Thursday, 29 May 2014


Well I suppose it had to happen, the fictional creation, the band Metal Sausage has become somewhat of a phenomena on a certain social media site and by now getting asked time and again at various gigs and festivals about The Fellowship of the Stick, The Corona's and of course Metal Sausage, it is time I feel that the truth is revealed.

So what's the connection?

Many things have been written previously about The Fellowship of the Stick, The Corona’s and the fictional band, Metal Sausage, many of these articles, write up’s, Blogs and Facebook entries have been either somewhat tongue in cheek (Not a reference to ‘rimming’), ‘spoof’, slanderous or just downright misleading, the time has come to put the record straight.

FotS - Our old logo

The Fellowship of the Stick, like many other groups of friends with a ‘corporate’ identity the Fellowship is just that, a close knit circle of friends many of whom have known each other for many years and who all share a love of live music, real ale, good food, festivals, gigs but above all friendship.
We are not strictly ‘organised’ or governed but we do have some basic ‘rules’ which are mainly to do with sharing, respect and having fun.

Collectively we are a private group of individuals with a limited number of members, all of whom are friends and we do have some rules on membership, the group is not an ‘open’ group and even associate members (Recruited only from among mutual friends) have to have attended a number of gigs, festivals, beer festivals etc. with us, and that means with us and not just having been there at the same time.

Our Mascot and Master - Fender Teddy
Fender Teddy, or Fender Bear as he is known can often be seen out and about with us, Fender is our official mascot and he is very precious to us all, not just because he’s a lovely soft cuddly teddy bear but because of what he represents and he also provides us with same amazing photo opportunities that would normally receive a slap round the chops if requested without said bear!
Fender's story is quite amazing too, strangely for a group associated with music he's not named after the guitar of that name, he was rescued from a fate of becoming a fender, i.e. those things that stop boats bumping into each other or the quayside when moored.

Whilst we do not have any sort of formal organising committee the original four members of The Fellowship are the only ones who constitute the inner sanctum known as The Bearium, even several members of the wider Fellowship group do not know who the Bearium are, sometimes even we have trouble remembering but that’s just age.

We do not discriminate against colour creed culture class religious or political views within the group, irrespective of our very diverse natures, backgrounds beliefs and views it is the Fellowship / friendship that is paramount.

5 of The FotS / Corona's with the lovely Roger, oh, he's one of us, er, with the lovely Rachel Cohen from The Reasoning
The Corona’s, not all the members of the Fellowship are ‘Corona’s’, the original Corona’s just sort of happened when Kevin brought us back the shirts as a present from his family holiday in Mexico as they were cheaper than sending us postcards and then we all decided to wear our shirts at the first Celebr8 Festival and it’s become a sort of trademark ever since. Subsequently other members of the Fellowship have bought their own Corona shirts or had Corona shirts / dresses bestowed upon them.
It is fair to say that if you spot two or more people in Corona shirts at a festival or gig and they also happen to be sporting a T shirt with the Fellowship Logo or Fender Bear then it will be one of us.

There were even more of us at HRH Prog in Wales
Metal Sausage, oh gosh, the runaway phenomena that is Metal Sausage, to cut a long story very short, one of our members, the lovely Mr Roger Marsh, sings in bands, the old band he was in split up, along with some ‘surviving’ members and other like minded musician friends a new band was formed and, at that point, they didn’t have a name and the whole thing happened somewhat coincident with a Fellowship trip to Melbourn Rock Club to see Four Wheel Drive. Roger, who very sensibly doesn’t ‘drink’  then somewhat foolishly asked those of us who do enjoy the odd barrel or two (After we were well into our cups) could we think of a name for the new band and, with much mirth and hilarity, ‘Metal Sausage’ was born.

Could this really exist one day?
For a short while Metal Sausage was just a Fellowship ‘in’ joke, until I wrote a spoof article about the band and then posted it on Facebook, not only did this get shared around well outside my own circle of friends but Roger and I started getting serious enquiries about the band, even fans! A music journalist friend also said they were halfway through reading the article before they realised it was a ‘spoof’ and so, due to popular demand, the Metal Sausage Facebook page was created, we now have more ‘Likes’ and followers than many real hard working bands bless them, it really is a mad mad world sometimes.

Many people seem to be clambering for Metal Sausage T shirts and other merchandise, let me put the record straight, there isn’t any official Metal Sausage mechandise, it’s fiction, there are indeed a few Metal Sausage T shirts but they were only designed and made for a very strictly limited number of the Fellowship who were ‘in’ on the original joke.

A Metal Sausage fan heavily disguised to obscure his real identity
I have suggested that if people want Metal Sausage T shirts that they feel free to copy any of the images on the Facebook page and go create one of their own, we really really really don’t mind.

Somewhat unbelievably there now also seems to be growing interest among some serious musicians (With a sense of humour I hasten to add) to actually form Metal Sausage for a one off charity gig or event, maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t, one thing’s for sure, now the monster is awake it shows no sign of going to sleep just yet!

But anyway, what the heck, we're off to Celebr8.3 at the weekend, see some of you there no doubt.

Grant Meaby 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

2014 BC

2014 BC, that was a long time ago wasn't it?  Well no not really, this is 2014 and the BC in this case stands for, Before Celebr8.3.

2014 has already been a somewhat remarkable year gig wise for myself and many of my friends not to mention (But I will anyway) the Fellowship of the Stick.

January kicked off in style with The Progfathers at Club-85 in Hitchin:

This was swiftly followed at the end of the month by The Great British Rock and Blues Festival in Skegness:

Only a couple of gigs in February but not exactly quiet, first we went off to see the amazing 'Jesus Hooligan Drum Circle' at Club-85.

Later in the month an amazing show which also saw the return of the wonderful Stuart O'Connor:

March saw us travelling far afield to the North Welsh coast for HRH Prog (& HRH A.O.R. & HRH Blues):

Swiftly followed by a visit to Esquires, Danny's Bar, in Bedford to see our friends, Roadhouse:

April's gigging should have kicked off with Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman supported by Simon Godfrey in Southampton but as central Southampton decided to burn down we never did get the chance, however, there was always the Newmarket Beer Festival in association with the Cambridge Rock Festival with lots of great music including Soulweaver:

Soulweaver in action

The local music scene was hotting up too, a great night down the local (The Red Lion) with a great metal night headed by the incredible Arms and the Man:

Ben of Arms and the Man

Then of course there was always a trip over to the Melbourn Rock Club to see Four Wheel Drive:

This 'over-nighter' was somewhat special in many ways, it also led to the 'birth' of the phenomena that is, Metal Sausage!

My my, how quickly time passes, we seem to be into the next month already:

May kicked off in style with the IQ album launch (Road of Bones) in Islington and they were of course supported by the incredible, Matt Stevens:

Time for a couple of local gigs at Club-85 before the 'Big weekend', firstly it was CC Smugglers making a very welcome and long awaited return 'Home':

CC Smugglers among the crowd

Followed by, the following week, the purely eccentric 'Chap Hop' of Professor Elemental:

Which takes us nicely up to what was, at the time of writing this, last weekend, the awesome Progfest that was, Trinity Live, this was a fund raising event for cancer charities and I can only echo the organisers thanks as in the poster below, it was awesome in so many ways and it looks like they are going to do it again next year!

So, that's the years so far, i.e. BC, next weekend is one of the biggest events in the Progressive Music Calendar, it's the third and final Celebr8 festival, Celebr8.3 and it all takes place in The Assembly Hall, Islington, London, the line up is amazing, so many thanks to The House of Progression (Which is of course Jon Patrick, aka Twang) and Geoff Banks, this is what's coming:

Suspect I'll see many of you there, have fun people.

GM 26/05/14

Monday, 19 May 2014


For those of us who went to Trinity Live, the bands, artists, fans, supporters, volunteers, organisers and all the crew and the staff at the Assembly Hall, the first thing I want to say is a heartfelt thank you, it was an amazing experience, so very special in so many ways it's difficult to express them all.

For those of you who knew all about it and couldn't go, I hope this will give you a flavour of what it was like, but of course, for those who are still with me but completely baffled, here follows a brief precis of what it was all about.

A fair while back it was planned that three of the country's finest female fronted progressive bands, Magenta, The Reasoning and Touchstone would do a massive UK tour under the banner, 'Trinity', then Christina, the lead singer of Magenta was diagnosed with breast cancer, the tour was cancelled and her brave personal battle began and then someone had the bright idea of putting together a one off gig featuring Touchstone and The Reasoning and anyone else who could play to raise money for cancer and related charities and so 'Trinity Live' was born and like the best ideas, it grew and grew into effectively a one day festival of all that is good about this particular music scene.

As the event itself got closer we had the wonderful news that not only were Magenta going to play but also that Christina had made enough of a recovery it would be a full band set and good grief, the overall line up, wow!

This was one that so many of the prog family came along to, there were people there who we see regularly at Celebr8, Skegness Rock & Blues, Cambridge Rock Festival, London gigs, especially House of Progression gigs, it was a right royal get together, there was a  mega raffle with amazing prizes, a seemingly endless auction that must have raised ridiculously good amounts and just fun all the way.

If you want to read serious reviews and track by track listings now is the time to leave and find one of those sites but you lot probably know where I'm heading by now anyway, so if you're still with me, respect to you.
I missed Heather Findlay, I was out having lunch and a lovely long chat with Matt Stevens at the time and, despite being the 'talk of the town' Metal Sausage did not play this day.

Alan Reed and Mark Spencer opened the show

Alan and Mark were joined by Kim Seviour for 'Love Song'

His awesomeness Matt Stevens

Magenta wowed the crowd

Alan joins Magenta for Don't Give Up

Lost in Vegas a bit heavy for some people but I liked them

The Reasoning put on a fantastic performance

Touchstone were on fire

Good grief is that John Mitchell smiling?

The mighty Arena topped the bill

Arena were amazing
Of course The fellowship of the Stick were there en force as they say, complete (Some of us anyway) with the now infamous and difficult to see Corona Shirts! It was a day that will be remembered for a long long time to come:-

Kevin said that I couldn’t write a poem about Trinity Live
Because nothing happened………………………………

Peter and I cruised along the roads and motorway
On what was to be a very special, special day
While Kevin, Chris and Roger were stuck on the A14
Peter and I arrived fresh and unstressed in Leamington
Although we had to battle with the one way system
We soon fell into a sort of repeating rhythm
Left, left and left again
Round and round and round oh the pain!

We found the venue somewhat early I must say
And a lone Matt Stevens waiting to set up to play
We stopped for a chat then set off for the car park
Round and round and round again, what a lark
But find it we did and the hotel too
We paid to book in early like you have to do
And Kevin and Chris and Roger at last arrived
The journey too they had also just about survived
We were all there and ready for Trinity Live!

It was all done in support of three cancer charities
We’d gone for the top option yes we were VIPs
It meant we had our own bar and a comfy space to rest
Meeting some of the bands and artists that was by far the best
But is there anyone who doesn’t know Roger Marsh
To call him a ‘Rock Tart’ is somewhat harsh
But what the heck, he’s called me worse before!
Several conversations, even with some of the stars of the show
Revolved around a band that some of you may know
Even though they were not appearing at Trinity Live that day
Nor anywhere else this year I’m sure it’s safe to say
Who could that be? Of course it is
The one and only Metal Sausage!

All the bands were great, all put their hearts into it and it showed
The auction was when some of the serious money flowed
There were trips out for takeaways and Weatherspoons
Time to chill out with friends and appreciate some serious tunes
Time to meet new people and share our love of all ‘Prog’ things
Time to laugh, time to talk, oh the sheer joy it brings
It really felt like we were one big family, yesterday and today

When it was all over and we’d said goodbye, no one was in a hurry
The Fellowship went off for a late night curry
Just like us it was hot and spicy
And some things we did see
On the way back to the hotel
I’d rather not tell
And Kevin said. “You can’t write a poem ‘cos nothing happened”
Maybe it’s best it didn’t, Kevin, maybe it’s best it didn’t.

Grant Meaby


Saturday, 17 May 2014


Now I really have to admit that when it comes to the whole Steampunk thing I am a complete novice and 'Chap Hop' was a genre that had somehow passed me completely by, nor strangely, despite my own and my friends inherent lunacy are we into Larping (Live Action Role Playing), but, hey, you're never too old to discover new things!

One more we were off to Club-85 in Hitchin for what proved to be one of the most entertaining nights of the year so far, with the line up of Balstock Mastermind, G La Roche, the sweet madness that is Disco Zhivago and Steampunk 'Chap Hop' legend, Professor Elemental.

G La Roche in spiffing fettle

'G' was t his looping zany best and dedicated one of his songs to us (It's the Fellowship's Anthem but modesty prevents me from revealing its title!), there was the absolute zany madness of Disco Zhivago of whom I would say if The Beatles had been a punk band with gender issues even they would not have come close to the sweet madness that is, Disco Zhivago!

Disco Zhivago - Wonderful chaps the lot of them

Then it was time for Professor Elemental, he was brilliant, entertaining, funny, clever, he had us dancing, singing along, laughing until we ached, a mixture of extremely English rap, carefully crafted backing music, eccentric British humour and amazing stage presence, all in all, jolly top hole!

Professor Elemental has a horse you know
Oh Gosh!

Not another one of those “It started in the Nightingale” poems?
But it did!
OK, try this

Somewhere in Hitchin and I’ll not tell you where
It’s quite near the station and quite nice in there
If you are a fan of damn fine real ale
Then this place has plenty to choose from on sale
But the choice always falls towards a fine brew from Tring
Yes Colley’s Dog really is such a wonderful thing
And there we met and there we supped
Until we were as they say well into our cups

Tonight was a night of Steampunk ‘Chap Hop’
Where the fun is immediate and never quite stops
Pith helmets and goggles old suits and top hats
Creatures from Star Wars, ladies and chaps
Wizards and Witches and Goth Celtic warriors
The Fellowship and a few odd Victorian Explorers
It was totally spiffing, top hole, wonderful
To spend such quality time with normal people

The wonderfully eccentric G La Roche
Dedicated the Poop Chute song to us
We laughed we cheered and we all sang along
As he treated us to the Fellowship’s theme song
The sweet madness that is Disco Zhivago
Entertained the crowd and us don’t cha know
Before Club-85 erupted and everyone went mental
For Steampunk legend Professor Elemental
He had us in stitches we laughed and we danced
Not just entertained but completely entranced
All in all a great evening and a jolly good show
Oh gosh its it that time already, I really must go!

Grant Meaby

Peter & Chris with G before the show

I just love Charlie's suit

Dressed for the evening, splendid!
The Professor captivates the crowd
So, until we go off and do it again, have a lovely weekend.
Grant Meaby


Sunday, 11 May 2014


So a slightly smaller turn out by FotS standards but, what the heck, when three or more are gathered etc. 

This night had the promise of being something very special indeed, not only had one of the original bands had to pull out due to illness but they were replaced on the bill by the amazing Kelly Oliver and it was the CC Smugglers 'Homecoming' gig at Club-85 in Hitchin.

I have frequently mentioned Club-85 and the fantastic job that Bob and the crew do to keep live music and local music alive and forgive me but as it's something I'm passionate about I'll keep mentioning it.
Tonight's gig was in the 'Roots 'n' Roll' series of gigs, with a relaxed atmosphere and a real club type setting and a fantastic turn out that surely should have the event's promoter, the wonderful Roger King very happy and I also have to make special mention of the excellent job on the sound by Matt Turner coping with four different styles of music, strange instruments and many artists.

So, first on was Kelly Oliver, Kelly is an up and very much coming young Folk singer from Stevenage and I must say she absolutely wowed us, coming fresh from her session with 'Whispering' Bob Harris, not that she sounds anything like her but I got that same goose-bumpy feeling listening to Kelly as I did the first time I ever heard Joni Mitchell (Some time ago).

Kelly Oliver

Kelly writes her own material, plays guitar and harmonica and I can highly recommend her EP 'Far From Home', quite honestly it's stunning.

Next up were Hoddeson boys, Suburban Dirt with their Dylanesque style of dirty 'Trailer Trash' style of southern blues, all in all a pretty good set they delivered too.

Suburban Dirts

It's been some time since we've seen Nick Stephenson in this part of the world, well certainly not at Club-85 for a while that's for sure and tonight he was back with a vengeance with his cohorts, the Sun Machine, passion, soul, energy, the well crafted songs had all of this and more, Nick and the Sun Machine are a band to watch out for and one I'd certainly like to see again

Nick and the Sun Machine

Well, the evening had been pretty damn good so far and the best was yet to come, unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere you may well have heard of the CC Smugglers and their 'New Roots' music, they are a band on the up and up and judging by the number of festival appearances they did last year and are lined up for this year you'll probably come across them somewhere!

Tonight was their homecoming show and boy oh boy were the boys up for it, they were out to put on a fantastic show, which they did, have a lot of fun, which they did, and make sure we, the punters also had a good time, which we did!

CC Smugglers in full swing
The encore, as is often the case, involved the whole band vacating the stage and joining the audience to sing 'Standing in the Street', what a way to end what had been one of the best nights so far this year.

Standing in the Street sung from within the audience

Well this was a Fellowship of the Stick outing after all, so as always requires addition to The Chronicles of The Fellowship!

Smuggled into the Night

When three or more are gathered in His name
Each of course can legitimately claim 
That “Fender made me do it”
Not that this occasion needed any such excuse
I mean, was there any use?

We were three and there was no sign of Fender Bear
Keeper Kevin and ‘Smiffy’ were elsewhere
Roger Marsh was elsewhere too
What were we to do?

The three less than wise monkeys in the Nightingale
Such tales start as they often do
In the Nightingale with a Colley’s Dog or two
And chicken and chips to keep us alive
Then across the road to Club-85

What a turn out, what a night
The Roots ‘n’ Roll CafĂ© was buzzing alright
Kelly Oliver took the stage, opening the show
With folk of the sweetest kind, way to go girl, way to go!

The Suburban Dirts with their Dylanesque dirty Trailer Trash Blues
And Nick and the Sun Machine were pretty good too
But everything was building for the headliners
The homecoming show for CC Smugglers
They were so ‘up’ for this gig tonight
Everything went “Well sweet alright”
From the first note until the last we were all having fun
New Roots the way it should be done
Too early yet to say “Gig of the year”
But I have a feeling not a lot will come near
But you never know!

You can see they were having fun :)
In parting, or rather while we were departing
Chatting at the top of the stairs a voice was heard to say
To the gorgeous blonde ascending
“Thanks for walking up the stairs, that was lovely”
The smile said it all, it was OK, it was alright
As we smuggled our way out into the night.

So that is very much it for now, until the next time my friends, keep music alive and live.
Grant Meaby - 11th May 2014