Free Recovery is back at the Edge in Croydon (or Croyattle, as we like to think of it) on Thursday, which brings to mind the eventful time that we had there previously.
Although it’s been a while since we did our full-fat grunge thing at the Edge (Free Recovery were taking a well-earned rest whilst Dave and his wife Sarah were bringing a new member of the team into the world) Jimmy just couldn’t stay away, so he played an acoustic slot in July and it turned out to be an eventful night…
Paul came along to check out Jimmy’s set, which included a number of covers that tracked his life through music, starting with Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, before including (of course) some grunge classics. He went down well with the crowd and even got them singing along to Black by Pearl Jam!
With the audience nicely warmed up, Jimmy passed the reins over to the others on the bill, including a surprise full band set from Brothers In Chains, which blew Jimmy and Paul away – some seriously great Alice in Chains covers from the guys who we’d only ever seen acoustically before.
A great evening was had by all and we all went away feeling happy. Jimmy offered to give Paul a lift to the train station (who had been too engrossed to keep an eye on the time!) but that’s where the evening got interesting…
Upon entering the car park, it became immediately apparent that there was a problem. Jimmy had left his car lights on and they weren’t looking their brightest…sure enough, the car wouldn’t start. Jimmy spotted someone else in the car park and approached him to see whether he had jump leads…it turned out that he couldn’t even get into his car – the electrics had broken and it wouldn’t unlock!
So, with all of us stranded and Paul’s train pulling out of the station, there was no choice but to call the RAC and let the evening take us where it would. We got talking to Neil, the owner of the securely locked car, who was not having the best day.
It turns out that Neil was an Afghanistan war veteran and paratrooper. Neil was telling us hairy stories about his time in Afghanistan and as it turned out his best friend bravely lost his life out there. Sadly, the day we met Neil it was the anniversary of his friend’s passing and Neil had just been to dinner with his family to mark the remembrance of his great friend; and now he was locked out of his car, hanging about for the RAC roadside assistance and being hassled by two musicians!! It was about then that Jimmy decided to cheer us all up with an impromptu reprise of Black, despite having broken his top E string during the last song of his set.
Jimmy had always joked with people that, although Free Recovery didn’t provide roadside assistance, if they ever broke down and got in touch with us, we would come and play music for them whilst they waited for the real recovery men. So it was quite a touching moment when Jimmy had finally fulfilled his promise and helped put a huge smile on Neil’s face.
With the guys being moved by Neil’s amazing story and considering that our song ‘Our Summer Is Dead’ was written about the war in Afghanistan, Jimmy felt compelled to give Neil our last copy of our EP. Neil was pretty stoked and we like to think that we were destined to break down that night.
Considering the highly ‘unusual and suspicious’ behaviour, the police dispatched a paddy wagon to investigate proceedings. The scrum of coppers, who were clearly expecting to do some arresting, were so perplexed and slightly amused by the whole situation, simply cautioned us to be careful of drug addicts that frequented the car park. It’s not the first time police have intervened when Jimmy has been playing guitar on the street, but that is a story for another day.
Eventually, Michael Katsianis from the RAC arrived and tended to Neil’s car first, who had made the call and was rightly first on the list. He tried everything and we mean everything to get into his car – the front grill came off, the bonnet opened and Michael disconnected and reconnected everything he could find. After setting off the alarm repeatedly and a lot of scratching of his head, he finally gave it up as an impossible mission…having spent two hours trying. Never let it be said that the RAC don’t give it their all…maybe we’ll write a song one day about it.
Jimmy’s car was easier to deal with and, even though Micheal (from the RAC) was able to jump start Jimmy’s car, Paul and Jimmy stayed with Neil right until the end, when he was safely driven home. We headed back to Jimmy’s house, eventually arriving at around 3 am…a little later than planned and Paul in the wrong house! Still, it hasn’t put us off Croyattle and we’re looking forward to returning on Thursday.
Thankfully, Neil returned to his car in the morning and it mysteriously unlocked…Jimmy and Paul may have been a little late to work…
Much as this was a strange night, we made a new friend and fan of the band – hopefully, we’ll catch up with Neil again soon…although maybe we’ll all get the train next time!
For more information about our gig at the Edge, and Joe’s Grunge Night, please check out the following facebook event, compliments of Joe Head (What a legend!)