MIXTAPE: Tony Eastlake, Guerilla PA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Hector Gannet

Words: Tony Eastlake

Around 1980 I was in a marquee in Ashington watching Dexys Midnight Runners. Dexys carried over the spirit of the soul revue, tight and rehearsed but full of meaning. In those days music was a tribal sport, a gig wasn’t a happening without a ruck; skins v mods, mods v hairys, locals v everyone else. This was no different and me and my brother ended up back to back in our Harringtons punching away a rival tribe, the gig stopped for a while, we were bruised but still dancing…

The era of punk and new wave had really got me into live music, and gave budding singers and musicians the confidence to have a go. I was in various bands over the next few years and was lucky enough to ‘serve’ with people who ended up as proper musicians, in bands with records released! Gary Lang of St James Infirmary, Steve Malley of Crane, Unit Ama and Horse Loom, Nick Bunker of ‘the Coterie’, never huge artists but stalwarts of local scenes. I was a better promoter/manager than singer though, and was able to work with many cult bands including Fugazi, Cud and Death by Milkfloat, many of them staying at my home.

I’ve been lucky enough to convert my hobby into a job, Guerilla PA has meant I have continued to be able to promote local and national unsigned bands. Bombskare, New Town Kings and Illustrators amongst the first – my love of pop, ska and reggae showing – but every genre has been covered. The time you are doing a sound check with another unknown to you band, and have to stop to listen with amazement at a gem of a song is still the best of things for me. The Winterhill Transmission got me like that, as did Grandfather Birds and more recently Hector Gannet and Bugman.

Anyway, back to my story…almost 40 years later I get to work with Big Jim Patterson of Dexys, I recall our fracas and apologise for stopping the show. Jim laughs, remembering that he was watching with such interest that he accidentally lost the front tube of his trombone in the crowd! My day was made, knowing that I was part of someone else’s musical memory in the way that all these bands and music are part of mine, albeit in a different way!

Dexys Midnight Runners – Tell Me When Your Light Turns Green

A storming soul belter begging a deity to notice him? Or is it? Can you tell what Kevin says?!

The Damned – New Rose

Two minutes-ish of a perfect pop song. Recorded in a ramshackle but superb way.

St James Infirmary – Eight For A Fiver

Lyrically brilliant tune of our times, it’s a football terrace indie chant.

Crane – Asleep

Guitar-driven horror flick awesomeness.

OfficerPupp · Crane – Peel Session 1 – 04 – Asleep

Cud – Only A Prawn In Whitby

I like Whitby, but the plastic Goths in binocular top hats can do one. I like prawns.

Fugazi – Waiting Room

Me and Ian Mckaye chucked a drug dealer down some stairs once…

Bombskare – The Day The Earth Stood Stupid

Could have been written yesterday, but its ten years old.

Newtown Kings – News Stand

Mmmm..political. Me? In my condition?

The Winterhill Transmission – Jupiter

Every band Pete Moffat has been in has been fab. It may be coincidence.

Bugman (also known as Ryanisfun) – Jobseeker

Lo-fi pop cheeky bedsit brilliance. Tip of the iceberg of the vast talent…

Ryanisfun · Jobseeker

Grandfather Birds – Higher Bridges

The son of one of my old band members makes music way better than us, and the band members continue to do so.

Hector Gannet – Dead Nag

Great band, North Shields’ finest, and my own son is in the video filmed at Guerilla HQ!

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