Thursday, 24 July 2014

Lukas Drinkwater

"Take the road to St. Agnes and turn right at the seven mile long garage!" It was the deputy bass player and I was baffled. A seven mile long garage!? That's enough to house The Odd Folk's entire fleet of cars I thought as I sped along the B9000 to St. Agnes. After the right at the longest garage in the world I pulled in and waited for the deputy to appear. He did just as soon as I'd cut the engine; a bespectacled man with dancing eyes and a carefree manner.
 "Follow me" he said and disappeared into a blue transporter.

We wiggled further along the Cornish country road taking a blind left down a bumpy track and scrambling down the lane. The bumps increase; large parts of the once concrete surface had fallen away leaving potholes the size of surfboards. It was like driving on the threads of a screw! No wonder they have a seven mile long garage here; it must be to house all the cars in the village when they break every morning!

The deputy bass player stopped ahead and waved for me to follow suit. I pulled in, narrowly missing a pothole the size of my car. "It gets a bit bumpy now, you're better off coming with me!" he says, leaning out the window. "You don't say!" I answer as I clamber into the blue transporter and we undulate down the lane.

The road leads down to a beautiful old cottage clad in ivy's and wisteria's with a little stream running along side it. Large trees lean in from both sides of the valley and the sun streams through the foliage. "Welcome" says the deputy as we disembark.

Lukas Drinkwater has very kindly answered our plea for a bass dep or understudy as our very own bass player has a boxing match he simply can't miss! Sod's law, but we've done pretty well to get this far without a clash and we're looking at it positively. It's great to meet fellow musicians who can slip in without too much fuss when that big thing called life gets in the way of music! Lukas is a very experienced player, a multi-instrumentalist, a finger picking songsmith, who currently plays with 3 Daft Monkeys. Although our paths have crossed on a few occasions this is the first time we've really met and apart from the bumpy ride down here, it's been better than expected. But I still hadn't heard him play!

We bundle into the old cottage and after a quick cuppa we're away. I stumble through the 10 songs, and without even breaking a sweat he's straight in, playing away as though he been here for months, and by the end of the two hour session he knows the songs better than me! "Morgan, It changes after the second chorus, we drop back down again." he points out after I plough straight on oblivious!

I'm feeling more and more assured that he's going to do a great job and more and more worried that we're going to screw it up! Perhaps I'll tell the audience that we're all deps and that Lukas Drinkwater is the only true member of the band! That way we'll cover our mistakes!

Drinkwater and I...
After the session we clamber up one side of the steep valley and peer down to the sea, "the garden runs all the way down to the ocean, and there's a beach too!" he smiles. We pause for a photo before departing back up the fractured lane to the relative safety of my car. We wave goodbye and I scramble further up the rutted road, connect with the country lane, which seams as smooth as silk compared with what lies below, and pull into the garage for a much needed service! I'm missing two wheels, both headlights, the passenger door and half my boot. "You've come away lightly!" says the weathered mechanic with a grin.

Back at HQ and we're preparing for our gig this friday at Port Eliot Festival worrying mostly that we'll let Mr. Drinkwater down, well that and all the usual Odd Folk misadventures; like the piano player having gone to the wrong festival 200 miles north with no tent and sleeping bag, the guitar player's ticket having disappeared and the drummer's car prone to breakdowns! So perhaps it really will just be Drinkwater and I. At least he can teach me the songs!

Come and watch us; friday night, Port Eliot Festival, Ace of Clubs Stage, 8pm.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Band Abandonment

Where to begin? It's been a while! A good month away from the band, and indeed all the bandmates. We returned to our normal lives, of cage-fighting and boxing and selling paintballs (the piano player had a record week down in Plymouth and made enough money to buy the guitar player's house outright!) 

As we didn't really speak to each other I can't really disclose too much of what we all got up to, so I'll have to make it up!?

The drummer spent the time away living in his wooden windmill making flour.
The bass player spent the month training for his boxing match with Tyson.
The guitar player got so frustrated with the red-tape surrounding the aforementioned purchase of his house that he murdered the estate-agent, disposed of the solicitor, broke into said property, sealed all the exits and waited for the army to arrive!

The piano player sold so many paintballs he turned into one, but scared he'd burst open and splat on the floor he desperately needed an empty house to hide away in. He purchased the guitar player's house from under his nose with all the money in his plastic paintball pocket. Upon arriving at his new property he encountered a stand-off between a boarded up house and the armed forces. Scared he'd get caught in the cross-fire he retreated back to the subtropical valley from whence he came and lived happily ever after under the dropping banana trees.

I spent the time away dreaming up these scenarios and looking forward to the day I could print them!

In all seriousness, we're back! Perhaps too much time away makes us silly. Perhaps this band keeps us sane. Gives us a vehicle to release our energies into. Too long away and we all go slightly mad. Having spent so much time together of late when there is a fallow month, it's bliss for the first 2 weeks but then we start to get itchy feet; we start lifting the bass amp up just to remember what it feels like, and ironing our shirts even though there's no gigs on the horizons and we don't even iron our shirts when we do have gigs! We phone each other up; I'll call the guitar player and touch base on logistics of the next gig, even though it's within walking distance and doesn't need any attention. Or sometimes in a state of desperation, unable to deal with 'band abandonment' we decide that the chorus to one of our best-loved songs needs changing; we'll have to rehearse it immediately, we'll have to meet up and sort it out! And we'll rally a little, draw up plans for an emergency practice! And this little burst is often enough, often a couple of rushed texts seemingly alleviates the issue, that quick shot of contact making us feel like we're still part of something, like we belong. And it's all ok again; we listened to the chorus and it works after all, it must have been the CD skipping!

And so the long month is all over; it was needed and we feel rejuvenated and recharged. And besides there were one or two real issues to deal with this time, like sourcing a Dep for the bass player who has pulled out of one of the summer festivals and taking the guitar players slide into the menders! That was enough for this month; the chorus' were spared and the bass amp stayed seated! 

And so we're back! Here begins another busy few months; July will see us at 3 festivals and a wedding, August see's us at a further 2 festivals, September see's us at yet another festival, another wedding and an arts centre, and October see's us begin our European Tour! That's should keep us going for a while. Our next month off is November, although isn't that when we're recording our new album!? Christ, no rest till christmas!

--- --- --- ---

"You keep saying we haven't done anything in June!?" says the piano player, nursing a cup of tulip tea.
"Yeah I did, I said we sourced a Dep and took the... "
"Hello!? we just played on the BBC in front of 13 million people, remember!" he trumpets, tulip tea in hand.
"We're not allowed to say that! We signed a confidentiality agreement and all sorts of disclosures!" I snap back.
"We're not allowed to say the name of the show, that's all." adds the guitar player matter-of-factly. "We can remind ourselves of the channel and amuse ourselves with the numbers, there's no law on that!"
"I suppose not!" I smile. "So we've had a pretty good fallow month really!?"
"Not too shabby!" he returns. "We played in front of 13 million people and gave our CD to 4 celebrities!"

"Does that mean we're kinda of a big deal!?" asks the piano player and we all laugh!

It has been a pretty good month for us to be fair; the potential is enormous but patience is needed and so until the lights go green we have to keep stum.
All will be revealed, in all it's gory detail, in time...

Just gotta hope the army hold off till then! ;-)