So after five years in the making, lockdown didn’t stop my new album being finally recorded – even in people’s gardens!
The kind people at Louder than War have done a review for V Years, my new album out on January 8th. It explains stuff better than I can. I stick to the music, me!
This is the opening track to my new album V YEARS released on January 8th. The song was written in the wake of David Bowie’s death and in it I am imagining what he may have felt like in his last few months. I hope you like it.
Here’s a video I made for my 2020 Christmas song. It’s on ‘From the Kennel’ a Christmas compilation album of German Shepherd Records artistes released on Christmas Day – available via Germanshepherdrecords.com – all proceeds go to Shelter, the charity for homeless people. The video features the office at University of Salford where I work. We went for it last year decorations-wise – unknowingly making up for this year. I hope you like the song – it even features Mrs Hayward at the end!
There’s also a contribution to the Christmas compilation by our Filed Fangs project (that’s Paul Morley and I) called ‘Herod is our Babysitter’. I’ve not done a video for that yet, though – but watch this space!
My collaboration with old flat mate and Boardwalk rehearsal room co-habitant Paul Morley continues to deliver very tasty bite-sized chunks of epic proportions. This release is already getting good attention:
‘Mystery Manchester group deal with the same kind of hard edged electronic death disco as DAF did in their prime’. (John Robb, Louder than War)
Here’s the video I made for this bite.
Robbie H is me in the 1960s. Last year I released ‘1966: Baby Me’ – a ridiculous loop of me trying to sing something when I was 18 months old. I found it on an old reel-to-reel tape of my dad’s. A year on, my mum asks me to sing ‘Come On All Ye Faithful’ as it is Christmas time and my brothers and big sis are singing carols. I refuse and sing the Christmas number one at the time – or is it? ‘I say hello, you say goodbye’ is the Beatles’ ‘Hello Goodbye’ line ‘You say goodbye, I say hello’ the wrong way round. And the tune is different. So I added some chords and backed it with a 1980s poppy electronica and this is what you have in ‘Hello Goodbye Hello Again’. A novelty record for sure. I made a video too – which includes Grandad H a railwayman in Manchester at the time. In these Covid times I’d like to think the song has extra resonance the comings and goings of family and friends in difficult times.
While I’ve been working on a new solo album I’ve dabbled a bit in my more noise-oriented projects. While TAB-D stuff Including a really powerful ‘Russian Spy’ is still available on tab-d.bandcamp.com, there has been renewed interest in FLEA, our industrial grind-punk thing from 30 years ago. We’ve done 2 Flea gigs in the last 2 years but the intention is to step this up a bit in the next year with one or two new songs. It seems there’s a constant streaming demand for this and rightly so!
I’ve also been involved with the Filed Fangs project. A body of work will gradually be unveiled bite by bite with the first track ‘Calcify’ being released on February 28th on German Shepherd Records. You could call this an electro-punk goth stomp.
‘A magnificent offering! The Dusseldorf/Sheffield/NYC laylines circa 1970s lay thick and hard on this master jam which gets captured fast for a mystic Arkestra journey to Mars and back. It’s the future in the past in the future….NOW!’ (Ajay Saggar)
So, back in the 60s, a talent scout heard my cat-like wail from a pram and signed me up. Turned out to be a dodgy deal and a contract I couldn’t get out of – even if I could read by then. So 60’s me was stuck in limbo for 50-odd years – the length of the contract – until now! So, do you like that story? This is the real one:
This year I was transferring my Dad’s old 1960s reel-to-reel tapes to digital and came across a recording of baby me singing, and I put it to music. It became a ‘sound-archaeology’ project. I discovered talking letters from when my Dad was in the RAF and stationed abroad. I found World Service news, bits of old Archers, language tapes (Russian and French), birdsong, Pick of the Popsand even an audio recording of Top of the Popson BBC1 TV at Christmas in 1966.
On the same tape, we kiddies are singing carols, apart from me that is. I was only 18 months old and didn’t take to singing carols; I sang my own thing instead. I was possibly singing a song of the day. I say this because the following year I could be heard on another tape singing the Christmas number one – the Beatles’ Hello, Goodbye– but I cannot work out what I could be singing here, possibly Beatles or Seekers, maybe not. If anyone has any idea, please let me know!
So, anyway, I’ve claimed it, looped it and added some music, a steady beat, acoustic guitar, keyboards and some 60s garage-style guitar to make a short song – now complete after 53 years!