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Is Bliss speak to Eyeplug

Is Bliss comprise of Jimmy Stuart (Guitar/Voice), Dean Edwards (Bass) and Sam Speakman (Drums) and are based in Portsmouth. Gaining critical acclaim due to their original sound, 6music airplays and incendiary live performances on the increasingly growing new psychedelic gig circuit, they are a band to look out for. After successful support slots with both Mark Gardener (Ride) & Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), the band soon head out to do a support slot for The Jesus And Mary Chain on their current tour. Signed to Club AC30 with an imminent new E.P. recorded, Dean had a chat with Eyeplugs Dave Taylor who wanted to find out some more.

01. How did the band originate?

We started the band out of boredom I guess. Myself and Jimmy had been rehearsing songs now and then in his bedroom and when we felt we had something cool going on we decided that it would be best to look for a drummer. Sam was an old friend of Jimmy’s who had recently moved back to Portsmouth. Jimmy suggested we ask him to drum for us and from the first time we rehearsed as a 3-piece it felt right and we knew we were on to a winner with Sam.

02. How did you decide on your name?

The name ‘Is Bliss’ was a suggestion from a friend of the band who used to jam with me and Jimmy some while back before Sam joined. It seemed fitting and we stuck with it.

03. Who influences your sound?

We have always been fascinated by in our opinion, the two best eras for guitar bands, the 60s and the 90s. Both eras influence us heavily in the way we dress, think, write, play music and live. In terms of bands that made us want to start playing then we owe that to the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Jefferson Airplane, Spacemen 3, The Verve, Radiohead and The Brian Jonestown Massacre etc…

04. What are you currently listening to?

Right now, we are listening to White Fence, The Smoking Trees, The Spyrals, The Lucid Dream, Tinariwen and Dead Rabbits. Really, anything psychedelic and fuzzy is what we love!

05. How has the band evolved since it’s initial concept?

I feel we have evolved in every aspect of being a band really, We’ve learnt what common ground and also what differences we have and how to use that to create something we all are happy with. This is the case in every song, we all have to be into it 100%, otherwise it doesn’t work for us. We’ve evolved as friends too and grown closer as a unit. We know each others next move in the rehearsal room as well as on stage.

06. Your last release, the Velvet Dreams E.P. was Lauren Lavern’s Record of the Day on 6 Music and the first pressing completely sold out. Surely, you must be pleased with that?

For sure we were absolutely made up when we heard both of those! To be played on 6music is something we always wanted to achieve and so when we did this on our first attempt we felt a sense of pure excitement really, and to then go on to find out the E.P. completely sold out and went into the official charts, well that’s something I think we are still getting our heads around even now. We are incredibly proud of that and couldn’t thank everybody who bought a copy enough!  

07. You’ve personally been selected by The Jesus And Mary Chain to open for them at the O2 Bournemouth on their current tour.  Are you looking forward to playing your biggest venue to date?

Yes, of course, we are absolutely buzzing to get up onto that stage and show the crowd in Bournemouth what we are about. Let’s hope we can get them warmed up enough before the sonic destruction that follows!

08. Where else can we see you play live in the near future?

We have a large selection of dates to follow this year, Festivals in the summer and of course Liverpool Psych Fest in September. Here’s how our April 2017 is looking:

01: Bournemouth – O2 Academy
07: London – Sebright Arms 
12: Brighton – Hope & Ruin
14: Paris – Espace B
16: Bristol – Crofters Rights
22: Southsea – Castle Road, Record Store Day Event

09. You promote your own Psych Fest in Portsmouth. Tell us more.

We run a night once a year called “Southsea Psych Out”. It’s just a chance for us to bring some of our favourite unsigned psych and shoegaze bands down to Pompey to tear the roof of a sweatbox of a venue. We started it last year and the night sold out which was great! We return this year in August.

10. If you were to record a cover version, what song?

I think we’ve always tried to concentrate on our own material but if the opportunity to play a cover ever did arise we always liked the idea of toying with a dance tune and making it our own. We wouldn’t want to do the obvious you know. Set ourselves a challenge with an acid house tune maybe.

11. You’ve recently been in the studio to record your next release. When can we expect to hear it and what formats will it be released on?

Yes, we’ve just finished in the studio with Patrick Collier (Vibrators, Primal Scream, New Model Army) and we have recorded a 5 track E.P that we are really pleased with. It will be released via Club AC30 in late May on 12″ coloured vinyl and digital download.

12. If people want to find out more how can they keep in touch with the band?

We have a facebook page: facebook.com/isblissband, Our label can be found: at facebook.com/clubac30 , You can also check us out on Spotify: spotify.com

Main Photo Credit: Jessica Mailey

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 23, 2017 By : Category : DozenQ Eyeplugs Front page Interviews Music Psychedelic Tags:, , , , , ,
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The Record Collector & The Holy Grail

I am off on a trip next week to Strummer Fest in Agen, France. It is a town that I know absolutely nothing about except that at 26 Rue Garonne, I can buy some 60’s garage and soul singles from King Bees Music.

That’s because before I go anywhere, the first thing I do is look up on the internet is where I can buy some vinyl.  I’ve bought records all my life but probably in the last few years, and especially since I purchased my first Jukebox it’s become a bit of an obsession.

Once whilst on holiday in Paris, and pre-internet times, I followed a rockabilly because he looked cool and was obviously into his music. I had been searching for an album that had been released in France but not in the UK and the Virgin Megastore and French chain stores didn’t stock it. After at least 45 minutes of tailgating him, he led me straight into a record shop where I duly entered and found that elusive album I had been searching for. Result!

These days my missus keeps telling me that I have too many records and that I need to start selling some as they are slowly taking over the house. I think you can never have enough vinyl and that she should stop buying shoes!

I do only buy music that I like and generally want to DJ with these days. As vinyl is making a comeback, I do view the records as mini investments, but have never bought one that I intended to keep and not play at all. I don’t see the point in that. Buying something that you want to hear and keeping it stored in a box somewhere. You need to love it, cherish it and play it. Sometimes, if it’s that good I give my neighbours a treat and let them hear it too by turning up my amp.

Whatever you collect though you are always on the lookout for a bargain. One day whilst  traipsing through a jumble sale or record fair, I’d  love to find a nice, mint copy of the first MC5 single on AMG (the one I am currently looking out for), God Save The Queen on A&M Records or maybe even Frank Wilson’s ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) on Motown. The last time one of these went to auction, it sold for £25,742 back in 2009 and was considered by many to be the ultimate single for soul collectors.

That was until a post appeared on the Soul Source website
(www.soul-source.co.uk) back in June this year.

Someone had been cataloguing their collection when they came across a copy of Darrell Banks 1966 hit, ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’ on the London American label. The record was listed as being previously available on Revilot, Stateside, Quality & Million but nothing was listed about this issue. A request for info went out on the Soul-Source website (and within hours the record was being hailed as not only authentic, but ‘the find of the century’ and ‘the Holy Grail of Northern Soul’ for U.K. collectors.

So what is the fuss all about?

The song was the first US release by Darrell Banks in 1966 and also the first single on Revilot Records, a soul label from Detroit, Michegan. It reached number 2 in the R&B charts and number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. Banks although originally credited as the sole writer, lost a legal battle with Donnie Elbert who had claimed that the song was a copy of his composition ‘Baby Walk Right In’.

Back on the other side of the pond, the single was due for a UK release on the London American label which was owned by British Decca. London American had been set up to promote American labels such as Chess, Imperial & Dot which were licensed to British Decca and bore the logo stating ‘London American Recordings” on the label. Licensing issues meant the release was shelved and the record eventually came out on Stateside.

So for many years, soul fans and record collectors had heard about a copy of ‘Open The Door To Your Heart / Our Love (Is In The Pocket)’ existing on London American, but with no concrete proof, was being brushed off as just a rumour. Maybe the release had been scheduled, moulds made, labels had been printed but as the release had been shelved, everything just ended up in the pressing plants skip somewhere.

And then, 48 years later one magically materialised! We can only assume that an employee from the Decca pressing plant managed to take one home, stashed it away in his collection where it remained un-played  for years before being sold on as part of a job lot that was picked up by the current owner.

Photos posted on soul source appear to have satisfied the die-hards that the record is genuine and are hailing this as ‘the find of the century’ and ’the holy grail’ for soul collectors. The single has now been put up for auction via John Manship Records at www.raresoulman.co.uk. Within a few hours of the listing, the price hit £3k so who knows what it will eventually sell for when the auction finishes on the 21st December at 18:00 GMT.

It would be great to think someone passionate about the soul scene would be able afford to buy this, or a London American collector. It is likely though that just a general collector, maybe from overseas will just buy it as an investment for a possible UK single record price.

So that’s the brief story of the record, what else do we know about the artist?

Born in Mansfield, Ohio but grew up in Buffalo New York, Banks started signing gospel before choosing a career in secular music. He signed to Revilot Records and recorded ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’, a single that was later to be covered by the likes of Jackie Wilson, Betty Wright & Gregory Isaacs. Banks follow up single ‘Somebody (Somewhere) Needs You was a lesser hit and other releases for the Atco, Cotillon & Stax failed to chart.

He died in Februarry 1970 when he was shot in the neck and chest after allegedly pulling a gun on off duty policeman who was reputedly having an affair with Banks’ girlfriend Marjorie Bozeman.

No enquiry was ever held into his death. He was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetary. After his funeral, a benefit gig for his family was played by some of Detroits top performers that included Martha Reeves and The Vandellas where the money raised was gathered in a trust fund for his two children. Years later, thanks to donations from around the world collected via www.soulfuldetroit.com, a memorial bench was placed over his final resting place.

So the final questions must be, if I had the necessary cash in the bank would I bid for the rarest UK soul record ever made?

No, I think I would stick with my £10 Revilot original.

If I owned the record though, would I sell it?

Yes, and with the money safely in the bank I would probably head to pay homage to Darrell Banks in Detroit. It’s a town that I know that used to make cars, has a great musical heritage and that at 4100 Woodward Avenue I can find Peoples Records where I can buy some great sixties garage and soul records and quite possibly I may find that copy of my elusive MC5 single on AMG Records.

Dave Taylor is a Music Promoter and Eyeplug Writer.

Latest show HERE!

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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November 19, 2014 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Soul Tags:, , , ,
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Showplug: Black Kat Boppers @The Legion

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Black Kat Boppers hail from down on the South Coast Water Way in Southampton and are 4 fellas who love to play hard boppin’, jump up, rockin’ blues, dance music. They formed In Dec 2009 after some chance meetings, speculative phone calls and a little bit of fate. A shared love for rockin’ roots music was clear and they haven’t looked back since. There’s been triumphant performances at Glastonbury, Port Eliot, Bestival & Hyde Park (with Blur & The Specials).

Dave Showplug Taylor recently caught up with the band prior to their Showplug show in Swanage at the Legion, Saturday the 5th of April 2014 – get your tickets here folks!

Black Kat Boppers are:

Roy Phillips – Vocals
Jon Best – Guitars, Harmonica & Vocals
Colin Owens – Drums & Vocals
Dylan Clarke – Stand Up Bass & Vocals

01. How did your band get together?

Played together when we were teenagers, busking all over the place, playing rockabilly. Fast forward many years, Jon and Roy were playing together, I had a message from a friend saying Jon had asked if I was around and fancied drumming, I said yea, we knew Dylan as he’s been to see us play so when we needed a bass player, he got the nod.

02. Where did your name come from?

Roy came up with the band name.

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

Mid 50s Rocknroll & R&B music! We had our individual slant on that.

04. What drove you to make music together?

It just feels good and sounds good when we’re doing it. No other reason needed. I think playing together when we were young means it’s ingrained in you somewhere.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

Full, 100% rockin’ commitment! Plenty of dancing. We don’t hold back. We show off and have a good time ha. Some pretty fine tunes too.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Roy and Jon write the songs then maybe we’ll work through them as a band, make em work! We’ve got songs about love, loss, being up, being down, dancing, fighting haha…

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We’re pretty tight, intuitive, things come together quick. We love what we are and what we do so we try to keep on getting better.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

Recording can be hard work, but we pushed through and got some good results. We worked with Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon in the studio and they pushed us til our fingers bled and our heads were exploding but it was a good education from a couple of masters.

09. Does the band play covers? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

We play some covers, tunes we like, that we think we can do well. I cannot recall any arguments over that. A few crowd pleasers never go a miss.

10. What do you love and hate outside of music?

Hate? That’s a bit strong! I’m sure we all have stuff we don’t like? I hate cauliflower? I guess we love our kids and our favourite jackets, that kind of stuff!

11. Who would you most like to record with?

We’ve been pretty lucky with the people we’ve met and worked with. We recently did some songs live with Daisy from kitty, daisy & lewis. It sounded pretty damn good, we may record with her some time.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

We’re doing some festivals, we’re getting some offers for some good shows abroad, maybe some tv stuff, maybe working with some interesting people. Hopefully having a great time and just keep on keepin on!

Web Links:

blackkatboppers.com
facebook.com/BlackKatBoppers
twitter.com/blackkatboppers
soundcloud.com/the-black-kat-boppers

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 31, 2014 By : Category : Blues Front page Interviews Rock Rockabilly Showplug Tags:, ,
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Showplug: Rayguns Look Real Enough@The Legion

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Rayguns Look Real Enough, the world’s greatest mash-up band. Comprised of two members Ray Gunn (Ryan Beange) and Luke Reel (Matt Blair). This unique double act gig across the country in the UK’s top Comedy and Cabaret venues and clubs. Recently shortlisted in the London Cabaret Awards and are preparing for their 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show – Hall Of Fame. “Insanely funny!” – This is Cabaret, “A huge hit!” – The Sun.

01. How did your band get together?

Ryan: Through the comedy circuit.

02. Where did your name come from?

Ryan: Sgt Al Powell in Die Hard
Matt: A wise man

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

Ryan: In the words of Matthew McConaughey – “Me in 10 years time”
Matt: Our music is not influenced by a 50 year old Matthew McConaughey

04. What drove you to make music together?

Ryan: The fear of a real job.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

Ryan: All the hits, some kickass guitar playing and a sparkly groin very close up in your face.
Matt: Also jokes.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Matt: We let other people write the songs. We just make them better.
Ryan: We just choose the best bits of the hits and make new songs with them. Because our music is mash-ups there aren’t always subject matters but we do have some themes like money.

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

Ryan: We use a wider selection of songs now, more complex harmonies and we try to look for comedy that we can bring out within the music.
Matt: Ryan definitely listens more metal since we started playing together.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

Ryan: The height of Luke Reels hair. It kept flopping over. We overcame it with silvikrin and a hairdryer.
Matt: It’s not a pre-show ritual I expected to have when I begun a music career.

09. Does the band play covers? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

Ryan: Ray Gunn will normally stamp his tiger feet and have a little diva fit when he doesn’t get his own way but normally it’s plain sailing.

10. What do you love and hate outside of music?

Ryan: Love: Palm trees, and fine wine. Hate: traffic jams and bad coffee
Matt: Love: Science-Fiction, Hate: Wasps

11. Who would you most like to record with?

Ryan: The Rolling Metallica Bowies.
Matt: Nice. I’d buy that album.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Ryan: A brand new Edinburgh show to blow your minds.
Matt: It’s called Hall of Fame and it will be at the Voodoo Rooms throughout August.

Rayguns Look Real Enough are playing @ the Royal British Legion in Swanage, Dorset on Sat the 29th of March

For more details & to purchase ticket go HERE!

Web links:

raygunslookrealenough.com
twitter.com/RealRaygun
facebook.com/pages/Rayguns-look-Real-Enough

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 14, 2014 By : Category : Exotica Front page Humour Interviews Music Pop Showplug Tags:, , , , ,
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Showplug: Jessica Fostekew@The Legion

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Jess spends the year performing full sets at all the UK’s major clubs: Late n’ Live, Up The Creek, The Stand, Komedia, Banana Cabaret, The Bearcat, BBC Presents, Jongleurs, Highlight, Downstairs at the Kings Head and The Comedy Club Ltd, as well as squillions of others.

A writer on Channel 4’s Stand Up For the Week and on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, News Quiz and Newsjack, Jess is developing various TV pilots, a number of shorts and is writing for other (big name) comedians and comedy actors.

01. How did you get started in comedy?

I’d done a hilariously expensive law degree that I was keen to really waste.

02. Where did your direction come from?

This question doesn’t make any grammatical sense, so I’m going to shoot in the dark and go for either A) a father who combined a great sense of humour with a constant disappointment in me B) a conscientious nature and/ or C) ‘South West’

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

The League of Gentlemen, The Day Today and Vera Drake.

04. What inspires you to write your current material?

How much material all the other comedians are writing.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?

Jokes in a row, stories full of jokes in rows. A variety of silly voices and movements. Some innovation. Might learn a bit. Absolutely no maths. It’s maths-free comedy.

06. What about heckling, how do you you deal with that?

The word ‘heckle’ originally meant a comb or flax and would be someone’s job to use these on sheep, to get the wool ready for when they are shorn and that person was called a ‘heckler. In Dundee in the 14th C when agricultural working conditions were in decline these hecklers piped up about it all the time to local officials, always shouting at them whenever they could, to get better pay and shorter hours. They gained a reputation for being the most vocal of the agricultural work force and by the mid 17th C ‘heckling’ had come to mean any shouting out or contrived vocal disruption. So with that etymology in mind, now when I’m on stage and someone heckles all I hear in my head is a wee little Scottish voice squealing “I want the world to know that I am a lamb’s hairdresser and in my life there is a lot of room for improvement”

07.How has your comedy style evolved since you first began performing?

It’s taller, but also hairier.

08.What has been the biggest audience you have played too? Was the experience exciting or scary?

600 and yes very scary and very exciting. Both. Like a horror film.

09. What stands out as the worst gig of your career and why?

Comedy Store, 2009. I wasn’t funny and also I’d dressed up too much and was all uncomfortable. And my Mum was there. I played to piteous titters and then got a heckle that rather than dealing with in a funny way I simply stopped talking and just stood there in silence, visibly letting it hurt me. Then a technician backstage told me she found my deep voice confusing and that I should get rid of it. I explained it was just my voice and if I didn’t use it I wouldn’t be being me and she said “it would be better though.” Then I cried just as I walked into a couple of agents there to see me but never spoke to me since and my Mum has begged me ever since to become a teacher because she worries that choosing to be a stand up as a career is essentially condemning yourself to a lifetime of severe psychological self-harm. Ha ha ha. Ahhh.

10. Any current comedians or acts that you feel seem to be producing the goods?

Absolutely loads, I will invariably miss people and I’m not even going to bother listing any famouses but acts you might not have heard of yet who I think are stunning funny and you will hopefuly have done at some point/ ought to google/ follow etc. include: Amir Koshakan, Hal Branson, Bobby Mair, Mick Ferry, Twayna Mayne, Danny Ward,oh, there’s loads.

11. Who would be the partner of your choice if you had to be a double act? Living or dead allowed.

Dawn French. She fills my heart with joy.

12 . What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

I’m being the narrator of a new Sky documentary this summer called ‘Nine Months Later’. I’m taking a new work-in-progress show to the Edinburgh festival this year called ‘The Something And The Apoplexy’. I’m in the cast of an amazing big show called ‘Knightmare Live’, based on the show which was on tv in the 90s, that’s doing a mini-tour in June, then Edinburgh festival, then a more proper tour in autumn. Stuff about that is here: www.knightmarelive.com and I’m gigging most nights of the week with just normal stand up somewhere or other, see my links below.

I am the MC for Comedy Plug @ The Legion in Swanage on Saturday the 29th of March, the headliners are Rayguns Look Real Enough and support from Alfie Brown & Rich Wilson. It promises to be a great night. For more details & to purchase tickets go to Showplug Events HERE!

Links:

www.jessicafostekew.com
facebook.com/jessicafostekew
twitter.com/jessicafostekew

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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February 5, 2014 By : Category : Events Front page Humour Interviews Showplug Tags:, , , , ,
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Showplug: Nick Churchill @The Legion



This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Image Credits:
Rock stars! The Beatles on a balcony at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, 20 August 1963. Photo by Harry Taylor © Dave Robinson

Nick Churchill has been sticking words together professionally for more than 25 years. Currently he is a busy Journalist and has undertaken a wealth of celebrity interviews and human interest features to writing speeches, generating web and media content and production scripts. His first book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth – was met with great and considered reviews from the grass roots bloggers, to mainstream media circles and beyond. He has also provided copy for three books published by the Daily Echo and worked on projects for Duncan Bannatyne, Harry Hill, James Caan, Scott Mills and Peter Dickson, the voice of The X Factor. His obvious passion for words and natural genuine integrity is most refreshing. Dave showplug Taylor caught up with him recently.

01. How did you get started in the world of words?

As soon as I could form letters on a page I started to write things down, I loved the shapes the letters made. Before long I was writing stories about magic dragons, brave knights and the things my family did, on little pages, which I’d then fold and staple together in book form.

Years later I wrote music fanzines and poems that I was never sure if anyone read – although I did get a letter from Dave Waller at Riot Stories, Paul Weller’s short-lived publishing company. (Not long after, Waller died of a drugs overdose and Riot Stories ran out of steam.) I used a hand-cranked Gestetner duplicating machine to make copies of ’zines, which I’d then leave at gigs or put between the pages of other magazines in WH Smith.

After trying my hand at retail management, learning how to gut fish and size up cheese, by the late 1980s I was writing for The Catalogue, a trade magazine for The Cartel distribution network headed by Rough Trade. Eventually I opted for some formal journalism training on a weekly free newspaper, got swept up by the cottage industry, everyone-does-everything vibe and sold my soul to regional print journalism. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…

02. Where did you see the first piece you had written in print?

It was most likely something I’d printed myself and then stuffed inside someone else’s publication. Other than that, the first thing I’d written that made it into print was a report about a local Labour Party meeting – I was 16 years old and ready to start the revolution from a market town on the Isle of Purbeck. Bless him, but the editor of the Purbeck Mail encouraged me to send in reports and eventually he started printing them. It was the early 1980s.

03. Was it a struggle getting your first book published?

Depends how you mean. As a working journalist I prevaricated for years about putting fingers to keyboard and starting work on a book. As much as anything, it was largely to do with never being able to settle on the right idea for a book. That problem was solved for me after I jumped ship from newspapers and started working freelance.

An old contact acquired a set of largely unseen photos of The Beatles (and others) taken in and around Bournemouth. Over the years I had written many stories about The Beatles’ connections to the area, the gigs they had played in the town, tapes of their concerts, the With The Beatles cover photo being taken in Bournemouth, George writing his first song for the group in a Bournemouth hotel, John’s aunt Mimi living  nearby at Sandbanks etc. A book seemed to be the logical next step so the ideas that became Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth then took shape.

Lacking the funds to self publish and distribute the book in physical form – and without a literary agent acting on my behalf – I approached several smaller, regional publishers all of whom were keen to take a book about The Beatles. Without question, Natula Publications felt like the most comfortable fit and the relationship has been (and remains) entirely positive.

The struggles, such as they were, came as the book went through the editing process when every word has to earn its keep. It is one thing being consistent over the length of a 1500-word newspaper or magazine feature, but maintaining continuity of language and style over 60,000 words was a whole new ball game and I remain in absolute awe of the editor and their attention to detail.

04. Can you remember how you felt the first time you picked up your book fresh from the printers?

I didn’t pick it up from the printer, the first completed copies I saw were at the launch event.

Before that I’d seen umpteen printed pages and was heartily sick of the sight of it. I’d read it so many times it had stopped making sense, I was blind to the photos, knew all the stories inside out and couldn’t even work out if the words were meant to be read left to right.

But getting a printers’ proof as a bundle of folios was a total buzz. It looked like a book – hell, it was a book, it just needed assembling. It gave me chance to calm down before I saw the final version at the launch.

05. How do you deal with potential rejection from publishers?

If a quarter of a century in newspaper offices teaches you anything it’s that this game is no place for the thin-skinned!

I don’t care what anyone says, journalists are all prima donnas, each and every one of them. Their rampant egos really would run amok if they could. They’ll all take issue with the sub editor who cuts their purple prose, or pens a headline that they don’t consider worthy of their story. They’ll lambast readers that phone up and dare to complain; they’ll defend every drunken misquote; they’ll tell you left is right if it serves their story.

But all of them know what it feels like to have a story rejected, or replaced, or passed over in favour of another. At the end of the day there will always be tomorrow’s story, another chance to shine.

The difference when you’re trying to place a book of course is that you’ve put your all into a single entity. There may be other books in the future, but they take time to work on. For now, the sum total of your creative energy is that book and no matter how kindly rejection is communicated, however good it is for character building, it’s still rejection and you’ve just got to get over it.

06. What type of writers excite you?

Ones I can read. Much as I love stories, I love the way they’re told even more.

Every story needs a good delivery system, which puts the writer in a very powerful position. Sometimes I just want to get the story and I don’t need the words to get in the way of it, other times I want to be seduced/entertained/surprised/delighted/revolted/excited by the language.

I’ve just finished David Peace’s Red Or Dead, his novelisation of the managerial life and times of the great Bill Shankly. Peace adopts a ruthless, unerring, almost hypnotic style that brilliantly serves Shankly’s equally unstinting approach to his work. It takes some adjusting to, but once you’re in it’s completely mesmerising.

I had a similarly immersive experience with A Clockwork Orange, Will Self’s Book of Dave, or even Colin MacInnes’ Absolute Beginners.

07. As an author how do you feel about reviews and the industry mechanics?

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘industry mechanics’, but reviews are absolutely essential, particularly when they come from informed sources. I found the reviews I got from Beatles fan sites the most pleasing, even at their most critical.

For instance, the chapters in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth all take their names from Beatles songs – something the most brilliantly named Hey Dullblog site took exception to. I tend to agree with the review.

08. What’s a typical working day like for you?

There’s no such thing.

09. What would be the title of your autobiography?

Now that’s something I can’t ever see myself ever having to worry about.

10. What do you do aside from writing, where do you seek inspiration yourself?

Inspiration comes from within and without.

I live in beautiful rural Dorset and feel blessed to be here every day. I’m fortunate in that I’ve (so far) managed to turn whatever talent I have into a living of sorts. I have the love of a wonderful woman and am as proud as can be of my grown up son. I’m not in yoke to pointless aspiration, acquisition or the pursuit of ‘stuff’.

There’s music wherever I turn, great films, art, literature, some tidy shoes and a couple of well tailored suits. Human beings are capable of the most amazing things, not least the ability to recognise the wonder in what Nature gives us seemingly for free.

That’ll do for inspiration.

11. What book do you wish you had written?

My next one.

12. How has the internet changed what you do?

As a confirmed Luddite (I’m mindful that some of Dorset’s Swing Riots happened just down the road from me) the internet has been both a blessing and a curse. It has made all kinds of unexpected connections possible, but I’m still struggling to see social media as anything other than a giant consumer of precious time.

The people who know me stay in touch with me if they want to; those that don’t know me but want to get hold of me don’t have to try that hard to do so; and the rest of the world isn’t remotely interested in what I’m doing. I like email; I still use the telephone.

On the other hand, the internet has made delivering the work I do so much easier. It has also meant that work can be distributed far more widely and made publishers of us all. However, it has also devalued quality content as the written word has increasingly been considered only in terms of quantity. I’ll sound like a right old bread head, but authors’ royalties are a major issue as are freelance fees… and musicians reckon they’ve got it bad!

We’d do well to remember the internet is not the universe and the sum knowledge of human understanding and experience is not contained within the internet, there’s much more out there. Even in terms of my book, proper research means talking to people, expending shoe leather and looking things up in print, very little of the content was previously available in digital form. Since the book’s publication though the internet has brought many other stories to light and I’ve heard from some incredible people with wonderful tales to tell. Obviously it would be great if the book went to reprint and those accounts could appear on the page, but if not they will still enjoy a life online.

13. Do you have any advice for wannabe authors?

Whatever you do, keep writing. Try to write something every day. It’s really very simple – if you want to be a writer, be one. Write, right?

14. What projects are you planning for the future and please plug your latest book?

The work goes on. I’ve no wish to scotch any prospects by talking about things that have yet to be confirmed, so I won’t. If anyone wants to read more they can find my stuff at:

www.thegranvillechambers.co.uk
www.nickchurchill.org.uk
www.beatlesbournemouth.blogspot.co.uk

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth can be ordered at a special price from www.natula.co.uk/BournemouthBeatles.html

Nick Churchill is hosting an illustrated talk about The Beatles and their Dorset links for Purbeck Literary Festival on Saturday 22 February 2014 at Swanage Legion from 7.30pm. A screening of A Hard Day’s Night will follow.

More info at www.purbeckliteraryfestival.info

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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January 28, 2014 By : Category : Events Features Front page Interviews Modernist Showplug Tags:, , , , ,
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Showplug: Mayfield@The Legion

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Mayfield are a UK based 8 piece band that write, record and perform original well crafted songs inspired by the very best Soul/Funk music from the golden period of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Mayfield released their first album ‘Tempo of Your Soul’  back in August 2013. The album is currently available on vinyl, CD and via iTunes and comprises 12 up-tempo, melodic tracks. The musical interests across the band members are wide ranging and as such, their sound crosses over into various genres to include Northern Soul, Modern Soul, R&B, Rare Groove and Acid Jazz.

Dave Showplug Taylor recently caught up with the band prior to their Showplug show in Swanage at the Legion – get your tickets here folks!

DT: Who are Mayfield and how did you all get together?

GM: Amy Dall (vocals), Adam Bignell (bass) and Dominic Elton (keyboards) had been working together for several years developing many of the early musical ideas. To fully exploit and define the overall Mayfield sound, a bigger line-up was required. Hence Ryan Crosswell (trumpet) joined the band in 2010, followed by Dominic Channer (drums) and Frankie Lewis (guitar) in 2011. Then in 2012, the final line-up was completed with the addition of myself (Gloria Miller) on vocals and Olgierd Koszlaga on saxophone.

DT: Where did your name come from?

GM: Chicago Soul Man, Curtis Mayfield of course!

DT: Gloria is from the USA. How did she become involved with Mayfield?

DE – She came over to England a few years having met her English husband whilst singing on a cruise ship… he’s a magician! They fell in love and have now settled in Portsmouth… thank God! Otherwise, we would never have found her! Being from Chicago, she’s pretty much the ‘real deal’.

DT: Who has been your biggest influences on your songwriting?

DE – I have to say Jackie Wilson, Gene Chandler, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller, Terry Callier as well as many Northern Soul artists.

DT: Your debut album is entitled ‘Tempo Of Your Soul’. How did it all come together?

DE – A number of the songs had been written by myself and Amy over a few years. Once Gloria and Olgierd joined us the Mayfield Soul sound was complete. I was very keen to make some recordings, one recording led to another. Along the way, new songs emerged – some penned by myself and Gloria. Frankie too has proven to have some great song writing ideas ‘Cold Feet’. Several months later, it was clear we had enough original material, so we carried on until the 12 songs that now feature on the album were recorded. The album does include one cover ‘Life Walked Out’ by The Mist. I first heard Dave Abbot play the track at a Northern Soul do a couple of years ago – it’s a sublime record and I was keen to cover it the moment I heard it. It was obvious that Tempo of Your Soul had to be the album title track – this song is a homage to Soul music and describes how listening to Soul music as a teenager for the first time can then take over your life and become a lifelong passion.

DT: What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

GM: A highly energetic and passionate performance! Because they are our own songs we really connect with them. We all love performing and it comes across that way to the audience. You will not be leaving disappointed!

DT: Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

DE: Song writing for us, is a collaborative effort, but the main writers are Amy Dall, Gloria Miller, Frankie Lewis and myself. I think overall our songs are ‘feel-good’ music! We write about soul music and it’s impact of our lives as heard in the title track of our current release, ‘Tempo Of Your Soul’ in ‘Cold Feet’ ‘Fling’ and ‘It Shouldn’t Be Like This’ we talk about relationships; and in ‘Everybody’ ‘Get Up’  and ‘Dance With Me’ and we also write about finding your groove out there on the dance floor.

DT: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

GM: We are an 8-piece band so the biggest challenge is getting all of us at the same place at the same time. We have a ‘secret’ group set up on Facebook and this allows us to communication with each other without having to email and text. So much easier going to one place to find out what’s happening with the band!

DT: Does the band play any covers during a live show?  If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

GM: Yes, we play the occasional cover. We don’t really argue about what covers to do. We’re all really on the same page, so most suggestions are in keeping with who we are as a band. A cover we’re considering playing to our Swanage audience is ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.

DT: What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

GM: We will begin building our own studio in March of this year and hopefully will start recording our 2nd album ‘Keep On’ in the autumn. We’re already writing and performing new songs that will go on this release. We’ll be performing a couple at the Showplug show @ The Legion on 1st February!

DT: OK Dom. Your top ten albums you currently can’t live without please?

DE – Well apart from hundreds of Northern Soul Compilation Albums, here goes:

1. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
2. Kind Of Blue – Miles Davis
3. The Curtom Story – Curtis Mayfield
4. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder
5. All Mod Cons – The Jam
6. Revolver – The Beatles
7. Cafe Bleu – The Style Council
8. Park Life – Blur
9. The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
10. Hidden Treasures – Amy Winehouse

DT: Any bands we should go and check out?

DE – Quite like ‘New Street Adventure’ – though I think they’re now signed to Acid Jazz Records.

Weblinks

Mayfield Official Site
Showplug

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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January 28, 2014 By : Category : Eyeplugs Front page Gigs Interviews Showplug Soul Tags:, , , ,
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Eyeplug.net Podcast Number 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Eyeplug Podcasts


Hello and welcome to our first in a long series of fun-filled rumblings (and hopefully inspiring) Podcasts from various Eyepluggers!

First off is Boo Eyeplugs’ slightly warped take on things… Enjoy!

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest - YouTube

January 11, 2014 By : Category : Podcasts Tags:, ,
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