Birmingham's Vaseline smeared across live scene - unsigned column
He is absolutely adamant touring is not just a young man’s game.
Burger is one quarter of Birmingham’s Vaseline, a band of four gents in their 50s enjoying life on the road and showing that youth can be matched by experience in the world of music as well as on the sports pitch.
Vaseline are mainly a covers band, but “every now and then an original is chucked in” to surprise those watching on.
“The band does mainly attract the older generation, as its classic 70s and 80s punk and new wave, but now the younger audience is starting to follow the band as well,” says Burger – real name Nigal Goodship. “Not all music stands in its generation, if the song’s good it stays good.
“It’s like Marmite, but people like it. So it's nothing like Marmite.
“We're lucky to have a bit of talent in the band, so who knows if we would make a switch to originals. However, playing songs people love and can sing along to is what we're there for really.”
Burger – he has no idea where the name came from – plays second guitar for Vaseline. The lead guitar and vocals fall to Spoz, a man who has previously been Birmingham’s poet laureate in his varied and long career.
On the drums is Richard Starky, who obviously gets called Ringo due to his namesake banging the skins for The Beatles – it would be rude not to. And smacking the bass while also providing backing vocals is Mick Couch.
“Mick and Spoz were in a famous band called The Sordid Details,” adds Burger, talking about the Brummie band that found fame in the early 90s with tracks like (Don't Look Down Your Nose At Me) Michelle. They toured extensively all over the UK with the likes of Dodgy, Half Man Half Biscuit and Heavy Stereo and in the early 2010s reformed briefly for some reunion gigs with their friends Stereogram.
“Then, Mick was in an Oasis tribute with Ringo, then I was in a band with Mick. Then, Mick and Spoz started the new band with the old drummer, then asked me to jump in. Then that drummer left, so Ringo was the obvious choice, and Spoz Junior – Zack - fills in on drums when Ringo has to work elsewhere.”
Ah yes, that problem that befalls all part-time bands trying to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“So it was fate,” Burger continues, talking about their origins. “We asked the organiser of the March of the Mods, Nadia, who does a lot of raising funds for Teenage Cancer Trust in Birmingham, to be our manager. That is how we came together for that one.”
Burger is referring to the Mod and Scooterist ‘live music charity event’ held annually in the Second City in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust “because we care and want to make a difference”. This year’s event was held at The Night Owl on Lower Trinity Street on March 23.
“The band name came about when three of us were in a boozer, having a chat, you know - a bit of banter. We were having a laugh over names, and following consumption of some form of alcoholic beverages and a drunken walk down to the chippy it was decided with chips and kebabs and laughter to be Vaseline.”
The band are busy lads on the music scene. Combining their performances with their full-time jobs they manage to fit in gigs around the whole region. This summer alone they’ve taken in Bromsgrove Festival, Leamington, and Chelmesley Wood in Solihull.
They finish this month with an appearance at Worcester Arts Workshop on August 30, before heading back to Bromsgrove and then a home city gig in the borough of Rednal in Joe Joe Jims on September 14.
Further ahead, there’s a show at Rubery Hawthorns – in their home borough on the edge of Birmingham – on October 6, and another gig at The Night Owl on November 1.
They clearly enjoy having a laugh while performing. A statement on their Facebook page says: “Stereogram, The Sordid Details, Tommy Gun and Skabucks are all to blame for this gathering. We will be playing all our fave tunes we were dragged up on and maybe a few others we were dragged up on.
“But what is guaranteed is a stonking night out with a few beers and some ridiculous fun and humour.”
“We have a busy schedule gig-wise,” Burger adds. “We get around it by doing weekends. Everyone works in the week and has holidays and family commitments, same as any other band. It's just one of the things musicians and their partners do, so it's never been a problem for us.
“All of us being in our 50s, it's harder to keep gig fit, but is touring a young man’s game? No. It's hard for us older lot to get deals next to the younger bunch, but no, touring is not just a youngsters’ game.”
And from the list of upcoming shows mentioned above there is one in particular that the quartet are looking forward to.
“The big show in Birmingham is The Night Owl - expect cheeky banter, classic songs, some pogoing, probably a bit of spilt beer, some t-shirts and flatulence. And if you go, next day there will be a hangover.
“As for the rest of 2019, check the band’s Facebook page, then in to 2020 there will be some more songs.”
For more information about Vaseline you can find them on Facebook @Vaselinebanduk. Updates on their live shows are also given via that page. For more information on the gig at The Night Owl, head to the venue's website.