Friday, March 28, 2008

New blog alert!

Yet another blog to clog up the net but I will try and make it informative. It will cover family life, music, Stoke City FC, politics…anything really that tickles my fancy! Also I will use it as another way to plug GRTR! and the fine bands/music out there :)
Please feel free to comment as otherwise it is like talking to yourself which is never a healthy thing…
Best wishes,

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sport Relief mile successfully completed!

It may have been a wet and windy day but my daughter Jasmine and myself completed the Sport Relief mile at Cranford! Jasmine needed some cajoling and we finished it in sixteen minutes which considering the weather was some feat. Jasmine was resplendent in her pink wellies which were ideal given the muddy field we ran on. Thanks again for your support, it is very much appreciated and up to £153 raised.
Thanks for reading & best wishes,
Jason & Jasmine

Our fundraising page

Monday, February 11, 2008

Childline Rocks

CHILDLINE ROCKS at the Indigo2
Concert to Celebrate 21 years of ChildLine Charity

Thursday 13 March 2008 from 7pm

A fantastic line-up of rock giants, between them responsible for more than a hundred million record sales, will share the limelight to raise money for ChildLine.
ChildLine Rocks legendary performers will storm the stage at indig02 on 13th March 2008, in a one-off, world class classic rock line-up.

Sponsored by Kilmartin and hosted by Radio 2’s “Whispering” Bob Harris, described by ‘Radio Times’ as ‘one of the greats of contemporary music broadcasting’, ChildLine Rocks aims to raise a six figure sum for ChildLine.

Special VIP packages are available at ChildLine Rocks, including a pre-show reception, a chance to meet some of the artists and a live auction. VIP’s will be able to bid for tickets on the famous Flight 666 piloted by Bruce Dickinson for a trip to see Iron Maiden play live in Lisbon and be personally escorted by Bruce on a backstage tour. There will be guitars donated by Noel Gallagher and Status Quo, a Gibson guitar signed by all the artists appearing at ChildLine Rocks, a Led Zeppelin plaque and other top rock prizes.

Those not lucky enough to hold a VIP ticket can still enter a postal bid for a "money can't buy" auction prize, which will be entered at the live auction on the night.

Marillion: Currently locked down in the country at their Buckinghamshire studio, recording their fifteenth album, a double CD to be released later this year, singer Steve "h" Hogarth, guitarist Steve Rothery and bassist Pete Trewavas will be breaking off from the sessions to perform a special acoustic set for ChildLine Rocks. "We wholeheartedly support Childline and, to be honest, we'd do anything for Bob Harris anyway."

The Coral: Mercury Music Prize/Brits nominees and Noel Gallagher’s favourite band, The Coral have wowed the critics, conquered the charts, toured the world and re-defined the sound of British music with their evolving mix of rock, country, psychedelia and folk. The band will be unveiling their new guitarist and performing an acoustic set of material chosen specially for ChildLine Rocks.

The Zombies: Acknowledged by Courtney Love, Badly Drawn Boy, Paul Weller, the Foo Fighters and the Magic Numbers as one of the most influential British bands of all time, they were responsible for international hits ‘She’s Not There’ and ‘Time Of The Season’ and for the ground-breaking album ‘Odessey & Oracle’.

Russ Ballard: Formerly lead singer with Argent, who hit the charts in the early 70’s with ‘Hold Your Head Up’ and ‘God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You’, Russ also made his name as a successful writer (‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ for Rainbow and ‘Liar’ for Three Dog Night’) Russ will be performing live for the first time in over thirty years, joining the Zombies on stage for a unique performance for ChildLine Rocks.

Brian Bennett, OBE: Revered and multi-award-winning percussionist and original drummer for Cliff Richard & the Shadows, he also wrote many of their hits. He is the recipient of three Ivor Novello Awards and a Gold Badge Award from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters and has been working recently with Brian May.

Fish: Charismatic and uncompromising, Fish boasts a prolific 25 year career as a writer, actor and vocalist, launched in the eighties with the phenomenal success of Marillion (‘Kayleigh’, ‘Lavender’ and ‘Incommunicado’) and continued through his solo albums, the latest of which ‘13th Star’ has just been released.

Thunder: One of the great British rock acts, Thunder have toured the world extensively since 1989 and released a huge body of records. In all, they’ve scored 18 top 40 UK singles and 8 top 40 albums, including ‘Laughing On Judgement Day’ (No.2/1992) and ‘Behind Closed Doors’ (No. 5/1995). They have won awards galore, including Best Rock Vocalist (Danny Bowes – Burrn Magazine Japan) and Best Live Rock Act (Kerrang Magazine).

Ian Paice: Deep Purple’s drummer since he joined the band (age 19) in 1968. Armed with a dazzlingly fast and influential technique, Ian has also worked with Paice, Ashton & Lord, Gary Moore, Whitesnake and with Paul McCartney on the ‘Run Devil Run’ album in 1999.

Glenn Hughes: Ex-Deep Purple vocalist, bass player and songwriter, Glenn is unique. No other rock musician has carved such a distinctive style, blending hard rock, soul and funk. The KLF famously described him as ‘The Voice of Rock’ after his performance for their mega-hit ‘What Time Is Love’.

Thunder’s Luke Morley says: “The billing for ChildLine’s first rock concert is nothing short of rock solid. Together we’re going to make it a night to remember for rock music fans everywhere. When you buy your ticket you’ll know you’re helping to raising money so that children have someone to listen to them, and a safe place to go for help and advice”.

+ SPECIAL GUESTS To Be Confirmed

Tickets are priced at £50 for a standing balcony ticket, £65 for standing elsewhere, £125 for seated and £200 for VIP. (all tickets subject to booking fee)
Doors open at 7pm.
VIP pre-show begins at 6.30pm.

Ticket Booking: For more information or to book a ticket or VIP package
telephone 0844 844 0002

Auction: To place a bid in the auction please email Charlotte Lock on - All advance bids must be returned by midnight on Monday 10th March.

ChildLine Rocks in conjunction with Classic Rock Magazine.

ChildLine: ChildLine is the UK’s free, confidential 24-hour helpline for children and young people, with trained volunteer counsellors available to comfort, advise and protect. In February 2006, ChildLine formally joined with the NSPCC in a move that will ensure even stronger services and a more influential voice for children of all ages. The ChildLine service, now one of the NSPCC’s listening services, still has the same well known telephone number – 0800 1111 – and children and young people can still call 24 hours a day and receive the same crucial service.

Monday, February 04, 2008

WINNER of a copy of the QUEEN 'Rock Montreal' DVD

The DVD also include's the band's legendary Live Aid performance.

Who produced the band's 'A Night At The Opera' album?

The answer is Roy Thomas Baker and well done Jason Spriggs who wins the DVD!

Bearstock 3 gig review - The Hive, Brentford FC 3rd Feb 2008

An early start, well 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, as the sound experts did their stuff and I err just moved some chairs and tables around. Two big worries whenever you organize a gig or event, one will the artists turn up and secondly will any audience appear! Luckily come 4.30pm half of the Veneex arrived and soon after followed the host for the evening Robert Rankin, accompanied by his lovely wife. Of the other performers they all turned up and big kudos to Robb Johnson was doing a ‘Great Railway Journey’ style trip from Brighton – three hours each way by train with the infamous bus replacement service.

Sound checks were done, the doors were open and there were people coming in – yippee! During the course of the evening we had 104 paying punters through the door and add to that the musicians the crowd was a healthy 140-150 – the busiest the Hive has been for ages!

First up the Magpies (who featured my wife and daughter’s guitar teacher) and they were stunning! Superb guitar playing accompanied by bongos and then their tour de force as one played the guitar neck whilst the drummer played a beat on the guitar’s body whilst they threw a shaker between each other and carried on playing.

In between each act Robert Rankin did a few songs and poems plus introduced us to the marvels of the Buff – a remarkable piece of head/neck ware which he moulded into many shapes with his take on Badly Drawn Boy and the noose which he called the Saddam. He really was an excellent host and his Flying V ukulele added a real touch of rock ‘n’ roll to the proceedings.

My daughter Jasmine and her friend Alex Jenkins were on next. Alex played a trumpet medley with Jasmine doing two numbers on her guitar. Both went down a storm with the crowd and good to see two young musicians (they are both only nine) starting out on the live circuit.

Rhode Island Red, a duo, played a set of their own material including ‘Butterfly Girl’, a truly great tune and one cover ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ (some band called Led Zep apparently made this famous?). Like acoustic Rolling Stones, minus Mick Jagger’s lips…

Stepan Pasicznik, the accordion player with the Ukrainians, played a fine set mixing traditional Ukrainian songs with some in English and everyone knew his Ukrainian version of ‘Rasputin’, which was a hit for Boney M. Needless to say Stepan’s version was much better! An excellent set and very enjoyable.

More toot from Mr Rankin! This included his tribute to fellow ukulele wizard George Formby. Absolute genius the way he fits his own words into Formby’s. Of course being an author and knowing what shy, modest types they are he was relentlessly plugging his new book ‘The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code’, available now I believe from all good bookshops and those friendly online types Amazon.

The Veenex managed to snake an electric guitar onto the stage but being fair their heavy edgy alternative rock needed it and luckily it wasn’t too loud for the neighbours. A good set of tunes – reminded me at times of Hundred Reasons mixed with a bit of the Foo Fighters. Nice touch as well as their lead singer is a Brentford season ticket holder.

Next up is Brentford legend Robb Johnson (and Robert Rankin was chuffed to appear on the same bill as of course his new book features the blues musician Robert Johnson – see how it all connects?) who featured some football themed favourites plus a few new tunes of his excellent new album, All The Way For This’ including ‘Moronland’. Another Brentford legend Graham Larkbey joined Robb for a couple of songs as well!

Raffle time, with ten prizes of which the star prize was a signed copy of…‘The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code’! Then onto Paul Stead of Scared Heart, who was appearing solo but as luck would have it the band’s former bass player Darren was in the audience and joined Paul on guitar. Great to hear these songs acoustically including ‘Lay It On The Line’ (complete with a few ad libs from Paul!) and ‘Lost’.

One final word from Robert Rankin who was accompanied by his wife on ukulele for his version of another George Formby classic ‘When I am Cleaning Windows’. But his version was about writing fantastic fiction! I have to say personally Mr Rankin was the star of the show as he kept the whole evening running and anyone who does the Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ and ‘Firestarter’ on ukulele is tops in my book!
Headlining was Swill Odgers of the Men They Couldn’t Hang accompanied by a fiddle player, Phil Martin (Bitter Springs and The Long Decline, formerly with the Subway Sect). Swill is a very talented singer/songwriter in the folk/indie rock genre and he also played a couple of songs with lyrics penned by Robb Johnson. I was that impressed I bought a CD!

With the raffle added on the night raised £632 for the four charities (that’s £158 to each charity) – Diabetes UK, the Parkinson’s Disease Society, Spelthorne Crossroads for Carers and Bees United. Thanks to all who came along and supported the event and BIG thanks to Brentford FC for allowing me to use the venue for free so every penny raised on the night could go to the four charities. A perfect night for me seeing people enjoy live musicians (all of whom were excellent) and raising money for charity.

Jason Ritchie

PS I am still raising money for two other charities throughout 2008…

The roll of honour/thanks…

First off all the artists who appeared and gave their time for free and a special mention to Robert Rankin for being the best host you could wish for.

My wife, Nabila and daughter Jasmine; Alex Jenkins; Matt Davis, Peter Gilham, Tony Ashley and all at Brentford FC: mum & dad; Simon the PA wizard; Esther Angel for getting Robb Johnson & Swill Odgers onto the bill; the Stripes/Hive gigs crew of Tim ‘Top Cat’ Collinson, Feltham John, Kath, Bryan Clark (check out his monthly jazz nights at the Hive every first Monday of the month) and Pete Crook; Graham & the great bar staff; Jo Fletcher at Orion Publishing; Heathrow Villager; Staines & Ashford News; Staines Guardian; Feltham Chronicle; Hounslow & Richmond Times; Radio Wey; Radio Jackie; Hayes FM and those who supported the night, you are all stars!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New interview with GLYDER

New interview with Irish hard rockers GLYDER who have supported my fundraising via their recent album lanch. Check out their great new album 'Playground For Life'.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

EBay charity auctions

I am also raising funds via EBay for the Nordoff-Robbins music threpy charity and the Donna Louise Trust (charity auctions are marked by a ribbon) and you can view the latest ones here -

Charity EBay auctions

Monday, December 24, 2007

The WINNERS of a copy of GLYDER's new CD 'Playground For Life'

To say 'thank you' to people visiting this blog & spreading the word on my fundraising/donating YOU get the chance to WIN some goodies :)

First two competitions...

The WINNER of a copy of the excellent new album by GLYDER 'Playground For Life' is Sally Harrison - well done!

GLYDER come from which country?
Answer is Ireland

The WINNER a copy of DON FELDER's book on his time in the EAGLES, 'Heaven And Hell' is Yvonne Jarman - well done!

Which of the following musicians has NOT been a member of the Eagles?
Answer is Bob Seger

Use this search engine to raise money for Nordoff-Robbins

Simply click here enter your search and raise money for the Nordoff-Robbins charity!
Thank you

Help rasie money for the Donna Lousie trust with Everyclick

...simply click here and search away. Everyclick then donates a 50% of any paid for links you clink on in the search results.
*** Please note I am also running another fundraising page during 2008 for the Donna Louise Trust. They provide a children's hospice service for Staffordshire and South Cheshire incorporating respite and palliative care, both in a hospice setting, and at home, for children who suffer from illnesses which mean they may not reach adulthood. I have chosen this charity as I originally come from the Potteries and want to support a local charity during 2008 as part of my fortieth birthday year. Anyone who helps give children a glimmer of joy in their short lives is worthy of support in my book***

As it is my 40th birthday in 2008 I thought a novel way to raise funds would be to have bands/authors I have enjoyed so far in my life and have them kindly plug this fundraising page for donations to their fans (be it through a gig, email newsletter, etc) to this worthy charity who help people through music.

Please support the bands/authors who have supported my fundraising efforts by going to one of their events or buying their music or books.

All the following will be plugging this fundraising site during the whole of 2008 on their websites, please visit them all :)

ROBERT RANKIN author of many fabulous books (everyone should read all of his Brentford trilogy books and 'The Toyminator').

UFO are one of best hard rock bands around, enjoying major success in the 70's they are still going strong today. Their latest album 'The Monkey Puzzle' is a 'must have'.

WAYSTED formed by UFO bass player PETE WAY are back with original vocalist FIN. Their latest album 'The Harsh Reality' is a cracking slice of good time rock 'n' roll. (Grab a copy of their 'Save Your Prayers' album which features a certain young DANNY VAUGHN on vocals)

LEC ZORN who plays classic AOR/melodic rock and he will be plugging this website on his website and MySpace.

DEL BROMHAM guitarist with STRAY is a top notch blues rock based musician.

VINNIE MOORE is currently guitarist with UFO and check out his solo albums plus he's played with many other rock legends including ALICE COOPER.

The HEAVY METAL KIDS are still going strong and you must grab a listen to their 'Hit The Right Button' CD - pure class.

The TAZ TAYLOR BAND feature guitar wizzard TAZ TAYLOR and the band's recent album features former RAINBOW/MSG vocalist GRAHAM BONNET.

Rock journalist DAVE LING is a legend and inspiration to all budding rock journos worldwide. He currently writes for 'Classic Rock' magazine and has previously contributed to 'Kerrang!', 'Metal Hammer', 'RAW' and many more.

DAVE BURN plays in a UFO tribute band called UUFO plus he has released a string of solo albums.

TEN YEARS AFTER are one of the seminal 70's rock bands and they are stil going strong today featuring original members Leo Lyons, Ric Lee, and Chick Churchill plus Joe Gooch on guitars.

NEWMAN is the band of Steve Newman, a very talented hard rock/AOR singer/songwriter and he will kindly plugged this site in November as part of his website relaunch. (Check out his new CD 'Primitive Soul')

CHRIS SINGLETON plugged this fundraising idea and page on Saturday 24th Nov via his blog (Chris is a very talented singer/songwriter who compses pop rock gems - check out his song 'Get Up' for proof)

BERNIE TORME & GMT plugged this site at the following gigs during Nov/Dec at York, Bury, Swansea & London (GMT are ex-Gillan members BERNIE TORME & JOHN MCCOY along with drummer ROBIN GUY. They play hard rock with a little punk edge - get their suberb debut album, one of the strongest debuts by any band in mnay a year)

GLYDER will plug this fundraising idea and page on Friday 18th January when they launch their new album, 'Playground For Life' at tthe Sugar Club, Dublin. (Glyder are the natural successors to the mighty THIN LIZZY and are one of the best new bands out there who mix the clsssic 70's rock sounds into their own modern hard rock style)

LION MUSIC record label will kindly plug the fundraising page on their My Space site and newsletters plus sone of their artists have kindly agreed to help out. Lion Music is home to HOUSE OF SHAKIRA, AWAKE, MILAN POLAK, SUN CAGED & many more.

RHODE ISLAND RED (featuring NIKK GUNNS) will plug this fundraising idea and page on Feb 3rd at Bearstock 3 gig

A BIG thanks to BATTTTTTY for helping with many of the artists above. Check out one of her websites here

To find out more on why I chose these bands please hop over to this forum

Join & support the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity on Facebook and MySpace

If you want to donate via PayPal please do using the email address All money donated this way will be donated to the Nordoff-Robbins charity or the Donna Louise Trust (please state which charity you'd liek to donate to)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Classic Rock Newswire can now be found over at the place for classic rock, metal, prog rock and more - Get Ready To Rock!

Click here for all the latest rock and metal news

Click here for GRTR!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Guilfest 2007

Friday night held some promising treats in store and the band I was most looking forward to seeing live the Hold Steady didn't disappoint. A greats et by this US band who sound at times like classic Springsteen mixed with Bruce Hornsby's piano! 'On The Radio' and 'Ships Ahoy' are made for the live arena whilst 'Let's Go out Tonight' is a perfect party song. 'You Can Make Him Like You' is another gem of their latest album while even 'Southtown Girls' sounds good live being my least favourite track on the new album. Great set by a very talented band and well worth seeing live.
The acoustic brother and sister duo of Rodrigo Y Gabriela were a real eye opener in their sheer speed and variety of playing acoustic guitars. Amazing to see and they use the guitar's body as an extra instrument adding percussion - simply stunning. They even throw in a couple of snippets from Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets' and Led Zep's 'Stairway To Heaven'. An amazing duo and definitely one worth seeing live.
Next off to the Kids Zone my daughter's favourite area and again Guilfest really cater well for the younger person. We watched a very good pair of jugglers who juggled with fire for an added twist. Again it is a circus theme with hoops and balls to juggle with along with face painting, fairground rides and wandering entertainers. Next up the theatre tent where we watched a selection of West End show songs performed by a trio called Creative Minds. Very enjoyable although often drowned out by the sound from he neighbouring rock tent.
Headlining Friday night were Supergrass who kicked off with 'Caught By The Fuzz' band they played a very hits loaded set including 'Pumping On Your Stereo' and the awesome 'Sun Hits The Sky'. Sound was slightly drowned out at times by the bass but other than that a great way to close the first night.
Couldn't make Saturday due to family commitments but we were back in force come Sunday but sadly missed the 250 strong Rock Choir who seemed to go down a storm by all accounts. The main stage was very ska/Mod friendly today so I gave it a wide berth :) Mind you I did pop back to see the Icicle Works, well Ian McNabb plus others and it was a very enjoyable set. 'Evangeline' and 'Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)' were the set stand outs and they seemed to go down well with the crowd although Ian McNabb seemed a bit disappointed by the overall crowd response at times.
Redwood on the Ents 24 stage were very good - like an updated Pearl Jam with the good bits of Nirvana added. They look destined for bigger things. As the rain started (thankfully briefly) I dodged into another tent to see a good, solid rock band with a flamboyant frontman who liked his spangly jackets! Good festival fodder but not something you'd rush out and buy. I am reliably informed by my wife and sister-in-law that the stalls were as good as ever with the lantern and silly hats stall being a highlight (we like to cover all bases in this review).
Caught the end of Dukes Special and was impressed by the final song, one for further investigation. Caught the first part of the Madness set which had all their fans going nutty as normal with all the faves there like 'Madness', 'Just Another Day' and 'One Step Beyond'. They work the crowd well and for a fun night you can't go wrong although their fans can get a bit boisterous which can put off the more casual fan.
But for me it has to be Uriah Heep to close this year's Guilfest. Like Blue Oyster Cult last year then spend fifteen minutes fannying around with the sound which means with a strict ten o'clock curfew they only had 45 minutes left to play. Just get on with the music as people at a festival will forgive a slightly less than perfect sound I am sure. Many fans were grumbling it has to be said. First chanmce in the UK to see new drumemr Russell Gilbrook as well who is a big hitter in the Chris Slade style and slots in well with the band's overall sound. A very heavy set with a stunning 'Between Two Worlds', 'Gypsy', 'Cry Freedom' and 'Sunrise'. Uriah Heep are a classic festival band as they work the crowd well and are not too heavy to put of the casual festival music fan looking for a band to watch. Along with the Hold Steady and Rodrigo Y Gabriela the bands of the festival for me.
Another great Guilfest with fine food, company, music and entertainment - what more could you want? Well better toliets as they were in a right state by Sunday night but bar that the best family festival around and big thanks to the organizers, bands, crews and Roland for the passes.

Jason Ritchie

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dear all,
The sun was shining as we set off on a 10K run of two laps around the wonderful Regent's Park, running past flower beds, Andrew Flintoff approved pedalos, kamikaze ducks and squirrels and boy was it hot out there! Mind you I highly recommend taking up running/jogging as I 've lost 6lbs in training and have definitely got the running craze back in my system.

The winner came in at just over 33 minutes (I reckon he cheated and took a short cut!) and I finished in 1hr 11mins 55 secs which I am very pleased with as this was my first race since 2002 and moving house last weekend was maybe not the best preparation :) I also beat four of the ten runners dressed as bananas out on the course.

832 1:11:55 RITCHIE, Jason Senior Men (less of the Senior if you don't mind!)

982 finishers (1,005 started) with the last time being one of the ten bananas on the course - these runners are all cancer survivors - in 1hr 41mins.

Race results

Fundraising - So far the total raised is £705 which has already beaten my target of £500. For those who have pledged on the sponsor forms I will be collecting your monies in the next month or you can send me cheques - please e-mail me if you wish to do the latter.

If you have not and still wish to sponsor me please do either here or via PayPal on or by cash/cheque/Postal Order

Running blog

Thank you ALL for such wonderful support and donations. The money raised for the Parkinson's Disease Society will be split 50/50 - half to the local support groups based in Staines and Stoke-on-Trent and the other half towards funding the Parkinson's nurses nationwide.

Now what to run next? I am open to suggestions but please no marathons ;)

Best wishes ,
Jason Ritchie

About the charity I am raising funds for -

The Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS) provide vital work in not only research into the disease but fund Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialists (there are currently 200 in the UK) and help run over 300 support groups and local branches throughout the UK. Many people know someone who has Parkinson’s and although there is no cure as yet with the help of medicine and local support groups the lifestyle of people with Parkinson’s has been greatly improved although more funds are still needed to keep up the results achieved so far.

Monday, February 05, 2007

WAKING THE WITCH + JON REDFERN Windsor Arts Centre, Saturday 3rd February 2007

A new venue to me, being an old fire station converted into a very snazzy arts centre, complete with good acoustics in the main auditorium. First up was singer/songwriter Jon Redfern who was joined by a backing band consisting of a bass player, keyboards/acoustic guitar and a cellist, making for an eclectic musical mix and a very strong set of songs. Very rock ’n’ roll moment when he admitted they had been at the pub prior to the gig and had forgot to compile a set list although you’d never now given the strong musicianship on display.
Waking the Witch, the four piece female vocal phenomena, are touring in support of their recently released third album ‘The Boys From the Abattoir’, a stunning album full of vocal and musical delights. The four band members each have distinctive vocal styles and combined they provide one of the best harmonies I’ve heard since the early days of Clannad. Stripped of a backing band they rely simply on their voices and acoustic guitars (with a bit of mandolin), rattling through a set heavily based on their new album including the title track, ‘Spring Song’ (if the harmonies on this one don’t move you must be clinically dead!) and ‘Rock n Roll’ (not the Led Zep version). Highlight for me was ‘Yorkshire Boy’, a very jaunty number and one you could easily envisage getting played on BBC Radio 2 etc.
An excellent night of acoustic/vocal based music and both artists are well worth checking out, especially Waking the Witch who are simply one of the best female fronted folk/acoustic bands out there today.

Jason Ritchie

Monday, January 08, 2007

Get Ready To Rock! is now on MySpace :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

EVERGREY gig review

My first visit to Dingwalls which is not an easy venue to find despite being in Camden and its location could partly explain why the gig was only just over half full in a 550 capacity venue. Not a bad venue and decent sound compared to Damn shame as Evergrey are one of the leading progressive metal bands out there.

First support band were Awake who played a solid set of metal, similar to Intense but not quite as strong in the vocal department. The keyboard player got off to a shaky start as well with a few dropped notes and unlike Evergrey his keys were used mainly to start/end each tune. Not bad at all and I will track down some of their albums to give them a listen, which is more than can be said of the next band Avatar. Sorry but I like someone who can sing and not someone who gargles with gravel before ‘singing’. Nice music which is ruined once the ‘vocals’ kick in. I doubt any death/black metal fan would be listening to this in say twenty years time as it is not a genre of music that you can call timeless. But if you like this style of metal I am sure they would suffice.

Evergrey are quite simply stunning live. They manage to deftly pull of the musical dexterity of their studio albums with ease (with a few cheats in recorded backing choirs but hey that’s allowed!) and this tour marked the UK debut of the band’s new bassist Frederik Larsson, who slotted in with ease. The sheer power of their songs is quite frankly breathtaking be it ‘End Of My Days’, with a very catchy chorus or the doom laden ‘In Remembrance’. The new album ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’ was well represented with the title track, ‘Til Dagmar’ and ‘Obedience’ all getting an airing. Frontman Tom Englund seemed to be enjoying himself with quips to the audience and vocally he has the same power as on record, which is not always the case in some metal bands. The only real respite from the wall of guitar riffs came with ‘I’m Sorry’, although set closer ‘Great Deceiver’ soon had the headbangers back in action! Encore time and the pick had to be ‘Recreation Day’, a song that sums up the Evergreay sound – strong vocals, lyrics and guitars al, backed by a tight but loud rhythm section and the keys are used almost like a guitar as they are very riff driven.

Great set by a very talented band and one that would appeal to fans of power metal, the heavier end of prog rock and even thrash metal. Go see them if you get the chance.

Jason Ritchie

End Of Your Days
Rulers Of The Mind
As I Lie Here Bleeding
In Remembrance
Til Dagmar
Still In The Water
Monday Morning Apocalypse
Solitude Within
Mark Of The Triangle
More Than Ever
I'm Sorry
Great Deceiver
When The Walls Go Down
Recreation Day
A Touch Of Blessing
The Masterplan

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

PAUL RODGERS Albert Hall, London 3rd October 2006

Last time Paul Rodgers played London he was at the Hammersmith Apollo, this time around it was the grander surrounding so f the Albert Hall with many of the audience looking like they were on work’s ‘jollys’ rather than rock fans! A decent sized crowd although sadly not sold out. Deborah Bonham played a short set of her take on blues rock although sadly without drummer Jerry Shirley (ex-Humble Pie) who was unavailable due to a family bereavement. A solid set although it did miss a backbeat.
Young rockers the Answer were up next and they fire blew the cobwebs away. They have the sound of classic Free meets Led Zep so were playing to a target audience really. They rattled through songs of their debut album including ‘Under the Sky’, the slide guitar led ‘Preachin’ and ‘Never Too Late’. This band has the tunes and musicianship to break it big time and unlike the Darkness they don’t need gimmicks to get their music across. For the band it was a perfect way to start their upcoming UK tour with fellow rising rock stars Roadstar.
Paul Rodgers and his band - guitarists Kurt Dengler and Howard Leese (Heart), Collective Soul’s drummer Ryan Hoyle and bassist Lynn Sorensen – took to the stage with a clutch of Free classics including ‘I’ll Be Creepin’, ‘Be My Friend’ and ‘Ride On A Pony’. The tour is partly to promote the new Free alums, a Best Of and live sets from the BBC. Sadly not much form his Bad Company days although he did dedicate ‘Bad Company’ to the late Bad Company bassist Boz Burrell and ‘Feel Like Making Love’ certainly got the many females in the audience all hot and bothered. His days with the Firm were represented by ‘Radioactive’ and ‘Closer’ whilst the pick of his solo tunes had to be the hard rocking ‘Saving Grace’, simply awesome live.
Prior to the gig Paul Rodgers had let slip in an interview at the launch of the Free albums that he would be joined by a special guest guitarist. Rumours had everyone from Queen’s Brian May to Jimmy Page (who worked with Rodgers in the Firm) as the mystery guest but it was none other than hard rock turned bluesman Gary Moore. He played two numbers with Rodgers (with Leese and Dengler leaving the stage for Moore to take centre stage), 'Standing Around' and 'Louisiana Blues'. Moore was on top form and with Rodgers blues voice you couldn’t really go wrong. Free’s ‘Wishing Well and ‘All Right Now’ also got an airing but surprisingly Bad Company’s classic ‘Can’t Get Enough’ didn’t, which was a shame. One new song as well, the anti-war song ‘Warboys’ which was okay but maybe needs a few more listens to fully appreciate it.
Encore time ‘The Hunter’ with Gary Moore back on stage and a Hendrix cover in ‘Little Wing’, with Howard Leese this time stealing the limelight with his soloing. The final encore was Paul Rodgers on his own doing Bad Company’s ‘Seagull’, a fitting end to a very enjoyable night. Shame it wasn’t longer as he played for just over 90 minutes and as with any artist with such a long and distinguished career you leave the gig thinking ‘why didn’t he play…?’ but hey he still has the voice and is a ‘must see’ live performer.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chris Singleton Troubadour, London 19th September 2006

Off to the legendary Troubadour club for the first time for the album launch of ‘Twisted City’ by singer/songwriter Chris Singleton. Not a bad little venue at all, located underneath the restaurant above and good acoustics. An amazing array of musical legends have appeared here including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Led Zep and Keith Moon to name but a few.

Support came from the Sunstones, an acoustic trio with just a double bass and acoustic guitar as the musical accompaniment. Upbeat tunes although I did struggle to catch the lyrics at times and sadly the tunes failed to lodge in your head after one listen. A pleasant enough listen but nothing to grab your attention.

Chris Singleton first came under my radar with his debut single ‘Worry Number One’ and after reviewing this I found out his girlfriend Emma worked in the same office as me! So no pressure then on reviewing this gig… Kicking off with the single it was a fine set of quality pop rock tunes (latter day XTC is as near as I can get for a comparison) mixed with slower acoustic led songs. Next up was the next single ‘Get Up’ and I defy anyone not to be taken in by this song after their first listen. Catchy tunes don’t come much better than this. Backed by a very tight and able five piece band, they played most of the debut album including ‘Gimme Something’ and ‘Twisted City’. Encore was the delightful ‘Tonight’ (shades of John Lennon here), topping of a very assured and enjoyable launch of his debut album.

If you like pop rock, bands like XTC, Crowded House and well crafted tunes then go and buy this album as you will enjoy it, trust me.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Please help

Dear all,
As we are now fighting to keep Ashford & Sunbury open the previous petition is no longer valid as it covered all four centres based in Spelthorne that were facing closure. In Staines Leacroft has been saved and sadly Thameside is closing but we still need YOUR support to keep the pressure on Surrey County Council.
Please pass onto as many interested parties as you can.

Sign here

Thanks for your continued support!

Monday, September 11, 2006


TOMMY BOLIN `Whips and Roses II' SPV (2006)

The second volume featuring unreleased tracks and alternate takes from the `Teaser' album. You can only wonder what he would have produced had he lived (I for one would loved to have seen him carry on with Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale) after listening to this album and the first volume. There are two good rockers on here
namely `The Grind' and `Sooner Or Later', whilst the rest of the album highlights Bolin's fusion style of playing. The fourteen minute `Bagitblues Deluxe' best illustrates his style of playing and is a delight to hear. As with many unreleased tracks a few have poor sound quality and the live `Some People Call Me' is really for completists only as the crowd noise spoils the sound overall.
Another lovingly collated album making a fitting tribute to a gifted guitarist and one who sadly died way too young.

UFO `The Monkey Puzzle' SPV (2006)

I will be honest and say that the last few albums by this band have had a couple of good tunes but the albums for the main have not had me rushing back to play them again. However, their last album `You Are Here' was a definite improvement and with Andy Parker back at the drum stool this new album continues the band's
renaissance. Guitarist Vinnie Moore seems to be the spark in the band that sets this album apart from the past few albums as his playing fits the band's classic sound like a glove yet he does have odd moments where he adds his own stylings such as `Kingston Town'.
Phil Mogg is in fine voice and lyrically the band delved into familiar territory like drinking (`Drink Too Much') and a wry look at life on `Rolling Man'. Stand out track has to be `Black and Blue' which I am sure will go down a storm when played live. Being picky the album could have done with a real knock `em dead ballad and `Down By the River' is a filler being brutally honest.
Possibly the strongest UFO line-up for many a year and this album won't disappoint their fans.

TALISMAN `Seven' Frontiers (2006)

Since the band's last studio album `Cats & Dogs' the members of Talisman have been far from idle with Marcel Jacobs and Jamie Borger popping up on this year's rather good new album by Last Autumn's Dream (Borger is also involved in the Treat reunion), guitarist Fredrik Akesson has been touring with Arch Enemy and of course Jeff Scott Soto is currently filling in for Steve Augeri as Journey's
vocalist plus being part of Soul SirkUS. With all of this activity it is amazing they found time to record this album!
Musically it carries on from where `Cats & Dogs' left off with possibly a heavier edge overall particularly in the guitars, grab a listen to openers `Falling' and `Nowhere Fast' for proof. There are some tracks on here that are instant hits with your ears like `Shed A Tear Goodbye' and `Back 2 The Feeling', which sees the band almost in pop rock territory. Elsewhere there is a ballad and a couple of tunes take the funk rock groove that JSS does more on in his solo work. JSS sings his best as usual although his little `raps' in a couple of tunes can get tiresome after repeated listens.
Certainly this album will delight fans of the band but it is a couple of songs short of being as strong as JSS last solo album or the last Talisman album.

TYPE O NEGATIVE `Best Of' Roadrunner (2006) Roadrunner Records

This `Best Of' is a great place to start for anyone new to the band like me. Fronted by man mountain Peter Steele, the band take off where Sisters of Mercy left of in the late 80's. Yes it is very heavy goth tinged metal/rock, none more so than the cracking tune `Christian Woman', that features sublime harmony vocals with deep, doomy vocals from Steele. Mind you with the backing vocals
credited to Bensonhoist Lesbian Choir you known this band are not run of the mill! `Love You To Death' is classic goth rock and `I Don't Wanna Be Me' shows the band have some tongue in cheek humour amongst the bleak lyrics. Couple of interesting covers on here as well in Neil Young's `Cinnamon Girl', which is slowed down to a grinding riff, whilst you will never hear such an off the wall
rendition of Purple's `Highway Star' that's for sure!

A very worthy introduction to a fine band who will delight goth metal fans and those who like melodic yet doom laden music.

ELO remasters Sony BMG (2006) ELO website

Delayed from earlier this year the first batch of remasters are finally here! Main man Jeff Lynne has been heavily involved both in the remastering and adding sleeve notes to each of the three albums. Along with Lynne's comments you also get very informative sleeve notes from ELO archivist Rob Caiger along with many previously
unseen photos. After the band's first tow more experimental/progressive albums
ELO's next album was 1973's `On the Third Day' (***1/2), which although it kept some progressive leanings like `Ocean Breakup/King of the Universe', Lynne was well on his way to penning the melodic classics the band became famous for like `Ma-Ma-Ma Belle' and `Showdown'. Five bonus tracks on here including two alternate versions of `Ma-Ma-Ma Belle' and for collectors Marc Bolan plays
guitar on four of these tracks. Not an album for the fan of the classic ELO sound but highly recommended for the ELO fanatic!

`Elderado' came next, which has already been release a few years ago with bonus tracks, so next up is 1975' `Face The Music' (****). Two big hits on this album were `Evil Woman' and `Strange Magic', the latter on the best ELO tracks in my humble opinion. Other treats on here include ELO meets punk on `Poker' (well it is very fast paced!), the blissful `Waterfall' and the instrumental mix
of `Waterfall', one of the four bonus tracks on this CD.

`A New World Record' (*****) released back in 1976 marks the
first of ELO's five star releases in my book (next up were `Out of the Blue', `Discovery' and `Time'). From the opening `Tightrope' and its strings overload through to the mellow refrains of the closing track `Shangri-La' there is not one filler track. Three big hit singles of this album - `Rockaria!', `Livin' Thing' and `Telephone Line'. Another good rock track was the reworking of the Move song `Do Ya' – a real classic guitar riff on this one. Bonus wise there are six tracks on here including `Surrender', a nice short pop ditty which strangely hasn't made it onto an album before appearing here.

These three re-releases are all a ELO fan could ask for and they
are well worth adding to your CD collection. Can't wait for `Out of
the Blue'…

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Freddie Mercury - 60 today

Freddie Mercury would have been sixty today - can you imagine him with a pensioner's bus pass???
Sadly missed but his music lives on.
RIP 1946-1991

Stoke sign Ricardo Fuller

As deadline day passed and tumbleweed did blow around the Britannia stadium Tony Pulis signed striker Ricardo Fuller from Southampton. He looks a good signing (he is highly regarded by fans at preston where he was previously) although in true Stoke fashion he has had knee injuries in the past!
Elsewhere Hannes Sigudsson joined Bronby no doubt lured by UEFA cup action and no club came forward for Bangora, who is still training whilst trying to regain his fitness. Can't see him staying now especially as he went AWOL over the summer.
Pulis has now turned his attention to loans and former player (and yet another Pompey player) Andy Griffin's name keeps popping up on Stoke MB's as a possible loanee. He would be good but we really need a decent central midfielder as Dave Brammer is frankly pants and should be shipped back to Crewe ASAP.
Come on Stoke!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Bass player Phil Soussan has just released a very enjoyable solo album 'Vibrate' that feaures members of Toto amongst others. Previously he has played with Ozzy Osbourne, Beggers & Thieves, French rock 'n' roll legend Johnny Hallyday and he started out with Wildlife the UK band that featured ex-Bad Company drummer and future members of FM.


1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

I am currently preparing for some solo gigs, writing/producing Trev Lukather's album, getting ready to go to Nashville to start a very hush hush "supergroup" (I HATE that word!), hum... waiting here at home for my new guitar to show up from MusicMan and typing.

2. Could you take us through the songs (e.g. ideas behind the songs) on your solo album, 'Vibrate' please...

Human Race - one of the last songs that I wrote on the album. It is about being patronized and propagandad (is that a word?) and having people manipulate the truth and thinking that they can pull the wool over your eyes. I am not going to share my politics here, but it is not what you might expect!

Open Your Eyes - This is about trying to help a friend out of depression.

Friend By My Side - Funky, funky funk! This is about funk! I like funk an' funky thangs. I like songs that sound like you have a room full of relatives in the background singin' along. I mean, I used to listen to a lot of 70's funk and so this was a little taste - a hitcherino if you will. I also had much fun playing recently with Richie Kotzen - who is the bomb when it comes to funk/rock and I wanted to include this aspect to my playing - Richie is also playing on this. (Oh.... lyrically it is about trusting your instincts!)

Elderberry Trees - This is a love song (no shit!). It's about the feeling you get when you meet your soul mate! It is also about gardening.

In America - America; land of hope and the Ancient Greeks (sorry TH !). Everyone rags on this place yet everyone wants to live here. A good place to come to if you want to find opportunity. Even when you don't find what you want there is always another stone to turn over.

No Regrets - This is a Petty type storyteller ballad about people compromising themselves. It is about accountability.

Smile - Trying to help out a friend who had more than their share of shit shoveled upon them.

Killing Time - I was pissed off at a girlfriend who was extremely negative. This goes out to all the negative people out there - you know who you aren't!

Long As You Live - This is a positive song written with my friend Joe Brucato, one of the most beautiful souls out there although he has the tact of a mountain! (Sorry joe!). Written a long time ago I wanted to include it as I love the message that it presents.

Haunted - This is a reflection on how your experiences carry forward into the rest of your life - there is a lesson that I had to learn here and that was to enter each new experience innocently and as new...

She Couldn't Cry - Another storyteller about a girl who reached the lowest low.

Water's Edge - This has nothing to do with Roger Waters! Although it is a tribute to one of my favorite artists ever... I wrote this for someone who was very lonely.

3. How did you get some top draw musicians on your album such as the Toto guys? Any plans to play some gigs on the back of the album's release in Europe?

I have been fortunate enough to work regularly with these musicians for quite some time. When it became time for me to do this they contacted me and wanted to be involved. If things go well with this album I would love to come to europe to tour.

4. Beggers & Thieves were a very underated band - was there ever a second studio album made by the band? Any chance the band would get back together again?

They made a second album after I left. There is no reason that we wouldn't get together again. We would need it to be financially viable .. and Louis would need to return the guitar he took!

5. You've appeared on many albums by the French legend musical Johnny Hallyday. How did you hook-up with him and why do you think he's never really has success here in the UK and even the US?

I played on the demo of a track that he covered on his Rough Town" album and his producer - my long time friend Chris Kimsey - fell in love with the part. Chris asked me to come and play it on the actual record and we all hit it off from that point. Johnny called me up and asked me to be in his band; what a band! Shane Fontayne, Jim Prime, Ian Wallace, Tim Moore and Robin Le Mesurier. I think that the French market has always been very intrinsic - nothing comes in and nothing goes out and that is why he has never been heard of in many other countries. Despite that, he remains the 4th biggest selling artist in music history for the world!! Fuckin' unbelievable, huh. We call him the Grand Fromage!

6. You played on Ozzy's 'Ultimate Sin' album. What was it like at the time working with Ozzy who wasn't at his most sober during this album! Why did you leave the band?

It was an amazing time. Metal had never been so big, Ozzy's gigs had never been so well attended and I had major success with a song that I wrote. My closest friend was in the band with me and I liked Ozzy very much and we became good friends even out of the workplace. I think that Ozzy drinks because he is bored but I never liked people making fun of that. Ultimately (!) I had business disagreements with Sharon regarding future publishing arrangements and I decided to move on. I think that she took that really personally and she has certainly never forgiven me for that. I was close with her at the time and I have no hard feelings. I had a great time with them. It seems that they either really like people or they really dislike people and there is no ground inbetween. Maybe one day we will all just get along again.

7. Apart from your new solo album ,what album(s) that you have appeared on are you most proud of musically and why?

That has to be Steve Lukather's "Luke" album. I consider Steve to be one of the greats and we have a great friendship and writing relationship. I wrote half of this record and of that I was an incredibly proud. The tour that followed became the most fun I have ever had on the road in terms of musical quality and just fun. Gregg and Brett were fantastic and every night we would take all those songs and see how far we could improvise and "stretch" them, completely pushing the limits of our musical ability. I grew as a musician and as a bass player.

8. How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

I answered every bass player wanted ad in the back of the Melody Maker! Learn as much as you can about your instrument and other instruments and learn to be tasteful!! Don't give up and realize that the first project that you leave marks the beginning of your musical journey!

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like to ride motorcycles, take photographs, drink with friends. I like to have sex and honk at pedestrians. If you honk twice and really short they will think that you know them and it will leave them wondering the rest of the day.

10. Message to your fans...

Thanks for being there and being interested, thanks for letting someone else into your head. Write me and tell me what you think - I try to respond to all of my fans!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Singer/songwriter Chris Singelton releases his debut solo album in September and it is a damn fine album (read the review here ). Check out the extremely catchy 'Get Up' for proof (you can listen to this song and two other songs at Last FM). Over to Chris...

What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

I’m about to start rehearsing the live stuff again with my band. We’re doing some shows in London during September and October to promote the album.

Brief history of how you got into the music business and the style of music you play

Got into the music industry at the age of 11 when I figured out how a record player worked. Found “Revolver” by the Beatles in my dad’s record collection and it was downhill from there! Or uphill, depending on your point of view…but that’s how I got into music. I play a lot of retro-rock and pop tinged with a bit of electronica. In recent reviews they’ve described my voice as a mix of John Lennon and George Harrison, and my songwriting as McCartney-esque. 75% of the Beatles. Could be worse, although I must say that I do have a lot of time for Ringo.

Could you take us through the songs on your excellent debut album 'Twisted City' and where the lyrical/musical ideas came from?
The basic idea behind “Twisted City” is that it’s a tube journey through London - each song is a stop on the journey. I wrote a lot of it on the move, as I was travelling frequently between Dublin and London for two years. I’d jot down ideas for songs on old tube tickets, boarding cards, you name it. I’d even record myself singing onto my mobile phone’s voicemail. Looked like a nutter when I did that. In the end I had this mad collection of musical bits and bobs on various bits of travelling paraphernalia, and I eventually put them all down properly in my little studio…and that’s how the album came about. Lyrical and musical ideas? The lyrics are about two things really – firstly, relationships (love, loss, the usual) and secondly, trying to ‘make it’ as a musician in London. I see the album as a bit of a documentary of what was going on in my life for two years. Musically it’s influenced by a lot of things. The Beatles loom large in it I think, as does Bowie and a bit of the Stones. It’s all influenced by old 60s and 70s acts really, but because I’ve got a room full of contemporary music equipment - samplers, synths and computers etc., I think all my influences got a bit warped and hopefully the album sounds fresh as a result.

How do you view the current live scene as regards new bands/artists getting exposure?

Don’t know much about the live scene really as I’ve been concentrating primarily on recording. As for bands getting exposure, I think the exposure you get is directly proportional to the marketing spend!

How has the Internet helped spread the word about yourself? Do you think downloading is helping or killing music?

The Internet has been very useful for me, I’ve used Myspace quite extensively to get my songs out there and the feedback’s been very positive. I think on the whole downloading is good for singles, but not necessarily so good for albums, as people get into the habit of picking and choosing individual tracks and don’t necessarily hear albums as the artists intended.

Who would you ideally like to go out and tour with?

Supergrass – I think they’re great.

What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?

I like so many different acts that it’s hard to list all the ones I admire. Obviously I’m a big fan of 60s and 70s acts like Beatles, Kinks, Bowie, Pink Floyd and so on – that period really was a golden era for music. In terms of contemporary acts, I’ve got a lot of time for Supergrass, Aimee Mann , Belle and Sebastian and Primal Scream.

What have been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

Hard to say really, because I feel like with this record I’m just starting out! I guess the low points have been the times when I’ve got a lot of ‘nos’ from record companies, and the high has definitely been getting the opportunity to release this record.

What ideally would you like to achieve ideally by this time next year?

I’d like to have sold a truckload of copies of Twisted City, and have my next album recorded ready for a September 2007 release!

What's the most rock 'n' roll moment you have had so far?

This interview…no, I guess getting the album mastered at Abbey Road was fairly rock and roll. Certainly one of the most expensive moments I’ve had so far…

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

My album “Twisted City” is out on 19th September, and my single, “Worry Number One” is out on 12th September. You should be able to buy them from all good record shops, but if you live near a bad one, you’ll be able to get it on iTunes, and various other online retailers.

Message to your fans...

Hello to both of you!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


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