Dave speaks:

We’ve been having so much fun rehearsing that I feel now is the time to officially introduce my fab new band the TIN SPIRITS, whom you can actually hear LIVE at þe olde Riffs Bar at Greatfield, near Swindon, on Thursday May 14th 2009.

We’ll be playing a mixture of covers of rock obscurities, prog classics and maybe a few XTC songs into the bargain. All guitars, all of the time; keyboards are RIGHT OUT.

Admission? A lousy three quid. Are we kidding?? No! We wants to be rockin’ a full house this time…

So whether you come to cheer us on or jeer at our efforts, an evening’s entertainment is guaranteed for all.

See yez down Riffs, then.

A few photographs and brief report from the recent gig with the The Hi-Fidels may be found here.

A very nice review of the gig with The Hi-Fidels may be found here.

The Hi-Fidels are playing a benefit gig at The Vic bar in Victoria Rd., Swindon on Thursday, 11th December 2008, and I shall be joining them on stage for a few songs. We’ve been rehearsing too, so look out!

The Hi-Fidels are:

  • Dougie Mussard (drums, vocals)
  • Mark Kilminster (bass, vocals)
  • Daniel Steinhardt (guitar, vocals)

For more about Daniel, go here and here.

See you at the Vic. Happy Christmas!

Anybody owning a Gibson Les Paul guitar could do a lot worse than ask Santa for a copy of the Haynes Gibson Les Paul Manual by Paul Balmer (Haynes Publishing UK, H4478 September 2008, £17.99). Not only does it contain vital information for the care and maintenance of your treasured instrument, but also a large number of detailed and frankly pornographic images of my very own 1953 gold-top, which I loaned for the case study.

Some pix and comments from the Mike Keneally show of 23rd October 2008 are now available.

I'm appearing as a ‘special guest’ at Mike Keneally's upcoming gig at Riffs Bar in Swindon at 8:30 p.m. on 23rd October 2008.

It's basically a relaxed, one-man (Keneally) show, though a similar performance I witnessed in Cardiff in 2004 was astounding! I will be supplying guitars and amps for Mike to use, and will be joining him on stage for a few songs. The venue bills the event thus:

Mike will perform a variety of material both solo and with his good friend Dave (formerly of XTC)... a relaxed evening of musical fun and Mike's first UK performance in quite some time.
Been socialising and working on some music with former Frank Zappa alumnus Mike Keneally, for a project that may bear fruit later in the year. To find out all about Mike, go to
Have scored string arrangements for two songs by Irish group Pugwash, which were recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2 on 7th April, working with Los Angeles-based quartet The Section. The songs are both Thomas Walsh compositions: A Rose In A Garden Of Weeds and I Want You Back In My Life (For Mam). The session went beautifully and everybody went home happy!

For the bigger picture of the day's events, go to

Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD
in absentia, Porcupine Tree's album of 2003 which includes 2 of DG's orchestral scores, is now available in 5.1 Surround Sound, courtesy of DTS Entertainment. It doesn't half sound good...
One bit of news that should interest XTC Guitargonauts this month comes from New Jersey guitar builder extraordinaire Dennis Fano. Check the link below to marvel at his latest Special Edition XTC Oranges and Lemons Tonestar II. Please visit for more details.
The Dukes Of Stratosphear are back!
The Wish List, Steve Somerset's compilation album in aid of the MS Society is now available. Steve takes up the story:

It was a bit of a coup getting all the Dukes back together for this. I'd called Andy Partridge at the beginning of the year and he agreed to contribute something to the project but as to what, he wasn't sure. We kicked around a few ideas but nothing seemed to gel. Some weeks later I bumped into actor and fellow-Camden resident Stephen Mackintosh (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and a host of TV stuff); we were talking about what we were up to and I mentioned the charity album and Andy's involvement.

Stephen then proceeded to tell me how he had got into XTC via the Dukes. I relayed this back to Andy who immediately said, “Let's do a Dukes track!” Earlier that week I'd been speaking to Dave Gregory and he'd told me about a sitar guitar he'd just added to his armoury. The timing was perfect - Lord Cornelius Plum and electric sitar! We just needed a “yes” from Colin and Ian, which followed swiftly, and before you could say “where's the tin-opener?” a can of human beans was being cooked up for your delight, and a very good cause. The Dukes Of Stratosphear are back and you're in for a treat! According to Andy Partridge, “This album is so good that even if I wasn't on it, I'd have to buy it!”

Open A Can (Of Human Beans) kicks off the album, which features some great songs, eight of which are exclusive to this CD.

Dave should also be mentioned in despatches for appearing on three tracks. He's playing electric sitar, Mellotron and electric piano with the Dukes, guitar with the h-Band and arranging and playing on It's Alright by the Shadow Kabinet. This is going to be a limited release, so don't hang around!

The CD may be purchased online from Heyday Mailorder. To locate it quickly on their site, enter VAR83 in the Search box.