The Formula One paddock has always been a great place to meet rock stars, and I’m always thrilled when I run into – or at least see – people like Nick Mason, Jay Kay, George Harrison (many years ago, of course), Ken Hensley and Eric Clapton. But occasionally, there are bands that I have never heard of and discover. Today I went to speak with a journalist friend of mine, Michelle Tomlin, at the Red Bull “motor home” and she was having drinks with a bunch of guys who she immediately introduced me to, since she knew of my musical adventures on the Formula One circuit.
“These guys are in a band,” she said, and presented me and told them my story of carrying my guitar around to all the races and playing all over the world wherever I found a stage.
She introduced me to the bass player, Kai, and he and I spoke for some time. I asked all about his band, what they played, where they were based, all the usual stuff. And he asked me the same. In fact, as usual, I think I did most of the talking – since I’m so enthusiastic about this musical adventure I’m living.
But I could not stay long as I had to rush off and do some interviews and take part in some press scrums – at McLaren with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, at Mercedes with Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, at Williams with Rubens Barrichello. I decided to take a quick look at this band, however, and discovered it is a leading band in the British indie scene in the past six years, and that it is bloody great.
In fact, Hard Fi, as the band is called, seems to have won so many awards and been so well acclaimed and sat atop – or near the top – of the British charts so much that I felt pretty embarrassed about never hearing of them before. What an idiot I felt in retrospect in showing Kai this article I had just been reading, an interview with Paul Weller in the August issue of the French magazine Rock & Folk, only to find out that he and his band had jammed with Weller….
Okay, REALLY check them out – unless you already know everything about them and are snickering at my ignorance. In any case, the F1 gig pulls through again in introducing me to this interesting band, Hard Fi.
But one of the main points to remember here is the simplicity and down-to-earthness of the band – “Yeah, I’m in a band….” It reminds me of my friend Joe Saward‘s recounting of how he was interviewing Damon Hill when George Harrison came up and sat in and later Hill asked if Saward and Harrison had met before, and Joe said, no, and Joe introduced himself, and Harrison said, “Hi, I’m George.”