I’m Miki Pannell. Musical adventurer, trouble-maker and modern-day guitar-wielding troubadour… My heroes were always romantics like Don Juan, Casanova, Lord Byron and pirate Sir Francis Drake. Never really been interested in travel; I prefer to go and live there. Not interested in careers, targets and achievements. Just wanna better myself as a musical scholar and live the moment. Walter Pater said ‘To burn always with this hard gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.’
My search is for those fleeting moments when an artist achieves total communication with the audience (what the Spanish call ‘duende’), follow my own star, and then hopefully savour some of rock'n'roll's fringe benefits backstage after the show (nah, only joking).
First band was RHYTHM BOUND in Plymouth, England. Next stop London Town with a group of friends called the COURT JESTERS, a bunch of artful dodgers and pranksters living in squats and getting up to no good. We played a tour of Welsh villages and working men’s clubs but spent more time performing in the street than in concert halls. We were the scourge of W1. Ended up with a criminal record for ‘playing a music instrument for reward’. Now that's a badge of honour and ‘career’ achievement. Forget Oscars, Grammies or triple freakin’ whammies.
I’ve played in a ton of dodgy (and often crap) bands. I was guitarist with psychobilly band DEMENTED ARE GO. We played round Britain and went off to Holland and Germany. We did actually record one album. Overrated band but given the mileage I’ve had out of the anecdotes, it must have been interesting.
Shortly after I played and recorded with a hapless bunch called SOMETHING SHOCKING. The only thing really shocking was how useless they were. Recorded another vinyl record (remember them?) but the cowboy record company budget only stretched to two days in a studio. The result was rotten, but worse, it was on sale in public places! Luckily it didn’t last.
I then got together an excellent band called THE ROSE TINTED SPECTACLES with friend Scott Davies and started playing around. We got contracted to play a tour of Sweden. Great times. Of course, once we’d got a really hot rockin’ band together with a tight set, no-one wanted to record us.
America was my next stop off. From there I headed off to spend fifteen months in Costa Rica, Central America. I played with ranchera musicians and learned some stuff like mariachi music, rumbas and boleros. I also joined BLIND PIG BLUES BAND, the continent's only blues band. One of the country’s only bands! We were on a divine mission to bring the blues to Central America.
Next, I moved to Seville, Spain and ended up staying for eleven years. A lot of hot nights, after-hours flamenco jams, strange faces, odd dialects, gypsies, music and inspiration. The kind of bohemian existence that I’d always been after. I started a bar band named ZAK WASHINGTON AND THE BOOGIEMEN to play the coast in the summer.
Following that came SHOWDOWN a rock’n’roll group that took me off to a lot of strange, lost places, usually out in the sticks. Then I gigged for a while with UNCLE WILLIAMS a local rockabilly outfit.
Then came a three month long summer tour playing George Harrison in Beatles tribute show BEATLESS. That was a wildly, surreal summer alright!
I then hooked up with a charismatic bunch of scoundrels and amazing musicians known as SOULTEROS who played soul, blues and rock. Played a lot of outdoor gigs. They even let us loose in the Olympic Stadium in Seville as invited artists in the final of the Davis Cup. Those tales alone are worthy of a volume in the memoirs.
33 REVOLUCIONES an Andalucian punk-rockabilly outfit asked me to join them. It cost me 25% of my hearing but it was worth it.
STRESSLESS ROCKIN’ BAND was a quieter, but no less crazy, swinging rockabilly group who I played with next. Again our existence was seedy, lost joints on the Spanish highway.
My final musical escapade on Spanish terrain was the ROYAL SCUMBAG ORCHESTRA an excellent chance to record a load of the music that I’ve beaten into shape over the years with all those different live bands … but this time done the way I want to; the way it should be done. ROYAL SCUMBAG ORCHESTRA have a double album out named PRELUDE TO A PUNCH 1 & 2 and have recorded over fifty tracks now.
Next stop was Italy and another chapter of colourful characters speaking strange dialects and more adventures with dodgy dirt bands. We put together the AARON MEMPHIS band to take Elvis into the Alps. Shortly after, I joined forces with local character Luca Guenna for more musical fun and frolics in SPECTACULAR BAND.
It’s been quite an adventure so far. If you look hard enough you can probably find me in some lost music haunt somewhere in Europe with some local hoodlums and good-for-nothings. I’m still going strong….
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