Thanks to everyone who came down to The Oaks in West Hyde on Friday night for my solo gig. Thanks also to Ed for his efforts in getting the gig. Members of Riff Raff made up part of the audience including John who is also currently persuing his own solo project, gigging last night ( Saturday ) which, despite a bit of pre-gig nervousness, went well.  Meanwhile, me and Rosie were at the Brighton Centre to see the Moody Blues – superb !

Riff Raff will be back rehearsing together very soon and I’ll be at Jam Night on Thursday. Hope to see you soon.

BFN,    Rob.

Hello ! It’s been while since I last wrote – as you can see from the date of the previous article below !

Well, there have been a few things going on one way or another. Jam Nights are still going well, although numbers are down a little as expected, due to people having the audacity to go off on their holidays.

Meanwhile, what about ‘Riff Raff’ then, eh !?!  Yes, it’s been a bit like when the Fab Four made Sgt. Pepper – low profile with not much happening – seemingly – and then WHOOOOOSH … or if you prefer … BANG – let ’em have it ! !  Unlike the Beatles though , who unleashed their new project on the world, Riff Raff exploded back onto the scene within earshot of the back gardens in a quiet corner of Ashford, and then in Wealdstone High Street. The locals didn’t know what had hit them !

This was illustrated when my amp blew up towards the end of the Wealdstone gig.  Friday night at The Shanakee saw some old friends from past Jam Nights and it was good to do a full ‘electric’ gig with my Riff Raff chums again. Everything seemed to be going pretty well until ten minutes from the end. My now infamous solo in ‘Hey Joe’  went from volume 15 to zero in 0.00000001of a second – I was left in absolute silence – just the plink plink of my pick thrashing against the strings in desperation and disbelief !

So there you have it  – Riff Raff, the band that blow up their amps !  Not really true though is it ?  I was the only one that blew his amp up – all the other Riff Raffs don’t blow theirs up like me – damn lightweights (except Derek of course  as he’s on drums … Hang on !  He uses a monitor !  He’s a lightweight too !) Perhaps Ian can be exempted from the ‘lightweight’ tag as he spent the following afternoon at the hospital with his bleeding swollen ears – bet you never thought you’d see the day when the keyboard player turned up to 15 as well. It goes to show that technology has marched on since ‘Spinal Tap’ – they thought 11 was loud – Huh ! We laugh at 11 in ‘Riff Raff’.

All this of course was preceded a week or so before by the 2008 ‘Robfest’, as mentioned earlier. The success of the annual Robfests continued with the ’08 edition, enjoyed by all present, as in previous years. ‘Riff Raff’ were the main minstrels with their usual blend of pop/rock, played acoustic style specially for Robfest -don’t want to annoy the neighbours with the ‘blow the amps up’ stuff.  Wait a mo – the neighbours weren’t at home – they were all at ‘Robfest’ !  Just goes to show doesn’t it, that all these bands around that people won’t cross the road for … with Riff Raff they do !

Eagle-eyed observers would have noticed that the stage area or gazebo was being filmed throughout. You’ll be pleased to hear that it has been anounced that there will be a DVD and CD out in due course. The forthcoming package looks like being most impressive. Even the press have already described it as “most impressive !”  To this end I’ve been assisting Joel, the project’s official media consultant, recording engineer, cameraman, media editor, webmaster  and publisher etc. in the production of this exclusive memoribilia package. When’s it available in the shops ? – I’ts not available in the shops !  It’s far too good for that. It should be ready for release on … watch this space.

On the subject of websites and Riff Raff, apologies if you’ve been trying to watch Riff Raff playing ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ on YouTube ( via the website or otherwise). Basically, the B@*~#@*S at YouTube have decided that there’s some sort of infringement of some copyright or other, even though there isn’t, so they’ve pulled the plug on it – damned cheek ! ! Don’t they realise they’re risking incurring the wrath of the mighty Riff Raff – not a good idea !  But don’t worry. As someone once said, “I’ll be back !”  And it will !!

The website itself is still in ‘compromise’ mode until Joel carries out some more changes to it. When is this likely to happen ? … not telling you that yet either – not to be cryptic or anything, just haven’t got a clue when Joel can fit it in or how long the process will take.

Oh well, I think that just about covers the recent musical mayhem. Don’t forget to check out ‘Gigs’ and ‘Jam Nights’.

See you soon.   BFN,    Rob.

Hello – we’re back from the IOW.  Yes, me and Rosie are back from our week’s holiday in the Isle of Wight. Our holiday has come to an end for another year so here I am back home bashing away on my computer once again.

The weather was generally pretty good – sunshine for pretty much all of the week but tempered by a cold blustery wind. The food was good too with the highlight being ‘Curry Night’ at The White Lion in Arreton on Wednesday evening.

On a purely musical note, last Saturday we visited The Chine Inn in Shanklin where we saw Lewis Berry, excellent guitarist / singer  playing rock stuff.  Thursday night – we were entertained by cabaret artiste Glen Carrol at the Deck Inn Sandown.  Friday night it was down to The Old Comical in Sandown to see our old favourites ‘Skybus’ playing their blend of contemporary and classics.

Tracking down the sites of the original Isle Of Wight Pop Festivals of 1968, 69 and 70 have been something of a mild obsession in recent years and on this visit we managed to track down the site of the 1968 festival, something which has proved elusive up until now.  There will be more on the Isle Of Wight 68, 69 & 70 appearing on this website at a later date.

It’s a shame we’ve had to pack our bags and leave our base in Sandown, but It is good to be back from the IOW and home again.

BFN,                   Rob.

With the holiday season fast approaching, my long awaited week in the Isle of Wight is nearly here. I’ll be on the ferry tomorrow, with Rosie, us both looking out of the ferry windows at the rain chucking it down. – Of course not -rain indeed -it doesn’t rain in the Isle of Wight ! Suffice it to say, I won’t be at jam night next week, so Gavin is hastily arranging a guest performer for your enjoyment !

Last night’s jam night threw up one or two highlights, not least of which, the unique drum/percussion solo at the end of ‘You Really Got Me’. With me doing the vocals, Ted on Bass and Baz and Lenny on guitars, Jerome’s percussion found itself at the mercy of Jerome, Drew and Steve all at the same time, with Janif behind them, adding to the ‘funky’ rhythms on drums. ‘Banging on the bongos like chimpanzees ! (That keeps cropping up all over the place on this website !)  What a sound though ! Even Gavin thought it was “marvellous”.

It was good to see Alan taking time out from running the Woodman to play some bass, sing a couple of classics and of course play his trademark mandolin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the sound – nice colour too !

Talking of colours, the eagle eyed among you, like Lenny, would have noticed me playing my ‘brick red’ strat.  A rarity that, as I don’t take it out much. Having said that, now that I’ve had it set up again fairly recently, you might see it making a few more appearances in the future. It’s a bit of a rare animal in it’s own right, with it’s heavy duty Floyd Rose style trem, HH pick-up configuration and edge mounted jack socket. Can’t say I’ve seen too many guitars finished in this particular shade either – the odd Datsun Sunny here or there or the occasional Nissan Micra perhaps but not a Fender Stratocaster !

Anyway, enough of all this – I’m off to pack for my holiday !  Enjoy Jam Night without me and don’t forget … every Thursday at the Middlesex Arms, South Ruislip … and, yes, you guessed … it’s ‘marvellous !’

BFN,                     Rob.

Welcome back ! Yes- the website’s back up and running again – Well, sort of ! Let me explain what’s been happening !

If you have been trying to access the website recently you will have encountered the ‘Oh No !’ caption and may therefore have realised that it’s been down for longer than originally intended. This is due to unforseen and ill-timed technical problems. Joel, whilst encountering much frustration and teeth gnashing as a result, is in the process of sorting out these technical blips. So in the meantime, we’ve currently got a semi upgraded site.

Those of you who visited the site before the changes will note a few alterations :

The ‘click on’ buttons ( except the ‘Home’ button ), have been moved from the top header into the grey column on the right. Note that ‘Photos’ has now been given 4 sub-divisions – just click on the one you want to look at ! – Easy, innit ? !

Videos are still accessible through ‘YouTube’ for the time being but this will change with the next part of the up-grade, which should be for the better ! Click on ‘Videos’ to see the current selection, which includes clips of ‘Rob Live’, ‘Riff-Raff’ and Jam Nights.

You will also see brand new features –‘Random Photos’ and ‘Recently Added Photos’. Pretty damn good -eh ! ? ! ?

So thanks to Joel for his on-going efforts on the site. He will be completing the up-grade over the coming few weeks as the technical hitches are resolved, so there should be some new stuff coming soon.

Well, I hope you enjoy the new changes and features, and don’t forget there’s more on the way soon.

I’m rehearsing with the ‘Riff-Raff’ chaps tomorrow (Wednesday) night and of course Jam Night is still on – every Thursday at The Middlesex Arms – so see you there ! Don’t be shy about telling me what you think about the website. Hopefully, you think it’s ‘Marvellous !’

BFN, Rob.

Friday night, I was privileged to be involved in a 60th Birthday celebration in honour of Alan, the landlord of the Woodman in Eastcote. A well attended bash which, no surprises, saw plenty of musos in attendance.

I played a few old favourites with Gavin on bass and Drew on drums, including a botched and aborted attempt at a Pink Floyd number or two. All this before the comedy double-act of Adam and Steve took the stage with lots of audience participation.

Of course, the night wouldn’t have been complete without ‘The Pekkers’, fronted by Martin and Alan with the unique sound of his electric madolin. The mandolin numbers are a personal favourite of mine probably just because I like the jangly sound. So I particularly enjoyed ‘Maggie May’ and ‘When I’m Dead And Gone’.

Drew was next up to front his appreciation of ‘Paul Rodgers’, kicking off with ‘Seagull’ which I nearly got right. Thanks to Paul for allowing me to play his acoustic guitar which is great to play and has a great sound.

It was also good to see Graham Radley, on MC duties – my old cricketing mate from Ruislip CC days.

So all-in-all, I think everyone had a great night – especially Alan on his special day -Congratulation Alan and keep on playing the Burns and of course the mandolin.

“Marvellous !”

Well, yes indeed, it’s Friday again !!  Here we are at the end of another week and what a week it was.

Monday – 5-a-side footie.

Tuesday – a rare relaxing night in.

Wednesday night – Rehearsing with ‘Riff Raff’ with more tea drinking and kicking around some more new songs. I must get a new brain so I can remember some of them !

Thursday – Not one but two hours of 5-a-side followed by Jam Night.  And it was another great night, well attended, with some enthusiastic new participants and some more old friends we haven’t seen for a while. It’s good to see everyone getting into it. Apologies if I was seen yawning. It was the 2 hours of footie taking its toll and not a reflection of the music. So, if you’ve been to any of the new Jam Nights at The Middlesex Arms in South Ruislip, keep coming down. If you haven’t been to one yet, then, in the words of John Lennon, ‘ A splendid time is guaranteed for all’. And in the words of the Jam Night crew : “Marvellous” !  So, see you all next Thursday.

Friday – I’m sitting here typing this onto the website (hoping that someone might read it), still yawning having got home from Jam Night at about 1 this morning and then having got up again at 6.30 for work.

And so, looking to the future –  what about tomorrow ( Saturday) ?   – In short :  QPR v Preston.

BFN,                    Rob

Wednesday night saw the first ‘Riff Raff’ rehearsal of 2008, round at John’s.  – Yes, Riff Raff comes to West Drayton or Yiewsley or Cowley or whatever the place is called where you live, John !!

As is usual for a get together with the ‘Riff Raff’ chaps, it was an evening full of fun, merriment, and of course the musical collage that makes ‘Riff Raff’ the force that it is in the music world. Well, maybe that’s a touch exaggerated, but we played some good stuff amongst the mis-fingered chords, duff notes in the soloing, and the odd bit of croaking in the vocals.

Still, more importantly, John‘s tea was up to it’s usual high standard. Tea wot you can really taste. That chimpanzee on the ad was right : “It’s the taste !”      Talking of chimpanzees, Derek came round, banging on his bongos like a chimpanzee ! Where have I heard that line before ?  – e-mail me the answer for no prize whatsoever !    OK Derek, I know it’s an African drum and OK you don’t play it like a chimp – These drummers can be so picky !

Ian continues to embelish and vary the band’s sound with his keyboards but where was the tambourine ?  The same place he usually leaves his keyboard stand – at home !   With Pete‘s basslines, me head scratching ( can’t remember all these blasted chords and scales) and John on guitar ( when we’re not making demands on his tea caddy) it’s clear for all to see – ‘Riff Raff’ are still the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world … or is that someone else ???

Well, here we are, nearing the end of January and, to be honest, not much happening on the music front at the moment – still rather quiet. Sadly, many pubs still appear to be suffering from the smoking ban, at least, that’s the direction in which the blame is being apportioned !

Still, there may be no gigs for me at the moment, but I have had the opportunity go and see “Fast Buck” lately, in Eastcote, South Harrow and Shepperton. They always play good stuff and their followers are always friendly, making the whole “Fast Buck” experience most enjoyable.

Oh well, it looks like I’m off to a model railway exhibition this afternoon – makes a change from QPR !  What an exciting life I lead.

                   Till next time,                    BFN,               Rob.