Sunday, 29 July 2012

Not the 5th Smith - James Maker's book Autofellatio available now!

(The Smiths at The Manhatton, Manchester 1983, James Maker on the left)

A lot of people have heard the name James Maker, but a lot more have not.  James Maker's name was bandied about as "The Fifth Smith" long before Craig Gannon hit the Smiths scene.  The truth is, James became friends with Morrissey in the late 1970s during Morrissey's pre-Smiths frustrated writer days when, confined to his bedroom, he would constantly write to music papers such as NME and SOUNDS in support of the glam rock music scene and in particular The New York Dolls.  James being a New York Dolls fan himself 'felt compelled' to contact Morrissey 'as he was the only living New York Dolls fan visible through (his) opera glasses'.

Years later after many a jaunt from Manchester to London and vice versa, James joined Morrissey and The Smiths on stage during their early gigs to 'dance in a cool and understated manor'  and to sing backing vocals on "What Do You See In Her?" (Wonderful Woman).  There was never an urge on James' part to be a member of The Smiths ('I'm far too Susan Hayward to share the spotlight with anyone else').

Instead James went on to form Raymonde.  A band who released one amazing recorded body of work titled "Babelogue" which for me is one of the most underated albums of all time.  The opening track "No One Can Hold A Candle To You" has been covered by Morrissey on a few occasions and is well and truly worthy of more recognition than anything recorded by chart favoured artists since it's release.  The rest of the album is a collection of finely crafted 'Indie camp rock' (remember where you heard it first folks) and yet 'Alternative 80s guitar rock' at the same time.  Great songs, brilliantly delivered.

I only saw Raymonde play live once and that was in 1986 supporting The Smiths at Middlesbrough Town Hall.  At the risk of expleting myself out of decent society conversation - They fucking blew me away!   Bearing in mind there was little communication about line ups in those days (YES Kids - No Internet!!) we had no idea who was supporting.  Then out poured Raymonde onto the Town Hall stage and within seconds they burst into song and captured my attention and adulation for decades to follow.  An amazing experience, never to be repeated.  Unfortnately the album Babelogue isn't currently available for genaral consumption so I expect you to start a campaign NOW to have it rereleased.  (I would, but I've got an alternative guitar music revolution to front....)

Anyway...  as the title of this post suggests, the reason I am recalling such memories is because James Maker has released a book of his memoirs tiltled AUTOFELLATIO (or in other words ' I can suck my own dick' - World Class Title!).  To be honest I bought and began to read this book purely from a Raymonde / Morrissey / The Smiths angle but by the end of the first chapter I was totally enthralled with James' story of his childhood and upbringing that all the aformentioned topics were gone from my mind.  This is such a compelling story of the begining of a lost and unidentified character growing up in late 60s South London via mid 70s London ('Moscow with John Lewis') and onwards into his life in the music and acting world and beyond.  James HAS made a name for himself in certain quarters.  Amongst people that appreciate what he does and what he has acheived,  even if most people are unaware of his work.  Their loss I say.

This book is well worth you investing the time (and the minimal pence cost) to read it.  I'm sure that, like myself, you will be dragged in kicking and screaming from chapter one and not released until the ransom of one crate of Rioja, one guitar and a trestle table has been paid.....

Let the performance begin.


The book Autofellatio is available via iBooks HERE for a tiny £1.49
Also for the KINDLE HERE for the same price and...
It is also available in print HERE in various states of drunkenness, age and beauty on Amazon.


James Maker's blog is HERE

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Stone Roses Amsterdam - Reni has left the building. LISTEN

The Stone Roses played in Amsterdam at the Heineken Music Hall on June 12th 2012.  After the initial set was finished there was a disagreement between Ian Brown and Reni, who then left the building before the band could play an encore.  Below is a recording of Ian returning to the stage to inform the crowd. 


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Unknown Pleasures - Inside Joy Division By Peter Hook - Published 1st Oct 2012

Published in Hardback by Simon& Schuster UK
1st October, 2012

The definitive story of Joy Division told by the band's legendary bassist,

"It's very strange. Over the years Joy Division has become a huge part of music culture. A lot of people think they know what happened. But they don't. Anyone who's ever written a book or made a film about Joy Division, unless they were sat in that van or car with us, they don't know anything about it. Me, Barney, Steve, Ian, Rob, Twinny, Terry and Dave. Only us lot know what really happened..."PETER HOOK

In the frank, no-holds-barred style that has seen his previous book The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Clubreach critical acclaim, Peter 'Hooky' Hook takes us to the heart of Joy Division and the sound that defined an era and inspired a generation with propulsive bass guitar melodies such as 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.

Driven by the attitude, energy and sound of Punk, particularly the Sex Pistols, four young lads from Macclesfield and Salford shared the same vision and created a band with their own unique sound. Cobbling together instruments and a clapped out old van, they played in pubs and clubs - first across the north- west, then across the whole of Britain, until in 1980 they had released two albums and were on the cusp of touring America.

Then Ian Curtis committed suicide leaving everyone around him bereft.

In Unknown Pleasures, Peter shares previously unseen photographs and paraphernalia and reflects, with eye-opening candour, on the suicide of Ian Curtis: often seen as the "intellectual one" - to Peter and the band he was just "one of the lads". He shares his regret that Ian’s burdens of balancing his epilepsy and the demands of his domestic life only emerged when it was too late.

“I supposed in the end it’s almost too easy to look back and say what you should have done, how you might have changed things. How you might have done things differently and ultimately stopped Ian from doing what he did. What’s harder, what’s much, much harder, is to accept what you actually did do. Accept what you did do, and live with it” PETER HOOK

Covering the band's friendships and fall-outs; their rehearsals and recording sessions; Peter gives a truly fascinating insight, as only an insider can, into the characters who formed a vital part of the Joy Division legend.

A nationwide signing / speaking tour will be announced shortly to follow publication at the start of October. (See you there)