Tribute to Venus Carmichael

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In the Can

…and we’re done! One final session negotiating on the overdubs to the tracks last night, and our new album is in the can, as they say (do they still say that?) All we need to do now is decide the running order, artwork, yada yada … y’know, all these things we should have people for by now.

We plan to have the album ready for sale by early December, and as promised, we plan to do a show before Christmas to launch it. So keep Wednesday 14th December free for now, and stand by for more news!


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In the Studio

Kelly and I had a good recording session last Thursday in the studio with Duncan at Substation, Rosyth. Tribute to Venus is very well served for photographers – Kelly’s partner, Scott Louden, is a pro (his website is here) but on Thursday, it was the turn of my wife, Alison, to roam the studio while recording was in progress. 7 tracks down so far; 3 (and with luck one more) tonight!

020 026 028 033 034 037 047 051

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Recording Sessions

And so, as the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness tips into (in Scotland at least) cold, darkness and car headlights sluicing through the rain, Kelly and I go into the studio to record that long-talked about album.

The venue is the excellent Substation, in Rosyth, where we generally rehearse. The dates: Thursday 3rd and Friday, 4th November – two three hour blocks to get as much down as we can, and get it mixed with our engineer, Duncan. Wish us luck!


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Venus The Album: Results Time

The votes have been counted and verified by our independent adjudicators, and the lines are now closed! Or whatever they say on that stupid talent show thing.

Anyways, in the real world, a real show took place last night called Venus – the Album. The idea, if you’ll recall, was to play 16 of our favourite songs and get an audience reaction, with a view to whittling it down to 10 for the recording sessions we have coming up. So, without further ado, here are the results:

Death in Venice (Rose Tattoo)              12 votes

Highway Tonight                                    10

Coming Around Again                           10

Running Song                                           9

All I can think of is you                            8

Spider Arpeggio                                        8

Heartlands                                                 8

Katerin                                                        7

Old School                                                  7

Icarus Wings                                              7

Which makes the 10! Just behind, or bubbling under, as they say, were Barricades (6 votes), In the Canyon and She Sees Round Corners (both 5).

Now, I’ve still to consult with Kelly, and the figures may be more weighted towards the later songs in the set because there were a few folk didn’t make it for the start, but that does look to me like a pretty  damn fine track listing. So thank you, loyal fans who came along, and of course the slightly confused French tourists who departed into the night bearing a Venus mug and my pidgin French and Spanish explanation of what the hell was going on.

If things go according to plan, we should have a couple of recording sessions later on this month, and after I’ve finished overdubbing and mixing, an album to show you a few weeks after that. No idea yet of price, release date, or anything like that, but rest assured, if you were in there voting last night, you’ll get a special rate!

Thanks again,

Andrew x


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Saturday 1st October: the guitars

OK, so some of you won’t be so interested in the means of producing the music as what it sounds like, right? However, since Kelly and I are both branching out slightly with the usual Tribute to Venus night instrumentation, and since I know (boy, am I aware of this when I’m playing!) that there are a significant proportion of guitar players in the audience, I thought I’d give you a brief update on the stringed things producing the noises this Saturday. Here they are:


Aren’t they lovely? From left to right:

The black one with the brown details will be familiar to most Venus-watchers, as it’s become my go-to gig instrument these days. It’s a copy of a famous Ovation model by an outfit called De Ville, and you can read more about my quest to find out this guitar’s origins on my other blog.

At the back is a 12-string Danelectro, on loan from my band leader in Isaac Brutal, Mark Allan. It produces a lovely, chiming sound which immediately wants you to play a Byrds version of ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ on it. Instead, we’re using it for one of the new songs to be unveiled at the gig, ‘Coming Around Again.’

Next along is my blues box guitar. We’re using this for a different version of a Venus song I also play with the Brutals, ‘Death in Venice (Rose Tattoo)’. It originated as a ‘make your own blues box guitar’ kit in the Works, of all places, at Xmas, although I’ve since customised it with wine labels and beer mats – partly just because I can, but mainly to block the f-holes, thereby counteracting the feedback problems which are its only vice. If all goes well, you’ll hear a shimmering evocation of the Deep South on Saturday. If things don’t go so well, it’ll howl like a loon.

Last is my LAG 100 ACE.  Although it has a lovely, honeyed, mellow acoustic tone, its inbuilt pickups aren’t great (something I didn’t think of testing before I left the shop). Consequently, it’s only there as a back up. Because you can never have too many guitars, right?

Next time: Kelly’s harmonicas and percussion. Yep, you heard that right!

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Come to our show, help choose the songs for the album, and win a prize!

So. The White Horse has been booked for Saturday, 1st October, the set list has been chosen, and rehearsals have begun. Here’s the thing though – between the gig on 1st October, and the recording sessions for our album at the end of that month, we need to narrow down our own favourite 16 songs to 10 – and that’s where you come in!

Here are the 16:

All I can think of is You
She Sees Round Corners
All the Words
The Prediction
Running song
Icarus Wings
Death in Venice (Rose Tattoo)
Coming Around Again
See what I did there, linking the ones we’ve recorded into what’s on Soundcloud, so you can have a listen to some of them? Mind you, there will be inbuilt weighting against ‘Old School,’ ‘In the Canyon,’ and ‘Highway Tonight,’ because they’re on the EP. Thing is, they’re still amongst our all time favourites!
Some of the tracks, of course, won’t mean much to you – ‘Coming Around Again’ is a new one, and while you might have heard Isaac Brutal do ‘Rose Tattoo,’ you’ve yet to hear the Tribute to Venus version, which was one of those magic moments that happen in the rehearsal room when you try something out for the first time.
So, vote now, or better still, come to our gig at the White Horse, Canongate, at 8 o’clock on Saturday 1st October, and tell us what you think then. IT’S FREE! There’ll be links to the online poll, paper and pens for you old school types, and a prize draw for everyone who’s voted!
Here’s the poll for now:

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New Album News

frontSo. There I was, looking at the cover of Venus’s own first album, Voyage to Venus, and thinking, why haven’t her tribute band done an album of her material, especially when all that new material keeps appearing mysteriously on cassettes at Kelly’s house, when an email dropped in my inbox from Kelly saying exactly the same thing!

And since neither of us could think of a good reason not to, that’s exactly what we plan to do. But we need your help: thing is, there’s so much material we’ve whittled it down to sixteen, but we probably need it down to ten-ish. We’re planning a gig in a few weeks’ time, probably at the White Horse on 1st October, and we’d like you to help us out with your suggestions for your favourite songs at it. We’ll play all sixteen, you tell us your top ten: we’ll probably have some hi-tech way of doing it by online poll, but we’ll bring pen and paper for you old school types too.

Then, later on in October, we’re booked in to record at Rosyth’s Sub Station. We might even have the album ready in time for Christmas pressies … quite exciting!

More news soon, guys. so stay tuned….

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Venus Awakes

Things have been quiet on the Venus front since our last gig in May (see pic, with our new backing singer!)

However, while we gather ourselves for more Venus-related activity, the woman herself has resurfaced with a key bit of her life story on her blog. We’ve no idea what happens in between these posts: she’s not a techy type, our heroine, so there’s no social media posting or idle chit-chat: just occasional slices of a life lived on the edges of the conventional.

This post deals with the loss of her father, which going by the Marie Rose reference, must have happened in 1982.

The Marry Rosie

Stupid old bugger. Stupid, stubborn old bugger. He’d retired, two years before; given up the sea as a bad job.

I can just picture him there, standing at the bar in one of the pubs down at the harbour, flat cap pulled over his head, jeans, boots and gansey, the proper fisherman’s jersey Mum still couldn’t get off him; the one that stank of seawater, cigarettes and fish. Hands knotted by arthritis, features carved nut-brown by the wind and weather.

And Peter Thom coming up to him and saying, Davy was laid low, and they were a man short, could he – ?

To read more, go here

Pic: Kenny Mackay

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Forthcoming Gig: Venus and Isaac

We’re delighted to announce our forthcoming gig with Isaac Brutal will be at the White Horse, in Edinburgh’s Canongate, on Saturday 14th May. It’ll start around 8, but it’s an informal affair so you can come any time before that too: just bear in mind if you do, you might get a job helping to wire up the PA!

It’s hard to believe our last gig was back in December. However, various things to do with real life have hit us both in recent months, so it’s maybe not that surprising. Although there’s a whole lot of new stuff bubbling under, we’re going to concentrate in this set on our favourites – not exactly a greatest hits package, but if you’ve been to any of our shows before, you’ll recognise some, at least. Having said that, there’s so much Venus material to draw from now, there’s bound to be something you haven’t heard before, too…

Following our success in co-gigging (if that’s even a word) with Norman Lamont and the Heaven Sent last time, we’re delighted to be joined by Isaac Brutal and the Brutalists this time. Mark Allan’s (that’s him in the pic) alter ego Isaac Brutal has been making music on the Edinburgh scene for many years now, and his back up band comes in mayn formats – right up to and including a full on rock ensemble generally going under the moniker The Trailer Trash Express. The Brutalists incarnation is stripped down, in the sense that there are only three of them. However, instrumentally, the performance will feature guitars, mandolin, keys, harmonica, blues box guitar, and whale song.

As if all of that wasn’t enough to tempt you along, you can hear both of these all-original sets for only four of your English pounds. Plus a chance to win a Venus Carmichael mug!

And did I mention the whale song?

white horse gig 24.04.15brutal2