Saturday, January 30, 1999


I suppose there may be some of you who are moved to wonder what, if anything, is going on with the intricate web that is the day to day life of the band, and, more specifically, why almost nothing has been heard from them since the end of the English (and a wee bit of Welsh Wales) tour last December. Well, you're probably right.

The answer is.....................nothing!!!

I am sitting here in my winter lair looking over a chilled New England landscape, counting squirrels, deer and other wild beasts who have to spend their miserable unquestioning lives scrambling for scraps of food and vying for nooks and crannies of shelter.......... sounds uncannily like musicians, actually. No, this is a time of rest from the road - a time to recharge the creative batteries in the hope that some glimmer of an original idea will somehow attach itself to a part of the brain which will allow for germination, fertilisation, and then maybe fruition - in short, write a song again!

I know Eliot has been hard at work developing some of his new ideas and he is revelling in playing with his new keyboard which we're all going to see (and touch, and fondle) next week at rehearsals, our first of the year. This will serve two useful purposes - one to see if we can remember how to play anything at all, and secondly, assuming the results of no.1 are positive, to try and shed some of the accumulated rust from a season of overindulgence in the bacchanalian delights of the holiday season just passed. You see, the Tom Joyner Radio show called a couple of weeks ago, and reminded us that it was that time again (you may recall we did their program last year at this time, from Florida, at a festival to celebrate the first historic black township in the USA) only this time we'll be at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington DC for their Valentine's show, on the morning of Friday Feb. 12th. That can only mean all the LOOOOOVE songs will be trotted out ( you have to say that with a Barry White voice to get the true meaning ) so let the page know what you think we should do, and we'll try to whittle it down to the five that we'll have time for.

Fabulous, Flying, Funky Freddy V returns from London in a day or two, where he has been for the last two weeks - putting himself about a bit at the local gigs, I hear, and hanging out with Hamish Stuart, some of the guys (and gals) from Kokomo, and himself doing a jazz thing with our old buddy Jim Mullen, the Scottish guitarist who won last year's UK jazz poll as top player. Of course, we've all known for years just how good Jim is, and for those of you who followed his fortunes with Dick Morrisey in the years with the Morrisey-Mullen Band, that news, if news it is, will come as no surprise. Let's hope somebody rolled tape of Fred's gig with him, as there's been precious little of inspirational value this season in the musical department. All these wannabe R&B merchants' CDs that almost, but not quite, get you know, you want to get on the floor - the groove sounds like it's going to develop into something more than a dry tickle - you turn round, gulp down another mouthful, grab the bird, and as you do the best sliiiide into the fray, it all just seems to stagnate into another turgid bit of so-called "Oldskool" with a few loops and samples that we made 20 years ago thrown in to fuel the track. It is sooooooo frustrating. So, it's been back to digging out the LPs again and getting down with our bad selves to the real thing.

Still, there are signs of life out there, and it seems the hibernation period is about to come to an end, if it hasn't already, and the phone seems to be affirming that awakening after a month of merciful silence. Oh, well, if people continue to want doses of unmitigated funk and soul music, and insist that the words average, white, and band should feature somewhere in their year's supply of same, then who are we to refuse to answer the call of the soul-starved multitudes..........who are probably running around out there right now like those squirrels and deer I was talking about earlier.

Now, where's my gun