The dog Tired studio times

I think the easiest thing is going to be to keep everything in the correct chronological order. Otherwise I’m going to have trouble working out what on earth is going on. Should you be curious though, Flotsam & Jetsam is still very much on the way, and we’ve actually been in to record next month’s release as well. All progressing well.

So this post harks back 2 months ish now. I never posted a studio report for dog Tired. So here it is.

Personnel for this one were: Paul West – drummist and backing singist, Ant Martin – basser, Jack Lewis – electric guitarer and lead singist, Toby Hawkins – acoustic guitarer and lead singist.

This is the first time I’ve deigned (haha) to share the actual lead vocals on a pØ track. I enjoyed it. I’ll be doing it more often.

This was a very reasonable day’s work. Relying a bit on memory now, but I believe the drums were in already, so we laid down some tight grooves quick smart. Bit spoilt having Paul really. He’s very quickly able to get into the spirit of whatever’s on offer from month to month.

Mr Martin was up next, bringing a bag of treats as is his wont. He also brought a big bag of bass. It’s such a delight watching people turn up and bring their own flavour to all of these dumb songs I write. I particularly enjoyed the big slappy bits. Oh yes.

Jack turned up just in time to overlap with Ant, which was nice, and I was next up, recording the acoustic. I can’t remember if I’ve said this before, but I’m feeling pretty confident with recording in general, but especially playing acoustic rhythm guitar.

Then it was Jack’s turn to do some electric. I had to run off to do some errand, I forget what, but came back to find Paul and Jack writing/working out the chorus riff. But where Jack really shone was the improvisation stuff. In particular, his improvised solo after the middle eight was a first take wonder. We tried for another take, but it wasn’t worth it as the first was just so good.

Then the vocals. I went first, then Jack. There was a little bit of fun working out one of my more obscure timings but other than that everything was very smooth and sounded wonderful.

And this time you don’t have to take my word for it. You can listen and judge for yourself! Class.

I am also able to report that the non-standard capitalisation of the song title aggravated at least 50% of the musicians involved. So there’s that.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New Ash Green Open Mic

Or NAG Open Mic for short.

Let me tell you a story. No wait. Let me show you these:

Mark Goslett playing at Open Mic March 2006

Jack Lewis at NAG Open Mic March 2006

These are the first pictures I have from a NAG Open Mic event. They were taken in March 2006, roughly a month and a half after the first NAG Open Mic. They feature Mark and Jack.

So. I first met Jack (that I remember) at a New Ash Green band night in 2001. March 2001 I think, but that might be wrong. I don’t really recall how much we saw of each other in between, but I received a phone call from him in January 2006 and he said he was starting an Open Mic night in New Ash Green, and as a local musician would I come along and play. They were hosted at the New Ash Green Rugby Club, or Sports Pavillion if you’re being proper. The first night was Thursday 19 January 2006.

Shortly after that (May 2006) he went travelling and asked if I would take over the night. I duly did and for reasons best known to myself called it “Jack’s Open Mic Night” in honour of my travelling friend. I had a lot of help from a friend, Gary, during the next couple of years, but by Autumn 2007 we were down to once a month, and I think around January 2008 we went on hiatus.

Jack returned (a year later than previously advertised!) in May 2008 and immediately set about reincarnating the night as NAG Open Mic with us both co-running it. Previous incarnations had run at various intervals (I think at one point we were every three weeks – I can’t think who thought this was a good idea) but we were every other week at this point, as evidenced by some truly, um, ‘edgy’ fliers I produced. Eventually we settled on every 2nd and 4th Thursday and that served us well to the end.

The aim with NAG Open Mic was always to encourage younger people to get up and have a go, to encourage new music, and to foster more music in New Ash Green. I think we succeeded to varying degrees with these aims. There are definitely musicians who attribute their start to NAG Open Mic, and even at the penultimate event we had someone who was around at the start play their first live set.

Running an Open Mic for ten years wasn’t without problems. For a while the club didn’t have a live music license and we had to apply for a temporary event notice every couple of weeks. Some weeks we played host to a very few people indeed and we took it in turns to play to each other all night, other times it was all we could do to squeeze everyone in (our record, for the record, was 23 acts in one night – no mean feat!). We saw bar staff and club managers come and go. We moved upstairs and downstairs and even outside on the odd occasion. We had a power cut which led to a very acoustic singalong. We broke stuff – most memorably a table during an encouraged stage invasion to sing Feed the world at a Christmas special. We had PA supply issues, PA storage issues, PA not being where it should be issues, PA being run through a guitar amp issues (wouldn’t recommend that one). We bought a Clavinova without a stand that required electrical engineering to allow it to work with a standard sustain pedal.

And it wasn’t without amazing memories either, naturally. We had two live hookups to Glastonbury (one was admittedly very patchy), live hookups to Switzerland. We went through a phase of themed evenings – 80s music, 90s music, songs with numbers or colours, the Michael Jackson tribute evening was particularly great (the news had broken about his death during a previous open mic). We had music (originals and covers), impromptu jams, poetry, comedy, beat-boxing didgeridoo, normal beat-boxing, rant debates, ghost recordings (ish), a local choir and even a mass game of pictionary. We had numerous local bands come and play. We had Christmas, Halloween, Valentines, Anniversary and Saturday Summer Daytime specials. We tried on multiple occasions to outnumber the audience with the number of people on stage. We gave free drinks away to performers for 10 years. We encouraged so many inexperienced performers to get up and perform. We enjoyed so many fantastic performances by experienced and inexperienced. We have been pleasantly surprised more times than I can count to discover a gem of a performer turn up on an otherwise run of the mill evening.

The biggest issue we faced arrived in 2012 when new directors at the club forced a stand-off. Trying to (misguidedly we believe) save money we were forced to concede more and more until they point-blank refused to allow us to give free drinks to performers. That had always been one of our hallmarks, and was non-negotiable. In November 2012 we moved to the Badger in the centre of New Ash Green. Jen, the landlady was incredibly good to us and continued to be until the end. We were eventually asked multiple times to return to the club, but we remained with The Badger.

I’m sure if I sat and thought long and hard I could dredge up more memories. It was a fantastic thing to do with a fantastic co-host and a great investment of Thursday evenings for ten years. You can find a lot more photos, memories and even videos by scrolling through the Facebook page.

The final night on Thursday 26 May 2016 was a great night to go out on, despite the pressure of being the last night. I think Jack and I both felt strange about the whole thing. We managed 17/18 acts (depending how you count) including favourites No Limit Street Band. There were a fair few faces missing, as to be expected after over ten years time passing, but there were some old familiar friends as well as newer friends. The evening wrapped up with Jack and I joining Aid Lewis (with Nigel Lewis) and singing James’ Sit Down followed by Jack singing Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits accompanied by Nigel playing piano.

And so we end as we began. With photos. The last photos I have of NAG Open Mic. The first is from earlier in the evening during a jam session, but the second is the last photo – Jack singing Romeo and Juliet.

That was a fun game.

Panorama of the last NAG Open Mic 2016

Jack singing at the last NAG Open Mic May 2016


What a week. I think I’d like to talk further about some these things, but being as how I’m also pretty busy this week, it will need to wait a little bit longer. Seemed right to do a brief summary though.

  • First off, on Saturday 21st we were recording dog Tired, which I believe I mentioned. Hoping for release early next week.
  • Next, Wednesday evening was a strangeday practice. The previous practice saw all of us feeling a little tired and kind of lack lustre, but this one was way better. The practice was in preparation for NAGfest. More of which later.
  • Thursday was the last NAG Open Mic. I’ve been running this open mic with Jack for 10 years. It was a really nice evening to end on, and I’m hoping to talk a bit more about that in a post dedicated to the subject.
  • Friday was a Roo’s Radio practice, again for NAGfest. It went on pretty late as we were trying to get the set ready and it had been a long time since we’d played together.
  • Saturday was the first day of NAGfest, a local music festival in its second year. Roo’s Radio were on at 6pm. Our set went really well. Paul, who had also done a lot of the organisation for NAGfest, joined us on drums, and it all felt very comfortable. Despite having not played for a while I think the songs are with us now.
  • Sunday was the second day of the festival, and strangeday were playing at 8pm. This set also went well, although I was struggling a little voice-wise due to a lot of late nights and lots of singing. We played a new song, Long defeat, which possibly went down better than all the other songs.

It was also great to catch a lot of great bands and friends at NAGfest. Jack, Ant, Steve, 3dBs Down, Ab and the Underclass, No Limit Street Band, Sam, Aaron, Hog Roast, One Day Elliott and Beer Pressure were all very cool.


Lyrics – dog Tired

So we’re in the studio. I totes forgot to prelude it by telling you about the song and posting the lyrics.

So sorry.

Today we’re recording the first blues song I ever did write. I doubt I have the right. I’m not exactly a blues aficionado. I always think of the bit in Lord of the Rings where Aragorn tells Bilbo it’s his look out if he has the cheek to write songs about Gil-galad in the house of Elrond. </nerd>


I think this one revolves around the line “what if there are fights you’re born to lose”. We get so much in films and so on about destiny and everything working out right. And sometimes things don’t work out. Not a sparkling piece of insightful observation, I’ll grant you.

What if no matter how you went about a situation you were going to fail? Probably you should still go for it. Depends on your perspective I guess. The point being, if you fail, you shouldn’t berate yourself too hard or entertain endless what ifs.

I actually came up with the title of the song by mishearing Radiohead‘s Myxomatosis. It’s not as if Thom’s diction is the clearest in rock. Turns out the lyric is “I don’t know why I feel so tongue tied”, not “dog tired”. Hell I’ll take it. At least I didn’t write a song called Twitch and salivate. Although…

As well as Paul and myself (standard), we’ve also got Ant Martin back in and the one and only Jack Lewis (Mister Jack Lewis if you please!) for the first time. Very exciting stuff.

I’ll chuck a few pics out at some point no doubt.

And here are the lyrics:

dog Tired
Hung my head found a way
To double down on yesterday
If I keep throwing words around
If I could just hold out and run to ground
That most elusive of all men
The king of black eyed fools again
I’ve been indecisive, I’ve been unkind
Mercy me I think I’ve been so blind

Tell me just exactly what’s a man to do
What if there are fights you’re born to lose?
What if I could have done it different from the start…
But what’s the point of “ifs” they’ll only tear you apart

Holding forth as if by this
Strength of belief I could dismiss
All opposition, all antipathy
But it begs the question, who are we?
And honestly I still don’t know
Whether to stay or up and go
Apprehensive of all that is required
And all of my days feeling so dog tired

Every now and then I’ll catch a glimpse
Of the life that I could lead and I’m convinced
That here to there and there to here and back again
Would take more out of me than I have to spend


I was just thinking through the veracity of my previous statement that I don’t write intensely autobiographical songs. There’s a nagging doubt in my mind that I’m possibly more autobiographical than I wishfully think I am (i.e. there’s a nagging doubt in my mind that I’m a great big liar).

I’m not sure analysing too much is a good idea, and I end up feeling like (and, yes, probably sounding like) a wanker when I do, but I discuss writing lyrics reasonably regularly with Jack and I usually reassert that I don’t write directly about myself. Very often.

I’m mostly concerned with lyrics sounding right. I don’t tend to think too hard about the individual meaning of lines, I kind of go with what sounds good to my ear. Or what looks good to my eyes if I’m writing it down I guess. So songs probably do start off directly in my own experience, but I try and make them as general as possible. Or try and exaggerate anything personal to make it more than just about me.

Clouded is probably a good example. I don’t think I’ve ever really felt that lost. I think everyone knows what it feels like to be physically or metaphorically far from home, and of course, I’ve had my fair share of confusion. But the extremes to which the lyrics in Clouded go aren’t drawn from my life.

But then I think about some of the phrases I’ve included in different songs and they could come straight from me. They probably reasonably accurately summarise my state of mind. I’m not telling you which ones though.

And I guess that’s the point. Perhaps my songs are more autobiographical than I’d like to admit to, but I do deliberately obfuscate that fact. Maybe because I don’t want to be that public, maybe I don’t think people want to hear about me, maybe songs are better the more people can relate to them, I’m not sure.

They’re only lyrics. I just write ’em. I don’t think that’s a very neat conclusion. Sometimes you can’t wrap a blog post up in a clever way. Or sometimes you just can’t be bothered.