Good news. The voices are back. The bad news is that once again I have been passed over for an MBE. Can you believe it? You know what, fuck this; I’m off to join some other empire. I wonder what the Persians are up to these days. Enriching uranium? That could be interesting and dreadful. I’m there.
Of course, you realise why I have been passed over yet again for recognition for my tireless and extremely important work in the field of Ska. It’s my Jacobite sympathies. I support Scottish independence not for any economic or political reasons. I simply want to restore the Stuart monarchy. I’m sure James VII is still in France somewhere, we could probably dig him up. .Our present government may want to turn the clock back to the 1980’s or even the 1880’s, but I want to turn it back to the 1680’s, when real men worewigs and tights and resolved their differences with a three foot chib.
This nicely leads us to our most recent problem. Andy has been watching far too much ‘Game of Thrones’ and it’s really starting to affect his performance in the rehearsal studio. Every time one of the horns has a bad tuning moment (oh, it happens), Andy starts calling out for a large public beheading in front of a crowd. We have to take him seriously because he does have an axe, and while I’m not unsympathetic to his position, you have to remember it takes a long time to build and train a trombone player from scratch. And we just don’t have two and a half weeks to spare.
The most important thing you need to know right now about Bombskare is that Skalloween was Sam’s official last gig as Bombskare drummer. Due to recent changes in legislation, Sam had to be released from captivity back into the wild, to hopefully mate with another bearded highland nutter, and that way continue his species, his strange and disturbing species. Of course, he’ll be re-appearing now and then to help us out, especially on the drums, but mainly he’ll be retiring to his highland estates where he’ll be spending more time with his couch. So please note, now that he is a civilian, you don’t have to salute him.
He was performing his final examination piece for his music degree up at Napier University, where we harvest all of our drummers, and had been suggested to me as a likely replacement for Vini ‘Van’ Bonar our previous drummer who was leaving the band to spend more time with his slippers. I knew Dave Hook who was engineering the finals and he invited me up to the examination room, as an observer. Here’s a photo of Dave looking chuffed to bits to be engineering another college band playing Rush.
Sam performed his end of year exam, which also turned out to be his audition for Bombskare, and while he passed his exam with flying colours, my first thought was ‘we are going to have to beat that Dream Theater crap out of him quickly or Joe is going to violate every hole in his head’. I didn’t speak to him at that point, he didn’t have the clearance. I just sat at the back watching, like that dude with the cigarettes in The X Files.
Of course he didn’t find out he had joined the band until a few days later when we all turned up in a van outside his house. After one rehearsal we knew he was the man for the job, but like most of our drummers, when he started he wasn’t loud enough for the band. He had to learn to blast the kit with the appropriate gusto which took a few attempts. He had to channel his inner Lloyd, which he did, and within a few weeks he had our set nailed. What most people don’t realise is that the drum parts for our first album were recorded by Sam a mere eight weeks after he had joined the band and he had them down in two days including the time to set up the kit in the recording studio. He was excellent.
His first gig with us was in Neilston near Glasgow with Das Contras and his second was at a festival down near Galashiels with The Hustlers after which he reckoned he would be losing a few stone over the next wee while. Here’s a before and after.
Over the next few years he really made the job his. All the songs we wrote subsequent to Sam joining had that extra girth thanks to his playing. Songs like ‘Freedom 35’ and ‘Question Times’ wouldn’t have been the same without Sam’s balls. He would say ‘how fast?’ and we would say ‘standard Bombskare allegretto’ and he would say ‘155bpms it is then’. He would say ‘how loud’ and we would say ‘Bombskare mezzo forte’ and he would say ‘80dB it is. He made us tighter except when he was speeding up and slowing down, and he made us younger, statistically.
We’ve had laughter, some tears, occasionally blood. I remember the time when he phoned me from Aviemore at midnight in the middle of a street fight he was having. He wanted to put me on the phone with the guy he was attempting to hit. There was the time he drank an entire bottle of Sambuca before he went on, but spilled it over his hands making them sticky, so when he started to play it broke the skin and he bled all over his kit the entire gig. There was the time when he turned up to the gig with only a kick drum and a Superman costume. Yes indeed, the Isaac Newton of drums. The list is extensive but I don’t want to get him into trouble with his new wife, or the authorities, so I won’t go into details about the goat fucking. Suffice it to say that it was just upsetting for everyone concerned, especially everyone in the restaurant at the time. The goat was the only one who didn’t seem to mind.
When he told me he was leaving the band, I nearly slapped him but I didn’t because I knew it would lead to sex. I said ‘Why, dude? Is it another awesome Ska Juggernaut? That’s it, isn’t it? You’re seeing another nine man Ska machine with world class Ska Kwon Do, aren’t you?’ I remember getting loud. ‘No’, he said. ‘I’ve just bought this new couch. It’s leather, AND it has cup holders, so…you know.’ It is a nice couch. Well there’s no way we could compete with that. I wasn’t upset because there are no goodbyes in Bombskare. Our first drummer Cammy, who left the band in 2002, is lying on my couch, right now, watching The Sweeney. Here he is.
Our new drummer is Mr Dave Morrison, (no relation to the supermarket chain, or Jim) who you now must salute and treat with the appropriate care and respect. It may take a while for you all to get used to our new drummer wunderkind but when Doctor Who regenerates it takes a while for everyone to get used to him. Everyone was suspicious of Tom Baker at first. Dave has been depping for Sam for a quite a while now, so he gets his first team place permanently as of now. Good luck young man, although you don’t need it really. What series of bad things could possibly happen to you?