Tag Archives: weird decibels 1

Writing Weird Decibels 2

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Pictures by Mr Kevin Byrne

Writing Weird Decibels 1 All Over Again

We started creating Weird Decibels 2 in  March 2013 you can read about the first session here. We got many things right when creating our new album but one of the few mistakes we made was the title, Weird Decibels 2. The name put an expectation on us to write an album every bit as good as its predecessor. So when the pen hit paper and the guitars were strummed we were unaware that we were writing the same album all over again.

The three songs from this session were Left/Right ( a father son politically themed song), Rain Parade and Feet First my description at the time?

‘They are quite dynamic, influences so far point to The Pixies, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. We’re not going quietly!’

Despite our early enthusiastic approach none of these songs would ever be recorded.

In April 2013 we had another update (read here) and at this point I start to voice concerns about our new songs, in particular Feet First which I thought was ‘too commercial’. A creeping doubt was emerging that we were not writing particularly strong songs, sure we enjoyed them but they didn’t have the ‘look around the room and grin’ feel that we have when we stumbled upon a great idea.

The Stalker Song’ made an appearance here, written about a young man who falls for a woman he sees on the bus. This song would be quickly apprehended and sent down the lost ideas vault.

Here is a wee description I noted at the time.

‘So here we have a guy who gets the same bus every day and at the next stop is a girl who gets her bus everyday. He falls in love with her, he feels like he has known her all his life. He’s a loner doing the same thing day in day out. She simply fills her commute with the usual check on her smartphone. One day he follows her home. I’m not sure where to go from here, my character isn’t a violent guy, just lonely but he has really strong feelings for this girl he doesn’t know’

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Stu and Derek show beer and guns.

Jemma Burt and Craig Elder were approached to appear on the album but for various reasons this wouldn’t happen. I guess this was a mixture of time and the desire for the four of us the be the nucleus of our 20th anniversary album.

Derek added his insight to the writing of the album you can read that here. He also shares his concerns about the changes that needed to be made but there is no hiding his delight at starting a new album

As the summer of 2013 moved in and the sun hung in the sky (highly unlikely) we wrote more songs.

Another song, inspired by Alice In Chains, called ‘Miss Asphyxia’ had been floating around for weeks and is first listed during this practise.

‘Small Hands’ would appear in June, by July I was really excited by it. I has asked the guys if they had received my email of a new idea in a 3 / 4 timing, Stu was the only one who listened to it. I carried on regardless and played a hyper riff that I had named ‘Kill it! Kill it! A few minutes later it was our latest song. I described it as my new hope for Weird Decibels 2, we all looked around the room and grinned.

By September 2013 writing was becoming stagnant, however Stu had a new riff that we were attempting to put some music to. At this point it remained untitled. We also agreed on no deadline for the album, perhaps aware we were nowhere near to recording it.

As the masks and costumes of Halloween were don October was the month we made a big decision. We ditched nearly all the songs from the first 6 months and we agreed that the practice room was no longer a place of creativity. it was a dark moment as we sat in silence on the old couches, cold creeping back into the year.

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The Marvels

We had decided to keep just Miss Asphyxia and Kill It! Kill it!. Now that we were back to just two songs I had doubts another album would ever happen. So we sat and looked at each other and said. ‘Lets book a wee lodge, take some guitars, a shit load of beer and see what happens’.

Oakley Writing Sessions

Just 20 minutes from our home town is a beautiful little cluster of cottages nestled within the grounds of a stately home. This grand building stands in Oakley a small settlement just outside Dunfermline. So with heavy hearts we headed to Fife.

The lodge was wonderful; with an open plan living room and a fridge nearby it allowed the band to sit in ample space facing each other with our guitars ready to see what tunes we could write. (Blog)

Derek had brought the keyboard as he was keen to try something other than the drums. He had suggested we head up to the lodge without any ideas, basically a blank page.

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Beers keep out the cold

Well I tried to do that! However I had a couple of ideas floating around my head; I wanted us to hit the ground running and build on any momentum.

We arrived the Friday night and I set up the desk and loosely placed a few mics around the room and set up the Blumlien microphone technique to capture the room sound.

With the headphones places I could hear that we had a nice sound so we grabbed a beer and launched ourselves into writing; well I say launch. We had a beer or two and talked about television and monty python quotes.

Friday 31st January 2014

Little Thoughts Lost which we wrote with some keys over the top. the song on the recording hasn’t change much. I Hear the City was also born on that crisp night, slightly faster in tempo back then other than this it hasn’t changed too much. Derek had suggested ending on a G but Stu said this was too happy!

By now we were for more positive about writing our new album and after a few Tsingtao’s we had another go at City this time more in line with the album tempo and it turned out pretty well.

Towards the night we engaged in some more joyful band banter then  wrote another song called Hit me. A depressing little number that did not really make it past Oakley.

After a round of applause for Stu’s beard and a word from his sponsor we scooped a few more beers.

Saturday the 1st of Feb 2014

Four cracking cooked breakfasts wolfed down and coffee slurped we were ready to get the writing caps on again. Kevin Byrne was on his way, camera and mandolin in hand we chapped on the door and was welcomed into the warmth of the lodge as the fire crackled in the middle of the room.

Quoted Not Voted  arose from the fumes of alcohol on Saturday afternoon, this is the weaker version which lacks any significant verse vocals this was the 4th song we had written,

Digital takeover, one of those nice riffs we could never finish was attempted on this day. Curtain hits the cast offered a little humour as I tried to play the intro riff (which we’d later drop) several times much the amusement of my fellow musicians.

Oakley: I Hear The City, Digital Takeover, Little Thoughts Lost, Curtain Hits the Cast, Quoted Not Voted, Hit Me. 

Heights Session  Saturday 22nd November 2014

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setting up the heights sessions. pics Greg McSorley

Heights: Smash the Glass, Almost Beautiful, Car Crash, Once More With Feeling, Away Home.

A few months of practice passed and we polished off the work from Oakley. We had a desire to go back to another lodge, possible the same locale but time, money and real life would get in the way.

Undeterred we decided that a Saturday up at my place with the studio set-up would be a suitable option.

That morning we attended the funeral of our friend Chris Mason; a huge influence on the band. Afterwards there was a sombre mood to the writing. We turned the LED lights blue in respect of the colour of lights Chris had on his Christmas tree which he never took down!

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Derek on the keys

Later, while Stu was watching his beloved Alloa getting thumped by the mighty Bairns (Falkirk FC), we set up and cracked open our first beers.

Again I had a couple of ideas floating around my head. Both The Dancer and Almost Beautiful were sketched by the time Stu arrived. Now that we were all together the songs would be finished. The Dancer sounds intense during these sessions and we lost this feeling for a while; luckily we got it back for the final album version.

Away Home was a long song, it didn’t make the final cut. Its another brooding song with a slightly different structure to the fast punchy pace of Weird Decibels 2.Perhaps this would’ve survived during a different time in our writing career.

Car Crash was another nice sounding song. Sadly it didn’t stick, it had a Americana feel which I guess we are not ready for. The version recorded has a nice mouth organ piece over the top of the guitars.

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Stu arrives to write!

Deeper into the night Stu and Greg launched into a jam, it was a heavy riff and I struggled to get a melody for it, I sang in a different style and sounded alien on the take. Indeed it would be many months before I cracked it. That song would become Once More With Feeling.

The Shore on My Soul and It’s Who You Know, final writing. January 2015. 

As usual I fretted about the lack of songs for the album and I played the guitar for days recording every single idea I had. I brought two ideas down to the room. One song took an age to write another happened instantly.

What started off as Shore on My Soul would eventually end up being Medicine. It developed over a number of months; the ending just grew into a jam and remains one of the best endings we have carved out of our sonic landscape.

It’s Who You Know had the grins from the start. We built this song on a wee into riff and i was amazed that we could still write songs like this quickly. I really felt that this was the last song we would write for the Weird Decibels 2 sessions. We were happy with what we had; a couple of years hard work, a few false starts but now finally we had an album to record.

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Gig Diary. 20th Anniversary gig at North Star, Falkirk 7th Nov 2015

Gig Diary.

thanks to Kevin Byrne, Juls  Sampson, Gary Ivady and Kirsty Smith for taking photos/videos some of which are posted in the blog.

Lets raawwwk. pic Byrne
Lets raawwwk. pic Byrne

Upstairs Downstairs

The ever laid back Greg McSorley. Pic Byrne
The ever laid back Greg McSorley. Pic Byrne

I burst through the front door of the house exhausted after another day in the office. It was the end of a long week; now I had to jump from one life to another. You can’t beat being the frontman of Weird Decibels but before that I needed a wee 20 minutes nap on the couch. It wasn’t to be.

Mince and tatties in the microwave, I rushed upstairs to grab my gig bag, rushed back downstairs to grab a black tee shirt out of the dryer then back upstairs to check if the printer was working as I frantically tapped my last gen ‘smartphone’ to try and type up the set list.

Then I stood alone in the living room and tried to calm myself down; it worked for a minute as I ran back upstairs to grab mic leads then back downstairs when I heard the microwave ping!

Fed, watered and prepared I heard the doorbell ring and the ever laid back Mr Greg McSorley, 20 years served Bass player, and band gear fixer presented me with his usual enthusiasm for our latest gig. This time it was to be special.

I flung my gear into the back of his car and we set off on the thankfully short journey to North Star in the centre of Falkirk. It had been the best part of four years since we had played locally.

Snappy Singer

Snappy singer. pic Gary
Snappy singer. pic Gary

Stu and Derek were calmly setting up as hurricane Smith bashed through the doors with two guitars and a bag of leads. Two sighs later I flung the gear down and with my hands on my hips, I surveyed the scene. North Star looked the part, it was cosy and the tables had been neatly stacked away. I looked down at the empty floor and hoped that the free entry would tempt our loyal fanbase to fill this place.

Some diners were carefully tucking into their pizzas as I started to set up with the guys. It took a wee while to get the balance of the guitars right. Stu grew increasingly worried as he had to turn his guitar amp down 1. That’s -10 from the usual recommended rock level…

We balanced the guitars and then adjusted the bass slightly, Craig was dealing with the vocals and acoustic guitar which he mixed in well. Although there were no monitors on stage but we’ve played many gigs like that so it wasn’t a problem.

setlist

Setlist north star

  1. Home sweet home (Riot Act)
  2. Kill it Kill it (Weird Decibels 2)
  3. Educational suicide (Whapper Stormer)
  4. Show your face (Whapper Stormer)
  5. Joker (Weird Decibels 1)
  6. Just for today (Whapper Stormer)
  7. The rain (Whapper Stormer)
  8. Speak (Weird Decibels 1)
  9. Miss Asphyxia (Weird Decibels 2)
  10. The Ending (One More Solo
  11. Culture Creature (Firkin Outburst)
  12. Glass People (Whapper Stormer)
  13. Medley (Mix of One More Solo, Firkin Outburst and Riot Act)
  14. Wonder (Weird Decibels 1)
  15. Sofa girrrrl (Whapper Stromer)
  16. It’s who you know ( Weird Decibels 2)
  17. Vancouver (Whapper Stormer)
  18. Cold calling (One More Solo)
  19. Rosie (AC/DC)
  20. *last minute request Deliverance (Weird Decibels 1)
  21. High heels (One More Solo)

Our guests

After all the soundchecks were done Kevin Byrne kindly stepped up to entertain the crowd; he played a few acoustic songs which went down well with the audience.

It was fast approaching quarter to nine and the incredible Buzzards of Babylon, great friends of ours, took to the stage. By now numbers were starting to grow and the placed was getting warmer. The guys rocked through a tight and dynamic set with some hilarious banter from their captivating front man Rab Dempsey. A superb set from these guys. Suddenly it was game on!!

More people piled through the door (some literally) as the charged atmosphere added to our excitement. Nerves were kicking in now, we hadn’t played a lot of these songs live for years. I forgot the riff to Home Sweet Home just minutes before we were due on. I was snapping at the guys as the adrenalin was flowing. Guitars weren’t tuning and the mics were squealing feedback.

However when I hit the B chord of Home Sweet Home it all clicked in. The sound settled for a while and we burst into the opener from Riot Act. It was an apt song for playing back to our hometown of Falkirk after a few years trying to spread our name in Glasgow.

Going Back to the 90’s

Derek on fine form. pic Byrne
Derek on fine form. pic Byrne

The first third of the set flew past; after new single  Kill it Kill it was nailed I placed the guitar down; in that moment I was transported back to the Martell in 1995 when I was simply a vocalist. We played Educational Suicide and Show Your Face Soon. It was brilliant to be able to run about the stage without the guitar.

I loved singing Just for Today and Vancouver as well; the heat was building and I was gulping more water in between the free beer supplied by the venue (nice touch North Star).

The Ending was a bit wobbly, Greg couldn’t quite nail it and it took us until the end to find our feet. I made a hash of the end as well. So yeah there were a few mistakes on the night but what the hell, it was fun.

I lifted the trusty old Tanglewood which was nestled in its rack; this was the first guitar I had bought and became fused with our late 90’s sound. Culture Creature was the best song to come from that era. It sounded good although I didn’t nail the solo. Stu managed to carry us through that part. Derek and Greg kept things solid.

Glass people was next; the first time in perhaps 15 or so years the public it was pretty much spot on and once again the indefectible Stu nailed the solo; the chatter in the venue had lowered to a murmur as the crowd took in his playing.

The mood was changing though, restless perhaps, it was time to turn it up a notch so we played our first ever medley.

The Medley

We had many requests from our kind kind listeners; these included Hell Never Felt So Good, Underachiever and Fighting With Forever. We wanted to fling in Brought A Gun and the Nirvana version of the Vaselines Molly’s Lips before leaving the guitars to ring into Wonder.

As we switched from Hell to Bought A Gun I screwed up the change; with a shake of the head from Derek we soldiered on and got the rest right much to the delight of our listeners who were pleased with the new take on old songs.

The Final Straight

Stu gets the crowd going. Pic by Gary
Stu gets the crowd going. Pic by Gary

Sofa Girrrl was a riot; by this time I had a few beers and was trying to get the crowd to sing along to songs they might not know. So I dived away from the stage in search of some backing singers and a special dancer. Rooz stepped up and we Sofadanced through the 3 mins of punk. A superb moment.

New song it Who You Know burnt out the last strings of my vocal chords but the guys were now in full rock mode. We reached Rosie, our 2nd last song, or so we thought. The chants of (the much missed) Dave Broon echoed through the Star from our friends as Derek and Stu started our famous cover song.

After the guitars rung out my father stepped up to the stage, ‘you need to play Deliverance! There is a guy from Stockport here just to see you!!’ That guy turned out to be Falkirk bairn Harry Watson who had traveled 234 miles to take in the sights and sounds of his home town.

After Craig kindly allowed some more time (past 11pm now..) we launched into Deliverance. I disappeared into the crowd, guitar in hand. Stu was in stitches wondering who was going to sing the choruses!

friends! Pic by Juls
friends! Pic by Juls

We ended with one of the most requested songs in our history, it’s always the same voice that shouts for it! High Heels, Wilson’s favourite ended a superb night for us. As Stu And I played back to back during the solo it felt great to be on a Falkirk stage again. I went out into the audience and I was surrounded by people that had came to see us. It was a great  moment.

The Merch stand is open!

Merch did well, Derek set it up rather nicely, a great effort. We sold a number of Tee’s that Greg had spent hours making. We shifted a few of the back catalog CD’s as well. Thank you everybody.

The Buzzards were Buzzing!

Rab asked for a guide to Falkirk pubs that would be open until 3am I gulped… the adrenaline was seeping away, and my bones were aching. These guys meant business. Greg was the only Decibel to rise to the Buzzards challenge. They stayed up to 3am downing shots and proving that Stu, Derek and myself may have to brush up on our rock and roll skills.

The Greatest of Nights.

A fine night in the North Star. Pic Byrne
A fine night in the North Star. Pic Byrne

It was a great night at North Star. It’s a neat wee venue for bands to play and we would like to thank Craig for having us on. Both Kevin and the Buzzards were brilliant, the latter clearly looked like they were out for a party all night and morning. The crowd was brilliant as well. Many of you turned up to support us and it was nice to see the place full of much loved friends and family.

So thanks once again for your support. As we say so long to our first 20 years and look to the years ahead.

With a new album due soon we must acknowledge that it would never have happened without you. Our wonderful Weirdos..

50 Weird Decibels songs as chosen by the band. Part 2 40-31

In the run up to the launch of Weird Decibels 2.0 we look at part 2 of our countdown to the bands favourite song…

Here comes the acoustic album. We have done one acoustic album to date.
Here comes the acoustic album. We have done one acoustic album to date.

40 Grand day out, Quiet Act 2008

The first pick from our acoustic album Quiet Act, Grand Day Out describes a day out in Edinburgh drinking with close friends. Indeed much of this album’s lyrics were about drinking; 6 albums in it was becoming clear that my song writing was getting lazy.

Grand Day Out is a warm upbeat song that builds to the sing along finale. At the time I was pleased with the sound. We were learning more about recording and thinking more about where the drums should be recorded; this album has an airy feel, more open thanks to the acoustic guitars and more subtle drums. Much like the album, Grand Day Out doesn’t change our musical landscape but it is good fun. It was recorded at a beautiful lodge in Gairloch near Baddachro. We had a grand day out at the Baddachro Inn. Pure heaven.

39 Woman In My Dreams Quiet Act 2008

It was a laid back approach to a laid back album
It was a laid back approach to a laid back album

Another take from Quiet Act; this time a pretty obvious love letter! At its heart it is a simple two chord song summed up in the title. I really liked the way we recorded this song, it felt like we were making progress. Stu plays an effective guitar pick over the rhythm, we doubled his part and you can hear the slight differences in his takes panned left and right. It gives the track a kind of ‘sparkle’ which suits the lyrics well. The track ambles along nicely with Greg’s acoustic bass and Derek’s gentle drums giving it flow. Certainly one of our best sounding songs

Like Grand Day Out before it and most of Quiet Act, Woman in my Dreams is simple in its nature although I do feel the lyrics were stronger in this track than most of the album. Not everyone who listens to the band liked this direction… it would not be long before we switched the distortion back on.

38 Fighting With Forever One More Solo 2004

Fighting with Forever sessions recorded at Dereks flat no beer in this shot?
Fighting with Forever sessions recorded at Dereks flat no beer in this shot?

Distorted guitars? Check. Screaming vocals? Check. Clearly this wasn’t from Quiet Act; One More Solo’s final third kicks off with this belter. It bursts in with a solid rhythm before we stop for some toms and guitar build before the song launches into an exasperated look at the formula of adult life, the lack of sleep and fear of getting left behind. ‘Night and day, it just seems the same to me’.

Fighting rolls along before the satisfying screams at the end; my voice barely held out for those as you can hear it burn out towards the end, hence the big FX.

We still play Fighting With Forever at practise but it hasn’t made our set lists for years.

37 Crazy Head Coldhome Street 2000

Crazy head was originally on my solo album ‘A Twist and a Turn’; it had found its way onto this album as have one or two tracks over the years. The rattle at the start of the track is my broken acoustic guitar! We did mention the budget for this album, didn’t we?

This is a bitter tale of broken romance and blaming someone’s past for their actions. It is not a song we have played for years and it is very much of its time.

36 All Good Things Firkin Outburst 1998

That old bridge is now the blue bridge on the Camelon bypass
That old bridge is now the blue bridge on the Camelon bypass

From Firkin Ourburst one of the songs that survived the alcohol laden writing sessions that had an impact on our second album. We were flying high after Whapper Stormer, our first gigs had been a success, we had recorded our first demos and our friendships were growing. There was a Haddows off license across the road from the practise room. We frequented this place every week.

Often we would head home so drunk we wouldn’t be able to remember the songs we had written; All Good Things was one of the 9 that made the album (we recorded 10, Today Was Insane did not make the record).

This track was recorded on our 8 track years after we had written it, again at Derek’s flat during our mad recording weekends.

It has the acoustic/ heavy mix sound that we adopted after Whapper when I was playing more guitar but had yet to purchase an electric.

Lyrically simple there is no complexity to the song, it’s a good riff and has a slightly different feel to our usual tracks.

35 Summerhigh Firkin Outburst 1998

Look at that hair!!
Look at that hair!!

‘Summerhigh, a good day to die’ a lyric straight from Star Trek and the Klingons! This upbeat tune was one of three recorded at our second visit to Random Rhythms, a great wee studio hidden in the outskirts of Edinburgh near the airport. The first sessions, for Whapper, were excellent however this time the recordings did not reach the previous heights. The sound engineer seemed to have lost interest this time around.

Summerhigh sounds slightly thin but the performance was good that day, particularly from Derek who really enjoyed recording in that studio. I sing of getting older (despite being in my early 20’s…) and starting to realise that I had to take some responsibilities; however there was still time for days in the sun.

There is a good live version on our first bootleg, Central FM were very supportive of the local scene during the late 90’s, they had recorded the gig which was part of an all day festival. This Martell performance reflects much of the swagger we had then.

34 Love Hate Thing Riot Act 2007

there is something amazing about rocking out in the remote parts of our land
there is something amazing about rocking out in the remote parts of our land

Sometimes you get a little fed up of the town in which you live; then you go for a stroll look over the forth valley and think, it’s not so bad. Love Hate Thing describes those feelings when out at night. Much of Riot Act is based around nights out in Falkirk (or the aftermath)

Nestled near the end of the album Love Hate Thing starts to wind things down with its moderate pace; at nearly five minutes long it includes a build and a solo. Riot Act is a mixture of fast 2 minute rock and this more measured number.

‘Streets with no name, streets with no shame’ Its not a song we visit much any more. It’s perhaps overly long but not a bad number.
33 Beauty Queen Coldhome Street 2000

This was us doing the 'live' guitars. Made it up as we went along well i did...
This was us doing the ‘live’ guitars. Made it up as we went along well i did…

Given the throwaway nature of Coldhome street it would be surprising if there was not a live jam on the album. That’s what Beauty Queen, the last track on Coldhome, was. The track was recorded in a small studio just outside the centre of  Stirling. I believe we recorded the drums prior to Greg, Stu and I jamming the guitars in the studio. Much of the solo work and possibly the vocals are improvised.

We mixed it on the same day, the engineer seemed to struggle a little and asked if we would mix the track. It’s quite a poor mix; the drums lack the impact needed for a live jam but it is a fun song with some daft lyrics. ‘oh my beauty Queen she loves technology, My beauty queen wants part in a home made movie!’

We all have a soft spot for Beauty Queen; perhaps because it was the song that was never finished. To my knowledge Beauty Queen has never been played live

32 Stand For Your Rights One More Solo 2004

Pensive? Or empty beer bottle?
Pensive? Or empty beer bottle?

Another album ender comes in at 32. A long slow burner of a rock track Stand For Your Rights is the first song we wrote when Stu re-joined the band after his brief hiatus.  Big choruses , dueling solos and a big ending this was our first hint at writing about politics. I’ve always liked the line ‘if you stand for your rights you’ll die young but you’ll die healthy’ it’s a bittersweet statement.

Recorded onto the 8 track along with the rest of One More Solo it was fairly straightforward to record despite the number of different sections of the song. While we were laying tracks at Derek’s flat there was a biblical rainfall shower outside. I grabbed a mic, careful not to get it wet I recorded to the sound of the rain. It was so heavy it ended up sounding like static. My shitty Renault 19 was flooded where it was parked, pity it didn’t float away. I added a little bit of keyboard to give One More Solo the closure it deserved.

31 Crown. Weird Decibels 1

we always look for a recording location with a good pub. Ettrickbridge had the wonderful Cross Keys Inn
we always look for a recording location with a good pub. Ettrickbridge had the wonderful Cross Keys Inn

At number 31 the first track from Weird Decibels 1, a high point in our history, the album was a return to more meaningful lyrics and carefully considered arrangements (well most of it!). Crown is one of the many ‘character’ songs. I was fed up writing about getting drunk at weekends, to be honest I had little to write about so i made up characters. Recorded in Ettrick Bridge (nice pub here as well) we were on a working farm in the middle of the borders. Stunning.

Crown was the murderer, the guy who snapped. He had committed a horrific crime but still attended his mundane office work as normal. ‘Perfect smile it makes me sick, he shakes my bleached hand,  i wonder what makes him tick’. I enjoyed writing about the meeting between the murderer and his perfectly groomed boss.

Crown also asks what happens in our town and cities that we don’t know about as people go about their own business.The vocals during the crescendo are ‘borrowed from a certain Mr Vedder and the song Jeremy. A similar story!

This concludes part 2. nearing the mid table now. next part has a rather big surprise for regular WdB gig goers…

My Music Collection… The Missing Years.

Last weekend I was about to head off for a camping trip with my family when I remembered that my Dad would have his Bose CD player; we always bring together our latest CD’s and over a few beers we play them. Problem was I had very few new CD’s to let him hear.

So I thought its OK I’ll skim through Spotify at the latest albums I’ve been listening and just connect my phone to the Bose. However when I scrolled down through my recent playlists I could only remember how a few of my recent music finds sounded.

My Spotify albums; some of which i can't remember listening to!
My Spotify albums; some of which i can’t remember listening to!

I went back upstairs to my CD collection that is quietly gathering dust in the spare room. As I looked through my records I could see very few new releases, I realised that my collection now has a massive gap thanks to the wonders of streaming.

Spotify is my weapon of choice; premium is a fantastic package that allows me to listen to a vast collection of music that ultimately is not mine. The sound quality is good as well I have the stream and download rate maxed but it is not a patch on a CD through a decent amp. As I write I am listening to a CD that I streamed constantly on Spotify and there is a depth of music that I had not heard previously.

CD's old and new. Sound great.
CD’s old and new. Sound great.

I’m an artist who has music on Spotify through Weird Decibels https://open.spotify.com/album/0RqqqJ6LnoqCjbPdGYuMxL  and Morningday https://open.spotify.com/album/15QpqO4q0wT1EP4qV3LnG4 I have another concern. CD’s are hard to sell because everyone loves streaming and downloading (not to mention BitTorrent) and I get that. However my recent cheque of $8 from digital distribution service CDbaby won’t cover the cost of the CD’s I printed!

The future of Spotify is slightly uncertain, it’s losing money at an alarming rate and it is ripe for a hostile takeover. Tidal has arrived at our shores and as much as I love HD streaming £20 a month seems steep; I’m going to wait and see how this pans out. There is something that doesn’t sit right with multi millionaire musicians starting up a service to challenge the likes of Spotify etc. Are they any better? Do they want to control the market? Are they really looking after us, the wee guys?

Ideally I want to own my collection (downloads don’t cut it…) and as an artist I want to be paid for the hours that I toil for music that I hope you enjoy. I’m also worried about the vast amount of bands that I have simply forgotten about and I’m sure the vast majority of music consumers now do the same. Listen. Like. Next. Repeat.

CD nights are great
CD nights are great

So have had made the decision to buy CD’s (or pay for unsigned downloads) again (my wife won’t be pleased); perhaps not in the volume I used to (I can’t afford that) and I will continue support music Spotify will remain a vital cog in my music set-up but perhaps I will use it as the ‘try before you buy’ like I used to. A physical format is a wonderful way of transporting you back to the time you bought the product and well the love of artwork has been well documented.

Perhaps my music collection won’t be so sparse if the cloud ever starts to rain…

https://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/ 

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!!

Weird Decibels talk Gigs!

By the time you read this we are about to, or will have played Jims Bar at the QMU in Glasgow (june 21st 2014), So below is a recount of some of our gigs, in no particular order we include the finest, the worst and the strangest moments from our time on the stage.

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Greg at the ABC2 2013

 

Classic. 1996 Martell Falkirk Battle of the Bands Quarter Finals. We had just started playing and our heads were full of dreams. Greg, Stu and I had just left school to go to college and Derek, the youngster was still growing cress on the carpet of the common room in Larbert high School. Three teenage kids and a fresh 20-year-old took to the stage to one of our biggest and most eager crowds. The place was packed, i couldn’t see anything from the glare of the lights but every time we finished a song the place erupted. It was the start of our dream.

Weird. 1996 A Field in Crossgates.. Chris from Cage phones us. ‘Hey guys want to stand in for us? Its a biker rally festival in Crossgates’  I thought biker rally = really drunk moshers + our brand of rock + festival = riot of a gig. When we turned up, it was a field full of cow shit. We were directed to the ‘stage’. The power generator was louder than us. The crowd was a single mother bouncing her baby up and down on her knee. The rocking bikers stayed outside playing spin around the stick whilst drinking whiskey. Stu and Derek were happy though, they sat and ate a bag of onion rings and drank  cheep beer…

Great Gig. 2013  Oran Mor, Glasgow.

A pensive Weird Decibels
A pensive Weird Decibels

 

Superb gig in the basement of Oran Mor. We supported Life On Standby who are now doing very well, that night they played a fine set to a growing audience. We went on halfway through the night. It was a great crowd really up for it. Our album Weird Decibels 1 was doing well and we were getting into the swing of playing it live. The sound was simply amazing, one of he best live sounds we have ever had. Annie Walker was kind enough to take some brilliant photos and through this gig we got a slot on the Third Classic ticket radio show run by Tommy Clark. One of those great nights.

 

 

 

 

Bad gig. The Cathouse Glasgow. A pay to play gig. Hate them. These days they still do them but in a more subtle way. We sold a few tickets and paid to play only for the bouncers to refuse entry to most of the people who had travel through to see us. Derek was raging, he can be heard venting his anger on a live recording which appears on our official bootleg. The place was nearly empty, it was a real setback for the band.

Great Gig 2009, The Argyll Falkirk.

Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out
Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out

 

In the ‘slender’ years between ‘Quiet Act’ and ‘Weird Decibels 1’ we were writing the new album and played a handful of gigs at various venues around our home town of Falkirk. Derek owned the Argyll pub at this time so it was an ideal opportunity for us to organise our own gigs. This meant we could use all our own gear and record our performance. We recorded this gig in question, this would eventually become ‘Tonight! Live! Not Completely Sold Out! A mixture of covers, old songs and four new tracks that would appear on WdB1. It was our faithful crowd who have followed us from day one and it was a great laugh. Keep an eye on Bandcamp, I’ll upload these tracks very soon. https://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

 

Weird but brilliant. around early 2000’s My Parents Garden at a BBQ. A gigs a gig! Stu reminded me of this one. My parents held a BBQ every year and asked us to play a wee acoustic gig which we happily agreed. I took down the 4 track and flung a few mics around. The gig started well with cheers and laughs, that is until we played the Ace of Spades on acoustic guitars! The recording was great until my Dad started trying  to break a big block of ice cubes which was picked up on the recording, and yes it was out of time…

Classic Gig. Around 2005. The Path Tavern. Kirkcaldy. The venue may be closed and turned into a restaurant but the memories will remain. We played with Kranksolo, our two bands formed a fine friendship and shared a few gigs. 13 Tombs supported. They were superb, the singer had these massive boots that lit up. He looked like dynamo from Running Man. It was a small but fantastic crowd, they dug our music which at the time was One More Solo. We sold a few albums and we were even asked to sign them! Greg drove us back in the ‘Vulture’ old Vauxhall Carlton automatic. It took all the gear, three drunk band members and a sober bass player.

 

 Bad Gig, But Great experience. Around 2005. The Cavern. Liverpool.

Weird Rock the Cavern, the easy way...
Weird Rock the Cavern, the easy way…

 

Contradiction perhaps but this was one of the most memorable experiences for the band. We even saw the ‘Beatles’. In our desire to expand to other countries, starting with England Greg managed to get us a gig in the world-famous venue the Carvern home of a band called the Beatles. Quite good actually. On the road down Derek nearly broke his hand when Greg decided his stricken limb looked good as a door stop. It was a Back To The Future moment when Kevin Byrne was considered to stand in. The gig itself was empty, everyone was watching the Beatles, we discovered that night that most people listen to music they are familiar with. One the road back I needed to pee really bad as we had been drinking all night. I’m not sure why I’m mentioning this but it is scorched in my memory how long Greg made me wait… Thanks to Neil Henderson and Kevin Byrne who came down and took the photos.

 

Great Gig. 2013 ABC 2 Glasgow.

Rocking the ABC2
Rocking the ABC2

 

2013 was a great year for us live, the ABC 2 was a great gig. the sound the crowd and our performance ensured a great night. It was the first time we actually had a proper merch stand. Yes we have been together nearly 20 years but it takes us time to catch on… It was at this gig we played a brand new song Miss Asphyxia from our future album Weird Decibels 2. It seemed to herald in a new chapter for the band. The fact that it went down well was fantastic. There is a back stage room with a fridge which 5 years ago we would’ve filled with beer, however…it was not to be.

 

 

 

 

We are a small but perfectly formed rock band, there are no major venues with packed crowds. However we love playing live and every Monday when we return to our jobs, surrounded by the sound of keyboards typing furious emails and office workers sniping we can look back on these times with pleasure and indeed look forward. We never know what is around the corner, maybe when we step from backstage one day and see a wee venue packed with our friends and our fans. We play live 22nd August 2014,  13th  Note Glasgow. Make an unforgettable night with us. 

I finish with;

Ten Facts about Weird Decibels live

  1. Waiting On the Sound of Your High Heels Baby from One More Solo is our most played song.
  2. Dave Broon was our manager for a night, at a gig in Edinburgh, he paid us with a beer. Legend.
  3. A couple got ‘frisky’ when we played ‘Glass People’ at McSorley’s in Glasgow.
  4. The venue we have played most is still the Martell, Falkirk.
  5. Our sound checks take 2 minutes. Plug in. Play.
  6. I have broken one stage (the Martell)
  7. Derek winds the band up by getting changed into gig clothes during the walk on music.
  8. Stu averages around 3 devil signs per song, one during solo. God.
  9. Greg doesn’t need a setlist as he does not know the name of our songs.
  10. Phil and Juls Sampson have been to the most Weird Decibel gigs. Legends. In fact all of our hardcore fans are brilliant people.
  11. Wilson, our friend and a fan of the band has a Weird Decibels Tattoo. Nothing to do with gigs. But thought I’d mention it.

Pabs.

Phil, one of our greatest fans and a friend of the band.
Phil, one of our greatest fans and a friend of the band.