Monday, 8 March 2010

None More Black

‘In the American South a church group got us banned from performing in their town…so when their church was later set on fire they naturally blamed us, claiming that we had Lucifer as our manager and all sorts of nonsense(long pause)…the fact that we did actually have a manager called Lucifer, well….that’s a different story…’
Align Centre
Bill Ward, Black Sabbath

This and other stories had me laughing out loud as I enjoyed BBC Four’s excellent ‘Heavy Metal Britannia’ over the weekend. I’m not a heavy metal fan, and don’t own any heavy metal records at all, despite having a pretty large eclectic record collection. I have however, always had a genuine fondness for the guys that play in these bands and their fans. It might be a Midlands thing, as so many of these bands came from Birmingham and the Black Country, and still speak with thick regional accents despite years spent living in LA and elsewhere. This was illustrated on the programme by the likes of Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and Ozzy Osbourne,’ Geezer’ Butler and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, whose all too often hilarious stories of rock n roll excess I could listen to for hours. All delivered with a dry, deadpan wit again typical of the region.

When I was about 17, 18 I used to play bass guitar in a band in West Bromwich, and on Sundays we used to use the local rehearsal studios in Wednesbury (where the amps went up to 11). The studios were used by lots of local metal bands who were part of a scene in the area. With our lame indie rock, badly played, we used to look down at the metal heads, but they had skill and passion in abundance compared to us when I look back. They were great guys and seemed to revel in the outsider status that the metal fan will always have.

Stonehenge Monuments too big to get in concert halls; drunken dwarves falling off said monuments; a plaque delivered to a drunken bandmate to commemorate six months of being on the wagon. It’s easy to see that the makers of ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. It’s one of my favourite films. Below are a couple of large paintings I made over ten years ago which were developed from photos of The Tap. They were made to be sort of romantic paintings, reminiscent of my Midlands roots. They were created with the same affection ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ has for its subject.

Air Potato,
oil on canvas, 210 x 150cms, 1999

Look at those spandex trousers! That’s a fancy bit of painting even if I do say so myself…

oil on canvas, 180 x 240cms, 1999

This record sleeve by Black Sabbath above is very reminiscent of Peter Doig’s paintings isn’t it? Do you think he’s a closet Metal Head?

No comments: