What with working on new original songs with, and trying to organise a tour for The Missing Persians, and fitting that around the various function band commitments that pay for my bread and gruel I’ve been pretty busy recently, which has meant I’ve not really been able to find the time to post on here. Not complaining though – it’s been a good summer for functions gigs and the pre-Christmas work has been steadily building which means I can look out for projects that I feel like doing rather than just taking whatever comes!
A real mixture of stuff’s been coming my way – I’ve been rehearsing with the small version of the Blake’s Heaven Big Band (which might be called “Blake’s Seven” or “The Blake’s Heaven Seven” or “The Blake’s Heaven Funk Project”) Whatever it ends up being called, it’s a stripped down version of the big band and plays a much funkier set of Nick Blake original tunes. Still a challenge, but something I can have a real connection with – as a bassist I do love playing the funk… Gigs are being booked for early next year and I can’t wait!
In a very different vein, I’ve also been rehearsing with a couple of guys from one of the function bands I play with – we’re working on some quite challenging material, featuring music by Tony Williams, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Joe Satriani, the Chick Corea Elektric Band among others. Some tricky time signatures and rhythms in much of this but we’re trying to choose pieces which still have a strong melodic content rather than just play things purely because they’re difficult! Still in the early stages but we hope to be doing some warm up gigs soon.
I’ve started working with a Queen tribute band. Queen had a great bass player in John Deacon – not flashy or flamboyant like Brian May or Freddie, but when you actually listen to the bass lines you can hear some very nice melodic stuff going on. Keeping the groove and doing what should be done for the song but with a lovely flourish just where it’s most needed; very satisfying to play. We’re also expecting to start gigging early in 2015. It’s not one of the “yellow jacket” Queen tribute acts, this band aim to recreate the songs with the fullness they deserve with live musicians rather than slavishly finding moustachioed front men and big-haired guitarists (which is lucky as I don’t look much like Mr Deacon).
Talking of Queen, I’ve also got a few gigs with a new band who have been compared to Queen – I’ll be playing with Space Elevator in December and possibly some more dates in the first half of next year. I’ve worked with both the singer and guitarist before and jumped at the chance to work with them again. They write some cracking songs and their singer The Duchess is as hilariously bonkers as you might have been led to believe!
Most recently the band that was Beelzebozo has been busy again. We struggled a bit this year after our singer decided to give up singing and we had some difficulty finding a suitable replacement. In the end it looks like the solution was right under our noses… We’ve promoted from within to fill the vocalist spot and could well have found another musician to join the fold and bring us back to being a four piece band again. The sound is likely to change a bit as we develop our style, but we expect to keep some of the old songs so it’ll be a progression rather than a brand new band. At the moment we’re thinking of it in terms of Beelzebo2.0
Of course, the biggest challenge of 2015 might be fitting it all in – if I get a bigger diary do you think this would help?