Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Garage and where are we now?

(..and what have we been doing here anyway?)

So what the fuzz pedal have we been doing here at The Garage in the first place.
First I should explain that for the first 25 years of my life I've been involved in music as a gigging and recording musician. Starting out after Art School in early 1972, which was fairly much an independent but well trodden path for a young man that ended up in rock and roll over the last half of the 20th Century and can be seen looking as far back as Lennon and Sutcliffe's early Art School days in the late 50's. It still does for some leaving art school today but is less common now.

I decided then to swing these garage doors open on all those collected records and moments that could be celebrated and remembered throughout those decades in our lives then. Especially as so many were now leaving us and that old world behind.
Also with any luck along the way, find new young bands that were keeping a spirit and artistic freedom alive in the rock and roll tradition at a time when it's most needed. The new psychedelic movement is rising wonderfully well to meet that challenge.
And so being a true product of the last half of the 20th Century I was witness to some of the most dynamic and creatively free music ever made. It's as the 21st Century rolled into view and through it's first decade that it became more than obvious the rise of corporate business was going to dictate much of this future of the "post rock and roll" era as some have termed it.
At the time I started this blog the son of an old mate of mine questioned how I was recording my stuff to the computer hard drive. What was I using? Where did it come from? How did you figure it?
Well as I'd been programming and running music websites for the latter 25 years I asked Simon if he'd like to come along to my studio (nicknamed 'The Garage' at the time) and we'd set something up.
And the best way to learn anything is on a need to know basis.
That was the beginning of The Garage proper. Simon Costello and his lead guitar joined me in creating rock and roll for the shear joy of making it.
No fame or fortune here. No ego or puffing up names. Just rock and Roll for the hell of it. And created in the traditional method made pretty much in one take and as raw analogue as we could. It all gets mashed to digital eventually but at least it starts out with the right intent. Rock is raw music. It got tricky later.
My biggest challenge was then to contain Simon's natural Metal instinct to shred any lead solo into oblivion just long enough for him to be influenced and capture the feel and nuance of how lead players have worked over the last 60 years. He rolled back the years and played a blinder.

Finally the added bonus was when our musical influence needed to go a little wider with some vocals and we were joined by a girl in a million, Sylvia Rae Tracey. The wife of a good friend and top jazz musician who made her young start in music with her sisters in a band from Edinburgh in the mid 80's. A formidable group of uncompromising Scottish gals who made music for their era.
Sylvia would have seen through any bullshit if our reasons hadn't been true.
She took up our challenge of singing rock and roll on tunes she'd never even heard of and just let it roll out. It was just the greatest fun. We had 3 generations of musicians born in the last half of the 20th Century making music for all the right reasons.

And now our tribute to 20th Century rock and roll is on Soundcloud which you can access on The Garage Soundcloud page. All tracks are free to stream and download of course.
We recorded some original tracks and some covers especially for Sylvia to work on in 2012. These are only available on YouTube. We call these videos 'Installations'.
Then in 2012 we worked out on a few Metal tracks with an early style of 70's heavy rock influence for Simon's lead fingers to shred before he marches on into the 21st Century trying to hold back something that's now been coined as "post metal". Whatever that is going to turn out to be.
Lastly but not least we released 'Game Of Dreams'. An album of progressive psychedelic tracks we produced in 2013. Which, Valis at KDHX radio played and supported on his superb radio show - 'Trip Around The House' and which he later included a track from us on his 2013 compilation sampler. Valis is a rare and genuine supporter of the true psychedelic underground and deserves all the support he gets.

So that's it. If we can keep The Garage doors open longer we will. That's mainly down to me being able to stand up right, but I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving the computer archive in good hands with Simon and he'll hopefully put a new blog that comes from this 21st century (as well as his favourite metal bands) and a few sounds of his own creative freedom.
Over the last 4 years we paid tribute and homage to some of the great music of the last half of the 20th Century and made it in the way rock and roll was meant to be made. No BS. Not for money. Not for the ego. Just for fun. This was a good band and just like many others over the decades it "never even made it out of The Garage". This time it didn't need to. In the 21st Century we had the internet.

Many, many thanks to the thousands that have dropped into The Garage over the past 3 or so years. It's about the right amount of time for any garage band to exist.

So long guys.
A.P.Smith Imber