Saturday 17 November 2018

The Saturday List #195 - The November Dead List

Lets start with a little explanation. If you are a Roman Catholic and you go to mass, you will know that there is such a thing as "The November Dead List". This is a list of people in the parish who have died over the years, who parishioners want to pray for. November is very much a month for think about the dead. It starts with Halloween when the sun goes down on the 31st October. This leads into All Saints day, which is a celebration of those who have made it into Paradise on the 1st November. Then we have All Souls Day on the 2nd, for those we are not quite so sure about. Throughout the month we have masses said for Mums, Dads, Aunties and Uncles and tragically sons and daughters. Little brown envelopes are left in chuches, for parishioners to insert names for The November Dead List.

Many regular readers will know that I play guitar in a band called "The False Dots". I doubt any of you will know that originally we were going to call the band "The November Dead List". Sadly our then lead singer was told by his father that he'd be slung out if we used such a blasphemous name with the obligatory "Your Grandmother will be turning in her grave if she knew". So we called ourselves The False Dots instead. I wrote a song called "The November Dead List" to be our anthem, but sadly that went the way of the name, when our Lead singers Father was on his one man Spanish Inquisition.

The concept of the song was remarkably simple. We had a chronological list of all the People who had died who we felt were influences of the False Dots. I figured out quite a nice bit of finger picking on the guitar to go with it. As the song was written shortly after Sid Vicious died, his was the last name, although he was never really an influence. At the time there really weren't too many Dead Punk stars, so he sort of got in by default. I decided to try and see if I could do an updated one. There is far more choice these days. The artists are listed by chronologically by when they were an influence on my music, rather than when they passed away. Sadly Sid no longer makes the cut

1.Chuck Berry
2. Brian Jones
3. Mark Bolan
4. David Bowie
5. Joey Ramone
6. Joe Strummer
7. Johnny Thunders
8. Desmond Dekker
9. Aretha Franklyn
10. Sly Stone

You may find it odd that my list has Sly Stone and Aretha Franklyn after Joey Ramone, but I got into them post punk. The Clash got me into Reggae music and I found I preferred the upbeat rythms of SKA to the softer lovers rock. The Saints covered Save Me on Prehistoric Sounds and I discovered soul music and Aretha Franklyn which lead me to Sly Stone. To make the list the artist had to have some sort of influence on my playing, songriting or performing.

Here is how

1.Chuck Berry - I always thought that if you could knock out a chunky bit of Chuck Berryesque lead, that really was all you need to know on lead guitar. I've never been a fan of widdlers.

2. Brian Jones - Brian Jones was the guitarist who I wanted to be, even before I could play. Enigmatic and mysterious. When he left the Stones, they started to sound a lot more earthy.

3. Mark Bolan - When I heard the first chords of 20th Century Boy, I just knew I wanted to play the electric guitar. We used to sing them at the bus stop whilst waiting for the 240 bus to take us home from St Vincents Primary School.

4. David Bowie - Bowie made me want to write songs. As a kid, I was Lost in Space. I hated school and mundane things. When I heard Space Oddity and Starman, I realised I wasn't quite the weirdo I thought I was, someone else on the planet, someone else who was super cool got it as well.

5. Joey Ramone - without The Ramones, I'd never have become a musician, end of.

6. Joe Strummer - The Clash made me realise I too could write lyrics. When I heard "Janie Jones" I knew that songwriting was for me!

7. Johnny Thunders - Johnny taught me what you need to do to be a guitar hero. Every gig I've ever played, I've tried to project a bit of Johnny.

8. Desmond Dekker - Desmond Dekker was a man who's music I loved. You probably know him for The Israelites, but I love his song Vietnam. Desmond showed me that you can write songs about anything if you care.

9. Aretha Franklyn - The Saints covered "Save Me" - When I heard the original, I wanted to have a singer who could do that. I was lucky, I found Vanessa Sagoe whos ang for the False Dots in 1983-4. It was awesome.

10. Sly Stone - we conclude our list with Sly Stone. His performance at Woodstock (which I saw via the documentary film) was an eye opener. He made me realise that you don't just have to play the songs. You have to give the punters a show. That for me was the final piece of the jigsaw.

All of these influences have congealed into what has become The False Dots. You can see us play at The Barnet Eye Xmas party on the 14th Feb, here is a little snippet of what we do live (excuse the sound quality as this was filmed on a phone!)

---- Don't forget to make a date in your diary for The Barnet Eye Xmas party and Community awards at Mill Hill Rugby Club on Fri 14th December at Mill Hill Rugby Club at 8pm. We really hope you can come down and say Hi. Admission is Free.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am old enough to have seen Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran.
Holly I saw at The Palladium (Sunday Night at The London Palladium)and I was unimpressed, (I liked Marvin Rainwater better).
Cochran I saw on at a recording of a TV Rock'n'Roll Show in a Wembley TV Studio.
Before the show went live he played Guitar Boogie Shuffle alongside a young Joe Brown. It blew me away. I had never seen a guitar played like that! Playing-wise our Joe 'held his own'.
I was very young, and on both occasions I was accompanied by my Aunt Flo'(to my great embarrassment).