Visit my website @ - do it, do it, do it! x

Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas, Drum Tracks & Conjunctivitus

Where do I even begin?
What a month! First of all, the 'Elusive Love' music video is finished. It took an age, but its done. Here it is.

I've played a whole heap of great gigs, Skegness, Cleethorpes and a bunch of Lincoln ones. Christmas Eve at the Crow's Nest was great, with free beer and a free lift home. It was a fantastic gig. 

We've also recorded four songs for the new Ian Brough album, 'Car Crashes and Part Time Lesbians'. 'Suspect', 'Emma Taylor', 'Roulette' and 'Prick' all have drum tracks played by me. I'm not much of a drummer, but apart from a few slight timing slips they sound good and powerful. There are also bass, guitar & vocal tracks down.

I also wrote a christmas song, during a drunken party night. I recorded it on christmas day, and here's the demo on youtube:

Unfortunately, Boxing day brought me a cold, and I'm now pretty poorly. Viral Conjunctivitis has just hit me and I've spent a couple of days in the dark, but i've not missed a gig, even if they make my eyes hurt. 

Here's a laugh: some christmas busking:

The other excitement is that we're fast approaching 10,000 youtube hits! so please, click through my youtube channel and enjoy some of those videos!


Sam :-D

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Freezing Cold Video Shoots, Christmas Market Busking & Candlelit Brayford Romance

Hiya everyone!

Another trippy week, First of all the Breakfast Club were busking at the christmas market last friday and saturday, a great time was had by all. Mike took some amazing photos for us, here are my faves:

Ciaran, Brow (he's not a suspect) and me

Ciaran & I

I glow!

I'm not sure why I'm licking my teeth, probs to warm them :-)

While we were busking we were approached and booked by to play at a candlelit anniversery surprise on the Brayford front. It was so romantic! Ciaran and I played for a young guy and his partner out on a little jetty, lit by candles and covered in flowers. It was wonderful, and I'm really inspired to be more romantic myself - Definitely one of the best gigs I've ever played!

Afterwards, Ciaran, Liz and I went out in the freezing cold to film a video for elusive love. The idea was to shoot a video at night by torchlight, as this implied searching. It went pretty well apart from the cold which prevented us from getting all the footage we needed. I think we're going to have to go back and try again another time. Shucks! Ah well.

Its a race against time to have the studio ready for the first of Brow's sessions next week. We have a wall left to paint, a full drum kit to re-skin and lots of mic placement experiments to work through. Anyway, gotta head out to a gig at the Tap, so cyas soon! :-)

Sam x

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

'Soundcheck' - A Documentary About My Music! :-D

Some amazing Lincoln Uni students have made a documentary following me through some of my gigs - Thankyou so much Danielle, Ciaran, Tim, Sophia and Georgia, you've done an amazing job, and best of luck with the course :-)

Its only ten minutes long, so plz give it a watch and see what you think!


Sam :-)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Nottingham & Northampton in a Day, New Song, Studio Progress...

oh oh oh, I'm on twitter! #samofthex

....exscuse me....

Hello all,

3.30 in the Tuesday morning, back from L4 with a heap of gear to organize -  I sure do work for my money! Music all girls and vintage guitar collections ya know...

Anyway, gigs are going well, few new places, plenty of friendly faces through re-bookings which is nice. Last Wednesday I did Nottingham Uni in the daytime for the Prince's Trust, and ended up in the Spread Eagle in Northampton, staying with the renowned Maggie singer Ian Brough & his mum (who I sadly didn't get to meet). That was a hellish tiring day, and driving back only to teach straight away on the thursday was no plain sailing. Radio 4 was the only thing keeping me sane. Oh, how I love radio 4! Honey  voiced pseudo intellectuals reading me stories and debating non-issues - its just so friendly.

Oh, I've uploaded a new song to youtube - its called 'A Tiger Named Tamara' after Ciaran's flatmate MJ's stuffed tiger. I hope she doesn't mind me stealing her Tiger's name....

My Dad's helping me no end at the moment, because while I'm working myself to death gigging, he's painting my studio walls for me. We've made a great team in stripping out our crumbling old back room, and re-decorating from the crumbling plaster walls up. We have to be painted and decorated however by the 15th of December as that's when Ian Brough begins the recording of his second album with me (whoop! repeat customer!).

If you have a bit of time and you fancy it, please give the bottle it up video another watch - I'm hoping for at least 600 views by christmas (I was going for 1000, but that's a little bit unrealistic). I'm hoping my youtube channel will reach 10,000 hits by new year too!

Yeh, I'm sad lol.

I think thats about everything, had better get back to work...


Sam :-)

P.S. - Did I mention I'm on twitter? #samofthex lovelies!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

New Songs, New Places, Doors Opening...

Wow. What a month. Only twenty days since my last post, and I have so much to tell!

First of all, I played my first gig for the agency. It was at Cleethorpes Working Men's Club, and the drive nearly killed me, but the people couldn't have been nicer and I really enjoyed the show. I played my second gig for them a few days later at the George & Dragon in Lincoln, which was also a great fun show.

Just two days after that I headed out to Derby to play two songs at the Prince's Trust 'Celebrate Success' awards. The awards took place in the UK's oldest engine shed, 'The Roundhouse' which has been very sensitively converted into a venue. I had my own trade stall, displaying my wares and selling my CDs. I had great fun meeting some great young entrepreneurs and some lovely people, including Melody Hossaini a very inspiring businesswoman who appeared on 'The Apprentice'. The highlight for me though, was singing on stage next to Sonali Gudka, presenter of 'Newsround' among other cool shows. Sonali even bought one of my CDs! I managed to sell enough to make my petrol back and lots more!

My next exciting event was playing at Harlaxton Manor, a beautiful victorian manor house, now turned college. Just outside Grantham, Harlaxton is more like a castle than a manor house - as I said to Spot On's (my covers bands) drummer Pete on the way in 'We're playing Hogwarts!' Spot On were very privileged to play a splendid and hospitable wedding at the Manor, one of just a few allowed every year. I wish I could get my bluetooth to work as the pictures are stunning!

I've written a song! I think this is one of my best demos yet. I'd love some feedback folks...

Salome, hence the head...

In other news, BNO happened despite all the difficultly, a triumph for everyone involved! 'BNO kicked your ass last night' appeared on the Carnage wall quite a few times the next morning. I for one loved it!

On Friday I played some interval music for the production of 'The Graduate' showing at the Drill Hall. It was a really great production and took on a whole new angle the movie didn't explore. Spot On played the Potterhamworth Golf Club yesterday, and that was fun too :-)

Possibly the most important bit, I've met a lovely girl called Liz. Yeh, that was quick I hear you all jest, but life waits for no man, and Liz is all kinds of awesome.

anyway, cyas soon :-)

Sam x

Saturday, 29 October 2011

City Vaults, Tokyo.....The World! Mhahahahah! Mine is an Evil Laugh!

Two great Gigs, in as many days, then the Still tomorrow for the next bite of the apple!

The City Vaults was great on friday, Devon & Suz doing the macarena to Frank Turner's Long Live the Queen will live in my memory to I am old and wizened.  Thanks guys for coming out and supporting us, possibly the best gig in an month of awesome gigs (stiff competition tho with the Halloween Party).

Tokyo today was awesome, although I was barely on my feet after having had practically no sleep last night. Michelle proposed to Rob in our set! It was AMAZING! He said yes, and I couldn't be happier for them! nice one guys!

The Tokyo gig was in aid of Oxjam, and the whole event was run brilliantly. I really wanted to come back and see more of it, but I went straight to sleep as soon as I got home. Tokyo looks amazing inside. I'm so glad to  see they've kept the constitutional club's original features, although they've still done a bit of the pretentious crappy modern stuff in there too. The gothic look with the chandelier is amazing tho! big up for Tokyo for keeping the wood panels and the original ceilings that many developers would have destroyed forever. Anyway, I'll try not to prattle about architecture, I do have a tendency to go on a bit in these blog posts. The whole event has been filmed by Lincoln Live - check out their youtube for some HQ Lincoln gig footage.

I'm single again. Its been coming for a while, but I still didn't expect it. It sucks. The worst time of year for it too, as the winter blues are setting in and you gradually start sinking down  into that indifferent numbness and staring into nothing for long periods of time thinking about injustice and poverty... Happy thoughts! Buffy the vampire slayer! Thats what I need, my Buffy fix...

It's not all that bad, in fact things outside of relationship-land are going really good, its just the trinity of things you can't have. If you manage to get a) a good social life b) a good work life c) a good relationship the universe collapses on itself, and nothing is left except a bubble in space time containing Google & its servers (multi-coloured bubble in space time I might add.)

Anyhoo, I clearly don't have a lot to talk about So before I start harking on about pseudo-philosophy I'll quit and get back to Buffy, I missed Buffy by about ten years, and its all very exciting for me right now. I do wish Willow and Zander would get it on though. You can tell Willow is a tiger waiting to be unleashed. Jesus, I'm getting into the realms of internet geekdom now, I'd better say something musical. I like the key changes in the theme song. There.

I'm gonna go before I embarrass myself some more...

cyas :-)


P.S. Check out this awesome pic from the still last week, taken by the awesometastic Josh Potter

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Album Arrives, I get an Agent & iTunes Distribution

What an awesome few days!

Firstly, a massive thank you to Julie, a family friend whose halloween party raised £100 to contribute to paying off some of my car crash debt. I don't think anyone's ever done something quite so nice for me, and it was the best party I've been to in a good long while!

After a fairly normal weekend, playing at the Burton Arms & the Still, I've been chatting to LMG about possibly representing me as an artist, managing my diary and finding me gigs. The way its going, music is looking less like a pipe dream and more like a career every second. Nothing's set in stone yet, but it looks like I may have an agent. Thats a bit like a manager, but I get more freedom to run the record company side of my business. I'm sooooo excited!

Then, the CDs came. I have five big boxes of CDs, 200 in each, 1000 in total and they weigh a ton. It's not as many as it sounds - 500 will be for sales, 500 will be for PR, sending to radio stations, reviewers & record companies. It looks so much cooler than I expected - the color is perfect and it looks completely pro. I can't wait till the album launch when I can show everybody!

The next step is getting onto iTunes, and other music sites. I've used a UK based digital distributer called AWAL who do take a higher cut than sites like CD Baby and Tunecore, but are close to home and always on the end of a phone. They may also license my songs to TV, movie and radio producers for use in their work, which could mean big money & publicity (although thats quite a long shot). All their contracts seem to make sense and have no catches as far as I can tell, so I've made the jump.

Hopefully by the end of the week I should have the digital and physical sides of my first official release completely sorted. I'm set up so that if anyone plays my record on radio I'll get royalties, if i play my music live I get royalties and soon I should be playing live all over the country thanks to my new agents! I'm so on it! :-D

This is gonna sound crazy, but when I was a kid I had a cool, idealized image of my future. I wanted to be a full time musician, gigging my ass off to pay the bills and sleeping with thousands of beautiful women. It turns out I am just who I wanted to be. I've not compromised one jot of my dreams, apart form maybe the beautiful women, who I seem to inexplicably want to settle down and stay with. Weird. Anyway, my point is that I've achieved my dreams. I feel like I can accomplish anything.

I've probably bored you to death with this blog post, but I'm so happy. I feel I should dispense what little wisdom I have. Sex & Drugs are alright, but they're not all they're cracked up to be*. Its all about music - my first and last love, the unfathomable poetry of the senses.

*Actually, sex is. Drugs might be.

On that rather cheesy note, I'm gonna love you, leave you and wait for life to take me back down a peg as it always seems to do.


Sam :-D

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The 'S' Factor, Illiteracy & The Pizza Philosophy

I'm writing a book.

Its not going well.

I have no writing style, it doesn't flow, the dialogue is clunky and unbelievable. Even so, I have the plot and characters so clearly in my head I have to write it down. Maybe by the time I'm done I'll be able to write. The only reason I say this, is because one of the characters said something to me this morning while I was still half-asleep (please don't have me sectioned, my imagination doesn't normally editorialize).

'This isn't a happy ending you know - its just happy punctuation in our shit lives'. I like that.

Last night I auditioned for the Lincoln Music Group (talent agency) and I think I passed. I have a card with a number I'm procrastinating from calling. It was a really good fun night though, and I think I made a good impression on everyone. If TV tells the truth, then I certainly don't have the X Factor - but maybe I have the S Factor instead - which is cooler and less commercial.

The best bit about last night? I DROVE THERE! Yes, I am back on the road, and loving it. I even have central locking and a sunroof, although even after my car was patched up after being vandalized (see earlier posts) there's a whole plethora of new problems to deal with. Chip in the windscreen, steering still not straight, something bumping underneath, and the left shock looks buggered. I've put so much money into this car, she better not let me down. By the way, I've called her Ziggy.

Breakfast Club also auditioned, and we've got some good vibes, but we're not sure if the agency would be interested in promoting an all originals band, as its tricky to market. Either way, the agency were awesome and I can't wait too see what's in store!

We got back and celebrated with a Topkapi Pizza (very yummy). Mike was astounded at how I only eat cheese and tomato pizzas. I came up with what I believe to be a perfect analysis of my culinary philosophy:
'You know how one person with a guitar can sound better than a symphony orchestra?'
'Yeh, what are you getting at?'
'Well, those ninety odd musicians in the symphony orchestra are all amazing musicians, but sometimes one amazing musician sounds better.'
'Well some times one topping tastes purer and more beautiful than all the toppings in the world'.
It was at this moment that I realized I'm completely full of shit.

Mike says he likes this video even better than the Bottle It Up one, so I thought I'd post it, see whatcha think :-)

cya soon,

Sam :-) x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

How licensing tried to stop B.N.O.

If anyone hasn't heard the gutting news, the licensing authority for Lincolnshire have forced the B.N.O. bar crawl to postpone for a month - kicking off 48 hours before the event. B.N.O. is run by my good friend Mike, who's put so much work into it and is now fighting for the bar crawl to be held, working with licensing to make it possible. To put the rumors to bed I'll explain what's going on, as he can't really speak freely at this stage.

The licensing objections were regarding two phrases on the advertising, said to encourage binge drinking. The first was 'beer pong'. Beer pong is a game where opponents try to knock ping pong balls into pint glasses with a tiny bit of beer in the bottom to make the opponent drink. This game is slow paced and designed so that players don't have the opportunity to drink dangerously, and occurs at bars in Lincoln regularly - unfortunately, licensing don't understand this, and have claimed this completely legal game to be a breach of the 'no drinking games' rule for bars.

The second objection is to the bars giving complementary shots to punters. Anybody who's witnessed full glass bottles of vodka being given to punters by Lincoln bars will recognize that this is laughably tame. Instead of allowing B.N.O. to contact its participants stating changes to the advertisement and an apology, they have threatened participating bars with 20,000 pound fines if they host the crawl. The sickening thing is, B.N.O. would never have found out about this sickening behavior if it wasn't for a voicemail message from a bar asking what was going on - the B.N.O.ers would have all arrived on the night only to be turned away from every venue. All this happened 48 hours before the event.

Understandably, Mike, his team and all BNO's guests have been devastated by all of this, but there's another angle to the situation. The attack on B.N.O. was started by another company, who want to maintain their monopoly on bar crawls. They seem to have underestimated the persistence of the B.N.O. team.

The good news is that B.N.O. is happening next month, better and stronger than ever, and all those who've bought wristbands will be able to go, so fear not B.N.O.ers!

On the bright side, I'm up a page on youtube!

Sam x

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Car Trouble, Yoga & Moonlight Sonata

I actually fitted a car battery today! I'm pretty pleased with myself. Sure, I had my dad there to help me, but all the fitting was me, with no instruction. OK, maybe its not that impressive, and its a menial task that pretty much anyone could achieve given the tools, but hell, I can barely work the washing machine!

I've had a few problems with cars recently - on the way to a gig in Skegness with Ian Brough (shall henceforth be known as Brow), we ended up in a 60mph crash that could well have killed us. I walked away without a scratch, although without the finesse of bond. Brow had some horrible scars from the seatbelt, but he's well on the mend now. Unfortunately, my car was several feet shorter than it ought to be, and a load of my equipment was smashed. My thousand pound Tanglewood acoustic guitar was literally in splinters.

The next two weeks I sank into a deep depression, and I spent a long time in a state of shock. I didn't stop gigging, even the night after the crash, when I could barely stand up to play. Eventually though, I pulled through, completely due to my family and my wonderful girlfriend Sian. I realized very quickly from the minute my mum and dad rushed to the scene to find me, through the ambulances and hospital that I have an amazing support network, including my dad. I'm indebted to them all, especially my Dad who's helped me get a new car and back on the road.

So, my new car's insured, and I take it out for the first time, to a gig in Hykham. The gig is a bit shoddy and can't wait to get home. I go out to find my car has been rolled over and smashed to pieces. I couldn't believe it at all. To cut a long story short, some drunken punters had smashed it up indiscriminately. We've got it repaired - nearly, and the perpetrators have footed (most of) the bill. Unfortunately, we can't afford to have a new door fitted, so we're fitting a scrap door ourselves. Hopefully then I'll be able to drive safely again, although I can't help but feel a little Jinxed.

I've kept busy without my car though, I've still been gigging all over Lincoln, hosting my open mic nights at the Golden Eagle & The Burton Arms (see for details). I've also drank an awful lot and been to a heap of parties, which was lovely after so long nose to the grindstone, but I think its time to straighten out again - after all, its probably going to take me till next year to pay my dad back for the car. The good news is that I'll be launching my album soon which will pay for some of the damage in profits, and our dear family friend Julie is holding a halloween-concert-party-knees-up sort of thing to help raise some money to sort it out, which I'm so insanely grateful for its really difficult to articulate. As I say, I have an amazing support network.

On a slightly less heavy note, I'm bashing my way through Moonlight Sonata on the piano again. I learnt until about sixteen bars before the end and gave up a few years ago, and this time I'm determined to tackle the annoying difficult end section. Its a bit harder for me as I don't sight read music, so I have to commit the whole piece to memory, and there's a lot of notes in a beethoven sonata. I will master it though or probably not die trying!

I've also been taking Yoga classes from a pretty woman on youtube named Sarah. Yeh, I was bored at five in the morning, so I figured I'd learn Yoga, as I've begun to get narked at how unfit and stiff I am. I've discovered I'm very supple and it really suites me apart from my back is pretty shot from lifting speakers from my back not my legs. Hopefully, this will exercise it a bit and stop it feeling so painful all the time. I would certainly recommend it though, it feels very Zen, if a little bit hippy dippy. In the video links was 'Tantric Yoga' and that sounds especially interesting.... Although if its like anything like tantric sex, I'd get impatient.

on that note, I'm gonna get some tea and practice with Ciaran Grant!

Sam :-) x

P.S. Don't forget to check out if you haven't seen it already! :-)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Waiting For The Album

Sooooooooooooo excited! Albums coming this week!

Its pretty unbelievable how much work goes into making an album - even for an underground (the nice way of saying obscure) musician like me. It took me a year to record 'Yes Hard Feelings' and two years to raise the money to publish it. Check out the video for 'Bottle It Up' here:

On YHF I play every instrument myself - I didn't want to, this is because of the way music copyright works. If I have a guest on my album, and want to publish it, legally I have to pay a huge amount of money to the PRS (Performing Rights Society) and fill out a heap of paperwork. If I do it myself, they can't touch me. I own every second of YHF.

I made the record in my bedroom - with not much more than a computer, mixer and microphone. Although the sound quality of the record doesn't entirely live up to a professional record, mainly due to the quality of the microphones, It gets pretty damn close. This meant I could spend a long time working on each track experimenting in a way that would have cost thousands in a professional studio. I'm also lucky enough to have a studio engineer for a brother who was able to master my mixes to make them sound balanced on all sound systems, which would normally cost hundreds of pounds.

I took out a loan through the prince's trust that covered some of my publishing costs - This allowed me to purchase 1000 copies of the album to star me off. Unfortunately, before I could go to pressing I had to basically learn graphic design. My dad drew the album cover in fine liner pen, which I then scanned and colored via GIMP, free image editing software that does everything Photoshop does (but for free :-).  Unfortunately, Gimp works in RGB, and the images needed to be in CMYK pdf to be printed by the company. This means the image files were in the language computer monitors use instead of the language printers use. Unfortunately, there isn't a button to change that, and it took me a month to figure out how to do it.

As a result, three years after starting my album, it is on the printers this week. I can't begin to describe how exciting this is, and I can't wait to see how people receive my first published album. Its a big learning curb, but I'm proud of this first record and its testament to the fact that you don't have to pay big money to make great music.

I think every artist wants to leave a dent in the world, to make them immortal. For me each copy I can press, each person I can touch with my music is a little happiness for me. I write my music for myself, but its such a beautiful feeling when someone from a different country for instance, falls in love with your music. That's really beautiful, and very human.

Absolutely can't wait!

Sam :-)

P.S. - This is the company I'm pressing with

Friday, 7 October 2011

Fruit Trees and 45s

Ok, so from now on I have a blog.

I promise I will keep it, update it, cherish it and generally make it readable.

To give you the low down, I'm a 21 year old rock musician struggling to make a living in a saturated industry. I live in Lincoln, England, which is a small city with few exits. I like records, parties and people.

I've a long way to go, and my only enemy is my own self-confidence, which flicks on and off like a dying strip light. All I know is that I have a goal - to take my music all over the world. I'd love to be a touring musician and reach as many people as I can.

I love music more than anything else in this world, but I also love to write and film and draw. I love making things and doing, above all, what I'm not meant to be doing.

You can a hear a heap of my music at - I'd love to hear what you think, and I'll try and articulate in the best way I can what its like to be a struggling musician