2017. the year that didn't..
I put my recovery first. I assert my right to cancel a gig at zero notice or not perform at any given venue and/or with any other musician/musicians at whatever notice I want - whenever and wherever I feel my recovery may be compromised and/or my sobriety put at risk.
I put my recovery first. I'm selfish like that.
I'm looking at getting out of here..
seems an impossible task..trying to fix up the flat / the BlackChapel..
It's in a bad way. poor electrics...
no proper kitchen...black mould in the...
my plan is to make this place much more habitable seeing as I'm here 24.7 sleeping/working in pretty much the one room..
This year feels like i've literally been to hell this end and aren't quite back yet though things are much much better than they were a couple of months back in Sept/Oct..
Hard to pinpoint exactly when tho spending August rehearsing the band to the best it has ever sounded (with a new drummer, Cass having been on an extended health break since 6th July) and then just like back in January, having the one gig we were working towards pulled at the very last minute (literally waiting to go on stage at 10pm - headlining the "happening" festival in South London after 14 or so other groups, Southwark council pulled the plug).
Similar to how Deadcuts started 2017 - sounding incredible - working hard - on the way to the Scala in Kings Cross to open for Beach Slang -
the venue decide they don't want me stepping foot in the place at the eleventh hour-fine to advertise Deadcuts and myself though and take people's money at £20+/head.
Triggered the start of a really dehabilitating depression..
The relentless struggle to keep the lights on, wifi working, food in the cupboard etc won out for a while and i went on a massively destructive starvation diet.
I was far too weak to walk down the street let alone play a gig when Deadcuts pulled out of the 6 dates with Mutation / October tour - a tour we'd only just been added to at the eleventh hour. Our now ex booking agent hadn't bothered to let Mutation know this unfortunate news until the day of the first gig despite a good week's notice from Jerome so, and perhaps it was a blessing i neither had a working computer or an internet connection that week, i get to hear secondhand how savagely slandered I'm / deadcuts are getting - accusations of, predictably, drug using and all kinds of fuckery etc etc so tedious and all this from a band who's singer spent the latter half of the 90s telling anyone who'd listen what a cunt I am.
Low. Very low. Some extremely nasty exchanges followed - accusations accompanied by (online) threats of violence, all pretty spineless though nonetheless upsetting..
Hard to keep momentum when the carpet's repeatedly pulled from under you and despite being used to the knocks, it never gets any easier picking myself back up off the floor...
Pulled it together for a gig at ULU directly after the week we'd cancelled - no easy feat, drummer-less (again) and Jerome's freshly serviced amp lasting just the one song before blowing a speaker.
When none of the other bands playing offered up a replacement/loan of an amp, I let him use mine(well, the one kindly loaned me for the night by Eat's malcolm treece) and enjoyed a night singing without the constraint(s)/restriction(s) of having to play guitar.
Not many bands can do that - losing a quarter of their sound, barely missing a beat, turning certain disaster into victory..
Really helped we had a professional(spike t smith) behind the kit keeping it together that night.
Now, looking back i'm doubly grateful. Deadcuts last gig was a good one.
However... it turns out we're banned from ULU now.
Speaking to the London promoter who'd added us to the bill a coupla weeks later I hear that the venue won't have us back on account of someone "trying to steal a
dartboard from the dressing room"?!?
Totally ridiculous. There's already enough clutter and dangerous obstacles in my seriously underlit hovel to make room for... anyways...
However untrue / trivial / mindless it still made me consider never playing live again in the U.K.
Starting and ending the year with a ban don't sit well with me.
I used to love playing live - being engaged in an activity where however bad you fuck it up you can always put it right the next night and conversely however right you get it you can always fuck it up appeals 100% to my creative (or destructive possibly?) nature.
I haven't committed to anything for next year yet. There's a really good tour on the horizon though and on that I'm more than happy to wait.
And even more importantly there's the LP.
Finally having a copy of the Hit On All Sixess vinyl (this week) setting it alongside Dark Is The Night it's not hard for me to see the sense. The consistency.
And that therein lies the point of it all.
The continuity. The glaringly obvious realisation that it doesn't matter how much time was wasted / how many opportunities were missed / all the pain and loss - It just doesn't matter.
My energy went into something right. Something that i wanted to get right my whole life and something that before Dark Is The Night seemed possibly completely out of my reach..
Two great LPs. Consecutively, only this time Deadcuts have in Tony Linkin, a (excellent) press agent on board - and god willing, this time the record might actually get toured proper too..
So much to come, so much to recall -
bad and the good - my faith is strong and for that alone I'm truly blessed.
So to you all who be reading still,
God Bless yo be lucky and be safe,
Mark Keds x