Adrian and I first crossed paths a few years ago. I opened my front door to a bedraggled urchin standing in the drizzle selling portions of cheesecake door to door. He cut a pathetic figure then, gaunt and unfeasibly tall with nothing but a guitar slung over his back and a bag of cheesecakes to his name. But somewhere under the grime of this wayward street urchin I could tell there was a spark, a tiny pilot light of hope keeping him going. From that day on I’ve followed his career with interest.
Although I didn’t know it then he had already enjoyed a brief flirtation with fame. His career in music started when he was 13 years old as part of Clacton based boy band Squelch. In spite of some early local success he quickly outgrew his band mates, literally, leading to his sacking when he grew too tall to fit in the band’s publicity shots.
After this setback he concentrated on improving his guitar playing, selling cheesy deserts door to door to afford lessons with renowned local guitar teacher Solomon Plumb, who recalls Adrian to this day. “Nice lad, quite shy but I could tell he’d do well on the guitar because he was from Clacton – they all do these rural types, one finger for each string you see, that’s the secret.”
But misfortune was to catch up with Adrian again soon when Solomon was caught smuggling books into Essex and was deported back to his native Wiltshire. Undeterred by the absence of his mentor Adrian started gigging at local pubs and clubs, living off the fruit and veg punters would toss at him. At one such gig a chance encounter with his former Squelch bandmate Robin led to Adrian’s next big opportunity. Robin was looking for a way to avoid paying tax on some of the millions he’d made with Squelch after Adrian left. Robin financed the release of Adrian’s first CD Sewing Machine. Despite positive reviews in the Clacton Evening Gazette, who called it “The only album we’ve received this week” and in the Jaywick Times who said “Adrian Nation has released a CD” the album didn’t sell as well as hoped but his follow up Falling Fly reached a wider audience and was shortlisted for a coveted East Anglian Daily Times MOCO (Music of Celtic Origin) award in the newcomer category, losing out to the newly reformed Squelch with Slash (Guns n’ Roses) taking Adrian’s former place on guitar.
Downhearted in losing out to his former band-mates and disenchanted with the music business Adrian decided that his solo career wasn’t working out so he split with himself, citing musical differences. Disillusioned and with a 20 a day plectrum habit to support he took to the stage to earn some money, playing Sleepy in Clacton Amateur Dramatic Society’s production of Snow White and the 7 Dwarves. This came to an abrupt end when someone explained to him what amateur meant. He followed this with a spell on the festival circuit as a scrotum juggler.
But the lure of the music industry proved too much and I ran into him again when he played at my wedding. I’m not sure why, nobody asked him to. Still somewhere under the matted beard and incoherent mumbling he seemed in reasonable spirits and told anyone who would listen that he was soon to become a TV star.
If we all thought that was just the ravings of a fantasist then we were too polite to say, so imagine my surprise when a fresh faced Adrian turned up on a TV talent show on an obscure cable channel. Although he didn’t win he did well and on the back of this success he turned up in Edmonton, Canada. It turned out that he had boarded the wrong bus after leaving the TV studios in London’s Oxford Street. Ever resourceful he managed to secure the backing of the UK Foreign Office who arranged some bookings at festivals and clubs for him in exchange for two crates of maple syrup and a moose called Nigel. Thus he spent the summer touring Canada and building up a loyal fan base, who both chipped in to help towards his air fare home at the end of the summer.
The last time I met Adrian he’d just returned to the UK and I asked him for an interview, but all he would say to me was “Hey, who are you and what are you doing in my bedroom?” The reason for his secretiveness may have been because he’d been busy recording his 3rd album, Anarchy and Love.
And what a sumptuous package it is. Who’d have thought that scruffy child sticky with homemade cheesecake would one day put together a release of this stature. The wonderful cover photo is embossed onto a stylish plain black background, the lyric booklet is tastefully illustrated with unobtrusive photos and the whole package comes in a classy tri-fold CD wallet. It wouldn’t look out of place on the coffee table next to the John Lewis catalogue and Duchy of Cornwall biscuits.
Oh, and there’s some music on the CD too.
You can find Adrian on Social Media, on-line and on Grindr (username PluckingCheesecakeBoy)
Disclaimers: Most of this is lies. The rest I made up.
Adrian is really quite a talented chap and his albums (actually 4 in total) are all rather good. Anarchy and Love is a masterpiece, and I'm not just saying that to stop him suing me. Find out for yourself by visiting his website where you can listen to a couple of tracks, purchase the album and find out where you can see him perform. adriannation.com or you can find him on Facebook
Any similarity to persons living or dead, with the exception of Adrian obviously, is purely coincidental. If I've inadvertently stolen someones Grindr handle I'm sorry.
Why are you here?
Good question. A while ago, with Adrian's consent, I put up a spoof biography about him. At the time of writing I was listening to Anarchy and Love and enjoying every note. I have now finally got around to writing something approaching a review.