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Monday, 29 March 2004
Tearjerkers to reform?

Despite a claim elsewhere on the web that the band were about to re-enter a studio to do some recordings and also, possibly, contemplate some live performance, I can say with certainty that this will not take place, at least so far as I'm concerned.

Instead, I shall be concentrating on NEW Blue Rhythm material. The third project, Technology's "Backlash" EP, is almost ready to roll. A Technology page will be added to the Blue Rhythm site shortly, and they will also be launching their own web pages imminently. A link to the official Technology site will be announced here ASAP.

Posted by bluerhythmaudio at 1:12 PM GMT
Thursday, 19 February 2004
A message to you, Ellie.
I've been following the ongoing "debate" here with amused detachment, if only because that amusement comes from a daily does of 'argument' that appears, quite often, to have been one rung up the evolutionary ladders from "my dick's bigger than your dick". It isn't accidental that I've been following it because, as you know Ellie, you 'tipped off' the guest book at the Tearjerkers site about the ongoing 'debate' you instigated here and appear determined to start a "flame war" between ourselves and Brian Young, as well as SLF and Brian, because it has been suggested we -the Tearjerkers- and SLF "ripped off Rudi". Apart from one interjection relating to the Tearjerkers post-Harp appearances (on which I included my email address, something you've been a little more coy about, girl) I've resisted what little temptation I felt to contribute because it's rather pointless to engage with someone who freely confesses her own lack of knowledge and confesses to knowing the Tearjerkers only throught their "Love Affairs" (sic) single (the 'affair' was singular). However as you've continued to harangue us on our own site and spoil for a fight, I've opted to respons, both here and there. No disrespect intended to Rudi, but I would imagine that all of us were influenced by groups a little further up the food chain than our local contemporaries. In that respect I'd disagree with Brian, in so much as I never had any need to rip Rudi off and had an entirely different set of influences anyway (including, would you believe, rockabilly!). That is no basis for a flame war, however. That's a different opinion. End of story. Nothing will deflect from my view that Rudi were a fine, fine pop band whose music I enjoyed and whose records I own. On vinyl AND CD. The only time I ever felt envy was when I heard 'Crimson' on a Peel session and thought "I wish I'd written that". I ran into Brian at a gig a few days later and told him, to his face (something else you appear coy to do) what a great song it was. Sure, we were all competitive, but there was no antipathy there, despite your apparent wish to create some. All this said, I don't think Rudi were as good as the mighty Sabrejets whose "retro greaser" music (was that how you, or someone else, put it?) I've been downloading as mp3s from the soundclick site. (Brian, if you're reading, why only three? Give us more!). If you checked the Tearjerkers guestbook more carefully you'd have discovered Paul Mac has been doing the same. Why? It's great. It hits the spot. Try judging the three minutes of noise on the three minutes of noise, not because you perceive that you might be able to get a wee row going to fill up an apparently otherwise empty life. Antipathy? Dislike? No. Respect. Enough respect to link to Rudi's site from our own. Take people's advice, Ellie. Read more, hear more, experience more. And judge less.

Posted by bluerhythmaudio at 10:30 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 19 February 2004 10:57 AM GMT
Wednesday, 14 January 2004
The Harp Bar incident (as I recall it)
I never think about it, but I've been asked about it since the "Spit" book came out, simply because it's highlighted and, furthermore, Guy and Sean suggest that it was instigated by another band jealous of us.

I'm not convinced. It seemed to me, then, that a culture of violence around punk was growing in general. These were the days when it had grown fairly big, remember and was front page news. Rotten got a hiding, simply for looking like he did, as I remember, and The Clash Ulster Hall (cancelled) gig had kind of turned it into a more obviously violent thing.

Seems that the polemic of the terminally stupid can always make itself heard, eh?

Back to the Harp...

I learnt much of what I know on a bass guitar from MacCartney, including that E fifth fret 'A' to A twelfth fret 'A' thing he does all over the mid-sixties stuff. 'Rain', for example. I was still sticking it on tracks we recorded in 1980, with Wings guitarist Laurence Juber producing. In fact, dammit, I still use the same trick even now...not that I play or care much for bass guitar much. Anyway...I did this run when there was an almight "ba doing!" noise off the fretboard. Nigel gave me this "what the fuck are you playing at?" looks, at which point I realised that a pint glass (the type with the handle) had shattered off the fretboard just where my hand had been. I still own that bass and it still bears the scars. Forunately, I don't.

From there, all hell kicked off. It's all a blur for a while. More glasses might have been thrown, but it was obvious that we'd have to stop and get the gear out. It was getting dangerous. For ourselves, obviously, but also for anyone caught in the crossfire. Anyone who was there will remember the stage was in the far corner of the Harp, and getting gear out meant running the gauntlet and getting it down the stairs.

On one of my trips out to the van I spotted a UDR foot patrol at the end of Hill Street, told them what was kicking off inside and asked if they could call the cops. They did, and I went back in to get more gear out. Things were really ugly by this point. My first concern was to get our hard-earned gear out safely, which meant not getting into a full scale fight too quickly. But by the time I went back in Paul Mac, Paul Maxwell and Brian appeared to have abandoned that in favour of getting stuck in. So I joined them.

What's recorded is that Paul Mac received a "hand wound". What's not been previously recorded is that he got that lamping some gangly tit who went down like a sack of potatoes squealing "you split my lip!". Maxwell, who also needed stitches, was whacked with a glass from behind by some hero lacking the balls to challenge him face on.

The cavalry arrived into the middle of this wild west scene, truncheons drawn and giving no quarter. We got the rest of the gear out and headed for the City Hospital, where both Pauls were patched up. Then back to Maxwell's flat...I think. Someone's house, anyway, where a discussion on the evening's events began.

What's not true is that we never played Belfast again. We played the Harp in March 79, I think. I'm guessing, but we did the Good Vibrations Tour at Easter 79, so the Harp had to be before that, and we'd only started gigging in February. So we hadn't been going long by the time the Harp rolled around. This is why I'd be a little sceptical about the "jealousy" theory. I don't reckon we'd been going long enough for anyone to get jealous of our 'success'. What success? We'd recorded a single for Good Vibes, but it still hadn't been released at that point. But mere weeks after the Harp we played The Pound on the Good Vibes Easter Tour. And we played the university a couple of times.

So, no, I don't really think another band instigated the Harp incident. It was the spirit of the times, more. Stupid, of course, whatever the motivation. If they'd disapproved there was booing, slow hand-clapping or whatever. With some forethought it would be possible to see that as a possibly much more humiliating experience. But if it was planned, it wasn't planned by anyone particularly bright. In that respect there's a couple of names spring to mind...

Posted by bluerhythmaudio at 3:05 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2004 12:07 PM GMT
Friday, 9 January 2004
It makes you want to spit!
The book, 'It makes you want to spit', was launched just before Christmas, and four of The Tearjerkers (Hamilton, Maxwell, Mac and I) attended the launch. It's available from the publisher's (reekus) online shop at should you wish to purchase a copy.

It's a good read, for anyone interested in the scene of which we were part, and credit has to go to Sean and Guy, the authors, for seeing through their labour of love.

Guy...or Sean...I can't remember which, asked us if we'd like to play at the launch party. These sort of offers have been made before and always rejected. We got asked to do a festival in France three years ago, but it was vetoed immediately. And the offer of a festival somewhere in England (Cambridge? Paul Mac received the offer, so you'd have to ask him exactly where)THIS year has already been turned down.

Initially we accepted the launch gig but then, as usual, couldn't agree on the style or format. Both Pauls and I had run down some of the old 'hits' in the late summer prior to working them up in a full amplified band configuration. They sounded fine, once we'd re-learnt them, but as time went on we felt less enthusiastic about the whole idea, simply because all three of us had moved on, and away, from that sound, that style, that time.

I floated the idea of an acoustic set. I like 'wooden' music, as The Band or David Crosby once referred to acoustic music. Sounding like The Band, rather than The Banned, would interest and excite me. Thrashing through your songs of yesteryear....there's something sad about it. Something wholly tragic.

But the Pauls reckoned (and were proven correct on the night of the gig) that the whole purpose was precisely to plug into some kind of high energy recollection of youth.

Personally, I wish we'd stuck out for the acoustic set. It would have been a better two-fingered salute to what was expected of us, or anyone else, on the night. A more lucid 'punk' attitude.

You want to pogo? Well, **** off, we're going to do some fingerpicking, so sit down cross-legged on the floor, quit yer whinging and roll up a doobie...clearly the punk drug of choice on the evidence of the evening.

You see, I always thought of 'punk' as an attitude rather than a haircut or a pair of bondage trousers. Lydon was a true punk in that sense, in that he jumped to PIL, which confused some people stuck in the hinterlands of The Exploited.

The proper punk thing to have done at the launch party would have been the acoustic set, not some dodgy authentic cabaret run through of well-known numbers. Resorting to that would have been, well, pathetic really.

Posted by bluerhythmaudio at 8:13 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2004 12:00 PM GMT

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