Mick Priestley - The Green River Project Print E-mail
Written by Mick Priestley   
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 14:27


1priestlyFresh from an acclaimed performance at this year's Bloodstock Open Air Festival, Mick Priestley - serial killer obsessed six string shredder with The Green River Project - haunts us with a hellish horror story cursed by smoke machines, sound levels and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'....



"Gigs from Hell? There's been a few...one that would immediately spring to mind was one with I did in my first band. It was back up in the North East and to be fair most of the gigs we did tended to be fairly shit, but this was something else. We'd shifted thousands of flyers around the area at every place we could think of, trying to drag people in...we were playing the Dog and Parrot in Newcastle, which was a rock bar and was just about the only place in Newcastle that would give us a gig - the rest of the venues were either unbelievable shitholes or places that wouldn't talk to you unless you had a booking agent/manager/record deal...which we didn't.



To make matters crappier, they didn't put gigs on downstairs, which was where all the people would be - it did tend to get pretty full at the weekends - so we had to play upstairs, and charge admission, which was only a couple of quid but nevertheless it was going nowhere. The doors opened, and for once we were fairly optimistic with regards to the turnout but it wasn't to be - in a room that probably held a hundred there might have been fifteen there, the support band went on to about five. Downstairs was packed.


They had one of those decibel meters on the wall - and we'd been told that if we were to play too loud, the meter would register the volume levels and trip the power out to the stage. So when you were playing, you had one eye on the meter - if that went red for more than five seconds, you were going to be introduced to the wonderful world of acoustics.


We'd brought out the big guns for the show - which at the time was a couple of par cans either side of the drum kit and a smoke machine behind. We had to clear that with the landlady - some places wouldn't let you use them because the smoke would set off the fire alarms..which couldn't tell the difference between smoke/fire and the fog from the smoke/fog/hazer machine - she said it was cool as long as we "dont use it too much - it's only a small room and there's only one extractor fan" - this was in the good old days before the smoking ban and the room would be smelling like a million lamberts by the time we'd finished.


So on we went, giving it what we thought was a pretty badass performance, but all the time with one eye on the decibel meter. Our singer had hit the booze pretty early and by the time we took to the stage was relatively hammered...but was going for it nonetheles. We couldn't afford a smoke machine with a remote control so someone had to lean over and press the button on it - which was fairly shit but there wasn't another way around it. We kicked into a riff, he leaned past the drummer and held the button down...but for longer than the landlady would have been happy with and filled the entire stage with smoke; I remember seeing the video (I had my Dad recording it) and you couldn't even see the band! We looked like an awful early Kiss video.


So we're rocking out, one eye on the meter, halfway through the song...so about to go into the chorus and the power goes. The amps died, the bass went off, the mikes are off...couldn't believe it! There's no way we were louder than the support band, and there's no way the meter had been red for five seconds. At this point, the landlord (who was a lot less friendly than his missus) bursts into the room, waving his arms and ordering everbody out - "Gig's over! That's it! Go home"...so we're like "What the hell's going on?" Then realise that the lights have gone off on the bar, and indeed in the rest of the room - not just on the stage.


It turned out that it wasn't the decibel meter at all. The smoke machine that was apparently going to be fine had set off the smoke alarm, which had cut the power not only to the upstairs room but to downstairs too - all the tills had gone off along with the lights, the emergency lighting had come on, and everybody had been turfed out into the street. Just when you think it couldn't get any worse, the fire alarms were linked directly to the fire station, and the engines were already on their way! Needless to say it went down like a sack of shit when the fire crews turned up to be greeted by a bunch of long haired goons standing sheepishly with their guitars, among a crowd of pissed off people downstairs who'd been thrown out of the pub without their beers! The venue was closed for the night, we grabbed the gear and got out of there pretty quick! Didn't even get paid! But then we never did...


I remember a LONG time ago playing a buskers night...there was a girl used to sing in there on friday nights and I'd decided she was hot but she wasn't impressed with me at all - I was somewhat the weird kid and she was studying law or something at university. She was dating some complete goon and it irritated me endlessly. So I'd come up with a sneaky plan - we were gonna play 'Sweet Child O'Mine', which she'd already said was one of her favourite songs...and I was gonna be the first dude to bust out that solo! Cue me looking legendary, Captain Goon being shown the door and me getting my dick wet. Or something like that.


Anyway...the pub was surprisingly busy. I'd been hitting the cheap doubles on the bar and was mildly hammered at the time. Busk through a few cheese classics then she gets up to sing 'Sweet Child'......it gets to guitar solo territory...all's going well and it gets to that big run in the middle. For maximum rock I stepped into some sort of stance, stepped right on the lead and ripped it clean out of the guitar, complete fucking the input and somehow making the amp squeal as the lead hit the floor. Song had to be stopped, I looked like a complete cock, and needless to say I went home alone. You can't win em all!"



Check out The Green River Project here!!!!! Tell 'em we sent ya!!!