glenatron: (Default)
Blimey. Just got a message on Facebook formally announcing the end of Sequoia. I know Chris had been wondering about quitting for a while - as previous quitter I was well suited to offer advice on the matter - and finally made his decision just before I saw them last but it was still a surprise to hear that they had made the decision to call a halt. I think the others will be working together but as Andy's backing band rather than a band under their own name. That is sort of what we were as Sequoia, but we had some pretty good times and recorded an album that I think stands up very well.

Going Wilde
The classic Sequoia lineup, back in 2006

I can totally understand the decision- with so many personnel changes the band they were going to be without Chris would be absolutely different from the one I was part of and the songs always belonged to Andy anyways but I'll be sorry to see them go.
glenatron: (Default)
Last night we went to see Sequoia ( the band I belonged to until last year, for more recent friends ) at the West End Centre in Aldershot.

The first act of the night, Moscow Flyer were absolutely tremendous. Huge anthemic tunes, lots of musicians on stage, really really worth listening to. Considering it was only their third gig I was very impressed indeed. I think a band night that featured them, Wire Jesus and Godwits would be literally amazing. Heh, there may even be a little room on that bill for Quesada & Molino. Anyways go listen to them on the Myspace link above. If "Lights In The Sky" doesn't take your breath away there may just be something wrong with you.

Sequoia were headlining. It's the second time I have seen them live, although of course I was in the band for something in the region of 50-70 gigs. Since I quit they have had another bass player who also left to tour Switzerland so I hadn't heard the new guy play. He is very good- a tremendous musician and he played very much my bassline to Laura Valentine, something the girl who replaced me didn't do. It may seem silly to say so, but that bassline is really important to the song, giving it drive and bounce, and it was really good to hear it done properly.

What has been really informative for me was the songs that I played live but we never recorded, so my replacements have had free rein to do what they want with them. Both of them are amazing bassists, well trained, properly taught and simply better at playing the instrument than me, unquestionably. In a one-on-one bass-off either of them could have handed me my ass on a plate while still playing better than me with the other hand. However, listening to the bass lines they put together I couldn't help but feel that maybe I have a stronger sense of dynamic and what one can do with a bass line to change the shape and feel of a song. I may be a fairly mediocre player in terms of improvisation, sight reading and whatever else, but I do have a pretty good sense of pop. Also I've probably had an extra 10 years to assimilate my influences and develop my playing over either of them and sometimes being old can be handy. For some reason I found that slightly satisfying.

It was nice to hear new songs as well- they have a fairly upbeat set now, which is important for a stand-up audience and also for Chris, the guitarist, not to look too horrendously bored; something he did particularly well in acoustic and unplugged kind of shows. I enjoyed seeing the guys and some other friends from when I was with the band again so it made for a really good fun night out...
glenatron: (Default)
The second Quesada & Molino gig at Summer Breeze went down pretty well- we played a good set and people came along to see us. We had more people in the room when we finished than when we started too, but we were first up so that is to be hoped for I guess.

The rest of the day had the usual mix of oustanding and average stuff- Arthur were clearly good, most of the acts on the main stage seemed a tiny bit lacklustre, I think because of an echoey room and a rubbish sound engineer. This was really disappointing with Big Wednesday who are usually outstanding but just seemed to be turned up so loud that it was physically uncomfortable to be there and it was impossible to make out what was going on in the music. When you are hiring a large PA from a professional company you would expect some degree of competence from the sound engineer. Very disappointing.

The weird bit was watching Sequoia for the first time since I left the band. The sound was still bad but less loud than Big Wednesday, but knowing the songs intimately it wasn't so noticeable for me. Obviously I was listening to the bass lines a lot- Abbe, the new bassist, is an amazing player- she can totally kick my ass when it comes to technical chops or playing fast but it sounded to me like her lines weren't as harmonically interesting as the ones I used to play, tending to stick to the root notes rather than offering counter melodies or driving the songs forward. Also, for whatever limitations I have as a musician (not that I run into them so much these days) I have a pretty good sense of pop dynamic which means that my lines tend to vary quite a lot during the songs and I didn't notice that happening so much now. Like anything, it was a mix, though, there were some songs that were clearly better, a couple that felt to me like they had lost a bit of punch and drive and most of them were fine.

It was interesting to notice that Chris looked much more rock than anyone else - and it was him the girls were all stood in front of - and that Ian is an astoundingly good drummer and the big room made him sound huge. There was nothing wrong with the set at all- Sequoia remain a truly great pop band, probably one of the best there is - but watching from the audience after years of being on the stage felt quite strange. It was funny when I realised that last year's Summer Breeze was the last one that Mic played - in spite of being a six-piece band at the time, there are only two members of the lineup that played on that day who are still in the band.

It was nice to catch up with them as well- apparently playing Guilfest and Italy were both really good fun- I'm really glad they are doing well and I enjoyed hearing them play but I have no regrets about leaving when I did.
glenatron: (zorro)
Last night was my last gig as a member of Sequoia.
A couple of pictures )
Not my last gig with Sequoia, that will be on June 17, but from now on the official job of bass player for the band goes to the intensely talented and entirely likeable Abbe Lucas. I hope with her on board they can ascend to the heights they deserve.

Edit for future historians: It was my last gig and Sequoia split up about 10 months later.
glenatron: (Default)
Thanks to anyone who rated us on VaioNation - this morning we were top of the list, right now we're well up the front page. All good...

Next show is at Farnham Maltings on Friday 18th...
glenatron: (Default)
Y'all are members of Sony's myspace-wannabe "Vaionation" aren't you?

I thought so. Take a moment out to rate Sequoia appropriately highly and you specifically will be our favourite friend.

If you're not a member you could always sign up just for that purpose. It would be an excellent use of your time...
glenatron: (zorro)
This has been a very hectic weekend really. Yesterday was spent in the studio recording the first new Sequoia material to get taped in the last couple of years. The songs are sounding good, even un-mixed, and the recording was actually quite fun once we gave up on using a click track. It took most of the day to get drums and bass down, but the performances we ended up with were pretty accurate I think so hopefully the demo we're recording will impress the people it needs to impress.

Today involved riding )
It's been a hectic weekend but right now I'm pretty happy about things generally.
glenatron: (Default)
Tomorrow (or today, probably by the time you read this) is the date of the first Sequoia gig with our new lineup, featuring our breathtakingly good new drummer. As is traditional with new members of the band, we are giving him a gentle introduction by playing at the Cellar Bar over in the South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell.

If you're in the area this will be a brilliant once-only chance to see our first ever gig with the drummer who will make us famous. Or be part of the Sequoia lineup that achieves fame and fortune. Or something.

Also, our guarantee of quality: Totally new material never heard before, set where it can sparkle demurely among a set of familliar Sequoia classics.
glenatron: (Default)
Right, does anyone know a good drummer who can learn songs and actually turn up to rehearsals from time to time, because we're getting very tired of ones that can't. Is it so hard to find anyone with as much commitment as the rest of the band does?

We've got four weeks until we're playing at this major Canadian industry show in Toronto and we really need someone who can do that. The guy we thought would be able to come in has proven himself unreliable- he didn't turn up to practice yesterday or get in touch at all and we simply can't be doing with that, he's straight out, but it presents a real problem.

While I'm whinging, one who can manage a simple shuffle would be nice as well. I don't see why it must be so amazingly hard to do.
glenatron: (Default)
Evidence for my existence juxtaposed with evidence for my having been at the Clothes Show:


Admittedly, I do kind of vanish into dry ice for much of it.

And if you're in Farnham on Friday night, it's the big Sequoia Christmas bash at the Maltings. Not that I think anyone here will be, but a good night out to be had...
glenatron: (Default)
So that was the Clothes Show Live - walking on stage (looking pretty cool in clothes from our sponsor) to an audience of screaming girls, many of whom didn't leave while we played. The aisles beyond them were packed with cheery showgoers who will at least have heard us and may remember the name, if not how to spell it. We even had a catwalk in front of the stage although in all honesty we didn't make a lot of use of it.

The show itself was like a big hall full of clothes stalls. There were so many I began to suffer from clothes blindness fairly quickly and the one stall I did want to look at a second time appeared to have vanished completely after I left it the first time.

Birmingham city centre is horribly confusing to drive around and although the people running the stage did everything they could to keep things running smoothly the NEC parking and traffic management people are a bunch of incompetent jobsworth car park fascists and added a lot of pointless driving between car parks we weren't allowed to park in to the day. Very irritating.

In spite of the irritation of driving round the site and driving round the city (I was having to follow Chris, who had a Tomtom navigation thingummibob that appeared to want us to go round and round in convoluted circles and kept turning away from where we needed to go) it was a very memorable day and certainly something unique and interesting to have done.
glenatron: (moody othello)
Tuesday is our gig at the Clothes Show Live, which is still pretty exciting. We've even got a clothes company ( Paul Frank ) giving us clothes for the show. I realise this counts as selling out when we should be at our most cool and underground but for the amount of time, effort and money I have put into this band I deserve free stuff.

Even if free stuff is, at this point, a funky belt and a T-shirt in an extraordinarily eyewatering shade of pink...
glenatron: (othello)
We are as yet neither rich nor famous as a consequence of Monday's show, but it sounds like there is a hint of an implication that we may be going to Canada next March for some showcases at Canadian Music Week in Toronto. With a following wind the journey home might even manage to take in Austin for SxSW as well, but that one is very heavily subscribed so it's more an idea than a likelyhood whereas Canada is pretty much on the table.

It's amazing what a difference proper management makes.
glenatron: (moody othello)
Today we had our last practice with new drummer Rob before we take him out on the road and it went very well, all told. He's sitting nicely in the songs, really getting over the "must hurry" thing that appears to afflict all new drummers and generally the songs are sounding very together. I've had to teach my fingers to get used to new bass patterns after years of locking in with Mic's way of doing things but I've got there more or less and we're sounding like a fairly solid rhythm section now. That's just as well because we've got a few shows coming up:

Saturday 4th November we're at The Boiler Rooms in Guildford (at last! Guildford has a proper music venue!) sharing the bill with the amazing Big Wednesday and the immense voice of Rob Reynolds in what should be a brilliant night out.

Tuesday 7th we're at Bracknell's Cellar Bar - one of the traditional early gigs for new Sequoia members (my first show with the band was there, two and a bit years back) and a nice little venue. If you're in Reading that night, why not come over? Do you hear me, Shanks?

Monday 13th we're playing at Madame Jojo's in Soho. This is an industry showcase set up by our management and there will be a lot of people there that we really need to impress. If any of you are in the London area and can make it we shall be very grateful as an enthusiastic audience often makes the difference between a great show and a merely good one.

As always you can find more from the Sequoia site or hear the tunes over on MySpace.
glenatron: (Default)
Today we played at the West End Centre in Aldershot, supporting The Storys and it was really good fun. The Storys are fresh from their own support slot with Elton John and they are six blokes from Swansea who play tuneful and harmony-laden country pop. We got on great with them, their set was really good and the whole night went off really well. We had Mic back for one last show and after having auditioned a fair few people over the last few weeks it was really nice to play with the absolute lock between bass and drums that we have worked up over the years since I joined the band.

One of the perks of playing in a band on the bottom rung of the music world is that sometimes you support someone really good and today was one of those days. Other times at the West End Centre we have supported Ian Wills and The Willing, who were alright in an Ian Dury wannabe kind of way and Brendan Benson (currently playing with Jack White as The Raconteurs) who was pretty much rubbish, so this is the first time I've actually stayed for the whole set by a band we've supported there. A very good set it was too- I can heartily recommend them. We were so impressed we bought their album.

Its also always good to hear Swansea accents- it has a lot of novelty round here - and to chat with their bassist, who used to work in Revenge Records on St Helens road so I probably bought some obscure albums off him at some point in the past...

The only downside was that time pressed somewhat after soundchecks and squeezed a couple of songs out of our set, leaving it very brief. I think we got the message across, though.
glenatron: (Default)
Next Saturday we are playing a gig at Aldershot's West End Centre, supporting The Storys for which Mic our old drummer will be coming back from retirement for one last mission. That meant he came back for an hour of today's rehearsal- Mic is a great player and it was great fun.

For the rest of the rehearsal we were playing with a guy called Rob, basically someone Andy Longhair met in the pub. He came along and jammed with us a couple of weeks ago- he hadn't heard the music at all but he impressed us with his ability to just pick up the song and fit right in. After today's rehearsal there was no doubt that he's the man for the job. The funny thing is that we first met Andy Longhair as a result of my brother knowing him from the same pub. From now on we're not going to bother with musicians' classifieds sites or anything like that, we're just going to send Longhair down the pub. Actually, knowing Longhair, he'll be there anyways.
glenatron: (Default)
The single is out today!

If you have ITunes and you have 79p that you can't think of a good use for, I recommend you buy Close To The Sun the new, download only, single from Sequoia. For less than £2.50 you could get the single and both B-sides, new track "What Would Our Mothers Say" and a DLT session version of "Ebb & Flow" introduced by the Cornflake himself.

If you don't have ITunes you could download it and then buy the single. As Arrested Development almost said: "79p means a snack for me, but it means a big deal to you." If you imagine you are saying that to me, and I am the wise old hobo of that song, then I'm not entirely sure where I was going with that. Not sure at all.

So anyway, as we might say from a stage: "We have a single out, please buy it and tell everyone you know how great it is so they buy it too..."

It should arrive on Napster and Yahoo music shortly too, but I don't have direct links yet as it doesn't seem to have made it's way out of them yet.

The festival went really well- it was a big day out for everyone involved and we got to play on a big stage to a very large room with lots of people on it. This was to the good. Big Wednesday were astounding, Nizlopi were bless and Smudged deserved a bigger audience. The whole thing seemed to go pretty well and I'm definitely happy about it.
glenatron: (Default)
We just played on a stage at Farnham Carnival and it went surprisingly well. We started out doing a 45 minute set of our own material which, considering we were playing to a street full of people, went down really well. I suppose our sound is very close to the definition of "accessible", so that kind of show does work out well for us.

Second set was all covers, many of which we learned for this show, including You And Me Song (went quite well), Take It Easy (I only forgot a few parts) and I Predict A Riot. The highlight of the covers set was The Day We Caught The Train - I confess to having taken an early and totally arbitrary dislike to Ocean Colour Scene possibly due to Chris Evans but learning to play this song has totally changed my view of them, it really is very good. I'm kind of thinking I might borrow an album off someone...
view from the stage )
Afterwards we went out and spent slightly more than we should have on expensive Farnham booze.
glenatron: (Default)
At the end of July, when we release our first single ( online only, details to follow ) we're also playing at an all dayer kind of a festival thing here in Farnham. We've got Nizlopi headlining and many outstanding acts over several stages throughout the afternoon. If anyone wants to come I can sort you out with a ticket or you can find them through the usual places. Knowing most of the acts on the bill to some degree I can pretty much guarantee that it will be the best day out it's possible to have in Farnham.

I don't know if I mentioned this previously, but we also have T-shirts suitable for anyone who falls into the "skinny-fit girl" demographic.
glenatron: (Default)
So summer is nearly here and the musical workrate is starting to really pick up. I mentioned that we had recorded a new b-side that was available on myspace last week and some of you will probably have inferred that this will be associated with an a-side perhaps in some sort of "single" configuration. In that case you will have inferred correctly- we are likely to be releasing Close To The Sun as a single later in the summer but you will doubtless suffer from my grovelling with regard to that enough in a couple of months time.

Between now and then we have an absolute shedload of gigs - I believe there are 19 lined up between now and the end of July, including Newbury Fringe Festival, Gillingham Festival (check us out- sharing a bill with Pam Ayres and Show Of Hands*), Wolvestock (looks like it's a festival for both kinds of music) and back to some other more familiar haunts including the 12 Bar in London and the Porter in Bath. Anyone who comes to the latter will be rewarded with the sight of us trying to cram six people (Tiff, our violinist, is now a full-time member of the band) onto the smallest imaginable playing space. Actually, come to think of it, the 12 Bar is also titchy. At those types of show I envy Mic- drums need a certain amount of space and can't be forced to squeeze up any closer than that...

For those of you in earshot of Haslemere (not many, I'll grant) our front line are going to be playing on Delta FM after 8:00 tonight (Thursday). It was going to be all of us, but Mic and I are too damn cool for radio.**

It's for the best really. I have no money. I couldn't have afforded the fuel to get to the studio.

*On the same bill as in playing during the same two-week period- not actually the same day...
**Also, their studio was too small to fit all six of us and instruments.

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