Tuesday, 27 July 2010

CLASH OF THE TITANS


TESCO METRO are selling the new CLASH OF THE TITANS DVD for £10, but I'm not sure it will be better than the 1981 original... and it definitely will not be better than the 1963 epic JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, which contains that unforgettable battle between skeletons and argonauts. (After Jason kills the many headed HYDRA and steals the Golden Fleece, evil Ae√ętes scatters the Hydra's teeth into the soil and prays to the godddes Hacate, whereby the army of dead warriors arise.) That scene looks cool even by today's standards, and was the work of special effects genius RAY HARRYHAUSEN, who integrated stop motion effects with live action, in a technique he termed 'Dynamation'.
When Annalise were touring Asia in 2000 I met Harryhausen in the coolest ever video store, TRASH VIDEO in Brisbane, where he was doing a Q&A and signing photos. It was a big deal to me because his films had been a major part of my childhood (I opted to be Harryhausen in a school debate about the most significant characters in history - beating Louis Pasteur in the final!)
Today Harryhausen is in his 90's and lives in the UK.


Incidentally, THE HOOSIERS, who played a the cavern a couple of years ago are also fans of Harryhausen. Their hit single 'Worried About Ray' is dedicated to him.

Friday, 23 July 2010

THE TOURS - MY FIRST GIG

The first show I ever 'promoted' was in 1978/9 - with a mod punk band called THE TOURS, who's 7" single TOURIST INFORMATION is pictured above. I was 14 years old and the show was an end of term party at Aylesbury Grammar School, with support from The Pirhanas. I can't remember the full details but we were raising money to buy a TV for Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Our Chemistry teacher Robin Pike was one of the main reasons I got into punk rock. He founded the legendary Aylesbury venue FRIARS, and correspondent for a cool punk zine of the time called ZIGZAG. He was a big influence on a bunch of us who eventually got into music: in his class were SEAN FORBES (the lead singer of Wat Tyler, who set up the label Rugger Bugger); GRAEME FLYNN (bass player for garage punk bands BLACK MOSES and PENTHOUSE); and also a guy called ROB STRINGER - who became chairman and CEO of SONY BMG and just paid £250 Million for Jacko's back catalogue.
Robin Pike also taught KRIS NEEDS (singer of the Vice Creams and established punk writer) and TED COCKLE, MD of Island Records.
Here, Rob Stringer cites Mr Pike (pictured far right with me and some other kids) as a major influence in an Independent article from a few years back Rob Stringer: One of the most powerful figures in the music business


FOOTNOTE: BLACK MOSES's former singer Jim Jones is playing at the Cavern in Sept with his awesome band THE JIM JONES REVUE

Thursday, 22 July 2010

HOLE IN EXETER- 1991

I found a battered VHS tape of HOLE when they played at the Lemongrove in 1991. The supports THERAPY? and DAISY CHAINSAW were great that night. I got a kiss off Courtney Love because she liked the poster I did for the show.

There's an amusing stagedive from Courtney three and a half minutes in. The sweater she talks about wanting back was a present from her recent boyfriend... Kurt Cobain.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

LA ROUX - FIRST EVER LIVE SHOW

La Roux supported COLDPLAY at the Castle in Exeter at Christmas, but what people don't know is that her first live show ever was at the Cavern in Jan 09. Understandably, she was extremely nervous! Anyway, I guess that makes this shot the first ever live photo of La Roux as well....

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

KAISER CHIEFS at the CAVERN

One set of shots that I forgotten I'd taken was KAISER CHIFES when they played at the Cavern. I think it was in 2006, maybe with the Cribs supporting.  Zooming in on the set list I can see they played: NA NA NA NA NAA, EVERY DAY I LOVE YOU LESS AND LESS, BORN TO BE A DANCER, CAROLINE YES, I PREDICT A RIOT, MODERN WAY, OH MY GOD, SATURDAY NIGHT. Drop me an email if you can remember who else played this show! exetercavern@hotmail.com


Monday, 19 July 2010

TOYAH AT THE CAVERN

1993
"I was waiting outside the other night and I heard the Toyah covers act you had on." The guy from Call Cars said, as his meter ticked over. "She sounded quite like her."
"No that WAS Toyah!" I replied, getting into the car.
"What THE Toyah, the taxi driver scoffed. "In the Cavern?"
I think he thought it was the Australian Toyah or something, because the Toyah Willcox he knew was a massive star, the LADY GAGA of the 80's, with a bunch of international hit singles like Be Proud, Be Loud (Be Heard) and Brave new World.
There's no way she'd play in a 200 capacity place like this.
Well he was wrong, because she in fact played two dates at the Cavern: 25/10/93 and 10/11/93.
She brought a bunch of young lads from her home town of Salisbury as a backing band.
Check ot the proto-GaGa at www.toyahwillcox.com

Sunday, 18 July 2010

COSMIC TRIGGER


Its funny how you stumble upon a book that changes the way you think about things. In 1982 I had a dream in which I was reading a book called Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson. I didn't have that book, but I guess I must have seen the cover somewhere, because it was really vivid in my dream.
At the time I was studying Foundation Art at North Devon College in Barnstaple, and I used to catch an early bus into town before my lectures started at 10am. I was killing some time in Barnstaple Pannier Market flicking through some piles of books, when I spotted a copy of Cosmic Trigger, the book from my dream. Seeing it was actually quite shocking, and I immediately bought it.

Cosmic Trigger introduced me to many things that tied in with the sort of music I was into at the time, like Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. It got me reading further books by the likes of Crowley, Jack Parsons, Gurdjieff, William Burroughs, Wilhelm Reich and Timothy Leary. I was saddened when Wilson died in difficult circumstances in 2007, because his books had molded my reality.

Today I found that book walking back from Sidwell Cycles where I was getting the horizontal dropout fixed on my Santa Cruz. It was in the charity shop opposite Poundland, and weirdly enough I'd just been thinking about Robert Anton Wilson and the influence his work had on me.

Incidentally, someone had written 6 lottery numbers on the inside cover ; 3, 5 11 16 21 26. If they ever come up it will be the ultimate reinforcement of Wilson's notion 'that "reality" is always plural and mutable'...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

DIETER MUH - EXETER INDUSTRIALISTS

Exeter experimental duo DIETER MUH recently turned into a solo project for Steve Cammack.... he's supporting the seminal SILVER APPLES at the Cavern on Tuesday 3rd August. Last time they played here was over a year ago - they were supported by SIMON EGAN who's set comprised putting the sound of himself ironing bacon through the PA! I vaguely remember DIETER MUH being none to pleased  (they were vegetarians.) DJ Bacon's Nan was also none too pleased - the ironing board was hers and he took it back smelling like Dewhurst's wheely bin.
Follow the link to find a short interview with Steve: DIETER MUH INTERVIEW

COLDPLAY AT THE CAVERN

Just to prove that COLDPLAY didn't play in front of about 15 people every time they were at the Cavern, here's a photo from 22/6/2000. It was a sell out show, that's for sure. I think they were supporting TERRIS on this one....

THOM YORKE - EARLY YEARS

Before moving to Oxford with Radiohead, Thom Yorke did a Combined Honours BA at Exeter Art College. He DJ'd at the Lemongrove, and was involved with gigs we were putting on under the banner of Hometown Atrocities. The photo shows Thom, John Matthias and Shack in their 80's incarnation Headless Chickens.
 We put out an EP with Mad At The Sun, Beaver Patrol,  Jackson Penis ... and Headless Chickens doing a song called I Don't Want To Go To Woodstock. It now sells for over £100 on collector's sites, with the 'rare Kylie sleeve' going for even more.
Incidentally, the rare sleeve came about when we lost a batch of the proper ones and made do with some overprinted back pages from The Exeter Flying Post, which was advertising the Ep. I can't remember why I called it "Disgrace To The Corpse Of Kylie".

NUMBER ONE IN THE UK CHARTS

We have had a few bands with Number One hit singles play at the Cavern. But only one who went to Number One in the Uk charts on the day they played at the club. That band was OLIVE, who's single YOU'RE NOT ALONE went to the top spot 11-5-1997. They got the news listening to the radio out in their van on the Sunday countdown, before the show.

Monday, 12 July 2010

IRVINE WELSH AT THE CAVERN

One night in the late 90s writer Irvine Welsh turned up at the Cavern. He was extremely amusing, the photo shows him singing 'Silver Lady' by David Soul! I think he'd been researching a book or something and popped in just before we closed.
As you can see, this was in the good old days before the smoking ban. Bar staff would rest their fags on the T-bar while serving you a drink. Sales Reps would turn up with a fag in their mouth. Wairesses would bring your food over squinting, trying to keep the smoke out of their eyes and stop ash falling on your plate when they served you. Even Environmental Health guys would spark up while they went about their business. I can't remember whether Irvine Welsh smoked - probably.

LOST MUSE PHOTOS

I found an old 35mm film in the archives - with some interesting shots of MUSE circa late 90s. They were around the Cavern a lot at this time. In fact Dennis Smith from Sawmills saw them many times  here before signing them.
They were managed by a guy called Phil Muse, Who now manages Man Who Made The Maker. These shots were taken around the time of their Muscle Museum EP.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

CAVERN BIG BROTHER

Big Brother is ending after ten years (it seems much longer) and I thought I'd mention a few Cavern-BB connections! First off there's Donny Tourette (pictured above playing at the Cavern with his band Towers Of London). In Celebrity Big Brother 5, Donny jumped the wall on Day 3, with the help of H from Steps - saying "I'm not fucking waiting hand on foot on some fucking moron and her family", referring of course to Jade Goody. This was just before she caused an international incident by calling Bollywood Actress Shilpa Shetty a 'poppadom', and even had Gordon Brown commenting on it in Parliament.
Then there was singer Preston (pictured here at a Cavern show with his band The Ordinary Boys.) Preston was in the best ever series of CBB - Series 4 - the one with Barrymore, George Galloway, Jodie Marsh and Pete Burns. He married CBB4 co-star Chantelle - then got divorced a year later.

Also starring in CBB4 was the loveable Maggot, from Welsh rap band Goldie Lookin Chain, who have played at the Cavern a number of times. Their funniest Exeter appearance though was at a show we promoted at Exeter University. All went well on the night, but the following day I had an angry call from the University saying GLC had damaged the changing room. "They inflated a bouncy castle used by the mother and toddler group" I was told "and  jumped up and punched out the suspended ceiling."
"How did you know it was them?" I asked, having carefully checked the room before I left.
"Because there were slices of spam stuck to the ceiling tiles with 'Your Mother's Got A Penis' written on them!"
This refers to a GLC single of the same name - but you've got to admit its pretty stupid leaving a bouncy castle in the same backstage room as 6 cases of strong lager, a case of cider, two bottles of white wine, three bottles of red wine and a 1.5 lire bottle of Captain Morgans Dark Rum!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

EXTREME STAGE DIVE


In 2002 I went on tour with Capdown, Hundred Reasons and Douglas as part of the 'Co-operation Tour'. These photos are from The Liquid Rooms In Edinburgh, in the days before Health and Safety, Venue Risk Assessments etc.

Don't try this at home though. At least one kid ended up flat out unconscious after this stunt!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

SILVER APPLES - NEW YORK VISIONARIES


Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
The Song Of The Wandering Aengus (W.B. Yeats)

Formed in New York City in 1967, SILVER APPLES combined the rhythmic freeform drumming of Danny Taylor with the avant garde electronic experimentation of Simeon Coxe, who created his own primitive synth ‘The Simeon’ out of a 1940’s vintage oscillator.
Their first record Silver Apples was released in 1968, and not only predated bands like Can, Neu and Suicide, but also anticipated many of the subsequent decades’ broken beats and industrial drones.
After the release of a second LP, Contact, the enigmatic group seemed to disappear, only to reform three decades later, with the original lineup of Taylor and Coxe eventually releasing their third record The Garden in 1989.
Coxe is recognised as a true visionary, and has been cited as a major influence by musicians such as Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3. I did this brief interview with him prior to his Cavern show….


Your work predated so many electronic genres, from Krautrock to Industrial. What inspired you to experiment with the oscillators and The Simeon?
I had a friend who was a classical music composer who had an oscillator and used to drink vodka and play along with Beethoven. One day, when he was passed out, I put on a rock record and played along- I was hooked! The next night I brought it to the club where my band was playing and plugged it into an amp and jammed along with them. They hated it, but I loved it, and never stopped. Every show Silver Apples put on was an adventure. The audience didn’t know what to expect and when we delivered, were either stunned or on their feet dancing. Same as today.

You had the two LPs out on Kapp … then a 30 year gap before they were re-released by MCA. What’s the story behind that? I heard there were loads of bootlegs around, did you benefit at all from them or was it a total ripoff?
MCA owned KAPP, so it was natural for them to do the re-release. As to the rest, they were total rip-offs but they sort of indirectly jump started the resurgence of interest in what we were doing.

Countless bands have been heavily influenced by Silver Apples over the years (LOOP, Spacemen 3 – right through the dance movement.) Are there any collaborations you have worked on that stand out?
I did an album with Peter Kember aka Sonic Boom of Spacemen3 called A Lake of Teardrops. It was released on SpaceAge Recordings and did well. I also did an album with a band from Somerset called The Alchemysts that made album of the week in the London Sunday Times. That was cool. I did a song for a German label with Alan Vega of Suicide that was fun.



People like Brian Eno have recently been experimenting with new technology, like iPhone Apps. Does any of this stuff interest you?
I’m still trying to learn how to play oscillators!


We’re going to be screening a preview of the Silver Apples Documentary before you play at the Cavern. Could you tell me a bit about that film?
I’ve only seen bits and pieces and rough edits- but I can say it’s packed with information about the band and its adventures.

When you’re not making music do you still paint? What other artists interest you (painters/filmmakers/writers)
Yeah I still paint and do performance and installation art. I particularly like the work of media artists like Bec Stupak and Seth Kirby, video artist Alyson Denny, musician Nick Hallett, all of whom are connected with the Joshua Light Show that I love to perform with. Mike Kelly’s electronic paintings/installations are always fascinating. I recently saw a performance piece by Elizabet Elliot and Adam Taylor/OneCutKill that was unique. Lots of stuff going on!


Silver Apples, the first and most radical avant-rock band, play at the Cavern on Tues 3 Aug following a special preview of a new film about them, Of The Moon.

BEN GODDARD - EXETER TROUBADOUR

No that's not the ghost of a small victorian child in the Cavern kitchen - its Ben Goddard turning up for work! He hassled Pippa for a job for ages - then on his first day turned up in fancy dress...rationalising that it was 'Halloween Week'. Ben is a punk-folk guitarist, a self styled Travelling Troubadour who's songs are reminiscent of Green from Scritti Politti.

Actually most of the photos I have of him are in some kind of weird costume. On one bizarre occassion, after we had closed, he popped out to go to the cashpoint and was away for quite a while. About an hour later a bloke casually walked in off the street and said "A friend of mine is being held up outside". Thinking some kind of mugging was taking place, we rushed out to find Ben literally holding a guy up by the waist - the man had tried to hang himself off the railings by the natural health centre with his belt, and Ben had caught him just in time. The scene was actually pretty funny because when the bemused paramedics turned up Ben was cradling the guy's head saying "Stay with me mate, stay with me." .... dressed as Captain Spaulding from House Of A Thousand Corpses! (See pic above.) "Who's had the accident?" the ambulance guy asked.


When we reviewed security camera footage it became apparent that the 'suicide' had been waiting around for a while for someone to go past and it just happened to be Ben. It had all been for attention - he even croaked to the paramedics "can I have my belt back".
The funny thing was how the other guy had seen Ben holding his mate up, not bothered to help, but slowly walked down the stairs in the bar to tell us about it. He even addded "I don't suppose there's any chance of a late one?"
Someone saw Ben the other day in Paddington Station - on crutches. Apparently he'd been walking across hot coals in some kind of a ritual, when a pissed up crusty pushed him back into the fire.
Just another day in the the life of the Troubled Troubadour! www.myspace.com/bengoddard

YEAR ZERO EXHIBITION - JAN 2000



Digging through the archives I found some photos of an exhibition we put on at The Museum in order to celebrate the Millennium. It was me, Steve Connor, Shaky Kane, Fiona Symes, Clare Burwood and Dave Myers. You can see the logo Connor did for Muse which I think he charged £50 for and now adorns tens of thousands of Tee Shirts!
Dave Myers made an installation called The Rebel Bedroom which was an Emin style recreation of a punk rock kid's room. Funnily it got cordoned off by the firearms squad because someone - and I'm not saying it was Myers - placed a replica handgun underneath the matress and it got reported. This was of course before 9-11 otherwise we'd have all probably ended up in Guantanamo!
I don't think the Museum porters liked us being there very much especially since we had a video playing on loop of various punk and hardcore bands filmed at the Cavern. But it's cool to be reminded of all the great graphics people Like Steve and Shaky did, back in the day.

Monday, 5 July 2010

THE DAY JELLO BIAFRA WENT TO HIPPY JOHN'S EMPORIUM

In 2001 we booked Jello Biafra (former frontman for seminal US punk band The Dead Kennedys) to do his spoken word show at the Phoenix. Jello is one of those artists who have been a big influence on me and the Cavern, informing not only the image of the place but its politics too. So I was happy when he asked me to meet him from St Davids Station to help with some luggage.
Jello wasn't easy to miss on this occasion - he was bent nearly double with a huge oversized army ruck sack on his back. Wow it was heavy. "Books to sell at the show?" I asked. "No man - I've been buying vinyl!" Jello said.
It turns out that Jello is a vinyl junkie with a comprehensive knowledge of Indie and alternative bands. (When he asked if I had any rare Exeter vinyl he might be interested in, he had not only heard of Useful Idiot, but knew the catalogue number of their single - Sacro Egoismo017!)
On this occasion though he was searching for a particularly rare piece of vinyl The Lemon Kitten's Big Dentist Lp.
"Are there any shops in Exeter that might have it?" he asked. I knew of only one place - Hippy John's Emporium, across the road from The Pyramids swimming baths on Heavitree Road. "I'm kind of in love with Daniell Dax." He added.
You often used to see Hippy John at the car booter buying vinyl, and his Emporium specialised in rare prog and punk. (I remember one time I beat him to a mint condition copy of T2s 'It'll All Work Out In Boomland' - I took it into the shop later that week and he did a straight swap for a 1976 Fender Precision Jazz Bass that I used in Annalise.)
So Jello and I arrived at The Emporium just before it closed, and John took us downstairs where he did indeed have no only one, but two copies of The Big Dentist. But you know what, he wouldn't sell one to Jello! He rationalised that he only had two copies and he needed a spare in case one got damaged.
Upstairs in the main part of the shop, next to all the turntables and speakers John had for sale - and rather embarassingly - was a bargain bin full of Dead Kennedys Vinyl for 50p a disc. Jello kindly signed them all for John ... for a discount off some other rarities he'd found!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

ALAN WAKE - MY NEW FAVOURITE GAME


When my Xbox 360 got the old red ring of death last week, Oz (in Game, Exeter) kindly fixed the problem for me - and at the same time turned me on to my new favourite game: ALAN WAKE.
This game is just what the EON bailiff ordered - high action survival horror with the best graphics I've ever seen, alongside great writing, sympathetic characters ... and a plot straight out of Stephen King.
Set it the small logging town of Bright Falls it tells the story of horror writer Alan Wake who is taking a holiday with his wife Alice in order to break a writers block. Alice soon disappears and Wake has to unravel the mystery of what exactly is happening in Bright Falls.
Most of the game is spent running through the shadows while being attacked by 'The Taken', residents of Bright Falls who have been consumed by the darkness. Weapons are a torch, (the Taken shun light) and various handguns, shotguns and flares.

Gameplay is reminscent of Silent Hill 2, and my alltime favourite game, Resident Evil 4. The tone of the game is very filmic in quality ... with elements of King's Misery, The Mist and 1406 ... and the best supporting character is Wake's literary agent Barry, who at one point fights off the Taken with stage lighting for a gig he's organising for stoned out aging rockers Asgard. What more can you ask for!

THE EVENS - SEMINAL SHOW

In my mind one of the most important shows The Cavern put on was The Evens at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in 2004. Ian MacKaye's band FUGAZI played at The Lemongrove in 1991 (one of the first shows Eddy and I put on under the Hometown Atrocities banner) and again ten years later in 2001. In true DIY spirit Ian wanted to play venues that were all ages and alcohol free - and we had a relationship with the museum that went back to the millennium exhibition we did there called YEAR ZERO; so thats how the museum came about as a venue for THE EVENS.
This was one of those shows that really influenced its audience and in the photo you can see members of Brothers, Chaps, OK PILOT, Cold Pumas, The Computers and the Cut Ups - none of which existed prior to this event.
After the show we went to Herbies with Ian and Amy - Fugazi had eaten there 15 years earlier.