Our fourth ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.
A lot of the people I grew up jamming with is really fucking good at the guitar, so I decided to look into playing the bass as I’m influenced a lot by it rhythmically and I’ve always appreciated good bass players. I started playing it more myself and realised how much fun it was and stuck with it. We used to have jam sessions three or four times a week when I was younger, and when we started Sacri Monti I bass was what I wanted to play.
My parents introduced me to rock ’n’ roll music when I was a little kid, and I remember hearing The Beatles and I just connected immediately – hearing John Lennon’s voice was just like ‘Ok, I get this, and I really like it.’ My mum would always sing around the house and play a little bit of piano and my dad plays the accordion – you can’t really rock out with an accordion, although Dropkick Murphys figured out how to do. I guess people in my family were always into music and would play at least a little bit. I started playing bass when I was 12 years old, and I dont know what it was or why, but I just fell in love with it.
The first band I ever fell in love with was Nirvana. I remember reading about Kurt early on, and discovered that he’d loved both the Beatles and Black Sabbath. So I checked them out, and ended up sharing his admiration for both. It was around this time that I first picked up a guitar, and it’s been a wild ride since then.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/18-july-2019-20-scaled.jpg17082560Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-04-09 08:00:002020-03-19 14:58:20“How I got into playing” PT. IIII
Since we last spoke you’ve released one album with Radio Moscow, 2017’s ‘New Beginnings’, and more recently, 2019’s ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ with Sacri Monti – can you tell us a bit about them both? Anthony: The ‘New Beginnings’ album was recorded in 2017 at an amazing studio by Mike Butler in San Diego that was called Lost Ark, which sadly is no longer there. Parker wrote the majority of the songs and I was able to help co write two of them. We tracked the drums, bass, and rhythm guitar live together in a few days and then took it from there. We toured all over the world on that album, America, Europe a few times, Australia, and South America. A lot of cool festivals and gigs. ‘Twas a good hectic run.
Sacri Monti’s ‘Waiting Room For The Magic Hour’ was recorded in two parts, both by Jordan Andreen at Audio Design in San Diego. 100% analog sessions all the way through. We recorded side one in December 2018, and side two in February 2019 I think. We all came together to write the entire album when needed, and Brenden our vocalist/guitar handled the lyrical duty. It was a lot of fun to work on this one and very special. I did all of the bass stuff and then also played mellotron/synth on the title track and synths along with Evan our keyboard on the improv track ‘Wading in Malcisine’. Was glad to have done that album because it had been 4 whole years since out self titled album. Somewhere in between we had done a 7″. But we went to Europe and played a lot of festivals right when the album came out, also did a USA west coast tour with our buds in Monarch and and east coast tour with Earthless and Maggot Heart afterwards, showcasing most of the new album on all those tours.
Some might only know you from Radio Moscow, can we get get the Sacri Monti lowdown? Anthony: Sacri Monti is a band that I started along with Brenden Dellar (vocal/guitar), Thomas DiBennedetto (drums), Dylan Donovan (guitar) and Evan Wenskay (organ/synth), the name means Sacred Mountains. The bands first show was the tail end of Dec 2012 in San Diego. Tee Pee records from New York picked us up and have helped us bring our music to the world. We all spent years hanging out and jamming a bunch before even starting the band so there was always that chemistry there. We were and are all into a bunch of rock from the decades, psychedelic, progressive, krautrock, and other forms of music and had an idea of where we wanted to take the music. Our first record was a bit more loose and jammy, but also structured. The second being a bit more focused on the song writing and structure, with it’s loose moments. Only time and inspiration will tell where the third record will go, but I can imagine a new hybrid of both records. Looking forward to the next one.
On the subjects of records, what’s your current top ten? Anthony: I have so many top records, but these are some that I can always listen to no matter where I am or what i’m doing and not get sick of.:
Captain Beyond – S/T Neil Merryweather – Space Rangers King Crimson – In The Court Of The Crimson King Gene Clark – No Other T2 – It’ll All Work Out In Boomland Amon Duul II – Wolf City Dust – Hard Attack & S/T Masters Apprentices – Choice Cuts Nektar – Remember The Future Love – Forever Changes
Another few honourable mention record compilations: Iron Claw – Dismorphophobia Pentagram – First Daze Here (VC/Too)
You’re always busy touring and we’re stoked to see you back in the UK for Desertfest London in May. How do you feel about returning? Anthony: I am very excited to be returning to the UK in May. I have played Desertfest twice before with Radio Moscow, so I know what it’s like and the vibe and all that. Looking forward to seeing old friends and partying with some new ones as well. I like London a lot, it’s got a special place in my heart. So many bands I love come from UK. Also curious to see the rest of the line up fill out and to which venue we play and who with. We’ve just announced the rest of the tour which includes European dates and a few other UK dates, including a secret London show on the 6th of June. You can check them out here.
What’s your best story from the road? Anthony? So many stories to choose from, but here’s one that sticks out and is funny. So, on our second Europe tour with Sacri Monti we played a show in Milan with Nebula and stayed at the same hotel after. Some were up late and partying, and when we woke up we were all in the lobby in the morning. The hotel clerk called our driver over, and then showed him a naked photo of himself sleeping in the hallway on his back, with a pillow over his crotch. Apparently he got wasted and slept walk his way out of the bedroom and decided to just post up in the hotel hallway. There were people and kids who passed him, and someone eventually took a photo of him. The hotel tried to charge us $200 for it and called the show promoter who got our rooms about it and he just told them to fuck off and we left.
Let’s get technical – slightly. Gear rundown, what’s your set up? Anthony: My current Orange setup is on AD200 MK III with OBC 4×10 and 1×15 at home. I play a Rickenbacker 4003 bass and also with an Ibanez ST9 Super Tubescreamer and Ibanez CP-835 Compressor a bit too.
Have you got any other musical projects going? Anthony: At the moment no. Well, there was a project I was involved with in Portugal when I was kind of living there on and off. It was a studio session with two drummers and a guitarist that was recorded all live and on the spot, improvised. Carlos the guitar played got the audio and got it recorded onto Tapes. I have a stack of em in a cabinet. The group was called Agadir. Almost set up a gig when I came back through Portugal but it kinda fell through. Also just got word of another studio session that will come to be. It was a two day jam session with a bunch of San Diego friends at Brian Ellis’ studio along with Jonas Munk (Casa Sui/El Paraiso Records) in 2016. Jonas just recently finished mixing the sessions and wants to possibly put some of it out through his label, El Paraiso Records. I’ve somewhat got a mini setup and a bunch of stuff in my room and have been toying with things. Solo stuff is on the horizon and along with working on new record stuff. Always up for collaborating if i’m into it. Would be cool to do some stuff a little outside of the genres of my bands too. We will see…
Steve Harris, where do we begin with Steve Harris? The only constant member in legendary British hard rock band Iron Maiden alongside guitarist Dave Murray, and is also the primary songwriter of the band. Since the formation of Maiden in East London’s Leyton in 1975 the band has released sixteen studio albums, toured the world a countless time in their own airplane flown by singer Bruce Dickinson and made their mark as one of the biggest heavy metal bands in history. Steve Harris has developed a recognisable way of playing such as the “gallop”. Paired with drummer Nicko McBrain and his unexpected clever ways, three guitarists and Bruce Dickinson sprinting and jumping across the stage throughout every single Iron Maiden show, and let’s not forget, fights Maiden mascot Eddie on a regular basis, their shows are nothing but spectacular. In addition to his bass playing and songwriting, Steve Harris has also produced and co-produced their albums, directed live videos and played keys for the band while in the studio. A Jack of all trades, so say the least.
Glenn Hughes is not just an incredible bassist, but a remarkable singer with the most astonishing vocal range. He first made a name for himself while in Trapeze, before joining Deep Purple in 1973 where he shared vocal duties with David Coverdale, and brought the funkiest bass lines to the band. With Deep Purple MK III he released “Burn” and “Stormbringer”, before Ritchie Blackmore left the band and Tommy Bolin was brought in on guitar for Deep Purple MK IV. They released “Come taste the Band” in 1975, before all going their separate ways the following year. Since then, he’s released a one of album with Pat Travers’ guitarist Pat Thrall, recorded with Gary Moore and fronted Black Sabbath briefly in the 80s. In more recent years, he released a one off album with his short lived band ‘California Breed’ with Jason Bonham on drums and guitarist Andrew Watt, as well as playing in Black Country Communion with Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and again, Jason Bonham on drums. His latest venture is touring the world, twice, as “Glenn Hughes plays Deep Purple”, bringing back to life all the songs from way back when.
Rush have over the past forty years pioneered progressive rock with their unusual compositions and musical craftsmanship, with each member repeatedly being listed as some of the most proficient players of their instruments. This has led to Rush being somewhat of a ‘musician’s favourite band, and they have been highly influential within their genre, although that has changed slightly over the course of the career. Geddy Lee first started playing music when he was around 10 years old, and got his first acoustic guitar at 14. Before this, he played drums, trumpet and clarinet. However, it wasn’t until he was introduced to popular music at the time and some of the great Brits such as Cream, Jeff Beck and Procul Harum, and cited Jack Bruce as one of his first and early influences.
It wasn’t until in recent years that Bronx bassist Brad Magers got his hands on his first Orange and we are stoked to now have him as one of our artists. He’s got a few different set ups consisting of either the 4 Stroke, or an AD200, which he describes as: “A monster of an amp, it’s just such a simple set up but exactly what it needs to be. I hate when all these amps have all these annoying tweaks on them as there’s just a few things you really need. As long as there is gain I’m pretty much good to go – you set it up in like two seconds and then you’re just there like: “Well, that’s the best sound I’ve ever heard!” When Brad isn’t busy with the Bronx, he puts on his mariachi suit and picks up the trumpet with side project Mariachi El Bronx. Rumour has it that there might be a surf band in the works as well, but we can’t say for sure – yet..
Anthony Meier’s first encounter with Radio Moscow was back in 2012 when his other band Sacri Monti played a few gigs with some of Radio Moscow drummer Paul Marrone’s other bands, and they got chatting. However, it wasn’t until a year later when singer and guitarist Parker Griggs relocated to San Diego that the band started looking for a new bassist. Paul suggested Anthony and he was invited to jam with them. Needless to say, the jam worked out well, as Anthony’s still in the band over five years later. When not on the road with Radio Moscow, he still keeps busy with his other band Sacri Monti that’s due to come over to Europe this summer. He also DJs regularly at local San Diego / Oceanside bars, and is an skilled pool player, some might even say excellent.
Cheap Trick bassist and Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tom Petersson turned heads in the early 70s when he came up with the idea of creating a 12 string bass. The reason behind this was wanting to make the band sound as big as humanly possible, and by adding (after inventing…) the 12 string bass, he was left with an instrument that almost sounded like bass and guitar all in one. This has become a vital part of the bands sound, and his amps plays a huge part in this. He is a big fan of both the AD50 and AD200, and plays them both straight out without any pedals.
Now that I’ve got your attention with this photo of Matt Pike, please take two minutes to find out how you can help yet another music venue from shutting down, depriving people from potentially being able to see High on Fire there late September.
It seems to be really in the wind at the moment to shut down music venues, kill culture, and deprive the future generation of a platform to both play, perform and enjoy music. Who needs music, entertainment and a sense of community when some rich stranger can, lets say, build a bunch of luxury flats or offices instead?
Shaman Elephant debut album release gig, January 2017
This time around, it’s my all time favourite bar and music venue Garage in Bergen, Norway (The land of ice and snow, and the birthplace and home of black metal, with playing a vital part of it), under risk of being shut down by – you guessed it, some capitalistic and greedy landlord. Long story short – the venue’s been open for 28 years, providing the city with amazing music from local bands and artists, as well as touring bands from across the world. A few years back, the landlord decided to open up a hotel above the venue, and stated that the venue would have to run the hotel as part of their agreement to let. Surely running a haggard ol’ hotel is the same as running a bar…? Hm, okay then… After a while, the landlord also decided part of the deal should also be for the venue to renovate the hotel, which they again agreed to, to keep peace and for the venue to run smoothly – the building work begun. Mid renovation, the venue learns from the fire department that the premises aren’t up to fire safety regulations at all, and that the landlord’s should never have opened a hotel there in the first place. Sneaky you say, hey? The things some people do for money…
Radio Moscow, October 2017.
Learning this, the venue put their foot down and refused to be part of running the hotel, and this is where it got nasty. The landlord threatened to evict the pub, and put the premises on the market without notifying them, as well as reaching out to the venue’s business partners and sponsors telling them that the venue’s closing down shortly. And this is where we are today, it’s still unclear what will happen – while the owners of the venue are working to keep the it open and their 20 or so employees employed and afloat, the landlord is laying low with their shark like lawyers on the case. Worst case scenario, the venue can be shut down by September 1st. Now, despite being the second biggest city in Norway, Bergen ain’t big, and Garage is the only venue of it’s kind and size (with the exception of student run ‘Hulen’ which closes over Christmas and summer, peak drinking times some might say), and has become a meeting place for musicians and music lovers from all around town, whether it’s grabbing a beer after work or attending one of their weekly gigs – as well as being the perfect 300 or so capacity venue, big enough for bigger acts, small enough to still be intimate.
Triggerfinger, Garage, April 2015
I’ve seen bands such as Turbonegro, Triggerfinger and Radio Moscow there, and sadly enough, missed out on Kvelertak who played what I only imagine was two spectacular shows there earlier this year. For Bergen to lose Garage, hell, it would be devastating. I have lived London nearly seven years now, but keep an eye out for Garage gigs at a regular basis as I’d fly home in a heartbeat. I also make a point of stopping by every single time I go home, last time arriving to Hendrix in Stockholm played on a projector. The day after Lemmy died, they played Motörhead and Hawkind for nine hours – nine. We cheersed in whiskey and cried to Overkill. It was beautiful, a bunch of strangers coming together to celebrate his life and music at Garage, that sorta thing could only happen at Garage, there’s no other place like it, so please don’t take it away from us.
I’ve started a petition where you can raise your voice and stick it to the man. By signing it, you state that Garage should remain open, and keep adding cultural value to the community as it’s done for nearly three decades.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/DSC09710.jpg10801920Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2018-08-17 11:51:552018-08-22 16:56:03Save Music, Save the World
I must be getting older cause the years keep flying by, and it’s time for Desertfest London yet again, having just about recovered from the last one. Just kidding, I’m totally recovered from that one, but still slightly sleep deprived from last weekend’s Roadburn festival – anyway, enough about myself and my speedy or not so speedy recoveries.
This weekend, as every other year, Camden will be infiltrated with mostly longhaired, although not limited to, music and beer enthusiasts ready to shout along to some of their favourite bands before let’s admit it, getting hammered at the Black Heart and The Dev until 3am before when it’s time to, venture to Woody Grill for lifesaving kebabs that will prepare them, myself included, to do the same thing all over the following day – and then again, the day after that.
Covering last years festival I started out incredibly professional with pen and paper in my bag for professional notes to go in my professional daily recaps I’d be getting up at 8am the following mornings to write, and earplugs because we only get one pair of ears and we must look after them. Four hours into the festival I’d had about eighteen pints, lost an earplug, and a single puff of a cigarette that definitely wasn’t a cigarette and sent me on a magical mystery tour for about 3 hours, making me run away at an incredibly slow pace from my friends to watch various bands in the dark on my own, all while feeling uncomfortable about the way my arms were attached and hanging down the side of my body and accidentally brushing unknowing by-passers.
Radio Moscow, Desertfest Antwerp 2017
This year I’ll be kickstarting my festival nice and early on the Friday when London noise connoisseurs Swedish Death Candy takes the Black Heart stage at 2.45pm. I’ve seen ‘em a million times before, but they continue to deliver impeccable live performances every time, so I wouldn’t wanna miss them. Following that, I’ll be making my way to The Dev for Orange ambassadors Lionize where guitarist Nate will brighten the place up in his all gold outfit, which will most likely be the only all gold outfit at the entire festival. After that, we’ve got Orange ambassador Anthony Meier taking the stage at Underworld, which might just be my favourite venue in all of London, with his band Radio Moscow, and I’m pretty sure will be one of the festival highlights as they blew the roof off as headliners at last year’s Desertfest Antwerp. When Radio Moscow ends, I’ve got half an hour to make my way to KOKO where the kings of Gothenburg and 70s revival rock Graveyard will be headlining the night, with bassist Truls Mörck flaunting his AD200 (Product placement, advert, shameless name drop etc.)
Saturday I might as well set camp at Electric Ballroom with bands such as Church of Misery, Weedeater and High on Fire playing. London, lock up your ladies cause who knows what’ll happen when a shirtless Matt Pike plays his first note through his stack of turned up to eleven Orange amps taking everyone on the train to vibration station – the entire Roundhouse will be speaking in tongues not knowing what hit ‘em, most likely all in a haze of, uhm, Willie Nelson scented incense. ‘Incense’.
Church of Misery, Desertfest Antwerp 2017
Then there’s Sunday, the grand finale which already had a pretty damn strong lineup since day one, until they about a month or so ago threw in King Buffalo which will be headlining the Black Heart at 9pm, Elder playing Roundhouse at 4.30pm, a band that simply just blew me away when I saw them for the second time last August, having added a second guitarist/keyboard player to their line-up, as well as adding a second headliner for the day which is none other than Hawkwind. Hawkwind. H A W K W I N D. ‘Hawkwind live at the Roundhouse’, kinda rings a bell, doesn’t it? The legendary kings and pretty much inventors of space rock will be taking the stage at 7.50pm, and that really is a show I don’t wanna miss. I met Phil Campbell last year, and he told me Hawkwind live was ‘the scariest fuckin’ thing he’d ever seen.’ Fair, that was in the 70s when they had a topless Stacia on stage surrounded by some of the trippiest visuals the world had ever seen at that point, but surely even decades down the line Hawkwind are destined to provide you with a night you’ll late forget. Let’s not forget Monolord who just finished touring with Black Label Society where the played London’s infamous Royal Albert Hall, and will be taking their caffeine fuelled doom to yet another iconic London venue as they open up the Roundhouse at 3pm.
Monolord, Desertfest Antwerp 2017
Between all of this, running between shows, catching up with friends from near and afar and drinking lukewarm, flat beer that I’ve held in my hand for far too long, I’ll also be conducting artist interviews and keeping Instagram a float, keeping you guys up to date with the mayhem and the madness going down in Camden town.
If you wanna join the madness and share the fun, head over to Desertfest London’s website and get your hands on a or two ticket before they’re all completely gone – see ya there!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/IMG_6278.jpg20003000Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2018-04-29 19:24:352018-04-29 20:28:21Here we go again: Desertfest London 2018
Yesterday morning I woke up with a bang after not one, not two, but three cans and bottles fell and landed on a sleeping Riley Hawk’s face, being probably the worst wake up call of the tour – for Riley, obviously. I was perfectly fine as I watched it happen from afar.
Waking up, I was pretty bummed out as this was the end of the tour for me and I knew I’d be shortly on my way back to London and reality, while the guys set off to France for an early night before Motorculto festival later today. Luckily, they had a last minute change of heart and decided to head back to London with me for record shopping and a night of fun in the big smoke. After all, this was also the day of releasing ‘New Beginning’, the first single of their upcoming album, ‘New Beginnings’, and if that isn’t reason enough to celebrate, then what is?
We arrived at mine in London where they had a play at my shitty guitars that finally got their chance to shine, before heading towards the tube – or ‘the underground’ as those Americans call it. There were a few technical complications as I tried to maneuver them through the process of buying their first ever Oyster cards followed by certain band members who shall not be named (Paul) getting caught in the barriers while trying to exit the station, which resulted him calling out my name in panic like a damsel in distress (Sorry Paul.) Despite all odds, we made it to Rough Trade.
Petyr’s Riley Hawk and Paul browsing – Parker and photographer J.T Rhoades surfing. By Ella Stormark
After 25 minutes of intense browsing and record shopping, we headed towards Camden and one of my favourite bars and venues, The Black Heart where beers were drank, fun was had, and Holy Diver was played. We left The Black Heart for a to check out a funk playing brass band at The Blues Kitchen, only to get rejected at the door as the youthful looking papa Paul didn’t have ID, and the journey continued to The Dev where more beer was consumed, enough for the majority of us to decide that dancing would be a great idea. There are a few videos on my phone I’m keeping for a rainy day when Radio Moscow’s taken over the world, and I can make millions on footage of Parker doing the worm. He didn’t actually, but damn do I wish he did.
To just dive right in there and continue where I left it off at my last post; we left Bristol slightly later than expected, and after a quick pit stop at Electric Ladyland we set sail towards the land of Black Sabbath – Birmingham. A few hours of blasting Birmingham’s finest kings of darkness in the tour van, and we rolled up to the The Castle & Falcon, which apparently up to very recently, used to host mainly bands playing Irish music.
Support bands for the evening were local bands Luna & The Moonhounds and You Dirty Blue, and I’ll be honest with you – I missed out on pretty much both of their sets for the sole reason that we had a TV that could play youtube videos in the backstage area, and I choose to spend that time horizontal on the sofa while requesting live videos of Grand Funk Railroad – that Paul would refuse to play as he was already knee deep in old Captain Beyond. Fair enough.
All the way from Stoke-On-Trent band Psyence’s Jamie and Jamie had embarked on an hour long car journey to attend the gig, leaving one Jamie to indulge in all the booze while the other one had to soberly watch him do so. As Radio Moscow started playing, I had the pleasure of watching both of their reactions to their first ever Radio Moscow experience, and it was pure joy and excitement in their eyes;
«Radio Moscow. Hands down the best gig I have ever been to. The man is like Hendrix reincarnated!» Jamie Bellingham, Psyence bassist.
When the night ended we packed up our stuff and headed to the swanky hotel we were meant to stay at, only to find out a mix up had been made and that there was no more rooms left. That was ok though, who wants soft, comfy beds at 1am anyway when you can be stranded in the rain instead? We headed back to The Castle & Falcon where they took us in with open arms and sorted us out in the cozy backstage area by re-stocking the fridge we’d previously emptied for beer, making sure we’d stay hydrated through out the night. At this point, we were all pretty much partied out, and Netflix seemed like a great idea. I broke out my brightly coloured green sleeping bag yet again as we all tuned in to watch Ozark, and it took me about 15 minutes before I crashed, burned and fell asleep on the floor.
Last night was the third and final night with the Groundhogs, and I dare say it’s been the best night so far. There’s been a lot of speculations around Groundhogs touring without founding member and original frontman Tony McPhee, and to be fair, I wasn’t around to experience ‘em back in the day, but personally, I cant imagine them ever being any better than they are now with current frontman and lead guitarist Chris D’Avoine, who’s boosting as much charisma as he is talent.
As mentioned in my last post, there were rumours going that Radio Moscow guitarist Parker Griggs would join the Groundhogs on stage, and after having a sneak peak during soundcheck, I got even more excited for the show. Groundhogs played an impeccable set before being joined by Parker on stage for the final hurrah, ‘Cherry Red’, of their 1971 album ‘Split’, and just when you thought Groundhogs couldn’t be louder and more powerful – they did. Three guitars, extended solos and jamming galore. Damn, I almost needed a cigarette after that and I don’t even smoke.
Once everyone’d had some time to gather the pieces from their blown minds, it was yet again time for Radio Moscow to take the stage, and it pretty quickly dawned upon me that they’re either getting better and better every night, or that my brain just haven’t been evolved enough to wrap my head around their humongous musical talent, and is only becoming so now as I’ve been exposed to it over an extended period of time. I could go on about how good they are and draw insane comparisons, but let’s be honest, I’m with them for another day and I cant make ‘em too big for their boots just yet.
While sat in the backstage area after the show, I ended up chatting to Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustelnik who asked me if I’d heard the story about how himself and Parker originally met;
«It was a late night in Bristol when I saw these three long haired guys who looked totally out of place in an area they shouldn’t be wandering around in, so I walked up them and asked if they were alright, as they looked a bit lost; ‘Are you looking for the train station?’ ‘No, we’ve just played our first ever gigs over here in the UK, and we didn’t get paid. We’re struggling a bit as we can’t get back home to Iowa.’ So we ended up taking them back to ours, and I got them a few gigs, their first ever paid ones in Britain, and eventually they managed to make the money to get back to the states. Parker was about 17 at the time, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.»
What are the odds – three seventeen year old broke musicians in a foreign country with no place to stay or way to get home gets approached by a guy who just happens to be Ken from the Groundhogs, someone kind enough to house them, and has the connections to get them paid gigs and back on their feet. What a guy!
As we left I pretty much crashed in the van while everyone else was ready to party it up at the house. When we arrived, it didn’t take long before Anthony fell asleep under the kitchen table – that guy can sleep pretty much anywhere and through anything, which is a skill I highly admire. I hung out for a bit, before retracting myself upstairs and into my borrowed brightly colored green sleeping bag around 3am, while listening in on something that sounded like Rage Against the Machine blasting out from the speakers downstairs. Five hours later, I wake up to find photographer JT stretched out on the floor, as Parker climbs into the other bed having been carried away in conversations about ‘life and music’ with drummer Paul until the light of day – which means heading to bed about two hours before we were meant to pack up and go at 10.30.
Another day, another city. We left beautiful seaside city Hastings behind, and have just rolled into Bristol and The Exchange.
Last night saw a local band called ‘Gorilla’ supporting Moscow as well as The Groundhogs, a band fronted by Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell frontman Jonny Gorilla, former RIDDLES drummer Ryan Matthews and some crazy talented bassist extraordinaire called Sarah Jane.
Following Gorilla was Groundhogs yet again, and I could keep singing their praises as they’re just incredible – and probably some of the nicest guys around. As I type, Petyr’s Riley Hawk who’s tagging along for the ride just got his Groundhogs Split vinyl signed by Ken, who let us in on the secret of how they made that infamous record cover – with scissors. Cut, copy, and paste. ‘It’s amazing the lenghts you go to when there’s no technology.’
Anyway – Groundhogs came, saw and conquered, and as Radio Moscow took the stage at around 10.30, people were getting super stoked – fan base fronted by two die hard fans air-guitaring front row. As for the Moscow dudes, I’m not sure what they put in the water over there in San Diego, but these guys takes musical craftsmanship to a whole new level as they’re all some sorts of psych connoisseurs. Sadly, due to an early live music curfew, music was cut at 11, leaving them with only a 25 or so minute slot which was a massive disappointment to everyone who made their way there to see them.
To drown our sorrows, we packed up and headed down the road to ‘Tin Tins’, the kinda place people head to mostly because it’s the only place open at that time a night, with weird ass mix of people and shitty pop music. Still, beggars cant be choosers – they had beer and who I assume might be the biggest Radio Moscow fan there is, who kept us fueled by Jägerbombs and Belgium beer until the end of the night, before somehow ending up back at the hotel with us with a bottle of whiskey, 24 beers and an acoustic guitar playing us the blues.
It’s currently pushing six o’ clock, and I’m sat on the floor listening to Radio Moscow sound checking and jammin ‘Walk in my shadow’ of Free’s debut album ‘Tons of Sobs.’ Rumour also has it that Parker will be playing with the Groundhogs later;
First day on the road with Radio Moscow and I’m currently on the verge of dying from alcohol poisoning and bad decisions.
Kicking it all off, they played a sold out show at London’s Borderline last night supported by the legendary Groundhogs, and I must say, having the Groundhogs supporting you is pretty damn cool – and pretty damn brave as those guys can tear shit up and have been doing so for decades, even before any of the Moscow dudes were born. It was my third time ever seeing Groundhogs, and needless to say, they left big boots to fill. Luckily, Radio Moscow are pretty damn great too and had every mind in there blown within the first song. It was my first time ever seeing them, and I’m stoked I get to see them again tonight. And tomorrow. And Thursday. Then twice again in October. That’s right, no getting rid of me now for these dudes.
Following last night’s gig I spilled an entire bottle of ranch over myself backstage before venturing next door to the dingiest dive bar of them all, Crobar. A place you go to lose your dignity, memory and personal belongings, and it might not come as a surprise that it’s all a bit of a blur after that. Cans of red stripe, hotel hallway vending machine bags of crisps, listening to Dirty Tricks and falling asleep on the floor. So far I think I’ve made a great impression on everyone, and it’s going really great.
Most of today has been spent in the van feeling horrendously hungover, with the highlight of the day being a pit stop at some pub in Kent which hosts Freddie Mercury, Michael Bublé, Elvis, and of course – white Tina Turner tribute nights. Next level entertainment right there, so I shall be returning once I’m sick and tired of this San Diego psych rock and in the mood for an upgrade.
As for now, we’ve just arrived in Hastings to find the venue being on the second floor, and had to load in a bunch of amps up through three flights of stairs, and as you all know, Orange amps are good as gold, but god damn heavy as led. Still, spirits are high, and as I type the guys are setting up and getting ready to soundcheck. Tomorrow we’re at The Exchange in Bristol, followed by The Castle and Falcon in Birmingham on Thursday, and I’m hoping for lifts and no condiment spillage.