So cool you're frozen
Last night I went to a private birthday party at the 606 club in Chelsea. It was the joint birthday of the extraordinary Stacey brothers. Between them they have played guitar drums keyboards engineered or produced a pretty stellar list of big guns. Oasis, Black Crows, The Finn Brothers, Cheryl Crow, Tom Jones ... and on and on. Maybe you were there?
Anyway, as at any party at the 606 there were instruments there and the Staceys were geared up to play. The congregation was made up of industry luminaries, ubercool members of fancy bands, hip A&R guys, cult producers and engineers, musos young and old and the delightful Steve ruby, the 606's tireless major domo.
So everyone was so cool that they were far too cool to play. Only that isn't right is it? In fact they are so full of themselves that they wouldn't dream of getting onstage, borrowing a guitar and jamming along with a tune which might be considered beneath them.
More than that of course these cats aren't the real deal. They haven't paid their dues. They haven't spent years singing whatever got them paid for the next meal. They haven't got the chops to jam along with a tune they don't know. If the sound or the guitar isn't just right they might just be shyt ... and to be shyt among other musicians, well, that wouldn't be good for the image now would it?
So The Stacey's and John Hogg had to do it alone – apart from one unsurprising but 'real deal' moment that is.
Tom Jones strolls in, says hi to everyone, clambers up onstage and takes a mic. 'Well I knew it was the boys birthday and there would be a free drink so I'm here. we can do a tune from the Praise and Blame album – that would be fun'.
So they did. And it was great. Tom sang his balls off, smiled, said thanks to everyone and hopped down again.
It made me think about who is really 'the real deal' and who is still posing after all these years. I thought back and for me it boils down to the people who said no and the people who said yes when I asked them to get on stage and do something completely outside their comfort zone to help either kids with terminal lung diseases, or refugees in Darfur, or Nelson Mandela in jail. So here it is, my best memory of people who, whatever you thought of them, stepped up to the plate, took off their shades, took a deep breath and joined in for a good cause:
David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Jools Holland, Ian Paice, Chrissie Hynde, Alison Moyett, Mick Hucknell, Ruthie Hentshall, Brand New Heavies, Jocelyn Brown, Eric Clapton, Sting, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman, Colin Vearncombe, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, The Ting Tings, Dave Rowntree, Keisha White, Sade, Cat Stevens, Elvis Costellow, Gary Kemp, Peter Gabriel ... Good on yer guys.