A change of appearance?

Hello, long time no see.

I created this website a long time ago. A different life ago.

I had recorded with award-winning artists and shared stages with fantastic musicians but at the time I brought this site into being I was feeling pretty jaded. I was questioning whether the world needed any more of my music. Perhaps that’s a question which can never be satisfactorily answered. In any case, I found my answer. I make music because I make music. Yes, it’s a loop. Life is a loop.

And so it is that I type tonight to light up my latest project with a naked flame. Imagine… words carved letter by letter in huge slabs of granite, at night, illuminated from the side by a hundred candles. Hell, make it a thousand.

I have a bit of a fascination with the number six. I think it stems from my long love of Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’. If you know it, congratulations. If you don’t… never mind – it’s probably too late to start now.

I’m enjoying making music. I have created a YouTube channel and I have already posted a number of videos. They’re mostly guitar-related… but there are also random rants on a variety of subjects. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk… to camera. This website is great to post photographs and try and be ‘intelligent’, but videos allow me to just talk bollocks. And sometimes bollocks are all you need.

My Confession of the Whole School albums are still available. And they’re great. They represent a transition. They’re like my ‘Rubber Soul’ and ‘Revolver’. The new music is more like my ‘White Album’. Or maybe ‘Sgt. Pepper’? Hmmmm, I’m not sure about my Beatles analogue. Anyway, people move on. A line in the sand. Where I once felt I had to prove myself, I now feel free to do whatever the hell I like. And it feels good.

If you’re in any way interested in guitars then you might like to view a few of the videos on the channel. If not, then you still might find something you like. At least join me in a glass of red wine?

And the best is still yet to come, for not only will you have my new music, you’ll also be presented with TEHI’s sequel to ‘Escapism’. The album is long-awaited, but I promise it will not disappoint. The music is majestic and the genius Bill Ryan is on fine lyrical form. We will release teasers soon. The album, ‘The Only Way Out is Through’, will be a game changer. You just wait!

So, as you can see, although it’s been a while since I’ve thrown anything of substance at the wall – I have not been sleeping. Now… where’s the next set of photographs to post?

Be seeing you.

London Photography

London has to be one of, if not the, greatest capital cities in the world. I wanted to see Les Miserables (again) and have dinner in China Town (again). Nothing wrong with agains. If things are good then life can be a long series of agains. Why not? Anyway, I’ve photographed London before. Many times. More agains. In fact a previous photo ended up as the cover of the Eleventh Hour Initiative’s debut album. It’s always nice to try and see the city with fresh eyes. However, with such iconic buildings in every direction it’s difficult to get past the likes of Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. So I didn’t. Here’s London.

Open Vs Closed

Beautiful weather today.  Strange how I live in a country where April is declared the wettest on record and yet we are in a drought.  Hmmmm.  Something not right there.

I have been working on my websites… giving them a bit of a tidy up.  If you take a glance at the top menu you’ll see TEHI.  Just a reminder that this is a link to the Eleventh Hour Initiative (TEHI) site.  TEHI is a band I formed with Bill Ryan from the US of A.  In my re-jigging of that site I had cause to listen to our album, Escapism, with fresh ears.  My verdict is that it is an immense album.  We created an intelligent, yet populist album full of potential hits.    I am proud all over again with the project.

I enjoy the duality of Confession of the Whole School (COTWS) and the Eleventh Hour Initiative (TEHI).  I feel like I can create the hits and yet still have an outlet for my more esoteric product.  This site, and indeed COTWS itself, was created as a kind of protest to the typical website, and often, the typical band.  I want to share my thoughts… be completely open.  There is no place to hide here!  When it comes to TEHI I have pulled back slightly.  TEHI is a solid band project.  There is not the same need for being so straight with you.  TEHI is the result of a hive mind – in a way impenetrable.  And perhaps necessarily so…

Anyway, as we’re discussing openness, I would like to remind you of a recent COTWS song…  Sweetheart it’s me.  Quote:

 “I haven’t heard a total loss of self respect like this since Jacques Brel’s ‘ne me quitte pas’. ” – John Hollingum.

Having listened to the song in question… all I can say is that this short review may be the greatest musical compliment I have yet received.


A New Romance

Sitting here drinking a beer listening to Exile on Main Street on my record player.  Loving it.  Down and dirty… I just love the pure, raw ‘atmosphere’ of these old albums.  This is something that I think we pulled off relatively well with the Eleventh Hour Initiative album that Bill and I recorded.  There’s an element of falsehood involved in that it’s hard to truly recreate a hot , cramped, groupie-filled, heroin swimming studio session.  But authenticity is still achievable if you record what’s in your heart.  We weren’t trying to produce a ‘club banger’. We weren’t trying to blow the roof off the music world with sheer innovation.  Others are far better at leading the world by the hand with new techniques.  We simply wrote a collection of songs that MEANT something.  A collection of songs that ended up being just that.  A collection.  A collective that became more than the sum of its parts. A cliché, but a cliché I can live with.  If you haven’t yet experienced the Eleventh Hour Initiative album I suggest you go and carry out that action before reading any further.  (You’ll find it at iTunes or Amazon… or even at the right side of this very page)  … I suppose you didn’t read that anyway because I told you to read no further.  Stop taking me so literally!!!

I watched a few documentaries on the Beatles last night.  I’ve seen them all before… well, I’ve seen everything Beatles related before.  But these documentaries always inspire me.  The most interesting one last night was the footage from the Beatles’ first trip to the US.  Kind of hand-held camera stuff.  Behind the scenes.  You just see the four of them ‘hanging out’ together… and you get a feel for the absolute mayhem that followed them everywhere.  It basically centres on the Ed Sullivan appearances.  It’s hard to imagine now that 70 million people could watch a single TV show.  In fact that will probably never happen again.  For everything the Beatles did was a first.  In the current era of a million TV channels and a trillion bands it’s difficult to imagine how different things were back then.  The Beatles were the greatest band of all time… but they also existed in the right decade.  It is now impossible for anyone to have anywhere near the same impact.  Never.  Ever. Again. Will. It. Happen.

Really enjoying this album!  Ha ha!  What was also interesting about that era (I’m talking about the British invasion of America in the ’60s) was the number of truly ugly bands! (and I’m excluding the Beatles there!).  Honestly… I was shocked by the looks of some of these guys.  Wow…  The Animals, The Stones, Peter and Gordon.  The list goes on and on.  These bands should thank their lucky stars that they were around in an era where people listened first and looked second.  Ha ha!  Oh well… they made their money and changed the world.  And I’m not exactly a stunner myself!  Ha ha!

Just had to flip the record there.  The downside of vinyl… /but I actually quite like it!  🙂  Beautiful song too.  Record 1, side 2, track 1. It’s amazing how fulfilling listening to a classic album and having a beer is.  It should be a ‘waste of time’.  But sod that.  It’s my choice and I like it.

With regard to new product from Confession of the Whole School I gotta say that I am on hold.  I’ve put myself on hold.  I am basking in music again, something I have not done for a long, long time.  And you know what?  I am enjoying it.  I’m remembering why I fell in love with music in the first place – because don’t let anyone kid you, music can become a chore.  It can become a habit.  And before you know it you’re lost.  You’ve forgotten where you are and how you ever got there.  I was a little burned out.  I created music, and I enjoyed the creative process… but I was a little tired of ‘music’.  I am relaxing now and I am happy to accept that sometimes you need to be revitalised.  I’m just sitting back and enjoying the ride.  I’m listening to some great music and having a few drinks.  And I shall do this until I feel the urge to write another song.  I can’t say how long that will be.  But in the meantime I am working on my project with Bill Ryan again.  I know it’s still ‘song writing’… but it feels separate.  It’s not all about me.  I don’t write the lyrics so I don’t need to have anything to say.  That’s not to say I don’t speak through the instrumentation… but right now it’s real nice to just be able to make sound.  I’m listening to great music and I think I’m being inspired again like I was when I was 16.  I’m on the road to recovery.  One day I will listen to my albums in a row.  I’m sure they will tell a story.  Alexi in Winter, All Monsters and Dust, Escapism, The Galton Detail.  A diary of who I am today.  The most important reinvention now is to create an album that does not ride a bandwagon.  To record an album that tells a story I want to tell in a way only I can tell it.  Perhaps the next Eleventh Hour Initiative project will be this album.  Or perhaps I will have to wait until I feel the time is right to press record on a new Confession album.  Either way… I am enjoying this new romance with music.  Bring it on!

… nothing happens

Feels like a long time since I last visited these hallowed halls of verbal dexterity, but here I am.  I’ve taken a break from producing music for a few weeks and it was probably just what I needed.  I sit here now listening to Appetite for Destruction on my brand new ‘Rega’ turntable.  I know I’ve said it a few times recently, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record (see what I did there?), but there is something comforting about listening to vinyl.  It’s real.  For all the other reasons people will spout, and there are many reasons… I think the “it’s real” argument will always win the day.  I can hold the artwork.  I can watch the black disk spinning.  I can see the music physically being extracted from the ether like a caveman bashing a rock to carve a wheel.  (A pretty crap wheel – made of rock.)

And the slightly alarming fact is that I am updating a site that is intent on persuading you to download CONFESSION OF THE WHOLE SCHOOLtm albums.  Download.  Ones and Zeros.  Or rather ones and noughts. 10000110101100101100101010010110101010100101010100000100111111010100110101010110110111001010… soulless?  Well… maybe.  Luckily I’m not so wholeheartedly down on the idea.  Ha ha! Good job hey!?!  Ha ha!  No… music is music, and ones and noughts can still touch the soul.  If you close your eyes you can’t really notice the difference (bar the odd crackle here and there).  Ones and noughts give the world access to all music.  You can type any band into google and find somewhere to download or stream it.  The pirates have won.  Type ‘confession of the whole school’ into a search engine and you’ll find a rip of my albums.  Do it if you like.  We as musicians just have to hope that there are enough people out there who are touched by what we create so as to feel they are one with us.  We want you to feel as though you are on board our ship, headed in the same direction as us… enjoying the facilities (there’s a rather nice swimming pool sunk into the back of my head!).  And don’t worry… should we have a rocky ride you can rest assured I won’t be ‘tripping’ into any life boats.  I will be on board till the end.  I’ll go down with the ship, hand held at the temple in a salute.

Appetite has finished.  Hmmmm…. what to play next?  Oh well… a cliché maybe but I’ve just stuck Dark Side of the Moon on.  Come on!  Give me a break!  There are certain albums that record players were invented for!  Wow… it sounds superb.  I’m a pretty recent convert to the Dark Side actually.  For years I have been more of a Wish You Were Here fan.  But Dark Side just holds so well together.  The ALBUM that I’m always banging on about!  Confession of the Whole School… the repetition of topics.  I will drill it into you. Ha ha!  Well… you know I’m a fan of repetition… I’ve said before that repetition is one of the fundamentals of comedy and music.  Just don’t stick a wet finger in my ear too many times!!!

So… this post is just to say “hello”… I am still here… I haven’t forgotten my purpose in life.  In fact… you should probably nip over to my sister site http://www.eleventhhourinitiative.com for I am (/was) working on a new song.  To be honest I had to load it up today to recall whether it was any good or not!  Ha ha!  But… thankfully, yes, I thought it sounded quite fantastic.  Better than I remembered.  One of those songs that I’m already forgetting I wrote.  Like it’s taking on an identity.  Becoming something bigger than its creator.  That happens every once in a while.  You write a song that takes on a life of its own.  You hear it and think “What a fantastic song”.  And then you think “… hang on… I wrote that didn’t I?”.  Followed by “Bloody hell!  That’s really good! … How did I write that?”.

Hmmm… off topic.  Topic?  Subject?  Hmmmm.  Would it surprise you to know that I’m coffee’d off my head?  Ha ha!  Probably not!  Till the next time.  And I promise next time I’ll have something significant to say.  Or…


So… a brand new world.  I write today with my eyes blinking into the fresh light.  I am anew with wonder.  I have just completed the most prolific period of musical activity in my life.  I finished an album that took me 10 years to write [ All Monsters and Dust ] , then proceeded to bang another album out in half a year [ The Galton Detail ] … and while I was at it I created another whole album with Bill Ryan from the US [ Escapism ] . This is going to be another self-analysing, self-gratuitous article… but first things first.  YOU HAVE TO OWN THESE THREE ALBUMS!!!




If you don’t own them then answer me this one, simple question:  Why not?  You have the opportunity to download 35 songs of ‘Confession Quality’tm.  In the case of Escapism you can even buy a physical CD from Amazon.com. I’m pretty proud of myself.  All Monsters and Dust is a damn fine indie album.  The Galton Detail is a great electronic album.  Escapism is an outstanding alternative rock album.  With these songs I have spread my wings.  In the past I produced a number of great indie songs with bands that eventually disintegrated.  What I have right now puts me in a great position for the future.  I am my own band, ‘Confession of the Whole School’, in which I can do everything – I can be everything.  In fact what was once considered slightly weird (one person writing and playing and ‘being’ a band) is now becoming the norm.  Although you’ll  notice that I often fight against the norm, in this case I believe in the norm wholeheartedly!  I am fickle!!!

I also have my writing partnership with Bill Ryan.  I believe the ‘Eleventh Hour Initiative’ has been a great success.  We still need to sell albums… but artistically it has been nothing less than an absolute creative joy.

So, buy the albums.  Everything you need is just to the right of this very screen.  Just click ‘BUY’ and stick your credit card number in.  How difficult is that?  It’s not like I’m trying to foist some crap on you.  This music is quality.  I’m not about to deal in substandard goods now – not at this point in my life.  I have risen above the dross… I have taken in years of experience… I am gold-dust personified.  Don’t believe me?  Then take a listen.  Pick any song.  Any song will prove my point.

I am saying all of these things by way of wrapping up that period of my life.  The rebirth, the re-emergence if you will, is over.  I am back.  ‘Confession of the Whole School’ is here to stay.  My goodbye was real though.  I am a different person artistically now.  I have removed the baggage from my chest and have proved to myself and the world at large that I’ve still ‘got it’.  Whatever direction I now choose to go in, I promise you, will be another interesting adventure.  I intend to keep you informed every step of the way.  My ‘fans’ so far are few and far between.  But if I keep calling, they will come.  I appreciate everyone who has been along for the ride so far.  I won’t forget you.  And if I ever see you in the street I will nod politely with acknowledgement in your general direction.  I am not on a pedestal.  I am an ordinary individual and I will happily walk among you.  Don’t feel the need to have to kiss my hands or anything like that (a bow will do fine… a curtsey for the girls).

I am not clear exactly what I’m going to do next.  This is going to be a ‘Confession for the NEW SCHOOL’.  New.  I’ve just come back from sun drenched Cyprus.  I was out there to reinvigorate the soul and recharge the batteries.  I’m not sure I’ve quite managed that… but I’m ready to at least consider the way forward.  I just need you to stay by my side.  Feel free to email, comment, get involved in any way you see fit.  Hello.