Thursday, May 03, 2012

All that glitters...

I'd come back if only you'd let me in
I'd be there without warning
Bring back pennies, steam trains and Slade Alive!
I'd be there by the morning

Wonder if I'll ever manage to release a collection of songs without inserting all manner of lyrical allusions to trains and glam-rock bands of the 70s?

Probably not. The fixation with trains is a given, really. My grandfather worked on the railways for over thirty years; my dad was an avid trainspotter as a kid, and his older brother was a train driver, so I suppose it's in the blood a bit.

As far as sparkly glam-rock goes, well, I grew up with the stuff didn't I? Not that I could ever sound remotely like Noddy Holder, of course. Who could?* It's just that along with Marc Bolan's T.Rex, Slade were such a big part of the soundtrack of my youth that during any nostalgic flashbacks I happen to have, they're nearly always playing in the background.

Speaking of T.Rex, they were equally massive for me. When I got my first electric guitar as a Christmas present in the early 70s, I attempted to glue silvery glitter to the front of it so I could look like Marc. As I once noted in Lucky 7 (another one of my overly nostalgic musical meanderings), "Blame it on T.Rex, blame it on Slade, blame it on the 45s The Shadows made, but I was miles away". I was Miles away alright; I was utterly convinced that I looked wickedly cool with my glittery guitar as I worked on my lip-synching skills in front of the hallway mirror. I'm sure that in reality, I looked a complete prat.

Given my somewhat glittery roots, I suppose it's funny that the music that I now make is about as un-glam as anything out there. I mean, glam was all about riotous sparkle and making a spectacle of oneself, usually while wearing towering platform boots (sorry, no photographic evidence remains, thanks for asking). In contrast, my drippy, confessional singer-songwritery posturings appear more sullen than sparkling; more prone to moribund reflection rather than youthful riot. In short, I'm a bit of a dull fucker. A staid and stodgy old geezer (feel free to interrupt...) 

And platform boots? That's a laugh; I get vertigo from air-cushioned running shoes. Oh well, at least there is still the occasional glistening flash of silver about my person whenever I set foot on the lighted stage. Of course, it's not on my guitar these days; it's on my head, but let's not split gray hairs.

*Anyone caught offering up the name Kevin DuBrow ( of Quiet Riot fame) will be excused and promptly ordered to don dunce cap and hairshirt, and go and sit in the corner.