Jam in Soho with Trev Tweedy, Jason Cordero and Melanie Turner.


Wow I had such an awesome day last Sunday (17th April).

As I have previously hinted, I'm putting together a new band with bass player Trevor Tweedy from VLB, the idea being that we will take my existing material out on the road and start to work on new material. We are currently drummerless and rehearsals thus far have been accompanied by my Mac, lol, so Trev arranged a fun Jam with Jason Cordero, drummer from the band St Louis and the Beat Up Mustangs, visiting from Los Angeles; and Melanie Turner, vocalist from the band Lineburner.

The session was booked at Enterprise Studio's in Soho, just off Charing Cross Road. I didn't really know what to expect, I'd met Mel once previously but had never been to the venue before and hadn't met Jason. This was also the first time in a loooong time that I have trekked across London with a guitar on my back, but what a great feeling! It was a glorious day, I had my cool sunnies on and had cued up some relevant listening on the Android phone to get me in the mood for rocking. As I rode the Central Line tube to Tottenham Court Road I wondered how the session would go. We had a fixed booking of three hours, we've never played together, hmmm. I wondered what we could do with three hours at hand. I'd brought my SD camera with me and wondered whether we'd get anything on it. Last time I used rehearsal studios in London we all used our own equipment, it was a logistical nightmare - carting amps, guitars, drums, stands, cymbals, pedals and "stuff" back and forth each time we went - but at least we knew what sound we were going to get. This time I had just packed my Les Paul in a shoulder case and that was it, I brought a guitar lead, oh and my own mic... I get really squeamish at the idea of singing into a "rental mic" used by hundreds of other germ ridden gozzers. So I was a tiny bit apprehensive about whether the equipment at the venue would work for us, having never seen it before.

I continued pondering about these things right up until I got off the tube. Trev had suggested we go ahead and jam some of my tracks and some VLB tracks, and a few of our regular covers, so I tried to pick out a few that were jammable in my head before getting there, thinking time would be of the essence, we needed to make the most of our three hours!

Getting off the Tube was a surprise, my smartass idea of jumping out at Tottenham Court Road station and heading south on Charing Cross Road was slightly scuppered by the road being closed for some major building works, so a little detour was needed to take me where I needed to be! I still ended up getting there well early so I loitered aimlessly until Trev arrived and we headed into the studio. I was surprised to see that we were only a few doors away from the 12 Bar Club - which was the last headlining gig I played in Central London, this gave me a little kudos boost! The studio was everything you'd expect, it had seen better days, the walls were emblazoned with "art" paying homage to past/current regular bands, some of the equipment was a little dilapidated, the toilets were condemned, but everything worked and we were able to set up in minutes. They had a decent stock of refreshments which was very welcome in the heat. Jason and Melanie arrived in good time before our booked slot so we had a good chance to chat and get to know each other while the previous band finished up their session. Trev brought one of his many cool Status basses, Mel brought her own mic too and Jason just brought sticks!
Setting up was nice and easy without having to bring anything, we had a PA for our two mics, guitar and bass amps and Jason had a reasonable kit set up ready to use. We continued getting to know each other while tuning up and discussing what to play. Jason announced that he had listened to quite a few of the tracks off the web which was cool. Even more cool, he announced that he had brought a bottle of Makers Marque Kentucky Bourbon, so we mutually embarked on getting to know that also, which oiled up the jamming fingers nicely! 
For the next three hours we just played, Jason is an awesome drummer, he just picked up whatever Trev and I threw at him and just played by feel. Melanie opted to be camerawoman for most of the session, but she did join in singing towards the end, which was great, she has a fantastic voice! Within a couple of tracks we totally gelled as a unit and just got into it! It was such an awesome experience to step into that room with a line up of musicians that had never worked together before and just "click"! The session was a high-energy jam and we were all totally buzzed! Trev as always was on blinding form, churning out some awesome bass riffs. A lot of my own guitar work was improv and I busted three strings in the session, in some clips you can see them hanging off and I'm improving around the gaps. We captured about an hour and a half of footage on camera and I have attempted to edit down some of the highlights into a YouTube friendly ten minute clip. In places some of the instruments get a little buried, which is understandable in such a tiny space, but overall the sound is surprisingly clearer than I expected it would be.
Alas, the session had to end so we wound the evening down with a nice curry and a few bottles of Cobra in a Soho Indian restaurant. Sadly, Jason's visit is short and he is due to return back to California within DAYS of this blog being posted. We are however working on ideas to see if we can get him detained by customs and refused permission to leave. That would be perfect for us as he'd make an ideal choice of drummer to complete our lineup! In all seriousness huge thanks to Trev for organising the jam and to Jason and Mel coming along to take part. Kudos to all, I couldn't imagine a first ever jam between musicians going better than that!

Al :)

Video Setlist:
Gotten (Slash)
When The DJ Calls Your Name (Allan Dawson)
Turbononsense (Allan Dawson)
Anosognosia (Allan Dawson)
Sweet Child O' Mine (Guns n' Roses)
Rawk Crash & Roll (VLB)

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