At the moment, I am trying to write the difficult second album. And that's not me being pessimistic calling it that, everybody calls it the DIFFICULT second album. It’s so annoying. No one ever calls it THE REALLY EASY second album. I wish they would! I’m going to keep referring to it as the EASIEST ALBUM I’VE EVER WRITEN from now on in, just to make myself feel better.
We recently finished our first ever headline tour. Luckily, we got all the UK headline dates done without having to reschedule. We have lost festivals and dates abroad, but I realise how lucky we were to be able to perform on the dates we did. Also, I don’t think my nerves would have coped with rescheduling the tour. I absolutely bloody loved every second of it, but I am so glad I can go to sleep again now without worrying that no one but my nan will come to watch us at Dingwalls before I fall asleep every night.
Although it is PANTS to not be gigging right now, I am super lucky to not be at a loss of things to do at the moment. I have the live sessions online, this blog to keep up with, my hair to condition in preparation for when beehives start again and to get on with some writing!
Writing is something I love doing. When you’re in that place where you’re getting it down and you know its good, there’s honestly no better feeling! Sometimes you write absolute pony for days and then out of the ashes comes this wicked song, its bliss. Sometimes I write what I think is going to be the 2020 version of ‘Do they know its Christmas?’ I record it and send it over to the band so pleased with myself. A few hours later they very kindly let me know they love the track, but they’re pretty sure its a Housemartins songs already just with different lyrics, usually about Joey Barton being the best midfielder ever… That may have happened to me one or two times…
On other occasions it just comes to you out of no where. You can just be walking along and a lyric pops in to your head and you have to push everyone out the way and write it down. Thank god you can record in to your phone now. I have bucket loads of voice notes saved that are just me singing random couplets or saying funny words. I recorded a whole chorus of me singing what I was sure would be this Summers smash hit. I can’t describe the pain I felt to you when I got home and listened again and I realised I’d just sung Digsy’s Dinner in to my phone. I was devastated! Who’d have thought someone else has already written a song about having a lasagna for tea!?
I have no more pages left to fill in my lyric book. It’s lovely to look through and see how most of the songs on Combat Frock developed. Sometimes they come out in one go, but more often than not there’s a few verses changed and bridges taken out. One of my favourite things to look back on is seeing how many songs I tried to steal having released it or not. The opening track of the album ‘101 Walterton Road’ had a whole TWO verses at the beginning that were in fact the first two verses of The Magnificent Seven by The Clash. I was gutted when our producer made me get rid of them. I stand by the statement I made at the time that Joe Strummer wouldn’t have minded and we should keep them in. Although I supposed I’ve already basically stolen the album title from The Clash, so I can’t really steal a song too!
You have to really switch off to write songs. Remove all distractions and stop yourself entering a YouTube sink hole, which can be bloody hard work. I sat down with my acoustic guitar the other week with all intentions to write a great big lovely song. I just thought I’d quickly google something about one of The Beastie Boys and 2 hours later I had no new song but a deep understanding of graffiti in 1970’s Manhattan.
You’d think that during a global pandemic where you can’t go outside, I’d be able to sit down undistracted and have a whole list of new shinny songs by now. Don’t worry, I am on it and the songs are slowly coming. I just wish something would give me a little electric shock every time I go to google River Phoenix when I am meant to be writing, it’s not like I haven’t gazed at his stunning jawline enough is it? Or even better, a little warning sign that would pop up every time I’m writing a song that is actually already a song. STOP! YOU’RE JUST WRITING DIFFERENT WORDS OVER CIGARETTES AND ALCOHOL YOU IDIOT! That way, I can stop myself before I get too far. Or at least change the chorus structure a little bit. It’s not like Noel Gallagher didn’t do when he was writing it in the first place is it?