Monday, 9 March 2009

Deep End...

Time for an update me thinks...


It's been hectic here at Bastard HQ of late. About a fortnight ago we bid farewell to our drummer/bodhran player/brass section/vocalist, Alex.

Alex has been with us from the beginning and he will be greatly missed. An incredibly inventive and boundlessly energetic drummer, he has left some mighty big shoes to fill.


So what fool has chosen to burden himself with such a mammoth task? Well if this guy's feet were made out of his name, then his shoes would be huge! Ladies and gentlemen, will you please welcome to the stage... GRIFFIN MAGGS!!!


When he's not working at the brewery, Griff can also be heard twating shit for the delectable Julian Tulk Band. They're well worth a listening at so go check 'em out. And if you should so happen to be in the Reading area this Saturday, why not come down to Griff's first gig with us at Shiplake memorial hall and give him a proper welcome.


Unfortunately, due to the recent line up change, we had to relinquish our slot to record with John Leckie (Radiohead, Muse, The Fall, Stone Roses) at the Dog House studios on the 15th and 16th March. The plan was to record an E.P. with the Brit award-winning producer but we simply aren't going to be ready by then. Yet another regrettable setback but i suspect it will ultimately turn out for the best. We now have the luxury of a little more time to work on some more new material.
Speaking of new material, we have three new songs for you to hear; Wasteland - a rip roaring Celtic punk anthem of the highest caliber; Dear Mol, which is about feelings an' that; and the staggeringly awesome "Can you strictly come mong some hoof?" - a supercharged, banjo driven set that's sure to get the circle pits going.


Below our current itinerary. The gig on the 26th April at the Monto in Kings Cross should be awesome - the line up features us, Rat Attack, Tommy Schitt and the Punishment Fuckers, and my new favourite band, Wonk Unit - seriously you guys, go listen to everything on their myspace immdediately, and when you've done that, head over to their website where there's another 12 tracks to download. Now that's value. Tickets are £8 on the door but we're going to be selling tickets for £3 each!!! Get in contact over at the myspace if you want one. We'll also be selling them through our merchant store on paypal - the purchase option should be up on the myspace within the next few days so keep em peeled...

14th March - Oxjam @ Shiplake Memorial Hall
17th March - St. Patrick's day at Powers, Kilburn
21st March - The Amber Rooms, Watford
22nd March - A Benefit In Brighton - under the arches by the station....
5th April - The Oakford Social, Reading
24th April - Global Cafe, Reading
26th April - Monto Water Rats, Kings Cross, London
27th April - The Cube, Southampton
1st May - Reading Beer Festival

Plus many more... See the myspace for the most up-to-date gig listings.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Unusually, real news:

There are now THREE tracks from the forthcoming album available for a listening at on our myspace and facebook pages:

Blackwall (awaiting further mixing and mastering)
Boys Who Left The Band (awaiting mastering only, possibly)
I'll Tell Me Ma (awaiting some new parts, mixing and mastering)

Encouragingly, mister Barrie Barlow has called us up out of the blue to ask for some tracks to bundle with his studio's A&R mail-out (we think - frankly we're not sure what they're for), so we're scrambling the Aledmobile and might get more recent mixes sooner than expected to upload too.

The other nine tracks...will arrive too. Putting "Christmas" behind us, the new target is to be mixed, mastered, pressed and printed in time for St. Patrick's day in mid March, wish us luck!

Unusually, more news:

We've got a nice little collection of gigs spread out over the summer and the South of England which have just recently been announced - but don't forget we'll be filling in all these gaps too so keep looking at the myspace and drop us a line at if you've anything for us to do.

7/2/09 Brighton

12/2/09 London

14/3/09 Brighton

29/4/09 Reading

22/5/09 Southampton

17/7/09 Bath

Shit a whole brick there's more news:

Somehow we've been finding the time recently to get in some proper songwriting, and happily we've managed to chuck together at least one or two tunes we're pretty chuffed with, including our first ever original set of jigs/reels. These will be refreshing our set in the weeks and months to come, so come and cast your sweet ears in our direction as soon as you can.

Don't forget, we're always open to suggestions for lyrics or tunes, either unnoticed standards which you think we might be able to have a bash at or something self-penned - don't be shy! Drop us a quadrametric line to and we'll be sure to take your suggestions seriously.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Music and Pictures - we're practically Cinemax!

Hooray! All kinds of goodies for you today - specifically: two kinds.

Firstly, you know that bit in Cube when the dude with the tourettes can't help himself despite hands clamped over his mouth and he shouts an incoherant noise out?

Well this is EXACTLY like that, except we're a band and not a guy, the 'shout' is two tracks of music on our myspace, it's not so much incoherant as probably fairly close to what's going to get mastered, nobody's trying to stop us, and nobody gets horribly gored to death as a result of our going forth. Uncanny, isn't it?!


Our original target for finishing was Christmas, but Aled is a busy man and his pay - while more than ever before (Aled's been involved in recording about half of all the demos and albums I've ever put out in all my bands - for free!) - still works out at something paltry like £1 an hour, so you can see we'll pretty much get what we get and be grateful!

Just quickly to keep you all up to speed, I think Matt and Macca and possibly Sophie and Mike have been to see Aled a few times in Guildford recently to record extra bits and bobs, but I actually don't know really because it's all a bit hush hush, and I know I've given several rounds of feedback on the first three of the twelve tracks mixing-wise and the other nine have been done in a more general way ready for feedback, but again, you might want to check the comments for amendments because there's every chance there have been secret developments!

Right, I promised you all kinds of two kinds of goodies today, and here are some photos I took (without flash in a dark room, excuse the generally awful quality!) in Cardiff Student Union, developed at last:

This is Macca's arm. It's just here for comparison with the next photograph, which is Pat's arm with the same information on it, apparently.


This is some boon who went to casualty either before or after this because he had like a nosebleed or hiccoughs or something during our set.



Monday, 29 December 2008

F is for food - Mike

So me and my housemate Matt came up with an idea today. The idea is to eat only food that starts with the letter "a" for a day. Then the next day eat only food that starts with the letter "b" and so on and so on for 26 days in total.

We predict this will be easy at first, but may hit some roadblocks by the 24th day in particular. In order to combat this, we may be allowing ourselves a little creativity in the names of certain foods. So whilst any cheese can be eaten on the third day, stinking bishop in particular can be eaten on the "s" day. And for the 24th day in particular it has been decided that xenomorphs count in the form of mis-shapen cookies and the such so on no paricular day do we have to eat nothing.

This will be a horrowing and perhaps humorous tale. A journey of the self as well as food and as such I've decided to document it day by day, if it goes ahead.

We'll try and keep you informed in the planning stage,
- Mike

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Piss and Shit - Mike

Consider the four human bodily processes of Eating, Drinking, Pissing and Shitting. Each works as a verb demonstrating an action is taking place. They also work as nouns as in this case: food, drink, piss and shit.

But what about the adjectives that show desire to carry out the actions?
You can be hungry and you can be thirsty, but what single words are for the feeling of needing a piss or shit? Sure there are words with connetations such as brewing, bloated and bursting but nothing that clearly and definitively means "I could well do for a piss," or "Christ on a bike if you don't get out of my way I'm going to shit. Soon."

So then, an alternative? Pissy means something else, as does shitty so both of those are out. We need new words in order to save time when pushing past people on the way to the toilet. After all, isn't that what life is truely about?

I propose that the funniest two appropriate yet nonsensical word verifications to be submitted should be considered being introduced. All you have to do is reply and you'll know what to do.

My first one is "kiess". No good.

- Mike

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Proposed Song Order - Alex

Okay, I've had a fiddle with Mike's list, feedback is smacky good:

1.Tell Me Ma
2.Boys Who Left The Band
3.Weigh Anchor
4.Curse the London City Gent
5.Steve The Twat
6.Auld Triangle
7.Cumberland Crew
8.Sideways Up The Rubber Sprocket
9.Old Boys' State
10.Last Blackwall
11.Old Jack
12.Drunken Sailor

Tell me ma - I'll be very happy with this as a first track - once we've had time with aled in the studio.

Weigh Anchor is a big ballsy one, I like that near the beginning.

gent-steve-triangle is a nice little package I think, means steve is earlier in the album so the run up to the end of the album can be more unbrokenly exciting.

Crew and Blackwall are still next to each other, which I think may be a problem. I want the toms in both of those to sound very large and probably similar (though in crew there'll be lots more reverb I suppose). Do you think swopping Anchor and Blackwall would work?

Song Titles ?
Just realised we have no standard way of writing most of our songs - I like a mixture of the first, second and third I've written for each; more feedback!

"Tell Me Ma" / "I'll Tell Me Ma" / "Ma"

"Boys Who Left The Band" / "The Boys Who Left The Band" / "Boys"

"Curse The London City Gent" / "The Curse of The London City Gent" / "City Gent"

"Auld Triangle" / "The Auld Triangle"

"Cumberland Crew" / "The Cumberland's Crew" / "The Cumberland Crew"

"Last Blackwall" / "The Last Blackwall"

"Old Boys State" / "Old Boys' State" / "Old Boy's State" / "State"

"Old Jack" / "Shitbounce" / "Cock In Your Eye"

"Drunken Sailor" / "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?" / "Sailor"

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Proposed Song Order - Mike

So since now we've got a first preliminary mix of all the songs, I bashed out a steamy load of proposed album order. Feedback is tasty.

1. Tell Me Ma
2. Boys Who Left The Band
3. Curse The London City Gent
4. Auld Triangle
5. Weigh Anchor
6. Cumberland Crew
7. Last Blackwall
8. Old Boys State
9. Steve The Twat
10. Sideways Up The Rubber Sprocket
11. Old Jack
12. Drunken Sailor

This was especially difficult because we have three songs that start with variations on "old" which couldn't be grouped together, and a difficult choice for the first song. I've always been against putting Tell Me Ma first, but I think it is genuinly the best choice out of the songs we have.

I've also tried to listen as much as possible to which songs "feel" like early or late songs, with the middle being the hardest to judge.

I'm giving it a listen as we speak, so I'll definately change it later.

- Mike

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Horses and Album Art

At the weekend Smokey Bastard consumed two entire horses - one in Cardiff Student Union (supporting the mincing Mental Image) and one at the very accommodating Royal Oak in Bath, supported by the truly fantastic The Clap.

It was a shitty weekend to drive the nearly five hundred miles I covered but it was great to get everyone together again. We turned up at a rehearsal studio in Cardiff and bought most of our instruments from the bewildered old man there before mostly playing metal/end-of-film-rock versions of our own songs all afternoon. I personally left a tiny bit of wee on the drum stool from laughing so much all afternoon.

We then had a great turn-out in Cardiff Uni, especially considering it's so far away from our nominal base, and bearing in mind that it was in Fuckingwales, which is a pretty hopeless start to almost anything. I've got some pictures on film (so they'll be ages) of some larks, some blood and a chinese set list on Pat's arm, and we collectively ingested a fair old amount of free beer.

Those who had the time to chill out on saturday then, as far as I can gather from Macca, played earthworm jim on the megadrive for possibly longer than a night and a day, sitting in their own filth very happily.

We went acoustic for the Bath gig and the gloriously free bar helped that one to be gloriously shambolic, but we sold a fair old stack of the old CDs so we had petrol to get home, and we also had some good time to discuss the album; what we want out of it and when and what to call it and all that stuff:


Ok, there's some cash in it for whomever's album artwork we use on our upcoming album, but we don't know what it'll look like yet.

We recon we'll try and settle on our favourite four or five album titles, and then we'd like to invite anyone who's interested (and especially a few people we've got in mind, but we're very open to input) to rub one out to go with one or several of the titles, and then whichever artwork is best will probably decide which title we use. Watch this space for more information on this one. The only title we're so far agreed on seems to be 'Propping Up The Floor' but there are definitely others on the shortlist.

"NOW That's What I Call Shitfisted!"
p.s. A google image search for 'shit fisted' was never going to be pretty (you have been warned this is gross and explicit), but check out item number five! I wonder if we should use more porn buzzwords as themes when we record in future, to up our hit count...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Limbo - Mike

So here we are in this perpetual limbo. Repeatedly reminded that a preview of the album will be ready soon, yet also painfully aware that except for a few far away gigs, very little is on the plate. And I am hungry. I could eat a horse. A massive gig horse. Num num num.

So I really want to start getting our stuff out there in order to get these colossal horses of gigs, yet I feel the EP is outdated. It doesn't really relate our current standard of playing or professionalism, which I hope will be demonstrated more accurately with the first few previews of the album. I know I could put the effort in and try and get gigs with the old EP or even with only my throbbing bravado, but it's easier to wait and hope. So I wait and hope. I wait and hope for this magic event, and I don't get us any more horses. One day it will happen, and on that day we will eat and we will eat well.

I'm also very aware that since most of the band live far away, gigs are only really worth playing if a) it's a super sweet gig with loads of new people who will perchance love us or b) it pays enough to cover travel costs. These are harder to find, especially without an album. IT IS A PARADOX THAT AFFECTS US ALL.

In brighter news Cardiff tomorrow, then Bath on Sunday. Woo. See you all there.

Piss piss moan, piss moan moan,
- Mike

P.S. Everyone should be watching Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe if they aren't already.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Album titles

So rather than complaining about how the album still doesn't have a name, I decided to write a list of suggestions. I'm also on Carrie's computer so this is the easiest method of keeping a record of everything I write.

The list so far:

Smokey Bastard
The Smokey Bastard sing-a-long song book for kids (you know, for kids)
Young and Teeth

My suggestions (in the order in which they occured to me):

It's time for a pint
Time for a pint
Sit down, shut up, drink and listen
Fuck you for asking
A collection of folk punk songs mostly about old people written by young people
Drinking 'til dawn
Whiskey bullets
Drinking in the devil's bar
The old rose
I can quit any time
Raucous youth
Pub-rawl convoy
Get it down you
Midnight singsongs
Moonshine dreams
So it was me, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan...
Liquid cheer
Milk bottle full of Guinness
Propping up the floor
Hungover discoveries
Let's go get drunk in the fort

My favourite so far are "Propping up the floor" and "Let's go get drunk in the fort".

More to come?
- Mike

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Oh yeah...


Choice Chambers

So as I sat, depressingly alone while my housemates partied the night away, watching Dimbleby ramble on desperately trying to fill the six hour election night he had ahead of him, my mate Dre came in and began to change the channel.

I objected, horrified, but my worry was misplaced.

It was at this point I was introduced to CNN, and I would like to take a minute to list several reasons why CNN's coverage kicked the BBC's election night mumbling session's sorry arse.

1: The Drums

The first thing to strike me was the epic drums used to introduce every single thing that the CNN politics crew (The Worlds Greatest Political News Team as a sign in the background informed me) had to throw at me. It went on for ages. It was like the intro to Brass Eye.

2: The Presenters

They were called Wolf Blitzer and Anderton Cooper.

Wolf Blitzer..................David Dimbleby

Wolf Blitzer..................David Dimbleby

Wolf Blitzer..................David Dimbleby

Need I say more.

3: The Claims

The Worlds Greatest Political News Team was not the only claim adorning the back wall of the studio. As if that wasn't reassuring enough, my eyes were treated to huge, metallic lettering reading:

CNN = Politics


but nothing compared to...


That's right. CNN provided me with an exclusive interview with Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas fame...........via Hologram

Seriously. You Guys.

The presenter actually interviewed empty space and they overlayed a floating image of Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas fame.

They even made him a bit fuzzy and slowed down the frame-rate to make it look like the technology wasn't quite perfect. Y'know...for realism

That, my friends, is television.
The BBC need to buck up their ideas.


You Guys.


Puppy In Whitehouse

Well thank heavens for all that.


Saturday, 1 November 2008

Autumn Update

Hello all!

Wordy one, this time...

Today I feel like it's Christmas already, because: my whole family is home for my birthday this weekend, we had a full on inch and a bit of snow at the end of last week, the heating is on in the house and we're doing a trial run christmas dinner on sunday to prototype the stuffing and chipolatas and bacon asparagus and cranberry bread sauce and the whole house smells delicious already!

But it's not christmas yet - in fact last night was Hallowe'en. Smokey Bastard didn't play a gig unfortunately, since our internal communications broke down a bit when we were offered two seperate gigs for that night and nothing happened - but I made a little pumpkin with candles in and tried to learn how to play blues on the piano with my girlfriend instead, how punk is that?

As it happens, the last time Smokey B got together it was more like easter than Christmas or Hallowe'en, with glorious sunshine and probably our last chance to rehearse outside in Tony's Christmas...veranda? (Some of you may recognise the Christmas room (of not-yet-surfaced live video "fame") with a couple of walls missing - this is Tony Ness's ingeniousness in action, and a good place for acoustic practice).

This reheasal was for a short notice gig mid october at the Eldon Arms where SOPHIE reappeared from France unexpectedly early which was super. We had a lovely time and are gaining quite a soft spot for the Eldon crowd and crew - actually I wonder if it might be a good spot for some occasional sessions? I've been meaning to set someting like that up for ages in Reading, any thoughts anybody?

Unfortunately we didn't manage to pull an appearance from a rather important man from a rather important festival, but we'll keep talking to him and see what we can do in the future...

Back to the present day, Mike and I (and team of about ten other folks) were in Camden on the 30th for Bellowhead's gig at Koko which was absolutely brilliant fun, the brass section visibly plastered and the whole lot of them indulging in a lot of unpretentious japery - by the end of the gig they were all playing kazoos, the sax player had his jacket on inside out to dance like elvis and the bouzouki player was shredding through a wah pedal - so much to see and hear, awesome! We decided their first album doesn't do them justice - my LP of the new album arrives on Sunday for my birthday, here's hoping it's more successful.

Has anyone seen a folk crowdsurf before? The Bellowhead sax player might well have won the prize for the first one ever...

AND FINALLY, in Smokey Bastard Album news:

-No title

-No tracklist

-No artwork

-No music

(Still not quite finished the last of Sophie's fiddle lines from before she went to Fr, and no rough mix from Aled yet cos he's a jolly busy fourth year, but we're waiting with baited breath for an unmixed mixdown any day now!)



p.s. I know I said 'finally' before, but this guy supported Bellowhead and he's rather good, though admittedly morose. Have a listen, and see if you agree that he should play a banjo sometimes: Sam John Carter

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Well Qualified for The Position

This is a special Smokey Bastard announcement.

Let's all join hands and wish Mr. Wood (of Smokey Bastard bass and vocals) lots of luck getting funding for his PhD, because there's lots of competition and we all want the best for him in his career. We know this is a big deal and we're taking you seriously, big man.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

We're all doomed!

At some point they had to write down ON PAPER the process of MAKING PAPER. This is centuries old self perpetuating technology! The end may have already begun...

- Mike

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Bellowhead Bellowsession

I keep forgetting to say: Pat and I went to London's South Bank on September 21st where there was a huge food festival going on around the Festival Hall to join in with a session with the most impressive Bellowhead, where I had a chance to chat with Andy the trumpet player at some length (mostly complaining about how hard it is to pick up their stab-filled brass lines) and even catch a few moments of their rehearsal as they let us leave our instruments in their room at the Festival Hall.

Pat was rocking the flute for portability reasons, and I was playing trumpet or bodhran depending on whether the key was manageable for improv - and we brought along a few friends for the party including the folkier-by-the-day Rachel Marshall on clarinet and swooning duty.

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of minutes chatting with every single member of bellowhead as I put one of our demos into each of their talented mitts, so I hope one or two of them listened to it.

I also kept saying 'hopefully see you on the festivals circuit next year'. Ahem. Well, you never know, right? Perhaps on the strength of the new album!

And I gave a CD to a youngish man who wanted to start a morris dancing troupe in Reading and was thinking that Smokey Bastard could be his band, or he could maybe come do some one-man-morris at some of our gigs. Stangely enough having had an opportunity to listen to our CD I don't think he's tried to contact us - I wonder why ever not?

Vaguely on this note, just because I enjoy splashing bands about here are some groups and bands I am currently enjoying, both old discoveries and new

Bellowhead (Old favourites: always a good sign when 'plays' outnumber 'profile views' on myspace. going to see them at Koko on the 30th!)

Let's Tea Party (something of a wild card, saw them play with Portland Rise last weekend)

The High Kings (These guys are a bit too slick and moneyspinning, but their 'Rocky Road To Dublin' is by far the best I've heard it done, heard it on Radio 2's wednesday evening folk program)

Terrafolk (These guys are utterly, utterly spectacular live but a bit so-so on these recordings, nonetheless you can not afford to miss their surreal version of 'You Are My Sunshine')

Bad Science (These guys have been in my top five for years and probably will be for a long time, might try and get to see them at the Southampton Soul Cellar on the 28th.)

Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (Thanks to Rachel Garforth for this one, wide eyed child winter folk, can't decide about the music on the myspace really, but it's intriguing - and if you can find 'Blue's Gaen Oot O'the Fashion' anywhere, it's brilliant.)

Jackson Jackson (If you loved loved loved The Cat Empire like I did, don't assume you'll like their trumpet player/singer Harry's side project, which is brilliant but utterly different. Listen out for an unexpected folk traditional in 'Cats, Rats and Pidgeons'!)

Ed, Will and Ginger a-walking-o (Mike found this one and Carrie showed me, it's Coope, Boyes and Simpson - esque, but with a bit more youth and poshness to it)


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Fire unicycle

This is Pete from the Southampton University Circus Society. His unicycle is on fire. This may or may not be completely badass.

Plug over,
- Mike

Monday, 22 September 2008

What a fucking great idea.

Once upon a time I was reading the blog/street art diary of a guy named Poster Child. There was a post in particular that for some reason stuck in my mind although at the time I failed to act on it. It wasn't until recently that I decided to give it a go, although on the more personal domain of my own house.

The idea is as follows: Cut out a paper (or card) moustache that is preferably curly. Stick that to the front of your television. Laugh and make merry every time someone's face lines up with said moustache. Here are some pictures:

With the television turned off.

John Cleese match 01

John Cleese match 02

These are just some examples of the possible hilarity. Best played under the influence of alcohol and an abundance of like minded (inebriated) housemates.

The relevant Post

- Mike

Sunday, 31 August 2008


"A fortnight!" we said.

"No problems!" we said.

"Rhythm section in a week or less!" said we.

Smokey Bastard have been in the "studio" now for about two and a half weeks, and have completed:

Electric guitars

Leaving us still yet to do:

Accoustic Guitars
aaaaaall the vocals
and then be pissed for a day or so with the tape rolling for some atmosphere
(and I'm sure there's more)


On the don't-care-much-that-it's-taking-a-while-really hand though, it's shaping up to sound pretty much like we've all been hoping; some of my personal favourite bits so far include:

backwards stuff
mad orchestral percussion stuff
hugely over-epic guitar sounds (12 channels per guitar line in some places)
the emergence of balls-to-the-wall shitfisted riotous high speed...folk...


Today, when starting to EQ some of our tracks, Aled (our engineer/mixer) asked me this question:

"Do you want it to kick you in the face, or punch you in the guts?"

Please note that there is no third option - whatever happens this record is going to injure you. Roll on week four!


P.s. we've got loads of footage to wack up here in the next few weeks, and we'll try to make that happen, so don't forget to watch this space...Both of you...