By Phil Spalding – June 2022
The Albert Hall all to myself; who would have ever thought it?
What a journey from starting to play with the pub rock and north London (before Bernie Torme Band) soul scene of whom Gonzalez and Kokomo were undoubtedly the leaders. You had Headquarters (Steve Salvari) who then, in time, morphed into Central Line and Lynx, the oft forgotten Moon lead by Noel McCalla at The Brecknock, also FBI and Osibisa who often supported Kokomo at The Roundhouse.
God knows what they’ve done to the Roundhouse as, in its amphitheater type state sounded fabulous out front; it now sounds ‘poor’ and ‘tinkly’ at best. I saw Heaven 17 and B.E.F. there not so long ago and the sound was bloody abysmal. The Average White Band who, if you were lucky to get in, used to fill The Marquee to bursting but started, like The Stranglers, at The Torrington (just after North Finchley on the Finchley Road where I was later to meet The Toyah Band’). If it hadn’t have been for these bands and venues I’d have probably stayed at Lloyd’s Bank and retired FAT and 50. Instead I’m just FAT !!!
The doctor has asked my to try and lose 20kgs as the conditions I have may kill me before the next 5-6 years pass. So it’s back to the gym, hard work rowing, walking, cycling and whatnot. This is the reason I’m not with Roger on tour; they couldn’t get me insured having Multiple Myeloma and COPD. The blessings that have arrived though; Rome the week after next, Toulouse in August and I’m having my 65th birthday at The Backstage in Paris (for those of you who can make it Saturday Nov 4th !!). YES (with my friend Shanne Bradley) in Birmingham Symphony Hall were an absolute delight last Friday. I’ll never get tired of “Close To The Edge,” “Heart Of The Sunrise,” “Starship Trooper” et al, et all. All the way through the gig (every 5 minutes) I could hear a lick that I’ve incorporated into my playing.
Saw the lads afterwards (even though Steve insisted we speak from 6 feet away!) and they’re still chugging along, not prepared to get off of the hamster wheel YET !! BUT BE CAREFUL … This business kills you, if you’re not careful!!!
I wanna get my books done before I cop it from these f*****g conditions; at least I’m ready to meet my maker, something from which I take solace. Pray people, PRAY and live your life ONE DAY AT A TIME … praying will get you through the worst times and open up spaces for … well, WHO KNOWS?
Only him up there knows AND I’m not spending the rest of my life in vans, on coaches, in airports, limos, on airplanes, living off ‘the rider’, sound checking and endlessly playing the same f*****g songs I’ve played for 40 years.
There’s a life out there .. time to go and GRAB IT and enjoy the years I have left. Thank God for PPL which gives me, come what may, a comfortable living. PHEW THATS IT FFS … I’m already f****d and it’s raining cats and dogs here in South Wilts.