Pay To Play

If you’re an aspiring band or artist and have ever attempted to get some gigs further afield from your home town, you’ve probably come across the phenomenon that is known as ‘Pay To Play’.

You know the kind of thing where the promoter, or venue says that they can’t or won’t pay you for your performance and tell you that ‘it will be good promotion for your band’ and that ‘that’s just the way things are these days’.

This may well suit you under certain circumstances, but…..

Well, you might be pleased to hear that it’s not just the new, up and coming artists that have to put up with this kind of thing. It seems that even the biggest acts in the world are spun the same rubbish as well. As this blog post by the very readable Helienne Lindvall shows:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2013/dec/17/music-acts-radio-events-free-katy-perry

Of course this is not something that just happens in London and other big cities, it happens in most smaller towns as well. Thankfully not all venues and promoters do this, but many do.

This is a big issue, with several sides and varying points of view and one that I could probably talk about for hours, so I don’t intend to go into it all here.

What I thought I would do though is to point you towards a couple of Facebook groups that talk about these issues. If nothing else it proves that you’re not alone and that it’s not just the ‘little people’ that are affected.

Here’s a link to a Facebook group started up to highlight and discuss musicians being asked to play for free. The group was actually started after problems with the London 2012 Olympics. You might have to join the group to get involved:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/NUMAO/

Of course, this doesn’t just affect the music industry. It has become an issue across many fields too, such as journalism.

Here’s a link to another Facebook group called ‘Stop Working For Free’, this time started by respected music journalist Barney Hoskyns. It’s aimed at journalists, musicians, photographers and others as well. Once again you may have to join to get the full benefit:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/263804607094399/

Why not share your own story?

 

SMART

We all know that Hastings has a great music scene these days. But that’s nothing new and now there’s a great Facebook group for all those who remember the local music and bands from the heady days of the 1970’s and beyond.

It’s called SMART, which is an acronym for ‘Seventies Music and Retro Talk’.

You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/smart70s/

SMART was set up by local music lover Alan Esdaile and as he told me the group was originally started “to post a few of my cuttings and photos of friends in local bands from the 1970′s. But as more people got involved, I realised it needed to be from the 1960′s through to the 1980′s, all with a connection to Hastings”

SMART has since expanded beyond being just a Facebook group covering those decades though.

Alan now arranges regular meet ups of all interested parties. He said “I’ve now set up a coffee and chat group where we can all get together and chat about music, bands, pier talk etc. It’s great that a few musicians are talking about reforming bands and didn’t realise that other people were still as passionate about their music as they are/were.”

If you’re interested in going along and sharing your own memories, the next meet up is on Friday 22nd November in the bar at the White Rock Hotel from 3.30pm.

Alan’s main aim for the group is “Keeping memories alive”, but he needs your help to do that. So, if you have any old photos, flyers, gig tickets or press cuttings etc why not let him know?

As he told me “So many brilliant musicians and different bands locally come and go. But it’s quite sad that photos are kept in a draw or turning yellow in a box in the loft when other people can get so much more enjoyment out of them.”

Let’s not forget, this was a time before the Internet, social media and digital cameras. An age when nobody had a mobile phone in their pocket with which to record and share their personal gig going experience.

You just might have a piece of local music history laying around forgotten somewhere in your house. So why not have a search and see what you may be able to dig up?

SMART also has a family history angle too as Alan told me that he’s had a number of young people contacting him, asking if he has any pictures of their dads, uncles or other family members.

This goes to prove that history isn’t just for the older generation, it is important to everyone and the more of it that is preserved, the better.

The musical history of the Hastings area during the 1960′s/70′s/80′s and 90′s is a particularly rich one. So, it’s good to see somebody like Alan Esdaile trying to help preserve a unique part of our local heritage.

Why not give him a hand?

Pierless Music and Fat Tuesday

You may have seen the news in todays edition of the Hastings Observer concerning Pierless Music teaming up with the Hastings Fat Tuesday duo of Adam Daly and Bob Tipler. If not here’s what you missed:

Obviously this is exciting news and something we’ll be talking about here in the days and months to come.

We have many great ideas and plans for the future and we’ll let you know all about them in due course. But, as you can imagine, there is plenty of hard work to come now to get this charity off of the ground.

But, we thought we’d just share this good news with you in the meantime.

Guy Fawkes Tried in Hastings!

I know that Pierless Music is here to talk about and share information about local music, but we couldn’t resist telling you about this. Don’t worry, there is a musical connection of sorts.

Tony Streeter, who among other things, promotes the Ragged Trousered Folk nights at The Jenny Lind and who is also one of the mainstays behind the annual RNLI Hastings Beach Concerts, has written a book with a very local theme.

The book is called ‘Lives and Times of Kindred Spirits – the Bonfire Societies of Hastings & St Leonards’. This is very topical as the Hastings Week celebrations are due to start this weekend. They, of course, culminate in the Bonfire Procession and fireworks on Saturday October 19th.

To quote Tony, his book “Documents the history of Bonfire in Hastings, year on year, from 1815 onwards. It also includes details of the anti-Papal riots of January 1851; the Salvation Army and anti-Salvationist disturbances of 1883/84; neglect in the workhouse in 1884; Hastings first ever Carnival in 1895; the employment of local labour in the construction of the tramways in 1905; and the poverty marches of the same period”

The book is 272 pages long and sells for £8.50. More info can be found here:

http://www.raggedtrouseredfolk.me.uk/books-1

To celebrate the publication of his book, Tony is having a book launch on Saturday 12th October at The Jenny Lind, in Hastings Old Town, between 1 and 4pm.

But, this is no ordinary book launch as it will include ‘The Trial of the Arch Traitor Guido Fawkes’ as performed by local actors. Don’t worry, I don’t think they are any plans to hang, draw and quarter Guido Fawkes afterwards!

Entry is free and there will also be music from local bluesman Jeremiah Longshanks. See, I told you there was music involved.

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot…..”

Guest Post: A Music Video In 4 Basic Steps

One of the main ways of getting attention for your band, or act, is to produce a music video to help showcase your music. But, how do you go about it? Especially if you have only a limited budget and who doesn’t these days eh?

Well, our friends at Epik Music Videos have written us another guest post to help you. You can find it here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/epik/shooting-your-own-music-video-in-4-basic-steps/

It makes for good reading and having been in discussions myself recently about helping to produce a local music video, I can tell you that there are some good pointers in the article.

Some of them may well seem obvious, but it’s often very easy to forget the basics. So, have a read before making your own video, it might just make all the difference to the finished product.

Find out more about Epik Music Videos here: http://www.epikmusicvideos

Big Green Cardigan Festival

The kids are on their way back to school and the Summer is nearly over, but there’s still time to sneak in just one more music festival before the onset of Autumn.

Appropriately enough, seeing as the weather is cooling down, I’m talking about the Big Green Cardigan Festival, which takes place in nearby Cripps Corner on the weekend of 6th-8th September 2013.

This will be the 3rd year that this small and intimate festival, which prides itself on having no musical policy, will take place.
Therefore, you are likely to hear blues, prog rock, folk, sea shanties, gypsy swing and much more over the three days.

More info can be found on the Big Green Cardigan website at:
http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

Mick Hoad, one of the organisers of the festival told me “We are definitely not The Black Horse Festival, but have more in common with that much loved festival than most of the local festival scene, due to our policy of booking critically acclaimed artists, mixed with local talent who perform their own material.
The Big Green Cardigan is really an old school festival with no gimmicks. It is a festival for music lovers where the audience is genuinely interested in listening to the acts.”

So, apart from hearing and seeing artists from as far afield as the USA, Belgium and Australia, you can also expect to see local favourites such as Buick 6, Expandis and Titus.

One of the highlights must surely be the return, after over 30 years, of local prog rockers Stallion. As mentioned in a previous post, they are playing on Friday 6th September. Read that post here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/stallion-ride-again/

More reasons to attend include local real ales such as Green Cardigan Ale, especially brewed for the festival by Full Moon Brewery from Henley Down. There is also camping available, so you don’t have to bother driving home again afterwards. There’s a food area with sensible prices and enough clean toilets to go round too. That makes a refreshing change doesn’t it?

Please note though that The Big Green Cardigan Festival is not geared towards families. With that in mind there is no admittance for persons under 14.

If this sounds like your kind of festival, tickets are available from www.biggreencardigan.co.uk, Hastings Tourist Information Centre & the Kings Head in Battle.

Don’t worry Summer isn’t over just yet.

Stallion Ride Again

Sometimes band reunions happen at just the right time and the re-emergence of Hastings band Stallion may well be a case in point.

For the uninitiated, Stallion were a prog rock band from Hastings who plied their trade during those heady days of the 1970′s. The many members of the band reads like a who’s who of well respected Hastings based musicians. Including the likes of the late Steve Demetri, Phil Gill, Phil Thornton, Roger Carey and Tich Turner, to name but a few.

Stallion’s career spanned nearly the whole of that musically rich decade and they have only now got around to finally releasing their great ‘lost’ album, ‘The Hard Life’.

‘The Hard Life’ is released on Prog-o-Tone Records and contains 11 of the bands tracks, which were recorded between 1974 and 1979.

Back in the 1970′s Stallion played alongside such great bands as Traffic, Curved Air and T-Rex, amongst others. Stallion also played at the Reading Festival and did headline gigs at the Marquee club, as well as being regular performers on Hastings Pier. They also won, outright, the 1976 Melody Maker Rock Contest. No mean achievement.

Stallion have been described by some as one of the great lost bands of that 1970′s Rock music era and you can understand why when you listen to the album. Unfortunately for them, their musical career happened to coincide with the emergence of Punk Rock and we all know how that affected many bands from that era don’t we?

Given a bit more luck who knows where they may have ended up? But, at least we now have the chance to relive those far off days via their music.

I suspect though that they may look a little different to when this photo was taken of one of those sold out gigs at the Marquee club in London:

So why could this be the right time for Stallion to make a comeback?

Well, prog rock is once again in the ascendency and Hastings Pier, a very familiar old stomping ground for the band, is also making a well received comeback.

And now to drive that point home, Stallion are playing their first gig for over 30 years at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, in nearby Cripps Corner, on Friday 6th September.

We’ll be talking more about the festival in a future post, but in the meantime more details can be found here: http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

To get yourself in the mood for this long overdue comeback gig, you can listen to and buy Stallion’s ‘The Hard Life’ by going here:

http://philthornton.bandcamp.com/album/the-hard-life-stallion

You can also find out more about Stallion by visiting their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/stallionprogressiverock

Rumour has it that this might not be the last we hear from Stallion as a live band. Wouldn’t it be great if one of their future gigs was back on the refurbished Hastings Pier in 2015?

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Hastings Pier Rises Again

As you may well have seen in the news today, the restoration of Hastings Pier is finally about to take place: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-23699453

Work is due to start any day now and is planned to be completed in the Spring of 2015.

This is great news for the town and I’m certainly looking forward to treading those boards once again.

One other thing I’m also looking forward to is going to gigs on Hastings Pier once again. I’ll admit that I didn’t get to see a huge amount first time around, but have fond memories of those that I did attend.

Most of us are well aware of the amazing amount of musical greats that played on Hastings Pier through the years. From the Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix, from the Sex Pistols to Gene Vincent, the list is a roll call of worldwide musical talent. It would be great if that impressive list can be added to after the Pier re-opens again in 2015.

The published plans do include a facility for gigs/concerts to take place, as you can see both here: http://hpcharity.co.uk/ and here: http://drmm.co.uk/projects/hastings-pier-redevelopment/   

I just hope that what is being proposed are the kind of gigs that so many people remember from their own past and still talk about today.

Personally I also feel that this also needs to include a facility for gigs by original local musical talent and not just as support acts either. This could be a great opportunity to showcase local talent in a high profile venue and it would be a great pity if this was not able to happen for some reason.

Many local bands played on Hastings Pier during its heyday, so why not make that a priority in the future?

Maybe that process could be started by making the first ever gig on the brand new Hastings Pier a celebration of original local music? Now that would be something worth looking forward to.

Let the campaign start here and let me know your own feelings about this.

Andy Gunton,

15th August 2013.

PS: Pierless Music will still be called Pierless Music, even after Hastings Pier re-opens.

Carnival FM Shows on Mixcloud

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently produced and presented a series of Local Music Shows on Carnival FM in Hastings.

Well, the first two of those shows are now available to listen to again, or for the first time, on Mixcloud.

The first show, which went out on Friday 2nd August featured a pre-recorded interview and live session with Claire Hamill, as mentioned in another recent post on the Pierless Music site.

The second show was originally broadcast on Monday 5th August and featured interviews and live sessions with both Blair and Poppy Prescott.

Links to both shows are below. The remaining Local Music Shows are planned to be uploaded in due course.

Don’t forget to check out the Carnival FM YouTube channel for videos of the interviews and live sessions that I did during the programmes. Once again, these are being uploaded gradually: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarnivalFM/videos

Local Music Show Carnival FM 2013 Show 1 by Carnival Fm on Mixcloud

Local Music Show Part 2 Carnival FM Mon 5th Aug 2013 by Carnival Fm on Mixcloud

Carnival FM

Carnival FM has just started its second broadcast. You can hear it locally now on 87.9FM and also via the Internet by going to their website at: http://www.carnivalfm.co.uk/

As with last years broadcast, I shall be presenting a series of Local Music Shows. They will be on weekday evenings between 6 to 8pm. The first one is today, Friday 2nd August.

During next weeks shows I shall be having some live sessions by local bands and artists. We are planning two sessions per weekday, one during each hour of the show. The only exception is Thursday, when there is live music outside the studio, due to the Old Town High Street Traders Party, so we’ll just have the one session that night.

All the shows will be podcasted afterwards, for those who may not get to hear the broadcast. We are also videoing the sessions and related interviews. These will be uploaded to the Carnival FM YouTube channel as soon as we can get them there.

In the meantime you can still watch some of last years sessions on the YouTube channel, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CarnivalFM/videos

We have also pre-recorded an interview and live session with Claire Hamill which will go out live during this evenings show. I may be biased, but it’s well worth listening to.

To get you in the mood the guys at Rock-A-Nore Productions made a promo video for the Carnival FM broadcast. You can watch that here:

Happy listening.