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Bob Meyer (Bob’s Folk Show) talks to Eyeplug

01. How did you get started in music?

That’s a hard one!!! Playing music? I was in a band with some friends when I was about 13, I played the drums we were called the Streatham Commoners we never gigged in fact! I can’t remember ever playing any songs! We must have been just one of those mid 70’s experimental garage bands that never made it.

Before that I did have two guitar lessons at school but like most of my school days I properly bunked off the third lesson and being left handed was always a problem as they wanted me to play right handed! The fascist swine’s!!! My older brother has been playing guitar since he was very young so I did play about with his guitar a bit and that’s when I started to play upside down!

Then about ten years later in the mid 80’s I started playing the Blues Harp. But that didn’t last long and I gave up.

Thinking about it I did hang round a rehearsal room and recording studio in Streatham in the late 70’s early 80’s! The Orchestra Pit was under Streatham railway station and my mate’s punk band Dead Clergy rehearsed there most Friday nights so I would go and watch. They were very loud and very punk and that had a big affect on a young me, growing up in dark, dank Thatcher’s London.

Dead Clergy’s guitar player was Les (Fruit Bat) Carter who went on to form Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine so I was hanging round with some real talent at the tender age of 14.

It wasn’t till I was about 33 that I picked up a guitar again when I was round my friend’s house and as usual I picked it up upside down, I played about a bit with it and thought, yes Sir I must buy me a guitar! So the next day I went to Cash Converters on Streatham Hill and bought an old Marlin Classical guitar for £43.00. Then I got a book on “How to play a guitar” turned the book upside down and taught my self some chords! I got bored of that very quickly so I just started messing about with different tunings etc and made the rest up! I still don’t know any chords I still don’t know what notes I’m playing and still can’t play anyone else’s music so as a musician I’m a fraud (laughs).

It must have been with in a few months I had made up enough songs to go and do an open mic in Clapham, Seven years later I had a record deal.

02. Where did your Folk direction stem from?

I don’t think I have any direction at all! I have always been too Blues for the “folk” music fans and to folk for the Blues fans, I just think of what I do as music, if you like it good ,if you don’t there is nothing I can do to make you like it. Too much is made of putting labels on Art and I’m to old to care anymore. (Laughs out loud)

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

Bowie, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, Bjork, Al Bowlly, Kurt Vonnegut, Marcel Duchamp, Dennis Wilson, William Blake, Butthole Surfers and life, love, death and hate.

04. What inspires you to create your current type of songs and you general sound?

To tell you the truth I have had a writers block for about five years, so I’m just punting my old songs around and the fact that I have hardly gigged in the last three years, means it’s like starting over again for me in a way!

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

A fat old middle-aged man singing and playing the guitar very badly! (laughs to himself) Well I have never really done songs! I much prefer to play straight through without stopping! I have never liked talking to the audiences and this is not some kind of me being cool, I’m just very nervous when I’m playing, I get very bad stage fright and since I stopped getting drunk and doing drugs, it’s worse than ever! So I just like to get on stage play for twenty-five minuets or so say thanks and leave! But when I play and it goes well and I get lost in what I’m doing and I may go to that place where some Artists go when they hit the spot and an audience are getting it and enjoying it, they are the good times. Joe Cushley the renounced music writer, promoter, manager and DJ once said my “playing is like a stream of consciousness”  – I say it’s very well rehearsed improvisation.

06. How do you begin writing your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Not written anything for years and I never had a formula for song writing, it was just sit around have a drink and a smoke and tinker about. Some tunes and lyrics just pop in to my brain and I record them there and then and go back years later and try to remember how to play them.

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

After I started playing the guitar and singing I started playing about with old keyboards and multi-track recorders and any other old junky type of old skool sound making stuff I could get my hands on, my friend described it as ‘soundscapes’. I did a home-made album of this stuff and had one of the tracks was put on a compilation album too. But I soon got bored and went back to just doing gigs with my guitar and my songs.

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

Not a clue! I don’t look at life like that, if I want to do something I put my heart and soul in to it, if it works I’m happy if it fails I move on.

09. If you could pick any song, what would you like to cover most and why?

I can’t play anyone else music so covering is a bit hard!

10. Tell us about your Radio work?

I did Bob’s Folk Show live on Radio Wey for about three years and after eighteen months it was repeated on Folk Radio UK.

I have been told that the show was one of the best Folk, Roots and Acoustic radio shows in the UK and I certainly had some great live sessions and discovered some great music and some artists (I could now make a list of the great artists who I played first or who played live on my show first, but they know who they are) I only stopped doing the show due to illness in my family and it was getting on my tits being ignored by other “Folk DJ’s”. And I think the straw that broke my back was being ignored by Richard Digance.

I would have gone back to Radio Wey but they would only have me back on their terms and what they wanted from me, I could never do!

I have recently done a pilot show for an FM station in London and I hope to get back on air very soon with Bob Meyer’s Old Time Radio Show playing music mainly from the 1920’s and 30’s, pre-war blues and mountain music, you know the kind of thing. Thinking about if I ever write my life story I could call it “Being Ignored by Richard Digance (ho ho ho).

11. You also are involved in various Events and Promotions?

Yes, I have put on a few gigs and they have been great all of them sold out and everyone said they had a good old time and I put on The London Folk and Roots Festival in 2012 with some good friends and I’m putting it on again this year (2014). In 2012 we put on about thirty acts with Michele from The Magic Numbers heading the bill it was a great day/night. This year there will only be half the acts, but it will be a who’s who of great talent and I really can’t wait.

12. Where do you envisage being in five years time?

Doing my same day job (driving a pickup truck) trying to get a paid job as a radio broadcaster, doing a few gigs here and there and just glad to be alive.

13. Who would you most like to record with?

Bjork.

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

The unexpected (boom! boom!)

Web links
soundcloud.com/bobsfolkshow
bobmeyer.bandcamp.com
twitter.com/13bobmeyer
facebook.com/bobmeyershow

London Folk & Roots Festival 2012
watch-the-london-folk-and-roots-festival-film/

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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February 4, 2014 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Folk Front page Interviews Picks Tags:, , , ,
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DozenQ – Folk Grinder

This entry is part 3 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

Folk Grinder frontman singer songwriter Koozie Johns former guitarist with Sex Pistols bassist ‘Glen Matlock and The Philistines’ and frontman for ‘Sinnerstar’.

01. How did your band get together?

KJ: Folk Grinder was formed in March 2010, by myself and Slovakian born accordionist/pianist Miro Snejdr who I first met in a pawn brokers in London in 2008. Miro was skint and about to sell his accordion, I told him I was looking for an accordion player and stepped in and bought it him back. I’d been living in Redondo Beach California for a couple of years and had written an album’s worth of sea shanties that had been inspired from living by the sea and being away from the UK. We originally tried out some of these songs with a full band that was made up of previous members of my old band Sinnerstar, but it wasn’t working out. So a more stripped back skiffle approach was sought after and when we tried it, it just worked and I love it.

02. Where did your name come from?

KJ: We wanted a name that sounded like it could have been a Tarantino movie title and we thought Folk Grinder kinda fits that. We play sea shanty Rock’n’Folk’n’Roll which has various elements of folk music all mashed up with a stripped back sound and a Rock’n’Roll sailor vibe.

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

KJ: Influences are many, both from music and film, Tom Waits to Cat Stevens, The Clash to 56 Elvis to the London music hall greats and skiffle acts. Film Noir, Alfred Hitchcock and Tarrantino movies. The inspirations for the songs have mainly come from my own colourful life and how I’ve lived it. I despise manufactured stuff such as all that x-factor crap and fake celebrity shit.

04. What drove you to make music together?

KJ: When Miro and I first hooked up we didn’t know if it would work out or not , but something magical was really happening which told us to go with it. We met up in the basement of Enterprise studios down Tin Pan Alley, Denmark Place in London’s West End and ran through a few tunes in a room that used to be EMI’s old masters vault and it just kind of clicked. We then decided to go ahead and demo some songs in the spring of 2010 and see what we had and kinda put together a blueprint of our sound.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

KJ: Folk Grinder are primarily myself on vocals/guitar and Miro Snejdr on accordion/ piano with the added occasional guest players on some tunes. The idea being where ever we play the audience will never know whether a guest is gonna get up with us or not and join us on a song or two,whether it’s a mate or a name it’ll be a surprise. Whatever, we guarantee the audience a good time of foot stomping singalong sea shanties and bordello Rock’n’Roll.

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

KJ: I write songs covering various topics such as love, addiction, sin, salvation, pain and affliction, stuff that I’ve gone through, some biographical some not.

07. How did your music evolve since you first began playing together?

KJ: It’s all evolved quite naturally and we are pleased with how it’s all come together and found it’s place, the time is right.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

KJ: In a market place saturated with over produced and manufactured music what we have to offer is real, gritty and proving to be a breath of fresh air.

09. Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

KJ: We play strictly original material but we have recorded a cover of the Iggy Pop classic ‘The Passenger’ which was recorded/produced by Steve Ellis who has worked with Mick Jones and Frank Black. When we’ve included it in our live set we have filled the stage with various guests and that’s been fun to do and it’s a real audience pleaser, because everyone knows the song and how to sing the chorus LaLaLaLaLaLaLaLa. We’ve also covered ‘Pay me my money down’ by Pete Seeger.

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

KJ: I love the tranquility of the English countryside and calm seas. I hate greed and ill manners, wars and conflict and our absurd governments.

11. Who would you most like to record with?

KJ: Captain Pugwash

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

KJ: Our long awaited debut album recorded earlier this year and produced by the legendary Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny/Theatre of Hate/Dead Men Walking) will be out this autumn, so Folk Grinder will be out touring everywhere so be sure to catch a show… Heave Ho!

Thanks to: Koozie Johns – Folk Grinder – August 2012

*All images © Folk Grinder and their own photographers, Tina Newbury & Graham Hilling.

Links

facebook.com/folkgrinder
facebook.com/folkgrinder
facebook.com/englanddreaming
myspace.com/folkgrinder

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Features Folk Front page Interviews Music Rock Tags:, , , , ,
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DozenQ – Simon Wells

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Last year saw the release of Simon Wells’ critically acclaimed album “Sometimes In The Morning”. Fusing together influences such as Nick Drake, Traffic and The Pentangle, Wells reactivated the often-presumed dead genre of English pastoral rock. Melodic, quirky & reflective, Wells’ compositions hark back to the rich period of homespun pastoral folk, a genre that is both charming and thought-provoking.

With a new single on the way and an album scheduled for later in the year, Simon took a few moments out to talk to eyeplug.net about his career in music and his plans for the future.

01 How did you get started in music?

Like a lot of people, I spent many a year with a tennis racket in front of the mirror. When I realised I had a talent for music, I starting doing covers with local bands. The reality that I could write my own music was something that took a while to realise. However, once I got some positive feedback from friends and peers, it opened a floodgate of creativity and I never looked back.

02 Where did your direction come from?

Probably like many, I was a fan of 60s music – The Beatles especially. Actually, the Fabs helped me absorb the whole gamut of the 60s experience: films, art, books. fashion – everything. As a result, I became totally absorbed with the whole period. Later, punk freed me up from my 60s obsessions and broadened my scope. That in turn allowed me to process music from the early 1970s – a period I feel is long overdue for a renaissance. Listening to so much music, I suppose it was only natural that I wanted to emulate some of the people who’d inspired me- but equally, I was keen to imbue my own sound as well.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Initially, The Beatles, then The Kinks, Who, Small Faces and then more modern day people like Paul Weller and XTC. Today, not that many – but I do like some of Coldplay’s less bombastic material.  But in terms of a major influence, I would say Nick Drake and the whole genre of English pastoral folk are the closest to me. It’s something I feel that still to this day is badly represented, and I am amazed there hasn’t been a revival. What do I despise? I don’t really despise anyone, I just ignore what I don’t like. Life’s really too short to waste time on garbage!

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs?

Just watching and listening to everyday things really. Equally, I suppose if I hear a great song, it does make me want to write something equally good. I take quite an eclectic approach to my songwriting, and much of my inspiration comes from old movies and soundtracks – they seem to stir my creative juices. There’s a track on my album “The Saturday Girl” which is partly inspired by an old Tony Hancock movie (The Punch and Judy Man). The ambiance of the film just drips into that song. I like my influences to be diverse and quirky!

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

Hopefully they come away thinking they’ve heard some good songs and that my stage presence was enough to engage them – other than just sitting and listening. Actually, I just hope they leave thinking they have seen and heard something different – and equally, look forward to my future release(s).

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Funny, I usually start with a title rather than a tune. That really starts me off. For example, I had this title: “Cinnamon Cinder” – what it actually means I really don’t know, but I liked the sound of it. Anyway, it set of a train of thoughts – from where the song finally emerged.  It’s rare for me to come out with a tune first. On my album “Sometimes In The Morning” I did a spoken word track entitled “Some Nights I Just Sit And Rot In Coffee Bars.” This came from a line in a 60s book called “Generation X”. I just fell in love with title and felt compelled to do something with it – so there we are!

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

In reality, I hope my music has become more compact. Y’know, when one starts out, you have all these grandiose ideas and yet the reality is that truly memorable and great compositions are mostly understated and simple in their construction. Obviously, one’s songs can’t all be amazing, but I do try and set that as my brief.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

I enjoy live work, but as a singer-songwriter, I do find on-stage chat somewhat difficult. With a band it’s so much easier to hide behind the sound, but as you can imagine, as a solo artist it all falls back on me.  I hope the songs speak for themselves!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

For me, the most perfect song is Tim Hardin’s “It’ll Never Happen Again”, so if there was one song I had to cover it would be that. My friend, the writer Paolo Hewitt, has told me I should record Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All” which I may well do in the future. To be honest though, I am quite happy with my own material at the moment.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

Hopefully doing much of the same- but exploring new musical avenues and playing lots more gigs. I’m really happy recording too – so much more of that as well. I love the identity of being a solo performer; being in a group can get far too congested. I like my space.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Well I suppose people like Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson spring to mind – seeing as they’re major influences, but I am probably happy just to leave them as heroes than try and work with them (which I’m sure would be problematic). In reality, if the chance arose I would jump at the chance to work with Andy Partridge of XTC. As far as I’m concerned, he’s still one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced.

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

Well, I have a single from the album coming out this spring, “The Saturday Girl”, and it’s backed with some live tracks recorded last year at London’s famous Troubadour club. Following that, there’s a new album coming out later this year. I’m really excited about it. Hopefully it’ll be more of what I explored on “Some Times In The Morning” but with a grittier sound.

Simon’s album “Sometimes In The Morning” is available from 208 records @ www.208records.co.uk . “The Saturday Girl” single with tracks recorded at the Troubadour is released this spring.

www.myspace.com/simonwellsmusic

simon-wells.208records.co.uk/releases

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Folk Front page Indie Interviews Tags:, ,
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Bob Meyer’s Folk Companion – 03 June

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Bob Meyer's Folk Companion

Good things are going on in the world of folk music – and when I say folk I speak of a broad church!

First, I’d better tell you who I am. I’m Bob Meyer – a guitar playing folk/blues singer songwriter signed to an old punk independent record label (Malicious Damage).  I also host Bob’s Folk Show on Radio Wey and I play the best folk, Americana, roots, blues, and acoustic music around. I have some of the best underground folk acts coming in and playing live.  Here are two of the best acts that I can recommend you go and see live or buy their albums:

Trent Miller

www.trent-miller.com

A dark brooding singer songwriter with a Byronic passion for hanging, drugs, and strong drink. His first album, Cerberus was the best album I have had sent in to my show so far.  His new disc, Welcome to Inferno Valley is due out in June – and is just as good, it’s growing on me more and more. He has played live on my show twice and will be back very soon.  His live performances can take your mind to crazy places.

Josienne Clarke

www.josienneclarke.co.uk

Josienne is a quintessential female folk singer/songwriter. She sings of love lost, and though some may think, ‘oh, that old chestnut’ – just wait until you hear her unique levels of feeling and passion; they will melt the coldest heart. Her voice is outstanding and she is truly one of the best female singers in the UK at the moment. Josienne has also been on my show and to sit five feet away from her when she sings blows my mind every time. (She will be live on my show again on 14 June).

Josienne is accompanied on various stringed instruments by Ben Walker who is one of the finest guitar players I have ever seen. So go and see them live or buy Josienne’s  great album One Light Is Gone.

Bob’s Folk Show Tuesday 9pm www.radiowey.co.uk

www.facebook.com/bobsfolkshow

PHOTO CREDIT: ANNABEL VERE

Folky Bob

Bob is EYEPLUG’s folk expert, he hosts ‘Bob’s Folk Show’ on Radio Wey, every Tuesday from 9-11pm – there you can catch everything from pre-war blues, to roots and acoustic singer songwriters and he also has many great live acts booked for upcoming sets. If you think your music will suit his show please send your cd's to; Bob Meyer, Radio Wey Studio, St Peters, Chertsey, KT16 OPZ, or send an email!

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Folk Tags:, , ,
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