Thursday, 16 August 2007


Damo Suzuki is playing in my local pub tonight. Yes, as you'll all know, the very same Damo Suzuki wot played in legendary band Can. Yes, as you'll all know, Can were an underground, excellent, and downright massively influential band from Dusseldorf from the late sixties through to the late seventies.

I don't know if I'm going to go and see him though.

There was a real buzz round this here way a couple of years ago when he first played: not only was it the first time he'd played in the vicinity for around 3 decades, But It Was At Our Local Pub. How unlikely and amazing was that? I was seriously considering getting a taxi there and back (surely a 15 second journey either way) just for the sake of it. It was great as well: the place was packed, full of atmosphere, and musically the goods were very much delivered.

Last year he played again at the local pub (I can imagine the headlines: Legend Plays Twice At Local Bar!). I've failed to mention that part of what he does is rely on the merits of local musicians wherever he plays, as part of an extended network: the ethos is to play music which is raw, unbridled and improvisational. Whatever impression this gives in theory, in practice it is often hypnotic and soaring. So at last year's bash, the bass player had absented himself from his duties for a few minutes, and I was expecting him to come back at any given moment. He didn't reappear for some time though so, aided by more than a couple of pints of Abbots, I found myself onstage weaving a few basslines into the ebb and flow of the music.

I don't get starstruck like I used to in my younger days, but here I was onstage right next to Damo Suzuki, it was quite something. I wasn't there for very long since the bass player finally came back a few minutes later, but it was enough for me, I felt like I'd had my moment.

I doubt that I'd get such an opportunity to do the same tonight, and so maybe after scaling such giddy heights last time round I might just feel a little disappointed, regardless of how good the gig will probably turn out to be.

That's not the reason I'm not going though.

Main reason is, I'm bloody skint.


Sinister Welder said...

get your arse (and plectrum) over there with all speed!

Merkin said...

I agree with the 'MigMan in the Iron Mask'
Anyway, even if you are scoobied, great story.

trousers said...

Too late Mr Welder, too late. I'm sure I'll hear all about it soon enough and be kicking myself, but the other thing is I really needed a quiet night. Having seen him three times already (twice as mentioned, and once guesting with Acid Mothers Temple), then I wasn't too unhappy about giving it a miss.

Thanks to you too merk.

zola a social thing said...

Trousers : you could have passed around yer hat. Those pennies mount up you know.
Damn it you are getting old.
Go for it me old.

Pixie said...

Are these grime acts I haven't heard of yet, trousers?? Or are we on different musical wavelenghts!!! LOL

Merkin said...

For me the good bit about the trousers story was that Damo Suzuki was confident enough to play with people he didn't know.
Chuck Berry always did the same and it shows a musician at ease with himself.
To illustrate the opposite :

I was at a pub gig in Glasgow to see a covers band called The Out Patients.
Gig was in a rockers bar and the usual scoundrels were there.
When I went in one of the guitar players said to me - look that is Geoff Healey over there!
Sure enough, it was 2 metres of blind Canadian guitar player - one of the top 5 blues players in the world, probably - in the city for a sellout gig.
I ended up speaking to him for a few minutes about guitars and gear and muso thingies.
Also, I asked him if he was gonna play (I was hoping to wangle on with him)
'Yeah but I haven't been asked yet'.
The band played the first set without inviting him.
At the break I asked the band if they would be having any guests.
Maybe, maybe not.
I pointed out the advantages eg publicity, increased fees etc.
Anyway, half way through the second set Geoff Healey left without having played.
At the end of the concert I told the band what arseholes they were and the guitarist explained to me 'This is not Karaoke, invite one up and you've got to invite the rest'
I said, 'I see. and if Clapton turns up next week you'll say he can't play because it's not Karaoke'.

The band did get their publicity - known for ever as 'The Band that knocked-back Geoff Healey'

lavenderblue said...

Sorry you didn't get there trousers..I hope you had a few whiskies at home to make up for it !
Loved the story........

trousers said...

Never thought of that zola - ain't too proud to beg...

Pixie - nice to see you back. Grime? What's Grime? Is that one of them young people's music things? ;-)

Merkin - excellent story from yourself, and true enough about musicians being at ease with themselves. It must be easier to do that if you have such an amount of respect that the musicians around you don't want to let you or themselves down though? Just a thought.

lav, I didn't even have any whisky (sob). Plenty in the house - but as much as the financial aspect of not going out, I think I really needed some rest...

zola a social thing said...

BTW what that the sinister welder talking about getting the play together and quick?
Or was that speed?
never can tell these days yer know.

Merkin said...

Sorry to bore the non-musicians with a further, further comment.
But I will carry on regardless, through thick or thin come hell or high water.

Playing a pub gig in Poland with some very well-known musicians (nationally and internationally in the case of one).
At the break I get to chatting to one of my ex-students.
His mother had been my boss at a Summer camp where I had also been tasked as musical director.
The young guy was a shit hot player in the making - Satriani and Vai watch out - but strictly of the bed-room variety.
Anyway, seeing as it was 'my' gig, I asked him if he wanted to play a song or two.
His heart must have leapt at the thought of even standing on the same stage as those guys.
So, I gave him my gear and okayed it with the rest of the band that he couldn't go wrong with a straight blues song.
Well, he played and he was fucking dire. Simply the worst of the worst of the worst.
The crowd loved it that this young guy was getting a start, but two very precious musicians on stage made their displeasure obvious.

Fuck them.
I went back on and we finished the set. Afterwards, I was speaking with one of the guys and he was spittin blood that I had let this 'fucking aresehole' spoil their playing.
I reminded him of when I had first seen him play - when he had been an unknown playing with a big name.
I reminded him of how fucking dire he had been in those days.
We ended up having a beer and a Wodka to oil the wheels of reminiscence and everything was sorted.

And the young guy?
Next time I saw him he apologised for his playing but thanked me for the chance.
Seems his ability to get his Nat King Cole had increased tremendously by the company he had kept.

Ah, Merkin, pimp to the stars.

DJ Kirkby said...

Being skint sucks...

trousers said...

No apologies needed merk, this thread is about music after all - and as far as I'm concerned it's interesting stuff that you've written, from a wealth of experience. Thanks for sharing it, seriously.

dj kirkby - ain't that the truth...

Methuselah.On.HRT said...

'wealth of experience'
Is that a synonym for 'Old'?

That wealth has expressed itself in an email which is winging its way to you at this very moment.
In fact, a couple.

trousers said...

Heheheh no it wasn't meant to be related to age...cheers for the emails too.