Hey Negrita Exclusive Blog - Part 4
By the time you read this I will probably be on my way to Camden Town where we are celebrating the launch of our new acoustic album ‘Burn The Whole Place Down.’ It’s been a slightly chaotic week here in Hey Negrita land and, between preparations for tonight’s album launch, a number of last minute phone interviews and the anticipation of the re-release of our first three albums alongside the new record on Monday, there has been little time for idle walks or daytime TV. Rehearsals have consisted of the usual beer-soaked janglings we have grown accustomed to, mixed with the dissection of the numerous album reviews that have continued to pour in over the past few days. Although none of us could entirely work out the logic behind one magazine’s Dire Straits comparison, we were very flattered by the vast majority of what those that write had to say about us that play. It seems like this acoustic record is actually starting to convince a whole gaggle of semi-influential nonbelievers.
So, filled with a revitalised sense of doing the right thing at the right time, we set about polishing off our favourite tunes as well as resurrecting a bunch of old favourites for Thursday’s one-and-a-half hour hullabaloo at London Dingwalls. This is our biggest headline show to date so we’re really trying to push the boat out. We’ve even enlisted the services of a full brass band to play on last year’s single ‘The Last Thing That I Do’, as a thank you to my little sister who took the track all the way to the Beijing Olympics where she used our sweet sounds as a backdrop to her equine acrobatics.
On Friday we have been booked for several hours of interviews with various radio stations, followed by a charity gig for the Macmillan Cancer Trust in Kings Cross. On Saturday we will be recording a long radio session in Bristol with my old friend, Samantha Marais, as well as playing a further fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at the Fiery Angel in Cheltenham. And on Sunday, when all is said and done, I will be back in the pub, sipping a cold and deliciously refreshing lager beer whilst reminiscing about it all.
Although I must admit that the mellow interior I have come to enjoy over the past weeks is starting to give way to a light bout of exhaustion and nervous anticipation, and that the idea of unplugging this here machine and heading down the road for a hot cocoa and a blood transfusion is becoming an ever more appealing proposition, I am once again filled with a warm and fuzzy feeling at the thought of playing some of our old songs for the first time in years. That said, I do find it amazing how the vulnerability of putting music out there and letting ‘them that know’ decide its fate has not become in the slightest bit more tolerable since we released our debut album way back in 2005. The industry has got no wiser since then and I certainly haven’t got any tougher. I am once again engaging in the same awkward dance I clumsily fell into some seven years ago: writing and performing, getting a high off the good stuff and feeling like my left bollock has been torn off whenever things don’t go my way. So it is at this moment in time, when it seems as though my career is once again clenched firmly betwixt the saggy buttocks of the gods of rock n roll (and a few lesser known journalists), that I have decided to sacrifice this blog to those very gods in the hope that they may grant me safe passage and raise the mighty Hey Negrita up to the dizzying heights of those that went before. So, in an attempt to please our Dionysian masters, I will now attempt to write a few short sentences about the reasons why I, along with thousands of others, am entirely addicted to the smell of puke-stained venues, the taste of cheap beer and the crashing sound of the music that boils my proverbial berries.
I can still remember the night in which my friend, Alex Campbell, sat me down with a bottle of vodka and insisted that I listen to the whole of ‘Never Mind The Bollox’, followed by Pink Floyd’s ‘The Final Cut’ and ‘Animals.’ Having survived until then on a meagre diet that consisted almost entirely of my Dad’s Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and Beatles collections, I was blown away by what these guys were singing about. I had no idea that music could be used to muse about anything more than the nail biting emotions of hot lust and the devastation of teenage love gone wrong. Ever since that night I have been hooked on the bittersweet pill of rock n roll and all the crazy shit that goes with it. From the detox wards of South Florida to the stages of Glastonbury and from the dark corner of a London Police cell to the control room of Roscoe’s Brooklyn studio: Mick, Keith and the rest of my dishevelled gang of divine, drop-out heroes have been my steadfast companions through all the weird and fucked up shit I have been lucky enough to survive so far. There is a deeply unnerving magnetic pull that always draws me back to the art form that has become my medicine and has taken over my life. No matter how often I have tried to make a half-assed attempt at turning my back on it all in favour of a more stable existence, I can never drag myself away for longer than it takes me to write another song which I absolutely have to record. To me the music that I play and the artists I admire are just like heroin without the AIDS and the never-ending withdrawals. They lift me up and carry me when I am at my wit’s end but they also kick me firmly in the giblets every time I allow myself to believe that I can keep a small part of them for myself. So, safe in the knowledge that I am merely a few hours away from another foot-stomping, liver-destroying Hey Negrita smokeout, I invite you all to raise your glass to the gods of rock n roll for they have much to answer for.