Johnny Arrow & The Cheap Day Returns

June 29, 2010, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Go here to download. It’s gooood


June 21, 2010, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I wrote a song at the weekend. It is the first song I’ve written in about six months, and though I suppose at the moment it’s still only an embryo of a fully matured song, it has stuck in my head – which means it passes the first test in the quality control procedure. Not that there’s actually a procedure, but it’s always a good sign when I can remember how to play it and how the melody goes the next day.

I think the most recent one before this weekend’s effort was ‘Relax’, which in truth was cobbled together in about five minutes just before a practise session. The lyrics were written at various intervals while sat at work and then printed out and shoved in my bag for further ‘work’ at home (ie. never looked at again). Then while I was waiting for the rest of the band to join me in the practise room one day I messed about with the first chords that came into my head, retrieved the crumpled up paper from my bag and hey presto – a song. Turns out it’s not a bad song either, which makes me either really lucky, or a bad judge of the quality of my songs.

It’s funny how some of the tunes we play regularly have been written is so many disparate ways. ‘Jennifer’ was written lyrics first, with no real thought for the melody, and then a chord sequence and melody was painstakingly tailored to fit around them. ‘I Wouldn’t Move to London For You’ was almost stream-of-consciousness garbled nonsense, blared out into my computer while earnestly strumming at four chords. It was then tweaked and polished to give it more structure and some sort of sentiment and meaning. ‘Dissever’ has taken about two years to write, starting off as a folky strum, written on my own, fed up with the cold winter, and then developed in the last three or four months with the band into its current multi-movement epic form.

I probably don’t spend as much time as I should writing songs. I certainly don’t spend too much time in one sitting poring over the minute details and planning and plotting and fixing and working a song to death; once I have the basic ingredients (usually a first verse and a chord sequence, and then a change for the chorus) I will leave it alone and almost forget about it. It will be swilling around in my head, or scribbled down in a notebook and then when a new song is needed I’ll take it out and see if I can use some, or all of what I’ve got there. I used to record them all as acoustic demos, but I don’t do that anymore (I was listening through some old demos that I’d done three or four years ago and none of them had ever been used and probably never will see the light of day). When we needed a batch of new songs for the band I dug into my notebooks and stuck together a load of ideas that were kicking around in there, which provided us with ‘My DNA’, ‘Catcher in the R’, and as mentioned before, ‘Relax’ (all of which, by the way are going to be released on our new recordings this summer).

The new song I wrote this weekend will probably sit in my notebook, waiting to be called into action. Perhaps it will emerge whole, or maybe some of the chords will be grafted onto something else, or maybe just the sentiment will remain in my head, to be squeezed out with new words and a new direction on something new entirely.

I’m looking forward to hearing it, whatever it is.

May 10, 2010, 10:27 am
Filed under: Vids

Mr Bassman Alex is a man of many talents. He even made up a whole new human being recently, with help from his good lady friend Sharon. How amazing is that?!

He’s been bothering us with his video camera quite a bit recently too, shoving it in our faces when we were trying to record a song in the studio. Turns out though, that he actually had a plan in mind…lo and behold he comes to us a couple of days ago with a spanking new video of us playing our (potentially) forthcoming single ‘I’m Bored’ 

What a guy eh?


Click here to see it!

May 4, 2010, 1:35 pm
Filed under: gigs

Well I was rather drunk by the end of it, but I still believe it was a decent performance on Friday night at the Red Lion. I don’t normally blog about my solo shows but thought I’d mention it for a change.

I supported Hello Wembley and Garage Flowers, and I played electric guitar and some fairly wonky versions of the songs below.

One Up On Me
I’m Bored
I Wouldn’t Move to London for You
Drank like a River (Whiskeytown cover)
Slowly Shrinking Away
I’ve Just Seen a Face (Beatles cover)

That’s just facts people. Or at least, I think they are – I can’t quite remember to be honest…

Tonight, a gig at the Cellar Bar which has not been promoted at all. Should be a busy one then


April 27, 2010, 8:53 am
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , , , , , ,

Currently Alex is on holiday with his family and Simon and I are mixing the recording from a couple of weeks ago. They’re starting to sound like proper records (emphasis on ‘starting to’) but there’s a lot of work still to be done on them. Also we are starting to think about artwork and how we’re going to push this thing down everyone’s throats. So look forward to that.

On a personal note about the recording, I found it the most enjoyable, productive time I’ve ever had in a studio. Al Heslop is a joy to work with and I think getting Alex in on bass is probably the best decision this band has ever made.

In terms of things coming up, we have a few gigs planned over the next month or so, details of those below. I also have a couple of solo gigs lined up where I will be shitting myself. The first is on Friday night (the 30th) at the Red Lion, supporting Hello Wembley and Garage Flowers, and the second is on the 15th May in Newbury. More details on that one to come. I’d really appreciate a bit of support at these as they don’t come around too often and they tend to be a bit more relaxed and boozy than the band’s gigs. Plus I need the moral support singing on my own!

 Upcoming shows: 

Tuesday 4 May
Cellar Bar, South Hill Park

Friday 21 May
The Swan

Friday 28 May
The Red Lion

Lots of love as ever, and enjoy the sunshine


Studio News
April 22, 2010, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just a quickie. We spent the weekend in the studio recording a few songs, we got a record eight tracks done in one day and are currently mixing them all, polishing them up and making them all sparkly for your ears to enjoy. Hopefully we’ll have it all ready by the end of next month and we’re aiming to get it available on more than one media, for all the digital down-loaders and all that new fangled stuff. There’s a new album of pictures from the weekend on our Facebook and some vids we took while recording, if you’ve got a few moments check them out.

You’ll hear more about this, including little snippets of mixes probably, and some front cover design ideas and stuff.


Si-Cheap Day.

April 8, 2010, 11:01 am
Filed under: gigs | Tags: ,

Another first for the band last night, our debut in Basingstoke. Tonic was the venue, which despite having a crap name wasn’t too bad. The PA was great and we actually had monitors for a change, so I could hear my screeches and squeals a tad more clearly, which is always a bonus. The stage was alright, except Si and Alex were a bit tucked away behind a pillar and we reckoned there were probably other places that the bands could have played in the room which would have made more sense, but then I suppose if we had been set up elsewhere, we all would have said “why aren’t we playing on that raised bit there?” So you know, swings and roundabouts.

It was pretty busy, but as out-of-towners, we only managed to bring a couple of people ourselves and so we were put on first. I can understand this to a point, but without being too much of a diva, I’m starting to consider us as too good a band to be opening up nights like this. Perhaps that’s misguided, but that‘s how I feel. I’m also worried about getting into the routine we did last year of just playing gig after gig and not really considering where it’s going to get us. However, last night was definitely beneficial as we’d never played in Basingstoke before and hopefully we picked up a few more admirers from the other side of the Hampshire border.

Thought we played very well, the set has a little less cohesion than normal as we wanted to try out some different things and some new ideas. We played the new version of Dissever for the first time and I very much enjoyed it, although there was a comment afterwards that it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the set, and I expected this – but that’s fine as there will be plenty more of this kind of thing in our set going forward; songs which the three of us all have a say in and that we work on together, rather than just be bringing a song in and bashing it out. I can’t wait.

Set List

One Up On Me
I’m Bored
British Aquarium
I Wouldn’t Move to London for You