Monday nights are pretty average and dull in my house, much the same as most British working families. The 6pm-8pm slot is normally occupied by making/eating our evening meal with background radio playing whatever is on BBC Radio 2.
By 7pm, it’s time for the Paul Jones R&B show for “one hour of the best in Rhythm & Blues”, so the slogan says. Being the only nationally broadcast radio show dedicated to the genre, it covers quite a wide gamut of Blues based music a lot of which, I must admit, isn’t really my bag. However, there have been some gems on there such as Jon Cleary, but you really have to listen in every week to filter through to see what grabs the attention.
For any British band playing music based in Blues, it is the Holy Grail of radio shows to get your music played on and the competition to get 3 minutes out of a precious allocation of 60 is pretty high. Thus, my fantasy dream of hearing my band on the show has always remained, as fantasy.
That all changed last night though…
Without going into detail, a copy of my band’s CD found its way directly into the hands of Paul Jones – as many others must do – but bypassing the ‘post-it-and-hope’ method of radio plugging. It’s still an unpredictable way of doing things so you naturally sit tight and wait, keeping your expectations low.
So there I was, sitting at the family dinner table, tucking into Pizza & salad, when the opening bars of an old Freddie King album track, ‘Pack It Up’ filtered through our conversation. My first thought was, “Oh for God’s sake, he’s playing the bloody original, wouldn’t play our version!”; then in a split second, it all changed.
“Dad, that ‘s your band on the radio!” exclaimed my son.
“SHIT – IT IS!!!” were the first words to pass through my chewed food as I froze in the shock of the unexpected glory and savoured every second.
This was it, he’d actually picked up on my band’s album and we were finally getting the airplay we all believe we deserved, because we are actually pretty bloody good – and I make no shame of saying that.
This was a moment I had only dreamed of – and it had come true; right there, at this point of time in my life when I thought all hope had faded for me to receive any recognition for my musical activities. Sure, John Peel played a couple of singles of a band I was in back in the late 80’s but if I’m perfectly honest, I really had no love for the music I was playing so the experience was lukewarm and lacked a depth of satisfaction that can only come from playing music you love. For the first time in my life I was actually hearing myself on national radio again, but this time in a totally honest, musical statement.
There was even talk of playing more songs from our album on future shows so who knows? Maybe dreams can come true, even at my age!