Posts Tagged ‘Robbie Williams

14
Mar
17

3/14/07 – First Post

Well, here we are at last — my first official blog.  It does feel good to be reaching out to you (whoever you may be) after all this time!  With the release of my new album just around the corner, it goes without saying that these are exciting times for me….and what a pleasure it is to be finally one-on-one with you.

The new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE”, was recorded with many of the same musicians and friends that helped me out with my first album, “IN THE HOUSE OF STONE AND LIGHT”:  Neil Taylor (Tears For Fears, and now working with Robbie Williams); Brian Fairweather (my partner from my Q-Feel days); Jack Hues (Wang Chung); and Bill Dillon (of Robbie Robertson, Sarah McLachlan, Peter Gabriel fame) all helped out on guitars.  I was lucky enough to again have Jimmy Copley on live drums.  He’s well known for his work with Tears For Fears, Go West, Jeff Beck and Paul Rogers.  So I had an excellent supporting cast, yet again, to make me look good.  The remaining instruments, and all the vocals, were played or performed by yours truly.  It was a great adventure to play everything from Spanish nylon guitar to 5-string bass to all manor of keyboards.

I also took the liberty to engineer and mix the album myself at home.  As always, my demos were the fundamental root of all the recorded songs, and I believe the rough, organic mood in which these songs were recorded shows the songs off in their true spirit.  As the new songs were very personal, I wanted a rawness and spontaneity to be present in the home recordings.  I used a great deal of vintage analog equipment to achieve this.  I’m a great believer that demos are masters, and that the studio should be a church of creativity and pure emotion, and not a sterile factory.  In many ways, that’s why I chose the title of the new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE” (which, by the way, was the name of a famous book shop in London back, I believe, in Lord Byron’s, Shelley’s and Wordsworth’s time):  Many of the songs were written, and recorded in the studio simultaneously.

Anyway, the release of the new work is, as I mentioned, just around the corner.  Artwork and design, photos, electric press kits, etc., etc., are all being finalized as we speak, so …… we are nearly there.  This is the first release on my own independent label, IRONINGBOARD RECORDS, and I must say, it has been fun doing it myself….a terrific feeling of freedom.  Taking the responsibility to make choices that are usually not allowed the artists by the major (corporate) record labels, has been refreshing and rewarding – something I needed to do at this stage of my career.

Ultimately, it’s all about the songs for me – their emotions and their message.  From as early as I can remember, the song was everything … and still is to me.  Having said that, I’ll finish my first official blog and get back to the home studio, and of course to the all-important cup of tea (I am English, after all).   Thanks for listening.  Speak to you soon.

Martin.

20
Nov
09

11/20/2009 – The Beautiful Game

Aahh – the beautiful game – known to most of us Brits as “football” and to most Americans as “soccer”.  To me, it is most certainly “the beautiful game”!  As early as I can remember, I have had a passion for the sport.  At the age of 16, I represented my home city and county (Southampton and Hampshire) back in England, at schoolboy level – having become the captain of both sides.  I was also selected to play for the South of England schoolboy team, and it seemed that my dream of becoming a professional player was about to come true when Southampton Football Club signed me as a youth player and apprentice.  I was being groomed to become a full professional, and during this time with “The Saints” (Southampton F.C.’s nickname), I found myself training with such international legends as Terry Paine, Ron Davies and Mike Channon.  These were my boyhood heroes whom I had watched from the terraces of Southampton’s famous stadium, “The Dell”.  The manager of The Saints during my time there was Lawrie McMenemy, renowned for leading the team to F.A. Cup glory in 1976.  It was he and ex-Saints “Hardman” defender, John McGrath, who signed me; I have fond memories of McMenemy calling me “Big Man” during training sessions.

Southampton’s unique stadium, The Dell, was a wonderfully compact ground.  The spectators were located very near the field of play, which made for a very intense atmosphere.  During my days playing for the youth team, I was fortunate enough to score 2 goals at each end of that famous stadium, one with my head, and the other with my feet.  These are memories that I cherish.  This period in my early life was an exciting and magical time.

Alas, it was not to be that I would go all the way and make it as a professional player.  After about 4 years of playing for The Saints Youth Team, I found that my heart’s desire and passion were being diverted towards music.  Of course, there was no guarantee back then that I would have made the grade, and my performances on the field were beginning to suffer due to my increasing interest in pursuing a career as a musician.  I have never regretted letting go of my boyhood aspirations – it was the right decision to move on, as music spoke to me in my late teens in a much deeper and more significant way.

This brings me up to the present day and the improbable, unlikely fact that I am still getting my kicks (no pun intended) playing football today – and enjoying it immensely – in and around the Los Angeles area, where I now live.  I have been able to hook up with a vibrant community of other “footie” fanatics who play semi-competitive games at least twice a week.  I regularly turn out for two teams – the first going under the appropriately given name of “The Geezas” – largely comprised of a motley crew of expatriate Brits.  The Geezas contain three of my dearest friends who, like me, make their living in the entertainment industry.  These mates are Bobby Summerfield (music composer, producer and sound designer), Eddie Sanderson (professional fine photographer) and Jim Piddock (actor, writer and producer).  The other team that generously allows me to kick a ball around with them is BAFTA LA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts).  I was invited to play for the team by Julian Stone (theatre and film actor, writer, producer), who runs and organizes the BAFTA LA squad.   The BAFTA side are truly a great bunch of lads who play the beautiful game with just the right blend of spirit and enthusiasm.  Often, celebrity guests join The Geezas and BAFTA for the odd game or two:  Robbie Williams, Gordon Ramsay and Rod Stewart, to name but a few.  Needless to say, I have made some exceptional friends within these two teams.

In finishing, my mind jumps back to 1966 when, as a boy, I was glued to the TV set watching England win the World Cup.  Now I look forward with great hope and expectation that England achieves the same success in 2010 in South Africa.  Aahh – the beautiful game – long may it entertain, excite and inspire us!

 

Cheers.

 

– Martin

 

“… man is made God’s play thing, and that is the best part of him.  Therefore every man and woman should live life accordingly, and play the noblest games … What, then, is the right way of living?  Life must be lived as play …”

 

– Plato, Laws.

Martin Playing for Bafta

 

 

 

 

 

16
Jun
07

6/16/2007 – Podcasts, Soccer and Bloody Noses

Hello again, all.  Well, a few weeks ago, we held the one-year anniversary show of the Podcast in which I am regularly involved – that being www.audionowcast.com.  The show was recorded in front of a live audience of friends and followers, and was, by all accounts, a great success.  The Podcast (organized by my good friend of many years, Mike Rodriguez) brings together myself and three other resident music pros and a guest speaker, to talk — to discuss, comment and debate the state of today’s music technology.  I am the token songwriter amongst the technical heavyweights.  I am told I’m there to add my penny’s worth regarding the songwriter’s perspective in this age of the digital revolution.  Check out the Audionowcast website and the Audionowcast Myspace page (www.myspace.com/audionowcast).  We have completed a year’s-worth of shows talking about a wide range of subjects, and believe me, the shows are not just about technology, and they contain a great deal of humour and irreverence.  Check it out (it can be found on iTunes as well).

In my spare time, I’ve been indulging in one of my other passions besides music – soccer (“football” to us Brits).  When I was a lad, I was signed as an apprentice to Southampton Football Club (“The Saints”), and all I wanted and hoped to be was a professional player some day.  Alas, that was not to be, and music eventually came along to steal my heart.  As a 16-year-old, I represented my city, my county (Hampshire) and the South of England, as a schoolboy player – and the passion for the game has remained with me ever since.  I regularly still play games with ex patroits, x-professionals, and friends on the weekends in the Los Angeles area.  I’m lucky enough to join Robbie Williams (whom you may also know as a soccer fanatic) for games on his very own soccer pitch!  Robbie has been a very gracious host on and off the field of play, and is a gifted player with an educated left foot!

I often get asked to play in celebrity games, and just recently I played a charity game for the Hollywood Allstars team.  It was great fun playing with friends from the Entertainment Industry for a good cause.  The Hollywood Allstars regularly features celebrities like Vinnie Jones, Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Rod Stewart and Gary Richards (Fox Sports T.V. commentator).  I was enjoying this particular game in which I was involved (beautiful day, good crowd, party atmosphere), until, in a goal-mouth scramble for a highball in the penalty box, my nose was punched and smashed by MY OWN GOALKEEPER!  (As a defender, I have had my nose broken many times in the past – so I’m used to it).  As a result of this clash, I am told, my nose was pushed back into a straight position!!!!  Unfortunately, I had to retire from the match because of the nose bleed I had acquired, but at least I have a reasonably straight nose again – o lucky me.  Only a week earlier, I was nursing a black eye for my troubles on the field….. I suppose I must learn not to be quite so competitive on the pitch these days.

Before I sign off, I’d like to continue the trend of telling you about the books I’m enjoying at this time:-  “The Friendship — Wordsworth and Coleridge” by Adam Sisman – a study of the relationship between these two great writers; “Solitude – A Return To The Self” by Anthony Storr – a profound exploration of solitude and its role in the lives of creative individuals; and “Here, There and Everywhere” by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey – the inside story by the innovative engineer who recorded The Beatles’ greatest albums.

Well, there we are – thanks for the indulgence.  Until next time, live lightly on the Earth.

— Martin