SK88: Old School Skateboard Playlist

Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends.  It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie.  Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.

This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned.  Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music.  Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.

I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video.  I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents.  I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it.  A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band.  I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved.  I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for!  Great album, all in all.

This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.

Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years.  This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.

Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out).  Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits).  Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.

Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:

Part 1

  1. McRad – “Weakness”
  2. Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
  3. Descendents – “Coolidge”
  4. Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
  5. Devo – “That’s Good”
  6. Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
  7. Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
  8. Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
  9. Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
  10. Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
  11. The Stupids – “Skid Row”
  12. Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
  13. Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
  14. Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
  15. Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
  16. Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
  17. Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”

Part 2

  1. The Cult – “Wildflower”
  2. The Damned – “Love Song”
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
  4. Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
  5. Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
  6. GBH – “Too Much”
  7. Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
  8. Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
  9. The Stranglers – “Peaches”
  10. Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
  11. Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
  12. Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
  13. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
  14. Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  15. Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
  16. The Skids – “Into the Valley”
  17. Fugazi – “Blueprint”

Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years.  There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.

Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials.  I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.

And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling.  Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #13

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 29th September 2017

It’s Vinyl Night!  Once again, Halcyon Dreams hosted the Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at the Queen’s Head in Mold, North Wales.  An evening of beer, good company and – of course – spinning tunes!

You know the drill by now, so I’ll fast forward straight to my set.

There was a theme this time, which I stumbled on whilst playing these records over the previous months.  I decided to play songs that weren’t performed in the English language, which produced a few interesting ideas.  Here are the ones that made the cut:

Anhrefn – Molly Melys/Rhedeg I Paris

As I was in Mold, how could I not kick things off with something Welsh?  Anhrefn were a superb Welsh language punk band that I saw several times back in the early 90s.  I had a cassette of their album “Dragon’s Revenge” from those days, and successfully tracked down a vinyl copy not long ago.  This is actually two tracks – sorry, a bit sneaky: “Molly Melys” is a traditional folk song evoking Celtic tradition.  It’s a short, mellow introduction before it suddenly erupts into “Rhedeg I Paris”, a fast paced, energetic, melodic rocker in the vein of the Clash.  Fantastic!

Cypress Hill – Loco En El Coco

This is, of course, the Cypress Hill track “Insane in the Brain” but performed with Spanish lyrics.  Taken from “Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol” – their Greatest Hits in Spanish – and for some reason these versions just sound even funkier in Spanish.  I love the whole album for that reason.  Check it out, I recommend it.

Faith No More – Evidence (Italian Version)

This isn’t the “funk metal” Faith No More you may know.  Rather, this is a kind of smooth jazz-funk hybrid from the album “King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime”, here performed in Italian.  Apparently singer Mike Patton is multi lingual and there are versions of this track in several other languages too.  It’s a great song, showing FNM stretching out and writing something across musical boundaries: and it really works. 

Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi

And finally, I went with this French language pop punk/faux punk/new wave confection.  It’s a fun little treat that bounces along with a life of it’s own.  Loads of fun to end the set.

That was it, set over.  All songs in different languages.  I could have chosen a few others (I have a record by Kvelertak in Norwegian) but I figured that would do.

A great night again – thanks all!  Who knows if there’ll be a theme next time.  I’m just looking forward to another Vinyl Night!

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

Florence: the Jukebox

IMG_6327Forget using your super smart, internet enabled portable phone as a means of playing music.  And forget iPods, too – sadly the swines at Apple have decided to sacrifice their master product, in order to concentrate on their vile mutant phone.  My mate Greeny has a much better music playing machine than any of those.

Greeny has a jukebox.

The jukebox is named Florence.  After Florence and the Machine, as she’s a machine, obviously.  Florence stands proudly in the corner of the lounge, neither dominating the room or sitting back like a wall flower.  But Florence has presence: when the lights are on and the tunes are spinning, you will be drawn magnetically to this wondrous device.

He’s been collecting 7 inch singles since he were a lad, has Greeny.  Now Florence is a treasure trove packed full of delightful vinyl gems.  There’s a wild variety of musical genres in Florence, spanning the decades.  She’s regularly re-stocked and/or has the records switched out and replaced with others, keeping the music selection fresh and entrancing.IMG_6330

Florence holds around 84 records.  Don’t forget that there’s a song on side A and B, so that’s a generous amount of music to enjoy.

It’s a lot of fun gathering around the jukebox in Greeny’s front room, with a few beers and spinning some records.  I would love one of my own, one day – though they cost a few hundred quid, so it’s unlikely.  I’m collecting a few cool 7 inch singles just in case, though…

Here’s a list of the records that are currently stocked inside Florence.  Remember Greeny has to rotate the records, as he has far more than this!  Which songs would you choose to play?

And if you’re interested, this jukebox is a Rowe AMI RI-3.

The tracks:

  • AC/DC – a. Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/Big Balls b. The Jack
  • Billy Paul – a. Me & Mrs Jones b. Your Song
  • Blind Melon – a. No Rain b. No Bidness/I Wonder
  • Blondie – a. Rapture b. Walk Like Me
  • Blue Swede – a. Hooked On a Feeling b. Never My Love
  • Bob Dylan – a. Subterranean Homesick Blues b. She Belongs To Me
  • Bruce Springsteen – a. 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) b. Part Man, Part Monkey
  • Catatonia – a. Road Rage b. I’m Cured
  • Chris Isaak – a. Wicked Game b. Cool Cat Walk
  • Crash Test Dummies – a. Afternoons & Coffeespoons b. In the Days of the Caveman (Live)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – a. Bad Moon Rising b. Lodi
  • DNA feat. Suzanne Vega – a. Tom’s Diner b. Acapella
  • Duran Duran – a. The Wild Boys b. (I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement (1984)
  • Echo & The Bunnymen – a. The Killing Moon b. Do It Clean
  • Elton John – a. Tiny Dancer b. Daniel
  • Elvis Presley – a. Suspicious Minds b. You’ll Think of Me
  • Everything Everything – a. Cough Cough b. A.D.
  • Faith No More – a. I’m Easy b. Be Aggressive
  • Fleetwood Mac – a. Oh Well (Part 1) b. Oh Well (Part 2)
  • Florence & The Machine – a. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) b. Are You Hurting
  • Franz Ferdinand – a. Take Me Out b. Truck Stop
  • Glen Campbell – a. Wichita Lineman b. Back in the Race
  • Guns’n’Roses – a. Patience b. Rocket Queen
  • Huey Lewis & The News – a. The Power of Love b. Do You Believe in Love?
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads – a. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick b. There Ain’t Half Been
  • Iggy Pop – a. Lust For Life b. Home
  • Jimi Hendrix – a. Purple Haze b. Foxy Lady
  • Joan Jett – a. I Love Rock’n’Roll b. The French Song
  • Johnny Cash – a. A Boy Named Sue b. Folsom Prison Blues
  • Journey – a. Don’t Stop Believin’ b. Natural Thing
  • Julee Cruise – a. Falling b. Twin Peaks Theme
  • Kate Bush – a. Running Up That Hill b. Under The Ivy
  • Katrina & The Waves – a. Walking On Sunshine b. Going Down to Liverpool
  • Kiss – a. God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You II b. Junior’s Gone WIld
  • Led Zeppelin – a. Rock and Roll b. Four Sticks
  • Lemonheads – a. Mrs. Robinson b. Being Around
  • Lenny Kravitz – a. Always On The Run b. Instrumental
  • Live – a. I Alone b. Pain Lies On The Riverbed
  • Lou Reed – a. Walk On The Wild Side b. Perfect Day
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – a. Freebird b. Sweet Home Alabama/Double Trouble
  • Magazine – a. Shot By Both Sides b. My Mind Ain’t So Open
  • Neil Young – a. My My, Hey Hey b. Hey Hey, My My
  • Nena – a. 99 Red Balloons b. Ich Bleib Im Bett
  • New Order – a. Blue Monday b. Beach Buggy
  • Norman Greenbaum – a. Spirit in the Sky b. Milk Cow
  • Otis Redding – a. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay b. Respect/Mr. Pitiful
  • Paul Simon – a. You Can Call Me Al b. Gumboots
  • Powder – a. Afrodisiac b. Shave Me
  • Prince – a. When Doves Cry b. 17 Days
  • Propaganda – a. Duel b. Jewel
  • Queen – a. Don’t Stop Me Now b. In Only Seven Days
  • R.E.M. – a. Crush With Eyeliner b. Instrumental
  • Regina Spektor – a. Fidelity b. Music Box
  • Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – a. It Takes Two b. Instrumental
  • Rolling Stones – a. Gimme Shelter b. Sympathy for the Devil
  • Roxy Music – a. Virginia Plain b. The Numberer
  • Spitting Image – a. The Chicken Song b. (I’ve Never Met) A Nice South African
  • Stealers Wheel – a. Stuck in the Middle b. Jose
  • Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – a. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) b. Another Journey
  • Stevie Wonder – a. Superstition b. You’ve Got It Bad Girl
  • Stone Temple Pilots – a. Plush b. Sin
  • Super Furry Animals – a. Northern Lites b. Rabid Dog
  • Supergrass – a. Richard III b. Nothing More’s Gonna Get In My Way
  • Talk Talk – a. It’s My Life b. Does Caroline Know
  • The Babys – a. Isn’t It Time b. Give Me Your Love
  • The Beatles – a. Hey Jude b. Revolution
  • The Breeders – a. Cannonball b. Divine Hammer
  • The Buggles – a. Video Killed the Radio Star b. Kid Dynamo
  • The Doors – a. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) c. Take It As It Comes
  • The Housemartins – a. Happy Hour b. The Mighty Ship
  • The Kinks – a. You Really Got Me b. All Day and All of the Night
  • The Knack – a. My Sharona b. Let Me Out
  • The Mamas & The Papas – a. California Dreamin’ b. Somebody Groovy
  • The Smiths – a. How Soon is Now? b. Well I Wonder
  • The Trashmen – a. Surfin’ Bird b. Liar Liar
  • The Undertones – a. Teenage Kicks b. Emergency Cases
  • The Who – a. Who Are You b. Had Enough
  • Tori Amos – a. Cornflake Girl b. Sister Janet
  • T-Rex – a. Jeepster b. Life’s a Gas
  • U2 – a. Stay (Far Away, So Close) b. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  • Van Halen – a. Why Can’t This Be Love b. Get Up
  • Vic Reeves & Wonderstuff – a. Dizzy b. Oh Mr. Hairdresser
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – a. Maps b. Countdown/Miles Away

IMG_6325

Download Festival

DL2015

Sunday 14th June 2015

Over the years I’ve been to Reading, Leeds and Rewind Festivals – even Chester Rocks.  Though I’ve never been to a full on outdoors Hard Rock/Metal festival, much to my regret.  Thus when the opportunity arose to get my rockin’ self to Download, the epicentre of all heavy rock fests, I seized the chance with gloved fist.  And then did the devil horn salute.

Due to time and financial constraints, it would only be a one day escapade with my buddies Ben the Swede and Coben.  Sadly this would mean missing such favourites as Faith No More, Clutch, Judas Priest, COC and many more.  But never mind – the gods of rock threw down their gauntlet and we would charge into the melee.

After a right old slog from the car to the main gates, we eventually entered the stadium like gladiators – ready for the first spectacle of the day.  The first band we saw were Tremonti, who I’d never heard of before.  Halfway through their set, the band were actually heavier than I thought and I enjoyed what I heard.  Worth further investigation.

At this point the heavens opened and the rain poured.  No matter – we were already making our way to the third stage to catch a “secret” set from The Darkness.  It was packed – everyone had the same idea, or at least decided this was better than drowning.  The set began with a monstrous riff that went on forever and did a good job of pumping the crowd up.  This intro enabled singer Justin Hawkins to make his way from the back to the stage, in true over the top style.  The Darkness then delivered a raucous set that roared at the sky – opener “Barbarian” accompanied by a load of Vikings on stage was great.  The hit singles “Growing on Me” and closer “I Believe in a Ting Called Love” were real crowd pleasers.  “Black Shuck” was my personal favourite, in a set that became the first true event of the day.  Not a secret, but surprisingly good. 2015-06-14 16.51.05

The next event was witnessing one of my all time heroes, the one and only Mr Billy Idol, live in concert for the first time.  I’ve been a fan of Billy for years.  In all honesty, many of his songs are too pop for this audience; so hits like “Hot in the City” and “Catch My Fall” (both personal faves) are sadly omitted.  However, with old pal Steve Stevens providing the guitar onslaught there’s plenty of rock to be had.  “Dancing with Myself”, “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell” all provide quality entertainment and I have to admit that I was thrilled to see this old warrior in action.  A great warm up for the rest of the evening.

Now with four stages and dozens of acts spread across the Download field, the only down side is making tough choices on who to watch if bands clash.  Especially as “a quick trip across the field” becomes a gruelling endurance test when it’s uphill in a muddy hell.  The first major casualty of the day was Eagles of Death Metal, whom I love dearly and have never seen live.

2015-06-14 17.19.04But I made a choice to see L7 instead of Slash, and boy am I glad I did.  Recently reformed, the four grungettes of L7 played a fantastic set.  The sound was great on the second stage, perhaps because I was closer?  Either way, “Andres”, “Fuel My Fire” and “Shitlist” were truly great.  Though “Everglade” was absolutely bonkers.  The riff that kills!  L7 are heavy!  I smiled a lot.  “Pretend We’re Dead” wasn’t bad either.  Fuck it, band of the day!

I caught the last four and a half songs by Slash.  He was pretty cool, but no L7.  “Anastasia” is a great song, and I have to say that Myles Kennedy has an awesome voice.  “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City” were both better with Kennedy and without Axl’s screeching.  Can I count this as having seen Guns’n’Roses live, as there’s only Axl left in that band?  Why the hell not!

Next up on the main stage was Motley Crue.  I wasn’t a fan of the Crue back in their heyday, other than one or two songs.  I’ve grown to appreciate them over the last fifteen years or so, much like I’ve grown to love Priest and Maiden.  Now on their final tour, the show promised to be big.  Motley Crue didn’t disappoint, delivering a punch in the face set that was one of the best of the day.  They played their cards right, delivering all the hits: “Wildside”, “Primal Scream”, “Dr. Feelgood” and “Shout at the Devil” were superb.  The only less than impressive moment was an unnecessary, but well intentioned, cover of “Anarchy in the UK”. 2015-06-14 20.21.35

There was spectacle in abundance – sexy backing singers in tiny shorts; flames that were hot enough to give me a Hollywood sun tan from a hundred feet away; dear old Vince Neil looking less than svelte.  “Girls Girls Girls” and “Kick Start My Heart” both built the set to a red hot climax.  “Home Sweet Home” was a fitting encore, ending a triumphant appearance.

And so last up we have head-liners Kiss. A band I’ve loved ever since I fist saw adverts for their t-shirts in old 1970’s Marvel comics – though I had no idea if they were rock stars, superheroes, or what.  I’d never seen Kiss before so this was something to look forward to.  Full make up, all the pyro – I was hungry for the experience.

Kiss explode into “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce” – songs that lesser bands would have saved for the encore.  The show is a visual feast; lights, huge screens, explosions all attack the senses and create Las Vegas in the English Midlands.  I get to hear my two absolute total favourite Kiss songs ever – “I Love It Loud” and “Calling Dr. Love”.  That was me happy right there. 2015-06-14 21.14.07

The Kiss set did wander a little bit though.  Obviously gearing their songs to a heavier crowd, we get three songs in a row from “Creatures of the Night” – their heaviest album.  The songs “Creatures of the Night” and “War Machine” are great, but not top of the Kiss list.  Plus there’s newer numbers “Psycho Circus” and “Hell or Hallelujah” which are just OK.

A little too much solo spot indulgence was my cue to take a comfort break.  On the way back, I dived in to catch Suicidal Tendencies on the smallest stage.  I only saw five songs, but ST were incredible.  “I Shot the Devil” and “War Inside My Head” tore the place apart.  I couldn’t make out all of Mike Muir’s between song banter, but he was fired up and intense as hell.  Hearing “Possessed to Skate” was an unforgettable moment.  Muir dedicated to everyone who skates – thanks Mike – and it took me back to loving ST back in my early skate days.  Absolutely mental punk thrash, I need to see Suicidal Tendencies again.

Returning to the main stage area, I caught the last few Kiss songs and was very impressed with what I’d seen.  Minor gripes aside, it was a privilege to see the band and experience a Kiss show first hand.

So there you have it.  Download 2015 was hampered by bad weather, and a poor layout that abandoned stupid amusement rides in the middle where the bar (and another toilet) should have been.  Yet despite being forced mercilessly to choose between too many bands, I got to see some great rock’n’roll and enjoyed a cool, fun atmosphere.  Oh yeah, and the festival staff were pleasant and friendly.  On the whole a good job.

Sci-Fi Weekender 2015 – part 1

Sci-fi Weekender 19th – 22nd March 2015

Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli

Hard to believe it’s been a year since our last visit off-world to the magnificence that is Sci-Fi Weekender.  But here we were again, for our second journey to the stars, with a guest list of thousands from the realms of science fiction and fantasy.

As a convention, what makes Sci-Fi Weekender stand out is that all the guests stay on site at the Hafan Y Mor holiday park in North West Wales.  For one weekend each year, the geeks inherit the earth and take over in intergalactic style.

This year our band of explorers included Adam, Greeny, Kurt and myself as per last year, but with good buddy Ste along for his first voyage.  Amongst the features on offer were all day gaming, merchandise for sale, props to view, films to see, and numerous luminaries being interviewed and partaking in Q and A’s.

Let it be said that the entertainments were many, and that much alcohol was consumed.

On the Friday, I was eager to see an interview with actor Julian Glover.  He appeared as General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back so this was a pretty big deal.  I have at least three different Star Wars figures of this guy, for a start.  He also appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, For Your Eyes Only and Quatermass and the Pit, for good measure.  Mr Glover was extremely interesting to listen to and seemed like a thorough gentleman.

Next up was James Cosmo, who I remembered from Highlander (classic!) and as Ewan McGregor‘s dad in Trainspotting.  He’s also appeared in dozens of other films and TV shows, not least Braveheart, so his Q&A was top notch.

I took a few photos and milled about a bit, we had some drinks and I caught the One Man Star Wars show.  For the uninitiated, this is one bloke recreating all three films from the original trilogy (Episodes IV to VI, fact fans!) in an hour – on his own.  There are no effects other than what can be recreated with his own voice and actions.  I have to admit that this was very impressive.  The audience laughed along, but me as a full on Star Wars nerd was engrossed in how he made the sounds.  I need to learn that R2 whistle for my action figures!  I AM A NERD!

The finale of the day was once again the genius of Darth Elvis and the Imperials.  What do you get?  A band of Dark Side troops, fronted by an Elvis Jedi, rocking the stage like a crazed Bantha herd.  They look great, they sound awesome! IMG_3978

Elvis classics are re-worked to suit the Star Wars theme, so we get “Return to Endor” and “Viva Mos Eisley”, amongst many more.  Brilliant!  The band rock out and also put a huge Hutt-like grin on your face with the genuinely witty spin on various classics.  Not just Elvis either – nice to hear some Faith No More in the set this year.  Absolutely epic entertainment and a perfect end to the night.  Hot Dang!

What’s more, I can personally vouch for the fact that the band are 100% decent folks.  I got a signed poster!  Greeny got a poster and a photo with the Dark King himself!  I got excited and forgot to ask for a photo of myself with Darth Elvis!  I AM A NERD!!!

Part 2 of our adventure to the stars soon…

Here’s the Sci-Fi Weekender website.

Check out Darth Elvis and the Imperials on Facebook or follow the Dark King on Twitter: @darth_elvis

The Urban Troopers are cool guys – follow them on Twitter: @yodasbitch

The Urban Troopers!

The Urban Troopers!

Me with tw of my childhood heroes...!

Me with two of my childhood heroes…!