Story of the Song 1: Glass People.

Glass People is track 10 from Whapper Stormer our first album.

whapper stormer

 

 

 

 

 

This is the Story of the Song. Glass People was written around 1994/5 inspired by the rock nightclub scene at Pennies. We went there every Saturday for a few years.

http://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com/track/glass-people

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it was a rainy night

Rain was a recurring theme in Whapper Stormer I wrote many of these songs around 1994/5. There was localised flooding and the Dawson Mission next to the river Carron was hit, that inspired the Rain. Many of our Saturday nights were spent down at a rock club called Pennies. It often rained. We’d get soaked on the walk down from Falkirk town centre to Pennies but we’d soon be dry in the muggy atmosphere of the club. Smoke would fill the room obscuring the DJ who would flip CD’s in the booth huddled in the corner of the dance floor. Nirvana had been around for a couple of years but were still popular, Rage against the Machine always played, Blur, Pulp, Elastica, great tunes. We all had Doc Martins, checked shirts and long hair. We moshed to Smells Like Teen Spirit although occasionally the DJ would cheekily play a rap version instead. Dick.

for the night I was going to witness, people who are desperate to escape all that lies before them

We were all in our late teens and early twenties. Most of us had been average at school. Personally I had wasted my education and went to college to stall the inevitable step into an unknown world. As a group we were close then, most of us took comfort in each other and the shared fear of having no idea what to do with our lives or how our lives would turn out.

all are congregated, maybe not at church but a place we can worship our freedom and our choice

I’m speaking for myself here but I don’t think many of us went to church or practised our religion. I certainly did not. Pennies was our ‘church’ a community that would meet every week to dance and drink or take drugs perhaps all three. There was a level of tolerance in our scene, many of us didn’t fit in at our earlier social settings. School alienated at lot of us. We were free from that.

the only place where I can let go for recreation, but I noticed, I noticed something spectacular, so spectacular

The lead up to the chorus, one night I probably had too many drinks but I remember the lights cutting through the smoke and the silhouettes. There were tears on many of the nights. The grunge era promoted an outward pouring of emotion. Sometimes it seemed people were trying to out do each other, to see who could be angry or the saddest, myself included. I thought I could see through people, hence Glass People. However looking back my opinion was naive as I’m sure many of my old friends had real issues that I was ignorant of.

glass people, looking so polished, looking so clean, looking so sweet now, perhaps it should’ve been, glass people

A simple descriptive chorus of ‘Glass People’

you wanna know where I witnessed. it was around a rectangular table in a lonely corner, there were a few beacons sitting there

Where the first verse describes Pennies and sets the scene, verse 2 focuses more on the area where we sat, it was often in the corner near the bar where they severed draft Tenents Special. Cheap beer. The glass theme is still present. We would sit around these basic rectangular tables and drink, roll cigarettes and dance when our favourite tune come on.

and on the table, a few bits of paper, glasses, generally, I looked around and I saw them, I saw them slipping so far away

We’d tear up beer maps, scatter them about the table. There would be Rizzla papers crushed and disregarded. This is the line that often transports me back to that time. That last part of this line describes what would happen at the end of the night, we’d slip away to smaller groups, some of us drunk some of us high. As the years went by we’d slip away into our lives never to return to Pennies. The lights would be switched off, the floor would lie empty and the doors would be closed.

 

 

 

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I can explain everything…

 

Morningday 

Thinking about this for the cover
Thinking about this for the cover

As I reach the twentieth anniversary of first stepping up to the microphone to be lead singer of Weird Decibels I look back on the past two decades with a sense of achievement that the four of us have written and recorded seven albums with another one on the way. I feel lucky to be able to write songs (a few great, some good some bad and some awful) it is something I take for granted and I cannot understand when people say they cannot write songs. Then I remind myself that I cannot do the things others take for granted. Derek thinks the drums are easy… Stu pulls a solo out of the hat and the Bass I recorded for the album Morningday made me appreciate just how good Greg is at his chosen music discipline. Anyway the bottom line is I have to write songs all the time, for I fear if I stop I will lose the only skill I have. This brings me to the ‘solo career’, my mistress in the Weird Decibels marriage.

You may wonder why I express guilt at creating music without the band. There are a number of reasons. The main one is I’m not creating music with the guys, something I swore I’d do so long as they let me. The second is some of my best work (you may disagree) has been on my own where it should be with the guys and sometimes I think I spread myself too thin. There is only so many albums you can write and they should always be the best that you can create.  So I’ll take you on a wee tour to see how the solo albums fit in.

Solo albums are a lonely experience. Lewis keeps me company
Solo albums are a lonely experience. Lewis keeps me company

The first was ‘Gods In The Kitchen’ a rather rough acoustic album recorded 1997 on a four track, this would be just around 1997’s Weird’s  ‘Firkin Outburst’,  at this point the band was beginning to lose its way (although its a good record). Next was 1998’s ‘Monkeys On A Stage’ another sketchy acoustic album. 1999 saw ‘A Twist and a Turn’. Three albums in quick succession. At this time Weird were about to end their first era and release ‘Cold Home Street’ in 2000. 2002 saw ‘The Armour is Broken’ the first solo album (and perhaps last) that I was insanely proud of. Around this time I was in the Seventeenth were our writing was frustratingly sporadic. The writing slowed.

However 2004 saw the return of industrious writing and the second coming of Weird and ‘One More Solo’ around this time Derek and I recorded Sllablo’s 9 hours. My fourth solo lp ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ arrived 2005 as Weird leaned towards covers to pay for the ‘lodge’ albums Riot/Quiet Act which would arrive 2007 and 2008 respectively. This phase was lean lyrically, songs of drink, ennui and Eurovision… Things went quiet for Weird after the ‘Acts’ so 2009 saw the release of ‘Creeping Ash’ my 6th solo acoustic album. After this record I swore never to write another acoustic album again.

2012 saw three years of focused writing to create Weird Decibels 1. I could not believe it had been a four-year gap between Quiet Act and WdB1 It is however arguably our best record. I had sickened myself of the acoustic guitar and had been listening to a lot of early Metallica and Megadeath so lyrically it was a lot stronger than previous albums. This brings us to 2013. We had started writing Weird Decibels 2, Derek sustained an injury and I had writers block, The band now had down time and I had to find a way to write songs again. In December 2013 I sat staring out the garden thinking that I was finished writing songs. So I played the guitar and listened to RM Hubbert until my fingers blistered. I record it all into a Nexus 7 and Morningday started to take shape. A full five years since my last solo record.

Kevin Bryne on drums and Jemma Bur Piano/Violin have helped shape Morningday
Kevin Bryne on drums and Jemma Burt Piano/Violin have helped shape Morningday

Morningday is still unfinished and I have the usual concerns of how it will turn out. It’s more than a solo album Kevin Bryne (drums) and Jemma Burt (piano and violin) are very much involved. Its strange having a full band sound without Weird Decibels. Morningday started out acoustic but it grew into something different and refreshing. All my energy has went into it which is where the guilt comes in. However I conquered the writing block. I feel recharged and ready to put everything into Weird Decibels 2 which will be the 17th studio album of which I’m a part of. Chuffed with that!

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Latest News. May 2014.

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Congratulations to our very own Derek and Ann for finally tying the knot in Cuba! He’ll be back behind the kit soon with an extra ring…

Its been a quiet spell for the band, so during this time I have been working on a solo album and its nearly done. I hope to have it uploaded to the big bad web soon, probably via Spotify et all. Its great making music buts its better in a band!

We have a gig next month at Pivo Pivo Glasgow 24th June. New podcasts will also be recorded as we look back on twenty years together. We’ll strip each album down talking about how we wrote and recorded them. So listen out for them soon.

There will be more blogs soon, once the solo album is out. Its called Morningday, I’ll have more details soon. Until then take care.

Pabs