Turn it up to 11! Run GMP re-forms to launch lockdown album on National Album Day.
15th October, 2021
It’s the biggest Re-formation since that one with Martin Luther eating Worms and committing casual acts of vandalism against church doors. You may think that ABBA’s announcement of a new album and a world tour was the most significant music event of 2021. And I could agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong! Run GMP, a collective of musicians from 3173 Limited – which includes Dalriada Trustees, Spence & Partners and Mantle Services – have re-formed to launch an album titled Subterranean Lockdown Blues to coincide with National Album Day 2021.
The band was initially born out of my mid-life crisis in 2013 when they played at a battle of the bands contest in London organised by Mallowstreet, which Mallowstreet self-effacingly titled “Mallowstreet Rocks”.
By April 2020 I was already bored with Zoom quizzes and had also exhausted the possibilities of online wine tasting because you can’t really drink pixels. I may have been doing it wrong. One morning, I’m not quite sure which morning because, by then, they were all the same, I turned on the British Broadcasting Corporation Breakfast Television Programme and in between telling us all how unremittingly bad everything was and how nobody was going out ever again, they played a clip of these four elderly blokes – Mick, Keef, Ronnie and Charlie – sitting around in their living rooms and bedrooms playing music and daring to make people feel a little bit better about the world.
I thought, if the Rolling Stones can do it, then so can we. Rounding up a few fellow minded musicians in the company (one of whom handily had a recording studio secreted in his house and a son who was a professional mixer/producer) the first track was recorded and played at one of our Company Town Hall calls. It was (Wake me up) When September Ends by Green Day. We thought that was terribly clever and apposite, though to be honest we were thinking we’d all be free by September 2020 rather than September 2021.”
Colleagues from the company’s offices across the UK, including Belfast, Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds, submitted individual performances via Apple’s Garage Band app. The tracks were then produced to re-create and improve on classic hits such as Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man, John Lennon’s Imagine and Neil Young’s Heart of Gold. Soon we had enough songs for an album. So that’s what we made – Subterranean Lockdown Blues!
The album is now available to download on major streaming websites such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify and Deezer. All proceeds from streaming or downloading the album will be donated to Nordoff Robbins a charity dedicated to investigating the impact that music therapy can have for those affected by life-limiting illness, isolation or disability.
A number of tracks have received airplay on local and national radio stations. Sound of Silence, which features guest vocals from up-and-coming singer/songwriter Amy Baillie, has appeared on local radio stations Celtic Music Radio and River Radio. The song featured as the first track on BBC Radio Scotland’s Upload feature, showcasing local musicians in lockdown.
The band’s versions of Feeling Good and Nutbush City Limits received airplay on Radio Winchcombe (Google it – it’s real!), leading me to claim that Run GMP was “Big in the Cotswolds” and, somewhat more controversially, that Run GMP was now “More popular than Jeremy”.
I had to subsequently apologise for my claim about Jeremy saying “I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jeremy, I would have got away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-Jeremy, anti-Top Gear, or anti-the Grand Tour. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better. Though we are. Obviously.”
Mike Crowe, musician and professional pensions trustee, in that order (although allegedly only in the band as he has the studio), said: “We got the band back together in 2020 as a collective to allow everyone to come together creatively and have a chance to participate in recording songs they liked. Everything has been done remotely with no two musicians recording at the same time or in the same place.”
What do I have to say on it? “Music is so powerful. It brings people together. Makes you feel part of a community. When everyone was living in an unnatural degree of isolation, for me making music was about reaching out, re-connecting. I think we found the answer to the question Don McLean posed a long, long time ago. Music can save your mortal soul.”
Enjoy the album! Buy it, stream it, turn it up to eleven and help us to help a great charity!
Disclaimer: The Board of 3173 Limited wishes to make clear that it does not promote, encourage or otherwise endorse the eating of worms or casual violence against church, or any other property, including, but not limited to doors, window frames or decorative images, graven or otherwise.