Well 2017 proved to be a fairly decent year in terms of getting started with playing live, and making some good progress with writing, recording and finally releasing some material. That's a fair few of last year's resolutions successfully achieved! The year 2018 is intended to be more of the same. I need to get this album finished and do more gigs so that's my priority.
I'm three gigs in now and with Christmas out of the way I'll be looking to do more in the coming weeks and months.
I now have six songs on SoundCloud and the album is being constructed bit by bit. It can be found here. More songs are being added as and when I complete them.
There's also the matter of the (currently nameless) band as well. Cinic ceased to be after Pete left and the remaining three of us carried on. We now have a new lead singer. His name is Spen and he's rather good. This has given us some new impetus in writing new songs and hopefully we'll get gigging as well eventually.
I am getting back in the saddle. I performed for the second time at an open mic night on Sunday. It was the same venue I'd played at previously back in July and when I'd heard they were doing it again I made sure I'd be there. I was less nervous second time around and it went well, playing four songs of my own composition. I played Wish You Were Here, A Normal Bloke, Life is Full of Surprises and Just Like You.
I hope to be at The Shoulder of Mutton in Holcombe Village in two weeks. They do it on the last Sunday of every month, while The Brook do it on the second Sunday so it looks like they communicate and share it out so there are no clashes.
There are now four songs on my www.butterfliesband.co.uk website and I'm working on recording and publishing more material all the time.
I am undergoing a re-branding process. My live and recorded work from now on will be under the name 'Butterflies'. I chose the name Butterflies as I think the whimsical nature of the butterfly is matched by some of the songs I have written. I am remaining a solo act for now but hopefully at some point I will have the backing of other musicians as my recorded music is pretty much entirely set up to be preformed by a full band in order to do the songs justice.
I have created a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and a Soundcloud Page. All of these can be accessed via my new website which is www.butterfliesband.co.uk.
I was the opening act at the first monthly Open Mic evening at The Brook pub in Holcombe Brook, Bury on July 9th. I played three songs; Regrets, Holding on to Life and A Normal Bloke. I intend to be doing more of the same as soon as I can.
I will be performing at an Open Mic evening at The Brook in Holcombe Brook, Bury on July 9th. I'm one of the first acts on and may even be opening the event. It may not sound much but this is my first ever live performance where I will be playing my own material. I'm hoping it will be the first of many such live events as my confidence grows. I'm shit-scared and incredibly excited at the same time.
In other news, Cinic has ceased to be. Our lead singer and the owner of almost all our songs has left and the rest of us are trying to find a new singer after which we'll begin again writing a load of new songs and taking them out live as soon as we can.
This album that I've been talking about for ages is still in the development phase. I'm constantly writing new material and as I do I conclude that the old stuff is not of a standard befitting of my name. I've got a few corking tunes on the go at the minute and I'm hoping to get them recorded and released as soon as I can, wile at the same time working full time and trying to keep things going with my other band which continues to disappoint and frustrate on a weekly basis.
I spent most of last weekend at the sixth Ramsbottom Festival watching various acts across the four stages from unsigned local indie bands, right through to headliners Fun Lovin' Criminals, a band that I loved in the 1990's when they were at their peak. I saw them at Glastonbury in 1998 or 1999 and wasn't likely to miss the chance to see them play in my home town.
I didn't bump into my old mate Mark Potter this year, but I did see his band, The Plumedores on the main stage and they were good.
I realised, as I often do, that what makes a good festival band is not the songs, but the on-stage energy, and synergy between band and audience. I saw bands whose songs were okay, nothing special, but whose ability to engage with the crowd, and to make them as much a part of the event as the band itself made them memorable and enjoyable.
I think it is all about creating an 'experience', rather than a simple procession of songs played one after the other.
Cinic have now played four gigs since the end of June and we're loving every minute of it. There have been some very small audiences and some quite large ones. All this you might expect from a new band, making its first foray into the live music arena. Generally the reception we have been getting has been very good and we've had a lot of compliments.
We've played the Night and Day and The Castle Hotel in Manchester, then the Salford Arms and last weekend we took part in Monofest 3 in Cholrton. There have been lots of great experiences and hopefully many more to come.
In other news, work on my solo album has slowed down unfortunately due to the pressures of normal life getting in the way of creativity. Isn't that often the way?
Here are some photos from our most recent live performance.
My other band, Cinic are playing a gig. Its at the Night and Day Cafe in Manchester on Saturday June 25th 2016, which at the time of writing is just over a week away. This is quite exciting as its our first gig. I've set up a Facebook Event for it so hopefully we'll get a few people down there.
As if losing David Bowie in 2016 wasn't bad enough, plus countless other heroes of music, comedy, television and film including Lemmy (2015 strictly), Alan Rickman, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Daniels, Victoria Wood and Terry Wogan, we now have to say goodbye to Prince, the enigmatic, mysterious genius of a musical genre that he created and occupied solely throughout the eighties, nineties and into the 21st century
I liken Prince to Bowie for his originality and innovative approach to his art, but he was also an incredible musician. I saw him at Maine Road in 1990 and his ability on the guitar blew me away. It is claimed that he played all 27 instruments on his debut album, when he was aged 20. Another astounding talent has been lost.
Who was it who said "Procrastination is the enemy of achievement"? It was me, just then. So I'm happy to report that work on the album is well underway after months of, well, nothing much. Two tracks are almost completed and another is a few minor tweaks from being ready to mix. There's still a long way to go but progress is being made.
This morning while listening to Steve Berry on the radio, I learned of the death of David Bowie. He will no doubt be the subject of a great many tributes over the next few days especially but I wanted to put down a few words of my own on the subject because today I am very very sad.
David Bowie has always been one of my favourite two artists alongside Queen, and like Queen, he had an innovative and entirely unique aproach to his art. There were no rules with this great man, and his style, while an inspiration to thousands of songwriters such as myself, has been copied by no-one.
He was making great music until he died, with his Blackstar album released two days before his death another example of brilliant and unique songwriting. He was 69 years old when he passed away after an 18 month cancer battle. He lost that battle, but he has won a place amongst the absolute elite of musical talent.
He was an innovator, a experimentor, a re-inventor and a genius. Thankyou for the music David and may you rest in peace, you absolute bloody hero.
Well you know, things have been quiet of late. I've been writing new material and I'm excited about getting it recorded and presenting it to my audiences, but most of the last few months have been taken with recording and mixing the debut Cinic album which was initially due for release this month but will now be pushed back well into 2016. I was also hoping to get my solo project underway in 2015 but that's clearly not going to happen. RIght now I'm looking forward to Christmas and taking it easy for a couple of weeks before I get prepared for what I hope to be a pivotal year in my music career.
This weekend I will mostly be attending the Ramsbottom Festival where I'm particularly looking forward to seeing John Bramwell (of I Am Kloot), The Wonder Stuff, Idlewild, The Magic Numbers and also discovering loads more great new music. Neither myself nor my band are performing but we're hoping to be considered for next year's festival, in fact being a local lad and having lived and loved in Ramsbottom for much of my adult life, its a major ambition to one day be up on that stage.
At the moment I'm working on a new solo side project called Butterflies which is a guitar and ukulele based acoustic album while at the same time me and my band are writing and recording our debut album, with an expected release for both before the end of 2015.
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