beat the music industry, creation, life, my shit

becoming a drummer. day 1.

I packed my rucksack, had a big arsed brekky, exported the rest of the instrumentals and headed off out into the sun.

I walked through town with a bounce in my step. I was feeling good. I had a focus now. Getting back from france last week I hit a rocky bottom immediately. The food and the sun and the good living had come to an end. The morning after landing I found myself in tesco, surrounded by nutrition free lumps of corpse wrapped in plastic. And pesticide laced identical looking vegetables; Gone were the wonky misshapen, beautiful fruits that nature seemed to squeeze out with pleasure. I could no longer pluck them from the vine, still warm from the sun as they squelched their organic goodness directly into my blood stream.

Now, I could unwrap an avocado from Kenya, which had  been force fed chemicals and forced to grow in a factory then shrink wrapped,. stuck on a truck, then a plane. Then a truck, then a warehouse, then another truck and now I was stood in front of it feeling sorry for the poor bastard. There was no goodness left init. They may as well print one out on a 3d printer. And it had probably been injected with something to make it last. When I was picking veg from the potage in france if I didn’t eat it immediatley then with in two days or so it had gone soggy and disgusting. But tesco’s finest veg was probably plucked weeks ago and it still looked unripe. suspicious.

I walked around the strip lighted cube of shrink-wrapped death.
I left. I hid under my duvet for 2 days. The grey poured through my window. The view a derelict building covered in pigeon shit. The smell Subway Meatballs pumping out of a silver chimney. to the left outside of my window a glass panel was still boarded up and the smell of death hung in the air. my neighbour had fallen through it to her death a year ago. I read some Marcus Aurelius. No amount of Stoicism could fend off this paradise hangover.

I ignored all texts and calls.

Is this my reality? Is this the reality I have chosen for myself. A shithole housing association flat. Is this where I want to be as I approach 40? Alone, unloved and unloving, in my pit.

I looked around., half the room was piled full of crap. I didn’t want any of it, but yet couldn’t throw any of it.  The other half of my room contained my studio which I had just set up. 2 large yamaha speakers a consellation prize for 9 years of hard work in my previous band, before we lost a bandmate and it all crumbled to nothing. And the brain of the studio was a mac mini, a computer that used to belong to a friend who died of alcohol related problems. All my leads were crammed into a box which i inherited from my mate’s dead dad’s workshop. A vinyl record of my old defunct band hung on the wall shot to pieces with a gun. sicknote: the johnny no-cash remix. Behind where my exflat mate’s head board used to be there was a wide mass of fading grey / black drips all down to the skirting board. One wall featured a big orangey brown stain about face height that also spread out and dripped downward to about knee height. The place stunk. Lots of holes and cracking plasterboard and big stains and shit on the smelly carpet.

Why am I such a messy cunt.

Surrounded by death and grey.

Luckily I had no time for much musings. I had a deadline. A live gig in 10 days for a project I had never taken live. We had created a collection of songs last winter in the bigger room, when I was set up in there. We released it as an album and a few people got off on it. Not that many. Then we got a booking last month. I flew back from France. And if it wasn’t for the gig I don’t think I would have.

So I snapped out of the gloom over the course of 6 icecreams and a huge dose of Montaigne.

I cleaned the room bit by bit over a day or 3. I met a few friends in cafes and drank tea and talked shit.

Then today I headed down to the crypt: a local rehearsal space for the community. I was presented with a present from my band mate and good mate, Pestis. My first set of drum sticks. Buzzing my tits off. I set up the Crypt’s drum kit. in completely the wrong way. discarding the kick and bringing a tom, snare, crash and the bottom of a hi hat all to about waist height. I stood there surrounded by my new friends. Fuck playing the mouse. Lets GO…..

But,.Could I play?

Dj Slipped Disc Jocky clicked the tunes into motion. Pestis grabbed his 50s style ribbon mic and started to strut his stuff. Flakey adorned her silver waist jewels and began to rotate her hips.

And I smashed the holy fuck out of the drum kit, completely out of time, all over the fucking place, with not a single fucking care in the world.

I will never play a mouse on stage again as long as I live. And i may never fill a pot with compost again….
Who knows whats next…

But for now………………………….

Let the clusterfuck commence.

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life, other people's shit, the sicknote diaries

Sicknote Driver, Dickie Balboa’s House Fire

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Dickie Balboa. Do you remember him? The legend that drove Sicknote around from approximately 2006-2011. He put so much into the band, and although he had a wicked time with us, he got very little back. A true giver in the truest sense or the word. Eventually succeeded by Stevie G, another legend and true giver. I feel these guys gave the most to the project financially, always keeping vans on the road for our benefit, and silently absorbing the costs to ensure the sickness arrived. Anyway he left in 2011, and had to get a job, sell the sick mobile and sort his situation out. I think he was feeling under-appreciated and his personal circumstances were in dire need of some attention. Dickie then became a charity bag collector. Delivering the bags one week and collecting them the following week, for British Heart Foundation. It helped that he was a hoarder, his house was notorious for being full of junk. From floor to ceiling in most rooms. He used some of this junk to ensure the charity was getting it’s quota, but still worked flat out, usually starting his rounds at 4am each day. He worked his balls off. He paid off his debts, and managed to save a little bit. Dickie, being Dickie, stashed his little savings at home. He wasn’t one to leave it all in a bank. Fuck the system. So he had it stashed in a box buried deep within his junk upstairs. It would take a thief days to find it.

At the end of last year, Dickie opened his back door, and some kind of back draft thing happened. The open fire, that was blazing away his winter chill, spat out a ball of flames right up the wall and across the ceiling. He stood upon a bench and began to pat the wall and ceiling out, but managed to pretty badly burn his forearm. It was no use, in a matter of seconds the entire kitchen ceiling was alight. He headed for the stairs to retrieve his little stash, but the fire was spreading fast. He stepped outside to survey the situation, and then decided on one last mad dash. A neighbour was passing and grabbed him, thankfully, and stopped him going in. He dragged him to the opposite side of the road and they watched as the entire house went up in flames. The fire brigade came and put it out. The roof was gone. Every window melted. The doors gone. All of his belongings. Money. Everything reduced to a smouldering pile of soot. The only thing he had was the clothes he stood in, and his Sherpa van parked outside.

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The neighbourhood, Abertridwr, an odd dead-end village in the valleys near Caerphilly pulled together in ways that help build faith in humanity. These are people without a pot to piss in. And they are giving everything they haven’t got. The local pub landlord gave a room for people to drop off donations. The community were dropping in fridges, sofas, money. Scaffolding companies put up free scaff on the remainder of the bricks. And they began to raise money with local and online collections. Everybody, even people who didn’t personally know him put money in the pot, and although not a lot of money, it afforded Dickie some emergency help with his basic needs. Friends cleared out their spare rooms and he is staying locally with the friendliest and most colourful insane characters. He had always said he needed a clear out.

here is the news article with the link to the local donations (now expired – £835, spilt between Dickie and his neighbours)

I got the bus up there before christmas and done a couple days work. It was fucking hardcore. I thought it was game over, but no, he was determined to build his house back. If you had seen it you would have no doubt agreed with me, that this was impossible. There was fuck all left. Piles of black shit. Collapsed black ceilings, Stairs black and hanging off wall. And not much else. The roof was gone, save a few burnt beams, and the rain pissed through, making it all a smelly, soggy, pile of black ash. When I first arrived he was stood covered in black soot, arm bandaged, soaking wet carrying buckets of black shit, what was his belongings, and dumping them in a donated skip outside. Somehow still cracking jokes. Determined and full of life as usual. My second visit, a roofing company was on board, and a delivery of donated roof tiles turned up. It was me and Keithy Cammando’s job to get the tiles up the scaff to the roof. Killer job. The roofers were unbelievably fast, and the new roof was fitted in an afternoon. Drenched, sweaty and fucked, I got some chips and got the bus back home.

That was over a month ago. I went back last night. The upstairs had windows fitted, a new staircase was in. Scaffolding gone. Aside from that and the inside looking a little cleaner, it was still an absolute bomb site, with all downstairs windows and doors yet to bet fitted and nothing inside but burned walls. The rain poured down hard, it seems to never stop in Abertridwr. I located Dickie at his friends house up the road, and he invited me in. A fat dog with a squashed face and short legs yelped and squeaked and jumped all over me. Dickie’s arm had recovered well, but his hands were ground down in places to fleshy bloody cracked sores, and the rest of his skin was covered in the soot. He looked knackered. He was rebuilding his home from scratch with hardly any tools and relying on help from anyone who would offer it.

We had a cup of tea, and in true Dickie style, he had us laughing our arses off in no time. And yes, Dickie being Dickie, there was no insurance. He had bought the house in the 80s. Never insured it. Never contents or buildings insurance. Nothing. Basically everything he ever had was literally up in smoke. He had to give up his job to dedicate himself to the task at hand, and is relying on handouts from his local community. Completely mental. Never seen anything like it.

So, the Tribe, if it wasn’t for Dickie we wouldn’t have cut our teeth across the country in the early days of the band and gathered up the following and the scene which ensued. I’m not sure who knows Dickie, but I do know those who have met him, love him. He is a true gent and was a total father figure for Sicknote, always in the background making sure it all went off. A true giver, who deserves help. So I’m asking you to chip in. Even a single penny will help. There is nothing too small. The state he is in at the moment even a tin of Aldi beans is a true help. Help him out, a couple of pennies will do, and whatever we get together I will take up to him at the end of the month and make sure he’s got some money from the Tribe to help him move on from this complete nightmare.

If you donate, I will write your name, every single name, in a big card and put the money in the card. I’ll update every night or two (with screen shots of paypal) with how much we’ve got and a list of donators for that day (unless you’d rather stay anonymous). I plan to take the cash in a card up to him at the end of February, and hopefully by then we’ll have a lump. I think this is the way forward, I know he’d be embarrassed if he knew we were doing this. But it’s about time he received. His local community helped, and now it’s our turn! I thought I’d set this up and see what happens, if it fails, as I’m aware he wasn’t that well known and was never in people’s faces, then so be it. But even if it’s £50 I take up to him, I know it will help. He slipped into the conversation last night that the windows downstairs were about £200 each and he needed outer doors too. So my target is £500 to bring to him. If it’s less or mOre! then so be it.

Flakey has just set up a Facebook group to share ideas to help him out, here.

If anyone has any other ideas drop me a message, or just turn up at his house, and help him out! Abertridwr Street in Abertridwr (you can’t miss it). It’s been a few months and it’s a long way off from being liveable. Chuck a penny in and Help the legend that is Dickie Balboa here or press button below. THANK YOU!

THE KARMA OF DICKIE BALBOA

target £500 by March 1st 2016:………

RAISED SO FAR:

£ 1104.53

[updated daily]

DONATE!

People who have chipped in:

Nick Bray, Paul Bevan, Nick Walker, Joe Marvelly, Eleanor Burns, Stevie G, Jason Doghouse, Karl Parkinson, Johanna Hartwig, Matthew Downes, Rev & Flakey, Dom Atreides, Andy Thimbleberry, Victoria Leadbeater, Toby Evans, Joe Goddard, Julia Round, David Sheppard, Becci Barker, Theodore Ellinas, Gina Wathen, Lesely Haywood, AM Bligh, Mouse and Badger, Jason Phillips, Stuart Forsyth, Paul Hardy, David Newton-del-Campo, Luise Tomlins, Craig Lee, Mark Deer, Crocker, Stephen Cuky Cooke, Swag Minal, Hobaps and Major Triadz, Karl Baker, Sare Bear, Anna Doolan, John Garton, Ange n Mark, Annabel Tinks Neilson, Keith Harman, Rebecca Gould, Philip Crisp, Les Wilkins, Caroline Richards, Sian Richards, Jessika Burridge, La Laure, Lorraine Boyle, Fozzys, Heather Casey, Emma Money-Kyrle, Julie Kirk, Simon Betts, Joanne Taylor, Emma Barnes, Stephen Reed, Rowena Brook, Caroline Tomlinson, Joel Morris, Yin Hau, Janine Palmer, Michelle Nicholson, Maja Palser, Tina Price, Audrey Jackson, Megan Dugmore, Robin Weallans, Gavin Bolton, Timothy Barker, Julie Acorn, Paul Riddell, Geraint Short, ………..

thanks to every one of you.  we will put all your names in a card with the cash. x

here is Dickie’s living room:

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life

Sleaford Mods Cardiff

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Sleaford Mods live in CF10 Cardiff Uni. This venue is a total pile of shit. Only the first 2 rows could see / hear anything and the stage was 12 feet away, separated by a barrier which served to make us feel we were watching the band in a goldfish bowl. The first rows were loving the gig, and even dancing. The rest of the venue was packed with old punks with their misses on one arm and a pint of bitter in the other, nodding along to the dirty grooves of Andrew Fearn’s laptop. A friend who had travlled hundreds of miles slipped in front of the barrier to get a photo and was tossed out onto the street by the meat head bouncers.

I managed to fight my way to the front and worked my self up into a sweaty heap. During a toilet break i noticed how packed the venue was with Sicknote fans. and it took me a good 15 minutes to piss, after catching up with many old faces i aint seen since the ascension of Dr Conker.

I got in the mosh pit for one last bounce, this time to the excellent TWEET TWEET TWEET.

On the way out i thought, you know, i dont drink anymore, so it wont hurt to spend a few quid on my fave new band. I kitted myself out with a banging new Tshirt and Vinyl… the Excellent Chubbed Up + LP. RECOMMENDED.

when i got home, still buzzin, i dug out a video i had stole off youtube of Jason Williamson, the front man, having a rant for the NME Christmas Message. I remember thinking i should put it to music when i first heard it back in December. So i chopped him up and made this bouncy electro tune.

After tweeting the band several times to see if they minded if i uploaded it, i was getting no reply. i didnt wanna get on their tits as i knew they were on tour so i just left the vid on my hardrive, gagging to share it, but held out. Then they dropped me a reply one night…..

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 18.31.10

so i whack it up on youtube and soundcloud as a little freebie and it quickly became the most viewed thing on Tantrum Youtube Channel this year.

https://soundcloud.com/flapsandwich/fuckoffs

hope you like it. looking for more shit to remix / collab with. any suggestions drop in the comments below. nice one THANKS for listening

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creation, my shit

Breaking on Through the Creative Block

After the demise of Sicknote and the loss of many friends, a lonely 2014 and a total head fuck, i struggled to get creative. The main focus and the main passion and my raison d’etre had disappeared. After so many years giving every waking moment to that i was completely lost. In 2015 i plan to turn that around. I am going to produce music and experiment in many new projects and throw myself into the unknown.

I love the Doors. I thought remixing them would be blasphemy. but i had a play around. Yesterday i decided to finish up Break On Through which has been half finished on my hard drive for most of 2014… but in the spirit of my new years resolution, i decided to upload it even though i wasnt 100% happy with it… Overcoming this need for perfection which seems to hold me back. This is the 3rd song i’ve finished this year so far. i’ll keep posting things up as i do them and also talk about my new process (in another post – don’t wanna bore you here). So here it is, i shouldn’t have gone there, but i did, and the reactions huge, so fuck it. ENJOY!

http://youtu.be/lgrYERe6nbI

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life, my shit

DO YOU LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE?

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Thinking the other day, what do i love about this place, Cardiff, i been living in for 13 years?
‘Fuck all’ sprung to mind initially. But, you know, it’s that sort of thinking that makes a place shit. Manchester and Bristol and Berlin are legendary because when you go there everyone bigs it up, they love it, accept it, with all it’s flaws and this attitude makes the place fucking buzz and grow. Even if it is a shit hole, the attitude seems to overcome, and ignite a magic into the streets and minds of everyone who visits.

Lots of people you talk to in Cardiff say it’s shit, i’ve been guilty of it myself. I’ve had my ups and downs here, made lots of enemies and lots of great friends. Organised hundreds of events and been lucky to have been involved with some amazing people and projects.

graffiti-banner

Maybe it’s time to big up our City and learn to love the place where we reside. Put this place on the map, as the friendliest and most unique place in the UK, The capital city of Wales. A fucking gem….. With friendly weird folks, huge parks, wonderful street characters, independent businesses, local artists and bands, arcades and markets, people from all over the world, loads of graffiti popping up and more and more people organising their own stuff. Our city is full of character, let’s hope it keeps growing that way……

Welcome to Planet Cardiff.

check out the new shizzle i been working on with my mate here… http://goo.gl/R8Bw8k

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life

I HATE MY OWN VOICE

A Fog of shame enveloped me as i realised i sounded like a total TWAT.  I had just clicked play online, of an interview of my band, live from Eden Festival in Scotland. The fan base was big, and we were headlining, and just on the tail end of smashing up a Scottish Tour. I was over excited, and doing my nervous / trying to be cool thing, of swearing every other word. Sat at home listening i was horrified. It was embarrassing. I cringed like i’d never cringed before. I painfully listened til the end. I was choked. Does everyone hate their own voice as much as me?

When Doghouse, our front man, spoke he was calm, collected, and came up with quips which were mysterious and left you gagging for more. He also had a knack for telling a story. When Johnny No-Cash spoke, he sounded just like the Drunken posh bloke from the Fast Show. And then the mic was shuvved back into my chops and i blurted out fucking this fucking that, incomplete stories, random shit, no cohesiveness, and talking total codshite that definitely did not connect. I seriously needed to sort this out. Embarrassing.

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A few weeks later i joined a Speaker’s Club in Cardiff – probably one of the scariest journeys i have ever been on, I shit you not! I’ve never shaken so much as when i stood up in front of the 26 mainly retired people on the first night. Far more scary than playing on stage to 4000 ravers, i tell thee! I shuffled around behind the lectern and was handed a slip of paper by a random hand from nowhere. Everyone clapped. I unfolded the piece of paper and in pen it was written, “HANDICAP”.

The timer was hit by an old saggy geezer with thick specs who sat to my left and 52 staring eyes blinked in unison and awaited my performance.

I turned purple. I then began to shrink! The crowd’s bodies began to elongate, concaving up and arching over me. All the background noise was somehow sucked out of the room. Everyone was peering down at me, as i quivered behind the lectern. I sweated in the horrible silence for what seemed to be a few life times, and then just shouted out “HANDICAP!!”

I had 3 minutes to freestyle on this word. I dribbled, coughed, and managed about a minute of jumbled up words about a guy in a wheelchair who was being thrown around and upside down in a mosh pit at our recent Glasgow gig. I also managed to swear at the lovely elderly people, and left them blinking in silence. Than i walked off making a funny wheezing sound and then ran out of the room. For some reason they all started to applaud.

TERRIFYING. I went back to speakers club for a few months and managed to tame this raging fear a little, i’m no expert, but i started to learn to love the fear. This was the key to overcoming it. LOVE IT. It started to become a buzz. i was getting off on the FEAR! I’ll tell you more about it soon.

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A god friend of mine is teaching out in Cambodia at the moment and some of his students are putting together a website. They asked me a few questions for their site and this is what i said. You may be amazed by the improvement in my interview technique! But i kind of cheated a bit. This one was by email!

Name: Flapsandwich

Music Genre: Techno

What do you try and say with your music?

i like to rip people out of their reality and make them visit a new universe i made. Leave it all behind and come check this out!

What would you say is your biggest challenge as an artist?

Honing the craft of music writing and production. Being heard in a quagmire of millions of music makers. Oh, and trying to pay all the moaning people who need money from me,

If you could sing one song on American idol (or any music competition equivalent) what would it be?

Fluffy Puppy Rainbow Flower

If you were 80 years old what would you want to tell your grandchildren?

I helped millions of people travel to new dimensions, forgetting their thoughts and worries, like a meditation with bass n bleeps. this helped everyone feel better, so most of them never came back.

If you could live anywhere on the planet where would you want to live?

Anywhere is good for me. I like warm places, with forests and lakes.

If you could choose anyone to be your imaginary friend who would you choose and why?

Probably Joe Meek, the finest music producer that ever lived, the inventor of the home studio. Watch his movie Telstar to learn more.

What would you want to say to any of your fans out there?

Be vulnerable, be creative, be happy, but most of all, be trust worthy.

Who is your favorite musician?

Die Antwoord, love their exciting, boundary pushing productions.

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my shit, the sicknote diaries

Conker Tribute Tee

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Amazing New T-Shirt to remember the legend, Dr Conker –
Ltd to 100 T-shirts, selling out very fast.
get yours now herehttp://sickmerch.bigcartel.com

also new Breaking Bad style “Chemistry” Tee just in stock, i fucking loves it…
Chemical-mens-02

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