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Mathew will always be remembered by every one who ever met him at Vivas Wine Bar. The music lives on
And no, the humble city of Gent is not about to forget Xero Slingsby. Well..not as long as I am around. Thank you, Solomon, for keeping the spirit alive. For intresting, special, unusual things about Gent, you can visit http://www.gentblogt.be.
I edit on this great weblog under the name of "eve".
Thanks again (the pic, that's me and my kid)
Matthew almost lived in our tiny flat in the Mid 70's.
He was only about 19 yrs old then, but quite mad.
My present husband has known Matthew since birth: we used to go sailing on his Dad's yacht. You wouldn't expect his Dad to have a yacht would you? It was a large catamaran and we sailed it off Kirkcudbright in Scotland.
He used to call me and my X husband 'Teddy and Dolly' or sometimes 'The Tringhams'.
We had a sort of roving Folk Band: David (Teddy) would hire a van and we would chuck an old mattress in the back, fling in the instruments, fill it full of pals and end up God knows where.
We never stopped laughing:I can still see Matthew's demonic leer. He played the boran and penny whistle in those days, this was before he went to the Music College that he disliked so much. His music came from within. Everything he touched he could play. I remember him wanting to play my husbands double bass. He was like a natural, even though he had never played one before.
what is it all about, back your pardon, my English isn't very well.
I did't hear about Xero for a long time, I met him, Louis aund Gene nearly 20 years ago, when they played in an pub in Oberammergau, I have seen them three or four times and it was a grat moment in my career as one of the audience, and I've seen a lot of bands.
Now I was searching for the CD, cause I've only this album on venyl and now I found this side, so what ist your story?
i'd forgotten this one till seeing an entry on the leeds jazz forum about hecklers....
when we booked xero slingsby and the works to play the leeds uni bar, it was a regular wednesday night gig...only trouble being that there were always circles of drunk rugby players on the piss after that arvo's game.
inevitably, they would fail to grasp the complexities of xero's tunes and as the night wore on they would become louder and ever more insulting. after copping it for a while eventually xero put down his saxophone on it's stand, mid-tune and while louis and gene kept playing, he walked over to the table of twenty or so drunk rugby players and offered the lot of em outside if they couldn't shut the fuck up....of course we ushered him back on stage and the gig continued - though the hecklers discovered a newfound respect for someone who actually had the temerity to stand up to them.
a few weeks later and they were recognising the tunes and having a great time....xero was having a piss in the interval one night and heard a slurred voice beside him at the urinal.
" you know you're fucking amazing mate " and xero was amazed to see the main culprit from that first week - the big beefy guy with whom he had very nearly come to blows.
" you know you're pissing on your shoes " replied xero, quick as a flash, as always.
It's a joy to see this site up - and the myspace page.
I loved this band. They turned me on to jazz and opened my ears up.
I grew up watching them dozens of times in The Adelphi and in the old Trades Club in Leeds.
They nearly always had some kind of shenanigans happening on stage - I'll never forget the fun they had. 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' with that bit of wooden cloud sculpture Louis held over Xero's head. He'd pull a string and the sun would come peeping out of one side - and then another string and the lightening would pop out as the solo got more angst. Heheh. And remember the dancing? And the gig as Matthew wandered out playing away - then John slowly packed up and left and Louis then edged out to the door still playing his double bass, leaving us gagging for more.
Great days. Unforgettable. And now less so. Many thanks
with great, thrilling enthusiasm I discovered the website about Xero Slingsby ! so exiting to read all that stuff !
I saw this band playing for at least 30 times in Ghent, where I live, and the only recordings I have is a completely scratched album that I bought way back in the eighties. he was the reason I started to listen to jazz and play saxophone myself.
desperately seeking: does anyone knows where I can buy/order cd's?
I can honestly say that Matthew's influence is the single reason that I
am musically doing what I am today. It is because of him that I bought
my first sax and it is because of him that I have a deep understanding
of what jazz actually means. He introduced me to The Bird and Coltrane
at the age of 14 when we first really met, and to me he represented
everything that I wanted to aspire to: He had long hair in a plait, He
wore a leather waistcoat, had a full goatee beard, and sometimes smoked
a pipe! (bearing in mind he was only 16, that's quite "out there" for
1976!) He was a little older than me and we met through our mutual
friend Nick Parkin (Spock. So called because of his actually pointed
ears. It was Matthew that gave him that name) I had met Nick in the 6th
form common room at Beckfoot Grammar School and had started swapping
Gong albums to listen to. He discovered that I played piano and asked
if I was interested in coming along to a rehearsal of a band that he
was putting together. We met at Nick's house, and along with Roger
McDowell we caught the number 666 Bus (that was actually it's number!
oh how we laughed) to Bradford, stopping off at Shipley to go to
Matthew's place: a curious old farmhouse at the edge of a suburban
That saturday afternoon we sat in his mum's front room, with amps and
wires everywhere, drinking tea and listening to Coltrane and Bird.
"Listen to that" Matthew would say "That's not playing... that's
thinking out loud". It was dirty and vulnerable and exciting.
"THAT'S what I want this band to feel like" he said.
I had been messing about with lots of instrument at that time, including
the flute and also the bass guitar. At the time, Spock was playing
guitar, Roger on drums and Matthew had this old Hoffner Hollowbody bass
guitar that he was using. During a break, I picked up his bass and began
thumping out the riff from Daevid Allen's tune "You can't kill me" and
Matthew immediately said
"oy buggerlugs, do you want a job in a band? cos if you do it means I
can play sax!" He ran off upstairs and brought down this tatty old
suitcase and produced a filthy alto sax.
"It's me Mam's but she won't mind"
Andrew Wells was also a mate of ours and had a variety of home made
oscillators that his dad had made as well as a couple of synths and an
electric piano and between us we became Vedas, a curious outfit playing
a mix of psychedelic jazzrock and Hawkind covers. Matthew sold me his
old bass for £10 and I used to borrow this amp that he had made out of
an old valve television (!!!!) One night at a gig, in a rage, I smashed
the bass up on stage and kicked the pieces into the audience. Matthew
thought that was hilarious and from then on, chaos and deconstruction
became part of the act.
Over the last couple of years I have tracked down and made contact with
most of that old band (and in one case started working together)
Because, for some reason, a few years before, I started having (... oh
shit, how shall I say this? Erm, ) "messages". From Matthew. I can
still hear that Skipton Accent in my memory saying things like "ye daft
bastard, if ye want to go play music, get off yer arse and make it
happen. But don't do it like everyone else does, do it your way!" I
played Xero's music to a sax player friend of mine and said "I want a
band like that" I also sent it to a singer I had met in Leeds and said,
"How would you like to do vocals over something along those lines?" and
so... "The Projects" was born. And all the time, I had (and still have)
Matthew's voice, pushing me forward.
The big problem with jazz, as I see it, is not the music as such, it's
the way it is marketed (and the audiences it now attracts). When Bebop
was new it was scary! - people hated it. It was like punk music, it
spat and swore and took drugs and made loads of noise and was
technically and creatively briliant: unleashed and dangerous. This was
the reason I started looking for different sounds in my own playing
and why I drifted away from mainstream jazz.
I am very excited and proud of what we have done with my new band in
less than a year. I am also proud to list The Works in the gallery of
influences as well as putting links back to this page. I want people to
know about him, the band and his music. !
The Projects (www.myspace.com/thebristolsound)
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