Saturday, July 01, 2006

"Hi, Robert! Loved your 'Addicted To Love' video....."

We weren't all born into covers bands you know. Scratch the surface of a contentedly strumming pub rocker and you'll surely find the soul of a burned-out singer-songwriter still bitter that they came second in the 1989 Battle of the Bands competition and as a result never got the acclaim they so clearly deserved then, and still deserve now, to tell the truth. That "Three Lions" line about "thirty years of hurt" barely comes close. We're talking twenty five years of seething indignation here. And it's not just us. I've seen the drummer from T-Rex playing "Alright Now" with Suzi Quatro's guitarist in my local, and the brothers from Scarlet Party glumly covering "All My Loving" at a pub barbecue. If, in Loudon Wainwright's words, it's better to be "...a has-been, and not just a never was" then the distinction seems to have been lost on some of us. When The Singer went off for a trek around California for a couple of months and we had to cover for him there was a point where we we ran out of servicable cover material and had to resort to playing some of my stuff - The Bass Player and The Other Guitarist were also (and indeed still are) in the band with me and so it made sense, and the songs were gratifyingly not pointed out as imposters in a kind of "What's My Line" fashion by a throng of faming torch-bearing locals demanding more Who covers. Still, our bread and butter is reworking the familiar and, as with many many other bands in our line of work, if occasionally we close our eyes and drift off imagining that it really is us up on that festival stage well, who could blame us? Picturehouse itself started off as The Singer and The Other Guitarist's pet home recording project - that was way back in the days before MySpace made it easy to get your stuff heard across the world at the click of a mouse, and so the cradle of the Pub Band behemoth that we have become is now archived carefully in four track cassette recordings of psychedelic whimsy and half-remembered chord changes. Of course we've all kept up in dabbling in the self-produced but when it comes to what pulls in the punters they'd generally rather hear The Kaiser Chief's "I Predict A Riot" than (say) Songs from The Blue House's "Waste of Angels" in the pub on a friday night. And who can blame them? So it was with an enormous sense of combined relief, elation, disbelief and joy that I found out this week that the band that Me and The Bass Player are in and that our friends The Singer, The Drummer and The Other Guitarist sometimes chip into, namely Songs from The Blue House have won a competition and will be, at this time next week, opening The Cornbury Festival for Robert Plant, The Waterboys and Deacon Blue. It's like the penalty shoot out finally went our way.

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