Commemorating the life of Alvin Stardust, I think I heard somewhere that tributes were being sought for an event which is to be held in the town of his youth, Mansfield. The suggestion may have come from Dave Harness who functioned as Alvin’s road manager during the latter part of his career and who I count as a friend but, anyway, I read it somewhere. It got me to thinking on what I’d want to say.
I can’t be at the opening day of the event because of a writing commission which is going to take me to New York for a month, but I hope to visit it thereafter, but I thought to gather my thoughts here and now.
I’d written an obituary of sorts about Alvin at the time of his passing which can be found elsewhere on the internet including here:
which covers his career in broad-strokes, so maybe something about my inter-action with the man.
Back in the mid-90s my agent rang me and asked me if I would be at all interested in interviewing “an old glam rocker called Alvin Stardust”(!) while he was on tour and specifically at his show in Croydon at the Fairfield Halls. What my caller didn’t realise was that when I was 9 I’d seen Mr Stardust on Top of the Pops and become convinced that he was the coolest man in the world. It was a moment that has affected me right to this very day and I guess I knew from that moment that I’d be forever “dressed in black” myself.
Thank you to everyone who visits and supports this site. We now get more visitors per day than ever before. We get twice as many visitors per day just reading old stuff as we used to get on the old site on a day when a new article went up.
So a couple of weeks into the New Year, what seems to be likely to appear here in 2014 and what else will I be involved in?
I haven’t had chance to post anything on here recently but I promise to keep the journal busy over the next few weeks. What’s been happening?
1. I have a new website. The writing side of my work has become busy enough to encourage me to promote it further and one of my publishers were happy to help me do it as they get more work too if I’m busy. If you’re inclined to take a look, it’s here: www.darrenhirst.com
2. One of the bands that I have been working with have attracted interest from Sony/BMG which has meant some high flown meetings which seem to have gone well.
3. You can read all about my work with Sad Cafe on the new version of their website which I believe is going live today. I’m impressed with the design of this one. It was done by a company called project42 who are very talented and very efficient. You can see the site here: www.sadcafe.co.uk
4. The new issue of Natural Progressions which I edit will go to the printers on Monday. That looks good too.
5. The RSC has a new group of productions. The first is King Lear and a review of this excellent performance should be on this site in a few days time.
6. Some of my favourite artists are doing gigs in the next few weeks and I’ll do reviews which will eventually find their way here. I’ll be writing about Panic Room, Timothy B. Schmit, John Foxx and Swarf.
7. I’ve been involved in negotiations with John Foxx’s manager, Steve Malins, with a view to staging an exhibition of John’s art in Stratford-Upon-Avon. This has been frustrating and may come to nothing.
8. Baseball Spring Training has begun and I’m going to be writing an analysis of the Yankees’ Spring squad which will also eventually find it’s way here.
Natural Progressions is a magazine that I edit and also write for. You won’t see it in your newsagents as it is mail order only. It will appeal to people who like a certain kind of music. Issue 38 is now available.
Full coverage and reviews of the Eagles on tour. Coverage of recent interviews with Don Henley and Joe Walsh An interview with Poco founder and solo artist, Richie Furay Bernie Leadon of the Eagles and Flying Burrito Brothers writing about the rivalry between his band and Poco An interview with Michael Georgiades of the Bernie Leadon – Michael Georgiades band and Zoe
44 pages, colour when appropriate.
Drop me a line if you want more details or a subscription.
It’s been a good month for getting to talking to some of my favourite musicians. As I have mentioned before I’ve been working hard on an interview project with Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, solo career etc. etc.) We had just about finished this when I mentioned to Richie, it would be nice to get an alternative view on some of the key periods in his life. We came up with the idea of getting Bernie Leadon (Hearts and Flowers, Flying Burrito Brothers, Eagles, Bernie Leadon-Michael Georgiades Band, solo career etc. etc.) to comment on rivalry and admiration between Poco and the early Eagles. I was expecting a few words, enough to mould into a paragraph of the article. Bernie went to town and has written an article of his own about his admiration of Poco. Great stuff! I’m also hoping for a contribution from Al Perkins who played a particularly important role in developing Richie’s musical and spiritual life.
Next up to the plate is Michael Georgiades who was Bernie’s partner-in-crime in the aforementioned Bernie Leadon-Michael Georgiades band and in the short-lived spin-off, Zoe. I’m going to be speaking to him next Saturday. His album, Natural Progressions, is a particular favourite of mine and interviewing him is the realisation of a long-held ambition.
Looks likely then that the next stage in the on-going project that I have rolling with Mr Leadon will be in August as we talk about his period with Hearts & Flowers.
These articles will appear in Cross Rhythms magazine and Natural Progressions Magazine. The first of these can be located on the web, subscription information on the second can be obtained from me.
The Eagles are MY band. Like I grew up on this kind of music. So it’s nice to have them back around on their new album “Long Road Out of Eden” and preparing to do something more than just play the old songs when they tour here next month. I was offered free tickets for all their shows at the o2 arena so I’ll be taking in a few of those with a VIP pass (which is nice).
I’ve been listening to the album a lot as I’m preparing to write up a review in the next issue of Natural Progressions (subscriptions available here – drop me a line). One thing that struck me is the depth of the good writing here and not only from Don Henley which you might come to believe was the case if you follow the line of some of the reviews that are already out there. Henley’s finest moment is to be found on Waiting in the Weeds which is probably as good as this album gets but there are other highlights on offer too.
Amongst my favourites you will find the Joe Walsh song “Last Good Time in Town”. This song benefits from Joe’s worn and battered (and humorous) outlook on life and has great vocals, harmonies and guitar. Eagles at their finest. Another gem worth digging for is Larry McNally’s “I love to watch a woman dance” (a feeling I can understand!) which has a sensitive vocal from Glenn Frey. “Cause to dream sometimes, that’s the only way to go places you can’t get to any other way”. First became aware of McNally when he wrote that song “For My Wedding” which featured on Henley’s solo album.
Henley would have wanted this to be a solo album (he says). If he’d won the argument I think we’d be missing out on some great music.