jonny kydd was my ‘straight’ (as opposed to ‘comedic’) gigging band which I did till 2008. I made an album called ‘Eggshell Heart’ which is available on ITunes. There’s another one called ‘Stuff’ (Kydd Stuff. Ha!) which I gave away at gigs. ‘Eggshell Heart‘ I sold at gigs. The fabulous violinist Anna-Phoebe was the star turn. Here she is featured in ‘Oh No’.
Here’s ‘Oh No‘ again with a different shoot. I used a few London landmarks on this one! There are two versions of the song on the album, one featuring guitar and one violin.
The second album ‘Stuff’ had ‘Book of Love’ on it , ‘Then there’s you’, and ‘Could you care for me’. Nikolaj Bloch plays outstanding guitar on them. Nick Payn, recently in Bill Wyman’s band, plays great blues harp. Here’s ‘Then There’s You’. It was written for Helen Pearson who’s in Hollyoaks.
Here’s what was on the website about how the album was made:
“The album ‘Eggshell Heart’ was made over a period of two years. It started out as a ‘suck it and see’ recording session at The Soundhouse Studios in Shepherd’s Bush. Jonathan fiddled about a bit with various ideas, using several different musicians including old pal Jon Magnusson who had been in ‘The Kondos’ with him (on accordion and keyboards) and a variety of not very good drummers who were all quickly replaced. JK sent out three numbers, ‘Strong’, ‘Back in the Old Routine’ and ‘Oh No’ to various Indie record companies in the US and England and had no response from the UK and a very good response from America so concentrated his efforts there and after being offered a silly deal initially, entered into a sensible distribution deal with 7records in San Antonio. Unfortunately, in the time it took Jonathan to complete the album -he’d just finished the photoshoot!- 7records allegedly went bust, the owner allegedly got ill and the cops were allegedly called! So he’s still waiting for another deal! In the meantime of course he’s written another twenty two songs, the show-off! Not being a clairvoyant, Jonathan attempted to write/record the other tracks for the album. He moved from the Soundhouse to the Snakeranch in Fulham after Simon Chamberlain who was now playing keyboards, suggested he become more involved in the project.
(In reality, Simon was so critical of some of the playing on the album, he suggested a whole new bunch of musicians to make it sound less er crap)
Simon is a top session player, having played with Bjork, McCartney and George Fenton amongst many others, and he has known Jonathan for years, playing with him in 80s band the Websters. Nine more tracks were recorded at the Snakeranch, and Jonathan then enlisted the help of his friend Martin Winning (another ex Webster!) from Van Morrison on sax and flute. He brought with him trumpeter Matt Holland (more Van the Man) and introduced Jonathan to Nick Payn who plays harp and saxes for Bill Wyman. Simon suggested dynamic duo Steve Pierce and Iain Thomas who play with Average White Band’s Hamish Stewart, for the rhythm section. And his mate Dermot Crehan, who was on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, came in on violin. The whole thing was mixed by engineer Gerry O’Riordan. So…Jonathan had twelve tracks. But wasn’t happy with some of them and perversely wanted to strip a lot of them down and start again! It wasn’t really the sound he wanted.
Simon wearily suggested he try celebrated producer Haydn Bendall, who Simon regularly worked with, who might rekindle his enthusiasm. Haydn suggested he initially produce three tracks, which he did at The Magnolia Palace in Hornsey, programmed by effervescent Dane Nikolaj Bloch. Three tracks were duly finished. Then Jonathan changed his mind again! He decided he’d produce them himself and went to the Loft Studio in West Kensington enlisting the aid of ex Snakeranch junior Paul Richardson as his engineer/mixer. Jonathan felt much more relaxed in this environment and wrote six more songs, dumping tracks like ‘I’d Die for You’ and ‘Aflame’ and ‘Living it Up’ and bringing in ‘When Frankie Sings’, ‘Carry a Torch’ and ‘Stuck on You’ which was a doodle Simon had done on cassette! And as the Loft was actually in Jonathan’s house, he could record when he wanted to. And did!
He added Sandy Burnett into the mix putting more double bass on the tracks, as well as Anna Phoebe’s marvellously intuitive violin which is all over the album. Finally Jonathan added the cement. He employed the original programmer at the Magnolia Palace Nikolaj Bloch, to play hard edged angry electric guitar and sweet mandolin. Finally he was satisfied. Phew!”
The original name of the album was actually ‘bench‘. I took lots of shots of benches and then decided on this one:
Then I thought I was advertizing the firm ‘bench’ so changed my mind!
In fact there was even an earlier one! Above. Taken at an old girlfriend’s house in Brixton. Notice the ubiquitous ‘blossom’ theme!
Here’s the back cover for a three track demo:
Here are 2 tracks from ‘Eggshell Heart’. ‘Strong’ and ‘I’ve Got You’ .
This is ‘Strong‘ ‘live’ at the Up All Night in Cambridge Circus. This was typical of the venues we encountered in that once a band had finished playing all the ‘crowd’ who’d come to see them play would talk loudly over the music that they hadn’t come to see making it difficult for the next band to be heard. We were on about fifth and as you can hear there was a loud hubbub from the previous four bands’ audience. And probably the two bands after us. Despite my constant encouragement for the audience to respect the music, it was an uphill struggle. Also frequently the organizers would just book in whoever asked for a gig rather than ‘theme’ the evening. On this particular night we followed a two girl punk rock act. We had about 25 people in watching and after deductions (if I remember rightly we got 2 quid per person over 16 guests or some weird computation) we ended up with about £16. I said to the bloke who handed me the wad ‘ooh sixteen quid! I’ll put it in me piggy bank!’ and he took offence (On reflection I had squeaked it like a small camp cockney) and told me he’d never have us down there again. Rock ‘nd Roll eh!
I introduce ‘Strong’ as saying it’s ‘the most miserable song I’ve ever written’. And it is!
There was a third album ‘27th April’ for which I did the album cover and recorded the demos but have yet to put it out. Here’s the cover:
Here’s me singing another of the songs from the album called ‘Tender Loving‘ recorded live at the Ram Jam Club in Kingston.
This is ‘Then There’s You’ which is not on the album but is above as the finished article!
This is ‘When Frankie Sings‘. Frank Sinatra song titles in the lyric.
This is a live version of ‘Oh No‘ at the Ram Jam Club‘:
This is just Anna and me playing ‘Loved One‘. Not great sound.
This is ‘Then There’s You‘ again, this time at ‘Oscar’s’ in North London. At the end I voice my disquiet at the usual noise problem.
This is me and Anna ‘live’ at Oliver’s in Greenwich. Sound not good, my guitar playing not good and Anna playing too much. Apart from that it’s fabulous! It’s an old Webster’s song ‘Could You care for Me‘.
This is the diary from the period which was up on the website:
Derr. All the diary postings from Dec 08 to now (nov 10) have disappeared! This is weird and disturbing but there you go! Ah well! Anyway. Here’s two years’ posts in brief. Jonathan is no longer playing with Mal and Anna who have gone onto other projects. Good luck to them as they are absolutely excellent. However this means Jonathan is about to work with completely new people. He has the songs! He’s written forty! So he’s sifting and sorting and will record another album next year. In the meantime he’s out and about with the comedy set up The Bay Citee Molars (www.thebayciteemolars.co.uk) and has an album out with them called ‘Dentura Highway’. It’s very funny!
But Jonny Kydd will hit the road and have some good recordings up on You Tube soon.
Sept to Dec 08
Well this is peculiar. The Sept and October posts on this page have vanished into cyberspace. They were here but now they’re not! Someone has access to the Diary page and has clearly misused the privilege! Ah well! Anyway here’s some news. The album has been put off till next year. Jonathan has written about fifty doodles and reduced them to 25. he hasn’t written the lyrics yet. When he has he’ll try em out at a few open spots. Possibly with a girl singer. Possibly not. Definitely with Mal. Possibly with a drummer. Possibly not. All a bit vague I know but there’s a lot going on and JK wants a new set. So. There’s also the Molars album to consider. And the health of his mum. And other issues as yet to be revealed. A lot is happening though. There may even be another band he’s involved in. But he’s also making a film. And he’s not very well himself. And neither’s his girlfriend. So perhaps the album won’t be considered until July. But then he might suddenly be inspired and write all the lyrics. In the meantime there’s a Molars album but no dentist gigs..info on www.thebayciteemolars.co.uk..Mal’s on that one as well. And JK would like to do a gig or two with Anna if that’s at all possible…
Well. As you can gather not a great deal has been going on Jonny Kydd wise. Though he has recorded a song with the Bay Citee Molars called ‘Chelsea Blue’ which is on You Tube.
JK has been really going hell for leather with the Molars which as you have probably gathered is a comedy group. JK used to write comedy songs for comedian Brian Conley as well as being in another comedy group called ‘The Kondos’ which had some success (see www.jonathankydd.com for more details and some mp3s) and decided to go down that route this last year becasue it was immensely enjoyable and because he felt he could legitimately get more of a response than the Jonny Kydd setup was getting. Good though it was! He has however been playing the odd open mic spot with Mal. Also they played the Ram Jam again (with Cathy Cogle on vocals) They played Soho House acoustic night (with Kate Hethrington on cello) and they also played the Half Moon Putney (with Cathy again) which was excellent. There’s a blog on myspace about it in fact!And JK has been writing writing writing and has amassed about thirty new songs which he’s going to whittle down over the next few weeks and record a new album at the Loft Studio in Shepherd’s Bush.This will be produced by the fabulous talented Nikolai Bloch. Possibly. If he’s available.
So…Things are happening…and this site will be altered considerably over the next few months now that JK is getting his Jonny Kydd finger out again. Remember’ he’s also on myspace.com/jonnykydd
Jan 06 to July 08
JK has put the Jonny Kydd band on hold as he’s set up another band he’s called the Bay Citee Molars which is obviously a comedy set up. He wants to give that a go. Mal’s in it, along with Abi Hercules of the Easy Tigers and Cathy Cogle who was in Jonathan’s musical Hey Get a Life. .
July to December 06
Lots of gigs, lots of events, lots of different line ups. The last six months have flown by. Jonathan gigged a lot with Anna: The Gate another six times, the Cobden Club again, some terrific shows at JB’s in Chiswick where the landlord got particularly enthusiastic and they kept being asked back, a couple of great evenings at the Rex with the charming McGoozer, a rowdy Finnegan’s Wake in Ealing where Jonathan was in his element suggesting that some boy not stand up and talk on his mobile phone whilst Jonny Kydd was on stage or he’d do the same to him but twenty times louder. A brilliant gig at Cherry Simpson’s Rock and Roll Kabaret at the Troubadour in Earl’s Court (‘oh man I love your songs..and your voice!’ some clearly mad person said to Jonathan whilst buying four albums). An effervescent performance in the BBC club for Carlo of Atomic Mosquito and then a radio performance for Carlo etc etc ….. but Anna is becoming less available. For her, stardom is really beckoning. She went off to do her usual Trans Siberian Orchestra gig playing to thousands of people in the US (and I mean thousands. Great big fuck off stadia. And she’s arranging all the strings. Wot a talented girl.) Then she’s off on Iain Anderson’s Jethro Tull tour. And she’s also releasing her solo album and touring that. All richly deserved coz she’s brilliant. But that does mean that Jonathan will have to play with some other people unless he goes it alone. Which he could do, and will undoubtedly do next year. But he likes a two or three piece. And is even contemplating getting a drummer back. So he’s been very busy auditioning and playing with other mates from the music biz. Mal Darwen was obviously going to figure. Jonathan and he played a stormer at the Ram Jam Club where about a crowd of thirty really listened. It was the hottest night of the year and they both wore rather impressive shorts and little else. The album was duly purchased by a gaggle of students who enthused hugely about the songs and the two acoustic guitars and promised eternal worship whilst disliking the shorts. Jonathan was recommended a cellist called Janie Bird by a friend and she came and jammed with him and Mal and she was instantly excellent. Another gig at Cherry’s followed at the Troubadour and went down superbly. ‘Your songs are straight from the heart’ said one audience member to Jonathan. More albums exchanged hands. ‘The mix works so well. Great cello’ said the marvellous drummer from Audio Porn who were on before us. ‘Your songs are really lovely.’ Yes. We think the cello works a treat with Mal playing acoustic fills. But Janie’s not available after January. And Mal’s away for the most of Jan! Help! But a solution will be found. Jonathan tried to get a girl singer in August and met and auditioned some pretty good ones. But then proceeded to get a DVT (Deep Veined Thrombosis to you. Ie a blood clot) after tearing a calf muscle playing cricket the poor lamb and spent 6 confusing days in hospital where one of the doctors kept telling him he was too young and fit to get a clot and therefore he must have cancer (tumours give off blood clots apparently) So he underwent all sorts of tests and got the cancer all clear. Until the same doctor suggested he have his bollocks checked for possible carcinogenic growths. The technology is such nowadays that the technician can show you your testicles on a screen. ‘There is your right one! No cancer. There is your left one. No cancer!’ Hooray. But the next few weeks of taking it easy didn’t encourage Jonathan to pursue the girl singer idea. He did however play a gig with the fabulous Richard Lee on double bass at the Bite the Bullet in Camden. Let’s just say newts had more energy than him despite Richard’s brilliant playing. He tried the excellent Sammy Martinelli who Mal had met. They did 2 gigs at the Rex and at Woody’s in Kensal Rise. It sort of worked. But Sammy didn’t quite sit with the material. Jonathan is still keen to work with her though and thinks a more dancy feel would be more appropriate. He’s going to try to record a demo with her next year.
So. After an ‘interesting’ 2006 Jonathan is looking to gig further afield this year and work with a cellist and/or a flautist. Or drummer. Or girl singer. Or pianist. Or on his own. Or just with Mal. He’s written 6 new songs which he’ll record as soon as he can.
2007 will be just as interesting.
More gigs, more success. They’ve done about 40 so far this year. It works really really well with just Jonathan and Anna. Jonathan just banters away between songs about his life in art and Anna tells him to shut the fuck up and get on with it. It’s a peculiarly winning combination.
Jonathan is obsessed by finding the optimum set, the best six songs that seem to get the best response. Could You Care and Loved One are now banished. They’re old news, but can be revisited if an encore is required. Skip a Beat has been pensioned off. Living it Up has disappeared. In their place is ‘Book of Love’ which went down an absolute storm at JB’s Bar and the Gate (having been absolute shite at Brodie’s) and When Frankie Sings which is now a staple (particularly since a rather attractive large breasted woman kissed Jonathan after the gig at the Prince Albert and told him that it was a ‘fabulous’ song). The set order is now: Old Routine, Then There’s You, Oh No, When Frankie Sings, Tender Loving and Book of Love. This set seems to be the dog’d b’s. Though Jonathan still pisses Anna off by irritatingly discussing why some numbers get huge applause and others wimpy clapping. Will he ever be satisfied?
The band have engaged the skills of a PR, Belinda, to push the band a bit and are selling the album via the My Space site (as well as this one and CD Baby) which has Book of Love, Then There’s You, When Frankie Sings and Oh No up on it. There are a huge number of friends. The band are shifting albums on Pay Pal and the album is soon to be on i-tunes. Jonathan wants to record some new material but is also working on another project called ‘The Singing Dentists.’ He also feels the band could still benefit from a girl singer. A couple of gigs have been just him and Mal when Anna’s been away and on one occasion at the Bullet Bar in Camden Jonathan played with old double bass player pal Richard Lee who is fantastic. Mal and Jonathan and Anna all played at the BBC which was an excellent gig. Jonathan and Anna had some new pictures taken by Steve Ullathorne which despite Jonathan looking as if he’d just arrived in a muck sweat (this can be dealt with via Photoshop…apparently) are terrific. Some will appear here in a few days. Onwards and upwards! Ps Jonathan has written quite a good newie called ‘Nasty Stuff’ which may make an appearance when he’s learnt the words!
A month and a half of gigs gigs and more gigs. Jonathan’s decision to send out hundreds of cds has been vindicated (well about 40 in fact) and he and Anna have played all over the place with great success since the E****g Acoustic disaster, and have more gigs lined up. It really does work with just the two of them (though I think double bass is a good idea to occasionally add into the mix). It means less people to mike up (Anna now DI’s (direct input) her electric violin and blows the audience away by doing a wah wah solo in the middle of ‘Back in the Old Routine’ which is now a favourite) a lovely chemistry between the two of them , and Jonathan’s skills as a front man hugely to the fore and the set is streets ahead of what it’s been in the past.
They’ve played at The Lion in Stoke Newington, The Embassy in Islington, two gigs at the Gate in Notting Hill, Monkey Chews in Camden, the Snooty Fox in Islington, the Olive in Greenwich, JB’s bar in Chiswick (twice) and the Railway Tavern in Stratford (with Mal) and recorded an acoustic set at the Loft Studio in Dewhurst Road and I’ve forgotten a couple of the other gigs..oh yes, another one at the Gate, and er..it’ll come to me, no it hasn’t, one more somewhere I can’t remember. Jonathan is really upbeat about it all and wants to DV a gig and put it up on the site. It’s about time because he’s almost finished three videos and never been satisfied with the end result. He thinks this is the best it’s ever been live. ‘The sound man can’t really fuck it up can he? I DI my guitar, Anna DI’s her pink violin, and all he needs to really get right is the vocal.’
He is keen to put forward his Alan Sugar ‘Apprentice’ theory.
‘If Alan Sugar was to look at the band he’d say ‘What are your marketing strengths? Hmmm. Do it with guitar and guitar and you sound like everyone else. Do it with guitar and violin and there are very few people doing that. So your market value is more. Do it with the violin.’
Thanks imaginary Alan! It’s cooking! Let’s rock!
Set at the mo is ‘Old Routine’, ‘Oh No’, ‘Then There’s You’, ‘Could You Care’, ‘Loved One’ and ‘When Frankie Sings’.
‘Girlfriend’s Friend’ and ‘Tender Loving’ are next if required, with ‘Skip a Beat’ held back in reserve. With ‘Book of Love’ a possible if they ask us to do 10 songs (!)
Farcical gig at the Eal*** Acoustic last week that must go down in the JKydd diaries as ‘taking the biscuit’. Anna and Jonathan arrived fresh faced and eager for the show having been invited by email to play a couple of songs as a sort of audition. It’s a good spot. It’s a huge restaurant serving Tapas. Large audience, little curtained off stage area, someone to greet them and tell them where to go and ‘mingle and network’ if they had so wished. An immensely friendly promoter, the affable owner Peter, who suggested we go on at 9.45. As it was only seven o’clock, Jonathan made it clear we needed to go on earlier, as he had to get to Walthamstow to pick something up (a ticket for Barcelona v Chelsea, in fact).
‘You can go on first then, how’s that?’ said Peter. And Jonathan and Anna agreed. ‘Oh yes please!’ they squeaked in unison like a couple of mice from Bagpuss. (they didn’t really, but they were quite relieved). However, they hadn’t bargained for the ‘Really Crap Soundman’ routine. Jonathan and Anna made their requirements known to this initially cheery soundperson. A mike for Anna’s acoustic violin. A lead for Jonathan to plug into his Taylor, a mike for Jonathan to sing into. Not much really. But in the world of the ‘Really Crap Soundman’ three requirements too far. After much farting about with drooping mikes and not working mikes and stands that wouldn’t tighten, they were still in no state to start, but Peter said they had to.
‘Come on, we’re fifteen minutes behind schedule, get your finger out’ he told the soundchap. Soundy took this as a cue to return to his desk and play with his faders. Jonathan strummed his guitar. Nothing, Not a chord to be heard. Anna bowed her violin. Nothing. Jonathan sang a few lines. Aha! Some success here. Soundy came over and handed him a different lead for his guitar and returned to his spot behind his desk. Jonathan strummed his guitar again. Nothing. Still no sound from Anna. But he gave a thumbs up to Peter! Who prematurely announced Jonathan and Anna with ‘Hello everybody! Here’s our first act for the night. Jonny Kydd and Anna Phoebe.’
Jonathan strummed. ‘Can you hear the guitar?’ he asked the audience. ‘No!’ several crooned back.
‘I can’t hear the violin either’ said a woman at the back. Several people pointed upwards, indicating they wanted the sound higher. J and A looked to Soundy who shrugged and gave a ‘carry on’ sign. So Jonathan launched into ‘Could You Care,’ hoping everything would be sorted out while they were doing the song. It happens like that at lots of venues. The soundman grabs the gist of the song/singer/instrument as he hears it. In this instance however, all that could be heard was the vocal. All confidence drained out of them both as the audience were lost. Listeners turned to their neighbours and began conversations that wouldn’t have taken place had the sound been audible. Jonathan looked over at Anna who grimaced with frustration. They finished the ‘song’. ‘Could you hear any of that at all?’ asked Jonathan.
‘No’ said a very long haired middle aged man in a buckskin jacket.
‘I heard the vocal’ said a very fat man wearing a baseball cap at a rakish angle.
Peter appeared. ‘Sorry about that everyone. We’d better take a ten minute break to sort this out.’
The sound man came over and gave Jonathan another lead. That didn’t work either.
‘It’s your guitar. There’s something wrong with it’ he snarled at Jonathan.
Jonathan was in acceptance mode. He finds it prevents him from telling people to fuck right off.
‘Oh is there?’ he replied. ‘Ok then,’ knowing full well there was nothing wrong with it because he’d been practicing with an amp only a couple of hours before. Anna’s violin mike not working at all had been ignored. Some bloke who was performing later on in the evening was asked to lend his guitar and suddenly there was Jonathan with an alien acoustic slung low over his shoulder. He plugged a jack in and was amused to notice that that didn’t work either.
‘It can’t be my guitar then can it?’ he was heard to suggest. Soundy came over and ‘threw’ another jack at Jonathan. ‘One of us here is acting gracelessly and it isn’t you, me or Anna’ said Jonathan to Peter, who made his feelings felt. ‘I’m dreadfully sorry about this’ he said. ‘You’re obviously good players. The soundman missed his bus and got here late and hasn’t really got it together tonight. We’re normally more professional than this. Do accept my apologies.’
He then addressed Soundy in a slightly different manner as he was changing Anna’s mike. ‘Listen you. Get your fucking act together or you’re on yer fucking bike. Do you hear me?’
Soundy shuffled off to behind the desk again. Jonathan strummed again. Success! The audience cheered ironically. Anna did a few virtuoso violin swoops. Yes! Sound! They had lift-off! Peter waded in and grabbed the mike. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, here they are again, we’ve sorted out the gremlins, John and Anne!’ abbreviating their names needlessly but somehow hoping it would make the evening less incompetent.
They were going to do ‘Then There’s You’ but slammed in instead with a chunky ‘Loved One’ to make their presence felt. The intro was longer and punchier than usual. The violin sounded great, the guitar was delivering as well. Jonathan launched into his vocal. ‘If my life were to end at this moment, if now were the time that I ceased to be….’ ………….. Nothing. The vocal mike, allright seconds before, just switched off. He was aware of it. Anna was aware of it. They both stared at each other for several seconds and stared at the Really Crap Soundman who had his head down. They motored to the end cutting a verse. And in the final verse, done at a much quicker speed than usual. Jonathan’s third and fourth strings broke, as if commenting on how shit the evening was. ‘You’re pissed off! We’re so pissed off we’re outta here!’ was what they were saying. Jonathan gloomily packed up. The man who had tried to lend his guitar came up. ‘Great set man, despite not being able to hear you. Great songs. You’re a really good singer.’ ‘Thanks’ said Jonathan, wanting to shout ‘Aaaargh!’at someone. The usual love struck puppy came over and offered Anna his number. Peter approached. ‘I’m sorry. That was very embarrassing. Would you like to play later on when we’ve ironed everything out? May I buy you both a drink?’ They accepted the San Miguel, but declined the replay. Someone asked them a few questions about what they did during the day for the Restaurant website and who were their favourite musicians. Anna said Led Zeppelin. Jonathan said Freddie and the Dreamers. Jonathan left swearing, Anna giggling. Ah showbiz.
Gate Bar Notting Hill. 25th Jan 06
Another good gig for just the two of em JK and Anna. Jonathan’s been having some singing lessons and would you believe it, it shows! Now all he needs is some guitar lessons! (This is a joke….. He doesn’t just need some. He needs a lot!) But he has in fact been studying the ‘axe’under Justin Sandercoe who is currently playing with Katie Melua. His vocals are really strong and it should be interesting to see the gig at the Cobden Club coming up where the auditorium is pretty big and the sound system consequently larger. Anna is briefly off to Beirut and then back for the Ram Jam and Cobden. The evening was supposed to be part of a BMG bash but they cancelled at the last minute so it was down to the three acts to carry the evening which they did. Alistair, the sweet guy who runs the evening, enthused the audience aided by Jonathan’s girlfriend Helen, who needs no excuse to sing along with the numbers. (she was recently first reserve for the ‘SoapStar Superstar’series on ITV being in Hollyoaks as she is, playing Frankie Dean). The music and the live performances are going down very well. All JK needs to do now is get the album out and do some more networking/get more gigs/sendthe albumeverywhere. For the first time ever, ‘Oh No’ was completely audible from the beginning, prompting the girl on the door to say ‘I love your first song. It’s so catchy.’ You see! I told you it’s a goodie!
Brodie’s Bar Canary Wharf. 18th Jan 06
Canary Wharf is a wonderful sight. Superb architecture and modern engineering. You feel dwarfed and humbled by the immensity of the buildings around you. And hidden around the back near the Docklands Light Railway station and just by the river is Brodie’s. The evening is run by the tenacious Ken Wood who is a man after your diarist’s heart as he chooses decent bills for the evenings we play at. No heavy metal band going on before us. No. No 6 bands crammed into an evening and all of them ignoring everyone else. A nice spirit of camaraderie here. This was an acoustic evening and just before us in the spacious bar/pub was one sweet Scandinavian Ian Dust, who was one man and an acoustic guitar and about three chords. His songs were so sad and so frequently in waltz time that one man in the audience felt compelled to shout out ‘Oh God no, please, not another sad one. Don’t you know anything happy?’ And to do him justice he tried a song about one ‘Jimmy McTell’ who ‘he knew well’ and he was inclined to say ‘Well well well!’ To which Jimmy replied ‘How am I? I’m well.’ But Jimmy sold Ian some gym equipment for 4000 dollars and this made him ‘unwell’ and ‘in hell’ and forced him to try to kill himself in a …you guessed it…’well’ so perhaps it wasn’t as happy a song as he’d made out. Anyway we were on after him. And we went down excellently. We are really playing well at the moment. Jonathan has really got it together. Mal played bass for the first time for ages and Matt was terrific on guitar. Even the landlord Steve came over and shook Jonathan by the hand congratulating him and asking for a cd. We’re playing there again in 6 weeks time. The man who’d shouted out how unhappy he was with Ian Dust, came over and said ‘Ere mate. You’re rather good’ to Jonathan and Ken Wood was immensely eulogistic. Good times. Gate again next week
Album still not out due to problems with the cover. Gigwise: Jan 10th. Back at the intimate low ceilinged humming venue that is the Gate in Notting Hill but this time as a two piece. Ann-Phoebe was back from her two month star turn with the Trans Siberian Orchestra in the US and she and Jonathan took the Club by storm. It works really well as just the two of them, but that may be because Anna is so utterly brilliant and Jonathan such a seasoned performer. After initial sound problems with poor old ‘Oh No’ which as the opening song is hardly ever heard due to gremlins or strings breaking or guitar amps breaking down or violin pods being out of control or the sound person being on drugs, the quiet intimacy of ‘Then There’s You’ bowled em over. A bald headed man in the audience rushed up to Jonathan and asked him whether he could have a copy of the song. Jonathan suggested tactfully that he wait till the end of the set. They did ‘Could You Care’, a revitalized ‘Loved One’ which went down a storm, Anna strutting her stuff superbly with her scratchy violin figure, a brilliant ‘When Frankie Sings’ and they then slightly cocked it up by doing ‘Tender Loving’ too slowly. ‘What was I doing?’ screeched Jonathan’ but rescued it with a taught ‘Skip a Beat.’ ‘More rock and roll is what they wanted and I gave em a slowy. Doh! Right that’s it. More and more rock and roll.’ And he went home and wrote a newie called ‘Contaradictory!’ Anna was simply wonderful.
Lots more gigs in the next four weeks: Ram jam Club in Feb, Canary Wharf next week, Cobden Club and further Gate gigs, all with different permutations of personnel with the one constant being Jonathan. Woooh!
Gig at Ram Jam Club in Kingston really excellent. Hosted by excellent blues/bluegrass/rock/younameit guitarist Jeremy Sachs, we went down really well at this intimate atmospheric space on the Richmond Road. Mesha’s vocals were on top form and she blew the audience away with ‘Lucky Dip’. Booked to do three numbers, we ended up doing seven, which was slightly perturbing for Mesha and Matt who only knew four. ‘Skip a Beat’ and ‘Tender Loving’ were particularly one man stuff for Jonathan as he was the only one who knew them! Mesha gainfully employed several ‘ooohs’ in the gaps but it didn’t matter as the twenty odd audience really appreciated the music. Jonathan was taken aback by the response, complimenting them on their taste and asking if they could all be shipped in to the next gig they were so good. It made a change from the previous few gigs where the audience had clearly only come to see their mates and spent all the set talking. One particular audience member was a perfect foil for Jonathan and they bantered between the numbers to such an extent that Jeremy’s Dad Iain said he preferred it to the music. The euphoria of the evening was somewhat muted by Jonathan’s inability to find his car after the gig, and Mesha was forced to wander the backstreets for half an hour before he realised he’d parked it just up the road from the pub. We’ve been asked back to do another set in Jan which we’ll be slightly more prepared for.
Ps: The artwork on the album is almost finished!
Played the Songwriters’ Night at W14 in the North End Road with Matt Windler on guitar and Mesha Bryan on vocals with Jonathan singing harmonies and playing rhythm. Went very well although it was a freezing night and some dickhead decided to massage his ego by playing six songs when we were all only allowed to do three. Consequently we went on at about 11.15. Some hardy punters hung on but once again a depleted audience. Mesha sang beautifully and Matt is excellent. We did ‘Could You Care’, then ‘There’s You’ and ‘When Frankie Sings’. The venue has a terrific vibe and it’s a good stage to inhabit. Jonathan was at his quipping best and sang ‘Then There’s You’ expertly (which he wrote for his girlfriend Helen. She was there braving the freezing temperatures) The sound guy Alan is a gent and it’s somewhere we’d like to play again. It’s run by the effervescent Pam who although slightly scary, runs a terrific evening. All the bands were good except for the strange long haired egomaniac who Pam told off very sternly. His name has happily avoided being remembered by your diarist otherwise he would have been given a definite name-check. Bloody hell he liked himself. He did a forty five minute set! Each song was a drivelling eternity! Next gig is at the Ram Jam Club in Kingston and things are going to take off more in the New Year when Jonathan isn’t acting. He’s been in Zorro the Musical and it’s taken up a lot of his time
All change on board HMS kydd. The ship’s having a refit (to continue the somewhat hackneyed nautical metaphor) and the anchor’s being given a good buffing. The rigging was rather frayed and er….that’s enough of that boat stuff. Basically Anna’s away for a couple of months with the Trans Siberian Orchestra playing lead fiddle and performing in large stadia. She’s promised to send an illustrated diary of her trip like last year. Jonathan’s decided to get in another (yes another!) girl singer, this time the terrific Mesha Bryan who he’s rehearsing with next week. He’s also rehearsing another guitarist Matt Windler. And a new violinist, Julian Ferraretto. Jonathan wants to have more of the songs presented with close harmonies and thinks a female presence singing lead on some of the songs will work well.There are lots of gigs in the book.
As the second album is almost mixed, we’re going to create an ep sampler WHICH WE WILL GIVE AWAY FOR FREE. Yes you heard it here folks. FOR FREE. A free cd of six tracks to give you a taster of the kydd experience to insert (ooh!) into your own i-tunes or cd player or whatever apparatus you use (ooh matron). We shall call it …off the top of my head here…KYDDSTUFF. Yes! It will be available either from this site or given away by Jonathan hot little hand. IT’S FREE!!
‘Interesting’ gig at Oscar’s at Viva Viva in Hornsey. Large attendance for the gig.
We were the three piece: Mal on bass, Anna on violin, Jonathan on guitar and vocal. The place is run by jovial host Oscar who is a very nice but slightly unfocused chap. When we started playing, the venue was adequately attended. But the more we played, the more people came in. The audience weren’t listening, despite the band being on top form and jabbered away regardless of how much Jonathan ‘ssshed’ or asked them to please be quiet. This was not helped by Anna’s violin being at one stage inaudible in the mix and then ludicrously loud, and she had to stop to ask the sound person to readjust the volume,(she actually got off the stage and went up to the sound desk, things were so bad) which caused the audience to switch off completely. As the gig carried on, Mal’s bass was all bottom end and Jonathan’s guitar sounded like someone was scratching it with a fork. During the very quiet bit of ‘Then There’s You’ a girl shouted ‘I’ll have the burger and chips please’ and then realised that everyone had heard her and apologized equally loudly. ‘Oh God sorry,’ she blurted out. Jonathan, not really putting everyone at their ease, couldn’t prevent himself from saying at the end of the song ‘And thankyou so much to the sensitive young lady who managed to share her delicious supper order with the entire audience’ to which she replied again ‘Oh God I’m really really really sorry.’
The set we played: Skip a Beat, Tender Loving, Could you care, Then There’s You, When Frankie Sings and Oh No is excellent. The rehearsals have been terrific. As Anna said, ‘If you can’t hear yourself it takes all the fun out of playing.’
The venue is tricky to play, the stage being parallel with the front of the room and the tables and chairs carrying on down to the kitchen. But if no one is listening at all and milling about ordering and arriving, you’re fighting a losing battle. One to file under ‘Experience, take a deep breath, and walk away..’
Jonathan took everyone out for a drink in Crouch End afterwards and we all had a good laugh. James Esposito has captured the slightly nightmarish evening on video . ‘Oh No was a bit angry’ he said trying to be sympathetic.
Jonathan is sending the ‘Eggshell Heart’ album out to the States to Independent Companies as he did before the 7records debacle. He’s also going to use the website much more to increase interest.
He’s also finally completed the editing of a DVD of ‘Oh No’ with James Esposito who has videoed several gigs in the past like at Covent Garden and Spice of Life Cambridge Circus, which will be posted up here asap.
It was shot all around the centre of London and features Anna and Nikolaj Bloch. Anna is in Beirut so gigs for Sept/October cannot be confirmed.
Jonathan has decided to release an ep of six more tracks in December when he will have finished the mixing. They’ve already been recorded. In fact there’s enough material for a second album already! He is going to rehearse a completely new set with the band as soon as everyone is assembled. Mal is likely to be unavailable for some gigs due to his having committed to another project but Sandy Burnett is a more than capable sub.
Gig at Gate postponed coz of a ‘showbiz party’ and Alsitair the promoter rather generously offered us an hour in August (which we can’t do as Anna is away) But as it happened, the appalling events of the 7th July would have meant us not playing anyway.
We only rehearsed once with Alice and Sandy and Anna before the gigs. This meant it was the first time we’d played live since October and it was flying by the seat of our pants on a few of the endings (We were at the Railway Tavern in Stratford). But it went well. We did a set of ‘Could you Care’, ‘Then There’s You’, ‘Skip a Beat’, ‘Oh No’ ‘Back in the Old Routine’ and ‘Tender Loving’. Tender Loving went down especially well.
The Tavistock was as usual a good gig although the subject matter of some of the other acts’ songs was somewhat dubious. A peculiar number about incest was difficult to follow as the audience was in a state of negative despair after ‘the lyric ‘blood on the sheets’ was churned out for the tenth time in a raucous scream. Their admirable support of their fey artiste and the near suicidal atmosphere, did mean however that a large section of the audience had left when we came on, but we went down well with the remaining 30 punters. This experience however has forced Jonathan to think that perhaps we should try to go on first when there is a huge record company presence who have only come to see one person who is not us!
Gigs in Newham and Crouch End at Oscar’s and at the Gate are the next where Mal may come back on bass when Sandy is away and Alice will be featured on some new numbers.
Everyone away so no rehearsals. We’ve decided to reduce live gigs to bass and anna on violin and Jonathan on acoustic and introduce a more up front singer in Alice Redmond who we think could be main vocal on some of the songs with Jonathan on backing vocal. We might get Sandy Burnett in on double bass for a couple of the gigs just to try a more acoustic sound. He played on several of the tracks on the album and it worked well. We’ve got gigs at The Bedford, the Gate and the Railway Tavern for July. We’ll try out some of the newer songs.
We’re editing the vid with James Esposito in Spitalfields and it’s looking good! We’ll have to send it out with the press pack and place it on this site.
All gone a gnat’s pear shaped. The 7records deal has disappeared in a cloud of wotsit due to the CEO/owner of the label being ill/running out of money/getting arrested. Not quite sure which one of these but she gave up and sent a letter saying the deal was off and she was quitting the business. Her vice president temporarily took over but when the police arrived he decided that the record company was a thing of the past. So we now have 24 recorded tracks. And no label in the States. However we are not daunted, as we got a great deal of interest from the last demo including a deal. So we’re sending out another batch and continuing gigging. The consensus is that the album’s a goody so we should get another deal! (This is positive thinking) We timed the making of the video and the photo shoot for the album sleeve wrongly as we finished these the day before we lost the record deal. O the tricks fate can play! Dohh.
February – April 2005
Whilst Jonathan recovered from his motorcycle accident he finished off the album in his front room, (and at Michael Angelo studios in Acton) bringing in Danish guitarist Nikolaj Bloch to add a few brilliant hard edged Scandanavian guitar and mandolin touches as well as some dry wit. Anna added a few marvelous twiddles and parts and nurdles and Sandy Burnett put some acoustic bass on a couple of tracks which might not make the album! We have twenty two tracks and need eleven. Jonathan’s writing has mellowed a bit so some won’t get in just because they don’t fit the ‘black mood’ of the piece. But the difficult second album appears to be already written!
There’s been a change of title and album cover. ‘Bench’ has gone and it will probably be ‘Eggshell Heart’ with maybe a pic of JK on the front and JK and Anna on the back with pics of the band scattered throughout. But we’re not quite sure yet. Perhaps the young boy will remain! Still, exciting times!
Album almost finished. It’s on the newly formed ‘Squid Records’ over here and ‘7records’ in the States. Change of name from ‘Bench’ to possibly ‘Sharks’. New cover and mixes of all the tracks on this site. The site will be overhauled to coincide with the release.
Jonathan still concussed and limping about. He’s been advised to take it very easy. Anna is having a great time in the US with the Trans Siberian Express. Jonathan’s priority while he’s in such a delicate state is mix the album, which he’s doing with Paul Richardson from the Snakeranch. No gigs or rehearsals planned till Jonathan’s better.
All on hold due to Jonathan’s Motorcycle accident. He hit a BMW on a mini roundabout in Fulham and was flung over the bonnet, luckily (!) landing on his knees in the road having described a rather imperfect arc. According to the doctor, his multilayers of combinations and plastic trousers (he was on the way to watch Chelsea play Charlton and was well wrapped up against the cold) saved him from very serious injury, though cruciate damage and fractures and concussion haven’t helped his guitar playing. So rehearsals and gigs have been cancelled for the time being.
Spice of Life gig was interesting. We followed a three piece very loud all girl rock band not quite the perfect curtain raiser for our music. Bitlike the Progress Bar in Tufnell Park where you can’t quite work out what was going on the promoter’s head! But we had a really good turn out who really appreciated the set. Sigrid sang for the first time and altho a bit nervous sounded great. Nick was on keyboards and Anna-Phoebe, fresh from Top of the Pops, was as usual, wonderful on violin. The band are good!
Anna is away with the ‘Trans Siberian Express’ band in the States for the next two months, so we’re rehearsing in another Anna, Anna Esslemont. Album is progressing well. Looks like we’ll have 23 tracks to choose from. Jonathan’s overdone it a bit! But once the creative juices are flowing there’s no stopping him.
‘7records distribution deal set for March. This works out well for everyone as Jonathan is still writing new stuff which we’re all impressed by. His new version of ‘Stuck on You’ eclipses the old one, and another newie, with a constantly rewritten lyric, is a corker! Recording is ongoing. Need to add some harmonies. Martin Winning from Van Morrison (he just played two sold out nights at the Hollywood Bowl) came and made some great production suggestions. Gigs coming in and going well. Paul Sax is depping on one gig for anna whilst she gigs in Beirut! He’s a sweet guy and a beautifully sensitive player. We’re auditioning a girl backing singer!
28th – Catapult Club
New Cross gig. Excellent stage and atmos. Arrived lateish for soundcheck coz we watched the magnificent Kelly Holmes win the 1500. She was utterly brilliant. Slight struggle with the sound at the beginning. Huge bass frequencies.’Oh No’ always suffers being the first number. Jonathan can never quite hear his guitar. We’ve learnt to extend the start of the song until everyone is happy. Did ‘Tender Loving’ for the first time. It’s a very quiet number but went down well. Nick Twyman was going to play keyboards but hurt his back. So we had the usual line up. Band great. Offered another gig by Tich the promoter in the Autumn.
25th – Woody’s
The rearranged gig from two weeks before but they didn’t know we were turning up despite email assurances (I forgot to phone back!) We weren’t expected! We were one of six bands. The evening was still going at midnight! Not as convenient as ‘The Gate’ for people coming to see us (a bit off the beaten track, run by the same people) but a nice vibe. The enthusiastic Alistair and Mark Antony with Jose on sound, really nice guys, are the promoters. A good evening. All agreed we played really well.
Gig at The Bedford was excellent. The band played very well and seem to get better and better. We now know 22 songs but only did 4 which is a mite frustrating. It’s a good place to play is the “Tavistock Room”. Very cosy and intimate with a nice low ceiling and some interesting red wallpaper! Unlike some of the weird garage like places we’ve played. It was full as well! The other bands/acts were all very friendly. We’re looking forward to playing there again.
Played the Paradise Bar in New Cross. Nice gig. The football was on so we didn’t start till eleven o’clock when about forty people turned up. I suspect they’d come to drown their sorrows after the England game. Some bloke shouted out ‘Mate. No more slow love songs. I’m too miserable. Let’s rock!’
Have auditioned a keyboard player for the gigs. He’s Nick Twyman. He sounds great. Hoping to have him playing by Aug.
May / June 2004
Haven’t gigged at all due to being in studio recording 7 new tracks, (and remixing some old ones)some of which has been at the Snakeranch in Fulham, Anna’s pal Leo’s in Bow and the Stone Room in Acton. Hope to have Martin Winning from Van Morrison’s band to play some horns for us. We’re gigging more in Aug/Sept probably with a keyboard player.
”7records’ have offered a distribution deal possibly for the Autumn. We’ll have to finish the album! A bit spoilt for choice at the moment as Jonathan is writing a lot of new material which the band are rehearsing and playing live. Some of it has a slightly happier rockier feel, possibly because Jonathan’s head appears to be slightly less miserable! (He says he finds it easier to write unhappy stuff!)
Recording 6 more songs. Using the Snakeranch in Fulham again. Have opened negotiations over a deal with New York Independent ‘7records’.
There’s been interest from other sources such as ‘Breakout Records’ as well. Things appear to be happening.
Played Gate Bar in Notting Hill again. The band enjoy playing there. Asked to play the Clapham Grand. Doing so in June. Played the Wheatsheaf in Fulham. Went down really well. Nice audience.
Gigs at The TELEGRAPH in Brixton (small, but great sound) and Club DIY at The Progress Bar.
The band recorded three new songs that go down well live which aren’t on the site: ‘Then There’s You’, ‘Loved One’ and ‘Iceberg’. They’ll be posted up as soon as they’re mixed. The lyrics are on the Mp3s / lyrics page.
Played THE POP BAR, Covent Garden and instantly re-booked. Headlined again for TALL POPPY at the Wheatsheaf in Fulham. Great vibe.
Westfourteen and The Gate Bar in Notting Hill were a huge success. ‘You’re the best thing we’ve had in here for ages’ the promoter at the Gate said – re-booked them and then let the guys play seven songs when everyone else played two.
Finnegan’s Wake Ealing
Cherry’s Rock and Roll Cabaret
SW1 Radio Show
Ram Jam Club Kingston (regular)
The Cobden Club Kensal Rise
The Gate Bar Notting Hill (regular featured)
Railway Tavern Stratford (regular)
Oliver’s Bar Greenwich
Prince Albert Battersea
Bite the Bullet Camden
BBC White City
The Roadhouse Covent Garden
The Rex Haymarket
The Orange West Kensington
Brodie’s Canary Wharf (regular featured)
JB’s Bar Chiswick (regular featured)
For full details of these gigs and more, check out the Latest news / Gig guide page.