The Play-Offs. Scourge of fans who suffer in them, or the best way to gain promotion depending on your point of view. I’ve suffered 2 penalty shoot-out heartaches as a Bluenose in play-off semi-finals, but also seen young Darren Carter score from 12 yards at Cardiff’s Millenium to send Blues into the Premiership at Norwich’s expense in 2002. They’re batty, unpredictable and a right old tinder-box of emotions. So going to report on play-off games as a neutral is just fabulous.
On the train down to London on my way to Upton Park for West Ham/Man City on talkSPORT later. But KISS have dominated this week rather than football for a change. After all, the boys are over here on their first FULL UK tour since 1996. I saw their last indoor show in this country, which was in March 1999 at Wembley Arena, and it was a poor show with poor performances from at least 2 original band members (who didn’t last much longer in the make-up reunited version of the band) and I pronounced to my mates as we left the Arena that we’d never see KISS tour here again.
One of the great advantages in working as a freelance sports journalist is that it affords you the opportunity to work for a number of different organisations and develop new contacts and associates that can prove vital in years to come.
When is a penalty not a penalty? Or, more accurately, when is a non-penalty a penalty? Answer – when it’s at Villa Park against the Blues. That’s all I’m saying on the matter.
A good friend of mine still tells me that this song should’ve been given to a boy band to make into a hit. I say he’s mad, but you have a listen and see if he has a point. This was the 4th song recorded and mixed inside 2 days with Ron Rogers and he suggested some fantastic keyboard ideas for the tune. Ron also got the best out of me when it came to my guitar solos, particularly on this track and ‘Stronger Than That’, which was quite a feat given my lack of confidence with soloing!
Towards the end of the 90’s, I realised to my great horror that I wasn’t going to be a famous rock star, and this song was borne of that frustration. After 10 years of trying to get on the first rung of the rock n roll ladder, I came to terms with the fact that I was too old to be considered an asset to a record company regardless of talent, and the lyrical ideas for this tune came very quickly as a result. I was – and still am - a big fan of The Wildhearts and their anthemic choruses. This song is a huge musical nod to Ginger and the boys.
Ok, so this is a total KISS rip-off in terms of the riffs and in general! I wrote this song whilst in the band Shotgun Wedding during the early 90’s and it’s my favourite tune from the time I spent in the band trying to ‘make it’ - I always made a point of writing lyrics that weren’t the normal ‘it’s a Saturday night and I fell alright’ sort of rubbish, and I am rather proud of the lyrics to this song which was written in 1993. I started with the title (it was about a girl I was seeing!!) and took it from there!
My influences are pretty easy to spot sometimes in my songs and not so in others like this track from the Ron Rogers sessions – for me, ‘Brilliant’ has elements of The Police, Manic Street Preachers and Cheap Trick here and there - an eclectic mix I’m sure you’ll agree.
This is a song that dates back to 1987 and my early attempts to do a Bryan Adams ballad. The way my then bandmates in Dangerous Games reacted to hearing it the first time told me I was getting better at song construction and general perspective.
This was a re-record I did at my home studio back in 2005 with my great friend (and best man!) Keith Laurent on lead guitar – he played with me in the band Dangerous Games when this song was originally written and recorded.
This tune was one of four tracks that I recorded back in 1998 at the home studio belonging to Ron Rogers, the T’Pau guitarist who wrote the band’s 2 biggest hits in the 80’s, namely ‘China In Your Hand’ and ‘Heart & Soul’. Ron & I had become good friends through my time with Welsh glamsters Sons Of God, and he had produced some of that band’s material at his farmhouse.