Wednesday 28 December 2011

Mono Photos

A couple of photos from the Mono gig (click on photo for bigger version)

Friday 23 December 2011

A great night out

The gig went very well. Sleepy Eyes Nelson started with a set of acoustic blues. Then James King & The Lonewolves - they borrowed our bassist & drummer, Paul & John. Great to see Jimmy & Jake back onstage together. They played I Don't Care If You Live Or Die, Happy Home, and Fun Patrol. Paul & John did a great job - no rehearsals. 

James King & The Lonewolves

Then The Reverse Cowgirls played a storming set, including Jack On Fire and Sex Beat

The Primevals set was Preachin' The Blues, Ghost On The Highway, Mother of Earth (with Tam on lap steel), The Fire Of Love, A House Is Not A Home, Death Party. Michael jumped off the stage onto the table you can see in the photos during Ghost On The Highway.

We did an encore - we played Prairie Chain, which was written by Malcolm McDonald. Michael prefaced it with an explanation of Robbie's death, of Malcolm's great contribution to the Primevals down the years, then we tore it up. A righteous act.

Many old friends were there, including Rhod Burnett who remembered me buying the bootlace tie in the photo above in Chelsea in 84. 

This was a great way to end the year, a tribal gathering. 

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Words - what are words worth ?

We got some dreadful news last week. Malcolm McDonald played bass in the first lineup of the Primevals, and returned to play guitar for much of the band's time. He left at the tail end of last year. His son, Robbie, was killed in a hit & run accident on Monday night,while cycling. Robbie was a lovely young man, only 22. My heart goes out to Malcolm and all his family. The funeral is on Thursday. We'll be there. I haven't spoken to Malc in a while, the way that you don't always talk to some of your oldest and dearest friends because you know you'll always be able to pick up again where you left off. Yeah, that.

It's the kind of news that makes you go and hug your children, even if they are asleep.

The rehearsal tonight was subdued. We did our best - we've got a gig on Friday playing Gun Club & Jeffrey Lee Pierce songs at a charity show to raise money for the homeless.

We grew up on these songs, that vibe. We supported the Gun Club at Strathclyde Uni in 84 - the photo of our first album was taken backstage at that gig.

I was 22 in that photo. I still have that bootlace tie. I'll be wearing it on Friday.

Beckett - I can't go on. I'll go on.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Seven. That's not bad at all.

A good, productive day at FM, just by Ravenscraig. We recorded 7 songs in 8 hours.

We were fuelled by the One True Source for Jock & Roll - Tunnocks.

I took 3 guitars along - 2 Moons and a DeArmond

I used the DeArmond for most of the rhythm, the Moon Tele for "Comin' From The Hills", and Big Black (the other Moon) for all the lead and slide. 

We recorded -
  • Way Beyond Tore Up
  • Comin' From The Hills
  • Rightful Duty
  • Undertow
  • Keep Comin' Back
  • In A Violent Way
  • Hit The Peaks

We were still doing a bit of shaping the songs as we went - but it is very useful to listen back properly to something because when you are in the middle of playing it, you aren't the best judge of whether or not it works. 

As always, plenty laughs and daftness as we went through. 

I can't make tomorrow's recording - they'll be finishing the vocals, adding keyboards, percussion, and Martin's overdubs. 

We got one of the photos that John took at the last rehearsal - here's a photo of the glossy photo 

Tuesday 29 November 2011

That'll do

Last rehearsal before recording at the weekend. Rocking along. 

Michael's friend John came along to take some photos too - he took excellent live shots at Tuts earlier this year. 

We played : 

Comin From The Hills
Way Beyond Tore Up
Rightful Duty
Hit The Peaks
In A Violent Way
Campfire Vibe

All set for Saturday. The songs have come together really well. Looking forward to blasting them out and hearing them properly. 

Now, as it is Saint Andrew's Day, a wee dram. A Jura Superstition. 

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Friday 23 Dec, Mono, Glasgow

We've confirmed a gig to help raise funds to support people sleeping rough over the winter. 

Mono, Glasgow, with The Reverse Cowgirls & Sleepy Eyes Nelson. 

The gig will feature the music of Jeffrey Lee Pierce - a motherlode of blues and rock and freedom

It'll be a rockin' humdinger!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Too much guitar ?

How do you make room for 3 guitars ? 

Well. Maybe one of you can stop playing so much ? How about one stops entirely ? 

Good. How little can you play and still have it rocking along ? Ooh, bring it back up a little more. 

We cracked through a bunch of tunes tonight. 

Undertow (first Rooney-Rafferty composition since 1983!), John's Bass Riff thing which will grow into a monster. Way Beyond Tore Up. Rightful Duty. Freewheelin' Frank - a much faster version than how we were playing it live, more stripped down. 

Lots of work tonight on pacing tunes, especially Undertow, and on arranging guitar parts so that we (a) provide both rock AND roll (b) leave space for the vocal and (c) leave room to crank it up a notch. 

 A positive, collaborative night - it isn't every band where every guitarist will happily take direction from the drummer, and he bassist, and the singer, and the other guitarists. 

 Now a fab Berberana - Reserva 2006, Etiqueta Negra and some mature Welsh Cheddar, with a soundtrack of some very gentle hissing in my ears. I stood too close to the drumkit. I'll never learn. 

 Gigs coming up - Mono, Glasgow, Fri 23rd Dec. Charity gig for the homeless. This is most likely a Gun Club tribute night. We loved those guys, supported them in late 84 and they were magnificent. Kid Congo is still fantastic too. We went to see Kid Congo's Pink Monkey Birds a couple of years ago in Glasgow - as uplifting a gig as you'll see in many a long year. joyful rock & roll, with tributes paid to 2 rock & roll titans that he worked with - Lux Interior & Jeffrey Lee Pierce. After the show, we went to say hi to Kid - me, Michael (singer) & Rhod Burnett (original Primevals drummer). Kid looked at us and said "I know you guys - you played with us in Glasgow, a long time ago, didn't you ?" which was pretty amazing. 

 At that gig, we had been invited up to the Gun Club's dressing room after our set. Jeffrey Lee was trying to offload the bottle of Jack Daniels & the bottle of Smirnoff that were part of their rider - he was pouring huge amounts of it into any glass we offered him, saying "Jesus, if you guys don't drink it my guitarist will!". Kid has been through it all, and is now many years sober. 

We have been approached to play in Barlinnie, too. [it's the HM Prison in Glasgow]. That may be the Jock & Roll gig to end all Jock & Roll gigs. We'd be honoured to play there. 

Tuesday 1 November 2011

More blethering

I had great fun being interviewed by Paddy Hoey for his podcast. The second part is here blethering for Scotland . If you want to hear it, I recommend downloading it rather than streaming on the site.

It was a really interesting process - Paddy's thoughtful questions took me back to the earliest music that I connected with, and I throughly enjoyed chatting with a great music enthusiast.

Ain't she pretty?

First rehearsal with the new De Armond went well. 

She stayed in tune, I didn't break any strings. 

We played a bunch of new songs, including Undertow which is one of mine, one built round a lovely bass riff from John, and a new one from Michael that has a Tim Buckley vibe. Plus we blasted through a couple of covers, and played some songs that the guys had played before but for one reason or another had never been released. Way Beyond Tore Up was one of them.

Really good fun. 

Now, a Masterpeace Shiraz, and some Tim Buckley live to relax. 

Monday 24 October 2011


My friend Paddy Hoey interviewed me for a podcast. I had a great time - interesting questions and great craic. The first part is here

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Videos. (NO, it's pronounced Vi-DAY-os)

Francois recorded some of Saturday Night.

Here they are  :

 Defying Science :

 Then My Thoughts Turned Toxic Baby :

 Sister / St Jack

The Gathering

Part of the fun of being on the road is meeting up with old friends - here's my old compadre Graeme who took some of the live shots in earlier blog.(*points down*). It was grand to meet up with him and my other London-based friends, especially as I don't get down to London so much since I changed job. My t-shirt caused a few comments on the night - it's the NME from May 77, when The Ramones came to the UK and showed us all how to do it. 

Monday 10 October 2011

Some photos from Saturday night

We had a great time - onstage sound wasn't great but we gave it Maximum Jock & Roll. I caught up with Rhod Burnett, our original drummer, and told him about the French tour and especially about the fans who had been so touched by our music over the years. He was delighted to hear about the guy in Rennes who had "waited his whole life to see this band" - good to know that even if it felt like banging your head against a wall you did reach some people. 

Thanks to all who came along, thanks to Mike Harrison & Graeme Armstrong for the photos. Hope to see you all again soon

Tuesday 4 October 2011

.. where the streets are paved with gold ....

B2 is a really good rehearsal  setup - nice drumkit, good PA, good guitar amps, reasonably clean. We've been rehearsing in places run by Steve (from the original Berkeley St which was a similar high-end setup) since the very first Primevals rehearsal in 1983. They've now got a pretty good coffee machine too. 

Tonight went well - ran through the set from Tuts, then went over a couple of them again to settle and clarify some things. When we played Spiritual at Tuts, the slide part was rather spacy - the chords I was meant to be playing had slipped my mind, so there was a kind of pedal steel feel to some of it. 

All went well tonight, and we added "Walk In My Footsteps" which was on the band's first single after I left (for the first time, in 1985.) I was always touched by the dedication to me which I only found out about when I saw the single - it says "Eternal Thanks - Hotfire". (That was my nickname)

So we're off to London by bus, by train , and by car. We will be remembering the daftness of previous London trips - "Collar up, big man - you're in London!" and so on. 

Current plan is that we'll be onstage at the Water Rats at 11. Whole thing over by 12:15. That could change. If you're coming to the gig, I'm looking forward to meeting up with some of my London-based friends. I'll update on twitter if things change (@twrafferty)

Now, some Berberana and some Mature Cheddar, and a chance to listen to the final mixes of the recent recordings at Green Door. I couldn't make the time to go to the mix too.That was unusual - wouldn't have happened in my own band, The Beat Poets. I write and arrange most of the material and make the logistic arrangements too - from organising rehearsals to making sure the soundcheck goes OK to remembering the horn arrangements. It is easier just "being the guitarist". But I do need the Beat Poets too - we are our own thing, kings of our daft world, a way for us all to make music that sounds just like us. 

I'm blessed to have the chance to do this, still - the support of my family, the rocking vibe of my great friends in the band. A chance to wear new hats - my sister-in-law works in the same area as Michael, the singer. She bumped into him today. We had a family dinner tonight, and when I appeared she said "I saw Michael earlier - wearing exactly the same hat and with the same scarf!" We are independently styled - but we're stylin'!

Sunday 18 September 2011

Satisfied Mind

Another good day in the studio with The Primevals. Today was adding little bits - wah-wah guitar, acoustic guitar, feedback, and piano. We also added claves, tambourine, and Michael stormed through the vocals.

He also overdubbed a touch of guitar - using Big Black, my 25-year-old guitar. 

My signal chain for rehearsals is generally Guitar -> Amp and all yesterday's recording was Guitar -> Twin Reverb. Today I was adding some Wah-Wah, and Martin also used my amp to add some slide, seeing as it was set up already. 

Great fun, and the rough mixes sound very good.  Four tracks ready to mix - I'll struggle to make the time to be there for the mixing, but that's OK. 

Saturday 17 September 2011

Two more photos from Green Door

We had Tunnocks Teacakes - how very Jock & Roll. 

And in the second photo you can see John "Rodeo" Honeyman. We've been in bands together off and on (more on than off) since he joined The Primevals, about 5 gigs in, in 1983. He is also a stalwart of The Beat Poets. 

An excellent day

We spent today in Green Door studio. We recorded four tunes - Prediliction For The Blues, Don't Be Afraid To Cry, High Risk Times and The Lure of Desire. We have rocking takes of each, which we could go with quite happily. We will spend maybe a couple of hours tomorrow doing some additional guitar bits - some fuzz-wah, a couple of touches of feedback and a wee double of a part on acoustic. Then we'll do vocals, and see if we need any keyboards or percussion. 

It's a good room, and we had a really positive day : 16 tracks is enough, really, for a 5 man rock & roll band, isn't it ? 

Photo of Michael Rooney - it's his fault I'm still doing this. We've been friends since 1982 - we first met through his record stall. Primitive Records. I ended up working there. 

I've practised my overdubs for tomorrow - now it's time for some red wine and some lovely home-made lasagne, then I'll finish off some Dolcelatte that is rebelling against pretty much everything. If I don't eat it tonight it will end up in the bin very soon. 

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Daft ? I'll show you daft!

I've meant to do something like this for a long time - but I now have Lobey Dosser & Ramk Badjin on my guitar picks. I am ludicrously pleased by that fact. 

Off now to rehearse - recording Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday 27 August 2011

King Tut's

Tut's is a really good venue, they look after bands well, with good food, cold beer and soft drinks, coffee - exactly how it should be.

We had a great time : good crowd, two good support bands - The Brutes and The Reverse Cowgirls - and two encores.

It was extremely hot onstage, the guitars were all drifting a bit in terms of tuning, but we all played well and the crowd had a great time too.

This was the setlist :

and we had a fan who had been at a gig we played in Ayr in 86, which was my last of that era with the band. That night we walked off about 4 songs in when it all turned nasty : there was some inter-gang rivalry that was brewing up to a rammy, glasses were flying around. One hit the wall behind me. Then one smashed on the monitor and I thought "They're getting the range - I'm outta here". He was gutted because he had been looking forward to the gig for ages. But he finally got to see us again 25 years on. We all signed his t-shirt. 

A really good night, great to play a hometown gig like that again. Next up, some recording

Wednesday 24 August 2011


Tonight's rehearsal didn't start loud, but like boiling a frog it passed the point of din to become discomfort without me spotting it. So I'm home now with a nice glass of Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo (it's the family wine, after my brother moved to Abbruzzo) and no music. Just a slight hissing.

We blasted through some new tunes, found a raga to add to Spiritual, and skelped merrily through the tunes for Tut's on Friday. One of them is Blues At My Door, which I wrote the music for before the Primevals existed - early 1982 I think. There will be people at the gig who are younger than that song - which is entirely how it should be. We've got a pile of songs ready, we'll have a blast on Friday.

Monday 22 August 2011

sic transit gloria mundi

My elder daughter is 13. A few days ago, two of her friends came to visit. After chattering away in her room, they emerged, giggling. One of them asked me "Are you famous, in a band?". I pled guilty to the second charge, and so we had a wee chat about me going back on tour with The Primevals, touring France in a van, which they found pleasantly amusing.

We also had a chat about The Beat Poets, about how we had been going for 25 years and had recently played at Glasgow Jazz Festival.

Naturally, my daughter was mortified at all of this, even more so when her friends insisted on going on youtube to find footage both of The Beat Poets :

and of The Primevals

In music class today, one of her friends asked the music teacher "Sir, have you ever heard of The Primevals?". The teacher looked at the girl who had asked the question then stared at my girl and said "You're Tom Rafferty's daughter! ". He was very complimentary about the band, and told the class that if he had been able to organise the trip, he and his wife would have gone to France to see the Primevals earlier this year.

It's a small world, isn't it?

One of her friends then said "He's in The Beatles, too".

I'm not, but I found that quite amusing.

Friday 19 August 2011


We might be doing some new songs at Tuts. It depends on how they go in rehearsal, but there are 5 candidates. I've managed to make an hour most nights this week to play a bit and get my head around them, try to find different ways to play them and work them round. Some people call this "practising". I have always thought of it as "playing". Its fun!

Practising makes me think of dull piano lessons, mechanical scales, enforcing muscle memory with no joy, no swing, no life. I've had a great time tinkering with the chords, the voicings of the chords, playing a lot, hardly playing at all, so that when we play them as a band I've got a bunch of ideas depending on what else the rest of the band are doing.

Rehearsal on Wednesday night - parking will be a nightmare as George Sq and area is given over to Brad Pitt's filming. Then King Tut's, which is always a good gig. Looks like a fair turnout for the gig, too, including quite a few friends I've not seen for too long. Which made me think of this - Tribal Gathering.

Thursday 28 July 2011


A good gig. Short set, on early, started with about 8 people in, got to 60ish by the last song. Hot, sweaty, fast, guitar strings flying off (not me, my compadre, Martyn). 

The Bellrays are lovely people - 20 years they've been doing it! Great to catch up with some old friends, like the Tribal Elder Lindsay Hutton (of Next Big Thing) and also Mr Dahlmann. 

Talk after the gig of interest from Sweden, Norway, and Spain. 

Looking forward to King Tuts next month

Wednesday 27 July 2011

One more rehearsal

Another good, hot rehearsal last night. Not as loud as the previous one, which was good.

We ran through the Edinburgh set and also a bunch for the upcoming Tuts gig - I Happen To Love You, Elixir Of Life, Black Cloud Coming, One Sweet Drink, Fire & Clay, Clean.

There's going to be some fun and games on Thursday - I've never seen the Bellrays, so I'm looking forward to that and also it will be a blast to play Edinburgh again.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Back in the rehearsal room

We've got a gig next week in Edinburgh with The Bellrays at Cabaret Voltaire. So a rehearsal tonight to nip through the set and also try out a couple of new tunes. 

We tried "High Risk Times" in half a dozen ways, and it's probably ready for the gig. 

I tried out my new Vox Wah-Wah pedal - it was hard to hear exactly how well it worked as the sound in the room wasn't as clear as it has been in the past. 

We've got the multi-tracks from one of the French gigs in on DVD - next up is getting that mixed.

Time now for the perennial glass of red and a bit of cheese. My ears are tired, so no music. 

Friday 22 April 2011

Saturday 16 April 2011


We got back at 3 and we were up having breakfast at 7. Michel, who had helped organise the gig, gave us a lift to the airport, which was very kind. One of our oldest friends, Ricky, flew over from London for the gig - it was a hoot to drink a pastis with him last night and remember drinking Red Stripe with him in Glasgow in 83.

Now, the plane

Quelle journée

We spent 10 hours in the van travelling to Nimes, played a storming 5 song set in fnac ( record store day! ) then played at Cafe Olive - similar set to last gigs, around 80 minutes. There's a lot of love for the Primevals in France, and we signed quite a few old records for fans. Cafe Olive is another really good place to play - nice people, good food. We had some onstage sound problems - mikes feeding back a lot - but we had a great time nonetheless. Afterwards we went back to the gorgeous apartment where Matthieu & Geraldine live - they both work at fnac and are fans. Drinks, chat, music. When we strolled back to the hotel in the warm air we saw this palm tree. It's been a great tour.

Leaving the very pleasant Royal Hotel to gig at Cafe Olive

Update from Chez Paulette

It was 23 years ago today that the Primevals last played Chez Paulette, and a little over 26 years since I played there in the band as part of our first European foray. it's a great venue, good stage, good lights, great PA, good staff & lovely food. When we had set up the gear and said hi to the owner, he said "welcome home".

The Primevsls are one of the tour posters on the wall along with Alex Chilton, Tav Falco, Wilko Johnson and The Fleshtones. The owners were very pleased to have us back and we had a great time, chatting and reminiscing. They have been running the venue since 1969. Everyone comes back eventually - Wilko Johnson is due over soon, and there's a pub rock package in September with Eddie & The Hot Rods and Dr Feelgood. We played quite a long set, and had an absolute blast. It wasn't the biggest crowd but as is always the case in France, there were some people there who totally connected with the music. We signed some CDs and albums that fans had brought along.

There was some delicious cheese and bread after the show - we got back to the hotel at 2am and assembled at the van at 7am for the drive to Nimes.

Listening to Television - Live at The Old Waldorf as we roll through France.

Chez Paulette - stage preparations. Fuzzboxes, beer, wine.

Stage all ready at Chez Paulette

Stage view Chez Paulette

France always treats us well - lovely food

Setting up at Chez Paulette

Dijon - 30 minutes tourism on Friday morning before long van runs

The centre of our lives - the van

Thursday 14 April 2011

Elvis jukebox in Deep Inside, Rennes

Rennes - ooh la la!

Another rocking little bar- we were, as ever, down in the cellar. Great food beforehand - salad, couscous and excellent boeuf bourgignon with loads of vegetables. To draw the crowd down to the cellar, we started with Sweet Nothing. Rest of set similar to Paris. We were well received without having the level of wildness in Paris. One Fan had seen the band in 86 supporting The Cramps & had brought sone records fir us to sign. Another good solid gig on a wee stage. Tomorrow 230km to Chez Paulette - 26 years since I played there, 23 years to the day since the Primevals played there.

The venue in Rennes

Encore a Paris! Les Primevaux!