This is the blog of music journalist Andy Welch. He's music editor at The Press Association and writes for NME, The Smith Journal and whoever else will have him, all the while hating referring to himself in the third person.
Apart from their second album, which I still think it pretty dreadful, I’ve always had a soft spot for Kasabian. I find a lot of the criticism directed at them and their music inaccurate, and the way their fans are derided is nothing short of class-based snobbery.
Serge and Tom from the band are also two of my favourite interviewees, both completely aware how they’re perceived and where their music fits Of course, they’re prone to huge statements, but as a journalist, give me that any day over measured and reserved and normal.
My prediction is their Glastonbury set is going to go down extremely well, and it’ll be Arcade Fire, not them or Metallica, who struggle. We shall see…
I interviewed Rick Hall and a few others for a piece about the brilliant Muscle Shoals film. I spoke to Rick for about an hour and he told me all sorts of amazing stories about working at FAME, what he thought the first time he heard Aretha Franklin sing, meeting Duane Allman and much more. He was an old-fashioned gentleman, and I have rarely enjoyed an interview as much.
Here’s Bradley Wiggins’ Soundtrack Of My Life for NME. Surprisingly, he likes The Who, Weller, Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and a bit of soul music. He was a bit of a grump to start of with - he was launching a new clothing range at the Covent Garden Fred Perry shop and every Mod in London was after a photo - but once we found a little corner and he started telling stories about being a teenager going up to Camden to buy Oasis records he was lovely.
Here’s a piece I wrote for NME on Television’s Marquee Moon shows last year. It’s an album I love. I bought it when I was 18 - likely something to do with The Strokes’ Is This It? being released - and after a period of admiring it, fell for it in a big way.
I knew little of Tom Verlaine beforehand, but I knew he wasn’t much into nostalgia. The thought of asking him all about a 35-year-old record didn’t fill me with much hope, but he was in a good mood and while not really giving me much, was at least funny about it. He loves Warpaint too, so we had a good chat about their first record. I later heard he thought I was “a jolly fellow with a good sense of humour” which is nice. Not quite up there with Jon Bon Jovi telling me I “seemed quite intelligent”, but I’ll take what I can get.
This week’s NME features the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. As the coverline states, it’s ‘the final, definitive, definitely last of its kind’, and was a pretty huge undertaking for Mark Beaumont, who worked for a good few months on the project.
Like about 80 other people who either write or have written for NME, I was asked to submit a list of my Top 50 albums. There were few rules. I did my list a while ago, so by the time the magazine came out this week I’d almost forgotten it was happening.
This the most-recent piece I’ve written for The Smith Journal. It’s about Ralph Izzard, a man who led the most extraordinary life. It took a long time to research this piece - not a great deal had been written about him before. I spent about five months reading all the books and related material I could, tracking down members of his family and old colleagues. His children Miles and Sabrina were most helpful. The only person I couldn’t speak to was Jan Morris; a former colleague of Ralph’s in Naval Intelligence and The Times journalist who accompanied Hillary and Tenzing to the top of Everest.
I think it’s an incredible story. I’m surprised more people haven’t written about him, and even more surprised there isn’t a whole book or even film dedicated to him. Now there’s a thought…
So, it turns out my grandson is in trouble with the police. I know this because this afternoon I had a telephone conversation with DCI Paul Asher from Hammersmith and Fulham police. He told me my grandson had got into a spot of bother and he was calling to let me know.