Monday, November 14, 2011
Here's a wee drunken reminiscin' ramble...
...that I posted to the Dogs yahoo groups list back in June this year after someone wrote in about a gig they saw somewhere in London (Highgate, I think it was) when Tyla had a wee violin player (as on Spike n' Tyla's Hot Knives track 'Lost in a Crowd Of One') that I added to, pulled apart, and sort of better-ised, a bit. What results is a few salvos of wine-scented scattershot salutations to a few of Tyla's solo gigs...
....I don't remember that particular gig, and before you start thinking "What's this stoopid twat writ in for then?", I saw Capt T in Wolves (The Varsity) with the violin player, have some great pics, even tho on a shitty £30 camera, twas I believe November '96, so yeah Libertine era gig...T, as is/was his wont, coming on dressed to the nines, ending up shedding his marvelous purple (or was that last Dogs tour '94? - shit don't get me started on that bout of heartbreak, maybe it was black then, yada yada) long kinda frock/western duster coat probs after the first song....oooooo, let's scratch those dusty brain cells...yup in tradition handed down by his own hand, twas 'Last Bandit'.... and then waistcoat, and shirt soon after, (well it's hot up there and a man's gotta flash his tatts)....seriously stoned (or newly recruited and just concentrating very hard!) bassist with him, who even managed to break 2 bass strings - I had a bassist did that once but this fucker was a pro so all due respect...at this gig T was seemingly and unsurprisingly full of speed (kept headbutting mic stand - try it - it fucking hurts!) and at end of set jumped, literally, on that gorgeous fucking Gretsch White Falcon. Some people cheered...as with a lot of you's here, we know not just how beautiful they are but how much they fucking cost. I will admit I fucking walked off at that (only to the bar, but I was seriously disgruntled....fuck yerself up, but leave the bloody guitar alone...hey, hey, all in all it's his, and he still seems to have it, 'less we've all helped him buy another!...and back then they were a bit cheaper than now...yawn sorry to be ananorak....late night n red wine n all)....can't remember set lists and so on and really who cares, of course he played 'How Come It Never Rains' and 'I Don't Want You To Go' at the end, interspersed with other such classics and what was then newer stuff....'Ballad of a Broken Heart' and so on. I think it was at this gig that I managed to actually miss the opening barrage by choosing precisely the wrong time to take a piss but there we go.
Also saw T at a hotel in Wolves that may have been called The Underground (the venue, for it was a basement bar, not the actual hotel) that was a small acoustic gig in '95 perhaps....beautifully set up, candlelit tables etc etc...T's relatives (I dunno and don't really care but mum, sister, auntie?) seemed to be there, doing the merch, T played a fucking blinder after we'd not seen him/heard owt for a while - since the abortion of The Dogs last tour in summer '94 (only a year but time seemed to last longer then) where he played an acoustic set and I think The Dogs only managed about 2 songs - y'know the way he raises those shoulders and wheezes out some dynamite jet poetic raptures, exhaling the embers of memories and dreams shrouded in smoke and stale red wine, cocking his head to one side to get the note out, the lights conjoining with the shadows cast by his hat and dancing around the dimly lit room to give an almost devildrunk leer to his features. Was truly great, relaxed and intimate, apart from me and my aforementioned mate, Max, almost got in a fight with a bunch of kids sat behind us who kept saying loudly to each other "Do you think he'll be sick during this one?", "I saw the Dogs once and Tyla collapsed, it was soooo funny". Things like that. Kinda the usual, like arseholes on message boards complaining that Tyla was better when he was as near to death as the length of a drape coat as he is sober(ish), forgetting that this is someone's life they're living, not a cartoon crutch for your vicarious pleasures. Dicks, T had a case of Chateaux Neuf or however you spell it and spilt half a bottle, either through missing the table when putting it down or just knocking it with his arm when playing his guitar, then they burst into laughter...we were like 'Fuck you.' Oh how funny. Having said that tho, it was pretty damn cool that he can just call to his tech to go get him another bottle. After the gig, to his great commendation, T walks over and sorts things out, like 'There's gonna be no trouble don't care what it's about'...we just thought and I still fugging do for such "die hard" Dogs fans to laugh at him spilling drinks etc etc is sick. The age old Thunders thing on the In Cold Blood book "Yeah yeah I'm gonna die tonight...." and they all cheer, blah blah. I also unwittingly managed to nick Tyla's pint, being all poor n stuff I mineswept a lonesome pint from the bar then the big guy wanders over, proffers a puzzled look and enquires as to who indeed could jolly well have had the bare faced cheek and tenacity to nick his pint. I owned up, but he let me keep it and bought another....musta been a good gig....I also asked him to sign something for me which after a quick scraffle thru my pockets turned up a bank statement which he turned over, looked at, grinned, and said something like 'Shit, you haven't got much money have you?', in the odd, old man's almost Burroughs-esque nails scraping a blackboard gait he sometimes adopted. He also asked where I'd come along from, and extended his thanks politely when I said I'd traipsed along from Manchester. Then he didst wander off somewhere and I did too, probably thanking fuck that he didn't kick off for keifing his pint!
At this gig tho, the man himself wandered over to a few tables after it all had died down, things were being tidied away and people were trailing back onto the streets of Wolverhampton, us included - the last remnants as ever, and muttered in his Sarf Lahnden / Deep South America by way of the English Midlands Texas Drawl "We off to get pissed then?". "Errm okay" replied we. Who's gonna say to the guy, 'No, thanks for asking anyway, actually got an early start in the morning, so I'd rather not go for a beer with your friendly local Dog idol'. Went up to the hotel bar, our T put on his best politest 'I'm really a poet' voice "Would you mind staying open for me and my friends, I've just played a gig downstairs...." and dumps a fucking huge roll on the bar. "What we having then?" "Tetley" says I, "What are you from facking Yorkshire or somethin?" says our hero, "Yeah" says I. Erm, listeners, that was about the sum of our conversation! I fell off me stool at one point, oh me gooawd, don't do that in front of your idols, okay it was (o' course) "Darn't warry mate I always do that too!". The only other piece of chit chat I recall was him regaling us with the very long telephone number type figure which was (is?!) what he owed China Records...something from the half remembered haze suggests £347,856. When there were few fags left amongst the small group, he gave us his keys and bade us go upstairs to his room and get a box, a box of 200 fags, that is, not a pack of 20 like in the UK. Brilliant! Either he was too pissed to care which I rather doubt or he was in a jubilant mood (ecstatic at been back in Wolverhampton perhaps?), or just lazy, but I remember being impressed at the time that he'd trust people to venture into his room with all his shit in....well, Jack (that put paid to the scandalous rumours of the time that he'd been professing to have quit the spirits....tho he has now so he got there in the end. Maybe he got sick of drinking with idiots from Yorkshire who asked him if he'd fancy selling his hat and quit soon after) and a very nice hat, which I recall in stupid drunken fan mode asking if he'd flog it. Not a good idea! Naw, he was polite about it, while probably thinking 'What a twat!' ha ha.
Are we bored yet? I'm having a right old whale of a time, itching ma brain...saw T at York Fibbers, I think sometime like 2000, also great, less boozed, very self deprecating, almost like a fucking stand up show, obviously in great spirits as it were, again acoustic. Tyla meets Tony Hancock bumping into Frankie Howerd at the bar "Ooooooo noooooo, no Jack for me". A kid - no, not me, literally, honestly not me this time - kept shouting for "Wait Till I'm Dead" (obviously methinks a great song. I never saw THATmany Dogs gigs being 12 when Dynamite came out and I first heard the devilish lil barstads, but I don't think they played it live that much, correct me if I'm wrong - and if you've been arsed to read this far!
Awwwww, bless you if you have) and at the end T just laughed and goes "Fack, haven't you gone home yet, mate? I aren't facking playing it!". Some others kept on asking for 'You Can't Put Your Arms Round A Memory' which he didn't even bother to comment on. Silence being louder than words and all that. Should really be able to remember more about this particular gig seen as Max drove down so in a spirit of brotherly stand-togetherness I joined him in only drinking the legal 2 pints (I was probably also woefully skint but hey,) but I can't. Mr T came out for a pint afterwards but this time we declined to bother him, jesus, he probably never knew how lucky he was! I'm sure we heard him call for a lock-in too...just our luck as we weren't fucking drinking. Probably karma from the events in Wolves.
I've see similar things, another gig in Wolves, again Nov 2nd (almost like an annual Tyla day in Wolverhampton back then it seems. I think they should do this. Have a local bank holiday, but then Noddy Holder and the otherSlade boys might get jealous and want their own, too. Just cos they had some hit singles tsk, cheeky blighters, then that twat who did Babylon Zoo would come slithering into view, desperate for another chance at a come-back), perhaps '97 this time, acoustic and T paused during 'Satellite Kid' after the first line - I always recall this to people, mainly people who've never ever heard of The Dogs let alone Tyla and therefore think I'm not all there, maybe I'm not, but Rock'n Roll sounds like heaven to me, so I know which universe I prefer - so yeah, he pauses and I pushed to the front and shouted A G or D, whichever it was, and he just stuck his thumb up, and went something like "Shit, cheers" and carried on! Kinda like 'Kirsten Jet' - gimme an Eeeeeeee...Went to this show, again with Max, but also with a chum from school, Mr Alistair Foy, who wasn't, by any means, a Dog lover. I think he liked things like Chris Rea or something, and he's a lawman now, so it seems likely. Anyway, the sarky so and so amused himself by making observations that Tyla sounds like Rod Stewartand voicing loudly the fact that the songs all use the same chords...in a hall full of partisans I kinda tip my hat, or hair, to that lack of concern and care.
Endured Ginger's godawful cacophonical Clam Abuse cataclysm too, to watch Tyla support at Manchester's Band on the Wall in summer '99, the last time I saw him I think so maybe the York gig was actually '97 or '98....anyway I thought he gave a very disinterested, half-hearted performance...for Tyla to play and wear very boring togs - plain black leather box coat I recall - seems to suggest this to this cat....almost like well it's a short half hour support, it's Ginger's show (if you could call it that) so I'll play a few things n fart about n fuck off with ma drink money...no banter (that I guess the luxury of headlining gives), just a perfunctory trawl through some Dogs classics and 'The Only Girl...' off his then pretty recent 'Nocturnal Nomad' album. I was miffed tho that he didn't play 'Johnny Silvers' despite me shouting myself hoarse for it, which I informed him of, to be rebuffed with a (true) 'I can't play everything'. True, but you could pop in a request. However, my mate Gaz disagrees and thinks the old chap was on top form that night, so maybe I'm wrong or he's just not as discerning as me....I'm sure we'll keep on discussing it over beer n bruises for times to come.
& in T's bestest Ian Hunter voice, or just plain old Honest Ian Hunter voice...
That's aaawwwllll. Bless you all!