Well what a gorgeous Spring season we have enjoyed, me and Mrs Bob have been lounging around in the sun sipping Mint Juleps, Tequila Sunrises, Manhattans, Zombies, and Brandy Alexanders. You might have guessed by now that we have bought a book on making cocktails and have been steadily using up all those half bottles of different coloured alcohol that you seem to accumulate every Christmas.
I strongly recommend Zombies and anything at all that goes with Brandy. The positive off-spin is that after a session on the cocktails I go and have a bit of a play and I always seem to think I sound great, the neighbours apparently enjoy my drunken playing too, because they throw things at our adjoining wall in appreciation. A bit like the Run DMC and Aerosmith video. Must turn up a bit next time so they can really hear me.
ON WITH THE MOTLEY
So here we are, I was going to make my annual pilgrimage across the seas
to see what our old Brummie muso mates are doing and you know what?
After some cyber mail exchanges it would appear that the majority are just taking it easy like you do when you live in sunnier climes. Nonetheless there have been a few happenings and here they are:
JEFF LYNNE - THE IDLE RACE - USA
His Royal Jeffness has been laying paving slabs again, this time in Hollywood, well one paving slab to be exact, and to make sure he got paid for his work he put his name on it. This picture shows Jeff standing by, or over himself, waiting for the big scoff 'do' that would have followed this glitzy event. Jeff wowed the onlookers with his the radical departure from his usual dress appearance? I think he should market that look as the 'JUST JEFF' range, if you're interested Jeff, give me a ring I could get something going.
Now I know he isn't one for sartorial elegance and also that he hasn't done many gigs in the recent past but I would have thought he could have bought himself some proper shoes instead of wearing his old school plimsoll's?
That aside, many congrats Jeff, it really is fantastic!! I'm so pleased for him. I don't think he ever would have thought, in his wildest dreams, that he would have been given that particular honour. Hollywood meant something in our teenage years.
There is talk of a round of ELO gigs on the horizon. I won't be going myself but will settle for listening to the CD's occasionally, well CD in my case.
I think there should be a documentary about Jeffs hair and his fascinating wardrobe but as me old Mum would say. If it suits you why bother changing.
Gotta get rid of those shoes Jeff.
WILL HAMMOND - THE UGLYS - Spain
BACK TO THE BLUES
Will Hammond former Uglys/Yamps guitarist continues to play on the Spanish scene but over the past year has been busy recording as well.
"I've made these recordings without any studio effects because that's the way they are played on stage and it would be wrong to 'lush them up a bit' just for the sake of it.
|The Yamps. Will (left) and Bob Styler|
I revisited the songs that I grew up with and that was the basis of the current group.
No effects, No Pedals but plenty of sweat and energy.
"The hard British Blues guitar style just fitted in with the bassy rap sound. it's all about music and rhythm and the Spanish people of Extremadura have that in spade fulls, it's in their blood, there's plenty of passion here and with a long history of poverty, they know about suffering and that has always been expressed in the normal manner, through music, song and dance.
BACK TO THE BLUES
With his new CD on the horizon he has just finished
|Jose and Will|
Recording the video was very enjoyable and took long hours but I was in great company and the photographer Javier Pulpo certainly caught some nice moments".
The song is appropriately called "Back to the Blues" and here it is:
GRAHAM ASHFORD - Brumbeats HAWAII
Graham has had a quiet year finishing off some recordings across the pònd but did have time to visit the UK where he met up with some old pals, namely Nigel Wright and Euan Rose who were formerly members of the The EKO's.
When Graham left the band to form the Plazents/Brumbeats the other two went on to be the founding members of The Cheetahs, a group that me and all the Brummies who went to The Ritz will remember well.
|l-r Nigel, Euan and Graham|
JOHNNY NEAL re-union
Johnny Neal lived in South Africa for many a moon and although he now lives back in Brum has recently met up with some former members of The Starliners. Funnily enough, one of them was guitarist Paul Brunt who featured here a couple of months back. Completing the picture was Drummer Mal Priddey who currently lives in Anglesey.
|Paul, Mal and 'Noga'|
Johnny. "It was marvellous to get back together and it was an emotionally charged experience reliving and talking about our hay days".
It's heartwarming to see those old friends re-united again from the days when
they were all aspiring musicians, being in a band together then was a totally different thing than today. A true band of brothers. Keep it up you guys.