2016 – This being our thirty-fifth anniversary I was hoping to get to play a lot of gigs and things always shape up differently than you had planned…
In the summer we played at a few carnivals and parks. There was Kilbirnie Festival on the back of a truck, Cuba Street Carnival on top of a building and Chaffers Park Circus on the back of a Gipsy caravan.
And there was Tora Tora Tora Festival at Easter. All these outdoor gigs were special in their own way but Tora was something else – under the lights at night to a big loving crowd we could really unleash. I met Steve Holloway there and that opened another chapter.
Steve is something of an expert on guitars and took a shine to the Spines and my songs right away. He began archiving our various live and studio recordings and became like part of the group – attending nearly every practice and gig.
Further into the year we played on my home patch again at the MOON in Newtown. It was our first ‘headlining’ gig for some years and it felt like a new spring instead of winter. By this time we’d been working on a new sound with Hannah singing and playing her violin more – counterpointing my voice and guitar. And we developed our unique onstage/offstage relationships like an unfolding story.
Somewhere in there Malky (Scotland) and Les (Auckland) had to spend weeks away from us but we managed to keep truckin’ through the weekly practices with a little help from our friends.
We played a cool gig at Meow and one at Valhalla just after the earthquake.
Somehow we managed it – twice.
Then invited back to play for that very final night.
And nailing that as well.
We have studio recording project we have been working on along with John the Ghost since December too.
I want to thank Les Knight, Malky Taylor and Hannah Fraser for being there this year and giving it everything – week after week at rehearsals and always up for it on the night. I feel blessed to play with these talented people and the band is as strong as is ever was.
Simon Sweetman, Stu Brown, Mike Nyland, Lisa Tomlins and Ben Fulton have sat in in various ways this year and it’s been a pleasure the times we have called on them. Steve and John have put in a lot of work too in recording and archiving us and Neil continues to support us.
So the Spines family just grows and grows. These past thirty-five years have meant so much to me and everyone who’s ever been involved with the group.