My Inspiration: Cactusman – C’mon Let’s Go/Last Man On The Earth | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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In a much needed attempt to offer a little bit of joy amongst the gloom, Newcastle’s long-serving indie band, Cactusman release their uplifting new single, C’mon Let’s Go on Thursday 24th December. This will be followed later in the new year by Last Man On The Earth.

Here, Cactusman guitarist, Ian Fawdon tells us about the inspiration behind the track.

It’s been quite a journey for Cactusman. We started as an indie pop band in the mid 1990’s playing round Newcastle at places like the (original) Riverside, the Dog and Parrot and the Black Swan Art Centre. Eventually the arrival of kids and career ambitions led to a quiet folding of the band. Our then bassist, Peter Straughan, went on to win a BAFTA for the screenplay of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The rest chose or accepted more mundane paths.

A chance meeting with our original singer at a gig at the Cluny led to us reforming about 5 years ago. We have subsequently gigged and recorded with a number of singers and in a completion of the circle have been able to involve my eldest son, James, on guitar and trombone and daughter, Jessica on trumpet. 

I am a latecomer to songwriting and often feel my influences are there for all to see. We are about to release two singles – C’mon let’s go on 24th December and Last Man on the Earth in January.

C’mon let’s go is a blatant lockdown song. It began as what I thought was a nice chord sequence reminiscent of New Order or Joy Division. The outcome isn’t necessarily that sound but the chords worked. The main theme is looking forward and seizing your chance when lockdown is finally lifted but it also addresses the current polarisation in the west with the lines ‘sing me your song, tell me your truth, I won’t talk for you’. We can’t believe that someone holds opinions the opposite of ours so we choose not to listen to their reasons.

An influence on how I write is the fantastic voice of our singer, Jen Gilroy. She raises up any song we do. With The Last Man on the Earth, I stole an opening guitar pattern from a song from the tremendous Waxahatchee album, St Cloud, which is my album of 2020. I have no problem admitting when I’ve been heavily influenced and what that influence is. I love the Noel Gallagher response when asked if he’d copied Marc Bolan. He said ‘yes he did and Marc copied Chuck Berry’. Nice one Noel!. The sound has a definite 80’s feel with a great synth sound dreamt up by our bassist, Hughie McGill. 

The song itself is about the last man on the earth walking miles and miles searching vainly for signs of life, stating ‘he hasn’t got a bloody clue, he never had a bloody clue’. It has a chorus of ‘all gone she said, all gone’ perhaps unfairly blaming male dominated industries for destroying the planet.

These songs were recorded at Ginger in Pelaw where Dee, the owner, can offer production help as well as engineering. We are very happy with these songs and can’t wait to get out and play them live.

You can hear our songs on:

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