The song is a permanent entry in my personal rock hall of fame, and I'm not just talking about indie music, either. I may have played it more than any song I played in the last 5 years, Back Bone Shiver's Something & Nothing. Like the songs in your life that resound, it feels like my life story and could be the same for lot of people I know, as well. The soulful guy who writes, performs, and puts this music together is the rare kind of individual who seems to be born to musical greatness, a natural or something. His music contains intangible emotion within, packed to the brim and unfolding layer by layer in subsequent listens. The first thing I noticed after being turned on to his music (by the everpresent indie ambassador, Steve Ison) was that this guy is no one-song wonder, it was one song after another after another that hit home, complete original works that when you first check out his page, you're left with that feeling of ultimate discovery. You look at the name of the act and you know this is one you will remember.
somewhat acquainted with the one his friends call "Spenny" from
on music forums, and he definitely has some kind of aura about him,
with a bit of a swagger. One senses that he feels like
a misfit in society and his lyrics seem to back that view.
you find out that he's a serious indie supporter, the kind of advocate
for indiekind that isn't just talk. He's got the kind of
his music that often comes with the very best songwriters, and having
a fair share of the great songs he's already written, ya know it can't
be long til he comes up with another gem. He's already had 2
in the Kayak Big 50 and several others that reached the upper half of
chart. He also won his first heat in the Indie Song of the
I gotta say, I wonder how long he will be an indie, because these songs
belong on the radio - this one-man tsunami of rock should be heard by
world, and soon. Anyway, I had the chance to ask Spenny a few
not having any idea what to expect..
Scott: okay, let's start at the beginning. Do you remember when music first made an impact on your life, like was it some record you heard, or what? And when did you start music making? It's hard to imagine you being in high school band or something like that but when and what was your first exposure to the actual creative aspect of music?
Back Bone Shiver: I always claim that I danced right out of the womb. I think it was the first thing I thought about. The first thing I noticed. I got my first radio before my first action man. My first record before my first action bike. All my early memories revolve around music, and pretty much everything I remember is tied to music in some way. The radio during the seventies was more important to me than I can even dream of putting into words. ELO, T- Rex, Mott The Hoople, David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Adam and The Ants, had more impact on me than anything else.
band? I was once in the school choir to escape home economics. But that
only lasted a day after some bint next to me pissed herself. I laughed
so hard I nearly pissed as well. Creating music? Well I’ve always done
that. Picking up the guitar was a natural route for me. There was
else for me to do. Too damn violent for football. too damn lazy for
else. Getting my first guitar, learning a few chords and deciding very
early on that I did not want to play anyone else’s music was, just me
me, An arsehole with big self delusions and the ego to match. I thought
I was the dandy highwayman.
Scott: In your song Blown you say your machinery is dead. Want to try to describe times in your life when it was awakened, when you felt you were starting again, your battery recharged? I know I personally go thru lulls myself of spiritual and creative emptiness, do you have any ideas on what might set you off to have one of those time periods when you write several good songs in a short period of time?
Back Bone Shiver: Blown was written about a mobile phone I had when I was half way across the world from people I cared about. At the same time I was feeling pretty rank about myself. You know I hate people who wear depression like some kind of badge of honour. I love the music I write and I hope that shows. Some songs/lyrics are more conscious than I realise or care to realise at first, and that’s me acting honestly. Depression is a hateful disease, and it comes in dastardly waves. I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it, if I’m truthful. There’s a very small list of people I do feel comfortable talking about it with.
peak periods, creatively wise. But that’s a worrying time for me and
to explain, and that sentence alone sounds like ‘woe is me, tortured
which is not what I mean, its just I get hyper and I know what comes
maybe I should give you the elves phone number, they know more about
Scott: You titled your latest CD "The Kid Ain't Right" What were you like in school, the bully, the jock, the nerd? You seem like somewhat of an enigmatic figure. What are you like in realtime society today, more of a loner or more of a clown?
Back Bone Shiver: All of the above at some time or another. But more often the clown and the loner. At school I existed as much as I wanted to. School was much like a prison. So I escaped. I spent my time in music shops and record stores or talking to musicians who were much older than me.
always felt alien. And I like my own company. I’m hard work most of the
time. Lazy one minute and 1000 miles an hour the next and when I’m
I’m hard to keep up with. Then the next minute I’m the stupidest person
on earth. To misquote Kris Kristofferson, ‘I’m a walking contradiction’.
Scott: If you were doing a concert at a huge venue, who would you want to open for you if you could choose anyone? Who would you be honored to open for?
Bone Shiver: I’d love The Ramones to open for me.
If that could
be arranged I’d be stoked. Just to see them perform one last time I’d
lay down my life. Open for The Pixies or David Bowie that’d be cool.
Scott: Very intense lyrics, on most of your songs. Here's another one I liked, from Insect.. I'm just a bug on her windscreen. How do women factor into your life? :)
Back Bone Shiver: Badly. That’s about it. I’m my own worst enemy. They’re like strange confusing creatures with funny hooks that sever all logic and reason from your brain. I’m pretty sure they feed on it.
and twisted can you tell?
Scott: Any deep dark regrets in your life that you want to open up about?
Bone Shiver: Apart from dressing up like Lulu and
Falklands? Regrets don’t do regrets, just not an option. ‘No Excuses‘,
is a perfect example of that.
Scott: Here's a question I sometimes ask some of the top indies when I have a chance to talk to them: You got all these great songs, the world would obviously be a better place if some of them were played on mainstream radio. Does it piss you off, some of the shitty songs that become the tunes the world ends up singing along to, instead of your own music which puts much of that to shame? Do you harbor any resentment that the music biz is what it is, a game of connections and safe boring choices as opposed to more of an environment where quality gets its due?
Back Bone Shiver: don’t honestly care and some of the people I know do care. I just don’t. Being famous is such a cheap, tawdry thing. It’s false and poisonous. Besides I haven’t got the energy. I appreciate anyone thinking I deserve more. That’s enough for me. Well apart from some money. That’d be nice.
I suppose it’s a game but everything is, I have strong opinions on ambition, it’s for people with no imagination. I think you have to do what you want. ‘Have a good time all the time’. That’s about it.
Really. I don’t get this idea that to be successful at anything you have to be top of the pile.
the same way as I don’t get politics, I don’t trust anyone who wants to
be in charge. It’s the same thing as being famous. Power, Recognition.
These things aren’t attractive to me. I’m not a leader and I’m not a
I’m just another arsehole who makes music. I don’t care what other
do, I care about what I do.
Scott: What exactly is it about monkeys?
Bone Shiver: I dunno. I like monkeys. I Iike how
the word sounds.
Apparently I walk like one. And I kinda have monkey like paws. I dunno
some people like frogs. I like cats as well. Dogs are stupid. Cats
Scott: When you wrote the guitar riff on The Big Empty, did you know you had something major there? Was there some anticipation after you got done recording it to unleash it on the world? Likewise with Something & Nothing (which I've probably personally listened to 1000 times)? Are your songs the best part of you?
Back Bone Shiver: I know people won’t believe me on this. But I make music I like. I don’t think about the audience whatsoever. If that’s wrong then sue me. All my songs are the best part of me and the worst. Some of my best songs are the very worst of me.
The thing with the ‘Big Empty’ was that on garageband it got tanked. Absolutely mauled. Which kinda shocked me cos I really like it. But I get a lot of people telling me how much they like it, which is cool.
and Nothing’, threw me to tell the truth. It’s the one song I still ask
myself about. Because it came together in like 5 minutes. Fully
But took me an age to record and edit. I love writing and recording but
the process afterwards is more than annoying.
Scott: Do you believe in UFOs, had any strange experiences in that realm?
Back Bone Shiver: UFO’s? Don’t hear of that kinda thing around where I live. I can just imagine some mothership landing in Salford. Ten minutes it’d be up on bricks or they’d be flying back to where they come nursing a pair of smacked chops.
To be honest I’m not into that kind of thing. I need to see it with my own peepers. Maybe if some alien knocked on me door and said, ‘I am Zog, from the planet Kagagoogoo take me to your leader’, I might change my opinion. Then again, I may just try and pull his mask off. Creator of ‘Intergalactic Incidents’. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.
the Sky’ is kinda about UFO’s so maybe It does interest me.
See I’m contradictory, don’t believe anything you read or hear.