‘Duelling with The Duel’ (Part 1)

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- An Oral history Of Dave Renegades life and times with The Duel.

And so it begins….a journey through the darkness and back out into the light, down through those deep and dark valleys and up to the loftiest of heights (which can be a problem as I AM shit scared of heights!!). What IS he on about? I hear you ask! Well pull you up a chair and listen to this tale of Rock N Roll blended to it’s very best dear reader! Oh yes siree! Well in association with Mr Tony Fonzarelli, a long time friend and associate of the band, I bring you ‘Duelling with The Duel’. It is MY account of my time with The Duel and how I see it. As such, it is MY opinion and MY thoughts on the roller coaster ride that is being a part of and member of The Duel. A word of caution..if you drink enough of that whiskey ..you WILL see the devil in that bottle… When I first arranged to meet up with Tara and Andy (with a view to becoming a member of The Duel) in that old Punk haunt, ‘The Spice Of Life’ (on the Charing Cross Road in the heart of Soho) it was very much cloak and dagger stuff. The date? February 14th, Valentines Day- very appropriate as it turned out!. My instructions were: ‘meet OUTSIDE! At 3pm! Bang On Time!’. Why not inside? What did they think was going to happen? Were they prepared to do a runner if it didn’t work out? Bang on time, Tara and Andy turned up armed with brand new recordings of some of the songs that in time would make up the spiffingly good, fresh vibrant sound of what the world would come to know as the (then) unfinished album, ‘Childish Behaviour’. Having been friends with Tara and Andy for a number of years, I was familiar with the first album ‘Lets Finish What We Started’. A fine collection of well produced, well written, powerful, catchy memorable SONGS. (This in itself made a change). Actually a band with SONGS…as opposed to a few good riffs with someone shouting over the top. Actually a friend of mine recently catching us live for the first time stated:- ‘You LOOK great, sounded GREAT and you’ve got REALLY good songs’. So with much anticipation on my side, Andy handed over his ipod & headphones so that I could listen to the new stuff. First up was ‘Solitary Life’. Immediately I thought ‘hang on!’, ‘What’s going on here??!’ VERY powerful! MORE intense (if that was possible to someone who has heard Tara singing ‘Right To Exist’ live.) This was closely followed by ‘War’ (amazing song & future live favourite) + ‘Dead Rock Stars’- if memory serves me correctly. (Tonty who was present as always with my dealings with anything was present at the meeting and assures me that these were indeed the 1st songs that I heard.) Straight away, I knew the ballpark had shifted considerably from ‘Let’s Finish..’. Unlike some bands who think that it’s ok to serve up the same old stuff over & over (I could name millions). This was a great big leap forward, with a hugely expanded landscape of sound. But…they were still fine, fine songs… ‘I’m in’ I pronounced. Tony was somewhat disappointed that Tara and Andy readily agreed, as he had brought several recently deceased fish, together with some recently acquired personal possessions of Tara and Andy’s (something they knew nothing about), with a view to preparing them some Sicilian personal messages should they say no to me. Ho Hum!, withcat 3 European tours, 2 UK tours, an album, 2 videos & numerous radio sessions and sets of additional gigs in and around the UK later, we find ourselves in late September 2009. (If you want the full details of those legendry jaunts mentioned above, check the full unabridged version of ‘Duelling with The Duel’ on the site. ) The names may have been changed and some bodies disposed of, or removed & ‘re-settled’ as to avoid lengthy custodial sentences both here and elsewhere.cat 2 Mind you, before I go forward 1 antidote HAS to be mentioned:- On our return journey from Berlin in August 2008, we drove up to the Borders Agency post in Dunkirk, Tara who had ‘lost’ her passport somewhere in Germany (again see unabridged version of DWTD for full details), had to let them know that she had lost it. In the process of indentifying her, when asked her place of birth- there she was dressed in combats..’Tehran, Iran’ she replied. I thought that it was a dead cert that we would all be detained under the Terrorist Act and were minutes away from the rubber glove treatment!- But No! we got away with it!! So here we are…late September 2009. Many gigs later, many tales told, many experiences lived and we are still all alive to tell the tale! Unfortunately along the way we had to say goodbye to one member who had to leave for very unfortunate personal circumstances over which he had no control.rebellion In all, in the year and a half that I have been a member of The Duel, my initial thoughts from that first meeting in The Spice Of Life have not changed. A week or so after the first meeting I was over @ Taras to hear the rest of the songs that would become ‘Childish Behaviour’. When we first finished up the track listing etc, some nosey bastards were asking ‘what it sounded like?’ (why does it always have to sound like something?) Can’t people just listen to something and decide for themselves without it having to sound like something else they have already heard? Annoys the fuck out of me dear reader, sorry just one of life’s’ little gripes. Enough of the waffle! Then as today, if anyone asks me ‘what The Duel/the album sounds like?) I say (Grr after griping) ‘19070’s CBGB’s style Punk Music’ There! I’ve said it! And I mean original 1970’S SOUND. So anyone in the know will KNOW what I’m talking about. (Most of the clueless fucks who THINK they are alternative by hanging around in bars that play alternative music & dress in ‘nice’ clothes from Camden will be lost). And if not. They should be. Try going out for a stroll. At night. In the fog. Along Beachy Head. will be lost). And if not. They should be. Try going out for a stroll. At night. In the fog. Along Beachy Head.hangin around So another words dear reader, if you want Simon Cowell style (nothing to do with the man himself, having met him and found he was a great bloke-but there again I wasn’t trying to get a record deal off him) ‘alternative music’, with no heart, soul or integrity-look elsewhere! I hear Towers Of London are back (in a pile of fresh shit somewhere presumably) or if you are REALLY hip, try Gallows (no I’ve never heard of them either-but apparently they ARE popular).drawing If you want the REAL deal, proper music with everything that ever made you fired up and excited and made Rock N Roll exciting in the first place, then Ladies and Gentlemen…you ARE at the right place. For better or for worse, The Duel are the REAL deal. Walk it like we talk it and it’s a state of mind AND a lifestyle. It has been said by more than one person in different places and times, that when they hear and see The Duel for the first time that it has the same exciting spirit of the original 1977 Fresh Punk Sound and attitude, without sounding dated. I agree. I feel totally at home within the band. I can be who and what I am. We are all very strong characters. You’ll look long and hard before you’ll find another Tara, Andy and Punpy. The late Hilly Krystal (owner of CBGB’s) when told of Tara’s abilities (think of any icon from the late ‘70s heyday that ever mattered rolled into 1 x 10) said ‘Ok, but which one is she like?’. ‘All f them’ he was told. He didn’t believe it until The Duel stepped onstage and Tara ( a true original and one of the best front people I have ever seen) blew him away. The arrival of Pumpy on drums inMay 2009 transformed the band. The man is like a human drumming machine, powerful, consitant and solid as a rock. And Mr Andy…..well there IS only 1 Mr Andy. People ask me ‘Why does he never face the audience?’. ‘Why don’t YOU ask him’ I reply. See what he says! He has an imposing presence onstage even if it IS with his back to you!. As for me? Well that is for you to judge…. The Duel September 2009- a 4 piece Punk Rock N Roll band ready to play anywhere and give it our all.A true Rock N Roll outlaw band who don’t wait around for someone to help us out. We know they catch up with us eventually. Why ‘Childish Behaviour’? Well Tar’s father, after hearing the album asked: ‘When are you going to grow up and stop messing around with music?@ If what The Duel do is ‘Childish Behaviour’ long may it last. The Duel: Music to make you excited about music again. We love it and if you don’t like it…you know what you can do. See ya on the journey….ONWARD AND UPWARDS!tara