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14/11/14 Recording, Dogs

Good evening everyone. We trust that you're enjoying yourselves wherever in the world you are. Here in England it's currently dark. And a bit cold.

So, what's been going on then? Well recording progresses well for Light A New Fire. It's now sitting there ready for a drum track to be produced. Which takes me nicely to a "did you know" kind of blog.

Did you know:

The time it took the Apollo 11 mission to reach the moon was 4 Days 6 Hours 45 Minutes.

The time it takes for a letter to go from London to Los Angeles (first class) is 6 days.

The time it takes Neil to consume a pint of beer is 0.00004 seconds including sucking some off his t shirt.

The time for Paul to answer an email : that's a hard one but currently it's about 30 days 16 hours and still counting.

Time to get escaped dog back into the house - varies a bit but anywhere between a minute and an hour.

While on the last point, today to save a bit of time I decided to do a couple of phone calls on my walk home. I was still on one call when I arrived at my destination. I opened the door and my dog came out like a torpedo and promptly took a large shit in my neighbour's front garden. He's a big dog. Big dogs = big turds. All I can say is it's a good job his front door wasn't open. So I'm waving my arms around trying to get him to go back in and can't shout at him because I'm on the phone. He took advantage of this and let me pursue him around the gardens of five houses. In a nutshell had I not tried to save time, none of that would have happened at all.

I'll have to write a song about it, don't think that's been done. I shall call it "Garden of Eden Dog Shit"

 

28/8/14 Stuff

Hello everyone, so you'll have seen from our Faceybook page (whaaaat, you don't look at it?) that Nick has decided to stop enjoying Exhibit A. We were just three songs from completing the next album, so it was a bit of a surprise for all of us to be honest. We've played some great gigs over the past couple of years (courtesy of Badger Neil) - Cambridge Rock Festival, Classic Rock Maltby and our sporadic appearances at the good old Seaxe bar. We've been featured in the music press and have had positive reviews from around the world (apart from France) But looks deceive and if you're not enjoying something then perhaps the solution is to quit - but in those circumstances I think you should always seek some proper objective advice because often something can annoy you but on reflection the good outweighs the bad. Bit like putting up wallpaper*

So what are we going to do? Well we'll be finishing the cd of course! While we'd be happy with Nick's continued input, life has to go on and we have a number of guitarists who are interested in joining, including:

Zok Wilde, 85. He still lives with his mum and plays guitar and banjo. He has eight strands of hair left.
Jimmy Payge, 16. He's expecting to get his own guitar for Christmas.
Alec Lifeston. Unborn but apparently shows great promise.


Seriously though - we're still writing the last few songs and we're currently remixing tracks that are finished. I've made changes to a couple of songs with some great sounding backing vocal arrangements courtesy of Steph Watts. It's good to be able to review songs and make changes right up to the last minute and feel that you can experiment and get views from the rest of the band, it's what creativity is all about and we're starting to get back that feeling of excitement like we used to get in the studio where a song stayed fluid (at least until the money ran out).

Anyway we don't spend as much time as we should on BVs, they can really make a song stand out and Paul has been adding a lot of really helpful advice around them (while grappling with his studio setup and tracking drums). One day we'll hear him sing :)

* Wallpapering, although quite passé now given everone paints over bare plaster and uses stupidely fashionable colours that cost a bloody fortune from the paint counter at the DIY store, is one of those areas where it can be a total pain in the arse to do - but when you stand back and look at it all the effort was worthwhile. What a brilliant analogy, eh? Note please that when I've wallpapered I've had to stand back to the extent of looking through the window from across the street to satisfy myself that it looks good **

** In fact I had to look from inside the house across the street once ***

*** I even made them open their curtains.
The best thing about wallpaper is moving to a new house, peeling it off in layers and marvelling at the trip through time as you get to see what dreadful taste the previous occupants had. The reason I don't like it is because I don't want someone to think that MY taste is dreadful in 30 years time. So when I sell my house I'm taking all the wallpaper with me.

13/5/14 Maltby, Takeaways, Vets, Strangefish

Well hello again darlings. What's been going on then? Well, we've just had a fantastic night courtesy of the Classic Rock Society, supporting Strangefish for their comeback gig in Maltby in the depths of Yorkshire. Bloody hell we don't usually venture much further than 5 miles for a gig and even then we're all home and in bed by ten. Anyway we enjoyed meeting them, great bunch, always good to meet other musicians who take their music seriously and are really friendly too, and the crowd were brilliant, so an all round success. Our accommodation was comfortable and there were no disasters at all.

Well no disasters apart from the hunt for food. We realised when we'd sound checked that there wasn't actually enough time to get something to eat - as soon as we finished Paul disappeared and was spotted eating a Chinese takeaway with one arm protectively around it, his eyes darting from the food to anyone who came within five feet. So when we went in search of some having somehow missed his kind offer of picking something up for everyone else we naturally asked where he'd got it. Food clearly isn't Maltby's strong point (nor Paul's) and he was quite quick to manage our expectations, explaining that his greasy noodles were much better than the takeaway looked. We diverted towards a kebab and balti shop that had a counter, a towel, no staff and no food on display - and exited quickly.

ast a Chinese thoughtfully called "Hot Food". Accurate but not very creative. Past another one that was bizarrely called the "Dog Fang Garden" with a vets next door. Dave went into one and the bloke behind the counter sighed and said "oh no". So we finally (desperately) settled on a kebab and pizza shop where Paul enjoyed a kebab so he didn't feel left out.

Anyway back to the gig. We had a very carefully balanced 9 song set that introduced four songs from the new album that we haven't recorded yet (something that Dave apologised for continually). Three of these new songs were back to back and it's really encouraging for us to play to a completely fresh audience and gauge their reaction, which was great. What's really handy about playing new stuff too is when lyrics are jumbled up no one notices. I'm glad that even I didn't notice the start of one song which was so spectacularly ad hoc that If I'd realised and caught Dave's eye (it was a tight stage) I think we would've both been unable to continue.

The star of the show though was Neil's keyboard tower - already a health and safety risk, the sound man decided that an overhead mic was the best option - and the audience were treated to the occasional glimpse of the top of his head, bathed in blue when the lights changed and otherwise a pulsing red glow.

Thanks to everyone who came and thanks to the Classic Rock Society for a really smoothly run evening.

19/1/2014 Classic Rock Society Gig

Hello everyone, hope you're all enjoying the new year and that your christmas credit card bill hasn't caused you to keel over. This is the time of year when you ask your kids if they can remember what you bought them for Christmas and they can't - but you've still got to pay for it :)

So what's been going on? Well Neil has been laid up for a couple of weeks musically but has been badgering away to successfully get us a gig at the Classic Rock Society's venue in Maltby, Rotherham, on 10th May. We're supporting the reformed Strangefish so should be a good gig. I understand that he's even arranged and personally paid for hotels and taxis, and the after gig party.

 

4/11/13 Seaxe (again), New Songs, Tee Shirt, Keyboard Stand, Poetry

Hello my beauties. Yes it's me once again, Mr Blogsworthy- Buttocks-Smythe, bringing you the latest that's happening in the world of Exhibit A. And blimey there's been absolutely....nothing......happening at all...

no no no no, that's not fair, things have been happening. The title of this month's blog would've told you that. First off all I have to tell you that we had our annual outing to the Seaxe Bar in Brentwood on Saturday night. Right on the back of Halloween, and the Day of The Dead. I wish Neil had taken the mask off, hahahha. I'm surprised to be telling you about it because you should have come if you're reading this. So go on, feel guilty....we had a really good night, no-one upset the sound man and despite a slightly reduced crowd the audience participation was brilliant, big thank you to Dan for coming and also to Mark - we love to find that people enjoy our music, it's what we're passionate about at the end of the day and if there's anything you'd like to hear from our back catalogue then you only have to say and we'll have a go. Downside is you'll have to wait until next year to hear it of course.

We played pretty well despite some unexpected complications....You see Neil, who has decided to increase his keyboardy real estate, has purchased a three tier keyboard stand which actually looks more like someone has put a bunch of scaffolding on the edge of the stage. Gone are the sleek and cool hipster lines of an Ultimate Support. The keyboards balance precariously on something that looks like it should bear a "Made By Mensa" badge. The large Korg wavestation provides some ballast at the bottom, then we have a trip back through time to see the Roland D50 next, and then a trip even further back to see the Roland Juno above that. Somewhere behind this arrangement lurks Neil, ready to flatten us all with shrill renditions of his tuneful lines, or flatten me by tipping the whole fucking lot onto my head. If you want to visualise it, the stand and keyboards tower about five feet above me. And before you ask, I'm not 1' high thank you. Neil has to stand on a step ladder to reach the high notes you know:) If you don't believe me look at this.

Now on the subject of Neil (and I'm risking a good kicking here but I like to add value, lets face it I don't add much else on the bass) despite the three keyboards there's also a little Roland JV1010 module that seems to have sadly suffered alien abduction between the last rehearsal and the Seaxe Bar sound check. So my one - which to be fair was only being used to drive along a click track for Paul to cheat to while we played a new song - had to be pressed into service. Now I'm absolutely paranoid about things not working, but I do love a challenge and you have to move with the times (even if you are playing prog and need a little lie down between sets). So my setup this time included a new sound module for the intro of "Lost Souls" and the keyboard line for "As New", a Moog module so I can get some really low bass in places, and my Ipad to run the sequences. We firmly believe in playing live and not sending triggers off all over the place so this is in serious moderation - but it has to work and work reliably. And to think I pulled it all apart and donated my JV1010 so Neil could add another layer of texture to "Light A New Fire" :)

So I've encapsulated this episode in a very (I think), apposite poem.

It's the Seaxe Bar (again)!
Now where the fuck is my 1010?

Right, what else? I've done new songs, keyboard stand, poetry and The Seaxe. That leaves Tee Shirt doesn't it. Well Nick was wearing his own personal line in designer fashion and I have to say that if I saw one of those for sale in the Exhibit A shop, I'd buy it straight away *. Hop over to our faceybook page and have a little look. Here's a picture if you can't be arsed, taken by Steph, our brilliant resident photographer.

* based on a price of less than a quid, including post and packing and a free CD

19/5/2013 Mr Red Peavey

I meant to say a while ago that Nick has requested the return of his vintage red Peavey guitar, which has graced many a stage not to mention most corners of my living room. It's a bit ironic actually because he requested its return just at the point where I was starting to strum a few chords, and I did actually like the feel of it, so I'm now in pursuit of a replacement. It might just have to be that daphne blue strat that I've been constantly looking at......

He'll doubtless turn up with it with god knows what hanging out of the pickup cavities at some point. Pedals or something :)

3/5/2013 M3 Firmware

I thought I'd firstly share the good news that writing for the new album is progressing really well. Nick has come forward with a good song that supports a departure from the long song structure that we seem to adopt, while Neil has produced a very interesting idea that's trying to be really long despite best efforts. We've just finished a longer effort, "Lost Souls" which feels like it's taken forever to get to the mixing desk and about to embark on recording "Build The Faith". There, I can do serious blog stuff if I really focus hard. If you want to know what's going on more regularly, and also fancy the bonus of watching Neil getting irritable with anonymous people posting all sorts of stuff on our page, drop over to facebook using the link at the top of this page.

Now having got that good feedback sorted and tired of being serious, I'll get onto the true purpose of my blog, which is very directly related to Neil's wonderful Korg M3 keyboard. If you haven't seen one, a quick glance down the blog will give you a clue - basically it's about the same dimensions and weight as the space station and equally complicated to operate. It balances precariously on a slightly too diminutive stand and the controls are interestingly obscured by the presence of a retro keyboard that wobbles about above it. Neil likes to bring his D50 or Juno along to rehearsals as well as the M3, just so he can give us the occasional view of what things used to be like.

At this juncture I'll add that rehearsals have seen everyone significantly downsizing in terms of equipment and volume - so Nick now brings a single amp rather than five, I have just the one bass and a very modest amp, and Paul uses trigger pads rather than a kit. Dave never used to bring much and occasionally turns up in just his socks. On the other hand, Neil's appearance is heralded by the air brakes of a lorry outside, the sound of a ramp going down and a road crew to bring his huge flight case and amp in.

Anyway, back to the point.... I ramble a little as some of you out there know only too well :) ....there are a whole range of buttons on this M3 but all seem to trigger some sort of loud preset demo sound that's beat based. So for example while foraging around the controls mid song we'll suddenly get a very intense back beat with various horns blaring out...followed by an apologetic grunt from Neil. What's interesting is it's a different sort of sound every time - I don't believe we've heard the same one twice. So you can't even use it as a cheat to write a song.

Nick suggested reprogramming it with a soldering iron :)

2/2/13 Is There Anybody Out There?

Hello again beautiful adoring fan. This month I'm going to write a bloggy little poem to amuse you with my agile literary wit and deep wisdom. And after that I'm going to talk to you about ART. There. If you're still reading then you're either bored, curious, a true fan hoping against hope that there'll be some proggy content here to latch onto and roll around your musical head, or just someone who's somehow landed on this page and are now in your own world of utter confusion.

So I've titled this poem "The last two months"

The Last Two Months
So wtfs been going on
In the world of Exhibit A?
I could report back lots of songs
But actually it's sweet fa
The snow that fell such bitter luck
One song recorded (well a verse)
And finding that my car was fucked
Meant we had no chance to rehearse



There. Not even a bloody photo of the band this month. Sorry.

Here's a picture of some snow.

 

 

 

 

 

So what the hell was I going to write about ART? I'm thinking. Hang on. Won't take long.

Thinking........hmmmmmm hang on, arty thoughts here. mmmmmm waiiiiiit, waiiiiiiit for it.........haaaaaaang on....might take a while this.....

Right. I'm there. So why the Laughing Cavalier then? Well there's a small gallery in London, near Oxford Street, where this is happily hanging. Right there, so bloody close you could twirl that moustache. It's actually a bit of a surprise coming across it. It's easily as famous as the Mona Lisa but at the Louvre you can't get closer than 50 yards and there's always someone in a hat standing in front of you. And a security guard. And Someone smelly standing close by. As Nick said, it's actually like finding the Mona Lisa in Basildon. So the experience is quite amazing if you like art (and I'm not talking about the paintings your kids did when they were 7 here. Or the paintings you did either). You can stand 2 inches from the Laughing Cavalier and see it in all its glory.

Except when I went last year it had been removed for cleaning or they were painting the walls or decorating or something. I guess it makes sense, I mean you can't risk flicking a bit of Dulux matt white emulsion on him, can you?

 

26/11/12 What's In The Case?

Hello lovelies. What have we been up to then? Well, I can hardly contain myself, having spent the past week just itching to update this blog. You see I've had a really bad throat. It's knocked me for six and I've been in bed with it all weekend and...what? this is boring did you say? Oh. Ok. Well lets try you with some pretty good news then. Neil has treated himself to a new keyboard - not from the vintage keyboard emporium either. This has arrived in the form of a Korg M3, and quite frankly ladies and gentlemen it's bloody huge. He clearly went into the transaction based on the fact that if he was going to get something then he might as well go for quantity as well as quality because it weighs about 300lbs and takes all of us to lift it onto the roof of his car. It has a flight case with wheels and so many handles it actually resembles a coffin - you could smuggle the whole band into a venue and actually set up inside the flight case, trojan horse style. When he opened it up there was an eerie green glow coming from within and all this vapour began to seep out. I believe the excellent sounds are due to it being part cyborg. He can be seen here puzzling over how to feed it. Note by the way that we're now rehearsing in a room with serious structural damage and subsidence. Anyway the chaps can now enjoy pulling together some excellent songs with fully refreshed sounds.

 

09/11/12 Riga Bar, Ramming Speed Chaps, Chips

Hello lovely fan. Ahh, the delights of playing to a Southend audience at the Riga Bar. There are two live music venues in Southend. One is the Cliffs Pavillion. Capacity = loads. The other is the Riga Bar. Capacity (well last night at least) 25. Actually there are other music venues but whenever I've been to them they've been empty. Southend sadly isn't the music hotspot that it should be. It was a very good evening though. We seem to be very keen on making sure that our set has absolute precision in terms of duration (less said about the absolute precision of quality - particulalry from the bass side of things :)). Anyway, Dave thoroughly enjoyed singing songs executed almost at ramming speed which meant our carefully crafted 45 minute set was at risk of coming to it's musical climax within 15 minutes. To be fair, to make up for the racily executed set Paul decided to slow things down a bit and recover some of the time at the start of "Losing Our Voices" by sitting behind his kit and fiddling about with knobs (not his) for what seemed like an eternity until his drum track finally commenced, leaving the rest of us looking to the expectant horde with stupid looks on our faces. Afterwards we discovered that he'd actually been throttling himself with the cable of his crappy headphones and had actually been thrashing about at the back of the stage for about 10 minutes or so - so he hadn't been trying to help at all. To add to this, the stage layout put Neil on this sort of peninsular outcrop and he clearly felt a bit detached, casting frequent backwards glances to the rest of the band by swivelling his neck 180 degrees to make sure we hadn't all walked off.

Southend is an interesting place - it's a seaside town (I know everyone in the UK knows about Southend so I mentioned that for the benefit of all those reading from around the world. Our web stats do show a huge amount of interest. Unless it's all from pirates who are now compiling this blog into a cd cover to flog illegally somewhere). Anyway, yes a seaside town. So why was it that, ravenous after rocking out the Riga Bar, I went on the hunt for proper chips and couldn't find any? Just those skinny little bastards in some chicken shop. I wanted a good old fat English chip. You'll be pleased to know (well I was) that I did find some on the drive home from a fish and chip shop. However they were so fucking hot I took most of the skin off my fingers let alone the roof of my mouth eating them. And they've left a smell in my car.
As a final departing point before we head for the Seaxe Bar in Brentwood later, thanks very much to Landmarq who were happy to have us supporting them, they clearly didn't realise what they were letting themselves in for!

 

27/10/12 Covers

So welcome to another, somewhat overdue blog. As if you noticed. Pah. Anyway it was a cunning ruse my lovelies, I purposely left the August blog there so we could milk our appearance at the Cambridge Rock Festival for as long as possible. But time marches on and the clock ceaslessly ticks the hours and minutes of our lives away....ever closer to death...another wasted year of your life to mull over in the dead of night and....shit this is a bit dark isn't it, I'd better lighten up a bit. Hang on.

Alright, that's better. So the clock ticks the happy minutes towards another thing to look forward to and we now have the exciting prospect of playing with Landmarq at the Riga Bar in Southend on the 8th November, and then playing with ourselves at the good old Seaxe Bar in Brentwood on the 10th November. We've naturally arranged a two day party between the two gigs.

We've been working on a couple of covers lately, along with some new stuff. One of the covers is Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes", a song that's pretty satisfying to play when it goes right - Bowie's stuff always has a hidden complexity that means any attempt to play one of his songs can leave you a bit disappointed with the end result. So having tampered with the original for a while we turned to a more difficult and obscure version that has a really good keyboard solo (by Mike Garson) at the end. Now Neil has diligently learned this and I will say that being an 80's song his retro kit suits it perfectly - and he can play it bloody well too. So well in fact that he seems to have to play it at every opportunity, including when we're listening to the original at rehearsal and trying to work out the end bit where the solo actually finishes. We played it, listening carefully...and Neil played along loudly. So we tutted a bit because we'd missed what we were looking for and cued up the section and played it. Neil played too. So this time we told him to be quiet, and played it again. And the same thing happened. I looked at him before he actually started playing and he was clearly struggling NOT to play..his whole body was quivering and he was literally going to explode if he didn't. When he started playing halfway through the solo I think he muttered "sorry" before bending into it again.

Anyway come to the Seaxe Bar on the 10th November and you too can enjoy him playing it. It really is a good solo. Even if he fucks it up it's really good :)

4/8/12 That Was Cambridge, Blisters, Barbies

Hello again lovelies, back again so soon? I bet you're all dying to know how it went for us at Cambridge. I can imagine you (just you) right now, perched on the edge of your seat, wriggling your bum in anticipation for the composite of disasters that I'm going to unfold for you in front of your very eyes.....Well actually, as gigs go, it went rather well. In fact I'd say it went a bit more than very well, it was absolutely BLOODY FANTASTIC. Nothing went wrong. The rain held off for most of the day, everyone in the band actually arrived and Paul's kit stayed together (although bits of him became detached as the gig progressed).

We had the luxury of our own spacious dressing room within the Green Room hospitality suite, which we all occupied for a while mainly because we could. It involved us standing around looking at each other, going out, and going back in again. It was a generous size and certainly spacious enough for Nick to lay around for a while and for Dave to indulge in some lung expansion and inflate his toy lobster. The dressing room was inside the hospitality tent and the way we were looked after by the stewards was fantastic, with a constant flow of food and refreshments, plus the unexpected bonus of being able to rub shoulders with some great acts. John Otway played a fantastic set during the afternoon and was a really genuine bloke (as was every other musician there), being more than happy to pose for a quick pic with Jill, Steph and Hannah (our merch girls who were also crafty backstage guests). Amusingly Neil attempted to photograph his son with John Mitchell (It Bites) a little later with the unfortunate result that John's eyes were closed - somewhat ironic really because I'd been watching him during a lengthy radio interview and I don't think he blinked once for about 30 minutes. Maybe he was making up for it. We all stopped Neil from the inevitable badger mode when he said he was going to go back and ask for another photo :)

Anyway we didn't just sit in the hospitality tent all day, we did actually play and earn the hospitality. Our carefully crafted set was fantastically received by a very good sized audience - clearly the attraction of free keyrings (suggested by Jayne D - thank you!) worked very well, although I was somewhat bemused to find out that someone actually refused one and had to have it pressed into her hand by our enthusiastic merchandise girls. There was a surprising amount of interest in the little fan club that I'd prepared who occupied my bass pedals throughout the gig, vying for attention alongside Dave's lobster (fnaar fnaar). The result of this little mob was a huge amount of interest from the surprisingly large number of photographers in attendance - I did notice that they trained their cameras on us as well as the fan club and they're now probably trying to decipher what the post it notes say, which I'll gladly do for you now: From left to right "Make Mine a Lobster!" (on the front - in an effort to distract Nick) "I fancy the guitarist"/"I Love The Singer"/My Nan Likes The Drummer"/"NEEEEEEIIIIIIIL!!"/"This CD is shit I want my money back"/"Nice Boots"/"WTF".

Our set went pretty much without a hitch, and everyone fell into the groove really quickly. It's fantastic when you get the days when the adrenaline is there and everyone is clearly up for it, the whole thing just fits together and the complexity of our material comes across really well...from the moment I pushed the bass pedals to open the set we felt like we were absolutely on it and the sound out the front and in the monitors was spot on - credit to Les the engineer who did a fantastic job on us. Dave's voice sounded great and Neil was actually standing up to play, having clearly forgotten his comfy chair. I was concerned to look over my shoulder at Paul about a third of the way through and see blood on his hand, the result of a bit too much friction (from doing what god only knows) and it must have hurt like hell to keep going but you're not a rock star if there's no blood and thankfully there wasn't so much that he was flicking droplets around the stage. The way he held his hand up to show me you'd think it was hanging off and anyway his wife is a nurse and she didn't jump onto the stage to bandage him up so I'm assuming it was a trivial thing and just attention seeking because of all the interest my fan club was generating.

It was great to see more and more people coming into the tent as we progressed and some familiar faces too. It all ran smoothly with no plectrum dropping disasters and no car crash endings. Shame really cos it makes such good blog material when something doesn't go quite as planned. The final song arrived just too quickly - and that's not because we played everything at ramming speed either. We got to the end of "A Far Cry" and I picked up the bass pedals again and glanced over at Nick and caught his eye as the groove picked up to end our set. Dave and I were trapped getting off stage for a couple of radio interviews which was amusingly distracting because I was trying to keep my eye on my gear and also talk to the interviewers - I hope they got something sensible from us!

So that was Cambridge that was. If you came to see us, thank you again for your support. If you're one of the many people who bought a CD, thank you too! If you were lucky enough to have a free (yes free) key ring pressed into your hand, I hope you now have it attached to something (or somewhere) appropriate.

Well done to Neil for making it happen and badgering so relentlessly, and finally take a look in the gallery for more photos.

Just in case you're disappointed, the normal bizzare blog will return next month.

31/7/12 Nearly Cambridge

So hello again my beauties. Here's yet another monthly update from the most well thumbed page on this web site. I don't know why the individual who comes here keeps on looking at this page.....but well done because it helps our web stats no end and our advertisers (if we had any) would love us for it. If you're female then here's a nice polite peck on the cheek from all of us as a thank you (Paul will go last, because he'll repulse you if he goes first and no-one else will get a go).

So what's been going on? Well, having taken medical advice and carefully brought our well conditioned bodies back down to a normal state after rocking Brentwood, we're now gathering ourselves together to launch our sensational act to the masses at Cambridge this coming Friday. Our set is carefully crafted, and the band have gone their separate ways to practice and mentally prepare. The preparation has been intense.

Paul has selected a fine chair to rest his drum pads on, chosing a cheap and wobbly piece of crap with one leg predictably shorter than the others (how the hell does that happen? They don't make them like that do they?). Neil has been rubbing his keyboards frantically to generate some static and get a good layer of dust stuck to them. Nick has spent weeks carefully modifying his trousers with a concealed gap in the gusset seam so he can grip spare plectrums between his buttock cheeks in case of any further mishaps and Dave has had intensive botox.

Anyway on with the....what? What was that? What's the adorable Steve been doing, I hear you ask? Well I've had my feet very firmly on the ground and have spent my gig preparation time wisely, choosing footwear. I've done this because I'll spend most of my time looking at my feet as they dance deftly through our rocking set and defy gravity as they flit over my bass pedals. I might press one note at the start just to kick things off....

Anyway, if you're coming to Cambridge, we'll be on the Classic Rock stage at 12 on Friday 3rd August so we'll look forward to seeing you there. If you're not - there's still time to change your mind! Rock annnnnd Roll!

28/6/12 Seaxe Bar, Electrical Testing and Bass Pedals.....

Hello again my happy readers. So here's another update from the incredibly busy world of Exhibit A. "What have you been doing then?" I hear you yawn.....well, hold onto your seats and I'll tell you, impatient and lovely people......

Last night we made a very long overdue visit to the Seaxe Bar in Brentwood for our little warm up ahead of Cambridge in August. A very hot evening and it was good to see some friendly faces in the audience - and Paul the sound engineer did a great job for us.

 

As usual we played incredibly tightly on the bits we felt comfortable with, and interestingly loosely on some other somewhat significant parts - for example me kicking my bass pedals on for the intro of the wrong song springs painfully to mind...as does Paul not remembering the start of "After Hours" and then looking accusingly at his Simmons drum pad thingy as if it was somehow responsible for his synapses not quite firing with the right information to get him going....

But for me by far the standout moment of the evening was seeing Nick suddenly bereft of his plectrum which mysteriously disappeared, then watching him root around in a little bag that most of us would use to store shaving kit etc in for a spare which had also mysteriously disppeared...and then the surprising sight of his arse stage right as he went down on hands and knees to hunt for it in the dark. Cue fantastic ad libbing from Dave which ended with comments about Nick finding it between his buttocks....and funny enough at that point amazingly it appeared and the show went on but I'm not quite sure what our audience made of it (and no-one asked for it as a souvenir at the end of the night). They probably thought it was all part of a carefully choreographed comedy act (particularly after the intro). He also broke a string, something I've never seen him do so clearly the Gods of Rock really made him work hard. But to make up for it some of the solos were brilliantly executed although I will say that fantastically tight bass provides the perfect platform for that to happen....

On the plus side I managed to negotiate my bass pedals in Michael Flatleyesque style although I'm not sure whether that passed as me dancing around or not...and perhaps I should have turned them on to make full use of them. Paul was on good form with the bonus that his kit didn't disintigrate and Dave's vocals sounded great across the board (including the Lobster Rap). Also Neil successfully managed to play his solo at the end of our version of "Ashes to Ashes". This came as a bit of a surprise to be honest and was delivered flawlessly despite our best efforts to distract him by playing wrong notes and coming back in at the wrong point....shame but somehow he managed to get away with it. Well sort of.

Thanks to the people who came and saw the show, your support is really appreciated and we'll make sure that we have a little more merchandise in the right sizes next time for you all!

So now it's back to cracking on with material for our new album and plotting to see what we're going to do at the Cambridge Rock Festival on 3rd August....which brings me nicely to the tale of P.A.T (Portable Appliance Testing). Here in the UK (for those of you not in the UK - and for those of you in the UK who don't know what I'm about to talk about) we're supposed to have anything electrical tested before we go on stage. The reason is quite simply because any pyrotechnics have to be properly scheduled and arranged for the safety of the thousands of adoring fans and should not therefore be an improptu display of Neil and his equipment exploding as soon as it's plugged in - entertaining though that is. So we commenced getting our gear tested which includes all leads, amps, dusty old keyboards etc. Basically anything that plugs into the mains.

When I arrived the keyboard testing was in full swing. The testers (good chaps that they are from Dave's band "Arizona") were enthusiastically getting to grips with Neil's kit. Now I can imagine that testing is pretty routine and not very interesting but in this case it was like watching lions going in for the kill on some crippled beast. Neil's gear is woefully dangerous with leads secured with gaffa tape and internal bits hanging out where they shouldn't be, like intestines (his gear, not him). So in the interest of health and safety (but also curiosity I think) they set about everything with forensic attention and as the PAT test machine buzzed with another failure they marvelled at how Neil was actually still alive....

Sadly PAT testing can only aim to cover immediate danger along the lines of avoiding the scenario of plug in, switch on, zap, enjoy smell of burning hair. The sorry tale of Neil's exploding DX7 is still raw and fresh in his mind and I'm suddenly and uncomfortably aware that I share stage left with him and any unscheduled exposion will potentially take me with him, which isn't really the way that I want to depart from this world. But he is at least now aware of the danger even if his equipment is still unsafe. I always wonder what would have happened if we'd have gone to the Baltimore Prog Fest...

Security man: "Did you pack this keyboard sir?"
Neil (cautiously): "yes"
Security man: "Does it contain any bombs, explosives or other devices likely to bring the plane down?"
Neil: "errrrrm, no, but to be on the safe side just don't plug it in and we'll all be ok"

For the Cambridge Rock Festival we needed to not only conform with PAT testing but also provide a stage plan and the one we submitted clearly takes into account the risk that anyone who ventures stage left is actually taking:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right. That's enough of that...for a few weeks anyway.

10/6/12 Rock Star Quiz

Hello everyone, including people who are dear to me and special (you know who you are), and the rest of you who we don't know but are our faceybook friends. God I hope none of you are bank robbers etc. Mind you if you are, and you can spare a few bundles of inky notes from your last job, then sling some our way so we can get our gear electrically tested ahead of the Cambridge Festival on the 3rd August.

Anyway, so what's this about then you ask, predictably. Well, I was thinking in a very reflective way the other day about what a laugh you can have with those cheap quiz questions you get in magazines that are completely fictional, where you have to answer the question that's most like you from a superficial bunch of shit choices that are all unlike you. Quizzes like 'how horny are you' have these great questions like:

Your partner comes home late after a long day at work. Do you:

1. Wait for him in a naughty nightie with the lights turned down
2. Cook a lovely dinner with candles and some nice wine and put some moody music on
3. Pour him his favourite beer and listen to him talk about his day.

They're the choices. The one that does apply is clearly missing from this list, e.g.
4. Ask him where the fuck he's been for the past four hours and that if he wants to eat then the chip shop has plenty of pies, "not that you need any because you're such a fat bastard already".

And that's the question in the mens section.

So faithful readers, here, in a moment of madness, is my Exhibit A "How fit are you to be a top rock star and love bomb " quiz questions. Do enjoy attempting them and before you even think about it the scores won't add up to anything that could ever mean anything.......

Question 1. Neil's persistent badgering has finally paid off with a gig at a bar called "Tattooed Bastard Heaven" where the audience will be very well decorated and right on top of you (not literally, well, not yet). Anyway, you realise the day before that your carefully applied but clearly fake neck tattoo is peeling off. To maintain your credibility and get a return gig do you:

1. Scrub it off and go for the clean cut look, then spend the entire evening with a red neck worrying that the fat bloke in the leather jacket with tattoos on his anus is looking at you a bit too much and may use you as a human sketchbook later.
2. go in with the faded look. If anyone says anything then fight them and then blame a famous tattooist for doing it wrong by saying something like "ya, ya, had it done specially in L.A by Art and Soul, he used the wrong ink though, I have to fly back specially to have it touched up on Saturday"...
3. raid your daughter's stash of skull and cross-bone fake tats to replenish it and paste a couple on your eyelids and the inside of your ears for good measure.
4. Drink a bottle of scotch, say bollocks to it, man up and go and get a real one done.

Question 2. Neil lands a huge gig at a 50 capacity venue. You have a wardrobe crisis and realise that you have absolutely nothing to wear. Do you:

1. Spend the whole day in Covent Garden quietly panicking, find nothing, have a massive tantrum and finally turn up wearing your leather trousers and leather waistcoat that didn't fit 20 years ago, let alone now, you fat bastard.

2. Turn up in the jeans and tee shirt that you usually wear when you're gardening.

3 buy something that clings to your lithe and beautifully toned body with long zips that will make your audience go absolutely wild and therefore ignore your haphazard playing. Doesn't matter if it's a dress (even for men).

4. Say bollocks to it and get some tattoos done.

Question 3. Neil's booked yet another enormous gig (i know, this is getting unrealistic). You love to look your best for your audience and to keep yourself in good shape you go to the gym for some circuit training. Afterwards you feel hungry. Do you have:

1. A beer and a bag of crisps.

2. A healthy portion of steamed fish and a green salad then off to bed early to let nature help your body regenerate.

3. Something other than food to take your mind off it

4. A kebab, after saying bollocks to it and getting a a tattoo done at the all night tattoo parlour.

 

Question 4. Bloody hell, Neil has managed to book another gig, this time at the Dutch "Prog Bastard" festival. It will be attended by a live film crew and you're dreadfully worried about your hair. do you

1. Visit the hairdresser daily and have every hair carefully trimmed, also indulging in a full body wax job, spray tan and a manicure for when the camera zooms in on your hands during your solo.

2. Dye your hair jet black so you look like an android and quickly put some Gary Numan covers in the set.

3. Wear a hat that has an arrow pointing towards Paul that says "he's gay". Note this can lead to a good kicking if you turn your head towards the 8' tall bouncer doing single handed crowd control on 2000 people.

4. Say bollocks to it and have a big tattoo done on your head.

 

Question 5. I can't believe it either but Neil has managed to book a gig that means you have to stay in the hotel nearby. Do you:

1. Have a couple of fans in the room with you (not like that) but no later than 8pm, drink one beer and tidy everything up nicely before turning in at 10, but just leave the beer bottle next to the bin to show that there has been a bit of a party going on.

2. Jump up and down on the bed, throw the kettle and tea making equipment in the shower and shove the towels down the toilet, before realising you haven't had a shower or a cup of tea yet.

3. Leave the room absolutely spotless and looking pristine, giving the impression that you've been out all night somewhere partying like a true rock star.

4. Invite everyone in to see your tattoos, trash the room, set off the sprinkler system, run naked up and down the corridor and then say bollocks to it and get a tattoo done on the way back from being charged at the police station.

 

So how did you score?

Answers: Q1. 1=0, 2=10, 3=1,00 4=1000 Q2. 1=0, 2=1000 (assuming you're convincing), 3=10000, 4 =1000 Q3 1=1000, 2=0, 3=10000, 4 = 1000 Q4 1=0, 2=100, 3=10000, 4=1000 Q5 1=0, 2=10000,3=100000, 4=1000000

How you scored is absolutely the most important part of the quiz, because it's where you find out whether you're just a total square who needs to live a bit, or a wild, untamed beast who lives to be....a wild untamed beast. Scoring will inevitably result in you returning to the lower scoring questions, having a reflective think about your first answer while sucking on the end of your pen/pencil/crayon before changing it to something else.

Score 0 to 100. You're not a rock star, you're an arse. Start to change your habits and get a tattoo done, get down the gym and wear something with zips.

Score 100-1000. Not bad but you need to get some tattoos done. And get down the gym as well you lazy twat.

Score over 1000 That's more like it. You are some hot rock chick and you know it.

Score over 1000000 You are truly a rock god and probably have lots of money to pay for all the great gear, body art and trashed rooms. Help yourself to another tattoo if there's any room left on your body.

 

7/5/12 Jaffa Cakes and Artwork

"Another entry so soon?" I hear you cry (and I know someone is out there because I check the web stats quite regularly. Any you're probably crying about how bad this blog is. I'm not even sure it counts as a blog. Does it? Someone email me and let me know). Anyway, on with this virtual conversation. "Yes" I reply happily to your incisive and thoughtful question. I have been doing two things my faithful readers. I have been idly flicking through photographs of the band (the rain in the UK is persistent and has been for most of the past three weeks, so I have to do something) and also designing artwork for our next album, which is a bit cart before the horse really because that's at least 3 years off at an optimistic guess (three weeks to write the material, 18 months to record it, god knows how long to think of the backing vocals and usually five minutes to sling the artwork together). But as I said, it's raining.

So anyway, lets take this in order. First - the photos. Flicking through, I stopped dead in my tracks at this one. The Jaffa cake box is clearly a thin disguise for what's going on here. To think I actually ate some of those.

Right, enough of that filth and perversion. If Neil wishes to carry on conducting himself in that way, and in public as well, then only God can save him (or the McVitie family, who may wish to consider using him to endorse future cake based merchandise). So on with the artwork. This is the first of what will herald a whole bunch of ideas that we'll doubtless be working on (tsk, such a barefaced lie, it will in fact stand up as the only best idea when we panic about what to use 5 minutes before the official release).

You'll notice that this has "copyright" all the way across it because I was somewhat amused to recently discover a (rather flattering I must say) illegal download where some enterprising twat had created their own Exhibit A compilation, complete with a cover design, selling for about 80p. The cheek of it. If I was in Russia I'd pay him (or her/it) a personal visit to discuss our royalties. So anyway this should stop that from happening unless of course our next album is actually called "copyright", in which case I've just scored a spectacular own goal.

We're really on a songwriting roll at the moment. It's always great when this happens because on a serious (for once) note songs don't grow on trees (I didn't know that and so assume you don't either) and getting the inspiration plus everyone firing at the same time (refer back to Jaffa cake gag above) can produce some of our best material. When you look back and think "how did that come about?" (fnaar) it's always a bit of a puzzle, particularly when a musical oaf like me is in the room. Anyway, less of my self depracating rubbish. I'm going to hide myself away for another couple of days and produce some more random shite........and I'll be removing Jaffa Cakes from my shopping list for the foreseeable future.

NB for all those people outside the UK who haven't got a clue what a Jaffa Cake is - google it.

 

 

28/4/12 Cars, Pedals, Ebay, Stafford and Songwriting

Blimey that's an even bigger gap than before between blogs. Which means that I've either been lazy or busy. The truth is I (we)'ve been pretty busy with lots going on in the industrious world of Exhibit A. "So" I hear you yawn, "what's that then?". Well my lovelies, here we go:

Neil has crashed his car spectacularly, rolling it on the way out of his estate drive. He was discovered by a paperboy wandering around naked in a daze amongst the still smouldering wreckage (Neil - not the paperboy). Thankfully despite looking like a serious accident Ford cars are very robust and the repair to the superficial damage to the door and the wing should be done by Tuesday.

Dave seems to have discovered Stafford and now visits regularly. I think there's a gym there or something because he always seems to be exhausted when he gets back.

Paul has discovered a credit card around the same time as he typed ebay.co.uk. Sadly there's only one way that an affair with ebay can end but everyone is secretly hoping for a Roland V drum kit to appear before he gets found out.

Nick has decided that rather than taking over the entire room with his effects pedals, he'll stack them instead. Now this is something I'm quite grateful for because I've noticed (being constantly late for rehearsals) that picking my way across the room is becoming a bit like walking through a minefield, and a distortion pedal called a "Big Muff" never fails to momentarily distract me either..... The angrily humming power supply always looks like it will unleash a tidy jolt to anyone careless enough to even look at it, so I have visions of getting across the room but with my hair standing on end (what's left of it) with tendrils of smoke coming out of my ears. Unfortunately the new approach has led to the stack being about 4 feet high, wobbling precariously whenever the patches are selected via a rapid peck of the nose and threatening to crush me instead.

And me? I've discovered that on a wet day a taxi journey can help inspire some really creative song writing, and we're on a bit of a roll with new material. The fourth release beckons (but don't get too excited, it's still a long way off) and it's great to see us getting on top of our game again.

19/2/12 Iron Who?

Wow, that's a long gap between blogs. So much has been happening as well. Where to start.........well the latest news is that Neil's persistance has again paid off with the offer of a support band with Iron Butterfly at the London O2. Sadly the date wasn't good for us and we had to decline, but having read about the band and the fact that some (well, one) of their personnel went missing in strange circumstances makes me wonder whether that's a good thing. I would also be concerned about exposing Neil to prog music in such excessive quantities in case it makes his hair grow back or something.

Anyway, the good news is that we're confirmed for the Cambridge Rock Festival, hoping that we get a good day, we'll post on here and on Faceybook as soon as we know the date and timing. The next gig at the Seaxe Bar approaches at top speed, 10th March. I'm hoping that the bloke at the bar will once again be present for that.

What else? Ah, we've released "Out There" from our back catalogue for distribution on ITunes, Amazon and also on streaming sites such as Spotify. There are some slight changes to the artwork (which Dave calls "resurfacing"!). It should be out in about 4-6 weeks at a very reasonable £4.99 although Amazon tend to charge whatever they like so wouldn't be at all surprised to see it going for a lot less.

 

 

20/11/2011 Bloke at the bar

When we did the Seaxe Bar gig some time back, there was a very interesting chap at the bar. A rogue mic has picked up a few of his comments about our performance. Listen Here

19/11/2011 Insurance

So, while idly waiting for something to put in the blog, and somewhat bereft of constructive ideas, I couldn't turn down the opportunity of writing about Neil's experience with his very vintage DX7, an extension lead, and the presence of 240 volts AC.

I'm not entirely sure what the cause of this was, but an avid reader of Faceybook (Paul) alerted me to the story that Neil, in a very rare moment of enthusiasm, withdrew his (dusty) DX7 from hibernation with the intent to "practice" (I think he got it out to check if he could sell it on ebay). Anyway, having plugged it in and left it for 10 minutes (presumably to warm it up or something, it is quite old), the following happened - extract from insurance claim:

"I'd turned on the DX7 to attempt to write my latest prog blockbuster complete with loads of symphonic sweeps and stuff like everyone loved who reviewed our CD ("Make Mine a Lobster" price £5.00). I went to make a nice cup of cocoa to get me into the mood, having just donned some leather trousers and a Pendragon tee shirt. When I turned around flames 30 feet high were erupting from the back of the DX7, and thick billowing smoke was going all through the house. Having no regard for my own safety I rushed forward and grabbed the DX7 (see claim entry 1, "vintage DX7, irreplaceable, sentimental value, equivalent value Roland Fantom G8 £3500"), and threw it through the patio doors into the garden. Unfortunately the patio doors weren't open at the time, and the flaming mass bounced back at me, causing damage to the doors (see claim entry 1a, "patio doors, £2000" 1b "Tee shirt £1.25", 1c "Scuff mark on leather trousers £100")."

" After carefully opening the doors I once again heaved the DX7 out. This time because the extension cable was still plugged in it landed on the carpet, causing significant damage to the extent that the carpet is completely burned and unrecognisable (see claim entry 1c "incredibly rare and expensive persian carpet, £4000" and 1d "damaged extension cord £11). Still burning and emitting choking smoke which damaged my furniture, wallcoverings and the chest of my hamster (see claim entry 2a "Furniture "£1000", 2b "various tapestries hanging on dining room wall including Bayeaux tapestry £3,100,000", 2c "hamster £50", 2d "Hamster life support machine and medical care £2000")."

"I went to the socket, unplugged and switched off, then picked up the flaming keyboard and threw it as hard as I could. Unfortunately it landed on a rocket that was somehow left over from bonfire night and we hadn't used. The rocket went off, and flew into the open window of my car, where it exploded and burned the car to a heap of twisted metal (see claim entry 3a "Porsche 911 £40,000", 3b "Armani suit left in car after dry cleaning £2000" and 3c "various items of other stuff £2000"). This was unfortunate because the car had developed an expensive to repair fault with the fan only the day before. "

"It was lucky that I wasn't injured personally, increasing the claim further. Come to think of it I may have whiplash from throwing the keyboard and will advise when I've had a think about this further".

 

Anyway. Musically we're doing very well writing the new material, which is almost (but not quite) as exciting as Neil's exploding DX7.

20/10/2011 Those reviews keep coming......

Now I'm always impressed by the quality of the reviews that we get - but I can honestly say that this one has to be the most enthralling of the lot - mainly because the author has been brave enough to wave our CD around AND wear a tee shirt as well. What absolute quality. Well done Marcel Haster from Live Prog, I'm sure that you've set the standard that other reviews (if there are any more) will have to aspire to. And our cost for this cracking review was a (very flimsy) tee shirt that he will need to treat with ultimate respect because I can guarantee that it will age in the same way as this band has, only much more quickly - bit like in Indiana Jones' "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when the bloke opens the ark and loads of shit goes flying about all over the place then all his skin falls off...well, not quite like that, if that happened we'd be charging a bit more than a fiver for a tee shirt ....oh, never mind, Anyway thanks for the review, loved it and please don't ask for a replacement tee shirt next week.

The other reviews this month have been from Charlie O'Mara at www.silhobbit.com, who (kindly) reckons that we would have been one of the top bands in the 80's. Whaaaaat? That's where we are at the moment isn't it?. And last but by no means least from The Classic Rock Society, who have finally submitted to some incredible persistance from Neil.

But you can't beat Marcel's review....oh no no noooooo.

18/9/2011 Community Radio

aNow I don't want to sound ungrateful, but when you hear you've been airplayed anywhere you get a bit excited, then when you hear the name of the radio station that excitement tends to, well.....recede a bit.
So when I heard that we'd been played on "community radio" I thought the listeners would be the sort of fraternity who own big coats that smell of pee but are worn whatever the weather (e.g. trip to shops, red hot day, on goes the coat).

I'm not going to try to find out what the foreign equivalent of community radio is, because I have this mental picture of Exhibit A being airplayed on stations that are of the same standing as the UK's Kerrang, Absolute Radio etc........and I don't want to find that we're actually the mainstay entertainment for a Polish old people's home that smells of cabbagy farts.
Still, any airplay is great, and the fact that somewhere a DJ has found us and added us to his playlist for the evening is good news. Community Radio? Bring it on!

ooh I do love those nice
Exhibit A boys.

5/9/2011 Holidays

I'm posting this blog update in a (futile) attempt to deflect the incoming message from Neil, which will go something along the lines of "any chance you could update the blog"..... so here's an update.

What's been happening? Well, I had a very nice holiday in France thanks, my VW camper was ultra reliable and ....what? You want to know about Exhibit A?a Well actually nothing has been happening there which is why I'm telling you about my holiday.

Anyway, let me continue. We visited La Rochelle, The Loire Valley and various other wonderful places before returning home to about 500 emails, all from Neil asking about whether there were any emails while I was away.

This month we're somewhat hopeful to receive a video review from Marcel Haster at Livea Prog. In a slippery (and admirable) attempt to curry favour with him, Neil has comissioned a specially produced Lobster tee shirt for him to wear, which I, faithful readers, painstakingly produced and posted almost on time. I do sincerely hope that Marcel does indeed wear it, since it is a unique design...well at least until the hastily applied transfer disintegrates (which should be slightly ahead of the sweat shop produced tee) after which he can of course use it to wipe his car/windows/videolens/bottom.

What else? We've been airplayed on Milton Keynes Radio. Hooray. I hope the listener(s?) did get some enjoyment from being subjected to "Touch The Stars" at 3am but seriously, thanks for the airplay folks and please do some more (but not the Lobster Rap).

11/6/2011 Klassic Kock

Wow, we're on the cover of "Classic Kock Presents Grog" this month.

a

2/6/2011 Classic Rock Presents.....Us!

I know, I know, it's been a long time between blogs but that doesn't mean nothing has been happening of course. We've had a lot of exposure in the music press with a review in the April issue of Classic Rock Presents Prog and then, the highlight of our musical careers, we're on the cover Cd of the June edition with more info inside the mag. What a shame that despite some aggressive editing Neil's face wasn't cut off as intended. We are of course hoping that people who buy the mag do actually listen to the Cd, rather than doing what most people do and consigning it to the nearest bin, or (perish the thought) using it as a handy coaster or hanging it up as a sun catcher for their snotty nosed kids.

We're even mentioned on the back of the mag as a result of some dual badgering.

I'm actually convinced that the sales of these mags are mostly attributed to the musicians and their mums who have to buy a copy for the sake of posterity. Anyway, if you picked one up and you like what you hear (of us) , then you can currently take full advantage of our reduced Cd package offers due to the web sitea not being updated anywhere near as quickly as it should, so if you've jammed your hand in your pocket for a copy of the mag, and still find (miracle of miracles) you still have some disposable income left, you can snap up our 3 Cd bundle for the stupid price of £10 plus postage. We'll even throw in a signed photo of Paul too because he thinks he's a pretty boy but you only have to look below the neckline to see what a physically repulsive specimen he is. If he doesn't make it as a rock star then there's a 7' tall specimen jar in the Natural History Museum waiting for him.a

What else? Well boys and girls, work continues on our latest batch of songs, in the hope that we'll be able to ride the wave of success and punt another Cd out quickly. We got Dave singing on Tuesday, it was a bit like firing up an old car that's been sitting there for 10 years and after he coughed up a bit of dust and stuff he was actually sounding good. Neil, inspired by the fact that he can refresh his keyboard sounds for less than the price of a four pack of Fosters, has invested in a new module that has encouragingly only been featured on Vintage Synth Explorer for the past 5 years. For the past 9 months he's provided an almost weekly dialogue regarding his bidding exploits on eBay, having been told (by me) that you can get them as cheap as £70 (a lie). Amazingly he got one at a bargain price which is actually a bit of a shame because I did get some perverse enjoyment looking at his eBay bids and bidding just a little bit more against him. On the downside however I now own virtually every Roland JV1010 that's been on eBay for the past year. I hope when it arrives it isn't a Cornflakes box with "Rowland JayVee1010" crudely painted on the side.

What else? Oh, Dave and I went to see Rush on their Time Machine tour. Enough said....... :)

20/3/2011 The Seaxe Bar Gig.....Gay Bar

So what a fantastic gig we had last night. The long awaited Seaxe Bar in Brentwood. And the question as to whether we really would finish the set with our trademark cover - in this case "Gay Bar". An excellent turn out of people who were probably curious to listen to how we sounded after all this time, and keen to see whether the performance would have the general attributes of a motorway pile up. The latter did happen a couple of times to some amusement (for us at least) - despite rehearsals some of the alternative endings didn't quite work as expected :) and it was enjoyable to watch Paul crafting his own ending for "Rush Of Blood", the rest of the band having given up about 16 bars before he did.

 

a

That lobster spent most of the evening giving threatening eye contact to Dave, not to mention the dangerous proximity of it's nippers. On the plus side it did receive a positive shoeing at the end of the night.

We enjoyed an excellent sound thanks to Chris Patching who thoroughly enjoyed us plugging leads into the wrong holes and giving him unexpected on stage volume increases (and decreases) throughout the night. On the plus side Paul's kit didn't fall apart, no-one walked out and the owner didn't tell us to leave (but did ask us to turn it down when we were sound checking, a relief for my bad ears at least).

In the photo all of the band look remarkably sprightly apart from Neil. He has no legs and we had to balance him on a bar stool, adjusting him throughout the 90 minute set. And yes, the rendition of "Gay Bar" went down a storm and has nothing to do with the venue I'll hasten to add.

What else has been happening? Well we're back on the radio in Poland courtesy of http://www.mlwz.ceti.pl/ and our old friend Artur. Check the web site to listen to his show.

13/2/2011 Getting ready for a gig....

Well doesn't time fly? No sooner have I put my virtual pen down than Neil is again deploying his pet badger who seems to have an uncanny array of keyboard skills, all with an amazing sense of urgency. Unfortunately he is also beginning to take on some disturbingly badger like features, doubtless as a direct result of his increasingly badgeresque behaviour.

Don't believe me? Look at this poster that I was working on for our gig at the Seaxe Bar, at the Essex Arms in Brentwood on he 19th March. While doing the layout, I noticed that Neil is beginning to show some dark eyed characteristics......By the way.a

that's actually Dave's chin above his head, not a weird hat.

This month we're about to re-release our debut album, "A Different Dimension. It's going to be on CD and we're taking pre orders right now, you can take a look at the merchandise page to ordaer. It's been re mastered and will have as much appeal to those lucky folks who originally owned it on tape, as those who have enjoyed "Make Mine A Lobster" and want to hear more. It will be a very limited run, so if you want it I'd suggest you get in quickly.

What else has been happening? Well, we've had so many reviews now that searching for them is
starting to get time consuming. It's actually made a bit harder by the amount of illegal download sites
that are offering our music, once again folks, please come to us for a CD or go to Amazon, ITunes
or play.com to get a copy if you'd rather have it in MP3 - but to be honest it sounds a lot better if you own the CD. That way
you can try to decipher the lyrics as well.

We've had some fantastic reviews this month including one from Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal in South America. If you're not convinced yet then take a look at their review site which can be found at: http://www.progressiverockbr.com/previews2011.htm

That's it for this month.....more badger japes coming soon........

10/1/2011 A Little Bit Of Airplay ....

Not exactly a blog this, more of an update. We're getting some airplay today (tuesday) on local radio, which is a great result and didn't even need any bribes to achieve, which is a first. Thanks to Andy Hubbard, DJ at Phoenix FM. Listen on the web at phoenixfm.com. His show starts around 10pm. If you missed it you can listen again by clicking here - Phoenix FM broadcast 25th January

1/1/2011 Happy New Year!

Right, happy new year everyone. Now I'm 50 years old and a day, and amazingly recovered, here's what's been going on in Exhibit A world.

We'll start with Make Mine a Lobster. Sales are amazingly brisk, some of the CDs we're sending out do have the old red cover - if you like the new cover better then drop me an email steve@exhibita.org.uk and I'll drop a new one in the post for you.

We've had some great reviews - clearly December is a good month for people to give a benevolent view (!). Also we've seen reviews of our back catalogue "Different Dimension" and "Out There". Both reviews are excellent, see the Reviews page for more info.

What else? Well my daughter (mentioned because she is a real musician, anot a fumbling plank spanker like me) passed her very advanced piano grade with a merit - well done Steph!

What else? Well, we're being very active and rehearsing for our first gig at the Essex Arms in Brentwood on the 19th March. It's quite a nice sized place but we hope that we can keep this gig quiet enough so the venue don't have to call the police in for crowd control. Also keeping our fingers crossed for something much bigger - won't mention it yet but I do hope that my fortune cookie was telling the truth. Ah Soooooo.

That's it - until next month.......

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