Despite my strongest desires and sporadic patches of effort, being in a band was never on the cards for me. I was too shy to get up and sing, instruments eluded me and a year of guitar lessons resulted in me knowing the basic chords to “Wonderwall”, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “High” by Feeder. Not that it meant much good as me and my tutor quickly realised that my tiny sausage fingers were entirely ill-suited to plank spankery no matter how many digit-stretching exercises I tried. Which was one.
The fact came as a blow to me as my friends were also all learning instruments and would probably form a band and get to number one and I’d be stuck working in Our Price spitting on their CDs. “It should be me”, I’d cry!, “I was the one who wanted it most! I was the one who was obsessed with the charts in a way that would probably make a good book in the distant future!” I was so into music that I even devised a variant on fantasy football around choosing the perfect band based on their chart positions in the Kerrang! album chart. I found some of the pages for this recently (With apologies to bassists everywhere who apparently don’t exist…)
The basic rules are set. I think I charged a pound a player and got about 15 teams after pestering my friends enough. I used the Kerrang! album chart because it was a top 40 and it didnt change as quickly as the regular ones meaning more points could be acquired if you knew who had an album around the corner that was likely to do well. (Try to ignore the inexplicable ‘beards’ whimsy that was no doubt hilarious in 1996.)
Quite a decent overview of where rock was in 96/97 with lots of poppier stuff breaking through alongside the old hands. It might seem madness to charge a whole extra pound for Gary from Reef over Allowed Rock Hero Dave Grohl in the modern age but these were the times of “Yer Old”, “The One Off The Minidisc Advert” and “Place Your Hands Yes That Is The Title And Not Ha Ha Some Letters Like You Thought”. Also worth noting that Shannon Hoon had been dead a year by this point but the posthumous recordings were doing well, hence his inclusion.
Featuring the blistering research a Ben Baker product is now known for, you could get dibs on both “Bloke” from Aerosmith and “Flynn’s Mate” from Machine Head, two bands its fair to say I have very little love invested in. And it doesnt get much better for drummers…
All of Kerbdog for £2,50 each? Bargain! Sadly as much as I adored the Northern Irish rock trio, they never really broke through like they bloody deserved to with 1997’s “On The Turn”, still one of my favourite albums of all time. And yes, amazing as it may seem now, Kerrang! did offer a lot of coverage to Kula Shaker in those early days before they properly retreated up their own fundament. Although “Shower Your Love” is still pretty good if I’m honest. Sorry.
Did my love of rock and pop at the time mean I won the ten pound top prize at the end of term? No, apparently my friend Peter did, having invested in Metallica futures and high yield Bush stocks. Looking back I’m amazed I had both the desire and the time to do such a thing but also quite impressed. Now move aside, I’ve got a massive fur lined coat and a cigar to purchase. One of these days we’ll be a million hares!
A sample of this was taken from my next book “Death Death Death Stereo Stereo Stereo” available to buy in August. Check out my other books on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B079KSMVXK