Over the years I’ve predominantly by fluke, or from being in the right place at the right time, managed to get myself in a position to be photographed with a number of people who I respect musically (yes they are extremely lucky to have their photo taken with me!!), or to have some signed item, or to pay for some signed item (hey that’s capitalism for you) or to get something thrown into the audience or bumping into them in the street (step forward Rod Stewart in Epping High Street and Steve Hackett in Oxford Street).
John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett
Probably my first item of worthiness was a piece of John Otway’s shirt (who he? – Ed). Yes the self-styled ‘Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure’ frequently used to throw his shirt into the audience (does anyone remember which song?) whilst on tour with Wild Willy Barrett. It would invariably be ripped to shreds, (100% polyester) and I managed to come away with a 4”x 3” section (9 Jul 1980 – Grey Goose pub Nottingham on the infamous DK 50/80 Tour) which was kept in a box, in my mum’s loft, until December 2015. My wife suggested it was a worthless piece of junk and well let’s face it – it was – and alas into the skip it went!
I saw Otway and Barratt a few times over the years and managed to get a chance to talk face to face with John at Teesside Polytechnic during Rag Week (not sure when it was exactly but it was during the 1980/81 academic year) where he was the star turn! Alas, we didn’t carry cameras around in those days (they were ostensibly for holidays and special occasions) and smartphones were not even a glint in someone’s imagination then.
The first gig I ever attended where Robert John Godfrey (founder member) asked the audience to sit on the floor to listen to the music, and we all duly obliged. What a gig – 1976 Derby College of Art and Technology, I promptly went out and bought ‘In the Region of the Summer Stars’. I was lucky enough to catch one of the drumsticks at the end, which again was kept in a box, in my mum’s loft, until December 2015 when it went the same way as John Otway’s shirt!
I saw them again in 1979 and bought a t-shirt this time (Touch Me tour) and then again in Middlesbrough in 1980 – where I managed to get a few shots of the band in action. As far as I was concerned they were a hidden gem of classical influences mixed with prog rock. The trip ended here and I lost interest – but they are still going strong. Might get round to re-introducing myself to them again some day.
As I devoted fan of Genesis (up to and including Wind and Wuthering) I obviously would give Steve a go in his solo career. I bought a couple of the early albums which showed promise including one of my favourite tracks ‘Everyday’ – brilliant guitar work.. I was living in Birmingham 1980/81 and bored one day entered a competition to win Steve’s latest album ‘Cured’ – which BTW is possibly one of the worst album covers of all time (sorry Steve if you’re reading this). Low and behold one day the LP arrived and it was also signed!
Over the next couple of decades again I lost contact with Steve’s output but was re-ignited when he started doing his Genesis Revisited tours and CDs. Bloody marvellous stuff may I say! I even pre-ordered the Genesis Re-Visited II CD which was also signed.
I was lucky enough to watch the great man with Led Zeppelin and also in a much smaller venue of the Blue Note club in Derby when he toured with the Honeydrippers (13 Apr 1981).
The CD of this event is available via some Japanese website if anyone is interested. A hot and sweaty night of R&B and Robert signed the only piece of paper I had in my wallet at the time. Good man!
I first got into Camille when she was doing a tour based on Jacques Brel songs in 2004 (this man was pure genius – see my previous blog) in Oxford. Spellbound by the songs and her performance. To this day I’ll always go and watch her whenever I can.
I took my wife to see her in Brighton Spiegeltent in 2006 and she kindly signed the CD ‘La Fille Du Cirque’ for me. She also signed another CD for my wife who was well impressed with her song ‘Look Mummy No Hands’ that she cried all the way through it.
Now if you have been following my blogs you’ll know that the first LP I ever bought was ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Let’s face it Rick is now basically a national treasure (along with Lemmy – RIP, Keef, Ozzy) and I was lucky enough to have him sign my copy of said album and also have my photo taken with him during 2010 at St. Mary’s Church in Bury St. Edmunds. Just Rick, a grand piano and some pews! What else does a keyboard maestro need?
He did a ‘meet and greet’ after the show and kindly signed my original 1974 LP which is proudly on display on my stairwell. He is doing ‘an audience with’ in May when I hope to get him to sign my ‘Myths and Legends of King Arthur’ LP in Harlow. Also going to watch him in June at the Stone Free Festival on June 19th 2016 – where he is performing the album for the first time since 1978. This piggybacks on the Journey to the Centre of the Earth – 40th Anniversary tour at the Royal Albert Hall in 2014 which was also spot on!
23 May 2016 Supplemental
Saw Rick again in Harlow on 21 May 2016 and have added the latest picture. Another great evening of keyboard wizardry and fun, plus he signed another 6 LPs and a 7″ single!
The Urban Voodoo Machine
You really need to go and watch this lot live – so much going on in the show. Great music and visuals and moreover they are all approachable! A band who truly mingle with their fans.
I already had seen them live and bought a couple of their CDs when I came across the Pledge Music web site. It gives bands the opportunity to created exclusive events and personalized fan experiences in return for pledging money to fund this. So why not get a signed lyric sheet, signed CD, get the band to perform an acoustic set in your living room? So I duly did for the UVM ‘Love, Drink & Death’ CD pledge and it was seriously worth it for paying a bit extra for something one-off and hopefully at the same time helping Paul-Ronney Angel and the band out financially. Every little helps!
In fact I’ve gone and done it again for the latest pledge ‘Hellbound Hymns’ 2016 – see pictures above. Got the signed CD and LP plus my name in the credits on the LP. who’d have through it famous at last!
Mikelangelo (and the Black Sea Gentlemen)
A wonderful, Australian based, cabaret troupe of multi-talented troubadours touting their eastern European gypsy influences around the world. Songs of death, despair, sexual desires, and tragic tales of woe to warm your heart (with a comic twist)! A gem that deserves a much wider audience..
The band comprises of:
- Rufino – Violinist and confidence man (Catalan Casanova )
- Guido Libido – Piano accordionist and man of a thousand faces
- The Great Muldavio – Clarinettist, taxidermist and epic poet
- Little Ivan – Doublebass player, ballroom dancer and barber
The first time I heard/saw them was during a Culture Show broadcast on BBC2 – they were at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 and performed ‘Devil’s Wedding’, live from the Pleasance Courtyard. It was so good my wife came in from the kitchen to ask who it was. We have both been fans ever since.
The lead of the group Mikel Simic (AKA Mikelangelo) is also a man of many musical talents:
- Kabaret noir
- Tin Star (surf ‘n’ western)
- His alter ego ‘Johnny Presley’ – The Balkan Elvis
So another Pledge – to have my own hand printed CD cover by Mikel – City of Dreams CD.
Check them out on YouTube, Facebook etc. They really are worth some of your time!
Oh what a great band, Mike Scott is so talented. I’ve ben a fan since my friend lent me ‘This is the Sea’ in 1985, and I’ve seen them many times over the years. It pays to be on mailing lists for your favourite bands as you get early warning of deals for gigs (meet and greet) and limited edition exclusives on new music. That and touring is realistically the best way to make money these days wit the music industry model haven broken down many years ago.
So my exclusive signed stuff is below! Thank you @MickPuck
So there I am minding my own business walking along Venice Beach (2 July 2016) when this dreadlocked dude comes up to me with a bag of CDs. Now I love dub reggae so we get talking and I get to listen to his CD. I like it and buy a copy for $5 which he kindly signs.
Obviously I’d never heard of him, but I like the enterprising spirit – have new release will go out and flog it! Check him out – Dandexx music – you never know you might just like it!
So here we are again via PledgeMusic to purchase a signed copy of their new LP ‘Pinewood Smile’ (Oct 2017). Rather than just buy the LP on release it’s nice to have something more special – a collectors piece if you will. Obviously, pledging to buy something in advance is good business for the band (especially these days when LP sales don’t make you rich anymore), but what if you don’t like it? In the old days (pre: mid 1980s) you’d troop down to your local record store and listen to the LP prior to investing your hard earned Saturday job money.
As it happens it turned out to be rather damn good with some cheeky lyrics! Well done King Justin of Lowestoft.
Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express
Last time I saw Chuck he was playing a one off date with ‘Green on Red‘ at the London Astoria [10 Jan 2006]. Yes it’s been a while and in the meantime Chuck’s solo output has been tremendous. I got to meet and chat with Chuck (plus get some goodies signed) after the gig at ULU, London [17 Nov 2017] and the support band ‘Curse of Lono‘.
Thank you @ChuckProphet
It was a wonderful night – check out my blog for a review.
Curse Of Lono
They were the support band to Chuck Prophet and played an interesting set of Alt. Country Americana. Got talking to the band afterwards and they are going to pack up their other jobs and pursue a career in music full time. Good luck to them! Check them out if you get the opportunity.
They gave me a signed CD of their self titled EP – and my mate bought their 1st CD.
Flunk and Rumours
Saw these at the 100 Club in London on 24 Jan 2018. Nice small venue where you can get up close and personal with the band. Both bands chatted with the audience after the gig and did the usual photos/signatures – ta Anja Øyen Vister. Thanks to both bands, a surprisingly good evening!
I saw Blancmange for the 2nd time in 5 months on their Unfurnished Rooms tour. It was the London gig @ Under the Bridge on 9 March 2018. Top band and Neil really is a top bloke, lovely man. Thanks for your time! Got a remastered, and redesigned cover on 180g LP personalised to me. Apparently only 500 copies of this cover were pressed!
Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy
Oh what a brilliant night’s entertainment – see my blog. Carl and the band later signed my much cherished Tarkus drum skin and I had a photo taken with the great man! The drum skin is sitting proudly on my loft wall. Thanks Carl!
Marko 28 March 2016
Updated 21 Nov 2017; 29 Jan 2018; 9 Mar 2018