I’ve got a couple of gigs coming up next month. I usually play solo, as in: if worse comes to worst it’s just little old me playing my acoustic, singing, drinking, rambling inanely, and heckling myself. Maybe that in itself is entertaining enough, but to break the monotony (for me), I usually ask my friends to come along and join in. And they in turn are usually more than keen to get up and break the monotony (for everyone else).
For these two upcoming gigs, the organisers have requested that I bring a band along (they must have seen my solo act). I tell them I don’t really have a band (barely a solo act). They ask me “then who’re those musicians I saw you with in the White Lion?” (they have seen my solo act). I say “they are all my friends”. “Then bring your friends,” they say, “please. I’ve seen your solo act.” (okay, no need to rub it in).
So then the next question is “what’s the name of your band?” “But I just told you, I don’t have a band…”
In fact, I have yet to settle on a name for my solo act: ever since I started playing solo (which I think was waaaaay back in 2006), I’ve played under a number of names: Gary Smith, Gary White, Gaz The King Smith, Prof. Gary “Guitar” Smith, Gary: The Man With No Theme, Gary Smith: The Man Without A Clue, Gary Stewart Smith.
Then there’s the band names. I’ve been playing in bands for many, many years on and off (more off than on): The Robin Heath Experience, The Big Car Girls, Top Bollocks-a-go-go (and Trevor), Chicago Seven, The Big Kiss, The O’Really’s, The Wingitts, The Snags, Kings of Inertia, Laurel Canyon Connection, The Saturday Night Heroes.
This year, I have made the decision to just do my own thing, play as often as I can with as many people as I can, play solo, get friends together to jam, gatecrash other people’s gigs. Permanent duos and bands only lead to heartache. But I think that I need to have some kind of continuity, I need to have a permanent name, some kind of brand that people might remember from one gig to the next, so that people know (roughly) what they’re getting and come along and see me/us. And Gary Stewart Smith is such an instantly forgettable name (what’s my name? See!).
So from now on (until I change my mind, or form another ill-fated duo) I’m going to use the name Liquorice Allstars. Why Liquorice Allstars? Well, that’s a tale for another blog…