cool to be uncool

apart from it being very cool to be uncool, here is another spectacular reason for you to make it to the gig tomorrow (saturday 19th june 2010 at after dark)…

it will be air-conditioned heaven and a welcome relief from the heatwave that has descended on greece. i know, i know… you’re currently flopping about at home, sweating like a world cup footballer and thinking that you will never be able to move more than two inches away from your fan and that bucket of ice-cubes. the good news is that, in the interests of doing our bit for global warming, the venue we are playing at is deliciously cold. last time we played there in the summer, i actually had to ask them to turn the air-conditioning down a bit because i was freezing my tits off.

as with all bad mathematics gigs, we are battling against various factors to get people through the doors tomorrow. a heatwave, the effing football and now we find out that it’s the european music weekend, with free concerts all over the city in local squares.

no wonder we were invited to play! we’re probably the only band in athens that can guarantee a gaggle of hard-drinking, rowdy wasters, even when confronted by this tidal wave of alternative events.

so let’s prove that we have pulling power, my adorable readers (all three of you now!). on with the bikinis (suggestions for boys over here. warning: not for the faint-hearted) and head down to after dark… where the drinks are cool and the music is cooler (in an uncool kind of way).

u2 postpone tour

from the bbc

U2 have pulled out of the Glastonbury Festival and postponed their US tour after Bono had emergency surgery to save him from possible paralysis.

The singer, 50, had a back operation on Friday after suffering an injury while training in preparation for the tour.

Neurosurgeon Joerg Tonn said: “The surgery was the only course of treatment for full recovery and to avoid further paralysis.”

Bono, who must recuperate for the next two months, said he was “heartbroken”.

i was going to say “i know how you feel, mate” but that would seem a bit big-headed but in some small (but very diva-like) way, i do. when i was a wandering thespian, our company toured up and down merry england. one of the classic, another day, another city, kind of tours. on the day of a big premiere in london, i sprained my ankle. sounds pathetic but i was ordered not to perform for two weeks. did you know it takes longer to recover from a bad sprain than a fracture in some cases? the show i was in was a highly physical one that we trained for by running 5 miles in the morning, followed by a two hour physical training. anyway, our director had to stand in for me and i travelled with the company but was unable to perform. it was the most intensely frustrating and yes, heartbreaking time.

the desire to get up on stage is a strange and indescribable fish. it’s not as simple as people make out. that performers want to be loved (although that’s very nice too). it’s more like a need. like there’s nothing else you could possibly want to be doing other than that. nothing. the stage is where you are at your happiest. where you feel the most fear and overcome it. where you feel the most vulnerable. where you feel the greatest power you possess. it’s the greatest high that i have ever experienced. no amount of alcohol (drugs might be different… i don’t know) can make you feel like that.

so, although i haven’t been a fan of bono or u2 since their “war” album, they have my sympathy.

i know how you feel…

major tom

we enjoyed our half-hour with major tom last night on athens international radio (monday-friday 10:30-11:00pm local time). he is doing more to promote local bands than all the management companies, record companies and general music wasters put together. if you want to get your stuff played, send a cd along with a telephone number to:

athens international radio
c/o major tom
odos pireos 100
technopolis, gazi
athens, 11854

or leave it with the security guards at any time of the day or night.

thanks tom.

indie musicians win an oscar for best song

from stereogum

The Frames’ Glen Hansard and girlfriend, Once co-star, and singing partner Marketa Irglóva took home the gold, and their acceptance speech(es) provided a night highlight. Glen delivered some touching words, and a sour note in Oscar history was avoided when Jon Stewart brought Marketa back out, after commercial break, to make right the orchestra’s ill-timed acceptance speech exit music. She says some nice things about independent musicians.

want your own rehearsal space ?

we are currently looking into the idea of finding our own rehearsal space because our old place is about to be lost to us. are you interested in joining us or us joining you ? please let us know in the comments if you have any ideas…

it could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. who knows ?

musical unions


from kathimerini

Yiannis Angelakas (r) and Nikos Veliotis, a strong draw on the local alternative music circuit, have just released a new brighter-sounding album, ‘Pote Tha Ftasoume Edo,’ as the follow-up to their very well received debut together, “Oi Anases Ton Lykon.” The duo is now touring.

By Yiouli Eptakili

We were drinking tea at a quiet cafe in downtown Athens. Yiannis Angelakas, the former frontman of the popular Greek rock act Trypes, and his gifted music partner of late, the talented cellist and composer Nikos Veliotis, an active figure on the international experimental circuit, were preparing to depart for Thessaloniki for final rehearsals ahead of a mini tour, now on. The pair has just released a second album, “Pote Tha Ftasoume Edo,” following their very well received first outing together, “Oi Anases Ton Lykon.” Both albums are unique. Veliotis’s multilayered sounds, chords, and drones, all on the cello, blend with Angelakas’s thoughtful lyrics. The duo traveled along different paths, at different times, before joining forces. From Thessaloniki, Angelakas picked grapes as a youngster before rejecting that line of work. He turned to music and fronted his rock band Trypes along a blazing trail for 15 years. Back then, an entire generation here identified with the angst-ridden words and thoughts of Angelakas, now 48. Born and raised in Athens, Veliotis, a cool-headed 38-year-old, thrives on city life. The classically trained cellist prefers anti-academic ways in music, surfs the Internet, and gets his kicks out of watching trash TV and frequenting small venues with experimental leanings.

Yiannis Angelakas, are you still mad at [the late archbishop] Christodoulos?

Y. A:

I was not mad at Christodoulos, nor was the song “Airetiko” (Heretical) just about him, but about what he represented. Christodoulos was a passionate priest in a mad world, a rock star who controlled listeners, and a TV star, but his show was cheap. In the end, of course, he became a hero. Everybody emerged in the media and spoke lofty things about how significant a personality he was. Big deal, we knew what he was.

N. V:

Greek hypocrisy is a well-known fact. We need mass, national psychotherapy in order to be able to move on.

Should I assume that you were not at all alarmed by all that has gone on at the Culture Ministry (Zachopoulos affair)?

Y. A:

It’s a joke in itself that a Culture Ministry exists. Power, amid all its interests, cares little about how it will further develop people. Like the Public Order Ministry and its enforcement of order as it sees it, the Culture Ministry imposes its own views about culture. And we’ve seen what the results are – dirt, money, scandals…

Would you accept financial backing from the Culture Ministry?

Y. A:

We would most probably say “no,” as we’ve done in the past. If we lived in a more serious country with serious leaders and I saw that people like Socrates Malamas and Thanassis Papaconstantinou received occasional ministry backing, then I may have asked for funds to maintain the band.

N. V:

I would prefer it if young, unknown artists received ministry funds. But, as Yiannis just said, we don’t live in a serious country. We’ve suddenly just realized that the Chrysi Avgi (right-wing extremist) group enjoys good ties with the Greek police force, and that immigrants get beaten up at police stations. Reality is just what is captured on video and put on the screen.

Do you watch television?

N. V:

I do. I’ll find something even in the junk. There’s something worthy there, too, if you watch with a conscience. I’m just as conscientious about not watching the news.

Y. A:

It’s not news, its a show. Fortunately, not everybody is feeding television’s atrocious state. TV junkies in Greece number no more than 2-2.5 million. They’re the minority. There are also people who think, worry, and get out onto the street to fire up the thoughts of fellow citizens.

Are you optimistic?

N. V:

Yes, because we get around here, meet people, young people who think. There’s something alive out there that’s boiling.

Is this why your new album is more optimistic than the previous one?

Y. A:

When we were making “Oi Anases Ton Lykon” it was a difficult period for both of us. Things around us then changed, as did our energy, and this new album is truly more luminous.

How did you two get together and find you matched?

N. V:

Yiannis was doing the soundtrack for Nikos Nikolaidis’s film “Loser Takes All” and wanted to do something with the cello.

Y. A:

And we became friends. It’s the only way I can work. I don’t function in a totally professional way. I create human bonds and, then, music through them.

N. V:

What we do is like a serious game.

Is there any chance of us seeing Trypes on stage again?

Y. A:

No, no chance whatsoever. We have nothing to do with this trend for band reunions, all for the sake of making money.

N. V:

It’s still early. You’re all too young!

Nikos Veliotis, did you follow Trypes ?

N. V:

No, I’d started getting involved with experimental music at the time.

Y. A:

I like to collaborate with people who didn’t listen to Trypes. Much of the Episkeptes [Angelakas’s current backing ensemble] lineup had no idea about the old band.

How did you manage to gather all these exceptional musicians? And how can such a large band of about 15 people on stage survive financially?

Y. A:

It’s total madness trying to maintain such a band in Greece. It does generate some wages. Our nerves often reach the breaking point, but we carry on because the guys understand that what we do is worth the effort. Which is why they often sacrifice better pay to be with us.

Do you believe in the freedom that the Internet provides musicians?

Y. A:

I believe with hesitation. I need to wait a few more years. There’s momentum and potential, so something may be achieved here.

N. V:

We feel concern about the distribution of our work. Total freedom may come through the Internet.

Your album sells for about 17.80 euros. That’s expensive isn’t it?

N. V:

It’s expensive because of the middlemen.

Y. A:

We dream of cheaper albums, but at this point in time, don’t have the power to achieve this. Of the 17.80 euros, our label, Alltogethernow, which does all the production work, gets 5 euros. The money we get is in there. We give the distributors completed work and they share the remaining 13 euros with the record shops. Let’s not talk about this anymore because it drives me crazy.

N. V:

And just think, albums are even more expensive in the country’s provinces.

Does it annoy you if some listeners freely download your music?

N. V:

Now, that’s just the way things are.

Y. A:

We try to be on good terms with our fans. And because they’re quality-minded, they understand that All together now needs the money to survive. Until now, despite these difficult times, people have been buying our music, consciously. I’m certain that if we were to ask our following for support, it would offer it. At some point, when it became known that Alltogethernow had problems, a girl called me to say that she had 1,500 euros which she could gladly give me. There was a boy, too, offering about that much more. I didn’t accept it, of course, but it’s touching when somebody says: “Well, I’m here and want to help you continue with what you’re doing.” People know.

friday fun

fridays are good. rehearsals in the evening. end of the week. so it’s all good.

great to see friends adding here at a fast rate. makes me feel like we are getting back in the loop after a long break from gigging and being involved in the scene. i’ve missed playing and hanging out with the bands here. looking forward to seeing old friends and new ones in real life.

over and out