“This is for George!”
As the opening bars of Free Recovery’s cover of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ fired up, on Saturday 3rd November, lead singer Jimmy dedicated the song, appropriately, to Guildford’s The Star Inn Manager Georgina Baker.
Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ of course undeniably rocks. No question. It is also one of those rare songs that resonates so strongly with people as, while reflecting the time period and political landscape in which it was written in a gut punching snapshot, it equally remains timeless, far-seeing and defiant; shining a light on the wrongs, and standing up for what is right.
The Star Inn is a historic landmark in Guildford, dating back to the 16th Century. Well known for hosting The Stranglers first ever gig, The Star Inn is Guildford’s longest running live music venue, playing host to a range of musical artists, as well as arts and fringe festivals. Hugely supportive of local bands, and genuinely passionate, this is the go to place for the musical community to support one another and also be given the opportunity to put on their own events. So, why when Free Recovery announced their gig this month were they worried this would be their last at The Star?
In short; this beloved and extremely popular venue is now under serious threat.
When a very different Neil Young, a property developer, applied to convert the building behind the pub from offices into flats The Star Inn stated they raised the obvious issue of having the flats right next to the pub, and overlooking the courtyard of a popular and thriving live music venue. It was clear this would of course be a cause for concern regarding noise. Despite these objections, and logical common sense that building flats next to a music venue is not a good idea, planning permission was still granted in 2013 by the local council and the flats are now ready. Very sadly this pushing ahead with the development has now resulted in a Noise Abatement Notice being issued to The Star after complaints by the developer to the Council regarding noise. Noise they had prior knowledge of.
The Noise Abatement notice is being strongly contested by The Star, as well as by supporters across the country, as it effectively could shut down amplified music at the venue, from 9th December, essentially ceasing The Star being a live music venue. The subsequent effect, not only on the cultural fabric of Guildford, could have additional disastrous consequences for the pub side of The Star too, as the live venue drives a significant amount of their trade, being firmly established and intertwined. Without the live music element The Star Inn as a whole is hugely at risk Guildford’s Star Inn manager ‘shocked’ by noise abatement notice
It is fair to say this is becoming a familiar story with small music venues all over the UK who are fighting similar battles to continue to stay open and keep local culture and heritage alive and well. Tragically many are losing, and these gems of places which help grow, nurture and inspire talent, friendship, community, wellbeing, culture, arts, history, and so much more, are fast disappearing, and we will truly miss them when they are gone. Please help The Star Inn not be one of these.
What the Star Means to Free Recovery
When drawn on the matter about the Star the Free Recovery frontman had the following to say on behalf of the band:
“The Guildford Star Inn is the only true local live venue in Guildford where local bands can, actually, book their own gigs! It has been the spring board for countless bands. If it’s closed it will destroy our local live music scene. It is so hard to book a gig when you’re a new band starting out. If it wasn’t for the Star’s support of homegrown, grassroots local bands, most bands would never get out of the rehearsal rooms, and most local bands worth their salt, owe a great deal to the Star for giving them a leg-up early on.
I know the Star is home to comedy, theatre and other forms or live music too, but in rock circles it is a much needed release for many angsty musicians and alternative types, including myself. Without having a place like the Star for us to vent, I don’t know what we’ll do. Our society needs these kind of places, otherwise, a lot of frustrated people are gonna do what exactly? If we we don’t have a healthy places to rock out & vent…what’s next…what happens to our society then? The closing of the Star’s live music venue for the sake of short-sighted greed, will come at a high cultural cost too. Sadly, the short-shited can’t see that. If this venue closes… what will be next? Before you know it, we’re gonna live in a very sterile Town with little to no culture, with nothing happening and nowhere for emerging performing artists to take their first steps. This will totally destroy our local live music scene & will stifle the artistic talent in our area. I don’t want to live in that kind of town…I dunno… do you? “
How you can help!
Most importantly you can support The Star Inn by signing the petition on change.org. A minute of your time could make a massive difference with over 30,000 signatures already being collected Sign the Petition
Join the public group ‘Save our Star’ on facebook where there are lots of practical and respectful ways to support them, including writing to your local Member of Parliament Save Our Star! and /or follow them on Twitter to support and follow the progress.
Thank you for reading – LET’S SAVE OUR STAR!
“Free Recovery are the headliners of Grungecase tonight and rightly so; they wear their influences on their sleeves and in tonight’s case on their tees.
These guys literally have grunge running through their veins.
Lead singer Jimmy is wearing an Alice in Chains t-shirt in honour of the late great Layne Staley, and drummer Dan is wearing a Kurt Cobain tee, in tribute of the date – the 5th April – sadly a day when both of these important pioneering musical frontmen passed away, albeit years apart.
Free Recovery’s set list tonight
feels much more reflective, their new material really harnessing all the band members strengths. Having seeing Free Recovery on many occasions I have to say this is one of my favourite gigs of theirs; they are always tight but tonight
feels very fresh. New song “Leith Hill” highlights the fracking issues in the local area and the concern for current and future generations of the potential disappearance of this natural beauty spot. This is of course very important political stuff, but Free Recovery have also managed to turn this into a melodic banger, utilising vocals from both Jimmy and Dan, and with definite potential for audience sing along. I can definitely see this being more towards the end of the set list in the future as a firm favourite.
So yes, Free Recovery are more political and reflective this evening but the rock is still very much alive; Swamp Thing, one of the classics from their self-titled LP from 2015, is a stand out tonight. They mix it up well with old material, new and, appropriate for this evening, covers. Free Recovery are known for their fierce version of “Alive” by Pearl Jam. This is omitted this evening in favour of covers of Alice in Chains “Dirt” and Nirvana’s unplugged version of the Meat Puppets song “Oh Me”. Before “Dirt” Jimmy expresses concern of doing the song justice. He need not have worried. It works well.
The highlight for me however is their version of “Oh Me”, with perfectly pitched vocals and beautifully restrained and lovely guitar work from axeman Dave, paradoxically rocking frantic solos just a few songs later. On a Thursday night in Guildford it is a pleasure to hear this gorgeous song live and done with heart.
From Fire – Scream My Name, Burning
Free Recovery – Leith Hill, Swamp Thing, Oh Me, Dirt
Click here to read the full review of the Grungecase night.
Special thanks to:
Holly Wilcox for the lovely review – you rock \m/
Keith Woodhouse for underpinning local live music around our area, and beyond
Northbend Records for publishing
Free Recovery is glad to announce, that it is officially back on the road!
We have 3 exciting gigs coming up in quick succession, so make sure you get your ass down to the gig nearest to you and show the band a little love. Otherwise, before you know it, we’ll be tucked away in the studio trying to write new songs for you.
The first gig is on Saturday 17th in Croydon at Joe’s Grunge Night (Croydon- Scream Lounge), the band is being represented by Paul (our bassist) who will be opening the night with some acoustic guitar for the other bands. Sadly, Jimmy & Dan are unable to make it due to family emergencies. More details about the night can be found over on facebook simply by clicking here. Joe’s Grunge night is one of the friendliest and most social grunge nights around, so be sure to come along and have some fun! Keep the grunge alive Joe! Respect, love and sorry we couldn’t all be there this time, but with Paul representing, we are still there in spirit!
History will be repeating itself again this year when Free Recovery steps out on stage for their first headline show of the year at the Backroom of the Star Inn, in Guildford, next Friday 23rd February. The band whose hometown is Guildford, reliably play their first headline show of the year, every year, at the Star Inn because they just love the place. Come and rock out with the band on their home turf! The band is grateful to Jasta 11 gigs for booking and promoting the event, and perpetuating a little bit of Free Recovery history in the process. Thanks, Chris!. We are stoked to be working with Jasta 11 Gigs as they have some very interesting gigs going on which you can check on out their website www.jasta11gigs.co.uk. For more information about our Guildford show at the Star, Friday 23 February, check out the facebook event.
Last, but not least, we have a super exciting gig on Friday the 2nd of March for the epic Ultramega-Grunge-Night, at the Big Red, in London. Man, what a cool place. If you’ve not been to Big Red before, then this is your chance to experience this underground dive bar at it’s best. Free Recovery is now headlining this show too, so be there, or be square! For more information about the gig at Big Red check out the facebook event. Special thanks to Nina for booking us – you rock \m/
Thanks for reading, and be sure to get along to one of our gigs to keep us rocking in the free world!
This week, in a shocking turn of events, Free Recovery lead guitarist Dave Sowerby (also known as Davebacca aka ‘the Riff-inator’) has been suspended from playing with the band for one week, following a sensational ban! Dave was also fined £2,500 by the BGBA (Band Gig Booking Authority), a new body set up to regulate band bookings throughout England and Wales!
The controversial one-week suspension couldn’t come at a worse time for Free Recovery who were booked by Joe Head to play the Scream Lounge in London, Croyattle this coming Saturday night the 15th of July. The Monthly Grunge themed night run by Mr Head (a legend), is formally known as ‘Everybody Loves Our Town,’ but informally as ‘Joe’s Grunge Night.’ The night is the hub of the Croyattle Grunge scene and a really great night filled with Grungers having a good time whilst rocking out.
What Does this Mean for the Band?
Due to Dave’s last minute suspension by the BGBA, the Band has been forced to take to the
pitch stage this Saturday evening without their star player! This means that the band will have to play an acoustic set, lower down the line-up. The band has also been forced to change formation from a 3,1 to a 2,1 stage set up. This has left Warrick James (Jimmy aka Jimbacca) as the only guitarist new lead guitarist. Whilst the critics have slammed the formation change and having James on lead, the man himself was quite upbeat about the opportunity. ” I have been waiting for the Dave to step aside for so long so that I could step out of his Wookie-like shadow. This is my time to shine and riff like I know I can, like the Slash. I have always thought I was much better than Dave, Ellie and Andy put together. Why they have me stuck rhythm guitar, I have no idea?”
Jimmy at dress rehearsal for Saturdays show.
Bookers and fans have also been quite positive about the acoustic set, applauding the band for soldiering on without their lead guitarist (the sort of stiff upper lip stuff that you would expect from a British band). Some are quite looking forward to witnessing James’ general strumming transcendence.
Dave who obtained the ban for pulling out of the gig (in contravention of a gig contract) for thinking it was on another Saturday, after having crossed the streams with other social commitments, was forced to sit out this Saturday’s gig, as well practice for one whole week. Together with the £2,500 fine, Dave was also forced to hand in his
plectrum & guitar badge and gun to the Band Seargent who told Dave, “… and if I see your face around this precinct this week again…I’ll bust your ass!’
Dave who clearly was not impressed with the measures take by BGBA, together with comments made regarding the suspension did not wish to make a statement, did send us this picture (below) summarising his thoughts on the debacle.
Fortunately for the Band, and Mr Sowerby, the suspension should lapse before the band’s next gig at the Sussex Music Festival later this month (29th July) new Copthorne. The Ban will be performing a 30 min set at around 3pm for the charity event, helping to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and the St Catherine’s Hospice. Let us just hope the band’s antics on and off the calendar keep them out of trouble with the BGBA so that they are all able to rock the living *&$£ out of the festival goers on Saturday the 29th. For more information about booking tickets (proceeds of which are also going to charity) pleace click on the following link: Sussex Music Festival Tickets.
Dave on the left and Jimmy on the right.
Message from the band:
Please remember to support the band by tracking us on BandsinTown (click track on the right), and following us on Facebook (click like on the right too), as well as Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog, most importantly listen to our music and come to one of our live shows one day soon! Alternatively, you can do any combination of the aforementioned and you will still rock! \m/
Chris Cornell, 1964-2017
We are very sad to hear that one of our heroes passed away recently. Chris Cornell (the frontman of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave) was such an inspiration. We will miss you Chis… but your legend will live on! Our thoughts are with all Grungers, his friends, bandmates, and most of all his family.
Chris was such a huge influence on all modern rock bands, including our own. Our vocalist (Jimmy) has always held Cornell in the highest regard as a vocalist, and describes his voice as ‘the Holy Grail!” So it’s no wonder that ‘Furtherman’ by Free Recovery sounds heavily inspired by Chris Cornell, and you just have to listen to the scream in ‘Furtherman’ to know it. In fact, during recording sessions, we used to joke about getting Chris in to come and do the scream for us. That was the sound we wanted, that is what our band and thousands if not millions of other bands and vocalists aspire to… to be more like Chris.
Earlier this year our band was booked to play a gig tonight, and it is going to be a tough gig considering we have just lost a grunge icon. Chris was the lighthouse that guided us! The gig just so happens to be a Grunge Night, and we think it was a really nice touch by the host, Joe Head, to dedicate the night to Chris Cornell. Looks like each act is now going try to play a Cornell song. We’re gonna give “Like a Stone” (by Audioslave) a shot, even though we’ve never jammed it as a band. At this sad time, we can’t wait to be with our #Grunger Brothers and Sisters tonight in #Croyattle (@ScreamLounge, Croydon, London). We will try do you proud Chris!