Saturday 07 07 07 saw quite a momentous night for Chimpanman, and for Jon in particular. At Jon’s instigation, and through the late development of MySpace, we managed to persuade Jim Shepherd, founder member of Creation band the Jasmine Minks, to come from Fort William to Northampton and front Chimpanman ‘as’ the Jasmine Minks.
I’m not sure this means anything to anyone who wasn’t involved, but the following dynamics were at play: A former much-lauded indie artist was playing his first gig in a number of years,with a band of people he had never met before until that night. He was playing to that rare thing an audience of 100 attentive and enthusiastic listeners. He was happily reintroduced to former label mate the Jazz Butcher, Pat Fish, who also played a set. He was playing some of his most popular songs for the first time in 20 years; he had written and previously only played these songs at what must have been a heightened and life-defining time: the time of the first artistic output, of much promise and much subsequently denied potential. Add to that the fact that Jon was playing in a band with a musician whose work he had loved for many years, and whose songs had been era-defining. And this was Jon who, long before Chimpanman drifted together, had definitively abandoned the idea of being in a band, and had sold his bass guitar.
He sold it to me.
We played four or five songs with Jim Shepherd, and Jim also played a few songs solo. As mentioned, Pat Fish, the Jazz Butcher, played a set. Jim, having walked fairly reticently into the room at the start of the night, was overcome with enthusiasm for the songs we’d played, the efforts Chimpanman had put in to make it a good night, and the experience of the evening.
I am not expressly a fan, and not enthusiastic for playing live. But I would change nothing about having given Jon back his bass guitar, learned a few indie pop classics, and witnessed the whole thing from my place, behind the drums.