Caravan was formed in Canterbury, England in 1968 by Pye Hastings (guitar/ vocals), Dave Sinclair (keyboards), Richard Sinclair (bass/vocals) and Richard Coughlan (drums).
The four had previously played at various times with a local band, The Wilde Flowers, which also featured Kevin Ayers and future Soft Machine members Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper.
Caravan was the first UK act to sign with American label MGM/ Verve and their debut album, entitled ‘Caravan’ was released late in 1968. It was favourably received by the critics and the debut single, Place of My Own was described as having a ‘gripping compulsion’ with ‘scintillating organ work’. John Peel played the album regularly on his radio show ‘Top Gear’.
A second album saw a move from Verve, as they had closed down their rock/pop division and Decca took up the cause. September 1970 was the release date for ‘If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You’. At this time relationships within the band were strong. They got on well and they looked on course to succeed as a band.
Still together as a unit, the band recorded ‘In the Land of Grey and Pink’ which was released in September 1971. By now a loyal fan base was developing and they were playing some prestigious gigs, for example in front of 250,000 in Rotterdam. The album was described as ‘virtually faultless’ and the band looked set fair for national and international recognition. At this crucial point, Dave Sinclair decided to leave. As Pye Hastings explained, ‘Dave was developing faster than the rest of us and I think he was getting frustrated at seeing other bands of dubious talent getting greater financial reward. The management must have been beside themselves: the band were getting somewhere, a new album is released and the main player decides he is off.’
Steve Miller came in as a replacement for Dave: he had been recommended to Richard Sinclair by Phil, Steve’s guitarist brother. This line up did not go down so well with fans who saw a change to a jazzier feel based around Steve’s piano- orientated keyboards. This style dominated the next album release, Waterloo Lily, released in May 1972. No longer was Dave’s unique keyboard sound – based around his Hammond organ – in evidence. Even Pye’s older brother Jimmy Hastings appeared to be surplus to requirements, appearing only on ‘Love in Your Eye’ on sax and flute, the bulk of this work going to Lol Coxhill.
It was no surprise when the line up disbanded, leaving Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan to pick up the pieces and decide whether to carry on. A change of direction resulted with the addition of Geoffrey Richardson on viola. The line up was completed by Welshman Stu Evans on bass and the well travelled Derek Austin on Keyboards. No album was released by this version of Caravan, although they toured extensively, including a series of dates in Australia, accompanying Slade, Lindisfarne and Status Quo. The reissue of this album on Universal in 2001 does include versions with the Evans/Austin line up, including a completely new track, ‘Derek’s Long Thing’.
In February 1973, another shake up occurred. John Perry, who Pye had previously invited to join the band, signed up on bass and Dave Sinclair agreed to rejoin to make an album and take part in the tour to follow. The album, ‘For Girls That Grow Plump in the Night’ was a return to form, with practically every track written by Pye Hastings. The New Musical Express described the album as, ‘Superior pop music, full of taste, craftsmanship and hard work.’ Melody Maker pitched in, ‘There’s no track that’s less than satisfying. A chart album I hope: the band deserve a break.’
The band then got the chance to try something a little different and recorded an album with the New Symphonia, for which Pye wrote a couple of new tunes. Simon Jeffes of Penguin Cafe Orchestra arranged some of the music, with the bulk of the ‘charts’ arranged by Martyn Ford, with contributions from Don Gould. Martyn was the conductor. Rehearsal time was 6 hours only! The album showed the band in full flight and gave Geoffrey Richardson to show his talents and for him to expand on the earlier versions of the songs. By July 1974, John Perry had moved off to play with Quantum Jump, to be replaced by Mike Wedgewood who had played previously in Curved Air.
With Dave Sinclair firmly re-established in the band, an album was put together. This was originally to have been titled ‘Toys in the Attic’, but they were beaten to it by Aerosmith and had to make do with ‘Cunning Stunts’, which featured Dave Sinclair’s songwriting far more heavily. Two tours of America took place and at one stage the album was the fastest selling import in San Francisco.
Once again wanderlust got the better of Dave Sinclair and he was replaced by Jan Schelhaas who had played in the ‘National Head Band’. An album ‘Blind Dog at St Dunstans’ resulted, with positive reviews again. Melody Maker gave a detailed review of the recording and added, ‘This is a distinguished work, with Coughlan’s driving drums revealing his painstaking craftsmanship. Caravan possess all the attributes: good musicianship, strong songs, an imaginative stage show. They remain one of our most competent bands and eventually will be recognised as such even if takes them another decade.’ Soon after this Mike Wedgewood departed to be replaced by Dek Messecar, and Dave Sinclair returned temporarily to play on a tour to help promote a ‘best of’ compilation from Decca.
A change of label to Arista produced an album, ‘Better by Far’. Despite a good deal of promotion, Caravan were now struggling to maintain the level of support they had previously enjoyed and the advent of punk was rendering bands such as Caravan surplus to record company’s requirements. Even the loyal Geoffrey Richardson decided to go as session work began to come his way – he left on April 14th 1978.
Terry King the band’s old manager signed them up to his own Kingdom Records and a tour and album followed: ‘The Album’, which was released in November 1980. With Dave Sinclair in tow and Geoffrey Richardson guesting, they managed a few prestigious dates including a full house at London’s Dominion Theatre.
All went quiet again however and the band went to ground, although a reunion album was released in July 1982 entitled ‘Back to Front’, featuring the original line up augmented on some tracks by Mel Collins on saxophone. No longer were the band members in music full time. The only dates of any significance were an appearance at the Marquee in 1983 for the club’s 25th celebrations and a ‘final’ gig in Canterbury in 1985.
And so that was that……….or was it? In 1990 Central TV were putting together a series of concerts to focus on bands from the 1970′s and through the efforts of Richard Sinclair, the original bass player, the very first line up got back together to record a set. As a warm up, Caravan played the Canterbury Festival in June 1990, followed by the concert recording at Central Studios in July in front of 400 fans who had discovered what was afoot.
The most unlikely outcome was a gig held that September at Old Buckenham High School in Norfolk where, through persistent and determined advertising, 650 people attended, with many others unable to get tickets. A small number of successful gigs followed, including of course a triumphant return to Old Buckenham in 1991.
With the band members concentrating on other pursuits, it was inevitable that things would quieten down again and the departure of Richard Sinclair on other musical projects added to this. The discovery of old tapes left over from a recording session in 1977 (with Richard Sinclair on Bass), led to a revival of interest and the release of this material under the title of ‘Cool Water’ in 1994. Pye Hastings and Dave Sinclair had done some live dates with a band called Mirage and were therefore ‘up for it’ at the suggestion by HTD records to record a brand new Caravan album.
‘The Battle of Hastings’ emerged in the Autumn of 1995, with the participation of Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlan, Dave Sinclair, Geoffrey Richardson, plus Jim Leverton on bass- an old friend of Geoffrey’s. This marked a true return to form for Caravan, with the songwriting of Pye Hastings back to its very best and the contribution of Dave Sinclair on keyboards, plus his songwriting ability evident on a cracking song, ‘Travelling Ways’ which ultimately gained radio airplay in Britain as well as turning up in Ireland’s Top 40 as a charity single recorded by a group of High School students. A further Caravan recording was released in April 1996, a remake of early classics entitled ‘All Over You’.
To show that the band meant business this time, an Autumn tour was set up, but Geoffrey Richardson was unavailable. This resulted in the return of Jimmy Hastings on saxes and flutes and the addition of Simon Bentall on percussion and Doug Boyle on lead guitar. Jim Leverton, who had already appeared on ‘Battle of Hastings’ was still on board. It was evident from the first rehearsals that this new line up was giving the band a real kick: Simon was bringing out the best in drummer Richard and the stunning guitar work of Doug Boyle was giving Pye a new lease of life. As Pye said at the time, ‘This will give us the chance to extend and vary our songs: Doug Boyle is a powerful player who will add so much and it’s like a breath of fresh air. I’m just the rhythm guitarist and my position is as leader, songwriter and co-ordinator – I’m not the star of the band!’
The concerts took place to a mixed reception. The promotion of the gigs was appalling, which resulted in the cancellation of three of the gigs. However the reception elsewhere was good and the London Astoria had around 1,000 fans calling for more. Confidence was growing and in 1997 a return to the Astoria was accompanied by two successful gigs in Holland organised by Jasper Smit who runs the European Fan Club, plus a date in Dublin. Geoffrey Richardson was now back in the fold.
In 1997 a live album of the Astoria concert was issued and a storming gig took place at the Park Hotel in Diss, Norfolk in May 1998 to a full house, as well as visits to Holland and Germany. Hux records also issued two volumes of live material recorded at the BBC in the 1970′s. Return concerts to Diss and to the Astoria in 1999 confirmed the rise of Caravan, most notably in the number of new and younger fans now following the band. The resurgence continued and in the summer of 2002, Caravan made a triumphant return to the US, playing a gig at Nearfest, New Jersey in front of a sell-out, adoring audience. This was followed by two gigs in Quebec, one of which featured Caravan playing a version of For Richard alongside an orchestra conducted by Martyn Ford.
The departure of Dave Sinclair in late summer 2002, mid way through recordings for a new album, was not a happy situation for either the band or Dave. The ‘re-arrival’ of Jan Schelhaas after an absence of 23 years did at least give the band a new impetus, which led to the completion of the new album, ‘The Unauthorised Breakfast Item’ which was released in September 2003 to great critical acclaim.
The band toured throughout the world in 2004/2005. In November 2004 they played a concert at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London to celebrate their 35th Anniversary. The concert which was recorded for DVD featured Jimmy Hastings and included a short acoustic set, a first in the history of Caravan!
After a memorable concert at the Isle of Wight Festival in June 2005 Caravan placed their last concert in Germany on 19 June. Since then live plans have been shelved due to Richard Coughlan’s ill health. Doug Boyle left the band in 2007.
In 2010, Pye Hastings announced that the band had resumed activity in anticipation of a one-off concert recording at Metropolis Studios for ITV in December. New material was written for a debut performance and the band was joined by Mark Walker on drums and percussion. The gig was a resounding success marking another exciting era for the band. The gig was released in it’s entirety on 2 disc DVD in May 2011 and a truncated version will broadcast on Sky / ITV as part of the Legends series of concerts sometime in the future.
To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the legendary album ‘In The Land of Grey and Pink’, Universal released a deluxe box set in May 2011. The band followed with a well rehearsed almost complete Grey and Pink set at festivals across Europe and a small venue tour of the UK in October.
2012 saw a slow down in the band’s touring activity however they made appearances at many festivals across Europe and were celebrated by the local Canterbury university for their lifetime of work with a special weekend of Prog Rock events, finishing with a battle of the bands and special Caravan concert.
The band were also proud to host their first ever Caravan Convention in Holland by arrangement of Jasper Smit of the Intercontinental Caravan Campaign in October.
In November, Pye Hastings and Geoffrey Richardson were presented with a honorary fellowship for their commitment to the local music scene within Canterbury’s famous cathedral.
To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the equally legendary album ‘For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night’, the band are heading to the road again for an exclusive UK tour in January 2013.
Glenn Tilbrook – Biography
Mention Glenn Tilbrook and most people may immediately think of Squeeze. After all, with his writing partner Chris Difford, Tilbrook was responsible for Top Ten hits all around the world such as “Tempted”, “Hourglass”, “Cool For Cats” and “Up The Junction”. Ever since their first EP in 1977, Squeeze has delighted audiences with their brand of honky-tonk new wave and pithy lyricism, while their stock in the music world has seen the likes of Jools Holland, Paul Carrack and Elvis Costello all contribute to their work.
However, since an acrimonious split in 1998 Squeeze has been on the backburner. Although you might forgive him for resting on his laurels after 13 albums and countless tours all over the world, Tilbrook has continued to write and perform with the same enthusiasm that he brought to Squeeze’s earliest recordings. With his two solo albums, “The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook” and “Transatlantic Ping-Pong”, he proved he’s lost none of the joie-de-vivre that became Squeeze’s trademark. For 2009’s album “Pandemonium Ensues”, he injected some fresh faces by recruiting new band The Fluffers and some prestigious guests in the shape of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. This has been complemented by a conversational live show that is delightfully shambling in its approach – Tilbrook loves blurring the boundary between crowd and performer by performing requests and even taking his audience for walkabouts to set up impromptu gigs!
Although a Squeeze reunion had always looked unlikely, Tilbrook and Difford’s paths slowly began to cross with more frequency, leading to a series of low-key gigs together in 2007. In 2008, super fan Mark Ronson presented them with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, while Lily Allen called them the Robert De Niro of music when they received the Nordoff-Robbins Icon Award. With the addition of former Squeeze bassist John Bentley, and Fluffers pair Stephen Large and Simon Hanson, this lineup has been winning fans all over again with gigs and festival appearances at the likes of V, Oxegen, T in The Park, Guilfest and Latitude, reminding us all of the outstanding back catalogue that Squeeze possess.
Yet it is away from music that Tilbrook is now making his most important contribution. He is a member of the charity Love Hope Strength, set up by his good friend Mike Peters (The Alarm). Work for this has involved record-breaking treks up the likes of Everest and Kilimanjaro with fellow musicians, raising money to buy equipment to help cancer sufferers across the world.
Clearly, for Glenn Tilbrook playing is about enjoying the moment, and it’s that desire and enthusiasm that sets him apart from so many of his peers. Whether he’s playing to a room of 50 people or to a festival crowd, either with Squeeze or solo, Glenn Tilbrook still gets the buzz from playing and making music that is all too rare among his peers or those he has inspired, and marks him out as a perfomer to be cherished.
From the first note of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” sixteen‐year‐old MarcusBonfanti knew he wanted to be a guitar player.
Now 29, Bonfanti has become the sum of all the great music he was exposed to as a young boy growing up in North London. His 2008 debut album, Hard Times, set the scene and sent some subtly effective messages about a new British voice demanding to be heard. 2010’s That Good Am I To You’(Listed in Classic Rock Magazine’s top 50 albums of 2010 & Single “Give Me Your Cash” top 40 songs of 2010) makes good on all those promises. The critical acclaim that both albums received earned him 2 nominations in both last year and this year’ British Blues Awards”for Best Male Vocals & Best Guitar. Last year he was also invited by Paul Jones to perform at his 25 th Year anniversary show at BBC Maida Vale Studios and as special guest at his legendary Cranleigh Arts Centre Christmas gig.
Born to an English Mother and Italian father who was still at University at the time, they preceded to play the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatles and Cat Stevens throughout his childhood but it wasn’t until a friend at school turned him onto Zeppelin and The Doors that his love for the guitar began.
After moving to Liverpool to study music at The Institute for Performing Arts, Marcus decided to leave the college after 2 years and follow in the footsteps of his idols by learning his trade out on the road. He formed a 3‐piece blues band and played 3 sets a night 7 nights a week all over the country picking up valuable experience of how to perform as well as a healthy appetite for late nights and strong Whisky along the way.
Also a member of UK rock band Saint Jude (Nominated as Best New Band in 2011 Classic Rock awards) and playing and recording with legendary singer PP Arnold, Bonfanti has managed to pack a lot into his early musical career. Opening for the likes of Chuck Berry, Robert Cray, Jack Bruce, John Mayal, The Yardbirds, Walter Trout, Ian Siegal, Philip Sayce, Sonny Landreth, Paul Jones, and Beth Rowley. As well as working with Joe Lewis Walker, Johnny Mars, The Selecter, Jimmy Carl Black, Hamish Stewart, Paddy Milner, Earl Thomas, Todd Sharpville
and Findlay Brown.
2012 will see the release of Bonfanti’ much‐anticipated third album as well as dates around the UK and Europe to promote it.
“People can call my music Blues if they want. I love the blues, it’s my favourite genre but I’m takin it somewhere else. I got my own music to play and blues to sing and I’ll keep doin it till the day I die…”
“Bonfanti deserves to become the next British Blues Guitar Hero” The Guardian
“As if Jimmy Page had been reborn as Seasick Steve, he has surely booked a place on the top table of Modern Blues. Utterly spellbinding” The Times
“With a voice like sand & glue, a punchy guitar technique & stockpile of careworn tales, his appeal becomes unisex. Highlights are plentiful” Classic Rock Magazine Blues album of the month
“Varied & confident album. This outing proves Bonfanti has the potential to take the blues somewhere intriguing”. Guitarist Magazine
“This blues guitarist will be loosening the plaster from the ceiling with outings from a powerful new album.” The Independent
ShyChlo bring a fresh and powerful twist to the music world. Creating a blend of Pop, Hip Hop and Rock, accompanied by catchy vocal hooks, sharp, honest, relevant and at times witty lyrics. ShyChlo plays on vocalist Chloe’s persona, the shy girl next door off stage vs the wild, explosive and thought provoking performer on stage.
Since forming in 2008, ShyChlo wasted no time in exposing their music to the masses after being invited to perform at BBC Radio 1′s Big Weekend: The Fringe Festival, the world famous Selfridges department store on Oxford Street, London and supported UK rapper Akala on two of his sell out UK tours.
Throughout last year, ShyChlo were asked to support chart topping acts including Pendulum, Chase & Status, Devlin, Lethal Bizzle, Modestep and P Money. 2011 was a big year for ShyChlo, with their single “Wake Up” receiving extensive radio and TV airplay. They have enjoyed airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC 1Xtra, BBC 6 Music, BBC Kent, various independent local radio stations across the UK and the “Wake Up” music video is on regular rotation on Sky’s Greatest Hits TV.
Adrian Hall, engineer for Black Eyes Peas and Slipknot has expressed his love for the band, describing them as “Rage Against the Machine, born in Hackney, raised on Slipknot, with a secret love of pop melodies, fronted by a female MC. – Love it”
ShyChlo ventured out on their first UK tour last summer, including a date at the iconic O2 Academy, Islington and a slot at the Love Music, Hate Racism festival. More of the same is expected in 2012, with the release of their next single “From A Dream To The Young Supreme,” which includes a remix by Dubstep heavyweights Stinkahbell. They will be touring again this year and are renound for putting on an exciting, explosive, energetic, epic live show. 2012 is shaping up to be a massive year for ShyChlo having already been asked to support Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks, Kids In Glass Houses and the legendary Rev Run of Run DMC.
Skinny Lister are not your average, modern day, gentrified English folk group. Fronted by Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas; a vocalist with a lusty cackle and flirtatious presence, the London based five-piece hail from across England. Borrowing the nickname from the Lister family, pioneers in the use of anesthetic, the band have grown naturally and organically over the past two years. Yorkshire born songwriter Heptinstall, Lorna’s older brother Max, and long-time shanty singer Sam ‘Mule’ Brace, met some time ago at a folk club in London’s Greenwich area. The arrival of Tyneside bassist Dan Gray and the naturally exuberant Lorna lifted them into another realm.
Up on their stomping feet and clicking their heels, the Skinny Lister sound took hold as Dan’s perceptive ballads and folkie idylls were boosted by an eruption of a rambunctious free spirited rum fueled party music. Soon the Skinny Lister sound was charging down the nation’s canals and waterways, bursting into spontaneous song in pubs and clubs, kicking up a summer frenzy at numerous festivals. Over
30 festivals in fact, a nonstop work rate that saw them acknowledged and awarded by PRS as the ‘Hardest Working Band’ of summer 2011. “We travelled hundreds of miles together in a Land Rover with a double bass strapped to the roof, sharing the driving, playing gigs every night and going out to party afterwards. We didn’t make it easy on ourselves but it does bond you as family.”Dan recollects.
Their allure is immediate – at a time when modern homegrown folk music often spells designer bearded, theme park Americanisation, Skinny Lister are a welcome throwback to earthier bands. Their musical blend has something of The Pogues’ infectious camaraderie and jovial recklessness combined with the bucolic English landscape of Alfred Wainwright’s fell walking guides.
Now, captured by producer David Wrench (Bat for Lashes, James Yorkston) on debut album Forge & Flagon, the band’s distinctive qualities make their mark. Titled after a homemade pub ran by Lorna and Max’s family friends, Forge & Flagon marks Skinny Lister as an
outfit who are decidedly more than the sum of their parts. Galvanised by months of road action they transform traditional and contemporary influence into a singular sound. See them live and the impression is fortified. Not least as Lorna’s outgoing crowd connecting personality is replicated by the rum dispensing, skirt hiking, leg shaking, five strong, all female, party starting troupe the Skinny Sisters.
The group’s folk roots go back to Leicester where Lorna and melodeon playing Max spent much of their youth at local folk clubs, hanging out under the stairs as the traditional sound filled the air. When Lorna reconnected with Max and Dan in London she found their interest in the local Thameside folk scene had blossomed to provide an exciting outlet for her newly finessed singing and ukulele skills.
“As soon as they put the diddles, polkas and jigs in there, there was no holding me back,” she laughs.
“We never sat down again,” explains Dan logically.
The folk fever proved infectious and irresistible; “For years on the first weekend after Plough Monday every year, my dad has gone to sing songs and get legless with the local Molly Dancers. I disowned him at the time but now, of course, I join him!” notes Lorna.
“The idea of a whole pub belting out a good tune, it’s what pubs are for,” sighs Lorna.
In an era when singing a song in a pub can get you thrown out for rowdiness, Skinny Lister - not to mention the Skinny Sisters – are a joyful reassertion of community principles.
“If you can capture something like that in a gig, people are going to go away feeling part of something bigger rather than just standing around with a beer,” Lorna reasons.
“We aren’t taking the piss, it’s a serious primal thing. You don’t need to have been a sailor to appreciate a sea shanty.” insists Dan.
The debut album unfurls Skinny Lister’s charms in detail. Up tempo carouser John Kanaka, a trade sea shanty dating from Mule’s early Greenwich days, and stomping celebrations Trawler Man and Forty Pound Wedding; (a song written by Party George – Lorna and Max’s father – which they reinvent with characteristic verve) are winningly contrasted with the reflective coming of age waltz Seventeen Summers, the lovely nature appreciating Peregrine Fly and the skinny-dipping frolics of Colours.
Skinny Lister the stand-apart folk band – not afraid to match sensitivity with a high kicking free for all. Time to open the floodgates and get the deck party started. (But beware the Skinny Sisters, folks – those ladies take no prisoners!)
JANICE GRAHAM BAND BIOG:
Straight out of Wythenshawe, an area that hadn’t really been associated with the cutting edge of Manchester music since the post-punk days of the early Durutti Column et al, come Acid Jazz’s newest signing THE JANICE GRAHAM BAND.
The young Manc band age averaging 21 comprises of Joe Jones (lead vocals/bass), Andy Mortan (guitar), Josh Hunt (trumpet and backing vocals) and Tom Scott (drums and backing vocals), are a true garage band; they formed, rehearsed and played their first gigs in a South Manchester garage in October 2008. The lads had known each other from around the estate (school, playing football, parties, etc) for years. A chance meeting outside a charity shop where Tom and Andy had just bought a drum (Tom wanted to learn the drums) led to the formation of the band. Watching lead singer Joe Jones snake around the stage like he owns the place, you wouldn’t believe that he couldn’t play the bass and had never sung when the band was formed.
Endless jamming in the garage ensued , getting to know their instruments and each other as people
Convention is a difficult little island to skirt around. Stick too close and you end up getting sucked into a colony of sound-alike bands that are indistinguishable apart from subtle variations in the fraying of the tightly worn jeans. Steer too far away from land and you run the risk of becoming the master of your domain; but with pitifully few little souls and sailors to catalogue your mysterious and exotic voyage. Of course, no bugger told THE JANICE GRAHAM BAND any of this. Convention is a word that doesn’t exist in the Janice Graham vocabulary. And as a result the band are quite extraordinary. They kaleidoscope through musical influences at the flick of a plectrum in absolute precision, keeping every song full of deliciously danceable and immediate ideas that are never allowed to become tiresome before swiftly morphing into the next snaking groove or flourishing brass ‘n’ bass interjection.
The JGB sound is heavily fussed with Hip Hop , Funk , Soul , Garage Rock , Jazz , Reggae/Ska influences , but the band are none of these, somehow the band transcend their influences and come out the other side with there own sound.
Formed on Canvey Island in Essex in the early 1970s Dr. Feelgood remains one of the most popular and
exciting live rhythm and blues acts in the world. The raw and uncompromising
style of their performance resulted in the album Stupidity that immediately went to the number one position in
the U.K. charts.
Dr. Feelgood have also enjoyed global success with a string of hit
singles including Roxette, Back in the Night, Milk and Alcohol, Down at the
Doctors, She Does it Right, Going Back Home and See You Later
Alligator – which gave the group their first gold record.
The last album to feature Lee Brilleaux – Down at the Doctors, was recorded
live at the Dr. Feelgood Music Bar on Canvey Island, (now the site of the
Oysterfleet Hotel) just two months before he died.
The current line up features the rhythm section Kevin Morris on
drums and Phil Mitchell on bass, approaching 27 years in the band and Steve
Walwyn on guitar who has been with the band for 20 years. Vocalist Robert Kane (formerly of the
Animals) is the most recent addition – joining in 1999.
In 2000 EMI records released Chess Masters, Dr. Feelgood’s
tribute to the Chess Label, home to many of the finest blues artists of the 20th
century and the first album to feature Robert on vocals and harmonica.
Recent releases include a DVD – Live in London and CD Repeat
Prescription – a collection of some of the bands most enduring songs but
with a fresh approach.
Julien Temple’s film Oil City Confidential released on 2nd February 2010 tells the story of
the bands formative years featuring the Wilko Johnson era.
The band continues to tour extensively throughout the World.
Formed in the working class suburbs of industrial Birmingham in England in 1978 The
Beat arose at a time of high unemployment and social upheaval. From the outset
the band offered messages of hope and peace with an insight into sociopolitical
topics would later alongside The Specials see them heralded as forerunners of
the whole 2-Tone Ska movement
Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling led with vocal duties while Andy Cox and David Steele
took guitar and bass duties with Everett Morton supplying the most distinctive
of drumming styles. Added to this mix was the renowned saxophonist Saxa, adding
the deliciously warm Jamaican ska instrumental flavour that is forever
associated with the bands sound. Having played saxophone with Prince Buster,
Laurel Aitken and Desmond Dekker in the first wave of ska The Beat on formation
seemed to immediately come of age.
The Beat’s first single was the infectious cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears of
A Clown’ which on release went straight into the National Top 10 at No.6.
The record, an effortless like fusion between a number of different musical
styles such as Ska, Punk, Pop, Soul and Reggae, immediately saw the band
finding themselves an overnight success.
Further hit singles from the first album included ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’, ‘Can’t
Get Used to Losing You’, ‘Hands Off… She’s Mine’ and ‘Best
Friend’, and with a catalogue such as this it was easy to see why the The
Beat would become one of the most popular recording and live acts in the UK.
Huge radio airplay followed in the US which saw The Beat head stateside and then
further with world tours alongside some of the biggest performing artists such
as The Clash, The Police, REM, Talking Heads, The Pretenders and
of course The Specials.
While The Beat could deliver with what almost seemed effortless ease songs of Love,
Peace and Unity. Songs such as ‘Stand Down Margaret’ saw them spearhead
a movement wanting real social change and multicultural inclusion. The
thousands that sang along in unison with the band at nuclear disarmament
marches bear testament to the uplifting feeling the band could evoke with their
musical swagger and genuine care for humanity.
After 3 Gold and Platinum top selling albums worldwide with ‘I Just Cant Stop It’,
‘Wh’appen’, and ‘Special Beat Service’ – The Beat’s musical
fluidity and openness, delivered in their explosive all encompassing live shows
allowed them to reach hundreds of thousands of fans across the world,
communicating positivity and freedom through not only their music, but their
actions and genuine commitment to causes.
Almost in reaction to the height of their fame The Beat to the disbelief of many
disbanded with Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling forming General Public with
Mickey Billingham of Dexys Midnight Runners and Andy Cox and David Steele
putting together the Fine Young Cannibals. Though both enjoyed phenomenal
success, no other artist has sounded like The Beat or indeed is ever likely
too. Ranking Roger also briefly joined Mick Jones’ post-Clash band Big Audio
Dynamite injecting his toasting and vocal style that to this day remains his
After numerous offers to return to the stage The Beat returned in 2003 for a sell out
show at The Royal Festival Hall with the inclusion of Ranking Jnr taking vocal
duties to an accolade of critical acclaim. With Dave Wakeling heading to the US
Ranking Roger alongside Everett Morton, Ranking Jnr and Mickey Billingham
returned to their roots with deeper rhythms, a wall of sound that transcends
time and an unwavering dedication to real unity and love that leaves the future
still to be written, there can be no question…The Beat are back!
In 2011 Derek W Dick, better known as Fish, will rack up 30 years as a singer since joining Marillion in
Aylesbury in 1981. His powerful identifiable presence on and off stage was a
major factor in their worldwide success. He left them in ’88 to pursue a solo
career and return to live in his home country, establishing himself in
Haddington, East Lothian, and building his own recording studio where he still
This summer will see the writing and recording of his next studio album “A Feast of Consequences” and
this will coincide with his first countrywide tour of the UK in years. Some of
this new material will debut on the tour.
He returned to live performances last Summer with acoustic shows featuring his long term friends
and musicians Frank Usher on guitar and Foss Paterson on keyboards playing
stripped down acoustic versions of songs from throughout his career in preparation
for the writing sessions for his new studio album.
By the time he begins the tour he will have completed over 100 shows in a format which had originally intended to be a reintroduction to live work but which has captured the imagination of
his fans and taken him across Europe followed by rave reviews and a
re-examination of his work as a singer and writer as well as a consummate
performer whose act is both dramatic, comedic and hugely entertaining on all
Backed by Frank and Foss , who have both played in John Martyn’s celebrated line ups, the deconstruction of songs from the Marillion era like “Fugazi” and Incubus” and “Jigsaw” stand well
together in an acoustic format with classics “Kayleigh” and “Lavender” while
the solo years are represented with “State of Mind”, ”A Gentleman’s Excuse Me”,
”Brother 52”, “Just Good Friends”, ”Zoe 25” and the epic “Vigil” in a set that
embraces a recording career which includes 13 studio albums.
The acoustic versions take on a new majesty and intimacy, shining a new light on his song writing talents
and, together with Fish’s stories and anecdotes, come together to make a fascinating
and rewarding evening of entertainment that shouldn’t be missed.
worldwide, released three albums and 12 Top 40 singles, including 3 Top 10s and the Top 5 hit Good Enough, still a staple of the Radio 2 playlist; sold out the Brixton Academy for three nights in a row and were awarded an unprecedented 90-minute Saturday evening slot on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival in 1997 just before Radiohead. Not bad, considering that they also partied harder than an Ewok.
signing to A&M Records, around the same time as they inked a publishing deal after they made two A&R men battle for their signatures in a pub video football competition. The partnership with A&M generated three albums of life affirming, beautifully crafted songs – The Dodgy Album (1993), Homegrown (1994) and Free Peace Sweet (1996).
and still does, working with troubled, “difficult” kids which the mainstream schooling system has almost given up on – bringing them into his studio, writing songs with them, finding out what they’re good at and trying to make them feel that they are not ‘worthless’.
into the set, slowly and surely building up enough songs for new album which they are recording in Malvern and getting mixed in Denton, Texas by Matt Pence who mixed the John Grant and Midlake albums, amongst others
last one… and that was brilliant. The fans deserve it, they’ve waited long enough, so they don’t mind waiting a bit longer”
choruses and stronger melodies, recorded mainly over the month of May in an old farmhouse in Malvern, the original members, Nigel Clark, Andy Miller and Mathew Priest have recorded their best work to date.
based on an old Malvern myth about a pissed off monk.
Records to coincide with the tour in Autumn.