I think this about the busiest I’ve ever been at work in a summer without football.
Well, I say ‘without football’, but with Confederations Cup, U21 Euros, U20 World Cup Womens Euros and all things in between, that statement wouldn’t stand up in court. But I think you get the gist.
talkSPORT towers has seen the ‘Alan Brazil Sofa’ in the green room re-christened the ‘Ian Danter Sofa’ as I appear to have taken permanent residence in SE1 over the last 2 months. I’m most certainly not complaining – you’ll have to ask my colleagues if they’re complaining, however. But they keep asking me back so…
It’s common to be asked to cover shows in the close season when some of my fellow presenters take a breather from the beautiful game. Couple that with the terrific team we sent down under to cover the Lions tour in June, and there were suddenly quite a few holes to fill in the show schedule. And I’m only too happy to help in that regard.
Evening stints aplenty, coupled with the odd request to cover for Alan at the 11th hour (or more accurately, the 5th hour) and a couple of cricketing OB’s (outside broadcasts) have kept my summer as rich and varied as the sports the station has been covering. The ensuing homework and research on things like Tour de France, The Open Golf, Women’s Football and Wimbledon have really concentrated the mind – and I’ve loved it. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.
Not only that, but I was delighted to be contacted by the good people from the Australian hit show Hamish & Andy’s Road Trip to provide spoof commentaries for their latest series of shows travelling in the Far East. Evidently it’s the No.1 rated show Down Under, and I had great fun doing silly voiceover stuff for their European Road Trip series that aired last summer on Channel 9.
To the uninitiated i.e. everyone outside Oz, Hamish & Andy are a great double act who, as part of the show, take each other on in a series of ridiculous races, like Hitchhike Racing, where they attempted to travel the furthest distance possible thumbing lifts in 24 hours from central Germany, or Shop Hiding, where they took each other on hiding…in shops…
It was a hoot, and this year was just as much fun, commentating on Sweat Racing, Mini-Bike Roundabout Racing, and a load of other utterly ludicrous but very creative ideas. I’m not sure that this is the making of me on the other side of the world, but it is the sort of work that has you belly laughing from beginning to end. I love my job.
And as you know, I love music too – writing, recording, performing, you name it. But after nearly 30 years of being in bands, I had never been onstage as a frontman singing my own material. I’d always preferred the drums as my ‘home’ – the chrome, brass and maple surrounding me always gave me that psychological feel of ‘protection’ – but the thought of being up front and centre never really crossed my mind once.
But the release of Prove You Wrong back in March was always going to bring the possibility of live work, and whilst Lee Small made his time available to record his wonderful lead vocals for the album, I knew secretly that his own gig schedule would stop him from being part of any gigs to promote the thing. So I knew it was down to me to down the usual tools of my trade (sticks), grasp the nettle and shove myself towards the lip of the stage.
And I couldn’t do it alone of course. But assembling a band to help re-create the sounds of PYW couldn’t have been more straightforward. Gary from Dressed To Kill wanted to be on bass the moment he heard the 1st rough mix of Soulmate; Richard Oxland played 2 solos on the album and was an obvious choice; so too Ian Richardson and Gemma E Susek from XLR8, a band I’d depped for in recent times and musicians of great style and flair on guitar and keyboards; and Craig Simcox was the talented drummer happy to run the gauntlet of being ‘me’ in effect. Not an easy task in principle – I’ve spent more time behind a kit than anywhere else on the lighted stage and so I know more than anything how the drums should sound in my head. I’m with Dave Grohl on that one.
Not that I’m comparing myself to Dave! Far from it. He’s a bloody genius. I’m just playing a couple of shows to promote an album or original songs that I am incredibly proud of.
And the first of those shows took place in Birmingham this past Friday at The Asylum venue. The band was playing support to a tribute night in honour of late SHY guitarist Steve Harris, who you may remember was one of the inspirations for me recording PYW in the first place. I will happily admit to being beyond nervous – more nervous than the nights I stood in on guitar for Dizzy Lizzy or Ian The Goat sings Black Sabbath, and flapped way more than playing for 4000 people when Dressed To Kill gigged at the NEC or on the beach at Lloret de Mar.
But I’m reliably informed by those whom I trust amongst the audience that everything looked and sounded great on stage…well, on reflection, I could’ve worn my guitar a tad lower, but at least I didn’t look like George Formby.
So, job done and hopefully more gigs to come – details as and when, of course. Now I’d better get to bed – I mean, back to the sofa. Yeah, that sofa – I’ve got Drivetime shows to cover :o)