News Listen About Contact New Album
Posted on Apr 1st, 2009
Nearmint, Mixing, Talking & Whistling, 36 Reasons Why


(Soundtrack: Parliament “Osmium”)
It is fine to be working again, and the job is good, but it is amazing how day jobs wolf up your waking hours. Suddenly whole weeks flash past, time accelerates, and you have to really fight to get your own stuff done. But the money is useful, so I am not complaining.
In Spearmint we joke about how we would actually make money if we were a Pulp tribute band. This would be funny, if it were not clearly true. I think we would even make more money as a Spearmint tribute band. We have pegged Nearmint as our name. I like that, as it means something, as well as sounding like our name. In the same way that Aswas would be good for Aswad… or Travisty for Travis… these probably really exist now, as tribute bands are such a thriving business.
Last night I went over to Brian’s to mix some songs for the Spearmint EP for the autumn. Mixing involves me sitting at the back of the room, eating chips and drinking coffee, working on lyrics if I am feeling lively, thumbing through old copies of Artrocker if not. Brian tinkers about with the tracks and I comment when something sounds wrong, or right. It is not exactly hard work, but the trick is maintaining focus and being objective when you hear something over and over again. For these songs it is very much about them sounding as full of energy as possible. It was good – we work well together; as Si remarked during recording, Brian tends to come up with the same views as we do. Time may prove me wrong, but the tracks sounded great to me. I am going back to finish them off next week.
Brian also played me some of the new songs he has done with The Clientele and they sound fabulous – am looking forward to getting the album, and seeing them live. Bridie and I went to a gig the other night and perhaps as we are still not drinking, I really noticed how much people were talking during the show. It seems to me this is a phenomenon which began in the early 90s – going to a gig and talking through it. Seems very odd. Maybe it is worse on London than elsewhere in Britain. In London less people pay for their tickets, and more seem go to gigs to check a band out, rather than going along to listen and enjoy. This is true of all capital cities, but seems worse here. The other thing that gets my goat at gigs is when people show their appreciation by sticking their fingers in their mouths and doing that really loud whistle – that is more damaging to your ears than the bands themselves. Why would you make that noise with people stood just in front of you?
Which may explain the headache I have had for three days now. I went into the chemist on the way home to get Aspirin. I paid for it and after the lady gave me my receipt and change, she said “Thank you, you may go now.” I like that. Maybe they sometimes get people in who don’t leave, just stay at the counter?
A couple of weeks ago I recorded vocals for “36 Reasons Why”, the song co-written with Andy Lewis for his next solo album. We played it live as a band at the first Shirley Lee gig. Meanwhile Andy recorded his version for the album at Weller’s place – it is different and also sounds really good. Andy put down a rough version of the lead vocal, singing from my lyrics. Once confronted with the words he decided that he wasn’t comfortable with them and sent me an email suggesting a re-write. Imagine my reaction at receiving an email telling me my lyrics were not good enough! Andy even suggested new lyrics, which didn’t hit the spot for me. But of course, it is his record, so he needs to be happy with it. I decided that I would try and come up with new words which he would like, but which I still loved and remained true to the song. So I came up with a new version, which we then tweaked as we recorded… And I do think it is an improvement on the original, so it all worked for the best.
The following week we went to see Andy play stripped down versions of a few songs live with his chums Pete and Jess. It sounded really good. They played about eight songs, then finished, but the DJ encouraged them to do an encore. Andy explained that they didn’t have any more songs, but that he would like to welcome to the stage to sing “36 Reasons Why” a Mr Shirley Lee… This completely took me by surprise… I got up and made my way to the stage, hoping that Andy had a copy of the lyrics… but it turned out he didn’t. I couldn’t remember the original lyrics, let alone the re-write, as the song is chockfull of words. So once I got to the stage, I had to turn round and go and sit down again! I felt really useless. I felt like most singers wouldn’t have needed written lyrics. Another time perhaps…
Andy is aiming to get his album out by Christmas, and Jim is trying to get his album out this year too, hopefully in July in fact. Jim’s “solo” band is called Telley – it is mainly Jim and his chum James on drums. Rhodri has produced it and it sounds great, really fresh. Jim likes the idea that three of us are doing solo albums this year. Roll on Ronan’s album of baritone versions of Sonny & Cher hits!
By the way, the photo is of a street stencil from when we were in Rome last year. I like the image – maybe it is well known? It made me think of it as great artwork for a seven inch single, or a flyer for a club night.
I really must ask Rhodri to show me how to put spaces between paragraphs in these diary entries; no matter what I do it removes them when I post it, so you have to plough through a slab of text…
Anyway, am off to make some stir fry and we are going to watch “The Quiet Man”, which neither Bridie nor I has ever seen. This Parliament track “The Silent Boatman” has passed me by until recently but it really is a corker!


People chatting through gigs is a constant bugbear of mine, and seems unavoidable wherever you go. We live in a society where a significant minority are just completely inconsiderate.

I was watching The Xcerts do a live set in a record shop (do they still call them that?!) yesterday and one of the members of staff carried on chatting throughout…naturally to make himself heard over the music he had to talk very loudly!

Another question that struck me last night whilst waiting in a pub for a gig to start…how did the spirit of peace and love that was (apparently) prevalent 40 years ago turn into the spirit of anger and potential violence so common these days?

I’m really enjoying your new solo album, it grows on me with each new listen.

Best wishes,


• Posted by Simon B at 5:30 am on Apr 2nd, 2009

very nice submit, i certainly love this web site, keep on it

• Posted by beats by dre at 5:50 pm on Jan 11th, 2012
Leave a comment »