Archives for posts with tag: Max Munday’s Mouthpiece

Fortunately the fader on the presenter’s microphone was slid to zero before the exasperated expletive escapes his lips. In the Sheffield Live studio, Max has just finished this Wednesday’s Mouthpiece, his weekly radio show that delivers ‘Sheffield stories, politics and culture – with a soundtrack of our times,’ to, well, Sheffield, and beyond. I must say, I haven’t exactly helped the smooth running of quite a complex operation by offering fatherly advice – while he’s setting up the next track, cueing up the pre-recorded interview, adjusting sound-levels, trying to coax out CD carriers that skulk inside their housing… As I say, I’m just trying to be helpful.

In the evening, we’re in Club 60. It’s like a small version of Liverpool’s Cavern: underground, it’s all brick caves. In the 60’s, it was called the Esquire, and featured Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, the Kinks, the Animals…  Today it’s a recording studio, and Max, Paul and I are here to record the basic tracks for a version of ‘The Nearness Of You’. After they’ve put down the bass & drums, I immerse my head in a foam-lined metal hood: an inch from my mouth is a mic that cost more than my car. Much more. I like recording vocals into a dark void: expensive headphones and a touch of reverb make you sound great. Till the playback.

I’m trying to connect with at 8.59 on Wednesday morning to hear the first airing of Max Munday’s Mouthpiece. Son and heir promises a programme ‘Full to the wireless gills with politics, interviews and incredible music!’ and he opens with The Cat Empire’s Chariot Song, an inspiring and uplifting Melbourne ska epic about the power of music, friendship and community.

Saturday: Ruskin House, home to Croydon’s Trade Union and Labour Movement, is the setting for my dad’s 90th birthday party. Actually, it’s in the low wooden hall out the back, which is fine once it’s warmed up and we’ve got the bunting up. There’s been lots of gear coming in, as at least three Mundays and friends are determined to honour Jim by inflicting our various musics on him. Whether that’s his idea of a good time is neither here nor there. My mum had been a good pub-style pianist, and dad had (has) a lusty voice, and there’s a family tradition of showing-off, anyway. There are four generations here, from Dad and his sister Elsie through to newly-arrived baby Maddox from Shanghai, (and everyone wants to hold the smiley buddha-boy). Old friends/relatives have come from miles away, and dad is thrilled.

Due to the lack of regular bassist – his car frozen – Max is asked to dep (as if he needed asking), and brother Alan and newly-depped band launch into their brand of Americana, and I can’t resist jumping up and adding my strangled harmonies to ‘Up on Cripple Creek’. Then I stuff my face. More acts follow, each involving at least one Munday, and dad listens indulgently to the other Munday generations. Music, friendship, and community.