Posts Tagged ‘ Elvis ’

Robin Williams – The Clown That Cried



Re-blogged from I’m Talkin’ Here

We’re a hypocritical bunch, we humans. Death is a daily occurrence in our society yet only the deaths of those in the spotlight cause us to leap to social media to share our grief, even though the common man or woman who passes away is far more in need of our publicity. Yet every so often, an exception to this occurs. For me it was the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Clarence Clemens, two occasions where I felt wholly justified in expressing my grief publically. This week, I can sadly add Robin Williams to that list.

The first significant trait about the passing of Robin Williams that resonates so strongly is that from Mork and Mindy through to Mrs Doubtfire Williams was a childhood hero for nearly three generations of young TV viewers and cinema-goers. As children, we absorb and embrace role models and personal heroes stronger than we ever do as adults. With his death, it is not hyperbolic to say portions of many childhoods have died. Williams was of a time where we didn’t have celebrity information at our fingertips, when we knew then through their public persona and not much more. And we all agreed that he was an incredibly talented and funny person, who always seemed to come across as nothing but kind and genuine outside of his films be it at interviews or premieres etc. Continue reading

Woke up this Morning in West Belfast

Over the past week communities in West Belfast have come together to create a festival known as Féile an Phobail. This festival has now gained a reputation as one of the largest community festivals in Europe. When word broke out that the act formerly known as The First Presleyterian Church Of Elvis The Devine aka Alabama 3 were going to be hitting the stage, I was excited. Every member of the group has an alias by which he/she is known, for example Rob Spragg, the Vocalist is now Larry Love and Jake Black, also on vocals is The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love.

For anyone that has never heard of Alabama 3, they are a phenomenal live band whose genre trashing, big slogan-chanting choruses and their country acid house style of music has put a unique label on a group of performers from Brixton in London. Over the years Alabama 3 have created nine studio albums such as ‘Exile on Coldharbour Lane’, ‘Power in the Blood’ and their most recent, ‘Shoplifting 4 Jesus’. They have covered songs by artists such as, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles and John Prine.

This was my chance to get an up close and personal chat with the band whose hit song, ‘Woke up this Morning’ from the album ‘Exile on Coldharbour Lane’ caught the attention of hit TV series The Sopranos producer, David Chase. The song was used for the shows opening credits and the band received international status.

When I arrived back stage, Larry Love began telling quirky and interesting stories about the band on the road touring. A few stories caught a few laughs, like the fact that Jake has a terrible habit of losing his passport and on three occasions he was almost refused entry to the US. Their Tour Manager now looks after it. Also, Nick Reynolds aka Harpo Strangelove, is the son of Bruce Reynolds, the Great Train Robber.

I asked Aurora Dawn, another vocalist, how the Sopranos opportunity came along, “After a night of intense partying at a house party in Peckham, Jake Black and Larry Love received a phone call from David Chase asking to use our record in the show. We were pretty hungover and accepted royalties of 50p a play on radio and £30 one off fee.” So due to their rock and roll lifestyle, Alabama 3 lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds, as the show became one of the greatest television series of all time. Love commented, “Maybe we could have made a lot more money from ‘Wake up’ but that’s life. We are going to keep on performing and putting out records and that is all we can do.”

My time with the band was drawing to a close, the crowd outside were chanting and everyone in the room became quiet. Tensions rose, until Love shouted, “Let’s do this” and the adrenaline suddenly rushed through the room and the stage was theirs. The performance was a complete success and after all their years touring and performing in venues across the world, Falls Park witnessed a band with a huge reputation and persona’s perform their greatest hit “ Woke up this Morning” and standing there in the crowd I could understand how David Chase wanted these lyrics so bad.

Belfast looks forward to Alabama 3’s return, as Féile an Phobail has received enormous praise for their contribution in boosting tourism in West Belfast, as locals and tourists alike, flocked to the festival to enjoy famous bands and performers. It was an amazing event and will surely help bring tourists to Féile an Phobail 2013 as the acts are getting bigger each year, thanks to the festival’s Events Committee.

“They say we were degenerates, corrupter’s of morals, they say we were too political, too contrived, too ugly. We’ve been in and we’ve been out. In and out of the charts, in and out of fashion, in and out of rehab. We’ve been skint and we’ve been minted… and you know what? It makes no difference to us.” – Alabama 3