On Something - Track by Track
to Phil Singleton
Piece Of The Action / Be Somebody / OK Kiddo / White Knuckle Ride / On Something
/ Suck It And See / Playboy Blues / On The Horizon / Kooky Animal / Whose Side
Are You On? / Better Start (Getting Used To It) / The Swanker
Of The Action
It's an out and out rocker and it's born of frustration
lyrically. You see others getting this, that and the other, and making their way
in the world, and you think I could bloody well do that, so I would like a piece
of the action. People can identify with that.
an album opener, I like the way it starts, the guitar comes thundering in, it's
got a good riff. For people listening to the album, it's a good thing lyrically
to state where you are coming from. "Don't wanna hear about no more, the
weight upon your shoulders." We've all got our problems. I've got mine
too, but fuck off, I want a piece of the action.
It's the other side of the coin. Everyone is just trying to claw
their way through the world, the same as if they want a piece of the action as
well. Most things that go down in the world are just because people are trying
to make life a little bit better for themselves.
it's a Matlock pop-rocker. The descending guitar riff is a little bit of a hats
off to George Harrison, a Paperback Writer kind of sound, but not out and out
Beatles! Badge by Cream is another point of reference. It also features my very
first Hammond solo. That's me playing that!
It's my nod to The Faces. It's got a boogie feel to it. It's got
one set of chord sequences that goes round and round, like Stand By Me does. The
lyric is kind of me talking to myself. You've done this, you've done that, so
what are you gonna do now? Where do you go from here?
the back of my mind I heard that Rod Stewart was looking for some songs, so initially
that's why I wrote it.
It's about some bird that one! Every man's missus! They keep
you on your toes, which is a good thing. It's about how you deal with things,
and having shit thrown your way can sometimes be good because it make you buck
your ideas up. It's enjoying the fact. There's also a subtext. If someone at an
AA meeting tries to give up by themselves without the help, assistance and blessing
of the brotherhood of fellow AA'ers, you are said to be on a white knuckle ride.
That's not what it's about, but it uses some of the terminology.
it's a bit of a jolly old thrash. I like things like that. There's so much you
can do. It's a D and an A, but it's the rhythm of the D when it cuts back to the
A, that gives it the catchiness. I like writing really simple songs, the simpler
the better. If I could write a song with one chord all the way through I would
I heard an
interview with Lou Reed not too long ago. People were saying there's only 3 or
4 chords in his songs. He said "yep, and there's still plenty of ways I haven't
used them yet." I think it's as much a challenge to write something simple,
as it is to write something complicated. I'm quite capable of writing something
complicated, but I think simple is where it's at.
I think it's one of the best songs I've written in a long time,
if not one of the best I've written. Full stop. It's a song of strength
and heartbreak and how you deal with it, or not deal with it. Sometimes you look
for the easy way out, and you know it's not the right way to go. Just for a brief
second you wish you were on something, to be able to take a sideways step away
hasn't really changed since the first time I played it. The way it sounds on the
record is the way it's always sounded in my head. Musically it's in Small Faces'
Afterglow territory. A power ballad. It's out of the days I spent in the back
of a Morris Minor twiddling with a transistor radio, listening to Radio London.
It's got a good
set of chord changes, a good riff, and a good lyric. It should be a hit!
It and See
I've been doing this song live for a while but it's never been
on a record that's been released properly. It's about what can you do in life,
other than try your best and see what happens? It's an optimistic song. Optimistic
in the way you set yourself up and go for things only to be heading for a fall.
It's a watershed song. Not being afraid of a fall and taking it on the chin and
living to fight another day. Musically it's a monstrosity! It's got a really dumb
riff, which I like. Where would Pretty Vacant be without a dumb riff?
album is me just sticking to my guns. There's some kind of boogie stuff in there,
which people don't do anymore because they think it's uncool, but I think "fuck
that" I like it and I'm going to do it. Suck It and See has some boogie in
It's got a bit of Tiger Feet tucked in the middle. I don't think
that's a bad thing. It's my homage to Les Gray (Mud's lead singer) who passed
away recently, and he was a good lad. Although the song doesn't sound like Mud,
there's a bit tucked in there.
about everyone thinking that the world is down on them, but they've very little
to really moan about when there are people starving in the world. There's a lot
of irony in the song. "Playboy blues, you've got shine on your shoes,
but you're on a short fuse, you've got a whole lot to lose, all the clues gotta
point to those playboy blues." In other words, what are you moaning about
The music and imagery goes hand in hand. Lyrically it's tough.
It's an older song which I thought I'd revisit, with what's been going on in the
world the past year or two. It ain't no light weight affair. It's quite a haunting
tune. It's got a bit of Shirley Bassey about it, those minor thirds. It's also
got a bit of Lionel Bart, and bit of Anthony Newly in there. I like to put a ballady
song on every album. It's my record and I'll do what the fuck I like! It's a wanting
song with hope at the end of the day. "But to go and let things get beyond
our reach, when under the paving stones I know there lies a beach. There in the
making, there for the taking". There's no future unless you do something
It's more of a laugh song. It's from watching people trying to
make their way and trying to climb the ladder of success in London over the past
few years. I find it funny the way they do it and how they manage to land on their
sometimes you just write something that sounds good. It didn't start out as my
most favourite, but I like it. There's something in the mix that gives it a character.
Side Are You On?
A potential title track. The other potential title was
Behind You! It would cause some fun in the record racks! Musically I've always
wanted to write a good twelve bar and now I have. Boogie is a neglected idiom.
Status Quo meets The Modern Lovers. It shows some of my contempory influences.
If something was good a while back, just because it's not hip anymore, doesn't
mean it's no good anymore. You can try and sound modern, but end up sounding dated
by being too late! Post Currentism! A new musical idiom!
blatantly obvious what this one's about. You are force fed so much bullshit in
the media all the time that you need to read between the lines. Every time you
read an article in the paper you've got to work out whose side they are on, who
they are working for and what's their agenda. People should declare their allegiances
before they give you any bullshit. This song was written with the build up to
the Iraq war going on with all the crap that was going down. I think it's just
as pertinent to ask that question now as it was before they went in and started
bombing everyone into bits and pieces. I reckon George Bush and Tony Blair should
be made, when they finish off this, to do some kind of charity work to make amends.
They should be made to wipe the arse of the kid who had his arms blown off, for
the rest of his life.
Start (Getting Used To It)
It's my soul number. All the BVs. My idea of
electric classic soul. There's a lot of energy in a lot of soul music.
don't let the fuckers grind you down. You're gonna do it anyway so they better
start getting used to it. Flying in the face of adversity. It's in an everyman/personal
kind of way. So many people expect certain things of you and they read you wrong,
and then you get to an age when you just do what you wanna do anyway, so they
might as well lump it. You're delighting in the fact that you've finally reached
that plateau of decision. It's a pretty up track. It rocks.
not about "that's all you're gonna get, so you'd better start getting used
to it", it's about the fact you're gonna do what you want to do, so everybody
else better start getting used to it.
It's a tribute to John Barry and my love of all those themes.
It's a tune that's been going round in my head for ages, and I thought I'd get
the string samples out and have a go at the James Bond movie that's not come out
yet. I love it. I was brought up with all this stuff and it can't not sink in.
It's a good uplifting song. Terry Edwards did the piano and nailed it jut right.
Terry got it off to a tee. There's also a bit of the Ventures in there, or Johnny
and The Hurricanes, or even The Shadows. It's got the guitar theme kind of sound.
I think it would have been good for that Johnny English movie. Someone should
write a spy show called The Swanker, starring Steve Jones, and that could be the
theme tune! I'm pleased with the way the song came out. I like the way it ends.
As it tails out I could imagine the dialogue starting at the beginning of the
movie! I was always intrigued by Keith West's (one hit wonder) Excerpt From a
Teenage Opera, and wondered where the rest of it was? To write a sequel was another
enjoyed working with the Engineer, Greg Jackman, who has got a fantastic pedigree.
The band for the album was me and Chris Musto, augmented by Steve New and Terry
Edwards. Chris kicked up a storm on the drums.
back at my previous two albums, on Open Mind my singing had come up from my first
album, and it's come on in leaps and bounds for this one as well. People seemed
to dig the guitars on my first album, but I liked the songs on the second album
better. I deliberately decided to make a cross between the two and think I've
succeeded with On Something. I reckon it's turned out pretty good!
visit / album review
by Phil Singleton. Text ©Phil
Singleton / Glen Matlock / www.sex-pistols.net
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