Edward Rogers at The Borderline, April 24th
Fortuitously, I just so happened to be in London the same weekend my dear New York friends were in town, and even better, Ed, Don and James were playing at The Borderline with Colin Blunstone!
I can’t remember how many years I have known Ed and Melani–but I do remember my embarrassing introduction to Melani…. a smoker at the time, we were at a Woolsey downtown christmas party, and i had just taken a (terribly shy and nervous) deep inhalation, only to have someone say “this is Amanda….” I opened my mouth and exhaled a large cloud of Silk Cut (or Marlboro light) smoke right into her face… I was mortified, but Melani – queen of graciousness – did a slight head dodge, smiled and carried on chatting.
I didn’t cross Ed and Melani again for a couple of months. As part of an ASCAP Songwriters workshop, Marci Drexler had been teamed up with Joe Condirraci (fabulous voice, beautiful man) who was in a band – The Green Rooftops – with Ed. Attending a Loser’s Lounge at the Fez with Joe, we ran in to Ed, and Joe introduced us as “She’s English, He’s english… thought you might get on…” And we did. Ed and Melani have been the closest of friends ever since. We had weekly Sunday dinners for years, I’ve celebrated Greek Easters, thanks givings, christmas’s and welcomed in numerous new years together. I love them as family.
I think it was 2001 when Ed asked me if I wanted to write some songs with him. I had just had knee surgery and was hobbling around on crutches, taking things slowly… my well of solo song writing reserves had slowed down (i used to infuriate my wirebird band members with “I’ve got a new song” every week) so I was open to trying out this co-writing thing….
And so was born the Bedsit Poets. It was a really sympathetic combination and we had a lot of fun…Ed has an endless reserve of words, and I have a bounty of melodies and harmonies. Together, I edited and added words, he input rhythm, sound and structure. Sometimes we came at it from the opposite angel. I had the words, he had the music, sometimes, we had nothing but created something. We recorded a great album (the summer that changed) with the Kennedy’s, Ed found a label Bongo Beat to give the album a home, we added a third partner to the mix, guitarist Mac Randall, and then recorded a second album – Notel Rendezvous – with Don Piper (ever since, my go to producer/ engineer/mixer..he’s awesome!). At a certain point though, with a third albums worth of songs on paper and tape recorders, we decided to take a hiatus.
Ed has gone on to record four solo albums, three of which I have had the pleasure of doing the cover art for (Sparkle Lane, Kaye and Glass Marbles), and his output continues to be abundant. Of course I prefer some songs to others (as with any artist), but there are some real gems in Ed’s catalogue that stand out for me – street fashion; borrowed & blue, blackpool nights; looking for stone angels. Ed is like a sponge, he observes the world around him intently… people, places, things… and he has them all covered in his songs. Even with recurring themes, he finds a different consideration…it’s as if he is still mulling over certain themes and will continue to explore them from every angle until he is satisfied that he understands. His albums are like the an Encyclopedia to Ed…what he thinks about, what he sees, what he sees in others, what he loves, what hurts him, his past, his present his future.
Flanked by Don and Ed, the soundscape is full and rich, dynamic, and varied. Musically, nothing else necessary (but you know it will sound great augmented with the band too), so it was great when Marty Piper-Wilson who just so happened to be passing through town as well, joined them on stage.
The crowd loved Denmark Street Forgotten… (the song reflects on the end of one of London’s musical meccas as the new swanky inter-rail link is built. From the 50s to the present day, UK’s Tin Pan Alley hosted the NME, Melody Maker, Elton John, David Bowie and the Stones amongst other. The 12 Bar Club and Enterprise rehearsal studios are closed, but funnily enough, just recently, the Sex Pistols have come to save the day! As Britain gets ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary year of Punk (in and of itself slightly perverse), No 6 (where the Sex Pistols recorded the first demos of God Save The Queen and Anarchy in the UK 1975-77) and No 7 Denmark Street, have be awarded Grade 2* listed status by a Conservative government Heritage Minister… so it can’t be pulled down!!!)….But I digress.
With the powerhouse engine of support, encouragement, sounding board, idea generator, editor, photographer, organizer and best dressed lady I know, Melani Rogers is the 5th Beatle of this band 🙂 The show was great, succinct, tight.
Ed is a born show man, he loves it on stage, talking to the crowd, getting them engaged, and it is always done with that special ed rogers smile, passion and a joy of life.