childrens album in Spring 2014. Probably more work with Kirk.I usually make an appearance at the Gathering either on stage or at the bar!

Steve Allan Jones, thank you very much and here's to a great year ahead!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Westworld Weekend XII details announced

The twelfth Westworld Weekend will take place on Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th of May 2014. Two full band shows and an aKoustiK set are promised and The Pack material will also be featured alongside that of Spear and ToH and will be held as usual at The Box in Crewe.

Early bird tickets are available now at the price of £34 and you will get your ticket sent in a Xmas card from Kirk himself!

Order yours HERE

There is also some new ToH merchandise available including a pretty cool black long sleeve which I've just treated myself to so make sure you have a look and see if there is still time to tell Santa!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

SLF & Glen Matlock confirmed for Rebellion Festival

Stiff Little Fingers have been confirmed for the Rebellion Festival as well as Glen Matlock & The Philistines and other high profile acts such as Killing Joke. The festival takes place over four days with over 200 bands from the 7th to the 10th of August 2014 in Blackpool. Weekend and day tickets are on sale now HERE

Thursday, 5 December 2013

James Stevenson Interview

In what must have ranked as one of the busiest years in a career that most could only dream of it seems a great time to catch up with the one and only James Stevenson to talk about his year and what we can expect in 2014!


So, how was the Electric 13 tour?

You mean how “is” it? I’m just about to start the final leg in the US. It’s been great. Met tons of interesting people. Great to reconnect with Ian again and Johnny Tempesta and Chris Wyse, what an awesome rhythm section, have become great mates. I just went to see Chris’ solo band Owl in New York the other night – they were fantastic.

When you contacted Billy Duffy and put yourself forward for the tour what was his reaction and how long did it take for the decision to be made?

It was a very casual thing. I heard Michael Dimkitch had left the band so I texted Billy and said if they wanted a temporary replacement I’d be up for it. I said temporary because I’m already so busy with other bands. He got back to me almost immediately and asked if I’d be available for the dates and could I do it for a certain amount of money and I replied yes to both. I got the text from him just before I was about to walk onstage in Sacramento with The International Swingers. I’ll always remember that gig for that reason and because Earl Slick got up and played with us. I had to tell Earl afterwards that I spent a whole day in my youth learning the solo to Station To Station!

How long did it take you to feel at home again with the band and the material?

Immediately. I feel very at home with The Cult’s songs. I actually play guitar quite similarly to Billy in many ways – we have a lot of the same influences, in fact all the rhythm parts on Electric, which I have to play, are how I would have probably played them naturally anyway. I actually have much more in common with Billy as a guitarist than I do with Dave Sharp. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy Dave’s playing but that’s why some of the old Alarm song parts don’t come that naturally to me.

How much did the second half of the set change throughout the tour?

Not much – the odd number got changed here and there. Towards the end of the first leg we started playing Horse Nation, which was fun for me as there are some dual lead parts.

What were the stand out moments for you?

Well Ian heading the tambourine like a football at the second show in Anaheim and it splitting his head wide open and then carrying on with the set bleeding all over the place when anyone else would have walked off-stage and got stitched up definitely sticks in the mind! Ian’s full of surprises – you never know what’s gonna happen next. That’s one of the things that keeps the band exciting. Whatever some people think of Ian one thing you cannot take away from the man is that he is the real deal!

Were there any tracks you wish Billy would have included in the set?

Maybe some more songs from Love. Last time I played with the band in 94-95 we played Love which I love as a song – even though it is very similar to The Wake by Theatre Of Hate! (LOL). We ran through American Horse in soundchecks a few times and I always enjoyed playing Gone from the goat album last time around too but the set is two hours long as it is – so no room for more. The guys have told me it’s the longest set the band has ever done.

What was fan reaction to you being back in the touring band?

I think it’s been pretty positive. More than a few people have said my inclusion has made the band sound more “British” again – however that works I don’t know. Plus the fact people know my name from other bands – so I’m not like some faceless new session guy – I think that helps. And also that Billy and I go back over thirty years! So people know we’re mates. I first met him in 81 when he first came to London and I had already done Chelsea and Gen X and was playing with Kim Wilde. I was like the successful guitarist – now he’s my boss! (LOL) Also it was Billy who suggested Mike Peters talked to me about playing in his solo band – Billy introduced us – and now I’ve been playing with Mike for over fifteen years! So I owe Billy one there.

Has there been any discussion about you reprising your role again as an ongoing position or for future tours?



You had the chance to play again with Woody Woodmansey and a whole host of friends (including your wife) when Holy Holy play pre Xmas in London, will we see the band become a semi regular thing?

I hope so. I was gutted I had to bow out of the Xmas gigs because The Cult added more shows in the US. Playing with Woody was an absolute honour – he’s the only surviving Spider and I was, and still am, a huge fan. Mick Ronson is the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place. Afterwards when Woody emailed me and said Mick would have been proud of you – it made me cry – really.

With such a rich catalogue of classic Bowie to choose from how does the set list get decided?

By discussion really. Paul Fryer, who was singing, originally wanted to do more obscure songs like Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed and All The Madmen. But I thought we should stick to a more greatest hits type set. It ended up somewhere in the middle. When I first met Paul I didn’t realise how successful he was as an artist. Then Liz and I were invited to his 50th in his huge studio in Greenwich. Damian Hurst and Jude Law were there. It was a great night and his art is incredible.

How much time do you have in your schedule to rehearse when you get involved in a project like Holy Holy?

Well because it was all Bowie stuff I found time. Those are the songs I taught myself when I was first learning to play. You know, sometimes as a musician you have time and sometimes you don’t. We did three full days rehearsals for Holy Holy and luckily I had that time free. It was a crazy week. I played with GLJ in Portugal on the Saturday before, Holy Holy at Latitude on the Thursday after reheasing days with Holy Holy and evenings with The Swingers the few days before, The Lexington in London with The International Swingers on the Friday and left for the US and The Cult on the Sunday!
Are we likely to hear any live material released for the fans that can’t make it to London?

No plans right now – but I think gigs might become a regular thing. The band is fantastic. I always love playing with Steve Norman, he’s so talented. And Clem, Gary Stonage, Malcolm Doherty and everyone else – it’s such an enjoyable experience.


What’s the latest status on your solo album?

Coming out March 10 – although there will be advance copies for sale at The Gathering and I’m doing a signing session there too.

Has it been a case of bad timing, having a really busy year with The Alarm, The International Swingers and The Cult (not to mention Holy Holy and the odd Gene Loves Jezebel date) or are you still tweaking things?

No – it’s all done. Actually I’m still figuring out releases in different parts of the world – but UK will be March 10.

Last time we spoke you were considering some solo dates, maybe the Lexington, maybe The Gathering…are there any updates yet?

Maybe The Gathering, though it might be a gig too far this year and I know Jules has been talking to other people about playing…..

What material would you include in a solo live set, if any, from your long career…or will there be the odd cover or two?

I think I would just do the album as it stands – no covers – they might come later.


So Mike is no longer with Big Country, we know we have The Gathering then the solo “Declaration” tour and an album based around that, can you throw any light on what we can expect from The Alarm in 2014?

As far as I’m aware there is absolutely nothing in The Alarm diary. The economics of modern touring make it much easier for Mike to do solo acoustic gigs unfortunately.

Do you and Mike send each other ideas or do you wait till you are together in person to work on new material?

To be honest Mike pretty much works on his own. The only Alarm material I would class as a true collaboration would be the Under Attack album.

Has being on tour given you time any time to write?

No. One always thinks you’ll have time to do this or that on the road but you never do.

Can you tell us anything about The Gathering yet or is it still veiled in secrecy?

There will be a few surprises I’m sure. But right now it’s still all being finalised so I don’t really want to disclose what’s been discussed so far and it can all change at any given moment anyway.


You said before that you have tried to persuade Jay to record a new album but with the difficulties with the “other” version of Gene he doesn’t want to do anything that may benefit them. Have there been any developments that might see new material?

Yes – we have been talking about recording a new album. Possibly under a new, but related name – such as Jay Aston And The Jezebels.

Beggars Banquet are just about to release the 5 disc Gene box set with a whole host of bonus tracks do you think this might spark some activity?

Yes maybe. The problem is Jay’s twin Michael makes it very hard for us to tour in the US.

It will be nice to have some of this material readily available again (“House Of Dolls” for instance) – is there anything in your career you wish was more readily available?

I think you can find pretty much anything if you dig around on the internet. There was a Gen X live album with me on it that EMI put out a few years ago, but Tony James put a kibosh on it because he didn’t like it, which I think was a shame.


This year has been quite a year for The International Swingers, will this momentum continue into the new year?

Yes. There a new Lionsgate film called Homefront with Jason Statham and Winona Rider which has The Swingers track FBI in the soundtrack and as soon as I finish the December Cult shows I come home for Xmas and then fly back to LA for a Swingers TV show which is about how bands used to record an A and B side in a day. The show is based in Dave Grohls’ 606 studio and Dave Stewart is producing our two tracks – so that should be great.

At the Lexington we were discussing crowd funding as a way of getting backing for a Swingers album and you had mixed views on it, has your opinion changed since then?

Kick starter schemes are a mixed blessing in my view – but the industry has been so decimated maybe it’s the only way forward if people want to hear new original music by their favourite artists. Record labels are basically a thing of the past. At least now artists can hang on to their own copyrights. I was talking to Willie Nile about his, he was very in favour, but after he got the funding from his fan base and made the record he did a deal with a label – so anything can happen nowadays.

Kim Wilde is playing in London on the 21st of December, how would you feel about joining her on stage for a few of the old hits?

Ha! I’d love to. I love Kim, she’s brilliant!

Got to ask this – what’s on your Xmas list this year?

I think I need a new computer. Mine keeps getting this thing called “kernal panic”. I spoke to Mike P and he said time for a new computer because they just can’t handle being dragged around the world the way they are with us, they just can’t take it. But really, to be honest, I have most things I need and want. So I guess just the old peace in the world would work fine for me.

Keeping with the Xmas theme, if you recommended one album, one book and one film for people this year what would you choose?

Well I thought The Next Day was fantastic – especially the single. Any book by John Niven and Sound City by Dave Grohl was incredible – to make a film about a famous recording console that holds your attention for the full length of the film is quite an achievement

James Stevenson it has been a pleasure, as always, have a great Xmas and New Years from all of us!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Gathering Public Transport alert!

I was trying to book my train tickets for the Gathering tonight and just a heads up for those planning to go by train....it looks like there are no trains from Llandudno on the Sunday!

The best option may be going from Colwyn Bay or Llandudno Junction on the return journey.