Moon & Back Session :: Joe McCorriston

© 2012 Ian Percival

“Are we going?” – Joe McCorriston

It’s not only Mark McBabe McCabe that can do songs in lifts ya know? On the very same night, Morcambe-based singer/songwriter, Joe McCorriston performed two songs in a Manchester Piccadilly lift, including a cover of Hot Water Music’s ‘Trusty Chords (accompanied by Dog Coffee). The other track, ‘Dismantled Chord’ is taken from, Joe’s debut album, Try As You Might. And we’ll have a review of that up on the site very soon.

We love doing sessions, and we want to do as many as we can. If you’ve got someone you’d like us to get in session drop us a message in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter. Next week we’ll have Mikee J Reds in session.

‘Dismantled Chord’

‘Trusty Chords’ (Hot Water Music Cover)

All videos shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions. If you’d like to give these fools a job, head to their website.

Album Review :: Hot Water Music – Exister

“…although it feels weird to say, it sounds like a more mature Hot Water Music”

Six years ago, it was announced that Hot Water Music “as we knew it” was over. Though Chuck Ragan never officially drew a line under the band with his statement, many thought they wouldn’t see Hot Water Music again. Sure we got (and continue to get) Chuck’s solo efforts and The Draft and, while that’s all well and good, it just wasn’t the same. Thankfully the hiatus lasted all of two years (which meant yours truly could actually see them live), but still no new material surfaced. Four years after their return, we have a new Hot Water Music record. It’s certainly been worth the wait.

It’s clear that a lot has changed in the band’s time apart and, obviously, there’s going to be some big differences when you’ve not released a record in eight years (The New What Next was released in 2004). However, that’s not to say this has had a negative effect. Far from it. Tracks like ‘State Of Grace’ and ‘Take No Prisoners’ show a clear progression in songwriting, with Chuck Ragan seemingly adapting elements used in his solo material to fit in with Hot Water Music’s repertoire. In turn, this has created a clearer divide between Ragan’s songs and those of Chris Wollard. Whereas Chuck’s songs are more complex, Wollard’s are for the most part, straight forward, no nonsense, punk songs. Though this meant Chuck’s stuck with me more, Wollard’s are sure to become new live anthems for Hot Water Music fans the world over.

Regardless of any lyrical differences, the instrumentation is still well within that familiar Hot Water Music wheelhouse. It’s that fast, hard, punk rock that makes the blood boil and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. That’s not to say, that it doesn’t have it’s more chilled out moments. Grungy and downbeat, ‘No End Left In Sight’ is the perfect example. Though all who’ve worked on this record – especially Bill Stevenson (Descendents/ALL) for his production job – need commending, Jason Black deserves major credit. It’s an understatement to say the man is a fantastic bass player, but on Exister his work really stands out. I mean, just listen to the opening of ‘Drag My Body’. Need I say more? Wollard and Ragan are also on fine form. Their dual vocals on the album’s title track are awe-inspiring, and make it my favorite track on the album.

Still, the question remains, after eight years, was Exister worth the wait? The answer there is a resounding yes. It’s certainly a more progressive record and, although it feels weird to say, it sounds like a more mature Hot Water Music. However, despite the few ‘misses’ contained within these thirteen songs, Exister is a record I have no trouble recommending. It’s clear that their time apart and side projects have made a difference, but everything has worked in their favour. This is most definitely a Hot Water Music record, and fans of their previous work will not be disappointed.

Don’t Panic :: ManchFESTer II


© 2012 J-Clique Photography


“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” – Charles Bukowski

This article wasn’t going to write itself and, if I didn’t, someone else would. They’d do it better, and I’d be out of a job. And if I was out of a job, then some other drunken maniac would have to step in and ruin Moon & Back’s air of professionalism. It could take weeks to find someone that inebriated and insane, so I guess I’ve got no choice. It’d been around five days since the London fiasco and, having planned to spend these days sober and resting, I’d spent them drunk and sleeping very little with meager winks. Perhaps 3 of the 40, being spent on various couches.


It was Friday and after a few drinks at a local pub, I was on a bus to Manchester to watch a selection of UK bands pretend to be US bands, an interesting concept that seemed doomed to fail. Or so I thought…

I arrived in the center and entered a bar called Tiger Lounge. Heading down the stairs into the dimly lit ambiance of what looked like a shrine to the 1950’s (or perhaps even early 60’s?), ordering the cheapest pint at the bar, pining over the pink haired bar attendant that had just served me the glass of already stagnant alcohol.

Barlow arrived shortly and we proceeded to the venue – Kraak Gallery. Not knowing where it was, we followed anyone who looked the part. Upon entry we were met at the door by the man behind it all, KK. He let me in for free, with Barlow having won a ticket somehow.


ManchFESTer Pre-Fest Lineup © 2012 Clare Arnstein


The first act was Weezer, being played by Well Wisher. I couldn’t make it far into the crowd, so instead headed for the bar and ordered drinks. A girl I’d once had a drunken fumble with six years ago – and who I had  maintained a good friendship with – offered around a bottle of rum, which I drank heavily from.

We sat at the back of the venue, Barlow, the girl with the rum, her boyfriend, Emma Hallows also joined later, and myself. The rum was drank exessively and, along with the cans of lager, gave me that warm sensation of inebriation, much like a hug from a loved one without the fear of abandonment.

The acts sailed by and at some point we left to buy cans from a nearby off-license, cans were three pounds in the venue but seven pounds for six in the off-license for the same brand.

I was drunk, but back at the venue in time for Hot Water Music, they looked a lot younger than the last time I saw them but they sounded pretty similar so I let loose and enjoyed myself, singing all the hits from A Flight And A Crash and Caution.

I left after that, having a strong dislike for the music of Rancid, and headed to a bar where I drank white rum with orange, pineapple and cranberry juice. After a number of these, and the fact the bar closed, I decided to leave.


I awoke in my own bed for the first time in weeks. It seemed I’d made it home last night, but like hell could I remember how. All I wanted to do was stay in my own damn bed for the day and peacefully enjoy the company of my hangover, but instead I had to do this whole damn thing again. This caused the hangover to react violently, like a young brat with no discipline, throwing its toys all around my frontal lobe and causing mini migraines wherever they landed.

I’d slept like a drunken baby, yet I was still exhausted. It seemed that one night of good rest doesn’t make up for a month of drunken insomnia, so I pottered around the tiny room, showered, and lazed around until I felt optimistic enough to take the three beers in my fridge and face the world.

On the bus in my jaw clenched with so much anxious tension, I feared my teeth would grind to dust. I knew of only one solution, and I had three of these solutions on my person. I removed the first ice cold can from my breast pocket, sipping it in terror until the panic subsided slightly.

I was surprised, as I walked through the same door/stairs/door routine I had to get into the venue the night before. The place was packed to the rafters, and hot as the devils arse hole. I found Barlow and opened my second beer. I tried to enjoy the show and ignore the fact the walls were beginning to close in, but it was too much with so many people. I didn’t want to become corned beef with these sweat drenched strangers, so I left.

I shifted through the back alleys of Manchester avoiding civilization as best I could, realizing I hadn’t even told Barlow I was leaving.

This stumbling around back passages went on for a couple of hours, much longer than a regular panic, no, this was something more catastrophic. I sipped at my final beer and waited for the road to crack open, the sky to turn blood red and the apocalypse to fully set in. I wondered if I’d ever reach a point in my life of regular stability and a sense of sanity, but did I even want that? As much as I hated having to live with this almost constant fear, and feeling of impending doom, the chronic anxiety was what drove me, made me push myself harder than I had ever done before. Plus, it made the usual day to day living a lot more interesting.


Giles Bidder (Great Cynics) - @ 2012 J-Clique Photography


When I eventually returned the show was at intermission and, with the sun setting, hunger dawned on me. I hadn’t eaten a thing since the day before. I considered leaving, the weight of the whole damn thing was too much. I rendezvoused with Barlow and headed to a record shop called V-Revolution to watch acoustic artist, P.J. Bond. PJ played exceptionally well and clearly had a lot of talent, especially with his vocals. We left before he finished, so as not to miss Giles and the rest of Great Cynics. KK offered me something to eat from what had been made for the bands. This consisted of a little bread and some humous, which was greatly appreciated and eaten with the voracity of a food deprived hyena. The food changed my mood, giving me a second wind and a renewed sense of hope. Barlow added to this by producing a six pack of beer and offering me three.

Great Cynics took to the stage, and, as always, they played like they wanted to be there more than the audience; and the audience wanted to be there a whole fucking lot. There was a genuine honesty and refreshing originality to the G.C. sound, enough to make the hangover relax and enjoy the show too. So the two of us, the hangover and me, shared the rest of the first can until it was time for Sam Russo.

It seemed strange putting an acoustic act amidst an abundance of punk rock, but Russso played with the energy of of four and the crowd reverberated this feeling, creating an atmosphere as dramatic and theatrical as any KISS concert. Well, not quite. In fact, not at all, but it was pretty intense and the room had an air of gleeful ecstasy, even with the often sombre tones of Russo’s music.

My memory became fuzzy, and the beer went down almost instantaneously, resulting in an attempt to find something harder around the venue. Unfortunately this search was in vein, only beer was on the menu tonight it seemed.

Both Calvinball and Apologies, I Have None put on a good show, maintaining the cataclysmic flurry of bodies at the front of stage, keeping them in full tornado mode. It was hard to resist


Apologies, I Have None - © 2012 J-Clique Photography


merging with this hurricane, it pulled you in. The only way I could see as being an adequate survival technique was to climb on a nearby speaker and dive head-first into the eye of the storm. The fluctuation of half-drunk carcasses flowed around me like an ocean and tried to pull me under, back to the panic, but I was drunk, or far too tired, to care.

When it was time for Above Them I forced my way to the front and perched on a speaker. The band recognized me, having interviewed their singer for the site some time ago, and, somehow, we came to decision that I’d sing one song with them. Fuck, I was just the right amount of insane and had enough booze fueling me that I’d try anything. A couple of songs in I got up on the stage and could see the perplexity on the peoples faces. Who was this fool? He wasn’t in one of the bands, or a musician, so what the hell was he doing on the stage? But we kept playing and soon everyone forgot (or stopped caring?) about my presence and just enjoyed it all. The final song saw the carcasses break through the fence of etiquette and swarm the stage. Like drug fueled looters, they fought for microphones in a bid for the final note. I tried to fight them off, but in the end it seemed irrelevant. We were all the same, we’d all been a part of what had been yet another instance of me hitting the brick wall until it caved. All in the name of good music and booze.

Interview :: Chuck Ragan

“…Sometimes it feels like I’m about to fall over.”

It’s fair to say that, for us, Chuck Ragan is somewhat of an inspiration, so we’re always honored to sit and chat with him about…pretty much anything. After six years of trying, he finally managed to bring his, highly successful, Revival Tour across the pond and was loving it, taking everything in his stride. When you consider that the man has released a two new records, worked on new material with Hot Water Music and toured the world extensively in 2011, it’s hard to see how he can cope. That’s what we were there to find out.

Interview :: Dave Hause

“I feel like a kid at Christmas or something…” – Dave Hause

Though he might be best known to some as frontman of The Loved Ones, Dave Hause has recently been carving out a career for himself as a solo artist. His debut long player Resolutions was released to wide acclaim, causing it to be picked up by Xtra Mile Recordings in the UK, but that hasn’t left him resting on his laurels. We chatted to him before the Manchester leg of the, first ever, European Revival Tour – where he’s appearing alongside Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano and Brian Fallon – about his signing to one of the UK’s most exciting labels, his forthcoming 7″ record releases and his plan for the next Loved Ones record.

“…A Chuck Ragan Fishing Show?”

“My dream is to, someday, start a Chuck Ragan fishing show…” – Geoff Rickly (Thursday)

© 2011 The Ruckus

About seven months ago we interviewed Geoff Rickly from Thursday and he mentioned it was his “dream” to start a Chuck Ragan fishing show. We’d been told in the past that Chuck was an avid fisherman, and this was too good an opportunity to pass up. Over the following months (almost) every person we interviewed would hear the question “…Comission a Chuck Ragan fishing show?” With an interview scheduled with Chuck, Barlow cut together a video of (almost) all the responses to the question. It was only meant to be for the man himself (hence why it’s just appearing on here), but he loved it and we sent it public.

© 2011 Dicking Around Productions

Over the past few days we’ve seen a steady increase in the hits on this video, which is always cool. Today I look and it appears to be everywhere. It’s appeared on the Twitter of Hot Water Music (Chuck’s band), Thursday’s Twitter and the official Revival Tour Twitter. Chuck’s record label, SideOneDummy have posted it on their Facebook page and a bunch of awesome blogs have picked it up too.

This is just a message of shock and a thank you to everyone who’s posted the video so far. Plus, we needed to have it up on here! Chuck has seen the video and you’ll get to see his reaction tomorrow.

Thanks everyone,

Barlow & Ian

Editor(s) – Moon & Back Music

Album Review :: Chuck Ragan/Sam Russo/Jimmy Islip/Helen Chambers – Split LP

“…when Chuck Ragan recommends you something to listen to, you listen to it.”

Not only is Chuck Ragan a member of one of the best punk rock bands of the last twenty years, but he’s also established himself in the,ever popular, acoustic scene too. Having toured around the UK as a solo artist many times, he’s crossed paths with a number of fantastic singer/songwriters. In Sam Russo, Jimmy Islip and Helen Chambers, he’s found some of the UK’s finest, and they don’t disappoint.

Chuck kicks off the record and, rather than use original songs or tracks from his forthcoming solo release, he’s decided to cover some of his favorite artists. Lending his voice to the words of Helen Chambers, Darren Gibson and Leatherface, he pulls each track off expertly and makes each song his own. Did you expect anything less?. The addition of backing vocals from, fellow Hot Water Music member, Chris Wollard are a nice touch and work well in contrast with Chuck’s main vocal. The strongest of the three is definitely ‘Not Superstitious’ (Leatherface), but I have a soft spot for ‘Stephen Patrick’ because I love the original and I can’t resist a Morrissey reference.

Taking on the arduous task of following Chuck is Sam Russo. Russo’s released a few records before this, but it’s nice to hear him on a more polished recording. Not only are they more polished than previous recordings, but there’s definitely more to them. Electric guitars and subtle percussion accompany his acoustic, making his tracks the most full sounding of the bunch. I’d go as far as saying, Russo is my favorite songwriter around right now, mainly because it’s hard not to relate to what he’s saying. His words are as simple and poignant as ever, and I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can’t relate to a song like ‘Tinned Peaches And Diamond Rings’ – “I pawned everything that I own/It wasn’t much but I should’ve known/that she’d say no” gets me every time.

Whilst Chuck and Sam went for the softer more heartfelt route with their tracks, Jimmy Islip’s additions bring in a nice change of pace. They’re the least folky, most upbeat and the most stripped down tracks on the record (aside from a few vocal effects). They feel more like punk songs played on an acoustic guitar. That’s no bad thing, and isn’t a surprise given that he plays in so many punk bands. With that said, the tracks aren’t overly aggressive, but they’re definitely tracks to throw your fists in the air and sing along to. ‘1990’,  in particular, is one bound to leave throats sore by the nights end.

After Jimmy’s selection of punk tunes, Helen Chambers’ trio of softer, heartfelt country songs provide the closer to this fantastic split record. Her distinctive vocal style sets her apart from any other singer I’ve heard in recent years, and she knows how to use her voice to her advantage. Her vocal range is incredible. ‘Speak Your Name’, a purely A Capella song, demonstrates this perfectly. Some might see it as brave for an artist to do something like this but, when you’ve a voice like Helen’s, why not? Not only that, but she brings two fantastic country/folk songs to the table too, the subtle extra instrumentation on those songs working really well with Helen’s acoustic guitar. Is there anything she can’t do?!

What I hope I’ve made clear here is that when Chuck Ragan recommends you something to listen to, you listen to it. Those coming to this for three new Chuck Ragan songs will be happy, as they’ll also have three new artists to listen to as well. These twelve songs are poignant, rabble-rousing and beautiful and, I like to think, prove that the art of good songwriting isn’t confined to a select few. In short, go and buy this. You’ll love it.

To buy this, extremely limited, split 12″ record, head over to Specialist Subject Records. Whilst you’re there, check out some of their other releases. You won’t be disappointed.

Interview :: Jimmy Islip (The Magnificent/Milloy)

“Is touring hard for you because you’re in every band ever?”

If you’ve never seen Jimmy Islip play, you’ve clearly never been to a gig in the UK (seriously, he pops up in the oddest of places). He’s played with some of the biggest names in punk as the frontman of The Magnificent, has gone solo on split record with Chuck Ragan, Sam Russo and Helen Chambers, and has recently joined, Wakefield punk outfit, Milloy as their drummer. We caught up with him in Manchester shortly after The Magnificent had got off stage.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #24: She Tricked Me With Her Vagina -or- Have I Got Enough For Bus Fare? (1st Anniversary Show!)

“I might just start selling my shit, like…One of your five a day” – Ian Critchley

Can you believe that, a little over a year ago, the idea of doing a podcast was just a passing thought? Oh how far we’ve come. There’s been times when we ran way too long, times when the audio quality wasn’t exactly the best and we’ve definitely offended every listener we have at least once. Despite all of this (and Ian’s original misgivings) we recorded 24 episodes of Under The Bridge.

It started off as little more than two, badly recorded, dudes getting drunk over Skype and talking crap about the latest nuggets of wisdom, bestowed upon us by the music industry. Today…it’s still the same, with Skype replaced by Ian’s flat. In all seriousness though, we’ve had some great guests on the show: Ben Marwood, Chris Farren (Fake Problems), Giles Bidder (Great Cynics) and Jeff Clemens (Gamerwok Entertainment), just to name a few. We’ve also crafted a much tighter, well prepared show. Yes, believe it or not a lot of thought goes into each UTB recording.

So, if you enjoy “the podcast that Chris Farren hates most” – hearing the “Frank Turner Minute”, our stories of woe and all our crudest moments – thank you. I just have one question…why? (Leave your responses in the comments). Anyway, here’s to another fantastic year of Under The Bridge. We’ve got some great stuff coming up that we think you’ll be into. For now, why not listen to Episode #24, or maybe you should watch it?


Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #24: She Tricked Me With Her Vagina -or- Have I Got Enough For Bus Fare? (stream/download or subscribe on iTunes)

Or, perhaps you’d like to watch it?

Music – The Falcon – God Don’t Make No Trash -or- Up Your Ass With Broken Glass

  • Feed The Monkey, Drown The Worm -or- Goin’ Home
  • Look Ma! No Fans! -or- Do You Want Fries With These Songs?
  • I’m So Happy I Could Just Cry Myself To Sleep -or- The Routes We Wander
  • Building The Perfect Asshole Parade -or- Scratching Off The Fleas
  • Huffing The Proverbial Line Off The Proverbial Dong -or- The Blood And The Frog


  • Chuck Ragan collaborating with Jon Gaunt, Joe Ginsberg, Todd Beene (Lucero), Frank Turner, Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem) and more on new record.
  • Billy Bragg releases ‘Never Buy The Sun’
  • Henry Rollins touring the UK in 2012
  • Against Me! Talk White Crosses re-release
  • Frank Carter leaves The Gallows
  • Weezer announce cruise
  • Chuck Ragan/Helen Chambers/Sam Russo/Jimmy Islip split coming via Specialist Subject
  • Barlow & Ian (and Jon Snodgrass) name Austin Lucas’ new backing band


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Interview :: Roo Pescod (Bangers)

“I saw Robson Green on an island, and his whole tent blew away…Chuck Ragan would’ve handled that better” – Roo Pescod

Readers of Moon & Back Music will know that we’re always out to deliver hard hitting interviews, so we made sure to quiz, Bangers singer, Roo Pescod on all the important issues. We caught up with Roo outside Retro Bar in Manchester, and talked about what makes the ‘Bangers sound’, their upcoming appearance at FEST 10, the meaning behind ‘Geeks & Pedophiles’ and pasties (because Bangers are from Cornwall).