My New Musical Album: "Miz' Mecca"
Updated: Feb 14
Well, here it is - a complete album of new and long overdue music from my good self, which I have been working on for a while.
The bulk of the recording was achieved during lockdown in 2020, when I was living with another musician, and we needed to find things to keep us occupied. However, this year my time was taken up elsewhere with one thing and another, including self-publishing 4 new books, so I didn’t actually complete the artwork for some of the singles, until recently.
It is - if I say so myself - rather a respectable 8-track album, with the usual strength of melody from myself (no surprises there, then!) and boasts a good standard of recording throughout. Though I, and the musician I recorded with, are no longer talking (this is possibly mild, in terms of your typical musician bust-ups) it’s always good to learn from a situation, and from other people’s input.
They slowed me down, considerably; I have always tended to over-speed the beat up, when I’m in Energizer bunny mode. It was good to be able to take more time over the vocals, and give vent to a fuller range of expressions, than I normally would if I was going so fast that neither I, not anybody else, could keep up.
So, without further ado - what are all these new tracks about? Let’s drive into the strange world of myself, and see where this takes us. I very much hope, that some of this music will be like nothing you have heard before!
1. The Apple Tree - This piano-based track was modelled as a very straight-up Elton John-type song, and was especially emotive for me, given the timing. My estranged mother had died the previous year, although I was not told for 6 months after the event.
This song is, basically, all abut family - particularly broken families - and plays on the words “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. It is something of an irony, that even though we can expressly try not to fall into the same behaviours as our parents, we can eventually do so - although, conversely, this is the last thing we would want for ourselves.
It discusses intergenerational clashes - scapegoating, rejection and outright banishment from the family circle. My parents’ bad marriage is something I have continually been very upset over, and probably will never recover from.
Our parents’ generation have a lot to answer for; a lot didn’t even try, at their marriages, since divorce became so much easier. And yet, evenso their marriages were broken, bad, disordered and messy - and they themselves may be riddled with addictions, or mental health disorders - they wonder why their children end up on drugs, or booze, or both. They appear to be unable to compute the logic of the connection between their own behaviour, and the fallout, for their children. I have seen this happen time and time again with people, almost as a point of inevitability.
2. Je Suis Une Punke - Completely different, and with a funky bass line, this is a fun disco/ electronic dance track. In fact, I believe the souped-up version (as opposed to to the album version) is being released as a limited edition cyan blue vinyl run on Old Bad Habit Records, in February 2022. This will be a double-A side single - the other “A” side will be a new and improved, haunting version of “Frida” (one of my songs from Queen Christina days, about Frida Kahlo - see here).
I wanted to do a French-language song, but also make it a bit slang-y. French isn’t exactly my mother tongue (German is closer to home) - but luckily, Google Translate is always there to assist. Not that, in fact, I needed much help…
3. Clouds - This was another song prompted by my mother’s death. I believe that when we die, our souls don’t go away for a number of years - instead, they float somewhere above the Earth, gradually orbiting higher and higher. I have a bit of an obsession with being high above the Earth, up amongst the clouds, as some sort of spiritual, out-of-body experience (there, but not there - I wrote a song about Howard Hughes - here, some years ago) . In this state, so I theorize, one would neither be affected by the increasingly cold temperatures at high elevation, nor the thinning of the atmosphere.
My musical partner didn’t quite know what to make of this one when I first played it to them, since the chords are unusual, and the tune, to them, seemed to be random, and go all over the place. This is why it’s always important to have a good rhythm underpinning the track - even if it’s fairly light and pared down, as is the case here.
For me personally, this track tears me up, every time - it feels like I tapped into the ether - and sometimes, I feel I can’t even listen to it, because of the depth of emotion.
4. Children Of God - This was a duet with Jowe Head; the original, written by me some years ago, was much faster (at least twice the speed) - but, the words proved difficult to understand. Here, it’s been slowed down, and made into a glorious, Jefferson-Airplane-inspired rock anthem. I’m a huge fan of Grace Slick’s voice (a real belter), and made the attempt to take my own voice to different places.
We performed this live a couple of times, and I have to say it went down a storm! A friend kindly provided a couple of remixes, of which one (which you can also buy on Bandcamp) is the “single” version, and the other, the “album” version. (Psst: The “single” version, has more jangly guitars at the end - very nice!)
5. Robert The Hood - The title is a combination of “Robert the Bruce” and “Robin Hood” - both, of course, rebels against authority in their own right - as, am I.
I had been desperate to do a bagpipe song for some time; I’m aware they annoy some people - they’re a bit of a Marmite quantity, but I’m a huge fan of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, , and various other independent bagpipers, such as the Swiss Thom Freiburghaus.
I also wanted it to be something of a protest song. Nothing is more terrifying, than a load of Scotsmen (i.e. something like the group Clanadonia) coming marching over the hills, noodley-doodling on their pipes and banging their drums! At the time of writing this, it was close to the start of lockdown last year, and a lot of people were feeling very militant. I’ve only done one protest so far, myself; I don’t care to be arrested, for inadvertently, having stepped on a policeman’s toe!
6. Never The Beautiful - A song poking fun at those, who roundly detest getting old, and would like to remain Peter Pans the rest of their lives (though, admittedly, growing old can be no fun, sometimes), this Spanish/ North-African/ vintage-sounding theme trips along gracefully in the verse, before smashing into the chorus: “Never the beautiful/ can understand the odd/ Never the beautiful/ but for the grace of God/ Never the beautiful/ look in the hourglass/ Never the beautiful/ Never the beautiful” Lovely stuff!
7. Daria - Anyone remember “Daria”? I know it’s something of a throwback to 30 years or so, but I wouldn’t have missed the first runs of “Daria” for the world - nor, would I wanted to have been too young to understand it (maybe, because I identified as Daria, the quintessential misfit). It was pure, unadulterated, cynical, ‘90s late-Gen-X material; I had to write a song about it, or I would have gone mad.
8. “LIFE” - And here we come, to the final curtain. Here is a torch song with gravitas, which I have just released, based on something that Edith Piaf (“Je ne regrette rien”), or Frank Sinatra (“My Way”), might sing. In fact, (as Never The Beautiful) I wrote it many years ago, but never got round to recording it; the artwork for the single, is the illustration for this article.
So, that’s all, folks!! It’s been two years of effort, but not altogether un-worthwhile - and proves, once again, that I have several strings to my bow.
You can purchase the album - or, indeed, individual tracks - at