It’s not every day of the week a Harrogate music fan with no prior experience launches a boutique record label from the “back of a beer mat” in the Coach and Horses pub with the help of a Status Quo legend.
So how did ex-IT professional Jason Hodgson manage to pull off not only the formation of Barrel and Squidger Records but also the release of a new EP featuring both ex-Status Quo drummer John Coghlan and The Wildhearts’ guitarist CJ Wildheart in aid of children’s cancer charity The Shona Smile Foundation?
A combination of natural ‘blagging’ skills, a deep knowledge and passion for rock history and a little bit of luck!
Jason, who is well known locally from his lengthy stint working behind the bar at The Empress on the Stray, said: “I’ve always thought it’s worth asking for things. The worst thing that can happen is that someone says ‘no’.
“I put my ideas for the label on the back of a beer mat and I now run it from my bedroom at home.”
With orders coming in for the EP already from as far away as Australia, things are looking good for Barrel and Squidger Records which is named after Jason’s pub quiz team at the Coach and Horses pub in Harrogate.
A massive Status Quo fan and hardcore collector of rock music releases for 25 years, Jason noticed there had been no real tribute record to Rick Parfitt since his death a year ago.
That he ended up rewriting an obscure Quo track himself, then singing lead vocals on the recording and having CJ Wildheart playing lead guitar on the track is down to good taste and good connections.
Jason said: “I’ve been a researcher for the official Status Quo fan club magazine for years.
“I even interviewed Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi on a train from Stoke once so I knew I’d have to get the permission of their manager to do it.
“I knew CJ Wildheart already because he lives in Knaresborough these days and he had to borrow my record deck once to check out a test pressing of one of his songs.
“I only did the singing as guide vocals at first until CJ said that it had a “good narrative quality” and said I should keep them.”
Produced by John Shepherd of Harrogate’s Homefire Studios, the end result Christmas Eve (Nanana) comes complete with a slick video shot at Berties bar in Harrogate.
It’s just one of three tracks on the new EP which has its official vinyl release on Christmas Eve.
Both of the other tracks are equally notable - Status Quo’s John Coghlan appears on Walkway’s cover of Quo hit Rain, the drummer’s first vinyl release in 30 years, while hard-hitting rock n roll band Massive Wagons provide another Quo tribute - Back to the Stack.
Jason said: “It’s amazing. I used to see these bands when I was at Liverpool university in the 1990s, now I’ve got them on my record label.”
Rock Remembers Rick had its digital release last Friday viabasr.tmstor.es and is also available via Amazon and iTunes.
Vinyl pre-orders can be made at the same web address.