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Demon forum / THE SECOND STAGE PART 4: THE LINK TO NEW GROUND (Prt 1)
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Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-08-11 15:28   » Email
Hello - Steve Watts here...

So...I'm sitting on the fire- escape of this reasonably posh pub somewhere in deep Cheshire, staring at the stars and drinking a beer.

Everyone else is inside, having a smashing time and enjoying the relative warmth of good company and central heating whilst I'm freezing my tits off and waiting patiently to go home. Why?

...I have long hair and the bouncer won't let me in.

Another time and place, and a Conservative Club somewhere in the Staffordshire hills. Dave Hill is in serious conversation with the manager, who informs him that there have been several complaints received about my "appearance" and that if we want to play at this club again, something will

"HAVE TO BE DONE ABOUT IT!"

This is all quite saddening. My solo rendition of "Tubular Bells" appears to have gone down rather well...even Her Majesty, glibly staring out from her gilded frame, resplendent in a sea of red and gold flock wallpaper appears appreciative. She may even like my greasy flowing locks, patchwork jeans, and Indian cheesecloth "Kurta" - she has a few connections overseas.

She may even own a copy of Tubular Bells...who knows?

Some of her loyal subjects sitting in this club on the other hand, certainly don't appear to appreciate my "alternative" attire.

Which was strange: because there we were in the post-punk mid 1980's and my "hippie" attire and long hair was still causing quiet (it's the English way) uproar, and I was suffering abuse on all sides, from small children in the street shouting "Neil!" (Ben Elton's Hippie character in "The Young Ones") to a bunch of burly Thatcherites forming a lynch party after the Bingo on a Saturday night.

So here's me; Dave Hill, and George (Climax Blues Band) Glover, waiting for the Bingo to end, so we could quickly finish the second half of our "turn"; grab our 15 quid each; have a quick pint, and bugger off home...

This went on for what seemed like eternity but was probably only around a few months to a year (it may be even longer - I've blotted it out).

Originally, Dave used to play these pub and club gigs with Mal: renditions of 60's and 70's classics...even the odd Demon track
(I remember standing in "The Wilkes Head" in Leek listening to them perform some "British Standard Approved" songs on acoustic guitar and voice), and some standard pop songs of the day, would be performed for an hour or so, to entertain the audience and earn some much needed extra funding that Demon simply couldn't supply.

This was typical for all of us; I was no exception. After Mal died I was asked by Dave to join both him and George to go 'on the road', performing these small pubs and clubs to earn extra bread. Now this was a weird set-up: one singer, two keyboard-players, and no guitars.

(Dave would sometimes use an old electric one - it had no strings and he couldn't play it...but there you go)

Now...as you can imagine, I didn't really fit in. There would be Dave upfront, in the middle; George on a Fender Rhodes Stage Piano, bashing out the main chords on one side - and me on the other, providing ambiences and lead lines on analogue synthesizers.

Imagine if Brian Eno in his "Roxy Music" Glam heyday, had suddenly and inexplicably got up on stage with "Chas 'n Dave" and you would be someway there. Needless to say, this must have caused a great deal of confusion. It certainly did for me. Especially as it had been previously agreed between Dave and George that absolutely no rehearsals were necessary as the songs were "standards" and I "should know how to play them anyway!"

Of course, they were wrong, and at every gig, I had to spontaneously improvise, program the sounds, and learn the songs, literally as I was performing them, and all in front of a live audience. Sometimes it worked - sometimes it was catastrophic: the audience appearing as bemused as I did.

Eventually, I began to get the hang of it, and would suddenly go into some wild 'Prog' freak-out in the middle of some mundane bollocks to put the wind up the audience. I'm not sure if Chas 'n Dave appreciated this, but it certainly gave me a good laugh.

Interestingly, the more confident I became, the more I would introduce more challenging repertoire and was really pleased and surprised when the opening to Pink Floyds "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" or Oldfield's magnum opus, or some weird, random sound effect in the middle of "Bad Moon Rising" sometimes went down really well...especially at the more working class clubs, although I still received a good number of complaints.*

*(There's a misnomer, continually spouted ad nauseum over the decades (largely by self-appointed intellectual middle-class music journalists who aspire to be working class Punks and have never quite got over their guilt) that "middle-class intellectual" Progressive Rock cannot be appreciated by (fundamentally their own definition) the "less- intellectual working-class".

This of course ... is bollocks.

As working class kids we loved what later became to be considered to be the more "working-class" genre of Heavy Metal and Punk, just as much as a lot of us loved the more "intellectual-middle class" arena of Prog Rock. It was the journalists that made the distinctions - not us.)

Anyway, I was certainly no stranger to these live environments, as growing up in Stoke with working-class heritage, I would spend practically every Saturday night as a child growing up in the '70's, in the "Michelin Working Mans Club" in the factory ground, with my Dad, where he laboured for 45yrs, drinking Beer Shandy's; munching on rock-hard Pork Scratchings and soft squidgy prawns in bags of vinegar whilst playing bingo, and watching the turns (mainly anyone with some talent and reputation and the balls to get up on stage) - and in those clubs, that took a lot of balls.

I never thought that some ten years later, I would be in the middle of some class-war that I neither understood nor appreciated; my music and image trashed like never before; and treading the same boards as those clubs I spent as a child with members of two professional rock bands, both of whom had international album releases; just to earn a few extra bob whilst signing on the dole to keep my head above water.

Rock dreams are a bit like an iceberg it would seem...

TO BE CONTINUED... (originally posted - 11: 05: 12)


I've uploaded both THE LINK and NEW GROUND original vinyl recordings to YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UC1y0HTYHk

As ever - Enjoy!

Steve Watts 11: 08: 12
[Edited 2012-08-11 15:34]

dEMON dUDES rEVENGE
VERY SOON...
7 posts
Reg: 4/7-12
Posted: 2012-08-11 15:52   » Email
...

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-08-16 15:19
I never thought that some ten years later, I would be in the middle of some class-war that I neither understood nor appreciated; my music and image trashed like never before; and treading the same boards as those clubs I spent as a child with members of two professional rock bands, both of whom had international album releases; just to earn a few extra bob whilst signing on the dole to keep my head above water.


I refer to my comments in a different post:

"Yes. From a lot of Dave's lyrics, one can tell of his contempt (which I do understand) for the 'go-getter', the greedy and this, I believe, extends into the music business with lyrics on Hollywood, Big Chance, Commercial Dynamite etc. Unfortunately, I don't believe such fervent views helped Demon in any way, shape or form - but at least they didn't 'sell-out'."

Steve Watts 2001
134 posts
Reg: 5/12-11
Posted: 2012-08-17 23:02   » Email
Hi Giles

Glad you enjoyed the blog. I'm always surprised by the large numbers of people who view them every month, but find it disappointing in how few feel un-confident to actually reply or engage in conversation or debate...perhaps these outsiders will feel more confident to engage in these topics when the DDR-DEMON ARCHIVE FORUM is activated on the DDR.COM site later this year. This will allow fully uncensored blogs from DDR and DEMON fans past and present, to be uploaded to the site, and will also allow users to upload; store, and share their own personal archives.

I've been thinking about a lot of the points you have raised regarding Demon Giles, and will reply to the relevant posts you have made in a full upload soon (presuming there are any of your posts left after judicious censoring!!...good job I copied them!).

Some of your comments I agree with fully, some I don?t, and others I think, are open to debate and wide personal interpretation: it will be interesting to open some (hopefully adult) discussion regarding these, and fingers crossed, all petulance; playground gang-warfare, and general ?fuck you? thuggery, will be kept to a minimum, whilst those who wish to engage in open, adult debate and discussion still can!

Those "chosen few", who feel obliged to act as though they own a first-class ticket and fight for the lifeboats, have I suppose, every right to do so. A shame though: I think it would make a nice change of scene for them to stick their heads above the parapet, smell the roses, and actually converse and fully engage in the reality of the moment, instead of slinging insults from behind a barbwire fence that remains firmly entrenched in some rose-tinted, half-baked, mythological past. Fingers crossed for progress eh?

(First Class tickets are due for collection.)

Speak soon and as ever, a huge thanks to both you, and everyone out there 'standing in the shadows' in Third Class, for your heart-felt support, understanding, enduring patience, and pertinent observations.

Expressing The Heart

Steve Watts 17: 08: 12 (no man-love necessary)

Giles
Cheshire
746 posts
Reg: 5/5-06
Posted: 2012-08-20 10:06
Hi Steve

Thank you for that response. I too get disappointed in the lack of response to your blogs here; in fact, since they are well-written, almost memoir-like entries from one of the main composers of Demon music that are very interesting (or should be) to any Demon fan, I find it rather disrespectful and sad in all honesty.

The DDR-DEMON ARCHIVE FORUM concept sounds great and I feel I could and would contribute.

I fully concur with your comments about the nature of 'discussion' here...and can add little more. With respect to my points/theories relating to the 'philosophy' of Demon: they are based on my perception; some from direct experience and some from analysis of actions, movements, lyrics. None of it is meant to be stated as factual of course, and all are more than invited to discuss.

I have tried to keep this post within the bounds of 'censorship' here, so hopefully it will get some exposure.

Speak soon Dude

Giles
[Edited 2012-08-20 12:10]
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