ufoWorried Self Made Man had fallen off the edge of the earth? Or, worse still, that he’d fallen out of love with rock? So were we.

But RUSHONROCK‘s resident classic rock columnist is finally back and offering an explanation for his self-imposed mini exile.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of him right here every week. 


It’s been too long, far too long since my last blog. And it’s been even longer since my last live gig.

The two are obviously interconnected. 2015 hasn’t been a vintage year in the music world of yours truly.

The brutal truth is I haven’t had much to write about.

That’s not to say I’m not listening to music or have stopped buying or downloading albums. Far from it.

In recent months, I’ve bought the latest albums from hardy favourites UFO and the Scorpions plus Van Halen’s live album featuring Dave Lee Roth.

And while I was unable to make The Answer’s Tyneside concert, I’m a big fan of Raise A Little Hell, their fifth release which hit the shelves last month.

Blackberry Smoke’s Holding All The Roses isn’t quite as good as its stunning predecessor The Whippoorwill but nevertheless confirms them as one of the brightest new bands around.

Mark Knopfler’s Tracker maintains the remarkably high standard he’s set as a solo artist while I also invested in a copy of the Cadillac Three’s Tennesse Mojo to find out what all the fuss was about and certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Possibly my favourite album of the last 12 months is Lost In A Dream by indie band War On Drugs so it’s not as if I’m in a musical vacuum.

And then of course, I snapped up the new remastered Physical Graffitti by Led Zeppelin on day one to find out if perfection could be improved upon and was delighted to discover it actually can!

But for the past four months or so I’ve been “gig-less.” It’s a situation that will change within a fortnight when I head to the Carling Academy to see UFO for possibly the zillionth time and I can’t wait.

All of us have peaks and troughs in our own personal rock and roll journeys and I’ve no doubt that by the year’s end, my gig-count will be into double figures and I’ll be closing in on 90 GB of music in my iTunes library.

What I can guarantee is that this I won’t switch off music in the way I did in my mid-20s.

There was a period between 1987 and 1994 when I can’t recall buying any music at all or attending any concerts.

Looking back, I can still pinpoint the key moment. It was when thieves broke into my Nissan Sunny and stole three boxes worth of cassettes – there had been a two or three year spell when that was the format of choice.

Within a year of that incident, I was looking to buy a house and then along came kids. Music slipped further and further down life’s pecking order.

Those who know me will not be surprised to learn that I was slow in embracing the technological innovation called compact disc so for seven or eight years, the only music I really listened to was on the radio or occasionally, some of my old vinyl on a record player which was long past its sell-by date.

I can still remember the day we bought our first CD player and our first CDs – Definitely Maybe by Oasis, Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell and not surprisingly, Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits, the album which had pioneered the new format a few years earlier.

Around that time, I quit smoking and with the money I saved each week, I’d buy a CD. The rest his history.

One thousand, three hundred and twelve CD’s later, I’m back on that rock and roll road to God knows where.

Just wish there were a few more gigs on the horizon.

Ian Murtagh