Cosmic Rough Riders Perform ‘Glastonbury Revisted’

cosmic-rough-riders-enjoy-the-melodic-sunshineListen to this song by melodically inclined Brian-Wilsonites  Cosmic Rough Riders.  It’s “Glastonbury Revisited”, as taken from their 2000 album Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine.

The Glastonbury Festival, which began in 1970 near the town of Glastonbury (according to legend, the burial place of King Arthur under Glastonbury Tor, people) on a farm owned by one Michael Eavis, has many associations.  One is a lot of mud.  The other is music, and lots of it.  Still another is rampant drug use, let’s face it. Depending on your priorities, and on the weather during British summertime, one’s own associations may vary.   But, for the most part, one thing which can be counted upon is the feeling of closeness with friends, through the highs of seeing your favourite band together, and the lows of being soaked to submission by English rain.

This tune by Scotland’s Cosmic Rough Riders is something of an ode to the meteorological crapshoot which is the annual 3-day Glastonbury Festival.  There are levels of irony at work, of course.  Where have all the angels gone, now that all the acid’s done, indeed.  But, I think this song is mostly about that feeling of togetherness, and the ideal held that if life can be like this during the festival, why not all the time?

I went to two Festivals.  The first in 1999, and the second being the following year.  The weather gods were kind to us both years, and I got to see some incredible musical acts, some of which I knew, and some I’d only heard about, later to come to love.  But, I definitely felt the spirit of the thing, the back to basics hanging with your friends, going from beer tent, to field, to campsite, to food stall, to concert ground, as the sun lovingly circled in the sky.  And on coming back home, often the hardest part due to the throngs leaving at the same time, while unwashed, unshaven, and sleep deprived, I felt that if there’s a heaven, it must be very much like an outdoor festival – but maybe with plentiful indoor plumbing too.

For more Cosmic Rough Riders, be sure and check out this interview with CRR’s founder Daniel Wylie.


Badly Drawn Boy Takes A Phone Call

Badly Drawn BoyDamon Gough AKA Badly Drawn Boy provided me with a memorable show in 2000, but for more than the most obvious reasons.

In the summer of 2000, the name Badly Drawn Boy was just one I’d heard of, not one from whom I’d actually heard. At that time, Gough had been the centre of a buzz surrounding a number of EPs he’d put out under the BDB name on the Twisted Nerve label. Since I had somehow got a hold of this buzz through some music paper or other (probably MOJO), and subsequently found myself at the Glastonbury Festival that year, I decided to adjourn to the “New Bands” tent, and see this Badly Drawn Boy for myself.

I have to say, that I was impressed overall. It was clear the guy had (and has) talent. But, his sense of showmanship was non-existent in any traditional way. And this is not to say that it wasn’t entertaining. He would start a song – like the upbeat and joyous ‘Once Around the Block’ (see link below) – and the crowd, who knew his stuff, would go nuts. Then, he’d stop completely and say, “ah, you like that one, do you?”. But, then went onto to something else. I guess it should have been frustrating. But, because I didn’t know a note of the guy’s music, I was intrigued.

Black rotary phoneThe pinnacle of the show had to be when he stopped a song to answer his phone. I am not talking about a cell phone here, people. I am referring to one of those big, black, rotary-dial table phones popular in the 70s and 80s. It was a Jim Rockford phone. And it was on stage in full view of the audience. I’m not even sure I noticed it to start with, although I can’t believe I didn’t.

Anyway, it rang. Loudly. A few times. So, he stopped the tune he was playing and answered it.

It was his Mum.

He had to explain to her that he was currently on stage and didn’t have time to talk because he was playing Glastonbury. It was pretty odd. But, funny as hell. It couldn’t have been his Mum. It couldn’t have been anyone. We were in a field!

At the end of the show, he told us that his record was coming out at the end of the summer, and that we should buy it because he “needs the money”. Fair enough, I thought. And I did buy his record – The Hour of Bewilderbeast – which remains to be one of my favourite albums of all time. I’ll bore everyone with my thoughts on it another time. And he went onto to have a pretty great career, even scoring a movie starring Hugh Grant, About A Boy, the soundtrack of which is also a great little record.

I don’t know whether I should have felt ripped off. But, I didn’t. Maybe if he’d pulled it when I’d paid specifically to see him, I might have. But as it happened , he was playing the new bands tent, and I suppose he knew he’d have nothing to lose by playing it (very, very) casually to a members of the crowd who could see whoever else was playing if they wanted to get their “money’s worth”.

Having said that, I heard his headlining shows in the years immediately following my show had a similar feel, and that some did feel a bit ripped off by his lackadaisical approach to showmanship. But, I’d like to think that if his Mum were to call again, she’d make sure that it wasn’t when her son was playing the Hollywood Bowl.

Still, you never know. A mother worries.


Here’s some footage of Badly Drawn Boy performing his ‘Once Around the Block’ as I might have heard it, but without the interruption this time.

Hover over the image and click the ‘play’ icon. To enlarge the viewing window, click the magnifying glass icon.

Badly Drawn Boy in Performance