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The Von Pip Musical Express is the work of Andy Von Pip (unless otherwise stated ) and this is his incredibly moving story. . . you may need a handkerchief. . .
The Early Days
In his first flush of youth a cherubic fresh-faced young Andy fell in love with something his parents described as a ‘god awful cacophony of talentless, directionless anger’. Yes he had fallen hook line and safety pin for the musical enema that was Punk, a savage incendiary explosion that effectively flushed away the egotistical histrionics of becaped hippies obsessed with Arthurian legends, who regularly produced spirit crushing self indulgent wankathons known somewhat grandly as ‘rock operas.’ Although too young to experience the first wave of punk it inspired young Andy to form a band, dye his hair various shades of red, blue and yellow and wear a safety pin through his ear. This made his parents VERY proud. His band the little heard, barely talented Distant Echos was built primarily around Andy’s distinctive song writing style which could be described as “a mesmerising folly of epic proportions”. With an autistic guitarist called Simon, a drummer called Tony who was openly into cross dressing but a closet prog rock fan, a psychotic bassist known as “Colombia” for reasons we best not divulge here and a keyboard player called Janie who couldn’t play but who Andy fancied so much that he actually wrote a song about her , it was not a match in heaven made. With songs such as “Self Destruct 1-2-3”, “Global Chernobyl” and Andy’s touching homage to the aforementioned Janie, “Blood Rush (When I Think Of You Girl”) allied to a sonorous vocal style that was not dissimilar to Shane MacGowan having his testicles removed with a rusty spoon, a future in music looked about as likely as Michael Barrymore being employed as a lifeguard. Tragically the band split after just two explosive gigs in the time honoured tradition- over musical direction (ie/ when the music started the audience headed in the direction of the nearest exit). Simon was first to leave citing irreconcilable autistic differences and the rest soon followed. However Andy’s passion for music prevailed and he consumed music with the same sort of voracity displayed by Dawn French toward all things edible. He became an avid gig goer and loved the Jesus & Mary Chain and Lush above all others, but always kept on open mind with regard to all genres and musical styles ( although he never has and never will understand Queen’s status as an untouchable musical deity). He began to write , some may say quite successfully, for a number of magazines and fanzines before tragically retiring at the age of just 27 on health grounds. The diagnosis looked grim, it appeared that Andy was suffering from terminal apathy.
The VPME- The Raison d’être
However some years later a great darkness fell across the musical world, and a sinister shadow was cast by a man whose bizarre oblong head was filled with avaricious intent and whose greed appeared infinite. He commenced a campaign which knew no shame in its debasement of popular culture for financial gain. It was all so easy-his ethos was simple- “there’s nowt more stupid then people” and in no time at all he had brain washed an entire generation into believing that he somehow had a magical insight into what constituted real musical talent. He goes by many names, none are complimentary, but you may know him by his preferred moniker- Simon Cowell. In his role as musical Dementor he was able to manufacture singers who had the uncanny ability to extract all emotion, meaning and indeed soul out of any song.
At the same time Andy had been discovering new bands via a medium known as “the internet”, unearthing music which spoke to his very soul . This new breed of musician had a D.I.Y ethic that appealed to Andy’s punk roots and he came across bands from every genre, blessed with the sort of style and talent that would confuse and confound Cowell and his fey cackling little leprechaun sycophant, Louis Walsh. However Cowell knew the price of everything and the value of nothing and he could see that music being produced by people with genuine talent, who (wait for it), wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, could threaten his insidious place of worship for the terminally shite . His only option was to expand his poisonous tentacles into every corner of the globe, brain washing people into accepting that the bawling histrionic power ballad was the only form of musical and artistic expression that had any merit.
David Vs Goliath
Andy could stand it no longer and the Von Pip Musical Express (the VPME) was born. Since its inception Andy’s humble musical organ has been voted in the BT Digital Music awards top ten music blogs and nominated in the Record of the Day Journalism and PR music awards, being named as runner up in 2009. Andy was also a member of ‘The BBC’s Sound Of 2010 taste-makers panel’ and has had press accreditation for numerous gigs and festivals including Liverpool Sound City , The Great Escape And Glastonbury. He is also a some time promoter in his home town of Liverpool putting on gigs featuring some of the most exciting up and coming bands about these here parts and beyond. The challenge still remains, to try and give great new bands a platform and to loosen Cowell’s cankerous grip on popular culture. It’s a tall order, but somebody has to try for f**ks sake. Who’s in ?
VPME Review Promo video 2008