Friday, 14 October 2011

Skeletons: Bazza's 50th

All bands need a Barry Cross in their lives. Barry has been a fan and friend of Miracle Mile for a long time.
I first became aware of him when unsolicited he mailed me a MM fanzine that he had compiled.
It was a fantastic little magazine, lovingly created and realised, called 'Tune In'. We liked it so much that we printed ip up in the hope of giving it away with CDs (that never sold) or at gigs (that we never did).
I'll feature pages from 'Tune In' later...
Barry has since become a firm friend and has done much for MM, often for nowt (or less); he has designed and printed all of our press releases since 'Limbo'; designed the 'Diary' booklet that went with Glow and did the album artwork for my two solo releases 'Hopeland' and 'Keepers;' as well as working closely with Marcus on some of the non MM musical projects that he's been involved with, particularly his recent collaboration with Lucinda Drayton as 'The Gathering'.
Marcus and I dusted ourselves off recently to play at Barry's 50th birthday bash, something that we'd promised to do on his 48th and then forgot all about... It was all going swimmingly well until, towards the end of our set, Barry invaded the stage and announced that he wanted us to play one of his favourite MM songs, 'Morecambe and Wise', a pre Marcus song that the scientist had never heard but, hell, it was in the key of C (no black notes) so he'd give it a go.
Barry then revealed that he'd be accompanying us on the drums; he'd been having secret lessons apparently (two in fact) especially for the occasion. How could we refuse?
We started the gentle ditty tentatively and it went quite well; my acoustic, Marcus' piano, Barry gently keeping waltz time with brushes. I even remembered the words.

Now, on the record there's a pause just after the middle 8 followed by a Phil Collinsesque drum fill that heralds a full on sax solo. Unbeknown to us Barry's mate Rob plays the sax and he and Bazza had been long plotting; practicing along to the record so... I thought the drum riser had collapsed and that Barry was a goner; I turned in panic only to see Bazza with a joyful grin that proclaimed "it's going well isn't it!"... and realised that the thunderous, clattering cacophony was the birthday boy's exuberant attempt at that now infamous drum fill. The panic on Marcus's face was priceless; we briefly recovered until we sensed another presence on stage; Rob brushed me aside as he strolled up to the mic and launched into that squealing solo, which he played in full, note perfect. Unfortunately, the recorded version that he'd been rehearsing to was in D; Marcus and I were winging it in the key of C.
We agreed to call it a 'jazz moment' and move on...
I've made 'Morecambe and Wise" available here should you wish to practice along and play it at your mate's next birthday bash... the version here has all of the right notes but not necessarily in the right order...
Meanwhile, you can see that evening's events develop pictorially below....


  1. so thats what i want for my 50th birthday!

    6 years to get proficient in the sax !

  2. That's a really funny post... had me giggling like a school girl.
    P.S. Don't forget to record 'Corsica' 5 pm. Ta!

  3. Maybe you could use my blog to include shopping lists, requirements for dinner etc.
    Your mobile wouldn't be knackered would it?

  4. Bugger!My 50th was last Tuesday!If only I knew...Still, asking you to fly out to Tel Aviv might have been a bit too much.
    Great story.I have the 'Tune-In'fanzine and it is a wonderful piece of work.

  5. Maybe we've found our niche; we only do 50th birthday parties...
    It's hardly likely to 'kick off' is it?
    Think how much we'd save in chicken wire...
    Happy birthday Phil, sorry we missed it.

  6. As a matter of interest, what was the set list and the rider???