Category Archives: J O U R N A L

Weird Decibels and the Falkirk Herald

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.

IMG_20160406_211523764
Goal 1 get our demo reviewed in the Falkirk Herald. Graeme Smith penned much of the music news during the late 90’s when we first appeared on the scene.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

IMG_20160406_211815376
Our first review!!! I could not wait until the Thursday to see this.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

SCAN0063
This Riot Act feature would be the last for a few years as we stepped further into background of the scene

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

SCAN0060
pic Kevin Byrne. James Trimble has written a few pieces about out time together, which is nice!

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.

SCAN0059
21 years 8 albums in. Much of our story has been written the Falkirk Herald

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!’ 

 

Advertisements

Gig Diary. Record Factory Glasgow 29/8/15

The record factory Glasgow 29th August 2015

Thanks to James from Indievous gigs and Eve Smith for the photographs.

11958035_945630168828196_6804599779855085208_o

Another gig break broken by a trip to the big city. Recording finished we finally set out to start promoting Weird Decibels 2.0. its been too long.

With the gear packed in the car we set off to the record factory; a venue at the bottom of Byres road in Glasgow, a place we had never played before. The venue is a basement buried under the street. It had a good feel to it. The smell of barbecued burgers and real ale circulated the warm August air.

11935020_896790397037340_6619753289869510310_n

The place was jumping for Paolo Nutini nobody paid much attention for Paulo Smitty. The Nutinis eventually dispatched to a bigger venue to see the Paisley lad, we were left with an empty stage. No gear no promoter.

We had received quite a comprehensive contract from the promoter prior to the show; basically pay to play with the explanation for the pay being the provision of a full back line a sound engineer and some nice lights.

The cracking lads of Avante turned up with… a full back line and a drum kit. So here we are two bands that have paid yet these lads brought their own gear. Still no promoter.

DSC01188

Sound check started, engineer seemed a bit lost. Avante were loud (all young bands are, we were once!), the sound guy had the charms of George Osborne eating a veggie burger. He spoke to everyone like we were kids.

You need to turn down, now that’s a fair shout but the explanation was hilarious. He explained that the neighbours will complain about the noise and they might come down and stop the show, also the drummer was asked to play softer!!! Avante singer couldn’t believe what he was saying, He replied well we play music and yeah its loud. Like it should be. However the sound man pointed out the flats were here first, a 100 years ago in fact. Why say that?? Bizarre, build a music venue under folks homes?!?

Our sound check was awful, the sound bounced everywhere but to be honest the big metal shutter was down so that wouldn’t have helped. Usual sound man lore, when its busy the sound will improve, yeah that’s fine…it did but then we turned our stuff down, to be fair the guy eventually nailed it.

11895243_945630095494870_7163749106360250034_o11894597_945630108828202_8805316265701286382_o11895034_945630078828205_1711385820095125995_o

We were on 2nd that was perfect as it gave our crowd the chance to get trains home back to Falkirk (the hardcore stayed!).

Set list

  1. Kill it Kill It

  2. Miss Asphyxia

  3. I Hear The City

  4. Speak

  5. Crown

  6. Little Thoughts Lost

  7. Its who You Know

DSC01193

it was an absolute belter of a gig; from one of the worst set-ups to one of the best gigs we played. From the off we were all up for it. The venue was busy the sound tight and the performance confident. It was great to play new songs to our fantastic listeners. It was great to see some new faces along; some folk made huge efforts to come out and see us!

Kill it Kill it went down well; seems to me growing in stature as a song, other highlights were miss Asphyxia Crown and Little Thoughts Lost. Its Who You Know was up last and drained the band after half an hour of rocking out in rather intense heat. The single wasn’t the tightest (well I got a little list) but it still went down a storm

Post gig there were a few sweaty hugs (need to remember spare tees), out friends were delighted which is great as I need to know the people who have paid money to see us enjoyed it, its great to be back on the scene with our new album. Here’s to a few more gigs like this!!

THANK YOU to all our friends and family that came to see us, including some straight from their holidays in Spain! Many made the trip from Falkirk to a far flung corner of Glasgow, every chord struck, every drum hit, every bass twanged, every sweat drip is for you. Without you we would not be able to do this.Fact.

11225309_945630132161533_101377153926171321_o

Weird Decibels our 2014.

Weird Decibels review of the year 2014

January

The year started with a mixture of optimism and permission; we had started writing weird decibels 2 and it wasn’t really taking off so we had to find some inspiration from somewhere. We booked ourselves a wee lodge in Oakley for the end of the month.

Before we were due to set off we had the small matter of releasing a new music video. Speak was the song we opted for.

http://youtu.be/bhh3IeKejGM

We stayed true to the black and white theme of Weird Decibels 1. It was shot down at the practise room with a mixture of stills and live footage. The idea was to have a bit of fun with each of us switching musical positions. The video did quite well; sitting at over 1000 views and that isn’t taking into account the Blank TV stats. A good start!.

The Falkirk Herald kindly ran a story about the video. Nice folk.

http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/what-s-on/weird-combine-sound-and-vision-once-again-1-3271181

Moshville times wrote a nice piece for us as part of their ‘Band of the Day’; my favourite quote would be ‘not exactly radio friendly (!)’ and ‘ an overall undercurrent of folk’ this led us to utter a new genre Folking Metal!

http://www.moshville.co.uk/botd/2014/01/new-band-of-the-day-weird-decibels/

Spotifyimage3as January came to a close we headed off to Oakley with the acoustic guitars and a shit load of beer. We wrote 6 songs. ‘I Hear The City’, Little Thoughts Lost’, ‘Digital Takeover’, Curtain Hits the Cast’, ‘Quoted Not Voted’ and ‘Hit Me’ the latter had everyone reaching for their beers a little quicker. ‘Its a song about depression’ quipped Stu. We never played it again.

February

This took us neatly into February and Tommy Clark of the Third Class Ticket Show continued to do us proud by playing us on his show; ‘Speak’ getting the slot.

Click ‘like’ here

https://www.facebook.com/TheThirdClassTicket

March

We were looking forward to playing Stereo but the gig was cancelled. I was gutted at this news; A because I love playing live and B because its a cracking venue.

We also uploaded the remasters of One More Solo to limited success!! I’m not sure if its worth doing the other albums; the overpowering bass of the original master was swamping the album. I like the new master though.

Hear for yourself.

http://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com/album/one-more-solo-remastered

April

April was quiet for us. I was busy working on Morningday; an album I recorded with Kevin Byrne and Jemma Burt.

May

Derek and Ann tied the knot. Its good to have a least one celebrity wedding a year.

World cup fever was building, we continued to practise the new songs another quiet month.

June

We had a gig at Pivo Pivo to look forward to. We were sitting in the practise room mulling over the limited response to the gig (we would learn that gigs are best played on a Friday or Saturday); we got a phone call from PM promotions who had helped us have some cracking gigs in 2013 (Oran Mor, ABC 2). It was to be at the QMU; an old stomping ground for us. The big stage right? We asked the promoter.

Ah no its Jims Bar.

Mmm it still looked ok so we went for it given that Saturday gigs tend to be better. First gig of 2014 booked… in June… Anyway it was to be part of the ‘West End Festival’.

June would also see us attempt our own event. We booked a gig at the brilliant 13th Note with young rockers Ciceros secret, Miss the Occupier and The Dark Arts. Things were picking up!

10401915_10152485640034519_7255418438963022257_nThe 21st of June would see us play Jim’s Bar. I filmed the approach to the gig hoping to start a documentary for the band. It was a clammy summers day, the football was on and the venue was like a an oven. Not the greatest gig; our patience with PM promotions was staring to run low.

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/pabs-gig-diary-jims-bar-qmu-live/

July

The film I made for the Jim’s Bar gig was quickly shoehorned into a video for Joker’ we hadn’t had a presence on YouTube for a while and this was a chance to get back on.

Not our greatest video by any stretch but it was a bit of fun. Views? 120 on our page around 600 on Blank TV. Very disappointing given the success of the other videos. A fickle world indeed!

Go on click the link and make it 121 views.

http://youtu.be/5GAXNtruyqA

August

I was with Lewis sipping a coffee at the Helix when the phone rang. James Trimble from the Falkirk Herald looking for an interview! So look out for our article in the next couple of weeks! Thanks James. This was a Facebook post I wrote the day James Trimble phoned my mobile as I sipped a coffee. You should have seen the looks of the other costumers as I was talking about writing albums and playing gigs!

http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/what-s-on/falkirk-s-kelpies-are-rocking-horses-in-music-video-1-3501992

It was a very good article from James Trimble.

The heat the rock it was all there
The heat the rock it was all there

To top off this fantastic month we played our gig at the 13th Note. One of the best we played and we met some good friends old and new that night. I also highly recommend the Notes veggie burgers!!

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/gig-diary-22nd-august-13th-note-glasgow/

Oh before I finish August we had promised for weeks to do the ‘ice bucket challenge; the Facebook craze that had went mega viral, listen close and you will hear Stu scream like a big girl!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=868665706491852&set=vb.128933433798420&type=2&theater

September

We booked another gig; this time at Ivory Blacks. It looked very promising; although it was on a school night…

September was a quiet month of writing and recording practise sessions. We actually started writing in the old room again and the results were pretty good.

October

We launched our very own website this month in a hope not to rely too much on Facebook. Its hard to say where this is going to go. My how did we get to attached to Facebook. Disturbing…

anyway here it is.

http://www.weirddecibels.com/

The website will probably evolve to become more of a tribute to our 20 years together. Watch this space.

We started drinking tea and coffee at practise; yes you read that right.

November

Stu rocks the ivory
Stu rocks the ivory

We hyped the Ivory Black gig as a send off to Weird Decibels 1. A very disappointing gig and a rather sad end to the live life of Weird Decibels 1. Maybe we’ll do another show and send it off in style.

As I write about the highs and lows of unsigned music life there are certain things that quickly pull you back into perspective

Our good friend and fellow musician Chris Masson passed away at the age of 37. Too young. Too soon.

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/chris-masson-1977-2014/

On the 22nd of November the guys brought their gear around to my place and we set up the studio. We wrote another batch of cracking songs for Weird Decibels 2. This will be the way we write in the future given the success of the session.

https://soundcloud.com/weirdmusiconline/the-canine-with-no-teeth

December

Weird Decibels 2014
Weird Decibels 2014

The band has wrapped up early this year, work and the festive season have taken their toll on our practise sessions.

All is good, we have a batch of songs ready to be rehearsed and eventually recorded next year

2014 has been a mixed bag. Some highs some lows; I feel we lost a wee bit of momentum this year due to different circumstances and perhaps poor choices.

2015 is our 20th anniversary. A new album is due, new videos, gigs, podcast and hopefully a film. So a lot to look forward to,

Massive thanks to the unflinching support of our family and friends

The unsigned musicians work is never done!

Gig Diary. Ivory Blacks. 6th Nov 2014

Black and white photographs by Kevin Byrne

Stu rocks the ivory
Stu rocks the ivory

It was a dark and stormy night as we pulled up to the slightly hidden doorway of Ivory Blacks; a venue known for its brand of heavier rock. We were looking forward to this despite the ‘playing on a mid week night’ doubts that were nagging us.

There were three other bands on the bill War head, Ritual Spirit and Fourth Gate, It was nice to speak to Bathgate rockers Warhead they were a sound bunch.

we got some chips for tea and we were ready to go
we got some chips for tea and we were ready to go

The sound check was kinda back to front; we wnet on first so we soundchecked and everyone else did a level check. I liked the sound on stage. The venue was empty though and we were due to play in 20 minutes.

the er.. setlist
the er.. setlist

Thankfully a few of our wonderful friends ventured through the doors just as we were due to strike our first chords. We played well to a largely empty venue. I really enjoyed the gig although it was slightly disillusioning that our final run through of Weird Decibels 1 was to a sparse audience given that we have had some great gigs recently. Forward was played for the first time in a while and it was nailed. Could be a regular again!

Pabs sings his heart out
Pabs sings his heart out

A huge thank you to all our friends who supported us through the Weird Decibels 1 era. We have learned a lot; we will be more picky about the venues in future and we’ll probably avoid playing midweek shows. See you for Weird Decibels 2.0 live!!