Saturday, 16 May 2009

Rehearsing at John Henry

Today Gang of Four is in John Henry's, an only slightly scuzzy rehearsal room complex in Brewery Road, North London, where more or less everybody has rehearsed some time or other. The walls have very bad “art” drawings of famous musicians like Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison - in which they somehow all look exactly the same as each other - and promo photo's of artistes who've worked here when they were thin and young . There is a pixie like Mick Jagger; and here are Robbie Williams and Boy George, who'd both now give away about 150lbs to their slimmer and cuter early versions; and here's a minx-like Lisa Stansfield, plastered in slap, just before she went all around the world to find her baby. When I heard her song the first time I thought it was an incredibly clever post-modern work that had brilliantly deconstructed shit Northern soul. And then realised she was dead serious. It actually was a shit northern soul song! Post-post-modern!

And, here -who would have thought they were still alive- a ( relatively, last decade ) recent picture of Canned Heat.They do look a little seedy , a bit like the late great Brian Connolly of Sweet, & surely must carry a mobile defibrillator on tour ( mental note: contact their supplier) . Canned Heat used to be ( I think) on Vertigo Records, which had a label with a cool B&W Bridget Riley inspired Op art Design put together to guarantee delight & nausea watching the 45 rotate after a fat jazz Woodbine. Intense!

Chris , our avuncular TM, would have made a first class priest. He acquired this confessional air having for years TM’d The Stranglers, a demanding bunch. Keen on Sudoko. We aren’t, that much: Chris’ priorities: 1) source ice tomorrow night to chill the white wine 2) that’s it. As usual, we’ve been emailed an itinerary which no-one will read. We will need a set list. Chris tells me that there won’t be a sound check, which is excellent as they are a waste of time. Years ago, boozing with Rockpile, Dave Edmunds told me that they had soundchecked once and that was enough. It never sounds so good again. Sound advice. First time tragedy, second time farce.

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