The Resurrection Of An Unsigned Band (Diary Part 1) The Shores 2015 –

I need a fucking drum kit.

You may have read the 15 part MINI-SERIES of The Shores’ “The Rise And Fall of An Unsigned Band” before this post. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. You’ll see the irony in my first sentence then. Its below these posts, I think. The problem is, I sold my drum kit 3 months ago to an 11 year old’s dad because his son really wanted to be a drummer. They both came to my house and I asked him to sit behind it and hit it. He did, but tentatively. I asked him to hit it harder, he didn’t really, but tried. I took over and hit it properly and it made the loudest, most piercing noise in my tiny living room. His dad looked horrified, he looked in awe. He said “Dad, can I have it?”, his dad said “Are you sure?” he said “I love it” and the dad said “you can have it.” I’d rather it went to him than some profiteering prick on Ebay.

My name is Colin. I was (am) the drummer in The Shores. Incase you don’t want to read the 15 part MELODRAMA in this blog site, I’ll fill you in. The Shores started in Glasgow in 1994 under a different name, ended in 2007, supported Ocean Colour Scene and New Order, had 2 guitarists, ended up 3 parts Glaswegian, one part Maccite. That’s about the size of it.

Allow me to briefly fill you in on events from 2007 to date for continuity. The Shores is comprised of Ryan Gibb (Vocals, Piano, Keyboard, Tambourine, Egg Shaker, Programmed Drums, Rhythm Guitar, 3rd Vocal, Rainstick, Wood Block, Thing On His Computer That I Don’t Know What It Does But It Sounds Pretty Cool, Cowbell) Craig Leon (Bass, Backing Vocals) Danny Hughes (Lead Guitar) Colin McClements (Hits stuff and asks Ryan if it’s ok.) We all have 2 kids. 3 of us have an active spouse and I am not one of those 3… How do you think I’ve got time/permission to write this? Currently, our employment positions are this – Me – Office 9-5, Craig – Office 9-5, Danny – Drugs*. Ryan – Drugs*. There. That’s all you need to know.

The thing is, we never really finished it properly. It all just faded away and our last gig or rehearsal wasn’t planned, it just happened that way. Ryan has a full recording of the last rehearsal, and we NEVER recorded rehearsals. It was like somebody knew, so Ryan recorded it. So, why now? why is a resurrection of The Shores even being contemplated?

I sent a text to all 3 significant others last week asking if they’d be interested in a reunion after a conversation with a 3rd party who will remain un-named for the time being. It was a simple question that started “would you…” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I haven’t seen the 3 of them since 2007. We don’t see each other as much as we’d like perhaps, but we’re very good friends and live close by to each other. Anyway, the resounding response was “what’s the worst that could happen?” That’s how Rock and Roll we are.

When we played with New Order I was 27, now we’re an average of 36 years old. Danny drags the average down, so I’m going to use that in the future. When people say “how old are you?” I’ll be like “Average 36.”

We decided to meet last Thursday at Ryan’s house to talk about it and play a few songs acoustically. Ryan was playing piano, Craig and Danny on Acoustic Guitar and I was playing Ryan’s Cajon Drum. I’ve never played a Cajon Drum. Didn’t even know what one was until last Thursday, but it’s this wee thing that looks like a speaker that you sit on and hit like a tea chest. It’s like a Cajun Chicken Breast, but inedible and a drum. ANYWAY, it was pretty cool and there was something still there. There may not have been a ‘spark’ as such, but there was a deep understanding of what we were playing and what each person was thinking. I firmly believe that the ‘spark’ comes when we go in the studio.

Which, by the way, we are.

Look out for part 2.

*pharmaceutical Industry.

Don’t Dream It’s Over (Epilogue Of The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band Pt – 15)

The last time I saw Ryan, he still had cool hair.

It was last week.

The last time I saw Craig and Danny, they were wearing sharp suits.

It was yesterday.

There were many cast members in the story of The Shores, and many other stories I have forgotten (deliberately and otherwise).

This has been a personal account of The Shores. If you are reading; Craig, Ryan, Danny – any inaccuracies or omissions are unintentional.

I’ve enjoyed writing this little blog. The last couple of bits have been genuinely emotional.

If you ever get to the chance to live a dream with your best mates, do it.

The Shores Are Dead, Long Live The Shores.

Colin.

View All Photos | Photograph by Martin Kessler | The Shores

Danny Hughes, Lead Guitar.

View All Photos | Photograph by Martin Kessler | The Shores

Colin McClements, Drums.

View All Photos | Photograph by Martin Kessler | The Shores

Ryan Gibb, Vocals, Guitar.

View All Photos | Photograph by Martin Kessler | The Shores

Craig Leon, Bass, Backing Vocals.

This Is The End, My Friend (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band – Pt 14)

The Shores returned to Macclesfield, Cheshire, a place where they just say “Grinning like a cat.”

View All Photos | The Shores on The Path | The Shores

Macclesfield, 2002. Photograph by Neil Hackney.

The Shores did not finish immediately. Rehearsals were attended, and gigs were played. Lethargy and apathy were the enemy of The Shores. Particularly me. Rehearsals became a drag for me, the same songs over and over, the same showcase gigs with younger (but no better) bands. Haircuts changed, but ‘promoters’ and venues didn’t. One notable gig we did play was with The Grim Northern Social at Night and Day Café, Manchester. They had just played Glastonbury and were on the way back up the road. Craig and I had seen them at King Tut’s the Christmas previously and they were the only band that we ever thought were better than us live. I contacted them, cut out the promoters, and hired Night and Day Café. A final V-Sign to the promoters who refused to put the gig on “How can they sell tickets? They’re from Glasgow!” – Fuck off you lazy bastard. I’ll do it. Filled the venue.

We would stay in touch with Phil Cunningham, and would see Bernard Sumner a couple of times after as well. Phil also came into a couple of rehearsals to see if we could spice things up with him playing guitar along with Danny. Phil would go on to form ‘Bad Lieutenant’ with Bernard Sumner and Jake Evans. Ryan and I went to see them in Preston and I was sick in the car park. Good that.

David Nolan is an author of fine repute. In 2006 he contacted us through MySpace to say he was writing a Biography of Bernard Sumner. I passed his details to Phil, but I don’t know what Phil done with them after that.

The Book, Bernard Sumner – Confusion: Joy Division, Electronic And New Order Versus The World, is a cracking read. Bernard Sumner eventually agreed to contribute to it, but it is by no means an ‘authorised’ biography. Mr Nolan liked The Shores and wrote the following kind words: (on page 171, paragraph 6, lines 5 and 6… not that I’ve memorised it.)

” [Support slots were given to] Phil Cunningham protégés, The Shores, whose handsome brand of U2-lite is as easy on the ear as it is on the eye.”

View All Photos | The Shores

Ryan at The Cygnet Club, Congleton.

The final gig was unintentional. It took place at ‘The Cygnet Club’ in Congleton. The Shores would say goodbye to approximately 50 people.

There’s nothing wrong with that, you know.

We weren’t owed anything.

At times, in blind optimism and ignorance, I believed we were. We absolutely were not. I mentioned in an earlier post about 100% commitment… The Shores cannot be credited with that, sadly. As Craig now jokingly says “We were in the Yellow Pages, where did it all go wrong?”

I remember we played well at The Cygnet.

Just as well really, ANYBODY could have been there to sign us…

From Nevertheless to The Shores and back.

What a fucking ride.

A New Order (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band – Pt 13)

Ian Curtis grew up in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Curtis would form Joy Division with Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Steven Morris in 1976 (originally called Warsaw) and critical acclaim would quickly follow.

Curtis’s untimely death in May of 1980 is well documented. I will not ‘cut and paste’ it to claim the writing as my own.

New Order would be the continuation of Joy Division, with their first studio album, Movement, released in 1981. I would dearly love to make this story more romantic by claiming I bought it, but I was 3 years old.

35 years later, The Shores would be the support band for the Glasgow dates on New Order’s 2006 UK tour.

Playing 2 nights on the 18th and 19th of October, the original plan was for us to play the first night and another Macclesfield band, Rambo and Leroy, to play the second. I previously mentioned a couple of lads who Craig and Ryan had auditioned before I moved to Macclesfield, called Matt and Jake Evans. Rambo and Leroy was their, very talented, band. Fate conspired against Rambo and Leroy, though. The Glasgow dates were to be filmed for a DVD release and the crew were keen for as much continuity as possible. Only one support band for both dates, was the request. We won. Rambo and Leroy did have their support rescheduled to Wolverhampton, so no harm done…

We flew by helicopter… We hired another transit van and went home to play to the lovely people of Glasgow.

Supporting New Order was a different prospect to playing with OCS. The average age of the crowd escalated to approximately 40. There would be no jumping around to The Shores tonight. In fairness, our newer songs weren’t jumping material anyway, more your anthem type stadium fillers… The Shores have not filled a stadium. We’ve been to a stadium, though.

"The Shore". I ask you...

A more subdued, polite response was the order of the day. We went down reasonably well, with some nice reviews and comments afterwards, but we didn’t feel like the elite band we did after OCS. See the image to the right for a review of one of the nights on Gigwise.com.

After the second night we went to the bar with Phil. There was a guy sitting at a massive table by himself, absolutely leathered. With nowhere else to sit, we joined him. Your man had a red ‘The Shores’ t-shirt on.

“I see you’ve, eh, got a Shores t-shirt on there, bigyin” I pointed out, desperate for his praise and recognition.

“Aye, son. Bought it last night.” he slurred.

“Aye. Did you like Shores, then?” I said, instead of  ‘please love me.’

“Aye.” he belched out, “Been going to see New Order for 20 odd years. I thought they lads were better.”

Phil, get that RIGHT up you.

This man was clearly drunk. Not only was his opinion slightly skewed, but he had no idea that he was sitting next to The Shores’ drummer and New Order guitarist. Brilliant.

In between the 2 nights we went to a club on Jamaica Street. I can’t recall the name of it. The smoking ban was in full flow in Scotland by this time, not in England. Danny was caught, approximately 10 feet from the front door, lighting up. He was ejected with immediate effect. I can’t remember how, but Ryan and Danny fell out after this, and Ryan left The Shores for approximately 10 hours. Tragic.

The Shores reformed at 10am on the 19th of October 2006. Ryan had been on a 10 hour sabbatical and was raring to go.

The second night came and went without incident and The Shores had once again proven their worth to a satisfied crowd. I read a blog shortly after the gigs which read “I’d not seen New Order since the mid 80’s, so it was with trepidation that I attended the gig on the 19th October. My apprehension was not helped by me having to witness the single most worst support band I have ever seen in The Shores.”

Prick.

View All Photos | Carling Academy 18.10.06 after show. Photo by Ronnie Turner | The Shores

The Carling Academy 'Dressing Cupboard' after the 2nd night with New Order.

Marion briefly reformed with their original singer and Phil teaming up for the first time in over a decade. Jake Evans (Rambo & Leroy) would play guitar in this carnation. We would also support them at sold out clubs in Manchester and London. As I write this, I honestly don’t recall whether that was before or after the New Order gigs. I think it might have been before. Somebody Google it, will you?

So. There was no doubt that a record deal was just around the corner…

Show Me The Money (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band – Pt 12)

The memories of those gigs are indelible. My 3 best mates and I had played at the kind of venues that were a pipe dream 6 months earlier.

Time to get real. We were a support band who Damon Minchella took a punt on, nothing more. You would think that these gigs were a platform to propel us to a record deal without us having to do anything. Sadly, this is not the case.

For a band to ‘make it’ takes 100% commitment. It’s easier now than it was 10 years ago. Music is far more accessible than it ever was. I remember, in the days of Nevertheless, Sending a tape recording of our songs in a jiffy bag, recorded delivery to myself. This was a meagre (and cheap) attempt at DIY copyrighting. If any band wrote a song that sounded like one of ours, that sealed bag would be taken to court and presented to the judge (who would have a tape player on his bench) for him to open and prove that we wrote it first. Clever. Now bands stick everything straight onto MySpace without a care in the world. It’s great.

We got back to the showcase gigs, with the pubs and clubs of Manchester the target for our assault. There’s no doubt that we had a reputation preceding us now, we had a lot to live up to in relation to other unsigned bands. We were capable, though. We knew we were good enough.

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The Shores would not cross that line… ever.

COVER VERSIONS…

We did actually learn a couple again. Craig and I worked for a loan company in Macclesfield and they wanted us to play at their Summer Family Fun Day. This, rather than a sell out, was our first corporate booking…

Bollocks.

Anyway, we played it and the big head honcho boss guy loved us. He asked what the next step for us would be if money was no object. “Record. Properly.” we told him. “How much?” he quizzed. “Don’t know, we’ll get back to you.”

“7 Grand”

“Ok”

“Cheers”

“Nae bother”

He didn’t actually say “Nae bother”. He’s from Macclesfield. He probably tipped his flat cap at us, said “reet -oh”, patted his whippet and walked off.

The ill-fated Marion

Before this happened we had met a guy called Carl Jackson. He would become a good friend of ours and an advocate of The Shores’ work. His best mate is a guy called Phil Cunningham. Phil was the guitarist with the ill-fated Marion, a band who were hotly tipped as the “next Smiths” by Morrissey. This is known as ‘The Curse of Morrissey.”

Phil had joined New Order after Marion split and was an established member by this time.

Phil Cunningham is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. A humble, grounded, generous and kind person. Phil became a friend and fan of The Shores, he would become pivotal in the future direction of the band.

We decided that we would take this 7 Grand, kindly donated by our boss, and record at Rockfield Studios, Wales, with Phil and Carl producing and Bruno Ellingham engineering. This would take place over 5 days at the residential studios where Oasis recorded ‘What’s the Story’, Queen recorded ‘Bohemian Rhapsody, and Kasabian were in the week before us…

It was a massive piss-up.

The 4 or 5 songs we recorded there have never been mixed. Phil and Carl both played on one of the songs, I was finished after day 2 and drunk for the rest of the time we spent there.

Phil Cunningham, 2nd from the right.

It was a great experience, though. Another taste of what it could be like to be in a band full-time. It is clear to me now that had we been in a band full-time, I would have had some kind of liver malfunction by the age of 29.

It was while we were there that Phil mentioned New Order were touring later in the year…

Hello, Carling Academy, Glasgow… It’s been a few years…

Get Back To Work (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band – Pt 11)

“You’re on”.

We were led onto the stage by a guy with a torch. It was pitch black and all I could concentrate on was not falling on my arse in front of 2000 people.

2000 PEOPLE.

The most we’d played to before this was probably 200.

I sat behind my drum kit. Instantly it became a shield, something to hide behind and mask my fear. I treated it like an old friend, and counted in the first song with 3 shaky stick clicks.

1. 2. 3. BOOM BOOM.

The opening bar of the first song is one of the few things I remember about playing that night. As soon as it started we all relaxed. In truth, because of the lights, I couldn’t see the crowd, so I convinced myself they weren’t there. The acid test for all bands is the reaction at the end of a song that no-one in that crowd has ever heard before. If there’s a split second silence between the end of the song and the crowd applauding, you’re  in trouble. Thankfully, Dundee did not disappoint. A rapturous reception in an instant. The adrenalin coursing through me was in danger of giving me some kind of cardiac problem. The gig went on, the crowd came along with us. During our 3rd or 4th song, Damon Minchella appeared at the side of the stage with a massive grin on his face. I caught his eye and he gave me a double ‘thumbs up’. It went well.

During OCS’s set, Steve Cradock gave us a nice mention – “What about The Shores? They fucking rocked.” or words to that effect. It might have been “What about The Bores? They fucking sucked.” Can’t really remember. After the gig we were invited to the OCS dressing room for a celebratory beer. I sat and talked to the drummer all night and couldn’t quite believe what we were in the middle of.

playhouse-theatre

GET ME A CONE.

The next night was the Edinburgh Playhouse. Of the 3 nights, this was the most deflated. An all seated capacity crowd looked at us if they were at the cinema. Ushers showing people to seats, people getting up to get an ice-cream etc. OCS themselves didn’t enjoy that gig.

Glasgow is home. Scotland were playing that day, so we nipped into town and watched the game in a sports bar. While we were in town, we decided to pick up a few presents for OCS and their crew. We got the sound engineer a bottle of wine, the roadies a bottle of whisky, and the band a Lion Rampant flag (to be signed by us) and a bottle of Whisky. We also bought ourselves a Lion Rampant to take onto stage with us (Scotland won).

10 minute call, time to play at The Carling Academy, Glasgow. Ryan had the flag, planning to walk out with it held aloft. This was a sure fire crowd pleaser. Clever that way, The Shores.

Click Here For Large Image

Geeze that flag back, ya thieving gypsy.

3rd song in, Ryan threw the flag into the crowd. It surfed it’s way over heads for the duration of the set. Glasgow, as we knew it would be, was a success. That flag made it’s way back on to stage while OCS were on stage. Simon Fowler tied it to his guitar and threw it back in later.

The aftershow party would be the last we would see of Ocean Colour Scene. They accepted their gifts with pleasure, and wished us all the best for the future.

View All Photos | Goodnight Carling Academy Glasgow...... | The Shores

Goodnight, Carling Academy.

It was over. A mixture of emotions followed for the next few weeks. I was working 2 days after playing the Academy. BUMP.

Where, in the name of the weeman, do The Shores go from here?…

The Day We Actually Caught The Train (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band – Pt 10)

So, yer man Alex sorted it out.

Apart from that, he was a total ride.

The Shores were to support OCS at Dundee Caird Hall, Edinburgh Playhouse and Glasgow Carling Academy on the Scottish leg of the ‘North Atlantic Drift’ tour.

And it DID happen this time.

I will never forget the first night in Dundee as long as I live. We drove up in a hired transit van from Macclesfield. Ryan, Craig and Danny in the front, me in the back with the gear. (By “gear” I mean drums and guitars, we were a clean living band)

Ryan had his obligatory pre-gig cold and could barely speak. That was a good sign for the singer of your band. We had booked a rehearsal in Paisley for the night before the opening night and subsequently cancelled it because of Ryan’s voice. Brilliant.

The Caird Hall, Dundee. The Beatles played there, don't you know?

We travelled on to Dundee on the day of the gig and pulled into the venue. A proper theatre. A real venue, not a pub. We were shown to our ‘dressing room’, not a toilet. This room had light-bulbs around mirrors.

I met Damon Minchella in the corridor. He addressed me as ‘Weeman’. This was acceptable. Pleasing even.

We sound-checked.  My little drum kit in a big hall sounded immense. The noise it made… I’ll never forget it. I met Simon Fowler after our sound-check. He went on to tell me that The Beatles had played the Caird Hall and that made tonight a special night…

We went back to the dressing room and waited.

We were told we’d get a 10 minute warning before we were due on. When that time came, I was a nervous wreck. We were ushered down a hallway to the side of the stage. We waited a few minutes, then came the call down a walkie-talkie “KCHHHH…LIGHTS DOWN… KCHHHH”.

There was a guy standing beside us who had a lot switches beside him. He flicked one. The lights went off.

The noise was immense. A massive Dundonian cheer raised the roof. “What for?”, I thought. Just lights. Let me tell you though, there was a lot of expectation on The Shores from that moment on…