I've worked in radio off and on since 1993, from the early days of Restricted Service Licence broadcasts in Southend with Searock and Supanova, through Southend Hospital Radio to Phoenix FM which I joined in January 2010.
My show Musical Meanderings covers a broad range of music such as metal, acoustic and electronic. The show particularly showcases unsigned bands, both locally and internationally, and features interviews and live music in the studio, out on location or via Skype.
I also present the Mental Health Matters podcast on the station. Interviewing local and international practitioners, using and researching various techniques to help people with a variety of mental health conditions, and also looking into some broader issues which may be behind the increase in mental health problems.
Another more traditional meander on this episode, featuring some recent favourites such as Cloud, The Heavy Eyes and The Sun Burns Bright, via some old favourites, such as Allman Brothers and Curtis Mayfield. Including some reminiscing and memories along the way…
A return to traditional Meanderings on this edition. Featuring latest doom and stoner, such as Cloud and Fire Down Below towards the start of the show, through some ‘80s memories into some singer-songwriting I’ve been enjoying, including talking about seeing Gill Landry live again on his recent UK tour.
You can listen to it again here:
While reminiscing, I also took the opportunity to share stories of my old friend, the late Tony Weston and share a song by Little Richard, from a genre he loved.
We also spoke about the vibrancy and brotherhood of the stoner/ doom metal scene in London, such as the night they put on at the Big Red pub, showcasing other bands. You can find out more about the next event through this link. And they’re also putting on a special event in August in aid of their friend Johhny Rivo, you can find out more here.
Tom originally conceived the idea in 2009 to help him alleviate his issues caused by suffering from tinnitus. I spoke with him about my issues with this too and how he learned to create the music, along with the wonderful song and album titles.
He also helped me with discovering other artists and bands in the genre, such as bands he recommended like Caspian and his brother’s band Oceanus. We even spoke about other genres and how they may crossover into post-rock, such as what I’ve been discovering on the doom/ stoner front.
I have enjoyed returning to the Mental Health Podcast here on Phoenix FM, especially with another couple of wonderful conversations- with entrepreneur Martin Böddeker and multi skilled therapist Marie Delanote.
You can listen to it here:
Martin Böddeker has achieved a lot in his young life, from a professional poker player, through to starting his own company. He has faced challenges along the way, including painful moments with his family and a failed first company of his own, but has faced them strongly and always sees the positive in situations and works through to outcomes. However, one thing he noticed as he worked for himself was how easy it is to be distracted while working online. It is a problem I have faced and it has affected my well being in the past, with being stuck and procrastinating.
Martin spoke honestly about his journey and how his solution to reduce being distracted became the creation of his new business- FindFocus.net. You can learn more about it here: https://findfocus.krtra.com/t/FbDtKIrWwCZa
Marie Delanote is a Brentwood based therapist. She is one of four sisters and now has four children of her own. She has struggled with many issues in her life, including OCD, eating problems, depression and anxiety. Now also her two sons have been diagnosed with autism. Over the years she developed meditations and coping mechanisms to deal with these emotions.
She has had great success with them and has also published books- The Healing Of The 1lb Baby and now the children’s meditation book- Acorns To Great Oaks. Marie is also able to help others with a variety of therapy techniques. I learned a lot in our conversation.
Another enjoyable episode of Musical Meanderings with the return of wonderful live guests to the studio. In this case it was musicians Dan Hobbs, Dave Stannard and Lyndon Nutkins talking about their involvement with the upcoming charity event ‘Unplugged and Rewired 3’ event at the Brentwood Theatre on the 18th and 19th of May 2018.
You can hear it again here:
It’s the third event over a number of years they’ve arranged in aid of the British Heart Foundation, each of which have been a great success. It was lovely to hear about the origins, reasons and their individual journeys in music. We even talked about the creation of the wonderful poster and flyer. And somehow ended up discussing some of the deep history of technology and the internet!
Dan and Dave are part of Mr MRB who will be headlining, and Lyndon is part of The 99 with Martin Mays and Sticksy, formerly of Bushfire.
The event will be opened by Ksenia and Dan talked about how she came on board. Dave performed some live music during the show and I managed to record some video of one of them:
It was a particularly great night for me, actually I kind of reunion, as I have known them for many years, but have seen them in a few. Part of catching up with them and their musical history included asking Lyndon to bring some music with him and talking about what they meant to him.
Before I spoke with them, I continued the heavy start to the show by playing some new music of the stoner/doom genre I’ve been enjoying, including a track from the great new OAK III EP and another from the recent new Wychhound release. Also, it was wonderful to hear a new release by an amazing, mighty band from Russia- Dog Chasing Sun.
Have a listen to the show again, enjoy the conversations and support the event at the Brentwood Theatre if you can.
There was more new music this week, particularly anticipated new material by Wychhound and Sabatta. You can hear it again here:
Wychhound have been waiting to release recorded material of their new sound without a singer and they released it – ‘Earth Orbiter‘, on the first of May. Really capturing their fantastic new live sound.Sabatta have a new album, Misfit Music, coming out on June 4th and it was great to hear their new single ‘Scream Of Consciousness‘. They’ll be joining me in the studio in a few weeks.
Based on Wychhound’s new sound, I began the show with some of my recent favourite instrumental sounds, such as Yuri Gagarin and Eleventh Vibration. And new stoner rock vibes, such as Foot.
This week I also discovered some new wonderful post rock music in The Sun Burns Bright. Really capturing what I enjoy about that genre of music- the beautiful ambient landscape contrasted with a mighty, heavy melodic guitar based crescendo.
There was continued meanderings in the form of another play of the new Belly single, through more recent discoveries I’ve been enjoying, such as K-Rino and Hillsong United, to more new music by The Breeders and old favourites like Loudon Wainwright III, 10,000 Maniacs and Richard Hawley.
It was great to speak to Indy Chanda from blues rock band Doomsday Outlaw. I discovered their origins, including how they got signed to Frontiers records and how they created their new album Hard Times. They’ve also started a UK tour with Jizzy Pearl of Love/Hate.
I also enjoyed continuing to share new music I’ve been discovering, including new releases, such as Hemelbestormer, Belly and new releases by Pallbearer and the long awaited new record by Sleep.
I finished the show with one of my favourite ever songs- December Hunting…. by Stars of The Lid. It has once again provided a wonderful background over the last week or so. I described how it’s music I enjoy through good times and bad. During bad times it takes some of the weight of some fragile and uncomfortable burdens.
This week it was a pleasure to welcome Andy Valiant of London based stoner rock band Oak into the studio. I’ve been playing their music or referring to them over many weeks and it was finally lovely to speak to him to find out more about them.
You can hear the show again here:
We discussed their origins, the origins of the band name and how their style has evolved. Partly due to how each of their EPs have been recorded in different studios, but also the evolution in Andy’s voice, from mainly making noises in the early days, to now with lyric writing. From this is also the enjoyment of having a platform for telling stories from the heart.
Andy Valiant | OAK
I’ve been a fan of the artwork Oak use on their EP covers and Andy spoke of his relationship with the artist- Unexpected Spectre and how much of a symbiotic relationship it is, where they don’t have to explain too much of what they’re after, but they get wonderful results anyway.
Andy also described his musical influences, especially the effect Led Zeppelin had when he first heard them. Also the effect this had on how he can use his voice, also the difference between singing live and recording in a studio.
While Andy spoke of how he enjoys performing, I wondered whether his growth in confidence came from the progress of this. Actually he discussed how it was more from knowing that this path is what he wants to do.
With the discussions about their musical evolution, we spoke about the new single Love Is Falling and how it came about, especially how it it became a single almost unexpectedly. They also created a video for it which you can see here:
I then meandered towards a more relaxed end of the show, even discussing one of Dave Grohl’s favourite pop songs Andrew Gold’s ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’ from 1978. I then chose another example from that year with Billy Joel’s ‘My Life’.
You can hear it all again here:
Here is the playlist for 29th March 2018 (With links to purchase or discover more where possible)
1 Anthrax – Time (Persistence Of Time – 1990)
2 1968 – Duchess (Fortuna Havana – 2017)
3 Megadeth – Holy Wars…The Punishment Due (Rust In Peace – 1990)
4 Helmet – He Feels Bad (Meantime – 1992)
5 Black Orchids – Still Remains
6 Elder – Staving Off Truth (Reflections Of A Floating World – 2017)
7 Dinosaur Jr – Get Me (Where You Been – 1993)
8 Faith No More – Ashes To Ashes (Album Of The Year – 1997)
9 Aerosmith – Beyond Beautiful (Just Push Play – 2001)
10 Mother Love Bone – Heartshine (Stardog Champion – 1992)
11 A Perfect Circle – By and Down (Stone And Echo – 2013)
12 Memory Tapes – Yes I Know (Player Piano – 2011)
13 Andrew Gold – Never Let Her Slip Away (All This And Heaven Too – 1978)
14 Billy Joel – My Life (52nd Street – 1978)
15 Beautiful Girls – Cash Money (Learn Yourself – 2003)
16 Feist – The Limit To Your Love (The Reminder – 2008)
17 Brandi Carlile – Again Today (The Story – 2007)
18 Neil Diamond – Pretty Amazing Grace (Home Before Dark – 2008)
19 Natalie Merchant – Not In This Life (Motherland – 2001)
20 Snatam Kaur – Deep Blue Sea (Celebrate Peace – 2005)
This week I enjoyed playing some new releases from Australian stoner rockers Foot and Swedish post-rock band Loud Exit. I also continued to share new music from Tanya Donelly, The Breeders and carried on the recent habit of playing songs from recent favourites such as the Lonesome Sisters.
Welcome to Episode 6 of the Mental Health Matters podcast on Phoenix FM. You can listen to the whole episode here:
Fitness In Mind – Chris & Evie
First of all it was lovely to speak to Phoenix FM’s own Chris Hood, who also works for Fitness In Mind at the Brentwood Centre in Essex. It is an initiative designed to promote, encourage and provide physical activity as an aid to mental wellbeing.
Chris enjoyed being on the other side of the microphone for a change, receiving questions and describing the services they’re able to provide. We spoke of their origin, funding and how successful the scheme has been in helping people out of difficult circumstances and isolation.
We were able to hear a success story first hand, because joining Chris to share her experience of how it works was Evie. She spoke enthusiastically of how she was able to come from a low point after a breakdown and never consider entering a gym or class, to now enjoying them and feeling positive of her progress. In fact, she is so positive about her experiences and is able to describe it so well, that it is clear she would be a great ambassador for the initiative.
As well of the benefits of physical exercise and the feeling of achievement of completing a course, one of the main benefits I picked up on was the feeling of community that develops when people come together with shared experiences and goals. There is soon a comfort and strength in numbers and camaraderie that continues after the course finishes. I’ve spoken about this on previous episodes of the podcast, where isolation is more common in our society, surely a major cause of mental health issues. Living in a small community, or ‘tribe’ is something I advocate and I certainly have felt better since bringing myself out of isolation and once again returning to circles of friends once again.
A bit like the isolation I mentioned above, issues in relationships have a major effect on our mental wellbeing. I know from my own experience of how upset, even distraught I have felt in moments after a break up, or the heartache that can come from the yearnings for that someone special you wish to be with. I also see it around me, with those my age feeling similar yearnings as they continue to get older and don’t have that special someone they’d like by their side. Or conversely, have had relationships or marriages broken up, perhaps after many years, with the trauma and loss that can bring.
Steve’s coaching work helps people through these problems. A lot of it is based around changing our perspective, focussing on what we want to create in our lives, such as love, joy, happiness and success.
I was able to record an online conversation with Steve and his UK based colleague Dan Dore, who both wonderfully described what they do and how they are able to help. It was also a big turning point for me, because it meant I had to be more honest and open ‘on the air’ than I have been in the past. Since starting this podcast, and indeed at other times on my other Musical Meanderings music show, there have been limits to what I’ve shared of my own experiences or things personal to me. But to help illustrate points for Steve and Dan to describe their work, I provided specific examples of issues I have been having with relationships- in finding them and maintaining them. Indeed, also why I was focussed on that on not other areas of my life. I found it very healing and has already helped me in my work and removed a restriction in communicating and sharing.
The topics that we covered include how important it is to realise that you’re ok right in this moment, how expectations can build in resentments in relationships and examples of their coaching, such as where they encourage writing and describing your guiding principles and values you have and want to create in your life.
This week it was lovely to celebrate some beautiful female vocals with the likes of Windhand, Sarah McLachlan and Nicole Atkins, but also hearing from Tanya Donelly again.
Also, I celebrated some more live music, also with Nicole Atkins, speaking about her recent UK tour which has just finished and the coming of Obituary in London on Saturday and Night Ranger on Sunday. Also, recently in Manchester was the Riffolution Festival, which hosted the likes of Oak, Trevor’s Head, Wychhound and 1968, so it was lovely to mention during the show.
Legendary Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell has had a side project for a few years with his sons Todd, Dane and Tyla. After the sad passing of Lemmy, he had time to reflect and decide what he wanted to pursue next. He chose to make the band his next full time project and they’ve just released their first full album together- The Age Of Absurdity.
It was a great chance for him to start from a blank slate creatively and experiment with different musical styles, including blues rock in songs like Dark Days. But there is still his trademark riff sound throughout. Also, he greatly enjoys playing in a band with his sons and it has helped as part of his process of getting over the loss of his friend Lemmy and his time in Motörhead.
In tonight’s show I enjoyed sharing a conversation with the singer in the band Neil Starr. During the interview we spoke about his involvement, the path of creating the album and enjoying the different musical styles. Also and how they’re looking forward to playing more live gigs, including the upcoming tour supporting Ugly Kid Joe and then their own dates sometime after.
You can hear the conversation during the show available on my mixcloud page:
The show also included more of the usual meanderings, including adventures in soul, with a recent song by Thundercat, some post rock including Ruins! Ruins! and Arsiesys, memories of my youth with Natalie Merchant and Loudon Wainwright III and even an opportunity for some worship with Hillsong United.
Welcome to the latest episode of the Mental Health Matters podcast. You can listen to it here:
It features conversations with Youtube creator ‘Wild Thing‘ and Brentwood based Mindfulness teacher Myra Mchale.
‘Wild Thing‘ is a Youtube creator who posts videos talking about and sharing his experiences with personal growth and mental healing. Much of it is described from a philosophical perspective, but also very grounded and easy to hear and feel how it applies to our lives and what we’ve been through.
He offers his e-mail address to get in touch and have a Skype session to talk about what is on your mind. He is open, listens and reflects back what his understanding is of what he hears.
I got in touch with him to record a conversation for the podcast, but also to see what he could be able to help with. On that note the recording begins with a sort of testimonial of the skype session we just had. I was curious to how it would go and what he would be able to share and help with. I included that part as I thought it might provide some explanation of how he is able to help you should you wish.
The conversation then unfolded where I learned more about his perspectives on life and the human condition, and what ultimately led him to spread his word on Youtube.