So many music fans grew up in musical households with parents with impeccable tastes. My Dad was tone deaf and my Mum loved singing along to the old songs on the radio – the first record she got me when a second hand record player appeared as a Christmas present, was by the Batchelors.
The first record I purchased for my self, and so my first choice, was by Gilbert O’Sullivan – Alone Again Naturally – a song once covered by Pete Wylie who said if it had been written by Nirvana it would be hailed as a classic suicide song. Sadly it was sung by a guy in short school boy trousers and flat cap who taught me quickly heroes are infallible by releasing Clare. But that first song still stands as a classic to me.
School was the musical wilderness years of the middle 70’s. We were able to bring records into school so that’s were my collection started – Beatles were passé but early Wings got lots of spins. Mostly though it was Little Feat, 10cc, Doors and American soft rock like the Eagles. There was a near riot when a couple of the hipper lads put on Trout Mask Replica and An Evening Of Wildman Fisher – I think I was one of the few to stay. Probably that’s where the seeds were sown of me listening to everything and anything.
College though saw me having money and freedom for the first time. Gigs were gone to and as Punk gave way to New Wave I became more of a musical explorer. I devoured the music press for new stuff to listen to but it was a step back to that school room and the Doors that has lead me on the oddest path.
A review of a double live album – they were in vogue then with Frampton and Lizzy – claimed that the singer turned down the chance to replace Jim Morrison in the Doors. The review intrigued me and a trip to the shops followed.
In Living Black And White by Kevin Coyne starts with stark poetry over taped voices. At one point a breast is pricked and something dribbles down the street and is chased by a black brush. Then just as you think what the hell is this comes Kevin’s voice cutting through the insane babble – and it is insane, based on his work as a Social Worker- “is he yours do you know him? He has a piece of paper in his pocket says you know him.” The futility of knowing someone was coming to seek his help but died on the way – shows that music can be the best of art, showing life in its rawest emotional state. But then my second choice of track kicks in showing the musical oddess of those first moments was deliberate. Eastbourne Ladies is a powerhouse of a song – once chosen by John Lydon on a radio show at the height of his Pistols/PIL fame – it features a pre Police Andy Summers on guitar.
Coyne became an obsession, especially when he disappeared to Germany in the mid 80’s – so much so I put an advert in the NME looking for info. When the internet arrived in our house he was the first person I searched for, an online community was joined and I found myself messaging him and selling my vinyl collection to print a book of his.
Sadly Coyne died as the book came back from the printers so I looked at ways of getting the news of the book out to people and a Myspace page was set up. But there’s only so much trawling for one artist you can do and late one night I started looking up bands from Liverpool and set up a page but that suddenly became new unsigned bands. Then as I found them they found me as I called the page Liverpool Bands – then they started with the questions. “Do you know…..” The answer then was always No but I know a band who did just that. It became an on-line forum where questions can be asked and often answers can be found. As Myspace begat Facebook and Twitter so I moved the emphasis to those sites.
My third and final track is Windowframe by The Majority who provided the impetus that drives Liverpool Bands. On first hearing my wife and I loved their music and saw them live a few times. Sadly after 10 years of gigging, broken promises and shattered dreams they took themselves away from the scene to live family lives. I was so incensed that I spammed people saying that the music scene is a disgrace locally as its not geared up to support original artists. One well known musician messaged saying why should he care. Well you know what as a music fan I care. The more we can support artists the more time they are able to create great music. Liverpool Bands will continue to help bring people together, to give everyone the same access to information.
Written by : Tony Donaghey | First published 17th November 2014.
The header image is a picture of Kevin Coyne painted by Jon Langford.
You can visit the Liverpool Bands page run by Tony at www.liverpoolbands.co.uk, on facebook at the Liverpool Bands page or on twitter @LiverpoolBands. You can also read more about Kevin Coyne at http://kevincoynebooks.com/.