Layabouts - Dally in the Alley 1998

Peggy, Sylvia , Stephen and Jody sing "And so it goes"

Photos by Laurenn Rowland

About an hour before going on stage at the "Dally in the Alley", I found myself furiously writing cues to "And so it goes" on my right hand, in case I forgot the words. Although I had been practicing this song with the band for the past few months, the structure and lyrics of the song kept changing.
Sylvia and Peggy were in the same boat and the three of us anxiously rehearsed one final time in Ralph's living room.
I tend to be fairly OK before a performance - as best as I can remember - but this was special; it was the first time the band performed before an audience in over six years. Furthermore, many of the people who would be watching us perform were our peers. They would be telling us exactly what they thought of out performance, no holds barred and that was pretty terrifying.
West Alley stage - Layabouts performBut the portents were positive; this configuration of the band has better morale than I have been witness to for a long time. I suppose we all have our different motivations; personally, I've really recharged my batteries and see the band through new eyes.
We disbanded (an appropriate word, no?...) in 1992 because we were all tired and seemed to have no direction.
Times were changing; the Regan/Bush years were behind us; the imminent threat of species annihilationAlan Franklin - guitar through nuclear war receded with the crash of the Berlin Wall. Many of the things that we had been singing about simply faded away of transformed into as yet unidentifiable patterns. I was at a loss as to what to write songs about and had other things going on that seemed more pressing.
Through our six year hiatus, I was astounded by the diversity of friends and strangers who would approach me as ask, "When are the Layabouts getting together?" - as if there was any thought of us doing so. I must confess, it felt good to see that we had left   such an impression in our wake.
Anyway, the performance was a real rush!
Chris Taylor, who's been associated with the Layabouts for many years and is now a professional sound man for big name bands, was there at the sound board to make us shine.
Belting out "Cadillac" made me feel whole again; there is anger in this song but through singing it comes release.
Yes, it felt good to sing again.Roberto Warren and Suni Ali Rashid set the beat I've begun to feel as if singing Layabout songs is almost like some kind of ritualized poetry. Singing these songs is an incredible release valve; I don't know what shooting heroin is like but from what I've been told about it, performing with the Layabouts must be somewhat akin to the same rush.

The last song was sung, the final echoes of the drum clash echo through the Alley as the music dies away. The crowd has  been good to us, giving us a really big cheer for a sendoff. Dripping, I stagger off the stage and some guy who I recognize as a Layabout enthusiast had come back stake and shouts with a huge grin, "Hey man! You guys haven't lost it!"
I feel great, and I know that the others do too. It's good to be a Layabout again!

Stephen Goodfellow

To  Layabout home pageClick for image of the performance taken by Rabbecca Cook