Monday, 29 October 2012

Rockers never retire - The Gig

They say that rockers never retire, and if recent events and the photos below are anything to go by that's very true.

Music has been a major element of my life ever since I was a boy and over the years I developed into a singer-songwriter-guitarist. Today, aged 59, I can look back on hundreds of gigs, some good, some bad, as well as a few albums, and although I still do concerts very occasionally, it's just me with an acoustic, singing quieter and more reflective songs instead of the in-your-face power Britpop I used to sing with my bands.

Anyway, an old friend of mine has a son and I bought him a drum kit for his 10th birthday. That was 12 years ago, when he would come round to my place and watch my band rehearse. He loved it!

Now 22, he plays in an amateur three-piece dark metal band. Charmingly enough, he still uses some elements of the kit I bought him - toms and floor tom essentially - because he likes their rather crude sound. He says it suits their music. A couple of months ago he came round to my apartment with his guitarist who, upon seeing my guitars lying around, suggested that we sing a couple of acoustic numbers together. Sure. Beers, jamming and good fun all round.

To cut a long story short they invited me to guest for them at a private party they were giving for about 6-7 songs of my choice. I accepted, we did one six-hour rehearsal, and the evening went very well. Then they asked me to play at a gig they were doing at one of Lyon's better-known venues, so I accepted that too, although I insisted that we didn't rehearse too much because a) they are too inexperienced to stick to tight arrangements on blues-rock music, which they don't know very well, and b) because I wanted to keep the rough 'jam' edge to proceedings.

There were a lot of people at this gig and, surprisingly enough, the set went down extremely well! So well in fact that a couple of other venues whose owners were there asked us to play for them too. Good grief! They invited a near-old age pensioner?! What was supposed to be a one-off bit of fun had taken on another signfication. Wo'ever, as we say in Britain, it was a lot of fun and we were asked to stay on stage and play with some other musicians with me singing as they were doing Anglo-Saxon rock covers. Great fun it was, although I had no voice left at the end.

Here are some pix of that evening, taken by a photographer girlfriend of theirs. Enjoy.
(Please note that all her photos are copyright so please email me if you wish to use them for any reason.)

Old rocker meets young granny-eating bass player

Eat yer heart out Motorhead!

Guitarists hangin' out an' havin' fun

Bassist falls asleep on the job

"Hey sound guy, what happened to my foldback monitor!?"

Taking the worl.. euhh, Franc.. umm, I mean a rock venue by storm

Can someone tell him that you sing INTO a mike, and not next to it?

Even cleaned my shoes for the occasion
Hardly the dynamism of Aerosmith but we ARE havin' fun, honest

So there we have it. There's a kind of poetic and wheel-turns-full-circle element to this story. I mean, I offer an instrument to a kid who used to love watching me play and pestered me to let him strum my guitar strings, that inspires him to become a musician, and he ends up years later inviting the old 'un to play for him. Heartwarming stuff indeed.

Oh, and did we accept the gig offers? Yup, we did. Seems old rockers never retire.....

Have a good day everyone.


  1. Hiya Frip,
    İ adore the story and these photos..wish i could hear the music too!

  2. By the way i am not anonymous-i am Ruth aka thecompanyshekeeps..
    Just finished move from Turkey to near Bath with my 2 dogs.We are in a very cosy cottage.
    Loved your plan of the move to the country and the shots of you and your friend's houses.What a great idea!Wish you both lots of happiness.Really enjoy all your posts.thank you.

    1. Hey hiya Ruth and long time no see!

      So there you are, near Bath, living in a cosy cottage, and I'm very pleased to read that. Not too much of a culture shock after Turkey I hope?

      Ah, you know, I've done my duty as city-dweller-who-sets-the-city-alight but now I need some calm too. That's why I'm moving. After all, been there done that.

      Oh, and you'd like to hear the songs we played? I don't have mine online but we did do covers of the following songs amongst others...

      I love raw 60s and 70s rock music. As for the group, they loved working on these songs. They are young, they don't know much, but they are bright and intelligent enough to want to learn to play musical genres that they don't really know. They worked really hard.

      But the cherry on the cake is that not only did they learn things from me, I also learned things about their open mindedness and willingness, hunger even, to learn about the musical genres which inspired what they play today.

      I don't believe all this 'kids today are not what they used to be in my day' nonsense. On the contrary, they are quick to pick up on things in this modern world which demands that they do so, and it's a stimulating pleasure to play music with them.

      Hey, and you know what? 'thecompanyshekeeps' is still the most original online name I've ever read. Love it! :)

      Incidentally, I don't post on The Guardian and associated sites any more for one reason or another. After all, it's not important in the larger scheme of things..

      Have an excellent evening.....

    2. Ohhh Frip,
      Everytime i try to reply to you there is a problem and my msge disappears.Frustrating.
      Totally agree re the young ones.
      The company she keeps is a book title from my parent's shelves-1942 novel-still have not read it but it always intrigued me as a child.
      Agree too about posting on Guardian-life takes over sometimes.
      And i really think your life sounds amazing.Great to read.
      Thank you and look forward to the next article(adultery one hilarious!)

    3. Evenin' Ruth! Dunno why your comments go missing. That's weird. Ghost in the Machine? Oh The Guardian, you know what, I'm so glad I stopped posting there despite the fact that I miss those I enjoyed reading, some of whom I have met in real life. It was all getting too negative, spiteful and, ultimately, depressing, spoilt by a few. I feel in a much lighter mood now that I don't post there any more! :)

      That's probably why humour has crept into my posts recently. I just posted on the Catholic Church and even though I slagged it off rotten there's even humour there too, at least at the beginning.

      Thanks for the heads up on the book. I read a lot so I'm going to order it at the bookshop (I don't like paying online which is why I don't order from Amazon) and give it a good read. The title is lovely! Who knows, I may just finish it before you do! :)

      Have a great evening and I hope you and yours are keeping well...