Y&T and TIGERTAILZ - Nottingham Rock City (well it should have been!) - 01/11/07
Change of venue, fans locked out, meet and greet, hotel mayhem, arm wrestling, broken glasses, champagne, Opera, and Phil Kennemore gets a tattoo!
We don’t want to get too involved in the politics surrounding the change of venue for tonight’s show but we are going to be a voice for those fans who were denied the opportunity to see Y&T and Tigertailz tonight. The Bailey Brothers were the first rock DJ’s to play at the Rock City; we started it off working with the likes of Ian Gillan. One of the best gigs we have seen there was Dan Reeds Network back in the 90’s. It’s one of the UK’s top venues of its size and wouldn’t be around today if the guys didn’t know what they were doing down there. When we arrived at the venue there was a notice on the door saying Y&T show moved to the Rescue Rooms. In real terms that’s like going to the cinema to watch a block buster on the huge screen only to be told it’s moved to your mates front room on a flat screen. Let’s put it this way, you don’t order the best steak at the restaurant and expect to be handed a frigin’ burger! The fans bought their tickets to enjoy the show in the main hall and instead were crammed heel to toe into a venue that was way too small for the likes of Y&T and they were the lucky ones. Many fans turned up and couldn’t get in and that’s just not acceptable in my book. The Y&T fans are having their say on the above at the Y&T forum... www.meniketti.com
Tigertailz were on stage by the time we had abs ailed down the wall and evicted the house spider for the only 2 foot of space left in the room. Vocalist Kim Hooker was apologizing to the fans and making it crystal clear the decision to move to the Rescue Rooms was nothing to do with either band. I got to say those welsh boyo’s were all fired up and took the gig by the scruff of the neck, before you could say scrum down they had powered their way through some vintage Glam Metal tight snagging gems such as Sick Sex, Living With Out You and Shoot To Kill. The fans response was very encouraging, Hooker says “you know what it feels like 1987 again and we are lovin’ it”.
Back then Tigertailz had the biggest hair in the world and they used to churn out Metallica covers to try and convince us all they had some street cred but it was the Bezerk album (Music For Nations label 1990) that really propelled them to theforefront of UK Glam.. Seventeen years later they are out touring to promote a new album THRILL PISTOL and the title track followed the classic Dirty Needles so let’s get straight to the point. Under the circumstances this was a quality performance from a band still reeling after the death of their bass player and founder member Pepsi Tate who died Tuesday 18 th September 2007. He lost his battle with pancreatic Cancer and there was a tribute programme on sale with all the proceeds going to the Marie Curie cancer trust which was a nice touch.
The show stopper was of course Love Bomb Baby and Tigertailz wasted no time inviting the audience to join in and sing their anthem with them. A reminder of how it used to be when hair spray ruled the world and lipstick wasn’t just for the girls. A more mature looking and sounding Tigertailz was a pleasant surprise, well we say mature, the guests at the Plaza hotel may not think so but we will get to that later.
We would have taken some live photos of the guys on stage but all you would have seen is the back of someone’s head, a concrete pillar and maybe half a guitar neck. Instead here’s one from the Bailey’s archive especially for the Tigertailz fans. Pepsi Tate was one of Rock’s true Glam gladiators who will be sadly missed. Our thoughts go out to all his family, friends and fans - RIP Pepsi.
If this was a warm up gig and not too full it would have been great for the fans, a more intimate occasion where you could get real close to one of rocks prestigious acts. But it’s not a warm up; it’s too bloody warm that’s for sure. I feel sorry for Mick (Dez’s brother) He can’t see Jack Shit so heads off to meet Tigertailz. Tonight there’s no where to hide but who needs to hide when you have a back catalogue of anthems this good? Open Fire (Black Tiger), In Rock We Trust (Struck Down London records 1978), Hard Times (Ten 1990), Lipstick And Leather (In Rock We Trust 1984)... Let’s face it there’s no fillers in a Y&T set. Last time we spoke to Dave Meniketti his old faithful Gibson Les Paul had to have a new neck on it, we never realized how fanatical Y&T fans are until we asked him after the show if it came back ok?
Dave Meniketti: “Yeah I got it back and you know what? I brought it out onstage and it got a bigger cheer than I did ha, I’m not joking, fans were emailing the Gibson custom shop when it was being repaired saying ”Hey guys you had better do a great job, don’t mess up his sound” and all this crazy stuff . . They made the new neck exactly the same feel as my original, they distressed it to look like my old one, coloring the binding to match the guitar body, and even stamping the serial number in the peg head. I could have bought a new one with what it cost me to have repaired but it was worth it. I made sure I got my old neck back. When I first plugged my guitar into an amp I didn’t like the sound of it, the second and third time was the same. I thought shit I may as well sell it but then the fourth time it sounded ok I thought hold on a minute it sounds better now”.
BB’s: Maybe it just needed some fret miles and some sweat on the pick ups.
Meniketti: "Maybe, but its fine. I played it tonight did it sound ok?"
Ok is an understatement, the sustain, tone and controllability Dave gets from his Les Paul is admired not only by the fans but by musicians alike. The Tigertailz guitar slingers, Kim Hooker and Jay Pepper are in awe as they joined us back at the Plaza Hotel.
Jay: “The sound he gets from that guitar and amp is amazing, he doesn’t even bother with the clean channel, I got 95 channels to choose from and I can’t make it squeal like that”
Kim, “Yeah yours is like a TV, 85 channels and nothing to watch ha”
Well there’s plenty to watch tonight Winds Of Change (Black Tiger album) being just one of them, John Nyman taking care of guitar duties as Dave Meniketti holds a mic in both hands, a yellow microphone lead dangles in front of Dave’s black and white shirt, his trusted old faithful Les Paul hungon his hip like an old faithful dog just waiting for the command to leap into action. It’s not just the Dave Meniketti show, Y&T have a very tight rhythm section that is John Nyman - guitar, a very solid teamplayer, he’s not flash but he has demonstrated over the years he too can execute some tasty solo’s and hold centre stage, He’s a good background vocalist and his ability to hold back and do the right things is sometimes overlooked.
Mike Vanderhule is big in every sense, a whopping big personality that has had some big boots to fill replacing Leonard Haze on drums. He’s becoming a fan favorite and rightly so. He’s played with the likes of John Denver, the great Neil Schon (Journey) and Steve Lukather (Toto) so he’s not here to make up the numbers. Mike played with a smile on his face tonight and made it look easy and that comes with knowing your shit. Phil Kennemore ~ bass, We have heard all the stories about Phil being a party animal and after tonight we believe them all (More about that later) Lets concentrate on the player, whilst Dave is mesmerizing fans with his vocal skills Phil Kennemore brushes his hair out of his face in anticipation of the guitar solo kicking in, his bass guitar hung down between his legs as though it was a wild stallion waiting to be tamed, occasionally playing notes with both hands over the fret board slapping the bass like it’s a naught boy. Phil broke a bass string tonight but just changed it in quick time himself whilst Dave amused the audience, singing on his own as they shout out request. Yet again Contagious is thrown into the set for the Bailey’s as the guys reminded us later that we asked for it last year when we interviewed them and they remembered so played it tonight and a corking version it was.
No matter how good you are there’s always a chance of screwing something up live, Dave called out to the sound guys ”Turn the guitars down in the stage monitors f..k man they are loud” He says they are not going to play the next song all the way through and he was right, Meniketti forgot to come in on Beautiful Dreamer and screwed it up several times to the delight of the fans who saw the funny side. The genuine attempt not to stick to the script and try stuff off the cuff was appreciated, then Dave says “That’s the worst version of all time. Right lets see what else we can fuck up?”
Once again we would have to pick out I’ll Cry For You (instrumental Contagious 1987) as one of those goose pimple moments. I brought my son Ricky Bailey along to see how the old school players do it and Meniketti didn’t disappoint him. I turned round to see my kids face transfixed on Meniketti’s guitar fret board, that’s the next generation of the Bailey’s hooked left right and centre. I caught a glimpse of Jill Meniketti out of my eye on the merchandize stall, leaning over desperately trying to watch hubby Dave masterly work his magic on guitar. How many times must she have seen him play this song? She’s proud of her old man and rightly so. Dave however is in a world of his own, eyes closed, his fingers moving effortlessly around the top end of the guitar with such precision, harmonics, bends, tone variation and volume control. It really is a joy to watch and the audience response was fitting of the performance.
It’s easy to get lost in the guitar playing and not realise the real strength of Y&T and that’s the songwriting, Phil was also a big part of that process and if we say Rescue Me, Summertime Girls, I Believe In You and Forever still to come, I rest my case. When you put this greatest hits set together its pretty awesome but my only concern is some of these songs are over two decades old. Last years proposed attempt at writing new material was cancelled due to a hands on approach to the live DVD as Dave explained: “we checked every camera, angle, every inch of footage, I think the film company thought it was going to be easy, just stick some cameras in the gig a quick edit and out it comes. They don’t know Y&T; we have to make sure it represents the band in a true light. Unfortunately 3 members of the band were ill, I know my voice isn’t quite right in places but I refused to go in and fix it, you know overdub it. There’s so much of that crap these days.”
Meet and Greet
The band stayed around after the show to meet the fans, have pictures and sign autographs. Everyone enjoyed the show and once again we must sympathies with the poor fans that couldn’t get in. Dave Meniketti kindly invited us back to their hotel to hang out with the band and we arranged to meet them there.
Plaza Hotel Nottingham
It was easier trying to find Robin Hood than the hotel but eventually we got there right on cue. Dave and his wife Jill (Mrs. M for the tour) met us in the foyer and immediately rearranged all the furniture so we could all sit together. Before you could say Jack Daniels, Dave pulls out a bottle of Champagne, a bottle of Bailey’s, a bottle of wine, some glasses and his favorite chocolate GREEN & BLACKS Organic dark chocolate apparently available in the USA too. Dave is wearing a t-shirt he got from a place in England called Bath which he spoke of fondly.”Bath is great, we had a nice time there, the Roman Spa is pretty cool and its an old town with some interesting history.”
Having enjoyed a short break there around Christmas time we can recommend it as a place worth visiting with a cool Christmas market and lots to see and do but forget the tourism guide duties, Dave’s got onto the subject of Downloads...
“I have a young relative who has about 300 songs on his computer, I said to him how many of those songs did you buy? He says “none of them”. It took along time to educate him that although it’s not like putting something in your pocket from a shop it’s actually still stealing something that doesn’t belong to you. Dave was outraged when he was listening to a radio show and the DJ said why bother buying an album when there’s only 3 good songs on it you may as well download it for free. Dave contacted the show and told the DJ he was full of shit and put the case forward for the artists getting shafted by the downloading. Eventually they agreed to disagree but straight after the DJ starts plugging his new book. Dave Meniketti: “I should have called back and said I got your book and I have scanned it all and its up on my site for everyone to read for free”, Mike Vanderhule picks up the baton,”Yeah why buy a book when it’s only got three chapters worth reading”. About this time we are joined by the Tigertailz and Phil Kennemore who is sporting a new henna tattoo he had just had done. He pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels the size of a bucket and man are we in for a party?
Dave’s back on his love of England and it’s heritage, even fancying living here if it wasn’t for the weather. We get on the subject of castles and the Welch boys (Tigertailz) are straight in there. There’s no wonder you love our castles you haven’t got no f…n history in America man, says Kim, Dave “yeah you’re right we don’t have the beautiful architecture like you have in England just the Microsoft building and blue chip companies to look at back home”. By now the booze is going down a lot better than Mick’s Leeds United football shirt and he’s having more than a quiet word with the hotel staff who say’s they don’t usually let people in with football shirts on. Mick pulls out a classic and says he’s Prince in disguise and he’s here with his American friends, the dude says ”I thought I recognized the face” (you see being small can be advantages at some stage in life).
The Tigertailz stand in bass player on this tour, Nails, looks like he should be working on the doors - he likes to pump some iron. All of a sudden there’s arm wrestling duels going off and the volume is slowly cranking up to that “can you leave the building?” level! An epic duel takes place between Nailz from the Tigertailz and Steve (Y&T driver) and its STEVE from Y&T who came out triumphant Steve remained undefeated through out the entire tour, all of a sudden he’s now called Iron Man. Phil starts singing the Black Sabbath riff to the song of the same name and we all join in. The late Pepsi Tate’s wife Shan joins us and Dave and Jill Meniketti ask her to sing. After some encouragement she opens her mouth and it becomes a night at the opera. What a voice! Thankfully no one joined in (well we know our limits).
All we can remember from this point is Dave raising a glass and thanking his wife Jill, who was still up partying with us for putting the tour together. He thanked Tigertailz for being great fun on the road, the drinks were consumed as Mick rounded up the bands for a Y&T, Tigertailz, Bailey Brothers photo.
2 AM in the morning and we are all singing “Rescue Me “the Y&T classic and “ Love Bomb Baby” The Tigertailz anthem. Old blokes still at it come 3 in the morning, the staff gave up on telling us to calm it down and some guests thought sod it and got up and joined us. Phil Kennemore thought he was the king of the castle in his huge chair, shirt wide open to reveal a pregnancy bump or proof that those years of partying plays havoc with your waist line! AS the glasses started to break one by one it was time to call it a night.
The upshot of all this mayhem is that you are never too old to rock and certainly never too old to party.
Mick is still buzzing halfway down the motorway and comes out with another gem: "I will tell you what, it doesn’t matter where you stick Y&T, They could play in a jam jar and still sound good".
Review and hazy recollections of debauchery by the Bailey Brothers
13 November 2007