On the radio

I have been getting involved with local radio lately, much fun it is too. Given my access to other bands while playing live with Department S, I have taken the opportunity to start interviewing them for radio pieces to go out on Verulam radio. I have interviewed JC Caroll from The Members and Spizzenergi and a very special interview with two members of King Crimson.

My king crimson interview will be going out this Friday 27th February between 8-10 pm on the Music Lab with Alex McKay and can be listened to at http://www.radioverulam.com or streamed from any decent internet radio app such as tunein radio.

So, have a listen and let’s see if I truly do have a face for radio.

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Rebellion 2014

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A return to Rebellion for Department S again this year to join in this greatest of punk celebrations. It’s a festival you have to go to at least once in ya life, a great party of punk and superb entertainment on so many levels. Though Dept S feel outsiders in some respect being more from the post-punk era, all the band have their roots firmly planted in the genre having played in or with such bands.

All credit to the organisers of this event who worked tirelessly to keep all the artists in check and changing over smoothly. The crews working the stages were immense, all credit to them too for their technical expertise and assistance.

I hope there weren’t too many casualties over the weekend, I hear the M6 was chokker heading south and led to some horrendous journey times home for some.

We are gearing up for the Undercover festival in September, and further gigs through the year. Next year will be the 35th anniversary of the release of Is Vic There?, so we are putting together something special for that in the New Year.

Keep safe ya buggers!

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One week to Rebellion

All rehearsals are complete for our appearance at this years Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. Unfortunately, our stalwart guitarist Mick Herbage can’t make this gig due to the imminent arrival of mini Herb.. We will battle on regardless with Sam Burnett carrying the can for guitar duties. Just turn up the volume and all will be well.

The organisers of Rebellion do a great job in organising this event, now the worlds biggest Punk gathering, and given the demise and late cancellation of this years Alt-Fest it’s hats off to the organisers for putting together such a large event.

Onwards and upwards fuckers!!

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A beautiful day

It’s probably the hottest day of the year so far in the UK.. Wall to wall blue sky. Stunning… So why am I sitting in a darkened room wearing headphones? I’ll tell you why, I’m working on an anniversary remix of “Is vic There?” It’s 35 years since the original release on 2015 so watch out for some special treats next year…And anyways, I’d rather do that all day long than sit in the sun getting my skin ruined. I love it!!

Keep cool fuckers!

Rehearsal Ahoy

Department S rehearsals continue for the Rebellion festival next month. Sadly, our second guitarist Mick Herbage is absent and it looks like we will be playing as a four piece. This is fine, Sam will have to play two guitar parts at the same time. It’s all sounding good though, new songs in the pipeline too. Keep it real fuckers’20140701-083057-30657583.jpg

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A day in the studio

I’ve been working in my studio today, well, half a day… Sort of. Working on some stuff for Department S. I have had a studio at home for a few years in which I record demos and work on remixes etc.

It’s a really basic setup based round a Pentium PC that I put together myself. I run a Pro Tools LE system which is pretty limited on the track count but that’s a good thing for me as it stops you getting carried away. Along side Pro Tools I run Reason v3 that syncs perfectly and gives me unlimited tracks of soft synth, samplers, loop machines as well as lots of processing and mastering effects. I can’t speak highly enough of this programme, the latest version is even better but I haven’t tried that yet. I don’t have a massive army of plug ins either, it’s a good discipline not to rely on the wizardry sometimes, just get the job done focussing on recording a decent signal… It’s easy really!

I only need the two inputs on my MBox for inputting guitars, bass and vocals so no recording a whole band for me… It’s great for songwriting but I’ve released loads of stuff recorded on it for The Creepy Dolls and Pete & Charlie.

I use a sansamp DI for bass which is another great piece of kit, perfect for laying down solid bass parts, if you record bass at all, get one!

So, expect to hear some new stuff soon… Keep tuned fuckers!

Tip #2 If you are paying for studio time, don’t waste it trying to write songs, get all that shit done before hand and make sure all ya gear works!

Punk Bingo

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If you are planning to go to Rebellion festival in Blackpool this year, here’s a little game you can play should you get bored waiting for your favourite bands to appear: just award yourselves points for each of the following that you spot in or around the venue

1 Point

Bondage trousers black
Studded leather wrist band
Sex Pistols T Shirt
Leather jacket studded
Green hair on female
Anyone too fat for a T shirt
Tattooed hands

2 Points

Mohican haircut
Peroxide hair
Tartan bondage pants
Sid Vicious style padlock neck chain
Safety pin
Dr Martens
Any band member seen trying to attract attention in public bar

3 Points

Anyone wearing merch stall t shirt
Anyone wearing more than 3 separate neck chains
White bondage pants
Green dyed hair on male
Neck Tattoo (extra point if it’s a band name)

4 Points

Any hand made original clothing items
Original Vivienne Westwood items
Anyone puking outside (1 extra point if indoors)
Sid clone

5 points

Anyone under 20 who looks original, different to anyone else and couldn’t give a fuck.

Double points for any item on a performing band member

First blog, small steps and all that

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Moving into the 21st century at a fair old lick, here is the beginnings of the Department S blog, inside story. Maintained by the current Department S bass player, Pete Jones.

Look out for stories of life in the fast lane, or at least, on the hard shoulder having a rest, plus historical tales of my time spent playing for Public Image Ltd. back In the day when playing in a band was so much fun!

There will be hints tips and advice for aspiring bands and musicians, my first being.

Tip 1. Get a proper job

Xx