Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Music Questionnaire No 9 -Rhodri Marsden

I suspect Rhodri Marsden needs little introduction to LiveJournal users, and I think he would squirm with embarrassment if I went on too much. Needless to say, his was one of the first blogs I ever read on a regular basis, after being pointed to it by Kev Hopper. And a bloke who appreciates Magma and the first Prefab Sprout album is obviously worthy of some attention in these parts. That's without mentioning The Keatons, Gag, The Free French and "cyberclinic"...

Who are you?

Rhodri Marsden, I'm a writer and musician, and I'm embarrassed saying this.

Where are you based?

Tooting, London.

What instruments do you play?

Keyboards, bassoon, various kinds of guitar, and I sing a bit.

What is your current or most recent project?

I'm currently playing keyboards in Scritti Politti. To my shame I've written none of my own material for about 18 months.

Name a record that had a big effect on you in your youth-

"The First After Epiphany", a compilation of acts on the Ron Johnson record label - including Stump, Big Flame, The Shrubs & The Ex. It was a completely random purchase from a local record shop in Dunstable, and completely changed the way I felt about music. I guess it was a punk-style epiphany, realising that effort and ideas were more important than any notions of musicianship.

What was the last record/CD you played-

50000 BC, by Shudder To Think. A friend of mine says it sounds like Rush, but I've never heard Rush, so that's OK.

List three records or CDs by artists other than yourself we should all hear

Magma - Retrospektiv I/II
Prefab Sprout - Swoon
Art Of Noise - Who's Afraid Of The Art Of Noise

Describe a live performance that had a big effect on you-

I went to see The Stretchheads play at the White Horse in Hampstead at some point in the summer of 1990. By the end of the evening I was rolling around the floor - along with everyone else in the venue - while a fat bloke in a spacesuit screamed his head off and battered us all with a huge plastic tube. In the words of John Travolta, it was electrifying.

Your favourite live venue-

I'm hard pushed to think of anywhere nice.

What's the strangest place you've performed in/at?

On top of a car in Brno. On top of a pool table in Komarom, Hungary. In a tiny hut on a mountain somewhere in North Wales.

Tell me about your worst experience as a performer-

There are so many I don't know where to begin, but I remember playing at Hull Adelphi. A shocker. Half the band had disappeared, so the numbers were made up by friends who lived locally and who we'd taught the songs to that afternoon. 2 of my guitar strings had snapped, and I had no replacements because I had no money. It sounded abymal, the audience were restless, we ended up throwing ourselves about in the hope of generating some excitement and while doing so I fell off the stage. As soon as we were finished I chucked my guitar into the amp and ran off stage, and out the back, where I sat on a bollard and cried my eyes out. As I was doing so, I saw 3 blokes run out of the front of the venue and down the road, and one of them was shouting "that was the best gig I've ever seen in my life." This taught me something, although I'm not sure exactly what.

Tell me about a great experience as a performer-

Playing a wonderful set on an open air stage at Castle Buchlov in the Czech Republic in front of 1000 people - mainly parents with theirkids - as the sun dipped behind the hills, and then out of the corner of my eye seeing our singer fall out of a tree.

Is improvisation important to you?

Not in the slightest. It's probably because I've never played music with people who are any good at it (and I obviously include myself in this) so to me, improvisation equals "jamming", which is the most repulsive activity imaginable. Clearly there are good improvisers out there, but the only ones I've seen and thoroughly enjoyed are Ticklish, which you were in, of course.

Name three heros or heroines-

WC Fields
Stephen Fry
Keith Floyd

What is your favourite city?


A couple of favourite books-

Confederacy Of Dunces
The Scheme For Full Employment

A couple of favourite films-

I'm really impatient with films. I can tolerate Annie Hall.

What makes you laugh?

A joke I read at the weekend with the punchline "does it look like my f*cking parents are in?"

A favourite website?

The Onion is consistently great. The BBC Weather site is reasonably accurate.

Is there a pop song you feel sentimental about, and can you name it?

"Night To Remember" by Shalamar. It puts me in a fantastic mood every time I hear it, which is often, because it puts me in a fantastic mood.

Thanks Rhodri
The music questionnaires are an onging series

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