Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Count Me Out

As a youngster I was not as keen on my studies as I could have been and by the time I was 16 or 17 I was spending far too much of my free time on nocturnal outings to catch bands live. At this period, the mid to late seventies the East End of London was not the trendy inner suburb that it has become in recent years but more of a cultural desert as far as music venues were to go and so I became very familiar with the workings of the London tube as I would often be off to the town centre or even as far as West London, which at the time boasted a good selection of live venues, one of my favorites was The Nashville Rooms in West Kensington. This was a very large Victorian pub that had a room that must have contained somewhere in the region of 400 people and was equipped with a decent stage where they put on live music 7 nights a week. It was a bit of a hangover from the pub rock days though the venue was quick enough to grab the spirit of change that was in the air, one legendary gig, which I missed, was the Sex Pistols supporting the 101er's. I saw many a band and sunk many a good pint of Fullers inside it's smokey confines, most of the bands I saw were not to go on to mega stardom, but there was one that I saw there on at least three occasions ('77/'78) before turning up one cold winter night in 1978 to see them again only to find a great big line of faces waiting to pay their entrance fee, the night before the band had been on the Old Grey Whistle Test tv programme, I did not wait around as there was another gig just down the road at Hammersmith's more intimate Red Cow. The name of the band was the Police, I can remember at this period they made for a good night out with their mixture of fast punk inspired numbers and what was to become their trade mark, white reggae.
It was with much surprise and even amusement that I learnt the news of them reforming for a world tour, it was not that long ago that Sting was giving a big loud NO when journalists would pose the question of a possible get together, so what happened has Sting been stung by that vulgar disease called poverty? Is the up keep of his Tuscany life style proving too much? Who knows, who cares, the only thing that I am sure of is that I will not be sending off for tickets, in fact I somewhat doubt that if you were to offer me a place that I could be arsed to go. I can remember when the Sex Pistols got back together, the first time, I was tempted but finally decided that it was not a good idea. I saw the the reformed Buzzcocks who were older and fatter than the first time I saw them some twenty years previously and last year I caught the reformed Wedding Present and despite it being an enjoyable evening it was not a patch on the gig I saw them perform a decade before. This might sound a little mean but I almost consider that Joe Strummer did me a favour by passing away when he did a it has saved me the dilemma of deciding whether or not to see a reformed version of the Clash were it to have ever come about. On the subject of the Clash, Carbon Silicon, Mick Jones latest venture, have just posted four new tracks that can be found here.
I guess at the end of the day the hesitation on my part boils down to two factors, first the bands motivation, I loudly condemned the Pixies as it was more than evident it was just for the money as was also to be the case with the Pistols, the cynic in me also says the Police are looking forward to a good pension plan from the dates they'll be playing. Secondly I think I've got a nagging thought at the back of my head that I might just be disappointed, imagine seeing Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon once again on stage and them failing to deliver the goods, that would almost kill me!
Anyway enough of this rhetoric, after all this is a music blog. In their day I can vouch that the Police were one hell of a fine band on stage as you can hear from these two tracks taken from their box set 'Message In A Box' a fine (s)punky 'Next To You' recorded live in NYC and their live favorite 'Message In A Bottle'. If you are planning to go and see them don't let the musing of an aging punk rocker spoil your enjoyment.

At least the Sex Pistols were open about only doing it for the money. But not all reunions are just for financial reasons - Bruce Springsteen needed time away from the E Street Band to explore other musical avenues, but they still did great work when they eventually got back together.
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