Why You Really Matter

I’m guessing you’re no youngster. No offense meant. Neither am I. I’m making the assumption on the fact you are reading this, and most rock and prog fans are of a certain vintage. Welcome to the club.

We are a gently maturing breed with some awesome memories. The youngsters can barely imagine whilst glued to their phones, what music and gigs meant to our younger selves. And I doubt you feel any older, not where it counts. Yes, a little wiser, a little less likely to anger, and certainly a great deal creakier. But our hearts are still there.

The Internet changed everything

We come from an era before the internet changed…. well everything! Don’t get me wrong. I love my phone and my computer. I love apps and Google and Netflix. But I also love the memories and the excitement of the days before.

How hard we used to have to work to research things! I remember my band at the time, the Violet Hour, in 1989, sitting in the library for 2 days, trying to find a suitable band manager. We were scouring the Music Industry handbook, a huge tome of contact information, pen and paper in hand, writing down phone numbers of suitable candidates. This was followed by packing demos, photos and letters to each one and sending them off in the post. Over the next few weeks we received a lot of rejection letters, but 3 people responded for meetings.

Sleeping in the car

I was at Uni in Leeds at the time, which is where the band was based, and the keyboard player was the only one with a car. The 5 of us travelled to London for meetings with record labels over 2 days and had to sleep in the car as we had no money.

It took several more trips like this before landing first a manager, and then a deal with Sony. I was no stranger to playing live shows as I started out with an acoustic guitar and supported Steve Marriott and the Wedding Present amongst others. I especially remember Steve Marriott, who was brilliant, but being rather shocked at his repartee with the crowd as he ripped the shit out of everyone including a collection of wheel-chair users at the front (dance you wa****s) which was funny and wrong in equal measure.

But the Sony deal kick-started some serious touring. In 1990 we were dispatched for several months with Marillion. Sadly I was too young to truly appreciate the gift we had been given.

Living in the moment

In those days no-one even had mobile phones! No selfies. No sneaky band videos or social media. We had a mailing list. By mail. And audiences were truly in the moment. Truly invested in the show and in the music. I think you know what I’m talking about.

3 record deals and countless albums later, several tours, most notably with the great Marillion, Fish and Wishbone Ash; thousands of beer soaked, mildew smelling dressing rooms, an incalculable number of miles in cars, vans and tour buses; musicians – some life long friends and others best forgotten; a large number of sound engineers (all called Simon because I can never remember names – every now and again it’s right); perfect performances and bum notes; getting home at 3am and being too tired to sleep and catching the sunrise; nerves fought through and nerves conquered; despondent audiences and rapturous applause; good reviews, bad reviews; the occasional argument and so much laughter…And throughout the world has slowly changed.

Holding a piece of history

But we still remember. We remember the passion of music. The magic of being in the moment. We still value the feel of that album in our hands. The artwork. Not a piece of code, easily discarded, but a slice of history and emotion.

And this is why you matter so much. Like you, I value the art and effort behind every record. And without so many of you still wanting this, I wouldn’t be where I am. So thank you. Thank you for your support. Your passion. And for being you.




  • Chris Roberts says:

    Love it, yes I am of a certain age and still love going to gigs, listening to vinyl, drinking beer though not as much! Turn the volume up even more to counteract the tinnitus! Loved falling asleep on the train after a gig along with countless other beer powered rockers! Love your music and will be buying albums shortly even if they are on cd or download. Will carry on listening to music till I drop whereas could easily live without tv. There is nothi g to beat live music at any level and hope to hear more soon (No matter what the neighbours say!) Cheers keep on rocking!

  • Dean Powell says:

    I also come from the pre-internet, streaming and download era. Spending more time in a record shop than the staff happily browsing and buying all sorts of music. I was asked recently what sort of music I liked by a 20 something. When I said Mozart to Motorhead to David Bowie (my all time favourite), Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Johnny Winter, Art Schopp, Doris Brendel, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Led Zeppelin,Nightwish, Xandria, Nox Arcana et cetera, he just looked blankly at me as if I was speaking in Chinese. So explained that I collected music buying cd’s these days but I still have my vinyls. He couldn’t understand why I bought music rather than streaming. He also had never seen anyone live, to which I said that live music is the best way to appreciate or not. Sorry rambling a bit, but I can discuss music all day. I don’t stream music and only have a few downloads.

  • Dave Baxley says:

    Hi Doris! You so eloquently describe the passion of music! I’ve always loved hearing bands perform live and could totally relate to getting home late and not being able to sleep, still exuberant after hearing, or playing, a blistering set, or two! I can still smell the beer, yet am smiling of thoughts of great memories and friends (and beer!) 🙂

  • Rob Chilton says:

    Thank Doris. I love this article! There is a thrill to a new album and a live performance that is just not replaced by bits bytes and on line videos. I like you have embraced the technology and am writing my comments on an iphone. I have itunes and love having my music available. I remember brings LP’s to parties. Some of mine still have my name on them to make sure I got them back!
    With all this tech I still love buying the vinyl or cd. I like vinyl the most because you play a full side then flip it and play the other side. Young people today are missing the joy of the art of the album. They pluck one hit off itunes and never here the album after sampling 30 seconds. I was always a big fan of concept albums. I never bought singles. To me the hit was just a way to direct you to the album. Of course we all have favorite songs but they sound better in the spot the artist put them. It’s like looking at one corner of a mural. Your missing the big picture. I know it’s a ton of work to write, record and produce an album. You want me to hear it all and you spent a lot if time putting the songs in order.
    Let’s talk about the live experience. Yup guilty of taking a snapshot of some of my favorite artists. I am annoyed at people who hold up their cell phones for the entire show watching the concert on a 4” screen. I want to enjoy the experience and you can’t relive it except in your memory. That life performance happens once. Anything can happen. It’s the joy of music. I find to many people just want to say they were there and post their video of the hit song. When I was young before tech, shows were more fun. The artist was the center of attention. I have been to some shows the ban video. Dream Theater was one. Much more fun.
    I am being long winded but finally lets talk about you. I love your music and your voice. Your albums are great because they are fresh and exciting. You know who you are and are true to your art. Hits are great and financial well being is important but I never feel like you are yielding to the pressure of putting something out just to make a buck. You have integrity. For those lucky enough to see you live I bet they had a great time and have great memories.

  • Mike Ayres says:

    I’m from an era when the only way to hear new bands was to tune into Tommy Vance on a Friday night.
    Can still remember the first time I heard Market Square Heroes and without hearing that it would not have linked me to many other artists including yourself.
    Agree that in this age of downloads the physical joy of going into a record shop with your pocket money and flipping through the albums hoping to find that elusive or special vinyl is something that many generations sadly miss.
    Now it’s a monthly subscription and unlimited downloads.

    Sadly I feel that today’s “pop” bands will be download one day and recycle bin the next.

    Ironically I do use downloads but under one simple rule.
    Buy the album (Try to do it direct from the artist) but then download it to phone to listen to in the car.
    The way I see it the artist gets the CD money and also gets the 0.00001p every time I play it in the car. Hey every little helps.

    But the recorded album can never replace the energy and passion of a live show.
    I’ve seen bands live that I thought the records were a bit Meh! But live they were amazing.
    Sadly I’ve also been to gigs where the live act was truly awful (people walking out of a gig and demanding their money back and overhearing a die hard fan saying it was better than the night before!)

    Stay safe and keep rocking!

  • Thank you Doris, your music came to me as if by fate and has been greatly appreciated. I present for a webbased radio station and have play several of you tracks from your earlier album Not Utopia and also from Electica and they have been recieved by my listener feeding back how much they enjoyed the music and the sound of your voice.
    Please continue to keep making music so I can play it for my listeners.

  • Allan Knight says:

    I haven’t been aware of your music before but fully intend to become more aware in future. Great music and performances on this CD. I would like to be made aware of any gigs you are doing when it is safe to do so. Good luck with your music.

  • mel jackson says:

    what I’ve heard so far is nothing less than the style of music I listen to so , yeah , I like the songs/style which I sort of call country rock , keep it going and I will keep listening .

  • Gilles Casse says:

    I loved your music, well crafted, stunningly delivered,full of passion. Your love for what you do shines through.

    I’m getting on a bit now but still like live music,still go and see young bands while living the stuff I grew up with.

    Let us know where and when you’re playing. If you’re ever in southwest London try dropping in on the Cavern where you will be very welcome.

  • David Ian Whiteley says:

    Interesting article. I remember getting into music in the 1970’s mainly glam rock like Slade and T Rex then developing my tastes into Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I was never a fan of Punk – preferred at least some talent in the music and lyrics. I now buy CD’s and download music (always paid for!) and enjoy going to concerts. It will be a relief to experience live music once this virus has passed and we can all get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Howard Heseltine says:

    I distinctly remember at an early age, being taught how to handle records,78,s at the time
    These being easily broken,Bill Hayley , little Richard , Beatles etc were always on in the house .I like you grew up with music everywhere you went ,I was still into rock an roll at 16 when a friend came round with an album ,saying hey you’re into that rock crap aren’t you have this ,can’t be doin with it,it was Led Zeppelin 1 that did it for me bought all sorts of albums after that ,even Emerson lake and Palmer brain salad surgery, thought it was awesome, I guess it’s the artwork,the books you get sometimes with it ,the little notes the write sometimes,I’ve bought digital as well but love the cd’s vinal mostly ,but above all we should buy it not download everything and expect artists to just do it for nothing ,or nobody can afford to make music loving the tracks by the way , looking for the album’s now ,to purchase.

  • Malcolm Fraser says:

    Interesting article. I’m certainly no youngster (first concert Emerson Lake & Palmer 1972ish) and there’s certainly a difference in how I enjoy my music with my nice, physical, CDs and how my son enjoys his, all downloads and YouTube! However he did inherit my love of concerts and live music, which still seems very important to the younger generations, thankfully! I do appreciate modern technology, in its place, but get frustrated when at a concert and having to peer round the guy in front who is holding his phone in the air to record it! I may even be tempted to get ‘shoutie’!!

  • Steve says:

    Yes this is me old and still enjoying the music i love.
    still remember my 1 and only trip to ‘Monsters of Rock’ not that its called that now. Iron Maiden headlined.
    I still get to the occasional gig – last big 1 was a couple of years ago though, Black Stone Cherry and Airbourne in Manchester.
    I Still have most of my old LP’s and singles from back when.
    Even have 1 or 2 old gig tickets saved that i was lucky enough to get signed.

  • Mike says:

    Great tracks wish you every success Rock On

  • Patrick Crowley says:

    a very good piece, I also have mobility problems but went to lots of live music in the past, Elton John, The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Joe Walsh, Rufus , and lots of motown and Thin Lizzy. I miss the live events more than anything but at least i have the memories. Thank you for the free tracks.

  • Admin says:

    Thank you Derek! Hope to see you soon. xx

  • Derek Taylor says:

    I still Love it Live but due to my Health find it hard to attend as many Gigs as I used to. My only advice is to enjoy it while you can because when you can’t it sucks. Hopefully, I’ll see you with Fish @Wolverhampton later this year.

  • Dante says:

    Hi Doz
    Yes I am of the antiquated age that remembers those apparently halcyon days. I remember going to concerts and actually watching the concert not filming it on my phone to watch on fb later. I’m sure that distances one from the experience though.
    Great blog
    Take care

  • Admin says:

    Thank you John. I’m neither denigrating nor ignoring modern technology. I love it! The main point is, that in it’s absence, we had a very different relationship with music. I’m not even saying ‘things were better in my day’. Just different.

  • John Douglas says:

    Hahaha, nice one Doris. Music is one of those subjects that always incites different responses. I find it very personal, what means something to one person doesn’t mean that someone else thinks about it the same way. I like the download and quick access, but also like the physical experience of holding something solid in my hand and putting it into a machine to let it consume me….. Or not. Anyway, roll on seeing you perform in Aberdeen live, still the best…..

  • Admin says:

    Hi Les. Thank you for your lengthy comment. You completely miss the point of this post. Obviously I’m aware of the pitfalls of the state of the music business. I’m affected by it myself as are most musicians. I have in fact written several blogs on the subject. This post concerns the inevitable changing attitudes towards gigs and music from the pre to post internet age. And that the reason people still buy my CDs is because youth was spent in a different societal construct. For other subjects you’ll have to wait for the book..

  • Les Dougan says:

    Well to be honest, I come from that era too. Having signed to Warner, got run through the mill. Released 6 albums and about to do another. I was lucky too.
    I also wanted to give back and look after a couple of very good, young, new bands and I think your misguided.
    To say you went through tough things and no money, I get that, but I can also assure you its even tougher now.
    Now they want you to be famous before your famous. Try getting a good manager and a deal now. At least back then you could. Its even worse than that. At least you could sell hard copies of your CD. Now there is a sliver of a market for cds and most startups first albums sell 100 copies to their friends and thats it. Now they have to struggle with a digital download and if they are lucky enough for anyone to hear them at all (in amongst the thousands of songs released daily), they get the princely sum of 0.0004c per play. Try touring on that income. You have history behind you and like me an audience that has followed you. Our audience still buys our CD’s. The new kids dont have that and our audience rarely looks beyond their comfort zone for new stuff preferring to make “parent” comments such as
    “New music has no feel anymore” or
    “Only the old stuff is any good” or
    “No-one plays guitar like the old guys anymore” or
    “The stuff on ‘Britains got talent’ is shite”.
    Of course its shite. The stuff we had to sit through on Opportunity Knocks was shite too. Thats not where you find new music FFS.
    My parents used to talk like this about their music. Its just throwaway comments based on little or no fact.
    Truth is most of our generation only listen to old rehashes and tribute bands (god if I see another Pink Floyd/Genesis tribute FFS). And talk old albums till the cows come home.
    It is most certainly a lot harder for new bands now than it was back in our day so count yourself lucky.
    The youngsters still want to feel and be a part of something. They still pay for their own tours and loose money. They still eat shite on the road and sleep in the back of a van (We did it a few weeks ago). They still play in front of no-one struggling to be heard by anyone. None of that has changed. Unfortunatly, our generation have become like their parents and don’t really support this and in fact, most have already decided not to look for good music anymore let alone go out to a gig. Preferring to stay in and watch the X-Fucktor and complain that there is no good music anymore.
    TBH Steve, if your looking at the X-Fuckter for your new music then this is a classic example of not looking. You didnt look at Opportunity Knocks or whatever other talent shows were on TV back in our day for your music. Why the fuck would you assume that stuff is representative of what all young people play. That’s just another throwaway comment again based on no true fact. Jesus, we had some pretty bad shite in our time too. Tony Orlando and Dawn, Gary Glitter, Pickettywitch, Brotherhood of Man. Bubblegum pop ruled the airwaves. It was no different. Would you say that was a good representation of 70s music. No you wouldnt, so dont tar the new bands with that brush please. The different part was us. We made the effort. Have a little respect. There shouldn’t be a me and them attitude. Pretty sad really.

  • Admin says:

    Thank you Phil, Sara, Steve & Tony. So great to hear you still like physical product and value the artwork, the lyrics and all those extras you don’t get with a download. Makes it all worthwhile. xxx

  • Phil Ross says:

    I love to buy a physical CD and to get to as many gigs as I possibly can. I always try to express my thanks to the band for the hard work that has gone into the music, and hopefully to cadge a signature or two for my CD or booklet. All my best and most emotive memories are linkled to and triggered by music, and to somehow relegate my most cherished memories to a binary ether seems in so many ways to lessen my own being.

  • Sara Shankster says:

    Reading the sleeve notes was always one of the best parts of the experience, a new album, played several times over and the sleeve notes devoured. The lovely thing about you guys is that you also talk to fans at gigs, instead of performing and running away. Keep doing what you do.

  • Steve Cooper says:

    The expectation as release day approached, was there a small piece in Sounds, MM or the NME about it? (usually unlikely if rock/prog) walking to the record shop, seeing it, handling it, smelling it, the reverence of opening it, reading every single one of the words (gatefolds ruled) sliding it out of the paper sleeve and placing it on the turntable… memories that some will never ever know. Yeah it’s great having social media with minute by minute, blow by blow updates for tours, gigs, releases, what such and such had for supper, but nothing beats that nervously excited amble up to the doors of the Hammy Odeon (Odeon mind, not the fecking Labatts whatever), the smell of wet dog and steam rising from the damp greatcoats in the foyer, and then THAT moment… the lights dimming, the sound rising in the crowd, and that first chord, nothing better. Nice blog Doris, thanks xx

  • Tony Caunt says:

    I still prefer to get a physical copy of an album instead of a download as there’s always the sleeve notes, lyrics etc to look at which you don’t get when streaming music. Plus buying cd’s or albums is better financially for the artist who have spent hours creating their work for us punters. Streaming is good In some ways for when you out and about without a facility to play a cd etc. Still love going to gigs and buying some merchandise to help support the band. Loved the last acoustic cd Doris, hopefully you’ll tour with it some day.

  • Admin says:

    Yup. That sounds familiar. I do have to add that plenty of young people still feel passionately about their music. But we inhabit a special time in history.. x

  • Steve says:

    I think you may have tapped a nerve for many of us old codgers who no longer traverse the circuit. We who think the younger generation have no idea of what we suffered for our art! Creativity was a passion. Not something on the x fuctor! We worked our asses off to get to a gig.
    I remember traveling back from work in Colchester to Bristol to get to a gig. I knew I was going to be late, so the band had to break into my house and get my gear and set it up for me.

  • Admin says:

    Thank you Donald! I do get why people go for streaming and downloads. But we get why people don’t. xx

  • Donald Stevenson says:

    Thank you for all the great music (over the years). I get where you’re coming from and have always bought either vinyl or CDs. No downloads for me. The real thing or no-thing.

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