I started playing the drums when I was six years old. My folks bought me a snare drum the Christmas of 1976 which they later regretted due to the never ending pounding in the house. They decided to get me an actual drum so I would stop beating their furniture to death with leggo logs. My grandfather was a musician in Detroit and I suppose they knew their was another musician in the family. A couple of years later, I grew into a full set of drums and the pounding continued into my teens. Early on, I was into heavy metal, but initially, I learned to play a full set of drums to early Beatles songs. My initial love of AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden grew into a lust for hardcore punk. I started thrashing away in garage bands at kids homes while the parents were away and watching young, middle class munchkins attempting to do their best at slam dancing. My admiration for the sex pistols has never faded, but I realized a lot of the other hardcore punk music was a little ridiculous and I matured gradually into the post punk / alternative music scene. It was a complete accident. After relaying my favorite kick ass punk bands to the clerk at The Record Bar, he recommended this new punk band called The Smiths. I was completely pissed when I first put it on the turn table, however, after a few more listens, the music touched me in ways I will never forget.
I didn’t get goose bumps from a record until I heard The Chameleons U.K.
I remember like it was yesterday. My alternative rock band in Albuquerque was practicing for an upcoming show at the Mayor’s house. Behind the drums, I kept yelling out, “the Mayor probably isn’t going to like these songs.” Anyway, our bass player, Jason, put on a new album he had just purchased from a local record shop. The song Swamp Thing started playing and I froze. I remember getting chill bumps in the middle of the guy’s living room. I also realized for the first time, I wanted to start writing music like this. I was tired of being the guy sweating in the back, drumming.
After buying every Chameleons record that was out there, I continued to check back at the record store for additional titles in the usually empty sleeve where The Chams records were placed. Even after hearing the terrible news that the band had broken up, I optimistically looked for new Chameleons records, until one day I found something. The record shoppe owner placed a copy of the new Geffen release of The Sun and The Moon in the Chameleons section. It had the original lead singer and bassist, Mark Burgess and the original drummer, John Lever, on it. The new band had two new guitarists, Andy Clegg and Andy Whitaker. I bought the album and was blown away. The maturity and the poetry of The Sun and The Moon struck my inner core and it is an album that I keep close have listened to for over twenty years. In fact, I am listening now. The guitar work was flowing and interesting and could put you into a trance. It was definitely chill bump worthy. These are bands and people that carved their own niche into the world and created something completely original that never followed any trends. Not the best business decisions on the planet, but they can hold their heads higher for having musical integrity. Black Swan Lane have tried to follow in these grand footsteps – “under the ceiling of stars” – to put out the best and most original records possible. The most talented, hard working and original acts unfortunately seldom see well deserved financial success. A pat on the back and a kick in the ass is typically how it ends.
Two of the nicest guys I have met…
I have had the pleasure of playing with Andy Clegg and Andy Whitaker and have spent a good amount of time around them. In 2009, we released The Sun and The Moon Sessions together and we have remained close ever since. Andy Whitaker has been in a number of musical projects since The Sun and The Moon days in the late 80’s and has always dreamed of releasing a solo album that reflected songs close to his heart. The day has arrived and it is time that the public embraces and supports a musical icon of our time. It is time to support music that helped shape the musical universe. Yes, the Manchester, U.K. music scene helped create and develop every alternative band that exists today and definitely created Black Swan Lane. Andy Clegg and Andy Whitaker are not only talented, but also two of the nicest blokes I have ever met and they deserve your attention. They actually deserve to turn a profit from a project created. It is time to buy Things That Happened On Earth by Andy Whitaker. In addition, Black Swan Lane and Wanderland Music Publishing can not continue putting new music out without your help and love… Buy a song or two on iTunes or the whole album. Available on iTunes, CD Baby or direct from us at wanderlandmusic.com
For more information on the new album by Andy Whitaker please visit, http://www.wanderlandmusic.com/andy-whitaker/
(or click on the album below)
All the very best,