To round off a decade of recordings as Boz Hayward or Bozchestra I’m hoping to release a new lot of stuff in the autumn. I’ve had more time to put my head down and write and develop songs in recent months and this will continue well into the summer. This will be the 8th LP and the first since Tennessee Ten in 2017. The new material is the most powerful yet and includes two songs I wrote in the immediate aftermath of David Bowie’s death 3 years ago. I’ve now had a chance to develop them and the results are very pleasing. One of the chord sequences/phrases I put together the day after John Lennon died when I was 15 – so it’s nice that I’ve found it a home for it – with a tribute to another huge influence in modern music. I’d like to think when I was a kid living in Bromley in the early 70s, I bumped into David, or at least saw him down the local record shop, Bromley South station or that we crossed paths somewhere else. This, of course, never happened – but his music is something shared among millions of us who continue to be moved or inspired by it. Likewise with John Lennon and Paul McCartney and most recently missed Scott Walker.
The new album will also feature some story songs. I’ve not really done any stories since ‘Trans-Siberian Railway’. ‘Beyond the Mersey Lights’ and ‘Ruby and Eric Next Door’ (all featured in the first album ‘Featuring Ruby and Eric Next Door’ in 2010). I will continue to write songs that relate to mental health issues and will continue to comment on the current state of things. Also, given recent news items about a so-called ‘new’ phenomenon in music, I can definitely say that an ASMR experience is not guaranteed! (But, who knows?)
When I was a schoolboy punk aged 13 I started writing songs at the beginning of 1979. The 14th song I wrote was Russian Spy – written on January 22nd so it’s now 40 years old. It became instantly popular and has been ever since. Lot’s of people regard it as a hidden or lost gem of the post-punk era. It was recorded a number of times. The 2006 version by There’ll Always Be Diseases I uploaded onto Bandcamp as a single in November 2015 - Can be found here.
Last year (2107) Russian Spy was covered for the first time. Andy Yates recorded a highly amusing electronic-acoustic version - listen here (it’s funny). Then, number of months later, after the Salisbury novichok incident and the exposure of the two male suspects and their subsequent press conference denial Andy added a few words and we performed Russian Spy together at Chorlton Folk Club round the corner from where we live - watch here!
It’s crazy that it’s already 40 years since I wrote those first songs. I just wrote them down in capitals with a felt-tip in a maths exercise book and for some strange reason it started at the back (I often get/do/make things the wrong way round). I couldn’t really play a thing so I made the tunes up in my head, timed them and classified them as F for fast and S for slow. That was about it!
FLEA is the post-punk combo with me and Art Carbuncle. Between 1987 and 1993 we made an industrial techno racket with our drum machine Sissy. It was a bit experimental and fun but we never had anything released until TODAY that is! – thanks to German Shepherd Records. Here’s the GRS press release from Bob Osborne:
When the ecstasy fueled “Idiot Joy Showland” was bubbling up in 1988, down at the Boardwalk a couple of miscreants and a drum machine were creating some edgy art punk which flew in the face of the prevailing trends. Part of the German Shepherd ethos has always been to bring back to the wider world some of those bands that were groundbreaking but didn’t get the kudos they deserved. Flea were such a band and the opportunity to release this music came out of a 25th anniversary reunion gig supporting The Cravats last year, and a memorable appearance at this summers Manchester Meltdown. Flea are back, and it’s about the right time for them..
Delighted to say I’ll be playing Levenshulme Market in the south of Manchester on the afternoon of Saturday September 29th. Come down. It’ll be fun! And, yes, CDs will be on sale.. It’s at the train station car park. There’s ‘shopping, street food, kids fun and live music’ (that’s us!).
Set times for the Manchester Peer Hat gig this Saturday: 7.50pm The Earls of No King 8.30 Michael Seal and the Be Positives 9.15 China Pig 10.15 Boz Hayward
Joining me on Saturday will be: Phil Robinson: guitarron bass; Mark Greer: slide guitar/keyboards/golckenspiel; Rick Burrows: trumpet/melodica/keyboards/glockenspiel; Rob Haynes: drums; Pat Clarke: harmonica
Please put Saturday May 19th in yer diaries! I’m playing my first Manchester city centre gig as a singer-songwriter for over 3 years at the Peer Hat, 14-16 Faraday St, Manchester M1 1BE. Other acts playing will be The Earls of No King (aka Mark Greer), China Pig and Michael Seal and the Be Positvies.
I will be joined by bozchestrians Phil Robinson (bass), Rob Haynes (drums), Rick Burrows (trumpet) and Mark Greer (Slide/glockenspiel) and maybe one or two others depending on their availability and what we have selected to play. We will be playing a number of Tennessee Ten songs and some classics
It promises to be a great evening. It’s a fiver in. Doors open 7.30. Curfew is 11.
I’m playing the featured artist slot at the Strange Brew open mic on Monday 18th December with my long term accomplices Phil Robinson (guitarron bass) and Mark Greer (lap slide guitar). I think we’ll be on around 9pm. Strange Brew is on Barlow Moor Road in Chorlton, Manchester. All welcome! (If I remember, I’ll play a seasonal song, too!) x