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Tales From The Conference League : The Great Drummer Lie

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Many years ago when I lived in Leicester I was part of a band called Voon - a name the mere SPELLING of which will make almost SEVERAL Midlands Folk/Roots Aficionados QUIVER with outrage and fear.

Voon was not a band designed to appeal to those who like their capo's high and their music worthy, which was all very cool and PUNK but not particularly helpful when it came to getting gigs, as all the venues in Leicester, as well as the local listings magazine, were run by those sort of people. I like to think this is the ONLY reason we found it difficult, and anybody suggesting it might just be because we were "interestingly unmusical" is just fooling themselves.

We did manage to get ourselves a few gigs (usually when the promoter was desperate and/or had never heard our demo) and one of these got reviewed in the aforementioned listings magazine. Like most of the staff, the article's writer regarded skiffle as dangerously modernistic and out of control, so viewed our drum machine-led sonic noise terror as a freakish evil to be stamped out at all costs. In order to achieve this he "hilariously" wrote a fake interview with the drum machine ("What is your opinion of non-standard guitar tuning?" "Boom boom TSH", that sort of thing) and spent the rest of the article spelling out for the slow readers that, frankly, he thought we were a pile of shit.

Earlier on in our glittering career this might have put us off altogether but by this point we'd had a couple of years of abuse from these Catweazles, so decided to be REVENGED. A week or so later I popped into their office to hand deliver a letter which I thought they ought to read. Luckily the editor was there, so I was able to tell him in person that the reason we'd used a drum machine that night was because... well, we didn't like to draw attention to it, but our drummer had been in a terrible accident, and we knew the reviewer was unaware of it, but if he'd actually spoken to us... anyway, no, we're OK thanks, but some of our fans might be a bit upset. Have you got a tissue?

Darlings, it was OSCAR WORTHY. In the following days there was an AVALANCHE of angry letters from Voon fans, demanding an apology for this outrage. The tone of the letters ranged from tear-stained to DEMENTED, though nearly all of them were type written. In slightly different fonts.

The next month's issue's letter page was completely taken over with the matter, ending with a brief apology from the editorial team and a remark that "Voon should clearly keep doing what they're doing - they obviously have a lot of fans."

Of course, we didn't. We just had access to a PC and a lot of stamps. Ha! Local music magazines will print ANYTHING won't they?

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