Here's Rob Nichols brilliant replies to the Brain Teeser. more info regarding Rob follows it.
Laurel and Hardy or Morecambe and Wise?
Got to be Laurel and Hardy.
Except your own front room where is your favourite place to be in Teesside.
Riverside Stadium of course.
Out of all the Star Wars movies, which one and why?
Oh no. This is not going to be popular but I was always a Star Trek rather than Star Wars fan and have never seen an entire Star Wars film. Hangs head in shame. Walks slowly away...
What do you think of the Teesside accent?
Teesside accent, yer jokin aren't you. Hewn from hills like iron ore. Springing from the Tees. Teesside is real English.
What’s your dream gig?
Dream Gig. Playing on a big stage but with stairs down so I can get up and down into the crowd as I am a bit old for the David Saunders method. Where everyone enjoys being entertained and has a laugh. Where it doesn't clash with a Boro game. A festival would be nice. I ask too much.
Little or Large?
I saw Syd Little at reception at the then Mbro Thistle hotel dressed in a lilac
V-neck jumper. The receptionist didn't recognise him. He was saying perhaps the room was booked under my real name. Bob Fischer could tell you what that is.
So it has to be Eddie Large for him to do impressions of 1970s cartoon characters, interrupt Syd singing and create mayhem with Crackerjack pencils. Ah the memories, and they say TV was better in the past.
What was your first public performance?
First gig experience was performing 3 John Cooper Clarke poems at South Park 6th Form college in "a brand new track suit and I've got the old one two." You had to be there.
First gig with Shrug at Albert upstairs Oct 1985 I played one finger keyboard and was singer on 3 songs. I was nervous for days before hand.
Are you nicer than Bob Fisher and if so, which I doubt, Prove it!
How could I possibly be nicer than Bob Fischer. No way. Have you actually read any of my reviews? Had to go ex directory and move to a safe house. I obviously don't have the temperament for it.
On a scale of minus 10 to plus 10 what is your belly button?
Belly Button? Where would I find that? I try to avoid anatomy lessons whenever possible.
When was the last time you were excited about a piece of music?
I was really excited hearing Kingsley Chapman and the Murder playing their songs semi acoustically at Saltburn Sound of Silence. The arrangements were inspiring. Fantastic.
What was your first cinema experience?
First cinema experience.. Hmm.. I think it was Jungle Book with my brother and other kids as a treat. Now that was a cartoon... What, Eddie Large did the voices?... No way!
If there is such a thing as bliss, what is it?
Bliss! Boro winning the League Cup came close and Lightning Striking Twice v Basel and Steaua Bucharest was like walking on water, clouds and football fields of marshmallows. Maybe that is ecstasy rather than bliss.
How old were you when you first swore and what was the swear word?
Swear word! The transition from gosh to good bloomin to bloody was like a descent into hard drugs as a school kid at Captain Cook Juniors.
Worst gig experience?
For Shrug it was playing a gig at a pub in Ipswich at which the promoter didn't turn up and neither did any punters. But there was little or no evidence of posters or promotion.
Anyway the bands entertained each other and those drinking in the pub. But afterwards the landlord, who had kindly beckoned us to park in the pub courtyard, told us he would unlock the gates and allow us to drive clear if we paid him £30 for the privilege. We suffered in Suffolk.
What would you tell your 16 year old self if you met them in a pub back then?
Put your hand in your pocket and get your pocket money on the table to get these drinks in.
Would you tell a friend they had a bogey showing whilst talking to them?
The old bogey dilemma - I would probably get my handkerchief out and blow my nose in sympathy in the hopes that they would take the hint. Of course they wouldn't. And later I would reflect on the situation, look down and realise my flies were open the whole time.
What would you rather lose? Sight or hearing?
I have rubbish eye sight in one eye and an early Avalanche Party gig gave me ringing in my ears for three months. I went for a hearing test after waking up thinking there was a burglar alarm going off only to realise it was in my head.. Or ears. Having Oli Heffernan in our band it us only a matter of time before I go deaf.
Where are you playing coming up?
Supporting our post post punk heroes The Membranes at The Westgarth a
re run of two gigs we played with them back at the end of the 80s. I know... I know I look too old to have been around then. Friday Nov 18th. John Robb of the Membranes is a fantastic bloke and gave us so much help and advice down the years. Lovely of him to ask us to support them all these years on.
Who would you like me to ask to be Brain Teesed next?
I would really like to read the answers of Louise Radford, singer of the band Serinette.
Initially I'd placed the following at the head of this Strum before realising I had so much to say about Rob that by the time you'd ploughed through it you'd probably have lost the will to live and not read Rob's answers, which frankly are too good to ignore. So it's here now. Thanks for staying!
When Andy Johnson nominated Rob Nichols to take part in the second Brain Teeser I was happier than a lost football in a park when it's found by some kids in trainers. He probably won't remember, but Rob was my introduction to the local live music scene in Middlesbrough in 1986. I'm not sure if he was the founder of the Middlesbrough Music Collective, but after chatting with him in a mythical pub called The Empire and explaining that me and my mates Carl and Mark played guitar and wrote songs and played cover versions in what we amusingly called "a band" ( The three of us would play in Carl's bedroom, but had to be quiet and finished by eight because as Carl's Mam would inform us every week from 1983 to 1989, "Next door's got a baby"). Rob invited us to visit the Collectives meetings which were held in an amazing building opposite the Old cinema called Studio 64. I have no idea why it was called Studio 64, other than it was a rehearsal and recording Studio. We attended loads of meetings, very rarely using our voices but happily taking in the inspired and sometimes frankly bonkers ideas being thrown around the room before eventually Polytechnic (Me and Carl) and proper work (Mark) took us away from the local area for a couple of years.
Rob is the singer in the legendary Teesside band Shrug. With songs as brilliant as House of Pain, and my favourite Rolf Harris Car Park, but it is in their live performances for which they are most fondly known in Teesside, as well as around the world having toured Europe to acclaim. Rob as a frontman is a sight once seen never forgotten.
Alongside this Rob is a Founder/Editor/Contributor and regular seller of the unofficial Middlesbrough Football Club Programme "fmttm" which has kept me and thousands of other fans tickled for 568 issues. Part of the Match ritual for me and Hal is to find the front "Private Eye" style cover of the latest edition.
And if you think that is enough, then Rob has for the past thirty years been THE reviewer of local bands for our local newspaper The Evening Gazette ( I don't care what it's called these days) as well as being an avid supporter and mouthpiece for many bands a couple of which I have had the privilege to play in. I can count on one hand the number of people I have seen at more gigs in Teesside. he genuinely loves music, and all music at that. Rob Nichols, trailblazer, journalist, musician, pioneer, but most importantly great bloke.
Till the next one, learn something new, like why it was called Studio 64.