November 18, 2013 by Jason Phillips
So me and Doghouse not been seeing eye to eye for quite a while and despite several attempts to solve the situation, it still sucked hard. This divide in the band and constant problem between us has caused the band trouble for a long time. We got in the car together and i put my foot down hard as we headed off to the Filths house in West Wales. I really didn’t want to go.
The rain poured so hard on us we could hardly see as i swerved through the dark Welsh lanes playing The Doors on cassette.
We stayed the night and neither of us hardly slept.
The next day we helped Filth out with some family chores and then we put his family up in one of the bedrooms and set up the band through a 2k soundsystem in his living room. It was halloween and we made a racket for a few hours. We laid down a jam for a new track which seemed to click despite us not being able to create for quite some time together. I had found a new way to record the band straight into my laptop for the first time ever, and this excited me! I done a quick mix on it and exported it for us to enjoy. We all agreed this song was a classic, and like all our best material, it seemed to write itself, with no discussion between the band, just capturing us tuned into the ether. We wrapped up and i fucked off and found some space away from them as i was craving solitude.
“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson
The following day i took a drive down to Wiseman’s Bridge and walked along the coast. I was blown away by the beauty of this area, and i watched the sea bulge out into the horizon as the sun dropped and the rain soaked me through. I got to Queens Hall in plenty of time for Soundcheck and went back stage and slapped the headphones on and continued in my studio experiments.
The lads turned up and we soundchecked, i headed off down to a busy local bar, found a sofa in the backroom and disappeared in my headphones again to a world of sound.
When i returned the backstage was rammed with people all dressed up and looking messy.
Sheep had cancelled as Mrs Filth had German Measels and this could be dangerous for the pregnant Mrs Sheep, there was a good chance i might have it too after hanging out with Family Filth. Dom Bassflange sent Sheep a photo of Conkers penis and we all laughed our asses off. We headed for stage and the vibe was weird. We dropped the new song and the place went serious… I wanted to call the new song ‘Making Angels’, Doghouse wanted to call it ‘Nice and Deep’. Never on the same page. But the atmospere was set and Conker took to stage and we delivered a serious and slamming performance with various fruits and freaks joining us on stage and thankfully being dragged off by Keith It Real one by one.
For the encore we dropped Righteous. And the place went mental. From behind me Conker came bouncing onto stage completely bollock naked apart from his Doctor Martins and me and Johnny NoCash looked at each other in disbelief. The Dr jumped up and down screaming with his pecker slapping all over the place. I picked up the bottle of water i was drinking and flung it at him, soaking my laptop on takeoff, the water seeped between the keys but i couldnt stop the music – the place was going off, and the stage was rammed – later i realised i fucked up several keys on Smaragda my laptop (this is being typed with external keyboard). Then we dropped Whitey. The last tune.
As Doghouse left stage he spewed all over the steps from the stress of it all and we all stepped in it as we left.
I wanted to get back to Cardiff pretty quick so me, Conker and Johnny dived in the car. Johnny was a little pissed off as he wanted some brandy from the rider but someone refused to share it with him. Conk fell asleep in the back and me and Johny chatted all the way home scoffing chocolate fingers from the rider.
First gig back in a few months… a weird one, but an explosion for halloween for sure. Little did we know this would be the final performance of the Doctor. And what a performance it was. The first full naked performance. On Halloween. In The Queens Hall. In West Wales.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
― Mark Twain
I popped in to see Conker a few days later with a pack of hobnobs and he made me a cup of filter coffee. We chatted about books mainly, about money, the future, a little about the gig and i bought some books off him. He seemed in great spirits and had even cleaned his kitchen!!! We laughed for an hour and i went on my way.
A week later i noticed Doghouse dissing some of my studio work online and I was ready to fucking explode. We were scheduled to go to Swansea together on the train for a meeting with a new potential booking agent. We met in a cafe before hand. A 2nd hand book he had just bought was placed on the table next to his steaming mug of coffee. It was Stanislavski, the first part of the book i had bought from Conker last week! WHAT WERE THE CHANCES OF THAT? for the first time we engaged in a conversation in which we opened up to each other about our hatred for each other and the reasons why the band was falling apart. He hated me as much as i hated him!!!!! We argued and moaned for hours, missing the train and missing the meeting. We both said for the first time ever, that today we were willing to walk away from the project as it was making us unhappy. After both admitting this a turning point seemed to emerge and we decided to try and understand where each other was coming from. We got into a warm pub as it got dark and seemed eventually to find some common ground and potential new ideas from where we could rebuild Sicknote from. We drank and talked more, devising a plan to get us back on track – and suddenly – we were getting on. I won’t go into details but lets say this may have been the 1st time we been on the same page in a few years. And it felt good.
We hug! And leave, both, i think, feeling relieved and some what back on track and excited.
The following evening i update my facebook with a quote that kept coming to mind from Steve Jobs about death. You can read it at the bottom of this post. i receive a call less than an hour later from Flakey. Conker is Dead.
It appears he died yesterday. Possibly as me and Doghouse were sorting everything out. He passed gently to the other side, in his sleep.
I cycle to his house at 2am, a massive odd shaped moon hangs bright above his chimney, i sit in his living room. His necklace is there, his Chavez t-shirt thrown over a box and other random personal things scattered around, his fag buts still in the ashtray. I sit in silence. Tears fall down my face. There’s a warm feeling almost like he’s still there or maybe that where ever he is, that other dimension, that he is ok. I look over at the seat i last seen him in last week, and behind where his head was a big thick book sticks out off the shelf, ‘The Curtain Falls’.
I drink a cup of tea with Tommy Tank and we sit in silence.
We are releasing the song we made on halloween, the night before Conkers last gig. It will be some time this week, i think we have agreed on the title ‘Black Cloud’. It will be dedicated to Dr Conker. All gigs are cancelled. We will be in touch in 2014 after we have mourned the loss of our own personal legend, our spiritual guide and friend, Dr Conker.
RIP brother. We knew you would be first to ascend, as you always said you would. See you some time soon. Adios.
“Death is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it.”