Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: Oliver Sacks

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

OliverSacks

Liddell: One month shy of the first anniversary of renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks’ death, I’ve been re-reading his book Musicophilia, which explores how music relates to the human brain. There are various case studies covered in the book, including a surgeon, who soon after being struck by lightning develops an insatiable desire to spend almost every minute of the day listening to, and learning to play, classical piano music. He quickly became a highly proficient musician, but this was at the expense of his marriage.

Sacks also looked at music as a treatment for neurological conditions. New Yorker Matt Giordano had suffered from severe Tourette’s syndrome from an early age but discovered as a child that through drumming, he could find relief from his ticks. I found this fascinating short documentary about Matt where he describes his condition and the release that drumming and rhythm bring him. The film also features some beautiful shots of the amazing Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

“It feels like my body is designed like a 75-watt lightbulb, and I’m plugged into a 1,000 watts.”

Matt runs a foundation called Drum Echoes that run events/workshops relating drumming as a form of therapy. Some info here.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sacks, Musicophilia is a reasonable place to start, but perhaps first read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. After that, you can get stuck into the numerous lectures and interviews online and the rest of his printed back catalogue.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: The Perfect Day

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

Terminator2

Scott Hutchison: I’ve slept until 1 p.m. or 1:03 p.m. A thin shaft of sunlight slithers across various parts of the room, but it’s not even nearly annoying (i.e., it’s nowhere near my face/eyes). The version of me who lived yesterday has already left a glass bottle of Irn Bru in the fridge. What a gem. It’s a strange relationship we have with our self who lived through an entire day before us, mere hours ago. Sometimes, they have done well; completed the shopping, cleaned your hair in advance or exercised enthusiastically so that you (the “you” of today) don’t have to. Anyway, that’s all been done, thank fuck.

I brew some coffee just for the fragrance. I don’t like the taste much or the constant heart palpitations thereafter, but the smell is something else. I can’t believe it hasn’t been made into a perfume. Downing the Irn Bru on the porch (pyjama bottoms, no top) I survey the lake (quick aside: I’d like to note that I’ve shaken the Bru bottle and released the gas three times until there is only a mild spritz left in it. I want to use this opportunity to put it to AG Barr Soft Drinks that the stuff is just too bubbly right off the bat, and there should be a “half-fizz” alternative on the market. (Irn Champagne, if you like). As I said, I survey the lake. That’s all there is to it. Feels good. It’s not my lake; it’s the lake built at the centre of the caravan park. “Boatiful,” I say, flashing my big, beaming face around to see if anyone heard the joke. Nope again.

Pacing back inside I take just five minutes to look at the internet so that I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. “It’s still there!” I shout, “The internet is still there!” I run outside just to check. Nobody heard it. I’ll keep trying, and nothing can bring me down today. Still topless, I open a can of Guinness. It’s the first of many on this perfect day. How else am I going to work up the courage to sing at the karaoke pub later? I’m going to do it. I mean it. (I won’t ever do this, but it’s the thought that counts.)

Now I want to read just one poem and listen to a clever play on the radio before I get stuck into the good stuff. Much like the “me” of yesterday, I do this is so I don’t have to do anything else of intellectual worth for the rest of today. Try it. Do something cultural and nourishing at the beginning of the day and feel the utter liberation it brings. “Yes, I can now watch seven straight hours of House Hunters International without even a wink of guilt!” But not today. No, this is my perfect day. On this day I’ll be watching Terminator 2 again as if you couldn’t have guessed. Ah yes, Terminator 2. It’s as good as it gets. The only great film of the 1990s, Terminator 2 still shits metal bricks on everything produced since. I don’t care what advances have been made in CGI in the years between, this is the apex. The franchise is also notable for providing the only role for which it’s appropriate to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger. He shouldn’t have been in any other films. It’s madness. I have a dream that one day I will rewrite the soundtrack to Terminator 2 and perform it live in front of the film itself. I must add that I think the soundtrack as it stands is perfect. Brad Fiedel created the most beautiful, terrifying sonic landscape within the film, and I’m certain that my version would be inferior, but you can’t bring a boy down for setting himself some healthy goals.

Having watched the absolute shit out of the film and spilled Guinness all over my torso, I go back to bed. Yeah, this is my day, you punk. I know I said I was going to the karaoke, but guess what, I’ve ordered Chinese chips and a curry pizza over the phone, and it’ll be here any minute! Before I left the bedroom that morning, I had placed an empty tumbler glass, a small jug of water and a bottle of Balvenie 12 year on the nightstand. I told you, that guy is a gem! From this moment forth, there’s a lot of pouring and sipping going on in that bedroom. The food arrives, and I make Perry the delivery boy bring it to the room (I left a note on the door didn’t I?! The note read, “Come on in, Perry. I’ll give you an extra £3.00 if you do. And can you bring me the Irn Bru from the fridge? The one that’s already been opened. Thanks.”

I dismiss Perry immediately, having given him an extra £2.40 (it’s my day). To the listener on the other side of the door, you’d think there was a wanked-up party going on in here, with lots of fun peeing and slurpy sexual favours. Not in this caravan, mate. I’m eating and drinking myself into a frenzy, and it’s going everywhere. My torso fucked at this point, so I go for a shower, using five different gels to wash off the sticky residue. Now it’s time to sing and dance. For the rest of the night, I play records. There’s a healthy dose of Phil Collins, followed by a pinch of Jackson Browne, and I end it all by listening to the whole of Making Movies by Dire Straits. If you don’t already know this album, I compel you to seek it out. Forget what you’ve ever thought about Knopfler and Co. This is a belter of an album, front to back. As the final bars of “Les Boys” pass (such a bizarre song, it’ll have you in stitches), I plunge onto the couch and in one fluid movement I whip a blanket over myself and pull a pillow under my head. Sleep comes easily after such a day. It doesn’t get any better than this. Goodnight.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: My Favourite Vegetable

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

BrusselsSprout

Grant Hutchison: As you can tell from my rather imaginative headline/title, I’m going to talk about my favourite vegetable. I think this is a vastly overlooked subject in the world of music, and a lot more should really be done to explore the issue. It’s definitely a better question than, “How did you come up with the band name?” or “What’s it like being in a band with your brother?”

So here comes the big reveal. My favourite vegetable is the Brussels sprout. Yes, yes, I know that’s possibly the most controversial choice I could have made, but just hear me out and maybe give them a try. One of my reasons for picking this was that I’m led to believe an avocado is technically a fruit on account of the stone in the middle. This would have been my choice, but I play by the rules. “Why didn’t you just do ‘my favorite fruit’?” I hear you cry. Come on now, we all know the chaos that would have ensued had I written an article on how my favourite fruit is avocado.

Now then, back to the sprout. One of the things this little guy has going for it is versatility. One of the best curries I’ve ever had was a sprout curry made by Billy, and I’ve had roast sprouts on many an excellent pizza. My brother serves them up at Christmas with pancetta and cream. I’m vegetarian so don’t eat that, but it smells bloody brilliant! If treated correctly, you can put sprouts in almost everything, and I usually do. Fried up with some mustard as the side to a main dish, boiled and whizzed up as part of a burger mix, peeled and thrown in a stir fry alongside some other worthy greens. There really is no end to what the sprout is willing to go through to end up in your mouth. My favourite has to be the roasted sprout, due to the ratio of difficulty to taste satisfaction being so damn high!! Here’s how I prepare mine. I really think you should give this a shot. I’m not a very accurate cook, so quantities are not set in stone!

Ingredients
1 bag of Brussels sprouts
1 or 2 medium chilis
2 or 3 garlic cloves
Juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
Maldon sea salt
Black pepper

• Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
• Peel the top leaves off the sprout, chop of the bottom and cut in half
• Finely chop one medium chili (go for two if you like it spicy) and 2/3 cloves of garlic. I’m a huge garlic fan, so again this is open to interpretation depending on your taste.
• Place these ingredients in a bowl and cover with olive oil and shake it aboot!
• Put the contents onto a baking tray, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt (very important) and black pepper and place in the oven
• When the sprouts are starting to sizzle, take them out and sprinkle some lemon juice over them
• Place back in the oven until they start to go brown and crisp just a little. Again this is down to preference on exactly how long you leave them.

Stick these on a salad or in a curry or just straight in to your mouth. Enjoy!!

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: An Attempt At A Poem …

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

Fishing

Scott Hutchison:

I Don’t Fish
I’ve been saying it for years,
that I must go and friends reply
“You simply must”
But I don’t fish.
“You can get rods anywhere.”
they say. I say
“Can you get them at
Harry Ramsden’s?”
Nobody laughs at that one.
On paper it’s right up my street
or straight down my Mississippi.
In practise it’s too far,
too much fuss it seems
you can’t just do it with a stick
and some worms anymore.
You have to tempt the
slippery fuckers with
special feathers, do a dance
for them on the water
in those unwieldy waders.
The feathers are called all sorts:
Old Jeb’s Clatterback,
Wrinkled Scrotary,
Dead Worm Dancing.
Right up my Danube.
But still I don’t fish.
And ohhh how I eat them,
Scrape that flake off the bone
like a beast I’ll try the head
or the eye if I’m drunk.
Raw
I’ll think nothing of
when they were last
seen alive.
But still I don’t fish.
Ross offered to lend me a rod,
he’s got permits and
a nose for trout.
And I desperately want to
go, throw my phone downstream
along with everything else
I own and just wade in.
Every piece of bad plastic
each distracting circuit
all the new ways to tell time
and about fifty Bic lighters.
Wade in and stand,
pole in hand.
And wait all day for dinner.
But still I don’t fish.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: Me And Alan, Alan And I 

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

Alan

Grant Hutchison: I first saw Alan down on the Saltmarket hanging from a bar about seven feet off the ground. It was love at first sight, and I knew then that our relationship was going to be a special one. There were others who tried to court my affection and I gave them a chance, but from the moment I slung my leg over Alan, there was no looking back.

Our first few trips were out South of Glasgow around East Ayrshire, where we spent all our time roaming around the hills there visiting Harelaw Dam, Whitelee Windfarm and the Fenwick Arms. It was on one of these trips I found out his name. Needing inspiration and encouragement, I called out and there he was … Alan!! Letting me know he’ll be by my side (or under my backside) whenever I need him.

We’ve since been through a lot together. Visiting places like Buckingham Palace, the Guinness Factory and even the world famous Gibbet in Northumberland after visiting the Impromptu Tea Room. The decision to take Alan on tour was an easy one and one I wish I had made earlier. Having that extra time away with him really makes all the difference when you’re having a tough day or you just need to get off that fucking bus and away from those fucking people!! I love my bandmates and crew dearly, but having the time with Alan to chat things over and get a bit of space has a huge effect on my mental state. I think he prefers being out in the U.S. where he really gets to show off. Making our way along the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia, visiting Folsom Prison and ambling along the Mississippi River out of New Orleans are highlights, and I’m sure there will be many more.

He has made a lot of his own friends on these adventures, too. Mainly the nine other folk he toured the U.K. with back in 2014, when he really earned his stripes. Day after day, town after town, macaroni pie after macaroni pie, he was there with me for every mile. For that reason he’ll be with me forever. When his joints start creaking, they’ll creak with mine, and when we start losing speed, we’ll keep gaining miles. So here’s to me and Alan, to Alan and I.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: Ian Svenonius’ “What Is A Group?”

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

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Liddell: We are all lucky to be alive at the same time as Ian Svenonius. He’s been kicking around since Nation Of Ulysees in the late ’80s, through the Make-Up, Weird War and, currently, Chain And The Gang. These are all deserving of your attention, as is his recent short film, What Is A Group?: a retro sci-fi documentary on the mechanisms within contemporary rock ‘n’ roll and its positioning in a planet driven by capitalism, seen through the eyes of two visiting members of a superior alien race.

“Dysfunction is seductive, attractive, glamorous. This rock ‘n’ roll music is based on that very principle.”

An interesting cast here, the “group” features the awesome Mary Timony (check out Ex Hex, who made one of my favourite records two years ago), along with members of Chain And The Gang, the Priests and incredibly, Kid Congo Powers, who is hilarious and trippy as a caricature record producer (“See this button? This is drum viagra!”).

Q. What makes a record successful?
A. Bribery and mass hypnosis.

I met Ian once a few years back, in my previous life as a music promoter. Chain And The Gang was touring the record Music’s Not For Everyone (maybe the best album title ever), and the show stopped by Stereo, Glasgow. He had also just published a collection of essays called The Psychic Soviet. Seek it out, friends; it’ll fit in your back pocket.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: An Analysis Of “Lick It Up” By Kiss

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

YouTube Preview Image

Scott Hutchison: I’ve never been much of a lyrics guy. That might sound odd given the importance I’ve often placed on the lyrical content of our own songs, but it has never been the primary reason for my desire to immerse myself in anyone else’s music. Melody, dynamic and delivery are what most often attract me to a song. Thereafter, I will certainly give the words a bit of time, but if you sat me down with any of my most treasured albums, you could watch me fumble my way through the verses and almost get the choruses right.

Like a folk singer’s song I’ll groovin’ uhhhh and I’m not the kind of ehhh who asks to be hummm when the girls are looking emmmmmmm… (“Folk Singer” by Brendan Benson)

Lapalco is one of my favourite albums of all time. I still couldn’t get through the bridge/chorus of the above tune without an autocue. So I thought I’d use this piece to force myself into giving the lyrics some attention for once, and let me tell you, I’ve chosen an absolute belter: “Lick It Up” by Kiss. On the face of it, this is an astonishingly shit song, but I wondered if there might be greater poetic depths there that I had been missing, because I was so distracted by the impeccable melody, dynamic and delivery. So, as Gene has probably said many times, let’s get right into it …

“Don’t wanna wait ’til you know me better”

The first line, as it ought to, immediately sets the scene. Paul Stanley is (perhaps rightly) concerned that if the person in question spends any longer getting to know him, they’ll be off. It might be the case that he simply doesn’t want them to find out that his real name is Stanley Bert Eisen, but I immediately see even greater insecurities pouring from the page. I’m imagining the scenario: Stanley only has five or six stories that he is confident in telling. Beyond those, he’s the social equivalent of a turd floating in a swimming pool. He now finds himself rattling through story number five, and he’s running out of time. If this goes on any longer there’s no way he’s getting a kiss(!) tonight.

“Let’s just be glad for the time together”

Now this is a little curveball. We all thought he was interested in one thing and one thing only: a kiss(!) on the lips. This line reveals that he’s actually happy enough just to stand with someone in absolute silence and simply “be.” There’s a mindful quality to it, and I sense Stanley is trying to say that even though he has long since finished story number six, it’s quite enough to just exist in that moment, solemnly gripping an empty solo cup. These two lines perfectly illustrate the reason why Stanley made it into Kiss in the first place, having answered Peter Criss’ ad in Rolling Stone, which read: “Expd. Rock & Roll drummer looking for orig. grp. doing soft & hard music.” Well, these two lines in themselves impressively show both of the required qualities. Stanley, you got the job!

“Life’s such a treat, and it’s time you taste it/There ain’t a reason on earth to waste it”

I think we could all benefit from murmuring these lines under our breath every single day. Try it now, I don’t care where you are, or say it to the person next to you. Better yet, scream it into the face of the person next to you. From sleazy old kisser(!) to wise soothsayer in the space of 15 seconds.

“It ain’t a crime to be good to yourself/Lick it up, lick it up, woahh, oh yeah, it’s only right now”

Ah … ok. Lick it up. Now we’re getting into problematic territory. However, with our newfound appreciation of the subtleties of the work, we can certainly allow ourselves to approach this central line from a different angle. Far from being a crude command, it’s a call to us all to fully inhale, taste and appreciate every moment that we are alive.  Have you ever looked at a filthy puddle in the street and wondered what it might taste like? Stanley is urging you to find out, and damn the consequences. As you place your tongue in the shitty water, look around you. Is anyone else having as visceral and pungent a moment this? Doubtful. Later, you will have Stanley B. Eisen to thank for the dysentery.

“Don’t need to wait for an invitation/You gotta live like you’re on vacation”

Oftentimes I have been enjoying a quiet vacation soiree with a few close friends and suddenly … in walks Stanley B Eisen. That’s right, if Stanley is on vacation then he doesn’t require an invite because “those are the holiday rules and you know it.” Don’t worry though; he’s brought his own bottle of Captain Morgan and a solo cup, because he’s really worried about getting cold sores. I think at the core of these lines is a sense that Stanley is hiding behind a self-made facade. Not only does he continuously call himself “Paul,” it’s also clear that he’s attempting to entirely lose touch with normality by acting like he’s in south Florida all the time. As Peter so deftly put it, Stanley is “soft & hard.”

So what have we learned? Nothing much. The song is still astonishingly shit, but there is conclusive evidence that if you bring your own mind to any piece of art (yes, Kiss is art), there’s bound to be something in it for you. Now I’m off to listen to “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”—you’ll probably hear my head exploding from where you stand.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: Top Five Dressing Rooms

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

Billy1

Kennedy: Over the years, across many tours, we have inhabited a wide range of dressing rooms. From a silver bullet caravan out back in Birmingham, Ala., to what felt like a holding pen for sheep at a festival in Northern Ireland. What may seem like a minor point can be, to a touring band, slugging it across the country in a van or tour bus, a bit of respite from the stuffy testosterone-filled tour bus. The basics need to be right—a comfy seat and decent lighting, not a horrid strip light and a collapsed flea-ridden sofa—but some dressing rooms go beyond this and have a special place in my heart! They are, in no particular order:

Victoria Hall, Selkirk
This was our homecoming, and allowed us, never before experienced, access to the boys’ dressing room backstage! This was a place of legends, where pantomime dames donned their frocks, and we felt very grown up swanning about backstage with glasses of bubbly instead of smuggling in quarter bottles of vodka. There was also an incident with the Picking Night Chair, which I will not go into.

Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee
Coffee and FIFA were the highlights at the Pabst Theatre, with a barista on hand all day and an Xbox hooked up to a massive wide-screen TV. Not to mention the enormous collection of vinyl, vintage arcades and awesome three-course catering. Damn you, Oreo cheesecake!

9.30 Club, Washington D.C

Billy2
This is always a favorite, and it’s mainly about the food. The iconic hand-made 9.30 Club chocolate cupcakes, delicious homemade hummus and pizza on arrival! It also has bunk beds around the top of the main dressing room where you can get your head down for a bit but still survey the goings-on below.

Rock Werchter, Belgium
We just played Rock Werchter, and the festival dressing room was enormous and super immaculate. “It’s bigger than my flat” (Simon). Even the rider was laid out beautifully. There were two separate shower cubicles and futuristic, pristine white sofas that looked liked they belonged in the matrix. You felt like you should take your shoes off at the front door.

Barrow Lands, Glasgow

Billy3
This is another classic. Its old-school, dance-hall decor and super-basic toilets and furniture just add to the charm. But I suppose the real draw is when the usual suspects get rammed in after a show to drink our rider and get the after-party kicked off.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: Moaning Is Tour Cancer

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

Thor

Liddell: “Don’t Complain. Bitching, moaning, whining, is tour cancer. If something is wrong fix it or shut the fuck up you fucking dick. Goddamn.”

Thor Harris (supremely talented and well-loved percussionist of Swans/Shearwater, etc.) said it best in his oft-shared golden rules of touring from 2010 entitled How To Tour In A Band Or Whatever. He lists 21 in total, but numberone1 has always resonated most with me: “Don’t Complain. Bitching, moaning, whining is tour cancer. If something is wrong fix it or shut the fuck up you fucking dick. Goddamn.”

It’s not an original concept, and definitely not one that is limited to those who have chosen a career on the touring circuit, but minor gripes can so easily become magnified when aired within the confines of a splitter van/tour bus/stressful festival changeover/shared hotel room. Within the Frightened Rabbit touring party, both band and crew, everyone generally subscribes to this mantra faithfully, and if they stray, are promptly and ruthlessly called out for it.

Moaning can masquerade under various guises. Often mistaken for a boast, worn like a badge of honour and sometimes inflated for impact: “We did, like, 30 shows over three days straight at SXSW with only Adderall and BBQ,” or, “Yeah, it was a heavy tour. I was so constantly fucked up I ended up with shingles/gout/TB/chlamydia/all of the above (delete where appropriate).” This common patter relates also to number five on Thors list: “5. If you feel like shit all the time, drink less beer at the gig. You will play better & feel better. What are you … a child? Some have the endurance for self abuse. Most don’t.”

Of course, it’s not realistic to demand everyone on tour to be constantly floating, euphoric, smiling from ear to ear. Ever since people decided they didn’t want to pay for music anymore, artists have no option but to embark on potentially grueling tour schedules, just to pay the rent on a shitty flat they are barely even in. But that makes Thor’s 21 Commandments even more relevant than ever. Did I just start moaning? Fuck.

Moods can swing, peaks and troughs can seem more severe when you find yourself thousands of miles and several months away from home, but it can help to remind yourself you are doing what you have worked hard for and been very fortunate to have had the chance to do. Which rounds us off nicely with Thor’s final rule: “21. Don’t evaluate your whole life while you’re sitting in a janitor closet waiting to go on. You think you’re above having shitty days at work? Shut up & do your goddamn job.”

Cheers to you, Thor.

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From The Desk Of Frightened Rabbit: Health Tour

Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.

Billy

Kennedy: As a founding member of Health Tour, I thought it worth explaining the concept. Up until a couple of years ago, along with the memories and stories we would bring back from tour, we would also drag back our sorry, greying, bloated bodies. Touring, particularly in America, had its downsides: a shit-ton of bread, meat, cheese and booze meant that, what should be a joyous reunion with our loved ones, was often a look of disgust from our other halves and families back home. And so Health Tour was born. Our weakness for these stodgy foodstuffs means that we have to create strict rules and consequences for breaking these rules. Please read contract for further detail.
My vice items in the last tour were:
Beer
Cider
Bread
Cheese
Meat

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