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Roy Bond - Vinyl Stories

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 26 / 5 / 2023

Roy Bond - Vinyl Stories


In his ‘Vinyl Stories’ column Dave Goodwin chats to acclaimed close up magician and Las Vegas performer Roy Bond about the records that have shaped his life

In a re-visit to a former 'Vinyl Stories' victim of the past we take a look into an old friend’s record box as he picks out ten of the records that shaped not just his head but his life. Roy and I used to go to school together during a time when there were so many genres happening at once or within a few years of each other. I think I have touched on in the past, my school days, where I couldn’t make out if I was a Mod, a New Romantic, a Numanoid, a Rude Boy or what! I must have scared my parents to death at the time! Roy was indeed in the same boat and we shared the oar. He would turn up to school with one of those little ponytails that Curt had in Tears for Fears one day and come in DMs and a Harrington jacket the next. He would also turn up with the odd coin or two and show me a few tricks that he had just learnt, not knowing that this is what he would aspire to in later life. Described by Las Vegas show producer Paul Stone as an “elite performer”, Roy is regarded as one of the finest Close-up Magicians in the world today. An award winning performer, Bond specialises in VIP, corporate and trade show entertainment on a worldwide scale. Regularly performing for captains of industry, global corporations, sports personalities, film stars and soap stars, his client base has seen him work in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Germany, Egypt, Ireland and France as well as bars and restaurants in the Midlands and countless private parties, weddings, trade shows and corporate events. Roy’s client list is impressive with Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, the London Palladium, Champions UK, Off Limits and many more in his CV. Garlanded Close-up Magician of the Year three times, Card Magician of the Year and the Classics of Magic trophy, Roy is a world class entertainer. We met up in Nottingham for a chat and a beer and he came out with the ten records that he found most dear to him and I have left the wording just as it is as he describes it during our chat. It went something like this: 1. Mikey Dread/'Roots and Culture' This track takes me back to a time when I realised that reggae wasn’t just a passing phase for me. Being born in Hyson Green, Nottingham in 1966 and going through secondary education living in St Anns opposite A.C.N.A (Afro Caribbean National Artistic Centre) I was exposed and introduced to many styles of reggae music. Some of it stayed with me as I grew, some didn’t. Mikey Dread’s lyrics spoke to me then, giving me life skills and passing advice to me for the future that I didn’t get at home, they still speak to me now with “Remember the days of bread and water man / Remember the days of hunger”. Other influences from the genre around that time are ‘Diseases’ by Michigan & Smiley and dub records by Scientist. I can still hear the speaker cones struggling to pump the sound out! 2. Sleaford Mods/'Tied Up In Nottz' My first encounter with punk in its younger days was The Sex Pistols, other bands and artists came after and filled in the gaps that I thought Johnny et al missed. ‘Bodies’ to an eleven year old boy is shocking, not long after I found out it was a true story about Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex but I digress. In 2016 I had been waiting for a lead ‘singer’ to at least come close to Mr Lydon for 38 years! Even Public Image Ltd couldn’t get the venom back that he had in his earlier years in my opinion. I was halfway through a Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC 6 Music and I became rooted to the spot, turned up the volume and allowed the hairs – no jokes please – on the back of my neck to stand at ninety degrees! I had just heard John Lydon’s ‘brother from another mother’, Jason Williamson spit, shout, swear and insult his way through ‘TCR’ alongside Andrew Fearn’s hypnotic synth beats. I was hooked, I’ve been to see them play and buy the merch. I’ve chatted with Andrew online from time to time. 3. Elbow:/'One Day Like This' I was 49 and I went to Bansko, Bulgaria with friends on my first skiing trip. I had experienced almost years on this planet and never been on a ‘cold holiday’ before so minus 25C was a real eye opener I can tell you. I was a very fast learner at ski school and with the help of a good friend at the end of day one I was able to go solo. I was up early the next day and was one of the first on the ski lift ascending a very quiet, misty mountain. I had my earphones in listening to my iTunes when a track from a new album I’d bought came on just as I neared the top of the lift. The mist cleared, I slid clumsily off the seat onto the plateau in front of me and I looked out at the scenery just as this song came on. I had one of life’s profound moments then. I felt very privileged to see such beauty and hear this wonderful song at the same time. If I close my eyes when I hear this song now I can still see the view. 4. Gerry Rafferty:/'Right Down The Line' I remember this song as a lesser track to Gerry’s ‘Baker Street’ as I was growing up in the 70’s. Baker Street was everywhere but this went under the radar for me. Recently I saw a film clip online where ‘Right Down The Line’ was used as backing music and it resonated heavily with me for two reasons. Firstly it took me back instantly to being a twelve year old boy dealing with looking after a disabled parent on my own in St Ann’s in a new school trying to make new friends. Secondly the lyrics are a perfect match to the relationship I have now with my ‘girlfriend’. Can a 57 year old geezer still call his partner ‘girlfriend’? I listened to the song a few times trying to find a lyric that was irrelevant but no, it’s perfect. Thank you Deborah. 5. Divine Comedy/'Gin Soaked Boy' I’ve always liked a ‘different’ approach to songwriting and I think that Neil Hannon’s lyrics, music and storytelling are quite unique. The way he builds this track from a stripped back synth/percussion intro to a crescendo of euphoria then back to nothing is quite simply remarkable. All the while singing about the most basic emotions, contradiction, opposition, loneliness, euphoria, apprehension, mystery, the unknown, strength, finality, spirituality, horror, delight, desperation, oppression. And then ending with Jeff Goldblum, “I'm Jeff Goldblum in ‘The Fly’ / Well, who am I?” a metaphorical cheeky wink and a question that so far I’ve never been able to answer. 6. The Dualers/'Red Light' This song stopped me mid-walk across a somewhat crowded dance floor. I’ve been a big Ska fan since being in ‘senior school’ in the 70’s. I progressed into the ‘Oi’ movement a little bit but I have to say that my love of Ska is probably rooted and stayed in the 70/80’s. Until l, about 2 years ago, I was minding my own business walking across a dance floor with a pint, trying not to spill it when I heard the intro to this song. I immediately asked the DJ who the band were and before I’d drunk my pint I’d ordered the album with this track on it. The Dualers sound is, to me, a hybrid of Ska/reggae/lovers rock that would be perfectly at home in the 70’s and 80’s but is current, well-crafted and a fine example of musical evolution. 7. The Beatles/'When I’m 64' The Beatles have been a constant soundtrack for me since I can remember first hearing them: aged four, in 1970, Bodmin Drive, Aspley, Nottingham. There, how’s that for a memory anchor! The Beatles have the power to make me smile, cry and reminisce instantly depending on the track. My love for them has never waned and so during my life their merch has snuck its way into my possession: plaques, T-shirts, CDs, vinyl, downloads, books all take pride of place. Who knows how many times have I seen TheFab4 and The Bootleg Beatles. I’ve been into John and Paul’s houses, stood outside Ringo’s and George’s on the Magical Mystery Bus Tour. I’ve been to Liverpool and seen The Beatles House Band in The Cavern Club countless times. I was there with some close friends for my 56th birthday and one of the security staff recognised me. My girlfriend Deborah had a quiet word in his ear and to my surprise this kind fella Rocky organised VIP entry, a whole side of the cellar next to the stage for us and the band wished me Happy Birthday. Then they sang ‘When I’m 64’ for me, the bastards! I’ll eventually grow into that age, but I’ll never forget Rocky and his generosity. 8. The Steve Gibbons Band:/'Tulane' Have you ever felt like jumping into a V8 parked at the side of loooong highway in America, turning the ignition and gunning the throttle, wheel spinning as you leave a trail of dust and vanishing toward the horizon? If the answer is ‘No’ then you need this song in your life. If the answer is ‘Yes’ then you still need this song in your life! Normally when I listen to music I sing along to the lead singer’s vocals but not with this bad boy. This song made me want to be a backing singer. The harmonies are brilliant, the guitar riffs are a hook and it tells a great story too. And trust me, when I drive from Chicago to Santa Monica on Route 66 this May, it will definitely be on my playlist. 9. The Eagles/'Hotel California' I have previously been interviewed about my music taste and as I remember I said at the time that there were two bands I wish I could have seen, The Beatles and The Eagles. Sadly the Beatles were never going to be an option but I did see The Eagles and I sat transfixed, sometimes in tears by the brilliance of it all. Old members came on in turns and played songs with the band that they’d helped write while they were members, a lovely touch. One of the most memorable moments was when they played ‘Hotel California’, not the version everyone is familiar with, but the ‘Hell Freezes Over’ version. Their 1994 tour was the first time the Eagles performed live since they split or as Glenn Frey said at the time “We never broke-up, we just took a 14 year vacation”. Even though the parts are played on just two guitars and stripped back percussion, when they go into the first few bars of the intro the audience realise what they’re about to hear and go wild. That precious moment was reconstructed in a stadium in Birmingham some years later. I’m transported back there every time this creeps into my playlist. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the vinyl original but this version feels so much more personal somehow. 10. Talking Heads/'Once In A Lifetime' This track has a very special place in my heart. Venturing out into the world of work after leaving school I was exposed to many styles and genres of music that I was insulated from growing up. One of my earliest memories of ‘going out’ in Nottingham was Hardy’s Wine Bar on King Street. Downstairs, to the left was the Jungle Bar and in that hallowed place you could hear it all: The Cramps, Bowie, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, all the stuff that didn’t get played on mainstream radio. I loved it. Around the same time I started to watch MTV on Diamond Cable TV and I saw an enigma, an original, a total genius. David Byrne performed this song while I watched, mouth open and eyes wide. It seemed that this video was replayed twice an hour but I didn’t care. Every time I watched it I noticed something new, his interpretation of music into dance, the symbolism. His body spasms were hypnotic to me and to this day no one comes close in my opinion. Last year I went to New York for my birthday and watched a few shows on Broadway. David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’ was one of them. I became overwhelmed when all the memories of my youth came flooding back and I realised I had a legend performing live in front of me. When he sang ‘Once In A Lifetime’ I was sixteen again. This man managed to take me back in time for four minutes and I didn’t want to return. He had to drag me back with his new releases and here I am. I still love Byrne and he’s still “The same as he ever was”. As we get older I think we tend to acknowledge friends a little more and appreciate their little traits. I’ve known Roy for nearly all my life and he always seems to amaze me with his zest for life and honesty. As well as being a jolly good egg he is a music nut and his enthusiasm oozes out of him every time I meet him. Cheers Roy, till next time.

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Roy Bond - Vinyl Stories

Roy Bond - Vinyl Stories

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