Black Grape -Pop Voodoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am currently listening to Black Grape’s latest album Pop Voodoo. Black Grape are comprised of former members of Happy Mondays and Ruthless Rap Assassins. Their musical style fuses funk and electronic rock with electronic programming and samples. The band was formed in 1993 by former Happy Mondays members Shaun Ryder and Bez. It was Ryder’s first musical project after the disintegration of Happy Mondays due both to his multiple drug addictions and to disagreements about revenues with other band members. The formation of the new band was intended to draw a line between his past life and his new one. Ryder and Bez recruited rappers Paul “Kermit” Leveridge and Carl “Psycho” McCarthy, drummer Ged Lynch (like Leveridge, a former member of Ruthless Rap Assassins), and guitarist Wags (formerly of the Manchester-based group the Paris Angels) and Oli “Dirtycash” Dillon on ocarina.

In 1995 Black Grape Released their debut album It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah. Which included he songs Kelly’s Heroes” – a song lampooning society’s obsession with celebrities. Another song, “Temazi Party”, mocked the then-current craze for abusing Temazepam sleeping pills (a.k.a. ‘jellies’), but was deliberately misspelt on the album sleeve as ‘Tramazi’ instead of ‘Temazi’ to prevent legal problems. The album cover featured a picture of then-recently imprisoned terrorist Carlos The Jackal. Black Grape released The subsequent album Stupid Stupid Stupid. The group split in 1998 after Ryder fired the rest of the band while touring, starting with Kermit (who was suffering from septicaemia) and ending with Bez (who was unsatisfied with his financial situation)Lynch went on to play drums and percussion on many other musical works, becoming a noted session musician.

In 2010 Ryder briefly reformed Black Grape with producer Danny Saber and Kermit for a concert as part of the ‘Get Loaded in the Dark’ gig series at The Coronet in London. In 2015, Black Grape signed to Creation Management run by Alan McGee and Simon Fletcher and announced a reunion tour to coincide with 20 years of the It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah album. Black Grape recorded and released a song “We are England” in support of the England national football team for UEFA Euro 2016 in collaboration with DJ Paul Oakenfold and singer Goldie, under the name 4 Lions. The latest Black Grape album Pop Voodoo was released August 2017 and fuses funk, syncopated rhythms and electronic rock with electronic programming and samples.

Everything you know is wrong
Nine Lives
Set the Grass on fire
Whiskey, wine and Ham
Money burns
String theory
Pop Voodoo
I wanna be like you
Sugar Money
Shame
losing Sleep
Young and Dumb

Oliver Hardy

Best known as one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, the American comedian and actor Oliver Hardy sadly died August 7, 1957. He was born 18th January 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. The family moved to Madison, Georgia in 1891, before Norvell’s birth. Emily Hardy owned a house in Harlem. As a child, Hardy was sometimes difficult. He was sent to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville as a youngster and then attended Young Harris College in north Georgia in the 1905-1906 school year fall semester (September–January) when he was 13. He was in the junior high component of that institution of the time (the equivalent of high school today). Hardy had little interest in formal education, although he acquired an early interest in music and theater, His mother recognized his talent for singing and sent him to Atlanta to study music and voice with singing teacher Adolf Dahm-Petersen. Hardy skipped some of his lessons to sing in the Alcazar Theater, a cinema, for US$3.50 a week. He subsequently decided to go back to Milledgeville. Around 1910, Hardy began using the name “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, adding the first name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father. He appeared as “Oliver N. Hardy” in the 1910 U.S. census, and he used “Oliver” as his first name in all subsequent legal records, marriage announcements, etc. Hardy was initiated into Freemasonry at Solomon Lodge No. 20 in Jacksonville, Florida.

In 1910, when a movie theater opened in Hardy’s hometown of Milledgeville, he became the projectionist, ticket taker, janitor, and manager. He soon became obsessed with the new motion picture industry and was convinced that he could do a better job than the actors he saw. In 1913, Hardy moved to Jacksonville, Florida, And began as a cabaret and vaudeville singer at night, and at the Lubin Manufacturing Company during the day. He then met Madelyn Saloshin, a pianist, whom he married on November 17, 1913, in Macon, Georgia. In 1914 he made his first movie, Outwitting Dad (1914), for the Lubin studio. He was billed as O. N. Hardy. In his personal life, he was known as “Babe” Hardy, AndIn many of his later films at Lubin, he was billed as “Babe Hardy.” Hardy was a big man at 6’1″ tall and weighing up to 300 pounds. His size placed limitations on the roles he could play. He was most often cast as “the heavy” or the villain. He also frequently had roles in comedy shorts, his size complementing the character.

By 1915, Hardy had made 50 short one-reeler films at Lubin. He later moved to New York and made films for the Pathé, Casino and Edison Studios. After returning to Jacksonville, he made films for the Vim Comedy Company. He also worked for the King Bee studio, which bought Vim and worked with Bill Ruge, Billy West (a Charlie Chaplin imitator), and comedic actress Ethel Burton Palmer and continued portraying “heavies” for West, often imitating Eric Campbell to West’s Chaplin.) In 1917 Hardy moved to Los Angeles, working freelance for several Hollywood studios. Hardy made more than 40 films for Vitagraph, mostly playing the “heavy” for Larry Semon. In 1920 he divorced his wife and in 1921, Hardy married again, to actress Myrtle Reeves. In 1921, he appeared in the movie The Lucky Dog, produced by G.M. (“Broncho Billy”) Anderson and starring a young British comedian named Stan Laurel. Oliver Hardy played the part of a robber, trying to stick up Stan’s character.

In 1924, Hardy began working at Hal Roach Studios with the Our Gang films and Charley Chase. In 1925, he starred as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and in the film Yes, Yes, Nanette!, starring Jimmy Finlayson and directed by Stan Laurel. He also appeared in films featuring Clyde Cooke and Bobby Ray. In 1926, Hardy was scheduled to appear in Get ‘Em Young. But was hospitalized after being burned by a hot leg of lamb. So Laurel, who had been working as a gag man and director at Roach Studios, appeared instead. in 1926 Laurel and Hardy both appeared in the film , 45 Minutes from Hollywood,

In 1927, Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping Wives, Duck Soup (no relation to the 1933 Marx Brothers’ film of the same name) and With Love and Hisses. They began producing a huge body of short movies, including The Battle of the Century (1927) (with one of the largest pie fights ever filmed), Should Married Men Go Home? (1928), Two Tars (1928), Unaccustomed As We Are (1929, marking their transition to talking pictures) Berth Marks (1929), Blotto (1930), Brats (1930), Another Fine Mess (1930), Be Big! (1931), and many others.In 1929, they appeared in their first feature, in one of the revue sequences of Hollywood Revue of 1929, and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-color (in Technicolor) musical feature entitled The Rogue Song. In 1931, they starred in their first full-length movie, “Pardon Us” and the 1932 short film”The Music Box” which won them an Academy Award for best short film. In 1936, Hardy and Myrtle Reeves divorced and in 1939 Hardy made Zenobia with Harry Langdon. Then In 1939 Laurel and Hardy  made The Flying Deuces and Hardy met Virginia Lucille Jones, a script girl, whom he married the next year. In 1939, Laurel and Hardy made A Chump at Oxford (1940) (which features a moment of role reversal, with Oliver becoming a subordinate to a temporarily concussed Stan and Saps at Sea. They began performing for the USO, supporting the Allied troops during World War II. They teamed up to make films for 20th Century Fox and later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer including The Bullfighters in 1945.

In 1947, Laurel and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom Which was lengthened to include engagements in Scandinavia, Belgium, France, as well as a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They continued to make live appearances in the United Kingdom and France for the next several years, until 1954, often using new sketches and material that Laurel had written for them. In 1949, John Wayne, asked Hardy to play a supporting role in The Fighting Kentuckian. Hardy had previously worked with Wayne and John Ford in a charity production of the play What Price Glory? and Frank Capra later invited Hardy to play a cameo role in Riding High with Bing Crosby in 1950.

During 1950–51, Laurel and Hardy made their final film. Atoll K (also known as Utopia) in which Laurel inherits an island, and the boys set out to sea, where they encounter a storm and discover a brand new island, rich in uranium, making them powerful and wealthy. Oliver Hardy, along with Stan Laurel, made two live television appearances: In 1953, on a live BBC television broadcast of the popular show “Face the Music” with host Henry Hall and in December 1954, on NBC’s This Is Your Life. They also appeared in a filmed insert for the BBC-TV show This Is Music Hall in 1955, which was their final public appearance together. Following This Is Your Life they were asked to produce a series of TV shows based on the Mother Goose fables with Hal Roach, Jr. However the series was postponed when Laurel suffered a stroke and Hardy suffered a heart attack and stroke from which he never physically recovered.

In total they appeared together in 107 films including 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936).  Their silent film Big Business (1929) was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. Notable Laurel traits included crying like a baby while being berated and scratching his hair when in shock. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of thE Desert after the film of the same name.

Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)

Bruce Dickinson lead Singer with Iron Maiden was born August 7 1958 in Worksop Nottinghamshire. Dickinson started school at Manton Primary in Worksop, when he was six, he was also despatched to Sheffield,where he attended a primary school in Manor Top. six months, his parents decided to move him to a small private school called Sharrow Vale Junior. Dickinson’s first musical experience was dancing in his grandparents’ front room to Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”, when he still lived with them in Worksop.The first record Dickinson recalls owning was The Beatles single “She Loves You”, which he managed to persuade his grandfather to buy him, which made him more interested in music.He tried to play an acoustic guitar belonging to his father, but it blistered his fingers.

He then went to school at Oundle, where Despite being bullied, he rose to a position of some power in the school’s cadet force,with which he was allowed to handle live ammunition, which he used to create explosions as booby-traps. he also co-founded the school wargames society with Mike Jordan. while at Oundle Dickinson became attracted to hard rock, after hearing Deep Purple’s “Child In Time” being played in another student’s room. As a result, the first album he ever bought was Deep Purple’s In Rock, which created his interest in rock music. After In Rock, he went on to buy Black Sabbath’s debut, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung and Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Every term, a band would play at the school, the first of these which Dickinson saw was called Wild Turkey, featuring former Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick. After that, he saw Van der Graaf Generator and Arthur Brown. Dickinson was eventually expelled from Oundle after urinating in the headmaster’s dinner.

Returning home to Sheffield in 1976, Dickinson enrolled at a local comprehensive school, at which he joined his first band.He had overheard two other pupils talking about their band and that they needed a singer and so volunteered immediately. Their first gig took place at the Broadfield Tavern in Sheffield.Originally called “Paradox”, the band changed their name on Dickinson’s suggestion to “Styx”, unaware of the American act with the same name.They made local newspaper headlines when a steel worker was awoken by their performance and tried to smash the band’s drum kit. Soon afterwards the band split up. After leaving school with A-levels in English, History and Economics, Dickinson confessed, “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.”The first thing he did was join the Territorial Army for six months. Although he enjoyed his time in the TA, Dickinson realised that it was not a career choice, and so he applied for a place to read history at Queen Mary College, in London’s East End. His parents wanted him in the army, but he told them that he wanted to get a degree first, which acted as his “cover story”, and immediately began playing in bands.

At university, Dickinson got involved in the Entertainments Committee: “one day you’d be a roadie for The Jam, the next you’d be putting up the Stonehenge backdrop for Hawkwind or whatever.”In 1977, Dickinson met Paul “Noddy” White, a multi-instrumentalist who owned a PA and other equipment, with whom Dickinson, along with drummer Steve Jones, would form a band together called Speed. According to Dickinson, the band was called Speed because of the way in which they played, rather than a reference to drug-taking. In Speed, Dickinson began writing his own material after White taught him how to play three chords on the guitar.

He also began fronting small pub bands while attending school in Sheffield and university in London and spotted an advertisement in Melody Maker with the caption “Singer wanted for recording project” and replied immediately recording a demo tape and sending it They liked it and invited Dickinson down to the studio to make “Dracula”, the first song he would ever record, he subsequently joined a band called “Shots”, which was formed by two brothers, Phil and Doug Siviter and regularly played at Pubs. One particular night, Dickinson suddenly stopped in the middle of a song and started interviewing a man in the audience, heckling for not paying enough attention. He got such a good response he started doing it every night until it became a regular routine.

Dickinson was invited by Barry Graham (“Thunderstick”) and Paul Samson to be their new singer. Dickinson joined once he’d finished taking his History finals two weeks later. Until that point, he had been neglecting his University education. As a result, the University had tried to kick him out for failing his Second Year exams and not paying his accommodation fees, but was saved because of his role as Entertainments Officer. After writing 6 months worth of essays in the space of two weeks and some last minute cramming for his exams, Dickinson achieved a 2:2. In 1979, he joined the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Samson, with whom he gained some popularity under the stage name “Bruce Bruce” and performed on two studio records.

IRON MAIDEN

Dickinson met Iron Maiden in 1980 while they were supporting Samson at the Music Machine and was subsequently asked to join Iron Maiden, replacing Paul Di’Anno as lead singer. Iron Maiden hail from Leyton in east London and were formed in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter, Steve Harris. They were Pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, And achieved success during the early 1980s. Iron Maiden released their debut album, Survivors, in 1979 two months before Dickinson joined. Immediately following the completion of his University work, he met up with the band at Greenwich’s Wood Wharf studios to learn the Survivors album. It was during these early rehearsals that the nickname “Bruce Bruce” came about, derived from Monty Python’s “Bruces sketch”. Dickinson debuted on their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. Iron Maiden’s third album, The Number of the Beast, was released in 1982 for which Dickinson contributed to “The Prisoner”, “Children of the Damned” and “Run to the Hills”. Dickinson also contributed On the following albums, 1983’s Piece of Mind and 1984’s Powerslave, on the singles “Flight of Icarus” and “2 Minutes to Midnight”. In 1985 Iron Maiden released their next album, Somewhere in Time. Iron Maiden’s next album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, featured more progressive rock elements for which Dickinson wrote seven songs. Adrian Smith then left Iron Maiden, and was replaced by Janick Gers and In 1990 Iron Maiden released their eighth album No Prayer for the Dying. Which featured Dickinson’s song “Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter”, Which was composed for a film soundtrack, and despite receiving a Golden Raspberry Award for worst original song in 1989, became a Number One single.

By 1992, Steve Harris had converted his barn into a proper studio, and it was here they recorded Iron Maiden’s new album, Fear of the Dark. After the Fear of the Dark Tour, Dickinson decided to leave Iron Maiden to concentrate on his solo career. Tensions increased within the band and Dickinson’s last performance with the band was filmed by the BBC at Pinewood Studios which was released as a live video, entitled Raising Hell. Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 (being replaced by Blaze Bayley) in order to pursue his solo career, which saw him experiment with a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles.

In 1999 Dickinson returned to Iron Maiden along with Adrian Smith while Janick Gers remained in Iron Maiden for the Final Frontier World Tour. They also recorded the album Brave New World at Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris after which Iron Maiden undertook a supporting tour culminating with a performance at the Rock in Rio festival before a crowd of 250,000. In 2003 they released the album Dance of Death. Iron Maiden’s next album A Matter of Life and Death was recorded in 2006. Since his return to Iron Maiden, he issued one further solo record in 2005, Tyranny of Souls. His younger cousin, Rob Dickinson, is the former lead singer of British alternative rock band Catherine Wheel, while his son, Austin, fronted the metalcore band Rise to Remain. Between 2008 and 2009, the band embarked on the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, using Ed Force One, the band’s customised Boeing 757, flown by Dickinson himself. This was accompanied in 2009 by the documentary film Iron Maiden: Flight 666. Iron Maiden toured again in 2010 and 2011 in support of The Final Frontier.

In 2005, Iron Maiden co-headlined the US festival tour, Ozzfest, with Black Sabbath. Unfortunately though Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne’s wife, Sharon, encouraged family friends and members of other bands to sabotage Iron Maiden’s last performance at Hyundai Pavilion in San Bernardino, California, After it was reported that Dickinson had slated the Osbournes’ reality series. However Dickinson denied making comments against Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, but admitted that he criticised Ozzfest, attacking their “corporate” seating layout and the fact that “Most of the bands are there because they paid to be there.” Following the concert at San Bernardino, Osbourne released another statement which accused Dickinson of making several anti-American comments, Osbourne also claimed that the flag-waving during “The Trooper” was disrespectful to American troops, even though Dickinson had always held a Union Flag during the song, being based on the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. In early 1989, Dickinson was asked to produce a track for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child resulting in the song “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter”. Dickinson also participated on a re-recording of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, as part of the humanitarian effort Rock Aid Armenia. Backed by the band Skin, he produced a cover version of Alice Cooper’s “Elected”, along with Rowan Atkinson (in character as Mr. Bean), which was used in 1992 for Comic Relief, and five years later, on the Bean Soundtrack.

Iron Maiden are Considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history and won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002, and were also inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California during their United States tour in 2005. As of August 2011, the band have played almost 2000 live shows throughout their career. For the past 30 years, the band have been supported by their famous mascot, “Eddie”, who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live shows. Since their inception, the band’s discography has grown to include a total of thirty-six albums: fifteen studio albums; ten live albums; four EPs; and seven compilations.

Outside his career in music, Dickinson is well known for his wide variety of other pursuits. He was also a commercial pilot for Astraeus Airlines, which led to a number of media-reported ventures such as captaining Iron Maiden’s converted Boeing 757 (Ed Force One) during their world tours. Following Astraeus’ closure, he created his own aircraft maintenance and pilot training company in 2012, Cardiff Aviation. Dickinson presented his own radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2002–2010, and has also hosted television documentaries, authored novels and film scripts, created a successful beer with Robinsons Brewery and competed at fencing internationally.