Many thanks to James Trimble, Graeme Smith, Sarah Moyes, Kevin Byrne phtography and all at the Falkirk Herald
It was probably around late 1994 perhaps early 95 when I saw the advert. In plain black and white text it was the description of a practise room in Grangemouth near the docks. There was a phone number. I dialled and spoke to a guy, his voice distant. ‘I saw your ad in the Falkirk Herald mate, about the practise room?’
There was always ads and music guide in the Falkirk Herald; as a fledgling singer I used to study the gig guide and the demo reviews. One day, I thought, Weird will be in the local paper and then after that? The NME. That was when we dreamed of success.
I used to deliver newspapers. The Falkirk Herald was an extra shift. Grudgingly I’d lay down the Megadrive controller on a Thursday afternoon and head out to Charlie Sismans newsagents and pick up my batch of papers to stick through letter boxes with the occasional dog attack tearing up the paper the owner had just paid for.
So I always had a connection with our local rag. The days before our first gig I wrestled with the broadsheet hastily flattening the pages to see our band name in print. There it was. Weird. In bold black letters, in print, Goal 1 achieved, now to earn a decent review.
There is a distracting photo in the slideshow just below, the Martell at just 6 years old celebrating its underage birthday, we were listed on the live night with Nearvana. Every Thursday there was a Martell listing, from Sids Bevy Wheel to Foam nights (not the band..).
The local journalist Graeme Smith seemed to be the dominant force in the local music articles, his writing was sometimes witty, showing a hint exasperation at the various tribute acts and britpop clones floating around every music scene at the time.
I nervously slipped our chrome 90 tape with our freshly cut demo (The Rain Vancouver and Chameleon)into a padded envelope to be reviewed by the fearsome Graeme Smith.
The following Thursday I quickly flicked through the vast pages to get to the local music scene column hoping that a review would be there. It was. Our first ever review in print Thankfully the article was positive. Goal 2 achieved.
Things went quiet after a while as we drifted into even deeper obscurity. We failed to reach many goals after our early successes. Gradually we took a step back from the local scene, every Wednesday we would practise and record for an audience that had gone. Aimless and wandering to an eventual end like so many local bands before us.
A few years passed. We returned to the fury of One More Solo and gigged that album relentlessly. The local scene had changed but the Falkirk Herald was still there, piled in beside the vender, the pages fluttering in the High Street wind.
We resumed a more restrained relationship with the Herald; there were a few pieces covering the albums that we had recorded at the time. James Trimble now had the reigns of the local music section in the paper. Both One More Solo and Riot Act were covered. By the time we had reached Quiet Act things were, well, quiet.
It was not until Weird Decibels 1 that things changed again. We grabbed our camcorders, drove around Falkirk and shot the Wonder video. It caught the imagination of the town and amazingly (for us) it hit 2000 views. Once again there was some interest and we contacted James at the Herald.
What followed has been an upsurge of support from James and our local paper. Almost all the videos have had a feature and our new album Weird Decibels 2 is discussed.
Of course print is now struggling and this was reflected in our last discussion via email with James; he was understandably frustrated with the state of things. Everyone wants everything for free, music and news included.
So as the Falkirk Herald attempts to move to digital hopefully we’ll still get column space albeit pixels instead of print.Who knows what the future of our paper is but when we appear in the centre pages rest assured as I walk down the corridors of work the following Friday someone will say ‘I saw you in the Falkirk Herald yesterday!’