Music

AS THE current star of What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Elesha Paul Moses has been wowing audiences around the country performing the songs of Tina Turner.

But it’s not her first time paying tribute to a megastar, as she also toured the country paying tribute to Whitney Houston in Queen of the Night.

“It’s funny really, they’re such different sounding performers,” she muses. “Tina’s not got a growl as such, it’s just something which is there in her tone. It’s really difficult. People think it’s shouting but it’s not, it’s a very particular tone that she has, and she’s so free with her performance.

“Then when I’m on stage as Whitney it’s almost the opposite.” But don’t ask Elesha to pick her favourite.

“That’s like asking me to choose my favourite child,” she exclaims. “I love them both in totally different ways. With both, I’m always learning, but especially with Whitney there are songs I have to always go back to and re-listen to how she sounds, I’m constantly learning how to improve with her voice. Then with Tina it’s all the fun of her performance.”

But the singer, who has appeared on both X Factor and The Voice, is more clear about her favourite Turner song.

“Oh, there are so many I love,” she says. “Proud Mary is obviously so much fun, but I also love Typical Male and I Can’t Stand The Rain. But for my absolute favourite, I’ll go Proud Mary. It always used to be Simply The Best, which people really loved and went mad for, but these days it’s definitely Proud Mary.”

She says she can understand why Turner, who is now 80, is still massively popular. 

“She’s just such a great all-rounder, and she appeals to men as well as women,” says Elesha. “She’s a great rock and roll artist, she’s still here and she’s still doing so well.

“Her songs have never gone away either. Even youngsters now, they know tracks like Proud Mary. You do those songs and they’re all over it, and it’s not fading away.

“Tina’s had difficult times too over the years, but she came through it and is married and happy now. I think people like that side of her story too, as well as the brilliant music.”

What’s Love Got To Do With It? is the ultimate tribute concert to the singer who started out as part of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue back in the 1960s.

Elesha, backed by a full live band, performs all the classic hits including Private Dancer, What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Proud Mary, River Deep, Nutbush City Limits, Simply The Best and many more.

Elesha Paul Moses will star in What’s Love Got To Do With It? at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, this Friday, 24 January.

For the full story get the 16 January edition of the News & Mail

RODDY Byers played a pivotal role in the success of The Specials but was edged out by frontman Terry Hall. He now says he probably should never have been in the band in the first place.

As the lead guitarist with the legendary Two Tone pioneers, he wrote some of their most famous songs, like Concrete Jungle, Rat Race and Hey Little Rich Girl, and played with various incarnations of the band from 1978 right through until 2013.

Roddy Byers has broken away from The Specials to form The Skabilly Rebels, who are coming to Woking in March

He says he was eventually forced to quit after being treated badly by Hall in the latest reformed version of the group.

“Terry was making my life hell,” says Roddy, who’s bringing his latest band, The Skabilly Rebels, to headline the Undercover Festival in Woking on Friday 6 March.

“Terry wanted a world music Funboy Three thing. He got an all-female string section in and complained my guitar was too loud – he even used to say it on stage.

“I was going for a 1960s Vox AC30 sound, he was trying to lose the punk rock and roll element that I put into The Specials. He wanted a more refined sound and to keep me out and obviously that didn’t sit very well with me.

“I was the punk rock and roller and Terry had moved on. He would punch me in the back if I got in his space on stage.”

When The Specials re-formed in 2009, Roddy would sing Concrete Jungle and other songs he had written but he says: “Later Terry decided he wanted to sing and they just turned my mic off.

“It was painful. Eventually, they took my mic away altogether. They didn’t want to know. Then, when Neville Staples left, they asked me to do some backing vocals again, which was funny.”

Looking back, Roddy says he never really fitted in with the band’s mod image.

“I had a leather jacket and spikey hair, but it would clash with the tonic suits,” he recalls. “I shouldn’t have been in the band really. When Elvis Costello came in to produce the debut album he said ‘lose the punk, he doesn’t fit in…’”

Roddy was obsessed with punk before joining The Specials. “The first major Specials tour supporting The Clash was a dream come true,” he says. “I was a big Clash fan, I’d met Joe Strummer in 1976.

“A friend from Coventry had moved to London and called me down. I went to the 100 Club and saw The Clash and the Sex Pistols. We would see The Damned or whatever. 

“I was going to move to London and join a punk band, but I couldn’t get a flat for what I was paying for a house in Coventry. Luckily, the Specials founder Jerry Dammers asked me to play on some demos.”

Roddy is much happier playing with his current band The Skabilly Rebels and says: “It’s basically what I’ve always done. When The Specials were going in the 1980s I started my own thing, The Tearjerkers, as well, it was rock and roll and ska and power punk pop.

“Then, when The Funboy Three quit The Specials in the early ’90s’, I formed The Bonediggers.

“With The Skabilly Rebels I still play a few Specials songs and most of my new stuff is punky rock and roll I guess. I’m not a teenager, so I just play what I like now.

“My father and grandfather played in bands. It’s hard to get it out of your system, I’ll play until I drop.”

Roddy Radiation’s Skabilly Rebels will headline the Undercover Festival at the Fiery Bird, Woking, on Friday 6 March, alongside Chelsea, XSLF, Menace and more. The festival continues on Saturday 7 March with 999, Johnny Moped, Subhumanz and many more.

A SURPRISE phone call from a pop star sparked an extraordinary adventure in which a teenager born in West Byfleet got to hang out with some of the world’s biggest stars.

Malcolm with Pink in early 2002

The memoir of those years is captured in a book called Freak Like Me: Confessions of a 90s Pop Groupie by Malcolm McLean.

Meeting Geri Halliwell for the first time, Heathrow, summer 1999, just after Malcolm finished his GCSEs

Malcolm, now 36, was living with his parents and two sisters in Ottershaw when Kelle Bryan, a member of the girl band Eternal, called him after receiving a fan letter.

The call led Malcom to the first of nearly 70 visits to see Top of the Pops and meeting likeminded teenagers in London and rubbing shoulders with the pop stars of the day.

He said the adventure took him away from Surrey, where he was bored and also suffered homophobic bullying.

Meeting boyband NSYNC, including Justin Timberlake, far left, in the US on tour

Malcolm, who only felt able to come out as gay when he went to university at 19, said: “It was different times. Because of Section 28 [legislation aimed at preventing local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’] schools felt they couldn’t address bullying relating to children who were gay, or thought to be gay,” Malcom said.

He and his new friends in London got to meet stars such as the Spice Girls, Hear’Say and All Saints and made fake passes so they could go to the BRIT Awards.

“It completely changed my teenage years and made them really happy.”

Freak Like Me: Confessions of a 90s Pop Groupie By Malcolm McLean is published by RedDoor Press.

For the full story get the 9 January edition of the News & Mail

NEW musical talent is being showcased at Guildford’s Boileroom to kick off 2020 under the banner Fresh Faces.

Singer/songwriter Joss Mogli will open the season at the Boileroom on Friday 10 January

The season opens this Friday, 10 January, with Joss Mogli, a songwriter whose sound is infused with the likes of Courtney Barnett, The Black Keys and Lou Reed.

Other Fresh Faces gigs include Surrey theatrical prog-rockers In Albion (Saturday 11 Jan), self-confessed weirdos Pinc Wafer (Monday 13 Jan), Swindon skate punks Drag Me Down (Wednesday 15 Jan), and folk pop band The Chocolas (Friday 17 Jan).

BIG names and big shows are heading to Woking for 2020. There’s comedy from the likes of Jack Dee, Josh Widdicombe and Jimmy Carr, original music from Susan Boyle, Russell Watson and Ward Thomas and musical tributes to everyone from the Bee Gees and Paul McCartney to Cher and Tina Turner.

Cast members of Priscilla Queen of the Desert will bring a healthy dose of fabulously outrageous glitz and colour in March

They’re all part of a packed new year programme at the New Victoria Theatre, which also includes loads of stage shows direct from the West End – with Ghost Stories, Once, The King And I, Friends! The Musical Parody and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on the bill.

The first big show of the year will be Ghost Stories (28 January until 1 February), which is billed as one of the scariest shows you’ll ever see and not recommended for under-15s.

Comedian Jack Dee is as excited as ever about his new show

There’s something dark lurking in the theatre. Punters will enter a nightmarish world, full of twists and turns, where all your deepest fears and disturbing thoughts are imagined live on stage. There will be phantoms, poltergeists and plenty of bumps in the night.

The Sound of Music (10-14 March) will be followed by Priscilla Queen of the Desert (16-21 March), Blood Brothers (3 March-4 April), The King and I (7-18 April), A Murder Is Announced (21-25 April), Friends! The Musical Parody (19 May), and Grease (8-13 June).

On the comedy front, David Baddiel will be in town with his new show, Trolls Not The Dolls (23 February) followed by Ed Byrne (4 March), Adam Kay (23 March), Rob Brydon (24 March) and Josh Widdicombe (29 March). Jack Dee brings his new show, Off The Telly, on 30 May to be followed by Rob Beckett with Wallop (31 May) and Jimmy Carr (15 July).

Musical stars already lined up for 2020 include veteran Joe Brown (3 March), Britain’s Got Talent sensation Susan Boyle with fellow star from the show Jai McDowall (7 March), Russell Watson (3 May) and Ward Thomas (13 May).

Britain’s Got Talent stars Susan Boyle and Jai McDowall in rehearsal

There’s even more in the line-up for those who like their music nostalgic and in tribute form – You Win Again (12 January) celebrates the music of The Bee Gees, The McCartney Songbook arrives on 13 January, and Tina Turner’s songs get an outing in What’s Love Got To Do With It (24 January). Other celebration shows include Believe (Cher) on 16 February, Illegal Eagles (2 March) and the Magic of Motown (6 March).

And if you’re already pining for another dose of pantomime, tickets are already on sale for the 2020 Christmas show. It will be Snow White (4 December-3 January) with the stars yet to be announced. Full listings are on the New Victoria Theatre website.

For the full preview get the 2 January edition of the News & Mail

EWBANK’S, Surrey’s leading international auction house, is gearing up for its entertainment and memorabilia auction on 9 January.

STAR QUALITY – A Yoda Pepsi-Cola promotional figure from 1999 film Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace has an estimate of between £500 and £800

One of the stand-out lots is a pencil drawing by Rick Griffin, for the Walt Disney Company. The drawing, Mickey Mouse Wants You, combines two famous American icons – Mickey Mouse and the iconic First World War recruiting poster featuring Uncle Sam, by James Montgomery Flagg.

This idea of altering or combining historically-known images to make a currently relevant point was a recurring theme in Griffin’s art, who became fascinated with comic books, newspaper funnies and animated films as a child.

MAKING A POINT – A pencil drawing by Rick Griffin, Mickey Mouse Wants You, has been valued between £10,000 and £15,000

In the early 1980s, Griffin worked on several film animation projects with people employed by Hanna-Barbera and the Walt Disney Studios, and was drawing cartoon-related works regularly. These projects led to a number of new contacts in Hollywood and Burbank, which resulted in commissions for Rick to create art for film studio products.

A few years after this pencil drawing was created, it was framed by Alton Kelley, an American artist known for his psychedelic art. He used his unique approach to matching and stacking frame moulding and chose a red, white and blue colour motif to further the point of the references to these all-American icons.

It has been valued at between £10,000 and £15,000 by the experts at Ewbank’s.

Many vintage film posters will be on sale. Among the most valuable is one advertising 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, featuring artwork by Georges Kerfyser, which is framed and valued at between £500 and £800. A poster from 1961 film The Misfits, starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, has an estimate of between £150 and £250.

HOLLYWOOD GREATS – A poster from 1961 film The Misfits, starring Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, has an estimate of between £150 and £250

Alongside the posters is a large cinema foyer information board showing Timetable of Films with category and times, carved wood with lift-up interchangeable film information and wooden upright stand. It has a guide price of between £200 and £400.

Star Wars is one of the most popular franchises for Ewbank’s, so fans will be intrigued by a Yoda Pepsi-Cola promotional figure from 1999 film Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. The figure stands 87cm tall and has an estimate of between £500 and £800.

SIGN HERE – A copy of Queen’s A Night At The Opera album, on Dutch Export white vinyl from 1975, bearing the signatures of all band members, has a guide price of between £1,500 and £2,500.

For music fans, there are a couple of lots of note, including a signed copy of Queen’s A Night At The Opera album, on Dutch Export white vinyl from 1975. It bears the signatures of all band members to the front cover, and was signed at Elland Road, Leeds, in 1962 for Trudi Humphry, a lifelong fan of the band. It has a guide price of between £1,500 and £2,500.

She met the band on numerous occasions, starred in multiple music videos and was heavily involved with the official fan club in London. This led to her having access to the band and attending many concerts and tours with backstage passes.

BLACK GOLD – A gold disc presented to rock band Black Sabbath for their 1970 album Paranoid, which has been valued at between £1,000 and £1,500

Trudi also wrote a discographical research biography with Andy Skingle, which was printed in the booklet and credited to them in the box set of albums called Queen The Works.

A gold disc presented to rock band Black Sabbath for their 1970 album Paranoid has been valued at between £1,000 and £1,500.

An original costume design from 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, has been valued at between £300 and £500. The design is by John Mollo, a British costume designer and author best known for his Oscar-winning costume designs for the Star Wars films.

EWBANK’S can be telephoned on 01483 223101 or emailed at valuations@ewbankauctions.co.uk.   

LIVE internet bidding is available through www.theauctionroom.com and www.ewbankauctions.co.uk 

THE Undercover Festival has announced the Woking News & Mail as its official printed media partner for its eighth and final full festival back in Woking at the Fiery Bird on 6 and 7 March 2020.

“Undercover 8 is going to be our final festival, and we intend for it to go out with a bang,” says organiser Mick Moriarty.

Undercover 8 will be the final full Undercover music festival

“We’ll have two packed days of alternative music, including punk, post punk and some ska and dub thrown in for good measure, pulled together in the way that only we at Undercover can,” he adds.

“It’s fitting that we’re working with the Woking News & Mail as they were a great help to Undercover when we first started at Bisley back in 2013.”

The festival has had a somewhat nomadic existence since 2013, calling in at Brighton, Margate and Tufnell Park, but through this journey Undercover has kept close links to Woking, with Keith Woodhouse from Radio Woking being the ever-present MC.

Barry Rutter, the News & Mail entertainment editor, says: “While it’s a shame that 2020 will be the final Undercover Festival, it’s great to see the event back in Woking, especially at the Fiery Bird. The line-up looks like one of the best yet so it should be a great send-off.

“It’s also good to see a line-up that includes some great alternative artists from Surrey, as well as the big names that Undercover always manages to land.”

The bill includes Johnny Moped, Subhumans, Roddy Radiation & The Skabilly Rebels (with Roddy Byers from The Specials), 999, Chelsea, Menace, XSLF, Radical Dance Faction, Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons, dragSTER, Diablofurs, Screaming Dead,
R.E.D – Religion Equals Decay, Stone Heroes, G.Y.B, No Lip, RAGE DC, WitchDoktors and Wyrd Sisters.

Full details on www.undercoverfest.com.

KENT singer-songwriter Katie Bradley came into the spotlight with her 2012 iTunes blues hit I Hear The River, which received a nomination for Best Original Song in the British Blues Awards, which came from her debut album She’s Ready.

PLAYING THE BLUES – Katie Bradley is one of the leading attractions at the Americana Festival, Fiery Bird, Woking, this weekend

Her success grew quickly as she supported and collaborated with the likes of Luther Allison, Suzanne Vega, Lucky Peterson, Taildragger, Georgie Fame and Geno Washington.

An accomplished blues harp player, her second album, Anchor Baby Sessions, has cemented her reputation to the point where she is a major attraction at the first Surrey Americana Festival in Woking this weekend.

Taking place at the Fiery Bird, the festival will run on Saturday (4pm-midnight) and Sunday  (2-10.30pm) and will also feature Dustbowl Sinners, Mantic Muddlers, Downtown Roundabout, Beth Keeping, the Will Purdue Band and many more.

WHEN a band’s touring van breaks down it could spell disaster, but for Zounds it turned out to be their biggest stroke of luck.

“By sheer chance we broke down at the end of the road where Crass lived,” explains frontman Steve Lake. “So we went to their house and it turned out we did get on really well.”

UNDERCOVER MISSION – Steve Lake fronts Zounds at the Fiery Bird on Saturday

At this time, in the late 1970s, anarcho punk band Crass had a massive cult following, which turned out to be good news for Reading outfit Zounds.

“It sounds like something from a made-up showbiz story, but it’s true,” explains Steve. “We had started playing in 1977 and we used to go to a lot of free festivals and play at a lot of them.

“Everywhere we were playing we saw posters for Crass and Poison Girls the week before or after, but we’d never met them.”

Following the fateful meeting after the van breakdown, Crass were quick to offer Zounds the chance to release a record on their label – and this flung them into the indie punk limelight.

The first release, an EP called Can’t Cheat Karma, went to number one in NME indie charts, although the singer admits: “That’s not because people knew who we were. Their devotion to Crass meant they thought it was the sort of thing they’d like.”

The band went on to release more records via Rough Trade, including The Curse of Zounds album, but their initial career was fairly shortlived.

Steve says: “In 1982 we stopped playing for a lot of reasons. It was getting to be less fun. There was a lot of trouble at gigs in those days, the late ’70s and early ’80s were pretty violent times.”

Steve continued to exist on the fringes of the DIY music scene, putting on gigs and playing occasionally, and eventually reformed Zounds in 2007, leading to the release of the album, The Redemption of Zounds, in 2011.

He is loving the band’s new lease of life, except for one thing.

“The songs I wrote came out of our experience, which happened to be a harsh experience. But the songs about ecology, consumerism, housing shortages are sadly still problems for people today.”

Zounds will play at the Undercover Festival at the Fiery Bird, Woking, this weekend, Friday and Saturday, 13 and 14 September.

Undercover Festival lineup

Tomorrow (Friday): Spear of Destiny (Kirk Brandon), 1919, The Satellites, The Blue Carpet Band, R.E.D. (Religion Equals Decay)

Saturday: Towers of London, Menace, Wonk Unit, Rubella Ballet, Zounds, The Fanzines, Actified UK, Wipes

For the full interview get the 12 September edition of the News & Mail

THE punk rock ethic that “anyone can do it” can rarely have had more resonance than for London four-piece Menace.

The band had spent most of 1976 on a gruelling tour of military bases in Germany, playing rock ’n’ roll and R&B covers to airmen and soldiers – and just about making ends meet.

The reformed Menace will appear at the Undercover Festival at Woking’s Fiery Bird

When the band returned to England, they discovered that punk was emerging as a major musical force… and an old school colleague was the major star.

“The Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten went to our school in London, St William of York, and we couldn’t get over it,” says Menace drummer Noel Martin, who is still with the band.

“He wasn’t ‘one of the lads’ at school, he was one of the ones that wasn’t a footballer or one of the tough kids, he was just ‘this kid’ and suddenly he was a rock star.

“We decided to get in on it. We wrote some songs like Screwed Up and Insane Society and then our second or third gig was at the Roxy.”

Menace became regulars at the legendary punk club in Covent Garden, playing with the likes of The Lurkers, Penetration, The Killjoys (with future Dexy’s Midnight Runners frontman Kevin Rowland on vocals), The Rezillos and Sham 69.

“Miles Copeland came to see us and signed us to Illegal Records straight away,” recalls Noel. “Because we could play reasonably well, we stood out I suppose.”

The initial result was the 1977 Screwed Up/Insane Society single, which is now a valuable commodity.

Other singles like GLC and Last Year’s Youth followed as Menace gained a big punk/skinhead following around London.

“We had a great time,” says the drummer. “Punk meant freedom for us. Before, you couldn’t get a gig for love nor money in London, you had to go cap in hand to some agent. It was hard work.

“When punk came along there was loads of shows, everybody could play because suddenly there were so many kids into it.

Menace in their early days

“We got quite a following. It was real – small but real –  people were singing our songs and we were playing three or four times a week in London.”

However, things petered out around the end of 1979 when frontman Morgan Webster left. The rest of the band became a backing band for Vermillion, as The Aces, for a while. Noel says: “Then, from 1981 I didn’t play for years. I started a wedding business, so I was busy every weekend.”

But in 1999 Noel and former bandmate Charlie joined a band called The Collection with John Lacey and played a few gigs. One night they decided to play the Menace classic GLC and Noel says: “The place went nuts!

“Afterwards, someone said ‘That’s the best Menace cover I’ve heard’ and I was like ‘Eh? I was in Menace!’ I started getting calls saying ‘Are you reforming?’, so we decided to do more of the old songs and eventually decided we might as well be Menace.

“It’s more enjoyable, but in a different way. Back then, we were kids and everything was completely insane. We didn’t have a care in the world. But now everyone knows our tunes, everyone knows us and we’re enjoying it to the max.

“We only had 11 songs back in 1977, so we’d often play them more than once! We lasted for three years with 11 songs.

“Now we have a much bigger set. We still play GLC, Screwed Up, Last Year’s Youth, I Need Nothing and we have new songs that sound very similar.”

Menace will play alongside Spear of Destiny, Towers of London, Rubella Ballet, Zounds, Wonk Unit and many others at the Undercover Festival at the Fiery Bird, Woking, on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September.