This is happening.

The Lansdowne Hotel - 19/01/12
The Owls
Jimi Linton (Solo)

I can see the Lansdowne from my office. I looked at it a lot on this day.

We were actually supposed to play our first show on a Thursday in mid December, but Jacob was hospitalised with gallstones on the tuesday night. He admitted himself after a rehearsal spent looking (but not sounding) particularly pale and disconcerted. He's a committed bastard godluvim.

We practiced our arses off leading up to that December false-start but with Yak in hospital and the standard xmas/new years absences, we didn't play together again until this Lansdowne gig.

But it was amazing.

I play with Jimi in Ranger Spacey so i know how good he is. If you see his solo stuff, pay attention. Listen to the lyrics. Hear him strap a vocal to a chord progression like an angry patient to a bed then administer the morphine til it sinks back into the covers. Heavyweight songs. Raucous rock'n'rollers from the north, The Owls played after us and they smashed it too. Plus they are total gentlemen. We've since shared the stage with them in Newcastle and if we never play a gig without them again i will be a happy kid.

Well. What a fucking thing your first gig is. What an absolute mess, what a jumble. You're brain trying to untangle your stupid fingers while recalling and spitting out lyrics in the right order, and close enough to in-key that people can listen to it. Then you look around at your friends, concentrating hard, sweating onto their instruments, making noise to join with your noise and occasionally acknowledging each other - brother and sisterhood in extremis. We knew the songs, no one else did. We were shouting secrets, we were letting cats out of bags, we were the only ones in the cabin who knew how to land the thing - it's the crazy rush you can only have at the beginning.

The shambles, though, is something I never want to lose. I don't think i ever want to be tight, when shit is on the brink of falling apart that's when you feel alive. It's also why i like a big band with lots of elements, SO MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG IT'S THE BEST. I have this image in my head of the six of us at the top of a hill with our jackets caught in a car door. Handbrake: off. You'd wanna watch that right?


A message from the CEO.

Since the last time I wrote a proper post, we’ve played five gigs – our first five gigs. Each of them represents a co-ordinate on an ever-steepening learning curve for me, and there has been plenty of data to process over the past few months. The bulk of the data has related to the management side of things. I’ve received a lot of advice, and testament to the tailspin our industry is in, all of it has been wildly contradictory. It’s reinforced the truism for me that no one knows what the hell you’re supposed to do or who the hell you’re supposed to do it to.

Far from being cause for despair this is actually really liberating. It says to me that pandering and compromise have been completely stripped of their usefulness– to whom do you pander? Towards what ideal or audience should you compromise yourself? Fuck it, this is license to be yourself, because if success remains elusive as it's likely to do anyway, integrity maintained is surely the best second prize.

For all its frustrations, I think this is why I’ve actually enjoyed managing the band up to this point, no matter how limited my capacity. As band members one of the only things you have control over is yourselves - you can’t control how people choose to see or portray or reproduce you but you can make sure that the source material is honest. It’s a lot easier to keep this on track when you are the nexus through which the info comes and goes.

Also, I don’t know if it’s getting older or having been crunched through the machine once before but my irrational sense of entitlement (which was raging in my youth) has pretty much been ground to dust and lost to the breeze. Every week I hear just as many new bands that inspire and awestrike me as disgust me, so who the hell are we to claim any special right? I’m not saying I’m above shouting “YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING JOKING!” at the radio every now and then, but having an atrophied entitlement gland makes it a lot easier to manage the frustration and resentment of working your arse off while your wallet empties.

As you can see from the first line I actually intended for this post to be about the gigs but it went some(probably more boring)where else. Apologies, I’ll write about the gigs next.

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