Tuesday, December 24, 2013

“Under A Banner”

Today’s piece is about a fantastic band called “Under A Banner”, and if you don’t know who they are you outta be ashamed of yourself. Now click here to read all about them and their music…go on…I’ll wait until you’re done before moving on.

Here’s the discussion I had with Adam (vocals, guitar), everything you wanted to know, and some you didn’t, but all in all it was awesome.

1. How did the name “Under A Banner” come about?

I came up with the name Under A Banner over 10 years ago when I played solo under that name after leaving another band. I wanted it to hint at a series of nameless causes and suggest music with passion, meaning and worth.

2. What, or who, is your inspiration?

We made our Twitter blurb '... and lovers of everything worth anything.' Meaning that we take inspiration from all corners. There are far too many bands to name as influences but, speaking personally: The Cure, Joni Mitchell, New Model Army, Tool and many more. The other guys are into metal, blues, alternative and, once again, many more.

3. Have you ever thought about just taking the easy path in the music business and letting a team or producers/writers make your music for you, while you danced around like a bunch of trained monkeys in matching outfits?

No ; )  That kind of 'music' is for the young and impressionable. I'd rather not, thanks.

4. You guys have a very mellow and deep vibe about you, you get your message across without yelling and/or ramming it down people’s throats like some other bands/musicians do, you’re kind of like a grandpa…has anyone ever told you that before?

Ha ha!  We have some very strong opinions about politics, culture and the less savory facets of humanity in general. These will, I'm sure, surface in time. We only hint at them now as that's how our songs have shaped themselves thus far. Things change.

5. What bands, if any, would you like to collaborate and/or tour with in the future?

I've always wanted to work with a string/orchestral ensemble of sorts, not necessarily a full philharmonic set up. Japanese drummers would be fun to work with too.

6. You guys don’t plan on dying of a drug overdose once you make it big; do you, because we would all hate to see you go the way of Blind Melon and the many other bands that took a similar path?

Well, life's for living. Our drugs of choice include real ale, cider, red wine, coffee and cake. Not heroin!

7. Who writes the music/lyrics?

I write the lyrics and the skeletons of our songs. The band then takes these frameworks and fleshes them out.

8. What are your feelings towards the music business today?

The music business (as far as I can discern) is fraught with traps and blind alleys; there'll always be unscrupulous people all too willing to exploitatively trade in others' dreams. Having said this, there's still art to be made and new ways and places to make it. We're holding out hope for something of a revolution.

9. Miley Cyrus, out of control, or are the people just upset because she’s not the “Miley Cyrus” character they’ve come to know from the Disney show?

In my opinion (having never met MC) she seems no less balanced than anyone of her age of I've met. the whole thing could just be a very successful publicity stunt. Perhaps...

10. Speaking of Miley, would you twerk it with her like Robin Thicke did at the VMAs, why or why not?

I don't think an appearance on the same stage is the kind of image we're trying to portray. I'd twerk in the Bodleian library though ; )

11. How do you feel about people sharing your music online, are you okay with it, or are you like Lars Ulrich (of Metallica) where you believe nothing in life is free and if the people want to hear your tunes they need to pay a brother?

I think it's now too late to cram that particular genie back in its bottle. Thus far, we've been grateful for the frequency with which others have shared our music. The money seems to be in live performances and merchandise; we're endeavoring to make those too as appealing as possible. Our artist friend Susan Omand is doing a grand job with the art.

12. What are some of the bands/musicians you listen to?

Between the 4 members of the band we listen to all manner of alternative rock (The Cure , The Levellers, NMA, etc.) Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Seth Lakeman, Ambrozijn. stacks of great metal (Slayer, Metallica, Trivium, Sabbath etc., lots of classic and contemporary prog rock, lots of folk, quite a bit of classical, blues and Status Quo ; )

13. How bad would it feel to be a one hit wonder?

I wouldn't have a problem with being a 'one hit wonder' providing the one 'hit' we'd had was honest and credible. I'm incapable of writing something I can't love.

14. Would you ever allow someone to remake one of your songs?

It would be an honor if someone remade one of our songs - the quirkier the better!

15. Please tell me you guys know better than to use pyrotechnics in a club; we don’t want another Great White on our hands?

Smoke and lights are sufficient for us. I'd love a shadow puppet show playing out the thematic scenes of some of our songs.

16. Underground or mainstream, where would you like to see Under A Banner?

I've always thought that there's honor in remaining largely underground but popping one's head above the parapet from time to time just so folks don't forget the name.

17. Where are you guys from?

We pride ourselves on all being west Midlands boys. In my opinion our part of the UK hasn't raised a great alternative band for a long time. Maybe it's time for that to change.

18. In your music are women bitches or beauty queens?

The old maxim 'there's good and bad in everybody' is true. Some of the people referred to in in negative terms our lyrics are male, others female. How's that for tact.

19. What message would you like people to take away from your music?

Our songs have many ‘messages’. Often there are several conflicting messages within one song. We only hope that people don't misinterpret any of these messages and see them as possessing ill-intent. The intention isn't to preach but rather to present a series of reactions and interpretations to the human, natural and supernatural worlds.

20. For all your fans, like me, when can we expect to get some new music from you?

We have some free music to give away right now http://underabanner.bandcamp.com/ the third and final installment is on its way within the week. These tracks were recorded from the sound desk at a recent live show. We begin work on our second album on January 18th and this should be available by Spring 2014.

Now that you heard what the band had to say, go check them out and spread their name around like fertilizer, because by doing so you will see the amazing flowers that will grow as a result of it.

Their website:  www.underabanner.co.uk


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

“Adults Blame the Darndest Things…Diddly Doo Bop Dop Beebop Jello Puddin Pops”

Adults will blame just about anything for the current state of the world, well except for themselves of course, because no one ever likes to take the blame when things go wrong.

There are the main culprits like movies/television, music and the latest entertainment medium to get the unfairly pointed finger of blame video games, but these would all be considered the reason kids go all nuts like a can of Planters not adults, at least for the most part anyway.

For us adults the list would consist of things like guns, money and a person’s faith, you know the things we “can’t” control.

First off, people need to stop blaming guns for killing people; it's the people that are killing people, not the guns. Now I'm not some gun loving crazy like Yosemite Sam, Ted Nugent or Dick Cheney, I’m just a logically thinking individual who knows that even if you were to ban all the guns in the world people who want to kill will still find a way to do so.

Sure the other methods won’t be as easy, or as macho depending on the kind of person we’re talking about here, but trust me cyanide, a knife and an open window will all get the job done just as well.

I'm not saying everyone should own a gun, or a car for that matter, that is if you’re really worried about inanimate objects causing destruction, but these things are not what’s killing people and/or causing all the problems, they are just a tool in the toolbox of life that when used properly do a lot of good and when used incorrectly can cause a lot of havoc.

Next you’ll hear people say that money is the root of all evil, which it is not, people are. I know what you’re thinking if that’s true why not just nuke us all and call it a day, well it’s not all of us who are mentally unstable just a select few whack jobs who are giving the rest of us a bad name.

It’s not the money that is taking people out, the worst it could do is give you a nasty paper cut, it’s the greedy bastards/companies who are never satisfied with what they have, they always want more and will do everything in their power to make that happen.

Sure life wouldn’t be all that bad without it, that is if we could all learn to live together and pull our resources like as if we were in a co-op, but we all know that’s not happening with the crew we currently have populating the planet.

Finally on the chopping block would be an individual’s faith, that cause people to lose their minds like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”.

There are a lot of people who worship the god of their choosing and don’t think about blowing stuff up and/or killing off another group off just because of their differences, they do so to help them make it through this cesspool we call life.

Sure there are extremists just like with anything else, but that is the person not the faith itself, that would be like saying all diehard sports fanatics come home drunk and beat their wives up if their team loses a game.

Now these are just a few examples of what people blame, and are you starting to see a pattern here, do you notice what the common denominator is, it’s people, we cause the problems in this world not anything else.

We're the ones ruining this planet, not the money, not the guns and definitely not a person’s faith as some would want you to believe, so stop blaming “things” for all the turmoil and start taking some frigging responsibility for your own actions.

Of course this is not true for everyone, because there are a lot of healthy well-adjusted people who do just what is necessary to survive, they only do what is right for themselves and their family, they are not looking to cause problems like some of these other deranged lunatics I’m talking about. 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

“A Relationship Maker or Breaker”

When you get into a new relationship certain things happen, you will have many firsts, some that will fade in time like a bad tattoo, and others that will get better with age like a fine wine.

There are some “firsts” however that nobody in the relationship wants to initiate, and not because it won’t feel good, but rather because you don’t know how well it will be received by the other.

You know when it happens that moment will be awkward, you know it will be uncomfortable, but if you ever hope to evolve as a couple you know sooner or later it needs to happen.

Now I’m not talking about the first kiss, the first “I love you” or even the first time you two engage in whoopie, I’m talking about the couple’s first fart, which if the timing is right will be magical and it will be a moment to remember forever.

The reason why the first fart is so important is because it can make or break a relationship, done at the wrong time and your gross and not the right one, done at the right time you're cute and a keeper…you’re a little stinker. 
All the glitz and glamour will fade the longer you’re in a relationship, but passing gas with the person you love never gets old, it sparks emotion, it gives you a sense of closeness and strengthens the bond you share as a couple.

No matter how it’s delivered or who dealt it, in the end both parties will know it’s a sign of true love, a term of endearment.

Sure it will smell fowl, the fragrance all depending on what the farter ate throughout the day, but that warm embrace will get you through many cold nights and linger as a constant reminder of how much you’re loved.

That warm and fuzzy feeling associated with love never really goes away, it just moves from the heart and into the stomach, and eventually out the anus as an expression of love and compassion.

When people talk about the power of love, well they’re not referring to those sweet little nothings that people do to seem cute and adorable, sure those things are nice, but they won’t keep you together for the long haul.

Being able to play the fart game with the one you love will keep you going strong, being able to stay with someone knowing how bad their ass stinks, shows that your relationship can withstand whatever is thrown at it.

So the next time you’re lucky enough to smell that nasty ass gas from that special someone, appreciate it and enjoy that lovely aroma to the fullest, because there are some people out there who have nobody and are left cutting the cheese all by their lonesome.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

“The Special of the Day: The Seven Deadly Sins"

I know a place, where on any given day; one could be guilty of all of the seven deadly sins, and I’m not talking about some seedy underbelly where the devil (Mr. Satan if you’re nasty) parties either, but rather your everyday typical American restaurant.

Here is why dining out at your favorite restaurant could land you a one way ticket straight to hell, at least according to those who believe in these kinds of things. 

Call ahead, for reservations in HELL!

First we have wrath… 

Which I’m sure many of you have faced when dining out at one time or another. Whether it was because they made your meal wrong, kept you waiting too long for your troth (aka table) and/or because your waiter wasn’t living up to your expectations, nevertheless you were getting down with some good old fashioned wrath as a result of it.  

Second is greed

Have you ever said the phrase, “are you going to eat that” and/or complained about the portion size you received while you were out, if so you are one greedy bastard? When you’re a party of one, and your bill is more than most people’s car payments you have issues. You always want more, you are never happy with what you have; and because of that you outta be ashamed of yourself…now please pass the butter.

Third is sloth… 

Having a person bring the food/drink to you, and not getting up yourself to get it would be a good indication that you are guilty of sloth. Also, after eating enough food to feed a small village you make the statement, “now I need a nap”, which is just another indication that you are guilty of sloth, not hating just saying. 

Fourth is pride… 

Have you ever felt that you were too good to eat off of the value menu and/or in a particular restaurant, but you begrudgingly did because that’s where everyone else was eating, the whole time felt as if the establishment and/or the other patrons were beneath you, if so you are one prideful son of a bitch. Have you ever bragged about how much you could eat, about how much grub you could fit into your piehole in one sitting, then between your pride and your gut it’s amazing that you could even fit out the door.  

Fifth is lust… 

Have you ever looked at someone else’s food while in a restaurant and started salivating, dreamt of eating that food yourself and/or possibly even doing other naughty things to it, well then you are one lustful prick. Have you ever stared at a menu like a young boy would stare at the chicks in their favorite anime, then you are more lustful than a Catholic priest at an all boy slumber party.

Sixth is envy

Have you ever seen someone drinking/eating something that you couldn’t afford and/or drink/eat for health reasons, but still desired it and craved what they had, well then welcome to envy you envious sum beach. Have you ever looked at someone with hate (and massive amounts of cholesterol) in your heart because they were getting down with a triple decker bacon cheese burger and you only had a double decker, then not only is the lettuce that you so casually tossed aside (because who needs that crap messing up our burgers) green but so is the monster standing by your side…and I don’t mean the Frankenstein.

Seventh is gluttony

If you ever ate at a restaurant with the words “all you can eat” and/or ate so much that you nearly split your pants you are one gluttonous pig (oink oink mutha fugger). When you need two seats for your ass and you can’t fit into a booth because of your belly is in the way, then it’s safe to say that you like to clean your plate…and the plates of others around you. If you have more than one plate around you at any time during the meal and/or on a second serving or higher, then you my friend are a glutton. If your meal ends with the phrase, “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get upi”, your ass doesn’t need Life Alert, you need a forklift and lipper zipper.

Waiter, check please!

I’m not trying to call anyone out, because trust me based on this list I am one sinful individual myself! I just think it’s funny how a night eating out could land you in eternal damnation.  Forget homosexuality, murder and abortion, dining out is the true gangsta of sin!

No wonder people pray before they eat, it’s not to give thanks for the food as we were lead to believe, but more so to ask God for forgiveness before we get our sin on. Realistically we should be praying before and after our meals, just to be on the safe side.

Eat, Drink and be sinful.