I said what?

Every so often, we make a decision that reaches out and grabs all sorts of unexpected things by the ankles, and drags them kicking and screaming into our living room. Naturally, we have no idea what these things actually are until they recover from the shock of being accosted, shake their legs free and unfold to their full height. They look around the room for the offending ankle-grabber, but the decision is long gone. It just invited a whole tribe of beasties round for tea before scuttling off into the past. Via the back door. It’s only you left. And the beasties are big and wildly pissed off. Continue reading

The influence of anxiety

Many years ago, in a land far, far away (Nottingham), a young man sat with a guitar on his lap, his hands poised to play a new (and fiendishly difficult) composition. Luckily he was exceptionally able. When the red light screamed ‘recording’, however, his hands failed him. Time and time again he tried, but he simply couldn’t play it. Several bottles of beer later, and with the lights switched off, he flew through it perfectly. He just needed to realign his head. Continue reading

Joe Bonamassa

There’s a fundamental problem with some kinds of music. It’s to do with environment. Pop music suits clean, medium-to-large venues, classical music needs classical venues, from country house to church to concert hall, modern jazz sounds best a long way from me. Blues/rock flourishes in sweaty, smoky clubs where you can feel the music as well as hear it. What it doesn’t want is a seated audience, a big light show, drum and keyboard risers, an amp just for feedback, a different guitar for every song. Continue reading

Al di Meola full transcript

This interview happened in two sections, as we were cut short by unforeseenness at Ronnie Scott’s, though it’s not the best place to interview someone, in the band room behind the stage. Al and I finished off over Skype while he was in the Ukraine a couple of days later. The xxxx indicate places where I couldn’t even guess what lay beneath the digital crackle. As with so many guitar players, Al was a most generous and patient interviewee, and I enjoyed our chat immensely. Continue reading

Irene Ketikidi – Martial Arts & Magic Tricks

This may seem like a rather tortuous way to go about things, but I thought this album, Martial Arts & Magic Tricks deserved some proper attention. Personally, I don’t see the point in just saying ‘awesome’ over and over, so I’m going to be hyper-critical. I do have good reason, I think. Firstly, this is the first time I’ve bought an album by a grand-student … allow to explain. Irene Ketikidi was a student of (amongst others) the rather good Martin Goulding who was a student of (amongst others) me. So I was particularly interested in what she did, how she did it, and what she sounded like. I must say on the whole I was impressed. Continue reading