Monday, 20 February 2017

1995 SHARKS The Orange in West Ken

Hard to believe, but it looks like I didn't mention Sharks gig at The Orange in West Kensington 1995 - lineup: Spedding, Snips, Nick Judd, Jackie Badger (Parsons) and Blair Cunningham. As luck would have it December 6th is a freezing cold snowy night and public transport is being delayed or just plain cancelled.

We're all panicking cos it looks like drummer, Blair Cunningham isn't going to make it, but somehow he does. There's a rumour that Bill Wyman's coming, but he fails to materialize, however Mike Batt manages to struggle through the now very inclement weather as does my brother and many friends and acquaintances.

Essentially the gig is to promote the new album 'Like A Black Van Parked On A Dark Curve' originally released on Bubblehead Records and is still available (now from Talking Elephant who also have First Water and Jab It In Yore Eye).

The dressing room window is broken and tiny snowflakes settle on the inside - kind of festive, but it's so cold I can't stop shaking and am wearing fingerless mittens to stop my hands from icing up.

We go on to an introduction from Tim James (from the film Funny Man) The stage is tiny - not much space - Steve moves fast and takes no prisoners.

Steve Parsons, Chris Spedding, Jackie Badger + Nick Judd
SET LIST:
01. Wake Me When It's Time To Dance
02. Gone To The Dogs
03. Jimmy Bell
04. Perfect Days
05. Die For Love
06. Sophistication
07. Blues Rags and Hollers
08. The First Things
09. Cry Like A Baby
10. Can't Stop Thinking About Me
11.White Man
12. Music Break Out
13. Snakes and Swallowtails

It's a good night and the audience seem to have fun - we'd rehearsed the set but had not even thought about an encore - we came back on and played Blue Suede Shoes!

We learned later (from Mojo magazine) that Busta died that night in Memphis. Although it was great to be part of the gig, I would have gladly have given it up to see him play with Sharks again.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

2016 SHARKS reform! La Rocca re-released!

Who would believe it? SHARKS have reformed - again, this time with Sex Pistol/Professionals drummer Paul Cook and Tosh Ogawa on bass alongside Chris Spedding, Steve 'Snips' Parsons and Nick Judd. New single out on Sept 30th 'One Last Thrill'






Oh yeah and La Rocca's been remastered and rereleased on Angel Air Records - sounds good too and it's only been 36 years

Monday, 3 June 2013

Portrait of a Love Letter - Dumb Baby Sounds: It Might Get Loud

Portrait of a Love Letter - Dumb Baby Sounds: It Might Get Loud: "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." Jack Kerouac Hendrix - New York 1968 - Shot by Elliot Landy...

Check this blog from Dumb Baby Sounds or as I know him David Lloyd - great singer and composer, whose collaboration on the La Rocca album was much appreciated and has remained a good friend.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tomorrow's Here Right Now Music Video, Women Make Noise book, various updates

 It's 2013 and a few decades have been spent doing a fascinating mix of things, including having a daughter who having been a baby, child and teenager, now among other things, plays keyboards, guitar, drums and sings.

Good news - the blog works! I was asked to contribute a chapter on progressive rock to the book on all-girl bands 'Women Make Noise' published last December. It covers many genres and decades and has some good rare photos. It was a tremendous opportunity for me to interview many of the women I knew back in the 70s and those who are currently working in alternative rock. Spoke with Deirdre Cartwright, who knew from Mother Superior days when she was playing with Painted Lady and later with Tour De Force and  now is a well respected jazz guitarist. She told me some hilarious stuff about men who could not believe she could play that fast and were convinced she must be taking drugs. Maggie Vail then at KRS told me about the derogatory stuff that gets written on line about female musicians, like Marnie Stern etc. The more things change the more they stay the same!

2014 - Started a writing group a couple of years ago with five fascinating authors six writers north london, we might be small but we're perfectly formed. The group is now slightly smaller as I left to travel further north. They are still writing, take a look at their website.

Joined a writing class 'Dramatic Writing'. We were asked to write something for the Headingley Literary Festival on the subject of surviving. Try as I may, I was not happy with what I was coming up with, so I wrote a song and made a music video - Tomorrow's Here Right Now it's about climate change and survival of the human race on the planet. Cheery stuff!

Ferg, Rosie Pea and Matthew

Rosie (daughter) is drummer and singer with Leeds band Autobodies - a three piece - they all sing and compose - good band with a distinctive style.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

1980s La Rocca, Midge Ure, Chris Spedding, New York, Bonny Street Studios,

Jackie, PA and Transit
1980 and am still doing sound for bands with my friend Pete, it's hard work lifting all the gear about, often gigs are upstairs, like the Moonlight in West Hampstead and we have to carry the humungous JBL bass bins between us. Some of the music is good but not often enough - the Skank Orchestra are good and Dudu Pukwana is seriously top class.

Back in the studio in February, this time Audio International with Midge Ure to record 'Baby'.

Next month, 5th March, we (Snips, me, Midge Ure, Steve Young and guitarist Gary) are on  In Concert at the BBC's Paris Theatre. Sharing the bill are The Tourists (Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Eddie Chin, Pete Coombes and Jim Toomey).  I heard a recording of it years later - it sounded great and we were genuinely live, no stopping or rerecording!

Steve Young, Snips, Jackie Badger at The Venue June 1980
Me and Snips are going to play The Venue on June 17th with Huw Gower (guitar), Graeme Douglas guitarist from Eddie and the Hot Rods, Chris Mercer (sax), Simon Etchell (keyboards), Steve Young (drums). We have a a scaffold build set with an upper floor for me, Steve Young and Simon Etchell, leaving the ground floor for Graeme, Huw and Chris. There is a staircase so Snips can move between both floors. We do a few days rehearsal at Jumbo Studios and then one day with the scaffold set up at John Henry's.


Snips is doing some more producing, this time a guy called Mike Jaye, another MAM artist who has written a good, commercial (we thought) song 'Automatic Life', apparently turns out to be the 'b' side of something called 'Romance'. Mike has been working on this for a while and Snips has been brought in to get it finished. I do some backing vocals and now Mike needs to do his vocal, there are quite a few takes before he is satisfied and now the tape is starting to shred because it's been across the tape heads too many times.  The race to achieve a final mix before the tape disintegrates is a tight one. I don't think I've ever seen that happen before. Sadly for us all - 'Romance' and therefore 'Automatic Life' is not a hit.

Spedding and Snips at Riverside
Spedding, Clem, Jackie and Snips
Later this year, due to the strength of 'Nine O'clock', MAM records ask Snips to make an album. In October we record mostly at Riverside in Chiswick and Music Works in Holloway, but finish it in New York. 'La Rocca!' as it is called has some fabulous idiosyncratic songs written by Snips, including 'Skies of England' which is about my teenage fascination with the Rolling Stone, Brian Jones, plus David Elliot's (Lloyd) 'Happy Sometimes' and 'Police Car' by Larry Wallis. I get to play with two fantastic drummers - Clem Cattini and Dave Mattacks. Bill Nelson plays some synth, Chris Spedding who of course plays guitar and also is the producer.

8th December 1980 John Lennon is shot dead outside his home, the Dakota, after returning from the recording studio, I won't name the perpetrator here as I have no interest in giving any further publicity to the waste of space who murdered this supremely talented musician, singer and composer. What a dreadfully sad loss.

Later this month Snips and I fly to a snowy New York to play some gigs with Chris Spedding and drummer David Van Tieghem. We check into the Gramercy Park hotel and get straight into rehearsing at Spedding's girlfriend Jody's loft.  Spedding is so good at giving helpful and useful musical information I have reached saturation point and have to beg him not to offer me any more! My head is holding a whole new album and Spedding's set, one wrong move and I feel like I could forget everything.

The gigs begin on Boxing Day, Christmas Day we have been invited to Jody's mother's place in Queens. It is a fascinating drive out there, it's the first time I have seen front garden's decorated with lights and Christmas scenes. Back then it was mind blowingly hilarious. We arrive around lunchtime but there has been a timing confusion and dinner is a whole lot later than we imagined. We - Spedding, John Cale (who married Jody's sister), Snips, me and Spedding's manager Nina - passed the time down in the den watching TV. John Cale drops the most unbelievably dreadful fart and we all run out, leaving him there laughing. When we are called into the kitchen for dinner it is clear there is not a whole lot to eat except meat. It has to go down as the hungriest Christmas I can remember.


The Left Bank performance is slightly tentative, but OK and then we fly to Toronto for a short tour. On arrival and as our bags are being searched, the Rizlas that 'someone' has in their luggage are spotted and we are all taken away to be thoroughly searched and I do mean thoroughly.

Eventually we are allowed on to the sacred Canadian turf where we are met by two of Martha and the Muffins' road crew who are booked to do the tour with us. One of them bails and Mikki a young Japanese woman is left to do the job on her own, which she does impeccably, driving the minibus, carrying some of the gear and tuning guitars.

Sometimes the set begins with Spedding, Van Tieghem and myself as a three piece performing songs from some of the Spedding catalogue, like 'Silver Bullet' and 'Guitar Jamboree', and then Snips comes on and we do songs from the new La Rocca album. We finish or encore with two Sharks numbers 'Snakes and Swallowtails' and 'Sophistication'. And other times it's the other way round.

Spedding on tour in London Ontario 1980
Playing with these guys is unquestionably fabulous, but it is kind of tense for various personality and pharmaceutical reasons. Although having said that, here is a nice smiley pic of Spedding in the van.

The London, Ontario gig at The Cedar Lounge was lively - one of those clubs where you have to play behind a grill. The rooms above the club seem to be a doss house except for the one given to us to use as a dressing room - ah the glamour.

The electrics in the club in Windsor are deemed lethal by Mikki who refuses to allow us to appear until the promoter has called in an electrician to earth the place, which he does very reluctantly do.

The last gig in Canada is the Masonic Temple Toronto, which I think is recorded or broadcast live on radio or something of that nature. Here's a couple of tracks from the show- 'Work' and 'Mama Coca'. For this run of gigs me and Steve have bought various items from the Vivienne Westwood Pirates collection and here's some pics of us wearing it...
Jackie B Toronto Photo: Wayne Eardley

Spedding + Snips Toronto Photo: Wayne Eardley




















Back in NY we play at Trax club and as we are waiting to go on, a guy in the audience asks me if I'm the Jackie Badger. At this point I have no idea.

Just before we are to return to the UK, I find my fee has been spent on an end of tour banquet arranged by Nina, that none of the band are invited to!

Snips at The Venue 22.4.81 Simon Etchell, Steve Young, Jackie B + Kirby
We tour the album in March '81 playing various gigs up and down the country with Simon Etchell (keybds), Steve Young (drums) Kirby (guitar) and me and Snips. I also made the skull back drop - Brighton University, Croydon Fairfields Hall,  Leeds Warehouse - Bill Nelson came to see us. Manchester University, Glasgow University, The Venue London, Liverpool Warehouse.

Pete Chapman Jackie B+Jackie B's dad. Bonny Street 



Snips at The Clarendon 1983 Dom de Sousa, Jackie B + Chris Pye

Changes are ahead: in 1982 Pete and I find premises in Camden Town to open a rehearsal studio and are extremely happy to put the PA into Bonny Street Studios instead of the endless loading and unloading of the van. Although it's always busy, there is only enough space for one studio. There's a couple of small rooms one is the office (my brother shares this space to fix electrial equipment). We branch out into tape copying and  equipment hire, but do not find anything that increases the takings to any useful degree. Plus the equipment we hire out gets stolen too often. We find one of our keyboards, a DX7 on a boat bound for Africa!

1983 sees me and Snips playing with Dom Bon De Sousa (sax) previously with Goldie and Chris Pye (guitar) previously with The Books. This pic is taken at The Clarendon, a pub in the middle of a roundabout in Hammersmith.


Defeat is finally admitted at Bonny Street Studios and new premises are found in Hornsey - a bigger building, which has space for recording too. Pete runs this and names it La Rocka. I quit to have a baby.

Stephen has also moved sideways and got into the music for film business, working on TV ads and films. We incorporate a studio into our flat - I continue to play bass and sometimes do vocals, but although this is a good move for Steve, I'm not sure it works for me.

Friday, 27 January 2012

1979 Snips wedding, Adam Ant, Lou Reed, Link Wray, 9 O'clock

January 11th Snips and I are at De Lane Lea recording studios in Wembley where he is producing Adam and the Ants 'Xerox Machine', good track. My assistance is largely as chauffeur, although occasional opinion is required. Snips thinks the intro is too long and suggests they cut a couple of bars out, this was not as easy as you might think. Snips asks the Ants who were baffled by the suggestion, 'How do you know how long the intro is?  How many bars do you count?'  'Don't know, it's when Adam nods his head.'  It was a long but productive night and we finish it off with a massive snowball fight in the car park.

We go to see Adam play at the Electric Ballroom in Camden a few days later, I've seen them a few times, it was OK, but not the best.

Brian Holloway, John Bentley, Snips
Snips and I are back out playing, it's been quite a few months, first gig is the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, goes well and is nice to be out there again.

A short UK tour follows, the weather is dreadful, we're booked to play the Mayflower Club in Manchester, we have the perfect combination of blizzard and bus strike, miraculously we arrive on time but it looks like no one else will so decide to cancel it just as a lone punter turns up. We ask him if he wants us to play, or would he prefer to go home while he still can? He's happy to stay and what a fabulous audient he turned out to be, he loved it, clapped and whistled after every number, at the end we all applauded him. What a great guy.

On 16th February we do the Andy Peebles show, including some new songs '9 O/clock', 'Flow my Tears' and 12 O/clock' plus we do 'Music Breakout', I love this song.

Jackie and Snips get married
Things are moving fast, but even I didn't see this one coming - Snips and I are getting married. The first day of spring comes around - it's warm and sunny, many friends and family come to the wedding, various parents, brothers, Jackie Crew, John Bentley, Simon Etchell, Steve Lillywhite, Chasie from Blood Donor is Snips' best man. From the Registry Office we all go back to the Shepherd's Bush flat for champagne and cake from Patisserie Valerie. When the car arrives to take us to Gatwick - we are honeymooning in Lanzarote, (suggested by Lillywhite) we look at the flat that is heaving with drunken guests. Waving goodbye, we wonder what we will come back to. Luckily Snips' mum is there to clear up the aftermath.

 A bit of an, 'are we meant to be this close to the water?' moment on landing - runway on beach.  Although take off even more thrilling - flying straight at the volcano. = Lanzarote in 1979 is still fairly unspoilt, fascinating and volcanic. We're having a look round the hotel and find a bunch of English people in the 'TV room' watching 321 in Spanish, I don't suppose it mattered it's incomprehensible whatever language it's in. To make sure we didn't end up in the TV room we hired a VW Beetle and went to see the island, a wild and atmospheric place, black sand, Timanfaya the volcano where you could get eggs boiled for free. Eating was tricky though - I was vegetarian, Snips wasn't, rarely could we eat in the same place unless it was pizza. 

Soon it was time to head for the volcano and back to Shepherd's Bush for some married life. We are back in time to see Lou Reed at the Hammersmith Odeon. We've also got tickets for the legend that is Link Wray - he's on at The Venue in Victoria



Jackie, Snips, Mark and Holly

Me and Snips share the same birthday, we have a party in our garden in Shepherd's Bush, my old pal Holly is around and comes with her boyfriend Mark Knopfler...





Jackie with Joe Public
While Snips is planning his next onslaught on the music industry, I need to find some work so I join a heavy metal band called Joe Public (many bands had this name). We do a lot of rehearsing, but not many gigs after a change of drummer and not much else I leave, was good experience though and left me with a great appreciation for ZZ Top.

Ooh Al Green at The Venue, have to see this and we do. His band has that amazing albino guy on the Hammond and a bodyguard dressed in a black suit who stands on stage to give Al his towel when he feels the need. Me and Snips make our way down to the front and are standing right by the stage. Al looks down at us, points at me and says 'Hot to trot.' I have to assume that the later to be Reverend Green knew of what he spoke. Take me to the river!

The need to have a medium scale bass is upon me and in September I visit the guitar maker Chris Eccleshall, we chat over pick ups, design, types of wood and away he goes. I'm real excited but of course I have to wait.

In October the record company realises what a truly great song Nine O'Clock is and decide to put it out as a single.  We (Snips, Midge, me and Steve Young) record it at Matrix Studios with Midge Ure producing. It gets a fabulous review from Julie Birchill on its release.  The record company pay for a video to be made and Snips comes up with the  idea of just going out on the street, singing the song while being filmed by advertising director Roger Lunn.  They go to lots of well known places in central London - Berwick Street Market, Piccadilly Circus, get chucked out of MacDonalds, the National Gallery and the Tube Station. A wild piece of film.

Snips is given a tour of the EMI pressing plant to be shown his single being produced and while he waits to be given a copy the machine begins firing them out all over the floor. Omen? When the record is ready for release, it gets all sorts of good reviews including the one from Julie, it makes it on to the radio one play list, and played on TV, guess what - there is a screw up with the delivery to the record shops so there is not enough product available - well done EMI.

Friday, 4 March 2011

1978 Snips, The Ramones and Chris Spedding

The Mothers Superior have gone their separate ways. Jackie Crew joins Tour de Force, an all female gathering.  Simon has been with Blood Donor for a while now, Pete joins Colin Lloyd Tucker's Plain Characters, have no idea what happens to Kate. A couple of guys who had managed Toyah ask me to put a band together with me fronting it. I am not convinced about this. At the same time John Bentley who had been playing bass with Blood Donor but is leaving to be the rhythm guitarist in a band being put together by a singer called Snips, tells me they are looking for a bass player and would I like to audition. I say yes, mainly because I loved the Sharks, the band Snips used to sing with. Am pleasantly surprised to be offered the job but now I don't know what to do.  Except that I do, I am too shattered to even consider putting a band together, write a whole bunch of songs and try to be a lead singer, not that joining Snips is going to be a piece of cake. Graham Deakin who I auditioned with is hired as the drummer, Mick Dyche, lead guitarist and John Bentley are already in the band.

The Video Kings Mick Dyche, Graham Deakin
 John Bentley and Jackie Badger
March 1978
We rehearse like crazy to be ready to record an album in RAK studios, Mickie Most's place in St. John's Wood, with Steve Lillywhite producing. I'm finding it really stressful and am under a lot of pressure, mostly from myself, to prove I can do it. Being the only female in the band is not something I'm used to and  probably the reverse is true too. Lot of testing going on, how will it be when we're all on the road. Am I the spy in the camp? I don't think I was hired to be the band's conscience. Only time will tell.
The songs are all written by Snips, I love his writing he has a way with words that most rock lyricists don't get close to.  The album is called Snips and the Video Kings as is the band, we all have to wear black trousers and shirts that have 'Video Kings' printed on them. I can't say I care to be branded but it's a good gig and I'm not going to walk away from it for the sake of a shirt and at least I'm not asked to wear a frock. The group is Snips's and we are hired musicians, it's not a democracy, I don't react well in that kind of set up, mostly I keep my mouth shut, although we do have a couple of flare ups.  The recording goes fairly swiftly and I'm given Spedding's Fender bass to play, which is good to play has quite light weight strings - nothing more is said, I guess the sound of the Rickenbacker is not appreciated. Here's one of the tracks - Love is Blind. Essentially he is a very fair boss to work for and the music is good. The album is Snips and the Video Kings

15th July 1978
Bob Dylan at Blackbushe Aerodrome, Eric Clapton is on, has Marcy Levy with him who plays some impressive blues harp.  Joan Armatrading appears too. The show was OK, but involved an awful lot of dead time. The chances to see Bob are few and far between, I would never turn it down.  There's few performers with a catalogue like his. He's dressed all in black with a top hat, the Fred Astaire approach, no dancing though.

Graham Deakin, Jackie Badger, John Bentley, Snips
Back to Snips - we get paid a wage in this band and before too long I have saved enough to get my new heart's desire, a Gibson Thunderbird anniversary edition bass guitar. I am very thrilled to be the owner. It's somewhat larger than I expected and I have to stretch right out to tune the G string. 
It weighs a ton and begins to give me shoulder pains and cramp in my fingers, eventually I have to admit defeat and sell it - but not yet. We make a video for the first single 'Waiting for Tonight' at one point, they want to dress me up as Snips to be the tiny version of him on the back of the album cover - thankfully they give up on that one.

Jackie Badger, Graham Deakin,
Snips, Spedding. John Bentley


We begin touring, Chris Spedding plays with us at the Marquee and the Music Machine. I love it, here I am on stage at the Marquee with Snips and Spedding. We also support the Ramones on their UK tour, including Belfast and Dublin. More than a few laughs, could have done with a bit less the gobbing though.

The band flew to Belfast along with the publicist BP Fallon we were all rigorously searched on landing because they thought we were the Ramones. Supposedly found some hash in BP's luggage. We didn't see him for a while, he caught up with us later on the tour. The IRA are big at this time, we are not allowed any cabin luggage - my shoulder bag doesn't appear on the carousel. There is one that looks like mine - I look inside and see a pair of pink fluffy slippers. I go to the desk to tell them, Security are called, I'm about to walk over to it explaining it's the same type of bag, when the guard shouts 'Don't go near the item, don't touch it.' The slippers wouldn't have been my choice but they weren't that bad. This could of course be an 'explosive' situation, not just the wrong bag. The airline finds the owner through the baggage claim ident. They live at the army base in Newry, so I have to wait till the next day to get all my belongings back. No make up, nothing.

We pick up 2 cars I drive one, John the other and get lost on the way to the Belfast gig, we're in the middle of town, Snips tells me to pull over so we can ask for directions.  A soldier walking towards us with a machine gun ready to go, is shouting at us to move on, Snips ignores him winds down the window and asks him where the Ulster Hall is. He can't believe it and neither can I, but we get the information and don't get shot, result. The gig goes well and everything we own is left dripping in spit.

Our hotel is in Holywood (pronounced Hollywood and there the similarity ends), on the outskirts of the city. A big old country house in its own grounds, which I imagine in another era looked pretty impressive, at the moment it has a perimeter fence topped with barbed wire and wooden hut that all visitors have to go through to be searched for weapons and explosives. Because I'm the only female in the band I get my own room, I would have gladly shared with anyone that night, I didn't get too much sleep.

Before they go on stage the Ramones play through their entire set, acoustically, in the dressing room,  and then went straight out to do it all again. I guess they want to hit the ground running, it was a strange sight.

Some nights in the hotel we'd come across Joey wandering the corridors looking for Cadbury's chocolate, he especially loved those really humungous bars. We'd help him find some if we could and return him safely to his room.

We are booked to do the Pressefest Festival in Berlin in the middle of this tour, we play Birmingham the night before, fly to Berlin the next day, do the festival, which I have little memory of actually playing, I remember a revolving stage so you could be getting ready while another band was playing and then be whizzed round for your set. Didn't go quite that smoothly, the mechanism was a bit jerky and things kept falling over. The dressing room upstairs was full of strange mechanical puppets and a table with lots of weird food that nobody wanted and kept complaining that it was impossible to make a sandwich with the bread. A few chairs were arranged along the walls and draped on two of them was a mother and her young teenage daughter who had come to offer themselves for sex with the band, don't know if it included me, possibly.  None of us went for it. One of those Spinal Tap moments, before Spinal Tap. We were all bundled in cars and taken to see the Brandenberg Gate, drank some very strong alcohol, ate some fries (at last food you could eat), got back to the hotel about 2am and up about 5am to fly back to London. A couple of us stayed at Snips's place, he lived in west London and we were at the Hammersmith Odeon that night. We didn't get too much sleep. We need something to liven us up and by the time we hit the stage we're pretty wired. We play the most manic set we've done so far and stride about the place like we own it. Goes really well and we get this minuscule review. We have been getting good audience reaction but the album and single sales are not great.

After an end of tour party at Snips' flat in November me and Snips think we might like to go out together, no one more surprised than me. Our first date is to see Werner Herzog's 'The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.'  Good choice.

The last year has gone by in a flash, so much is going on it's like being on full spin.  Lots of good stuff is happening, but my direction seems to be out of my hands, I could end up anywhere.