Friday 10 June 2016

The Hellbound Train EP goes into the iTunes blues charts at number seven. Hell yeah!

The Hellbound Train EP goes into the iTunes blues charts at number seven. Hell yeah!

WELL…EP release day, video premiere day…and a show in Edinburgh tonight that needs last minute promo.

So you can imagine my annoyance when the hotel wifi decides to go on a go-slow. Just gotta bash on though and somehow we manage everything….first I deal with the new release.

Then liaising with The Blues Magazine for the online premiere of the Hellbound Train video and co-ordinating it with my Facebook page, we get that all going before moving onto some last minute promo for tonight’s (Friday) show at Sneaky pete’s in Edinburgh.

We get checked out the hotel and leave Aberdeen behind. When we stop for a coffee I do some online stuff and, on checking out iTunes see that Hellbound Train has entered the iTunes blues chart at number seven. Result! It’ll probably only be there for a day, but it’s up there in the top ten with some big names 🙂

Arriving in Edinburgh, we drop our bags off at Lesley’s, pick up ticket money at Ripping Records then load in at Sneaky Pete’s.

There’s a good crowd in when Lee opens the show at 7.30pm and by the time I kick off my set the place is pretty full. A great crowd.

I have a real blast playing and after two encores manage to get off the stage. Covered in sweat, whisky and buzzing from everyone’s enthusiasm. Great to catch up with pals old and new too.

Back at Lesley’s we eat, drink and chat til after 2am then….zzzzzzzzzz….

An amazing night at Sneaky Pete's :-)

An amazing night at Sneaky Pete’s 🙂


Monday 9 May 2016


Martyn and Jamie get some performance cutaways

Martyn and Jamie get some performance cutaways

VIDEO shoot day! We’re away at 7.30am to meet Martyn and Jamie at FilmCity.

We planned to take just one vehicle, but the coffin Jamie hired won’t fit in the van. We manage to get it in our car, so Margaret drives to our secret location in Ayrshire with the coffin and I go in the van with Martyn and Jamie…no room for the coffin and me in the car!

After stopping for a roll and sausage and to pick some daffodils from the roadside to dress the coffin, we arrive at the location under blazing sun. There’s no vehicular access, so it’s a bit of a slog getting everything on-site to our first location.

My amp won’t play nice with the generator so we do away with the planned lip/finger-sync to Hellbound Train and I play it live a few times. It’s gonna be wildly different from the recorded track, but  hopefully the guys can Joey it around a bit and make a few phrases fit here and there…if not, we can use ’em as cutaways.

The guys have an extensive list of shots they need to tell the story they’ve put together behind the song. They’ve already done a pile of work on this.

We’ve all taken a packed lunch, but Jamie’s gone a step further and brought a stove, pan and enough brioche buns and burgers for everyone. Amazing! We enjoy a break in the shade and some grub.

It’s absolutely roasting…especially when I have to get in the coffin for a scene. I’m not claustrophobic, but the heat, lack of air and a few stinky farts make it pretty unpleasant waiting for “action” and an emergence back into fresh air.

We shift stuff around from location to location. It’s hard work for all of us, but a great laugh and good fun….especially when Jamie gets his foot stuck in a hole on top of a train engine while trying to steady himself to shoot for one of the scenes. When I go to help it’s almost five minutes before I can take the camera from him thanks to a severe bout of hysterics…we both laugh so much we nearly fill our pants.

There’s handheld shots, static shots, drone shots…all kinds of stuff going on in the blistering heat. Feels more like we’re filming a Wild West movie in the Nevada Desert than a music video in Scotland.

It’s a wrap just after 8pm and we ferry the gear and props back to the vehicles and make our way back to Film City.

We unload, say cheerio and head for home. We’re both knackered and feeling pretty grubby so it;s straight into the shower, a quick snack and a large dram before falling into bed. An amazing day that I certainly won’t forget in a hurry.

Click the thumbnails below for bigger images and to scroll through our ‘behind the scenes’ gallery…







Thursday 24 March 2016

The spinach pasta turns out good...pretty green!

The spinach pasta turns out good…pretty green!

NEED to bite the bullet today and get everything prepared for the Hellbound Train EP release (10 June).

First job is to get everything registered with PRS/MCPS and PPL. I already registered Good Moonshine (aka I Went to America) and Travellin’ Man as these have been part of my live show recently.

Checking them out before I add Hellbound Train and Pearline, though, I see that I Went to America – the ‘otherwise known as’/other title – has a publisher’s name beside it. I assigned a bunch of instrumentals and a few songs to them, but this ain’t one of them! I call my pal Duncan at MCPS for advice and he recommends I amend the share splits and it should sort itself out.

Once done with the PRS/MCPS registrations I move onto PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) which collects and distributes the record company/recording owner’s royalties as well as the performers’ royalties. All yours truly in this case as I am the label,publisher, writer and performer of all parts…other than drums on Hellbound Train which come courtesy of Paul Savage (Delgados).

Once all that’s done I upload the master audio files to my aggregator (the modern equivalent of a distributor) along with all the metadata – basically info on the song, writer, IRSC (International Standard Recording Code) codes and other stuff to make sure the tracks are identifiable in the wider world and royalties etc (hopefully) all go in the right direction.

Time for a break, so I make some pork gyoza for lunch and put together some spinach pasta dough for tonight’s dinner.

While cover art was finished yesterday, I need to pull together a digital booklet to include with iTunes downloads…adds a little value and is an incentive for folks to download the full EP rather than just a few tracks. iTunes has very strict guidelines/criteria for digital booklets.

Sometime after 8pm I’m ready for a beer and finish up for the day. Almost there with the EP prep – just a coupe of pages to finalise in the iTunes booklet which I’ll upload tomorrow. That’ll give me 11 weeks to get a good lead in to iTunes and the other download/streaming services and the PR can start next week. Still need to decide if any physical promo is needed or we can do it all online…

I rustle up a tomato sugo with chicken and the spinach pasta turns out good….

Wednesday 23 March 2016

The Hellbound Train EP artwork is done!

The Hellbound Train EP artwork is done!

SEEMS to be a busy week with the webzine…feast or famine when it comes to stories!!

Once I’m up to date with all that I start roughing out some artwork ideas for the forthcoming Hellbound Train EP (Friday 10 June). I’d hoped to hire someone to do the cover art but still waiting for them to get back to me and now pretty much out of time. To be honest we’re a bit skint anyway, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. I get busy.

After a bowl of beef pho’ I carry on with the graphics. Once I feel I’ve got a rough that’s a go-er I head out for a wee walk and spend the next hour or so wandering along the lochside in the drizzle listening to social media marketing podcasts.

Back on the artwork and it’s 9pm before I start making our ‘fast day’ dinner of terriyaki chicken and steamed pak choi. Actually the last few weeks we’ve only been doing ‘semi-fast days’ and not sticking to the 500/600 calorie limit…instead being careful what we eat and avoiding alcohol for two days a week.