Guy Fawkes And A Hockey Stick Ruined My First Gig!

I’ve played lots of gigs in my time and along the way I’ve shared the bill with The Dunwells (ex-lead guitarist, Dave Hanson, is a good friend and former bandmate) and Steve Womack, and once had Embrace producer, Dave Creffield, as sound man. I’ve had some highly memorable gigs, but one in particular sticks out in my mind for all the wrong reasons!

It was Saturday 4th November 2000. It wasn’t strictly my first solo acoustic gig – I’d done support slots and stuff in the past, but that was some years before and this was my first proper gig since deciding that the solo acoustic thing was now what I was going to do.

That afternoon, I played field hockey, and with the last play of the game, I got hit by an opponent’s stick, on my knee. I went down like the proverbial sack of shit!

I managed afterwards to hobble to my car and drive home, but by the time I arrived, my knee had swollen massively and I literally fell out of the car and crawled into the house! I could barely walk – there was no way I was going be able to carry my P.A. and guitars. I telephoned a mate, Mick, who came to my rescue, becoming my roadie and chauffeur for the night.

I had to perform seated with my leg propped up and looked a right sight with my pathetic attempts to get about and frequent wincing in pain! To make matters worse, the place was dead! I was going through all this for just a handful of people. Why? Because everyone was at bonfire parties! In the UK, people celebrate Guy Fawkes Night on 5th November, or the nearest Saturday. Which day had I selected for my big debut gig?? Doh!!

My final song that night was Why Does It always Rain On Me?, by Travis, and Mick felt that it perfectly completed the sad picture of irony that I was and he found it hilarious! He recalls that as his favourite song that I play to this day because of it! Of course things got a lot better, but I was pretty depressed after such an inauspicious start!

Back in the days of the band I was in with Dave Hanson, I wrote a song, Sour Milk Sea, that’s kind of all about depression and despair, which I re-recorded as a solo track in 2004. I got the idea from the name of a band that Freddie Mercury was in before Queen. I thought it sounded a cool name for a song. Unfortunately, many years later I discovered that it already was the name of a George Harrison song that Freddie and his pals had thought would make a cool name for a band. More bad luck!

The track is available as a free download.  Download Sour Milk Sea here.

If you like the track, you might also consider checking out my E.P., Mercurial Session. It’s not all about depression and bad luck, I promise! In fact it’s full of good tunes, if I do say so myself!

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