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From The Frontline - Myke Heath Blog - November 2015

Hello www.mikedolbear.com Hope you are all safe and well.

This month I have encountered frustrating issues with the record label. We of course are being impatient, but when you work hard to deliver something that you put blood, sweat and other gross stuff into it, is going to be deflating. We can do a lot of what the label do ourselves but the trouble is that they own our music and we can’t do a thing with it unless they give us permission.

We’ve had no face-to-face contact with the label, no confirmation of release dates and a general feeling of not being very important. We don’t have a manager and to be honest we don’t have a clue about how the industry really operates because nobody will talk honestly to us about it! I’m not a fan of doing business via email and Facebook. I think it’s very important to be able to look each other square in the eye and sort things out in a human way and not in a long distance faceless way. Ironically one of the reasons we signed the deal with the label is they are UK based and we thought it would be good for us to be able to work face to face! I know for a fact that what I’m talking about here is nothing new and we are definitely not the only band to have had the same experience and we won’t be the last. Of course what I should be really doing is getting my head down and playing but if we don’t get support for the music we record and release we won’t get booked to play shows. That’s not an option anybody wants to face.

Leading on very neatly into the next paragraph we played two interesting festival shows this month. One in Helsinki and one in Leeds. First up was Helsinki. We had a little time to see some of the local pubs and beer and were pleasantly greeted by very friendly people and good food. The show was in an arts centre, which used to be a tram servicing workshop and has a museum in tribute to its original purpose. Quite unusual to walk to the stage past a couple of Finnish trams from the early 1900’s but actually I thought it was pretty cool. The show was brilliant fun but we had some technical issues with amps blowing. The hired kit was a Pearl Masters and was great and in no time at all it felt like we were off the stage and back on a plane home again.

The following show in Leeds was also great fun but unfortunately not as casual. After a 12 hour round trip in the van, we found we were booked to play at the same time as a very popular band who were playing on the main stage. There were four stages in total and the stage they were playing on was the hallowed Refectory where The Who recorded Live At Leeds. At one point I thought that we might be playing on the very same stage as my heroes had and got very, very excited but sadly we weren’t. It was still cool to check it out though and to have a gander at the infamous blue plaque outside. The crowd was still very appreciative and I got to play another excellent hire kit. This time it was a DW Collectors Maple.

For reasons unknown I had a total and complete mental lapse during the first song and started playing the middle part of the next song! I was totally mortified and I felt very bad about letting myself and my band mates down but I think we just about got away with it! My brain generally holds up pretty good when we’re playing as some of the songs are nearly 15 minutes long but it decided that it wanted to go on holiday at that point. I had no good excuses either! Thankfully it’s a very rare occurrence.

I took the plunge on my newfound retro hardware crush. In some part due to a marketing email with a very good special offer and in further part due to some assistance from some well brewed hops. It all looks very cool but I’ve not had the chance to put it to the test yet. It certainly is a hell of a lot lighter. I’m hoping they’ll work out but I have my cymbals reasonably high and my smallest diameter cymbal at the moment is 22 inches. They’ll all light and thin though so hopefully it’ll be ok. I’ve gone back to mounting my tom on a snare stand as well for that full retro-vintage vibe. It’ll match nicely with my shabby chic drum kit!

Of course there has been some very sad news recently (in actual fact in the last 24 hours as I’m writing this) of the passing of Phil ‘Philty Animal’ Taylor. A true pioneer and of course a certified nutcase too. Have you ever tried to play ‘Overkill’? It’s so simple in theory but in actual practice to get the feel right is nearly impossible and not to mention the pounding beat played on ‘Damage Case’ which I’m sure inspired David Grohl when he recorded QOTSA’s ‘No One Knows’. A genuinely unique individual and a very sad loss to the drumming world. 

As far as what has just happened in Paris I’m largely lost for words. It’s scary and very angering to know that you might not be safe watching a great band in a great venue in a great city with friends and loved ones having a good time and throwing off day-to-day life without a care in the world. I sincerely hope it’s a one off and I hope that it provokes a positive reaction and not a negative one. If what has been rumoured in the news is to be true though I think it’ll be hard for people to forgive and forget but the music community is very strong at all levels when it comes to protecting fellow musicians, crew and fans. My heart and thoughts go out to everyone involved.

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