Monday, 23 May 2011

Huddersfield, London, Weston-super-Mare: Everybody's talkin' about Trout Music

I just wanted to say a big, big, thank you for the fuzzy warm glow that is emanating from the very depths of my soul as a result of the three, "Roger's trout Farm, return" gigs

Thanks to everyone who made an effort. Thanks to those who wanted to but couldn't.

Thanks to the venues: The Parish in Huddersfield; The Wilmington Arms in London;  The Back Bar in Weston-super-Mare. 

Thanks to all the friends, from school; from college; from work; from bands; from gigs; from families; wherever you are from, however we met you, for taking time out from your busy lives to come and be part of our return.

Thanks to Davan Caravan's, Leading the way in Caravans and Motor homes for 75 years, for the rehearsal space.

Thanks to everyone who left comments posted pictures and videos on facebook, youtube, courier pigeon and all the other places.

Thanks because I felt 17 again, thanks because it was amazing, fun, stupid and great. You were all an essential part of that. Thanks for the best 40th birthday present anyone could have given me.

Thanks mostly to four great friends. Friends that no amount of loafs and fishes could buy: James, Paul, Steve and Fraser.

Ahhh Big Hug!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Agnew the publicist

Going through the many ancient RTF artefacts from days of yore, I stumbled upon this stunning piece of prose - unknown to us at the time, it seems our drummer (Mr James Agnew) was actually our secret spokesman and most rampant publicist. As well as the mysterious 'sales' video you may have seen earlier in this blog, it seems he was busy trying out his Mum's new wordprocessor at every opportunity to spread the band's infamy. (you may have to magnify this picture to witness the true literary genius!)


When Roger's trout Farm were starting out I was still learning to be a designer, I was so precious about every mark I made on a sheet of paper. I took months to design anything. So when it came to posters it was both frustrating and liberating working with the others.

I'd go to Steve and Paul's to talk about how we could represent the band visually, how we could design a logo to reach our target demographic, maximizing connection with the audience, and they'd say, look, I've cut my head up and made it into a totem pole. Damn it! it looked great too.

Our main weapons of choice were photocopier, paintbrush and glue. We just made what came into our heads. I suppose we were doing a similar thing musically and that's why it worked so well (most of the time)

Once we made the posters we had to put them around town but flyposting is another story.

The Classic, "Paul Totem pole head" design and our first gig, proper 1990

Re-made in photoshop for the re-union gigs 2011
The Classic fish tank design, We used this for Posters, Demos and T-shirts
Steve, "Flower head" Design. Did we really make a life size photocopy Steve for this gig?
Slogans were not even popular within the band, I still like this one. We were in trouble with several of our Mums for adopting the slogan, "The Name on Everyone's Tits" Offending poster not included, in case Mums are reading
Returning to these posters has brought back some great memories, remaking the posters with Photoshop was fun but in the end I had to, get a real paintbrush out.

Friday, 15 October 2010

My Favourite Tree, A Pop promo

James Agnew has nostalgia fatigue, he has been slowly working his way through bags of old VHS tapes, but it may have been worth it for the following historical video clip gem. It has been Lovingly transferred from VHS and believe it or not, and think you will believe it, it's the only pop promo we made for mark one Roger's trout Farm.

The first rehearsal in 20 years

The trouble with saying something like, "this is going to be excellent" is that the expectation becomes so heavy it outweighs the possibility of the result. Driving to Steve & Paul's Mum and Dad's house this weekend I caught myself worrying that I have been wrong about these things in the past.

I parked in their drive feeling nervous and had the strangest sensation as I got out of the car to ring the doorbell. I've rang that doorbell before a rehearsal so many times before and practically every week for years when we were giging 20 years ago. I think Fraser called it, "reality vertigo" Its today and an echo in your mind of a world you knew so long ago very unsettling.

From that moment on it was as if someone had lifted us from now and put us back 20 years, business as usual.

When we finally set up the first song we played through was, "Please mend my fridge" we played a few bars to get levels, that unique Roger's trout Farm sound being pulled back through time, it was uncontrollably funny, so we uncontrollably laughed.

It didn't seem that long to get the songs into a gigable state, which surprised us all.

Some songs have aged more than others, in particular singing the lyrics feels awkward, its like holding up your school books and reading aloud, 25 after you left school.

After the rehearsal we drank tea, talked and laughed for hours. In the morning my jaw ached, welcome back Roger's trout Farm

Caught on video here is, "All kinds of fruit" from our first rehearsal in 20 years

James Parsons: Guitar and Vocals

James Agnew has kindly written this piece, so that I don't feel left out:

Tired of playing the drums on my own, I decided to form a band. This was at the start of my final year at Priory school.

I already knew Andy Phillips, who played keyboards, wore only black and listened to mainly Depeche Mode. He suggested we hold an audition for guitarist and bass players, so we did, in the 'social area' of the school. Andy had already said that James Parsons wanted to audition.

I didn't like James, he just looked like the sort of person I wouldn't like, and he'd made that comment about my name. I was hoping he would be a terrible guitarist, and he was.

So I thought that was it, he was too rubbish to join, I wouldn't have to put up with him any longer. But for some reason, everyone at the audition turned up at the next rehearsal, so the band was formed by basically hoping the worst people would just stop turning up.

James always turned up, and we formed a resilient friendship based initially on the shared view that being in a band was the most interesting thing we could possibly do, at least in weston-super-mare, and fortunately james's guitar skills went from none to Johnny Marr in what seemed like a couple of weeks, he even began to look like a pop star (apart from the regrettable ponytail era).

So that was that sorted, after many line-up changes, we eventually had other band members that matched our vision and enthusiasm, and called ourselves Roger's Trout Farm, for some reason.

We would quickly make rock and roll history, even if it was the sort of history you have to dig deep for in places where no-one is looking.

James also started to write songs, which were much better than he thinks they were. These included the groundbreaking 'My favourite Tree', a green issues protest song way ahead of it's time, although when shooting the video for it we drove a fuel-guzzling Volkswagon round and round a tree for a whole afternoon.

I think the real reason James and I developed such a strong friendship back then is that we both took our musical mission entirely seriously, even at it's most ludicrous, which is fortunate, as it got pretty silly.

Fraser McAlpine: Bass and Vocals

Fraser was the final piece of the jigsaw. We met at Weston-super-Mare technical college in 1988/89. He was a drummer turned guitarist who we somehow persuaded to play bass.

He took to the instrument swiftly developing fierce, note abundant, nimble figured bass lines. This mixed with James fluent rolling, bombastic drums; my erratic guitar; Steve and Paul's dueling, intertwining saxophone melodies, lighting the blue touch paper, there was no stopping us.

The most important discovery upon Fraser's arrival was the realisation that we didn't need to look for a singer to fit our mold, because now we had five. That was pivotal because we could stop mucking about and start… well mucking about.

I remember being bowled over by Fraser's ability to stand up with a guitar and just start playing songs, I wanted to be that confident and talented and flipping heck he was funny too. His lyrics were different, confident, clever and interesting. His songs catchy and always popular, Genius!