This week I am delighted to say we have finalised the line up for the Mark Lamarr God's Jukebox show and rehearsals are beginning in earnest for the show, which will be recorded on Jan 27th and broadcast on Saturday January 31st(from midnight Friday 30th).
Glenn Tranter from Jacobites and the Dave Kusworth Group will be on bass, and Paul Collins from Sweet Jesus and my last band The Lemons on drums. I am hoping to overdub some 12 string acoustic and Vox organ. I am looking forward to the session, not nervous at all, it should be great. Tracks not entirely finalised but I've a mind to do White Plastic Moccasins and Seaside Town from my album England's Dreaming Spires plus 2 more, and maybe Pocketful Of Roses. This is a track from the sessions already under way for the second LP, which is about a visit to a 1970s style gents outfitters. The character getting fitted out sings in a posh 'Ronnie Barker' voice, and is helped to undress by a very helpful male assistant. What happens next would delight the curate I know, but is completely unrepeatable in polite society. So I will tell you as well.. Actually no I hadn't better. This song Pocketful Of Roses I wrote before I bought the box set of Are You Being Served (I have now watched 30+ episodes (God Bless you Wendy Richards). I had also just bought this kind of late 60s pair of block heeled shoes on vintage e bay, to get me in the mood for such retro sartorial shenanigans. It is a blast though this song, its recent and one of my favourites I've ever written, which is gratifying to be honest as most people seem to write their best stuff when they first set out- and I have been around on the back burner for ages! May also do Berkov Give Me Something, which was my heroes the Chesterfield Kings favourite track of mine. I have selected some of my favourite all time tracks by other artists which Mark will be spinning- tune in to hear what they are, but I will tell you that they are absolute gems, and at least 2 are rather obscure, so you may well not have heard them before. It will be great for fans of hardcore 60s sounds and all mod or 60s garage fans, though 2 of the tracks I would say are freak beat. And just so exciting, please do come and hear what you have been missing. I could have gone down the pop road and chosen something by Manfred Mann, say, or down the northern soul road, as many of my favourite records now are from that genre, but I have ended up just choosing a selection of just really great records from the mid 60s which I love. I like the idea music can be like a key, which can transform ones state of mind absolutely. Now that's powerful, that's incredible, and I suppose I am very privileged to be dedicating my life to producing music.
Recently my thinking has moved on about the whole Village Green Machine project. I was absolutely gagging to get in the charts and be a rock & roll star. But thinking about it, I will be doing VGM, making records, hopefully great records (I WILL TRY!) for the next 20 years, and I / we will be promoting them for the next 20, and maybe that's a conservative estimate. So it really puts things in a different light when I look at it in this kind of time frame. And, I will be moving in an onward, upward direction when I get, good heavens, towards 40, an age I am nowhere near. 5 years away. Is 5 years a really long time? So, I have just relaxed a lot about the whole matter of 'getting somewhere'. I have a record label, I have a great manager, I have musicians willing to work with me, I have 500+ songs which are as good as those or better than those on England's Dreaming Spires. I've paid a high price for exclusively doing what I want to do in life. Been called a waster- I am told there is much respect for artists in Germany, why don't we have that here? One gets respect for being famous or rich or both, but talent as an artist, well, mmm. I hate to say it, but aren't the Brits a bit philistine? It crushes me to think as well what has been done to pop music. The money people have a lot to answer for, it was great to hear TOTP has made something of a comeback but it means nothing without a load of great bands and the last time that happened was in the early 90s. And then maybe later in the decade when Pulp Blur and Oasis were making great records. I still love the Stone Roses by the way.
I would just like to encourage all the new bands to listen back to the 60s for inspiration. Be Retroexperimental, which means making tracks which sound like old ones, using old technology, old instruments, a load of valves in the recording chain, and so on. And then experiment like crazy on that bedrock. Some will undoubtedly think I am a Ray clone but I couldn't think of anything more boring than copying. Of course I am influenced by a million and one things, including Ray Davies.
Anyway I promise the session will be worth staying up for, if not I think you can catch a podcast on the Radio 2 website. I am intending to ask Mark to play an early Pink Floyd track- I mean early, so the Syd fans will not be disappointed. I have been chatting with the splendid Ian Barrett recently, he looks so much like Syd 'Roger' Barrett and is a talented jewellery designer, more on Ian at some later point.
We can now sell you a CD from the website, as well as downloads.
thanks for reading
Mark Lemon - Village Green Machine