If I say that Si Moss is the gentlest giant in town, and you’re not sure what I mean, then all you need to do is look at the picture. He looks so cute with his colourful friends! Hang on – are you playing with Jack’s toys again???
I’ve never contributed to a music blog before, but I’ll pretend I know what I’m doing by starting off with a suitably bookish quote in a vain attempt to make it look I know what I’m doing. Even though I don’t.
Tony Wilson once said “…Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented…Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does…”.
Would Kev agree with this? Probably not. Even Kev has a discrete jazz section tucked away in the depths of his record collection. I’d wager that most musical genres are represented in there somewhere (and for these purposes I’m not including the Vanilla Ice CDs that Steve Brown has tried to fob off onto Kev).
I can’t speak for Kev’s formative years but there’s no reason to doubt his mum’s testimony that he dedicated most of the early 80’s perfecting Shakin Stevens’ dance moves. I know this because I’ve seen Kev on the dancefloor. Kev and I met in 1991 at Leicester University. I was a young, tall, handsome Welshman (some might say dashing and suave) and Kev was from Lancashire. What Kev had that most of us did not was an already impressive record collection. It was pretty obvious that here was a guy that had spent most of the previous decade listening to and taping the best of John Peel’s and Tommy Vance’s radio shows. It is a little known fact that, to this day, Kev possesses the largest collection of cassette tapes south of Nuneaton.
I’d like to say that Kev and I spent our student days attending legendary gig after legendary gig but I think we were usually too skint. We missed Alice in Chains touring the “Dirt” album in 1994 because we viewed the £12 admission fee to Nottingham’s Rock City as extortionate. It’s important to also note that, in those days, Kev had a penchant for locking himself in toilets (usually partially clothed) after about 4 pints of medium strength cider. That pretty much ate into any spare time we had for getting to gigs.
If you ask Kev whether he saw Kyuss play at the Leicester Charlotte (a venue slightly smaller than Kev’s garage), he’ll say “no”. But I’m pretty sure he saw Rolf Harris play at the student’s union. Kev also missed Tori Amos playing an intimate gig at a hall of residence. But he more than made up for this by getting to see the Proclaimers. Legend has it that Kev was on the door for that gig and for the subsequent few years he had “Proclaimers’ Bouncer” on his c.v.
By the mid 1990’s, Kev had become adept at missing renowned performances by now celebrated bands. I’ll partly take the blame for him missing the Flaming Lips and Radiohead at Reading ’94 (I’d written both off as ‘cobblers’) but Kev has to take full responsibility for missing Jeff Buckley’s performance in favour of watching a band called ‘senser’ (ever heard of senser? Exactly).
Missed gigs aside, Kev should be applauded for playing a pivotal role in the current so-called vinyl revival. Years of digging around in crates at record fairs and unearthing exciting new (but usually exciting old) bands and albums and dedicating hour upon hour of studiously trawling the record shops of the western hemisphere have paid dividends. But with a great record collection comes great responsibility and even Kev has his weaknesses: he still thinks Lou Reed’s ‘Metal Machine Music’ has its merits (64 minutes of white noise, anyone?) and that Neil Young’s ‘Arc’ is worth a listen (35 minutes of feedback and ‘voice fragments’ anyone?) But for every Metal Machine Music and Arc, there are probably another 50 albums that Kev could recommend that will undoubtedly improve the quality of your life (again, I’m not including anything that Steve Brown has ever bought for him).
Kev recommended a film to me a couple of years ago in which Jack White says that he doesn’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Led Zeppelin. Too right. But Mr White could equally have said “You can trust people who dance like Shakin Stevens (if they like Led Zeppelin)” but that probably wouldn’t have made such a good quote.