Reviews by "The Critic" 

2004         

 

Last Gig: The Crown, Lechlade, Dec 26

Once again, a Boxing Day gig at the Crown, scene of many a happy gig for Burn & The Self Righteous Bros. over the last few years. This one looked like a goodie from the off with a large crowd and all appeared up for a good time.

Within the first few bars, Ross was signalling Johnny to turn the bass up which pleased the singing fundamentalist no end. "You can never have too much of a good thing," he cackled as he pushed it up on the little combo he was using for this size venue.

Rob also brought his smaller rig due to the size of the venue and everyone thanked him for this thoughtfulness. "You don't want to set up there - that'll block the queue to the toilet," advised Johnny to Rob at the start. "That's where I stand," said Rob, defiantly, and the pub awaited the outcome with glee. Sure enough, as the more polite punters squeezed past the 6" gap that Rob had left for everyone, there were those who needed to express themselves in a more dance oriented fashion. One lady tried to engage Rob in a frenzied, sexual boogaloo but the Rocking Man was having none of it. Johnny observed that more than half the audience was watching, waiting to see the explosion from the guitar department. However, rescue was at hand as Burn girl Natasha jumped up to intervene between the Rob & the dervish by dancing in the gap between. Well done, Nat!!!

Ross was in fine form tonight and drove the band along with relish and fire. Johnny said, "I really enjoyed myself tonight, though I did get a little distracted." This would be the dancing he did with Natasha during Rock 'n' Roll which led to Rob pointing out, in no uncertain terms, that he had in fact, lost his place. "Maybe, but I feel it was extemporisation," said Bassy Boy. "I also did a short solo in Burn which no-one expected." No-one, including himself, it would seem and he probably won't keep it in the set next time.

Audience reaction was tremendous, possibly one of the best in The Crown ever. Nat remarked how good it was to hear Mistreated which she'd long been an advocate of.

 

Last Gig: The Rising Sun, Reading, Dec 11

At last, a return to the Rising Sun for the first time since March 6. Although the band had been booked to appear during the summer, it seems that some rival band had cancelled Burn without them knowing it. Rob knows who but cannot say for legal reasons..... and because he's scared they may say something nasty to him if he accuses.

However, tonight there were no worries and the band shrugged off yesterday's diminished performance. Ross launched into his kit fuelled by electronic augmentation and didn't let up. Rob was back on form having managed to sleep for a few hours and played with his usual fire. Johnny was in good voice but used the club PA and, as is often the case, never got the sound sorted out. It ranged from not being heard at all ("seems fine to me," - Guitar dept.) to far too loud and massive feedback problems.

"Never again," moaned the singing bassist. "I'll always use my gear from now on and then I know where I am. I bloody never learn."

Rob gave his opinion on why that was but we can't repeat that sort of language here.

A pretty good gig without being a classic. Rob complained that the bass was too loud and described the ideal sound balance. "Guitar first and loudest, then drums and bass at a level that can be hidden by hushed conversation. Vocals - only if necessary and then just one verse and a chorus should be more than enough."

Last Gig: The Oaks, Dec 10

A return gig at The Oaks but this time with Ross on drums. Last time (Oct 1) Paul Mallion had sat in and, great though it was, it was time for the Oaks to hear the real Burn.

Sadly, they didn't get it. It was a very lack lustre performance tonight centring around whether Rob would manage to stay awake long enough to complete the 2nd half. He'd been up till 4am in Spain the previous evening and claimed that a bad paella had made him completely rat-arsed. This, plus a total lack of sleep before flying home had taken it's toll on the Rocking Man's body and culminated in him actually playing the intro to Here I Go Again whilst Ross & Johnny played Fool For Your Loving! It was only noticed when Johnny sang the first verse and Rob realised his sensitive chordal work was not complimenting the song.

Ross started well but eased off as the gig went on leaving only Johnny to try and get something going. Sadly, he failed. At one point, during Mr Big, he ended up doing the call & response between the vocal & guitar all by himself, using his bass to answer his own voice as Mr Sleepy Sas was leaning against the wall with his eyes closed, dreaming of Sangria and chips.

All was not lost, however, as it seemed that no-one in the Oaks regular audience cared anyway, and Burn regulars seemed happy enough. A couple of Burnettes even suggested it was a "really good gig" which surprised the band. Does this mean that no-one knows when it really is good?

 

Last Gig: Garibaldi's, Nov 26

A new venue to the band and there were high hopes....until they saw the size of the venue. It was very small. The number of people in the audience was also very small and Johnny thought they were going into a "gig from hell."

Surprisingly, it was a great gig. The few people that were there were up for a fun time and even got some dancing towards the latter half. Ross had brought his augmented electric set up but fortunately for everyone in Slough, realised that even he didn't need them here tonight. The band stormed through it's usual set and had a great time. Usually a small attendance means a half performance from the band but not tonight. Johnny was acclaimed "a great singer" by several people and some were still sober. Rob was happy and chatted to a gent who was interested in booking the band for a birthday gig. Rob's standard patter and quotation went down well until it was revealed that the gig was in the Midlands and Rob immediately doubled the fee .... and talked the band out of a job. Good to see the Acme Business Correspondence Course was not in vain.

However, the band is rebooked for January 28th 2005.

The Rev. Rick Cameron was down on his annual visit and was checking out the band. Rock chick Ally (13) noticed him and enquired who he was to Mad Mandy Dillee (34) who responded "he's Johnny's friend - he's a vicar." Ally considered this and asked if it was a serious disability or just reading?" Mandy explained, in confusion, that to her knowledge, Rick was quite normal - he's a VICAR." "Oh," blushed Ally, "I thought you said he was a thicko!"

This is now officially gag of the year.

Last Gig: The Red Lion, Nov 14

Twenty Fours later and the boys were set up again for what promised to be a great gig at a new venue to the band. The Red Lion is just along the road from another regular bash - The Black Horse where the band plays on Nov 28.

A DJ was also there and he tried to set the mood by playing a variety of dance and rock oriented stuff. Sadly, the gig was poorly attended so never really took off. This was a pity as the venue was great. A large dance floor plus many tables with individual TV screens showing Spanish live football and a pool table. Marvellous!

Alan Bradshaw had braved the cold to show support or hurl abuse as he saw fit and Sarah, Tina, Ally and Michaela also made the trip. They enjoyed themselves enough to get some dancing going towards the end.

As for the band - the phrase "going through the motions" seemed accurate. Ross had his heavy artillery electric drum triggers for power and boy, did we all know about it. Johnny took his ear plugs out in the first set to check the volume and felt like attacking Burn's Beat Boy with a drum stick. "Are you deaf?" he inquired. Of course, Ross never answered as it turns out he is, technically, deaf on one side and is registered as such with the Nat. Institute for Hard of Hearing. Ten years next to Rob's Marshall will do that to anyone. Ross bears no animosity, though, as he enjoys Rob's playing so much, and it strangely appears he doesn't realise he is deaf...... and because all drummers have no brains.

A few of the more commercial numbers went down ok but by this point, no-one cared. Johnny & Rob were gone in a few minutes leaving Ross still dismantling his excessive equipment.

Not a classic.

 

Last Gig: The Bel Vue, Nov 13

Back at the Bel Vue again and it was another good turn out. Colin & Sue decided against going to see Deep Purple in London just to be here tonight. "Suckers," said Johnny. "I'm going to see them Tuesday."

Rob was moaning that he hadn't played for a few days so his accuracy was suffering. Band mates noticed some interesting substitutions during certain songs which caused much mirth and guffaws. Johnny was quick to try and help Rob understand why he was making these choices. "It's cos you're a k**t," he explained. Rob refuted this and made reference to Johnny's parentage so everyone could see it was business as normal.

Ross seemed happy enough and did some of his best drumming on an epic Catch The Rainbow which was marred only in the quiet section where a strange feedback seemed to be filling the room. After quickly checking all the gear, the band realised that it was coming from a member of the audience, sitting near to Johnny! This strange woman kept it up for an extraordinary length of time so Ross brought the loud section in sooner than normal to drown the daft bitch out. There are fans and then there are drunks.

At the end, everyone was happy and the band cleared their gear away, carefully leaving no mess behind. "Don't forget your rubbish," said Rob helpfully to Johnny. "Yeah, well you're shit, too," countered Johnny. "At least I'm trying to improve."

Rob explained that his remark was merely to help clear the debris and was by no means a slight on J's talent. "Mind you," he added, predictably. "He's still a w****r."

 

Last Gig: The Limelight Club, Oct 23 Read Mike Garrett of Black Knight Fanzine's review

At last - the Ritchie Blackmore Convention Gig. Organised by Jerry Bloom, this was going to be a day of rare Blackmore film footage plus CD's for sale and only Burn were to supply the entertainment. However, The Jessie Haynes Band from the States offered to come over and as Jessie had played with Blackmore for 3 years it was felt that her presence would be of great interest. Then, Rainbow Rising expressed an interest to play and as they are the leading Rainbow tribute band then this was far to good an opportunity to miss.

Burn travelled up the M6 in a borrowed Mercedes van taking some 3 hours to arrive at the Limelight Club. Rob & Ross accused Johnny of being tardy with the pick up time but as Johnny had organised the van for free, he was accepting no criticism. "Bollox," he explained.

The convention had begun but the band were able to slip onto the stage from the rear and set up their gear. Jessie Haynes played first using some of Burn's gear and everybody enjoyed her mix of original songs plus a couple of Blackmore covers for good measure, finishing with a beautiful rendition of Rainbow Eyes. Apparently it was in the wrong key as Trina the guitarist had forgotten to put on the capo but nobody realised and it was sung and played to perfection.

Everyone was kicked out the auditorium whilst Burn sound checked next. The doors were re-opened and the band began. The lads were up for it and charged into Stormbringer. The sound from the stage was awesome. Ross, however complained that his drums and the monitor sound was terrible and he wasn't hearing things properly. Rob used his own amp but borrowed Rainbow Rising's speakers as it was easier than changing all the gear over again. He was happy enough but thought his sound was brighter than he was used to. Johnny thought it sounded exactly the same onstage as every Burn gig ever. There had been a discussion on the van ride up where Johnny had accused Rob & Ross of being "slaves to their gear" and this type of improvised situation is where it can show. Rob likes to stick rigidly to the same guitar, amp and effects for consistency. (Johnny - "That's cos he's a tart, stuck in a rut, and falls apart if anything changes.") Johnny doesn't bat an eyelid if he has to play a different bass, amp or microphone. It's all the same to him. (Rob - "Yes, and he plays the same shit on them all.") However, both agreed that Ross out-tarts them both when it comes to gear displeasure. "He'll winge about the sound, the lights in his eyes, the audience, the volume, his kids... everything really."

Sticking to mainly Deep Purple songs to keep everyone happy, Burn moved from Strange Kind to Tokyo to Burn and there was a real fire about the lads tonight. Johnny was worried that his throat was drying up under the hot lights but was happy to get a few good screams in. Rob confessed he was nervous at the start but told himself to treat the gig like any normal pub set and he was fine after that. Ross looked happy but actually didn't enjoy himself due to the afore mentioned sound problems. ("Tart problems, more like" - anonymous).

The only non Purple song was Long Train which went into the usual improvised section and interpolated Child In Time, Knocking At Your Back Door and Still I'm Sad. Mistreated was an great version and several people mentioned this.

Reaction was very pleasing. Everyone seemed to enjoy it but there was no time to relax. Gear was moved off stage very quickly so that Rainbow Rising could do their show. They are absolutely fantastic, recreating all the major Rainbow eras with a powerful sound and first class effects. After a set featuring all the best Rainbow songs, they invited Burn and the Convention organisers like Jerry Bloom onto the stage to jam Smoke On The Water. Johnny traded vocal lines with Rising singer Raggie and Rob shared Roy's guitar which was hysterical.

Both bands were interested in doing more gigs together in the future as they got on so well and there was mutual admiration. "Diamonds guys," was Burn's verdict.

By 2am the band was back at the Hotel Bar sharing beers with Jessie Haynes band and others. Bassists Johnny & Susan Collins traded 4 string stories into the early hours. Former Blackmore Personal Assistant Rob Fodder shared some stories and was thoroughly entertaining. By 5am only Jerry, the 2 Rob's and Johnny were left and no-one was drunk! They had gone beyond alcohol which seems impossible where Rob Sas is involved but The Critic can swear to it.

Burn shared a bedroom (but not a bed) which didn't please Ross as he'd been asleep 2 hours by the time Johnny & Rob giggled their way into the room. Rob carefully set his alarm for 8-05 as agreed ..... and how they laughed when it rang only 2 hours later. Johnny turned it off by throwing it at Rob but the damage was done & they crawled down to a full fry up breakfast. Attempts by Rob to share his digestive excess smells in the van on the return trip were only partially successful. Johnny was saved by ram cabin air but Ross, sitting in the back, enjoyed several rancid Rob expellations.

Thus ended the Burn adventure. Burn would like to thank Pete & Natasha for making the trip at great expense & discomfort to themselves and for looking after the band's gear in the van overnight.....they slept in it. Well done, you nutters!

 

Last Gig: The Green Dragon, Oct 15

After such a great gig at The Gate last week, nobody expected that tonight would be anywhere near as good. The band felt it was an under par performance but several people who had also been at last weeks gig claimed it was great. Johnny summed it up "There's a level we should never fall below but we always strive to stay above. We can tell when we don't hit the mark but from an audience perspective, it may not be so obvious." Rob offered his own philosophy on the subject. "He's talking total crap."

Rob DID, however play the intro to Mistreated correctly tonight which puts it at 50/50 success rate. The rhythm section enjoys this "will he, won't he" part of the evening. Just when it seemed that an epic version was beginning to build to a tremendous climax, Ross brought it to a close. Rob & Johnny gaped at him and Rob was for continuing but it was too late. The song was over. Accusations were made in a drum-ular direction and Ross was forced to fall back on the timeless excuse "I made a mistake!" This was a poor show really because for years the time honoured Burn way out of a sticky situation is to blame either (a) your gear, or (b) someone else. Johnny has perfected this technique of looking over scornfully at Rob as he himself drops a bum note. Rob uses the less subtle "hand job" wrist action wave when returning the same at Johnny. Ross usually uses none of the above as he claims never to have made a mistake, ever in his life. "I thought I had once," he mused. "...but I was wrong."

By the end, they were kicking and firing on most cylinders. All the essential Deep Purple songs were done in preparation for next week when it is the BIG ONE.

Last Gig: The Gate, Oct 9

There was a big turn out for this gig. Many regular faces were there and a special contingent of the Ley Hill Hooligans had made the trip specially to mock Rob. His name is uttered in hushed tones back at The Crown in Ley Hill where he is a regular and they felt he deserved the same abuse tonight as he receives on a nightly basis. Luke was particularly accurate in his opinions of Rob and saw to it that all present enjoyed his critique of his personality and playing ability.

A particularly interesting Mistreated came early in the first half when Rob cleverly re-arranged the timing of the intro. Ross stayed true to the original at first whilst listening to what Rob was doing when it finally occurred to him that the maverick guitarist was playing complete bollox! He had, in fact, utterly lost the beat. This caused much mirth from the rhythm section and it was only guess work that got all 3 members to the start of the verse. Johnny sang the song pretty well for the main part but maybe reached for a note too far towards the end and complained of light-headedness for the remainder of the half.

New Burn follower, Lips Lynne Burn-ette (26) observed that Johnny appeared to enjoy himself but was still able to smile and wink as punters passed by on the way to the loos, even assisting new comers as to which door matched their gender. She noted Ross's intense concentration and smiling "in the know" looks at band members when a Burn gag took place. She finally realised that Rob's completely bored look was not literally that at all - he was simply in the moment and concentrating beyond his means but occasionally came out to pull a dynamic "Blackmore-esque" move and a patented sweep-pick guitar lick. (Although she didn't describe it that way at all!) "No. no, that's his way," Big Pal Johnny defended. "It's all in the playing, - fire, passion, sex, perversion."

Regular rock chick Ally led the dancing by waving Ross's old drum sticks around over her head and gyrating to the music. Alka-seltzer would be in big demand tomorrow but for now it was Hey-Ho.

The last Gate gig of the year and all felt it had been a cracker. These gigs have been the most consistently good ones over the years and so roll on 2005!

Last Gig: The Golden Fleece, Oct 2

Back to The Golden Fleece after an unusual impromptu gig last night with Paul Mallion sitting in for Ross.

The pub had changed some furniture around which left a smaller space than usual for the band and John had the option of standing right in front of Ross or playing directly to a wall. He chose to block off his big pal and justified it by explaining "how much prettier I am than him."

Not to be outdone, Ross decided on heavy artillery with his amplified drums so that if "I can't be seen then I'll bloody well be heard." He played a cracker despite claiming to be poorly the night before. Accusations of "Big jelly boy" and "Nancy!" were heard from anonymous band members.

 Johnny had to take his troublesome ear plugs out towards the end of the evening & was appalled to hear the actual volume Burn play at. "Christ! The audience must be deaf. Especially from the guitar side of the stage!" Guitarist Rob Sas argued that he had to be loud in order to drown out the drums, bass and vocals. "I don't want my fans hearing that nonsense," he explained.

Last word of the night came from Burn Fan Colin, "You guys get better each time," he offered but Johnny decided that here, indeed was certain proof of deafness.

The set was Deep Purple heavy tonight so that the band could get extra practice for the Blackmore Convention on the 23rd of this month. Only when the lads finished did someone point out that they hadn't played "Catch the Rainbow." "Oops, we forgot," was all the explanation given.

 

Last Gig: The Oaks, Oct 1

This gig did not appear on the Gig List because it was only arranged at 4pm on the very day. A cancellation by Texas Flood left The Oaks in a quandary but Johnny & Rob were free. Sadly, Jelly Boy Elder decided on a night in with wife & bottle of red. This left the way clear for Paul Mallion to sit in again as he has done on several occasions over the last few years. Paul is considerably younger than Johnny & Rob but he has incredible talent and drove the band along like he'd been with them for years.

Obviously, some songs could not be attempted due to complicated arrangements but it was a hard rocking gig none the less. Johnny said "I love playing with Paul cos he will play the songs in a different way and that makes me re-think what I play. We really locked in together."

However, it appeared that Paul may be too good looking for his own good as several females, some friends of the band, commented on how handsome he is. Johnny was philosophical about it. "Well then, he'll never play with us again!"

Rob also loved playing with Paul but was disappointed that the audience response wasn't that great. "Heathens," he claimed. "What do they know?"

 

Last Gig: The Rising Sun, Sep 25

Another bad start to the evening as Johnny and Rob suffered the mighty wrath of PC Plod and got parking tickets at 8.35pm cos they weren't allowed in the 2 empty private car parks and settled for a faded yellow line in some dark alleyway. However, 9pm was the safety time and that meant tonight's gig was a non profit affair. Not so, for smarmy, smirking drummer, Ross Elder who escaped the fate care of the Rising Sun Landlord, Julian who accosted pub regular PC Plod and threatened to ban him from ever drinking in his pub again if he didn't stop!

Rob fought off this calamity and reached within himself to bring out his performance. He actually smiled twice during the gig and once again as a Polish dancing girl stopped him after the gig and tickled his tonsils with her tongue. There were several Polish people in the audience tonight and Johnny was grateful that his big new pal, Stan(islaw) didn't attempt the same with him.

The pub was very busy and the reaction was tremendous. Several of the younger crowd shouted for various, obscure Deep Purple & Rainbow tracks like Gates of Babylon, A Light In The Black and Kill The King. For the future, possibly?

Johnny's voice was complimented but he said that he was actually getting hoarse by half time and faked it till the end. Ross was consistent as always but never flashy and seemed happy enough with the gig. Hopefully, this gig will become a regular as it is very popular and has some great bands playing there.

 

Last Gig: The Unique Club, Sep 10

Tonight got off to a bad start. Finding the Unique Club was a battle as the address given to the band was less than accurate. As always, a phone call to Rob's mobile talked the rhythm section in. Next, parking was very hit and miss. Johnny unloaded his gear then drove round Henley for 15 minutes in a vain attempt to find a space but came back to The Unique's car park just as a gap appeared. Poor Ross was not so lucky and you could see the tension rise, the veins popping and the arteries harden. He looked like a man about to blow the gig..... until Rob revealed how much he was being paid tonight! Then came a complete change round. "Lovely, mate - here, let me help you guys with all your gear". Ross is not cheap but he can be bought.

 The start of the gig was delayed whilst the club waited for an audience to turn up. Sadly, they stayed away in droves. The Unique's staff admitted that they'd never seen it so quiet which didn't make Burn feel so good. For the few that actually showed and stayed, it was a fairly average performance. Ross used his electronic enhancement to good effect but that also meant that he was still packing up long after the club had closed and the janitor had gone home.

Rob was happy as he could play on auto-pilot whilst checking out the rather beautiful ladies who walked past the stage area dressed in short skirts that hardly fitted. He obviously was worried that they might catch a cold, being so scantily clad - he is a very thoughtful man!

Johnny had been to see Rush at Wembley during the week and used his Fender Jazz cos Geddy Lee did. Dialling in a wicked treble into his bass sound, he was able to play at being Geddy all night though no-one noticed the difference. ("Deaf bastards!" - Geddy Heywood)

 

The Crown, Sep 4

The return to The Crown after a successful gig there with Mick Underwood depping for Ross.

Lots of regular faces turned out to have their ears assaulted. Rob is a big favourite at the Crown as he regularly attempts to drain the pub's reserves of it's Best Bitter during the week and is held in high regard for his guitar playing. ("You CAN fool all of the people all of.....etc etc" - Johnny).

Ross got set up and then sat down to fine-tune his kit. Being the total professional he is, he laid out his sets of drum sticks carefully. "Why's he got so many sticks?" said Sue, the landlord's daughter. "Is he an octopus?" Anyone who has seen Sweaty Sock Ross play will realise that he seldom holds onto the same pair of sticks for more than one song and other times, broken shards of wood go flying off in all directions before the next set is plucked from his quiver.

"Turn the bass down - the whole pub can hear you," was Rob's helpful suggestion to Johnny during the first set. This time, Rob's addiction to standing stage-left-only had back fired. His mighty Marshall was pointing straight into the Bar and so he had to crank it up to breaking point to get his sounds across. This seemed to satisfy Johnny who had no obstacles in front of his bass gear. "I thought they deserved to hear my terrific sound, " he reasoned.

However, he admitted that he was again struggling vocally. "Yes, the voice - it's gone again. Maybe I am crap, after all." However, he nursed his way to the end manfully.

There were less than enthusiastic reviews from the pub's neighbours. Apparently, as music critics, they felt the band was "too loud," and queried "when do they stop?" Burn feels that their criticism is unjust and, anyway, what absolute nob-jockeys buy property next to a pub and are surprised that there is noise in the evening? Sadly these people are not fans of good old fashioned entertainment. ("wankers, more like" - Johnny).

Great venue, great audience. Can't ask for any more than that.

 

The Red Lion, Sep 3

This was the first time Burn had played here so they were anxious not to disappoint. The stage area faced the bar so that wouldn't have pleased the staff as the boys seldom take prisoners. They had just heard that Saturday's gig had been cancelled and as this came on the back of news of the cancellation of next weeks gig, they were all rather peeved.

Rob especially found it hard to get into gear & spent the first set with his face tripping him. ("He always looks like that, even when he's happy" - anonymous bassist). It took a while for the band to finally kick in but the second set proved to be stomper! Ross hadn't played Mistreated before but it passed without incident and looks like being a song that the boys can develop.

Burn, the song, got an airing for the first time in a while and so did Highway Star although Johnny was struggling vocally by this time. "No I wasn't - it's just that I couldn't get any power, pitching, range and control........ok,yeah. You're right. I sucked."

Fortunately, many of the Wycombe crowd were there. Colin & Sue had just returned from a safari in Africa though the thought of Colin in his white Stewart Granger suit, shorts and pith helmet doesn't bear thinking about! Sue had petted a cheetah and seen a hippo up close too. "Weren't you scared?" she was asked. "No, it looked just like Colin's bum first thing in the morning!"

Ross (in his new car) drummed well but all agreed it had only taken off in the 2nd half.

 

 The Crown, Aug 21

Ross couldn't do this gig so Burn immediately contacted Mick Underwood, as both Rob & Johnny had played with him many times and had been band mates in Quatermass II. Johnny also plays with Mick in The Copy Cats, a rock 'n' roll outfit.

Happily, Mick agreed to do the gig and a set was hastily worked out, featuring many Burn songs and a first run through of Mistreated, surely a song that will take on epic proportions when it develops over time. This first attempt was pretty good with Rob creating some stunning guitar towards the end and Johnny giving his all on the vocal. "Now, if we can get Elder to learn it, then we're away," said Johnny. "Hope it fares better than other recent new songs! Some of the suggestions just haven't worked - if the others would let me make ALL the decisions, then it would be so much better!"

However, these comments led to a complete disagreement as to who first suggested the song. "I suggested Mistreated years ago, and now Johnny's claiming he thought of it!" moaned Rob. Ross Elder, contacted later on, offered a different view. "Kompleet Krap! I had it on a tape of "new" songs from early on in the band, so it was my idea!" Johnny maintains he first thought of it as a teenager singing along to his brother's guitar. "Yes, it's all mine. Even before Burn, I knew one day I'd have a band playing 70's heavily guitar based classic rock music."

But, tonight, it was the first time The Crown had heard local hero Rob playing full metal jacket rock. Comments came quick and fast from a shell shocked audience.

"What a guitarist!"

"He's so fast!"

"Incredible sounds"

"He's very loud"

Rob treated all to his incendiary playing and was treated like royalty in this, his local boozer. Despite the pub's chef proclaiming Rob to be a " complete knob jockey", it was felt that this was a great fun gig. Mick drummed brilliantly despite not knowing many of the songs and it was a big thrill for Rob & Johnny to play with this man. Mick has played with an unbelievable list of players over the years such as Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis (at The Star Club, Hamburg), Ian Gillan, and even Ritchie Blackmore ("can I lick your shoes, Mick?" - Rob).

 

 The Bel Vue, Aug 14

Burn last played the Bel Vue in March and it's long been a favourite of the bands'. There is always a good turn out and familiar faces appear regularly.

Johnny was in good spirits and said this was about his favourite gig so far this year. Rob played with a big smile on his face (rare for him) and Ross looked fired up being back at his "day job". He played several excellent gigs with BEAVER last weekend. see( http://www.beaver.com/ ).

There was definitely a "fire" about Burn tonight (pun intended) and Rock Chick Alison B. said it was the best she'd seen. But then, she says that every week! Saucy Rob suggested Mistreated and Ross was game to try. Surprisingly it was Johnny, never a man to avoid playing a song whether he knows it or not, that bottled it. "Usually it takes Rob & Ross 6 months to get around to actually sitting down & learning a song - I was caught out!" he whined.

The audience were into it and gave the band some good heckles. Johnny was not fazed because, as he said "I know how to run a gig. It's all in my big book of How To Be A Rock Star."

Big Jim responded, "Pity you didn't read it, then." He was instantly red-carded and asked to leave the venue.

The band played till 11-30 and were absolutely drenched in sweat by the end. Johnny wished it had been recorded but no such luck. Next week, the band plays The Crown in Ley Hill, a venue regularly played by The Self Righteous Bros. and where Rob is treated like a Rock God.

 

 The Black Horse, Aug 1

In the sweltering, balmy humidity, Burn reconvened after the thoroughly dissatisfactory gig the previous night. This gig had all the signs of being a really good one and several friends were in the audience such as Alan Bradshaw who the band has known for at least 10 years. To their amazement, he turns out to be the brother of top rock chick Alison Britton, a big fan of Burn and who travels to many gigs. Small world.

Unfortunately, due to the heat, the majority of punters chose to sit outside in the gardens and so Burn played to just a few loyal supporters inside. However, it was a pretty good one as it turned out. Ross seemed happy to exorcise his demons from the previous night and set about the augmented kit like a crazy man. Johnny sang his 4th consecutive gig with no strain although he was several pounds in weight lighter by the end. Rob claimed he played better tonight than last night although Ross & Johnny found much mirth in his "jazz substitutions" throughout the 1st half. ("yeah, substitutions for the right chords!" - Anonymous Bassist)

It all finished on time and there was no encore as there was no audience inside so the Burn lads trooped home wearily. It was noticeable that Ross's quick pack up time of last night was not repeated and he was still dismantling when Johnny was half way along the A40.

 The Eastcote Arms, July 31

Ask Ross Elder about this gig and he'll insist it never happened. It's his way of dealing with the Gig from Hell! It was a remarkable evening for two reasons - Ross packed his gear up and was in his car before either Johnny or Rob. Normally they are home in their respective beds before Ross has closed his snare case. Secondly, he didn't wait to get paid!

What affected the Drummer Man so badly?

Well, Burn had played this venue some years ago and it had been rather rough. This time looked better with new management and a later start time. Although it was not busy, there was a lot of alcohol consumed and it began to show on some of the punters. Several were dancing in the area in front of Burn. One portly chap (Ross reckoned he was on medication) started a spinning dance  and twice Ross stopped playing when he thought a collision would occur. This chap bought round after round for the band, fell over delivering the drinks and committed the cardinal sin of putting a pint on Rob's amp. Normally this would lead to the death sentence - no trial, no jury.

Finally, Portly Chap passed out and despite attempts made to revive him, an ambulance was called. Poor Ross observed this under considerable strain. "Never playing here again," he mumbled as he ran for the door.

Johnny observed it all pass in front of him, unconcerned. "Seen it all before. They were enjoying themselves - no problem". Rob didn't enjoy it although he actually played a blinder.

In the audience was Bassist Gavin, known to Rob & Johnny through vocalist Elliott Tuffin and it was his recommendation that Burn play the Eastcote Arms. "Oh well," said Johnny. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

 The Swiss Chalet, July 24

Yet another packed out venue! This time there wasn't a 50th party on next door to swell the audience so they must have come to see Burn! Several of the usual motley suspects like Pete, Natasha, Ben, Colin, Lynne and the welcome return of Smurff who has been missed these past few months.

Rob was still struggling with his ribs but now he had surpassed himself by doing his back in. How he did this is another mystery and Rob is not admitting anything. Rumours of spousal retribution have been suggested or that he was engaged in more bizarre bedroom antics (alone?) but the current favourite theory is that he has simply spent too long in his computer chair and the poor lamb's back muscles have atrophied.

Ross brought along his synth drum triggers and got them all working to his satisfaction. No bass drum troubles this time which he had suffered from on recent outings. Ross now has so much gear that it is taking him an entire evening to set up and dismantle. Johnny helped his big pal Rob with his gear as Rob is under doctor's orders not to do any lifting for another week. After loading Rob's car and his own, Ross was still adjusting his cymbals. By the time Rob & Johnny were back in their homes, Ross was fine-tuning his snare drum.

Several interesting musical discrepancies occurred during the set. Rob managed the correct count-in for Woman From Tokyo for the first since......ever and Ross & Johnny almost stopped playing in amazement. 10 years on and he's got it! Ross threatened a drum solo at the end of Rock 'n' Roll especially for Smurff but chickened out with a few parradiddles. Johnny made up his own word to Here I Go Again when he completely froze and looking to Rob for help was as much use as asking his fridge what the words were. In fact, as Johnny pointed out, the fridge would have been more use cos he could have "stuck the words on with a magnet - Rob doesn't realise that there are words. He just thinks I'm making noises with my mouth in between guitar solo's". Ross cut out a whole sequence in Born To Be Wild .....and then blamed Rob!

However, the reception Burn got more than made up for these little eccentricities. Drummer and long time friend, Steve Halloran said afterwards it was tighter than he'd ever seen before. The lads were exhausted but very happy.

This gig was filmed and some footage should be available soon.

 The Court Inn, July 17

The Court Inn was very busy tonight. Burn were happy that their appeal was obviously spreading...until the lovely Rock Chick Michelle pointed out that there was a 50th birthday party going on in the adjoining bar and several people were filtering in & out from there.

Burn played a fairly poppy selection tonight. They did none of the extended jam songs and instead, stuck to shorter numbers. Rob's broken ribs still prevent him lifting his amp in and out the car (so he says) but do not hinder his playing and so he had a good night. Johnny used his smaller bass rig and thought it was pretty good but Ross told him to turn up! Happy to oblige, Johnny needn't be asked twice. Still, Ross reckoned he should use the big amp next time.

It was good to have Ross back in the seat again after his move to his new palace, Elder Mansions. A suggestion of his Hallelujah I Love Her So had been learned by Rob & Johnny but not by Ross himself so it was a bit hit & miss. Will it make the grade? A few weeks will tell. Ross did seem to run out of steam as the gig progressed. Had he overdone it in the painting & decorating stakes at home? As they started up Born To Be Wild, Johnny thought that ex-drummer Softee Simon had suddenly sat in. Born To Be Mild more like.

Still, it went down well on a very humid evening and it was great to see some familiar faces again.

 

 The Golden Fleece, July 3

Drummer Ross Elder decided to forsake his friends and fans and blew out tonight's gig without a second thought. What was the important reason he should leave his big pals in the lurch and ignore crying fans pleas for his appearance? Only moving house. Pathetic! He could have done that by getting up earlier in the morning and finishing off after the gig, if he'd wanted.

Fortunately a true professional was on hand to help out. Drummer/vocalist Drew Murphy stepped once more into the gap and comments ranged from "He's miles better than that other guy" to "Ross who"? Johnny claimed to have not noticed he wasn't there and even Rob, officially the most critical man in the world, was pleased at the end of the night. "Really good" he exclaimed which in Robspeak means fantastic!

Drew sang three numbers and played his heart out even on songs he wasn't familiar with.

Familiar faces in the audience were Colin ("Anal love, please") and Sue, Joe (nice Alice Cooper T-shirt), Sir James Of Russell, Debbie O and Mike plus rock babes extraordinaire Alison and Carla (table robot dancing specialist).

Poor Rob had broken his ribs in a bizarre bedroom accident involving himself only. What pervy action was he contemplating? Was he doing a "Michael Hutchence"? Strangely, no. He fell over his bedsheet and landed badly. For more of Rob's broken bits, see Reckless Rob. His big pal Johnny was on hand to help the poor wee lamb load his guitar and amplifier into the Rob mobile.

 

 The Swan, June 25

Tonight's gig was for The South Bucks Hospice charity and Burn were amongst 3 other bands who happily took part. The guys organising the event had been at The Swan all day setting up and Burn arrived around 3-30 to sound check.

First on after initial speeches and thanks was local blues band Stir Crazy. Their drummer had dropped out due to illness and a dep was found at the last minute. To our astonishment, he appeared to be using Ross Elder's drum kit! No-one ever gets to do that! For their final song, Voodoo Chile, Ross took over. There was some talk about him knowing the song better but The Critic suspects he just got scared his kit might be abused.

Burn were on next. They exploded into Broken Dream and kept the energy levels high. Johnny played the first song with no stage amplifier cos the Stir's bass player had turned it off at the end of their set. It was still coming out the PA fortunately so no one noticed. ("I did. Even better if they'd turned him off the PA too"! -Rob). Johnny was in top voice. "Awesome vocals" said a young fan at half time. "Awful vocals, more like" said Rob who claimed not to have played very well. Johnny advised him to slow down more. Rob didn't understand.

Ross was at the top of his game. Not even Johnny interrupting his drum break in Space Truckin' could stop him. He apologised later but the drummer man didn't even notice as he was in "the zone". Would he do a solo?

Unfortunately, the set had to be shortened as the event was running late. The band finished on a raucous Born to be Wild and left the stage to great applause.

After a break, the Top Topham/John Idram Band played a great set of blues and the headliner Taka Boom fronted the 9 piece South Bucks Band, formed specially for the occasion. On drums - God it was Ross Elder again! Clearly making sure no one else touched his drums, he led the band through Taka's set and, although they had only had one run in the week, such was the musicianship, that it sounded fantastic! Most of this was down to Ross who held the band together despite some dubious count-ins from their leader.

Taka invited all the musicians back on stage for the finale Mustang Sally and Johnny & Rob were straight down the front to hog the backing vocalists mike. Taka probably had been warned about letting Rob sing and immediately gave him a tambourine. Johnny laughed but she handed one to him too. The audience got to their feet and sang along hopefully drowning out Rob's voice. Johnny played his tambourine using his own time signature and said it was the only time he'd ever enjoyed playing that song! Once again Ross sat at the back keeping it all swinging. "We need more gigs like that" said a happy Johnny.

 

 The Gate, June 19

Summer gigs at The Gate are always great events. There had a been a biker rally during the day and a barbecue which carried on till after midnight so Ross was eagerly anticipating a feast as the last few bars of music faded. Sadly, he mis-timed it by a chicken leg as Johnny was in there first and left nothing behind. "Teach him not to do a drum solo....again" Johnny justified.

Rob's famous hand was hurting him again. Regular readers will know that he suffers periodic bouts of tendonitis ("no talent-itis more like" - Johnny) and this, combined with violence displayed against unmoveable objects, often handicaps his quick silver-guitar technique. ("Ha!" - J) Still, if it hindered him then it didn't show. Catch The Rainbow was perhaps the best version heard for many months. It was extremely powerful, yet focused and concise. Even Johnny nearly appreciated Rob's playing. Or very nearly.

Ross seemed a bit irritable at the start of the evening but once he realised there were some fans & friends in attendance watching him closely he knuckled down and gave a brilliant performance. No slacking tonight from the band and they continued till 11-45.

The Gate had been forced to fit a sound monitor that cut the power to the band if they got too loud. Johnny & Rob kept their eyes on it for most of the night but the last chord of Born To Be Wild finally sent it over the edge and the band went silent apart from Ross who didn't even notice the others weren't playing at first and then seemed to prefer it.

An encore of Smoke and that was it. Johnny had given his all and his voice was objecting to the abuse. ("What about my ears?" - Rob) Just time to race off and nab the last bit of chicken....sorry Ross!

 

 George II, Luton June 12

Jerry Bloom was in attendance again for tonight's gig and conducted an interview with Burn, extracts of which will appear in the next More Black Than Purple magazine which he edits. This is a great magazine dedicated to Ritchie Blackmore (Rob's Dad) and Johnny has been a subscriber since it began. See http://www.mbtp.freeserve.co.uk/ for details and for the Blackmore Convention in October featuring Burn & Rainbow Rising.

Jerry also witnessed a fierce argument between band members about new material. Rob's suggestion of a more Indy Band approach was being pooh-poohed by the others and his opinion of some classic songs like Sweet Home Alabama and Bat Out Of Hell was "shite"! Ross defended these songs by throttling Rob till he agreed to play some Humble Pie tracks and Johnny stood back, occasionally getting a kick in when he could.

Jerry believed the band was close to breaking up and came up with a brilliant solution.

Burn fan and rock chick Debbie O made the journey from Aylesbury accompanied by top Vet and part time dietician Janine who was seeing & hearing Burn for the first time. Sadly they both missed the fight and so went away believing Burn to be "thoroughly nice chaps".

Rob used his Line 6 combo and immediately regretted it as it seemed to lack the power he is used to. That means he was getting drowned out by the drums & bass. ("Yeah - good thing, too" - Johnny).He played well despite a bad hand wound inflicted in a fight with a vase whilst spring cleaning his Spanish villa!

Ross amazed all by not only playing Rock 'n' Roll without warning, but venturing into a drum solo. Complaints fom the Guestbook about the lack of solo's obviously hit the mark and on he went.....and on......and on. Johnny & Rob stood open mouthed and stayed awake as Ross ran through the entire range of his talent. An incredible triplet thing on the snare impressed The Critic and some people even applauded at the end! Rock-tastic! He has scheduled another solo for December so we wait with baited breath!

 

 The Crown, Lechlade May 30

The Crown laid on one of it's famous barbecues and the pub was very busy so Burn organised the weather and the music. It was a bright sunny day, mainly, despite a torrential shower during the first set, but it disappeared and the sunshine resumed.

Ross brought fewer drums to this gig which left Rob & Johnny wondering if he'd made a mistake. With only one floor tom it appeared Ross was going to play a Burn gig with a really basic set up! "If it's good enough for Ringo then it's good enough for me" he cried defiantly and laid into his kit. Rob reckoned he "played a blinder".

Johnny was in good voice but did not use the new singing technique he has been working on recently. See the next news-page update for more information on this stunning new breakthrough in vocal pyrotechnics. He & Rob used their smaller combos for this gig to compliment Ross's reduced kit rather than "blow him out" which had been Johnny's original suggestion.

If you've read The Critics' previous writings about guitarists then you'll know that lead guitarists are merely waving their willies when playing rock guitar. Rob was in full Penis Mode as he had a new lady with him and was eager to impress. Apart from some interesting "jazz improvisations" (& Johnny added a few of his own), he was in fine form. He may have overdone it though as he reckoned he might have destroyed the speaker in his combo and Johnny thought that deserved "big respect".

 Swiss Chalet, May 22

The last time Burn played here, drummer Drew Murphy depped for Ross who couldn't make the gig. This time it was back to full strength but the audience seemed a little light numbered tonight. It got a bit busier as the evening wore on and several familiar faces were there. You can always tell when the gig gets going properly because Dancing Freddy leaps onto the podium to give us his unique air-guitar, disco flaying appreciation of the rockular variety.

Ross used his electronic gear but seemed to be having problems. "The bass drum mike seems to be cutting out every third beat", he complained. Johnny reckoned "it was his right foot that was cutting out, more like", but only said it behind Ross's back.

Johnny used his Stingray 5 bass which sounded very powerful but got annoyed when the beat was lost in Woman From Tokyo. Accusations would have been made later with the percussion department until Catch The Rainbow when he lost the place so badly that he decided to keep quiet!

Bass & drums felt the gig had not been a good one but Rob was happy as he had turned in a good performance. "Speak for yourself, man" he beamed when Johnny moaned at the end. "I was on full Yngwie mode tonight" - a reference to classical/rock/metal/shredder Yngwie Malmsteen, who's poster is on Rob's bedroom wall, next to a signed photo of Ritchie Blackmore and his Boy Scout  certificate for tea-making.

Next week Rob promises to explode at Lechlade (5pm start) as he says he will bring with him a mysterious guest! "I will be on full metal jacket, just wait & hear" he threatened.

 Lechlade Village Hall, May 15

Another function gig! Burn are in danger of becoming a Weddings, Bar mitzvah's and Parties Band. There were some danger signs when the band started the second of 3 halves with Maggie May and everyone got up to dance, including a positive plethora of teenage girls! Poor Rob didn't know where to look and his finger trill got plenty of practice. Once the people were dancing there was no way some of the rock stuff could be played so the lads kept pumping out the up tempo pop stuff. Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl got a play for the first time ever, much to Ross's disgust.

There was a support band - "Need for Urgency", a group of talented local teenagers (great drummer) who played some of their original songs and got the evening off to a good start. Rob & Johnny noted the lads used amps & guitars that they had waited years to afford! Johnny reckoned they should be made to "spend a year on crappy 1970's Jap copy guitars like we had to!"

Johnny was in fine voice but used some interesting bass notes in I Surrender. Interviewed later, Rob offered a suggestion - "He was playing total pants!" Johnny was quick to respond with a cutting remark - "Oh Yeah?" he sneered.

Ross demonstrated yet again that if it's worth doing then it's worth over-doing and blasted his drums through his mini PA. The following evening, Charlie (big mates with the band) said his ears were still ringing. "That's good then" said Rob. Other big mates there were Alan who had Born To Be Mild dedicated to him, Colin & Lynn who had come back especially for the gig from holidaying in the States (yeah, right), the lovely Barbara, and Pete & Natasha, who had dangerous spikes pierced through her eye lids which prevented anyone from slow dancing with her.

It was great. A sticky hot & sweaty evening with a fabulous barbecue - what more does anyone need?

 Private Wedding, May 8

Although this was a private wedding function, The Critic was on hand to record the events. The venue was Pendley Manor Hotel in Tring, a vast complex of buildings with large grounds full of peacocks. Johnny pointed out that the males  extend their tails into a large fan when they try to impress the females much in the manner that Rob does when he plays a lead solo.

Some of the guys had seen the band before at The Gate and insisted on ROCK ROCK ROCK. Whitesnakes' Here I Go Again was played on the request of the groom, Tim & it was so successful, it will get re-instated into the normal set. It was a big favourite in the keyboard days of Tommy D but was given up after a disastrous attempt some years ago.

As alcohol overtook the audience and dancing on the tables set in (by the guys, unfortunately) the band wound it down. Maggie May & Hotel California were thrown in on request and everyone agreed it had been a big laugh.

Burn are now available for birthdays, weddings and bar mitsvah's at a price you can afford.

 The George II, Luton, April 24

Burn had played a couple of dodgy gigs at this venue over the years and were rather wary of tonight's performance. Glad to say that current manager Nick has turned the place into a great little venue though he felt it wasn't as well attended as normal due to St George's day celebrations the previous night. ("Good - we thought it was us" - Johnny).

Jerry Bloom from the Ritchie Blackmore Magazine "More Black Than Purple" http://www.mbtp.freeserve.co.uk/ came to hear the band as he is organizing a Blackmore convention to be held at The Limelight Club in Crewe on October 23rd and was thinking of getting Burn to play a set. Check out his web site for all details about this and the excellent magazine he edits. Johnny has been a subscriber since it started.

He seemed to enjoy the set & the band filled the songs with snippets of Deep Purple related music. Rob was in full flight and finished Born To Be Wild with an oustanding burst of guitar playing. Even Johnny was impressed. ("Don't tell him cos he's still a ****" - Johnny).

Another version of I Surrender appeared and musically this was much better. However it was Johnny who failed to make the grade and ended up hoarsely talking his way through the high notes.

It was fairly well received by the punters but there was a dearth of audible audience appreciation i.e. "clapping". "Just cos they're not clapping doesn't mean they're not enjoying it" pointed out Ross though all felt it would be difficult to explain it any other way. The band returns on June 12.

 The Golden Fleece, High Wycombe, Apr 17th

Not so well attended as previous gigs here but a lot of familiar faces were here prompting Johnny's question "Ain't you got nowhere better to go on a Saturday night?"

After a slow start and a fairly disastrous version of I Surrender ("I'm a C***, more like" - Johnny) the gig got going. Poor Rob was digging deep but he said his mind kept wandering & he felt it hard to concentrate. Ross was comparatively subdued but was Mr Rock Solid as always. Johnny seemed ok and at half time was asked by Diana if his voice had got higher or was he using any "assistance?" We all wondered what that could mean - perhaps Johnny had some secret truss but at any rate, he wasn't saying. As he eloquently enquired " What d'ya mean - Think I'm some sort of perv?"

Rob may not have been blazing on all guns but he did remember to pepper his solo's with his trademark sweeping arpeggios. This is a fairly recent addition to his arsenal of guitar techniques & can be heard by the likes of Blackmore, Malmsteen, Frank Gambale and George Formby. Johnny remains unimpressed - "I can do that on my bloody mouth organ" he claimed.

Big Jim was once again in attendance and when he appeared at the S.R.B. gig the following night, he had been to 4 Rob/Johnny gigs in a row. For this, the Order of Anorak is humbly presented & a glass of coke might be bought. ("Eh, steady on" - Johnny)

 The 3 Pigeons, Milton Common, Apr 15th

This is developing into a favourite venue for the Burn chaps and Ross especially as he has often played here with The Beaver Band (http://www.beaverband.co.uk/). Good to see Bassist John Randall had nipped in to throw vegetables at the band and call them a variety of names from the Bar area.

I Surrender was given it's second airing and seemed to work quite well so maybe Ross has been convinced after all. He augmented his drums with his Roland triggers and samples so Johnny & Rob immediately turned up to combat this.

Whilst in the middle of a fairly exciting instrumental section, Rob quoted his "sailors hornpipe" musical gag which he has been using on every gig in the last 10 years. Johnny observed this was something that Ritchie Blackmore did ONCE in a gig some 35 years ago. "Hey, when I find a gag that works, I like to stick with it" he defended! "...and I can play it in any key" he warned.

Johnny found himself falling back on a special "singers" technique he has perfected over the years when he finds his voice not quite up to the occasion. "Yes, I have used this many times when I'm hoarse- it's called "shouting". I simply get louder and pull an anguished face like I have the blues. I find it a great substitute for talent".

Good to see Big Jim Russell in the front row. Not realising there was an entry fee, he was stopped by the doorman - "Can I trouble you for 3, sir?" Jim asked "why, are you hard up?" Burn thinks he should have been thrown out on his ear. Troublemaker!

 

 The Green Dragon, Flackwell Heath, Apr 9th

Burn played here many years ago and it was so successful, they were never re-booked! This time round it was different. A lot of the usual suspects were there - Tina & Al, Sue & Colin and Joe too.

Johnny phoned on his mobile on the way to the gig for directions and discovered he was heading for the wrong town! Rob assisted his good mate by explaining that he "couldn't find his balls in his Y-fronts".

Ross announced he hadn't prepared for I Surrender so didn't want to do it. Johnny's argument that it was piss-simple had no effect and it got passed over. "Your bass lines may be simple but never my drums" argued Ross. Johnny knew that this was, indeed, true but shut up anyway, secretly yearning for his drum machine. However, the song didn't seem to be needed as the band stuck to tried & tested numbers.

Rob suffered hand problems again, Johnny moaned about a recent elbow problem ("probably from leaning against the wall during one of my solo's" - Rob) but no-one else noticed their discomfort. Everyone was rocking & raving including the landlord and this time he has re-booked the band although the first gap turned out to be October.

 

 The Bel Vue, High Wycombe, March 27th

The first gig of the year at The Belle Vue and the joint was very busy with a lot of familiar faces. The boys in the band were nervously discussing whether or not to risk trying out I Surrender for the first time without even a rehearsal. Johnny & Rob checked out a few chord changes & there was some doubt about the ending but they decided to risk it. It sounded good. Johnny was at the top end of his range (and talent) and Ross was busking it but it all went really well. It becomes the first "new" song of the year.

It was Sheila's birthday and she got well wound up when the band sang Happy Birthday to her with a suitable rock beat backing then dedicated the next song to her. Johnny started Bullfrog Blues which they were well aware she hated, then broke into "Rock 'n' Roll".... a fine gag which went down well.

The band seemed to hit a high tonight as many of the audience said how good it was. It seemed different as far as the band was concerned - Rob felt he'd had a bad first half and Johnny was worried about singing the new song but none of this showed. Unfortunately, the next gig here is not till August 14.

 

 The Rising Sun, Reading, March 6th

Now this is a "rock" venue!

The place existed to host rock bands and is the sort of venue that Burn loves to play. Rob & Johnny loved it and played their hearts out. Unfortunately, Ross hated it!

It all started badly for the drummer man when he realised he'd forgotten his ear plugs. Johnny offered him cheap foam ones but Ross refused as he uses special vented ones that cut out the damaging high fequencies. As he unloaded his gear he stood in a pool of vomit left cunningly on the front door step and the tension-o-meter rose swiftly. Still, he played excellently, ignoring the colossal explosion of volume crashing out of Rob's Marshall speakers. Can it be mere co-incidence that Ross's hearing is down on his left ear - the guitar side of the stage?

Rob cared not a jot and after a shaky start, settled into a terrific performance. One of his leads, supposedly mended by Johnny, failed during the first song causing some delay whilst a spare (Johnny's of course) was found. Accusations of deliberate sabotage were made but these were countered by jibes of buying cheap quality gear. By half time, no-one remembered the gap as the band were hailed as the "best band to have performed at the venue" by the landlord.

The band finished around midnight so that Rob could continue "tonsil tennis" with a striking young lady, leaving Ross & Johnny to dismantle their gear and look on jealously.

 

 The Black Horse, Feb 29th

Very sparsely attended unfortunately but those that were there were into it and enthusiastic. Sometimes the lack of audience causes the band to be less than inspired but tonight they were rocking. Ross, encouraged by his success with the synth drums last night decided to "share" them again with everyone so the volume increase was more than matched by Rob who is always game for a challenge. "Drums, bass and vocals may be necessary in a band, but you shouldn't have to hear them when my guitar is playing".

Johnny was singing well and no-one was more surprised than he. "It's my 5th gig in a row" he bleated. "It's a wonder I can still talk"! Rob tried to help by suggesting that the band played guitar instrumentals for the 2nd half but it was felt that anyone wanting to suffer that could indulge themselves in Rob's new CD to be released shortly- ("escaped, more like" - Johnny) "Partly Covered". See News Page.

One couple were very enthusiastic and gushed on at length to Ross & Johnny. Mind you, they may have been pissed but they were sincere.

 

 The Gate, Feb 28th

First gig at the Gate this year and the boys were looking forward to it. Ross came fully prepared with his drum triggers, microphone and mixing desk in order to supplement his vast array of percussion sounds. Rob complained of a pulled muscle in his back. Had he been fighting again? No! Had he been in another car "incident" or "fist-into-wall" situation? No! He had simply got up out of bed in a bizarre way. Very dangerous! ("especially at his age" - Johnny). Worst of all was that the poor lamb had to carry his heavy Marshall amp & speakers on his own.

Still, he soldiered on and was hitting the right spots all night long. There was a lot of energy tonight from the band and everyone thought it was a very good one. Tina took some pix and a couple are now on the gallery.

The gig went on till 11-30 and over an hour later, the bar was still busy. Great gig!

 

 The 3 Pigeons, Feb 19th

With only 10 minutes to start time, the audience was looking pretty thin on the ground. Over the next few minutes though, it started to fill up and by the time the band was a few numbers into the set, it had become quite busy - especially for a cold, Thursday night.

Ross admitted he hadn't played much in the last month due to commitments and other distractions so he really needed an intense course of drum therapy. A great Burn gig always comes from Ross first and then filters through to the others. Rob was especially happy to have the band back to how he loves it and turned on a blistering performance. As a well known perfectionist, it takes only one element out of line to cause him to "do a Blackmore" and throw a moody. Try hiding his Mr Sheen guitar string polish and see how Mr Hyde appears. Johnny, on the hand claimed to have not even noticed that Ross wasn't there last time - probably cos he only ever listens to himself.

Bassist John Randall from Beaver ( http://www.beaverband.co.uk/ ) was in the audience and he & Johnny talked bass at great length like 2 anoraks at a railway station. Ross often plays in Beaver and so next time there is a gap in the Burn schedule, Johnny & Rob will go cheer or heap abuse.

Great finish to the gig and everyone very happy to see Ross back where he belongs.

 

 The Swiss Chalet, Feb 14th

Well this was different - a Burn gig without Ross Elder! Drummer/vocalist Drew Murphy was called in to dep and did a fantastic job. He favours an incredibly tight sounding kit with a snare drum that cuts through even the noisiest guitarists and he actually sang a couple of Bad Co numbers and All Right Now by Free. This marked the first time anyone has sung with Burn other than Johnny. "It was great - we could do harmonies. It was a dream come true as I'm used to band members who can barely talk, let alone sing"!

Rob was not quite at ease tonight but this was put down to the subtle fills that he expects from the drum department and any change would make a difference in the music. Johnny seemed unfazed by the change but Rob said that was because "he never listened to the others anyway"!

The audience were extremely vocal and the lads did 2 encores. Big Charlie and Alan were there again plus Colin, Lynne and Barbara. Dancing Freddy once again entertained all with his unique disco-rock gyrations.

 

 The Golden Fleece, Feb 7th

A large audience greeted the Burn Boys tonight. All the usual suspects were there to either request songs or hurl abuse and sometimes both. Sue was late as she had just come from watching Spurs squeak through against Pompey and was now in rockular mode and ready for her favourite - Radar Love. The boys obliged happily and played a storming 2 hour set which was full of incident. Each member found their brains wandering at different times. Rob chose tonight to completely forget how to play Hold Your Head Up and the others got big amusement watching the panic set in. Marvellous! Johnny played Wishing Well in a different way than before. "It's all jazz chord substitutions, man" he claimed until it was pointed out to him that it simply was the wrong key. Finally, a slightly altered bass line in Tokyo led to drummer Ross losing the count and the resulting silence from the drum department at a crucial moment caused much mirth.

It is moments like these that bring the Burn lads closer together. Indeed, Ross was later seen to go up close to Johnny and tell him that the gap was all his fault. Johnny responded by asking "Couldn't you count to 4? We did"!

Claire was in the audience for the first time in months and was almost dancing on the tables in ecstasy. An investigation into her drinking consumption revealed only Coca Cola! Lucky girl.

One of the Wycombe faithful at a the nearest table observed the 6-string bass and moaned that he couldn't follow Johnny's fingers, the fretboard being noticeably bigger than a standard 4-string. "I can't recognise what he's playing when I watch him". Rob pointed out that "sometimes you can't recognise what he's playing when you listen to him, either".

Yes, it's all smiles and love with Burn.

 

 The Rising Sun, Slough, Jan 17th

When the band arrived at this gig, Johnny & Rob realised they had played it 7 or 8 years ago when Simon(e) was in the band. It had been called "O'Neils" then and it hadn't been a good gig at all. Now it was completely different with a healthy Burn-type audience. i.e. Fans of 70's, guitar based, classic  heavy rock music!

Sadly for Rob, his good friend Maggie had passed away that day and he was feeling bad. However, the crowd and the music revitalised him and he turned in one of his epic performances, dedicating Catch the Rainbow to Maggie as it had been her favourite. One punter remarked to Johnny that, after hearing the song played Burn style, he felt he "knew Maggie". Wow! Powerful stuff.

Johnny was in terrific voice, having finally got over the cold that had persisted for weeks but Ross complained of hand problems. This was something the others had thought was in the past as Ross had an operation some time ago to sort this problem out. We can only hope that it is a temporary plight. Mostly, he played like a god! ("and no synthetic crap, neither" - Johnny).

Burn played till almost 12-30 and still the audience wanted more. Great gig, great venue and the band looks forward to playing there again.

 

 

T

 

 

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