Archive for the Rehearsals Category

Band Rehearsals

Posted in Bands, Gigs, Rehearsals on February 7, 2012 by WeeMann

For the last few years I’ve been focussing my attentions on building my business and have backed off from playing in bands. Alchemy has been a constant in my life, particularly over the last 4 or 5 years, as we have decided to make an effort to get together more frequently and perform the occasional gig (see old blog entries here and here). This year will be tricky in that respect as Harj is working on the Olympics and will struggle to get time away, but we’ll still get together when we can and certainly next year.

Otherwise I’ve had short stints with Engines of Creation, Queen On Fire and Usual Suspects, although none have lasted long for various reasons (musical differences!), but nothing has lasted in the way that I’d like.

Hopefully this is about to change.

In the later part of last year I received a call from Keith Brough, friend of a family I know well, the Eastments (I’ve played with Steve in a few bands and Andy runs The Smash Room studios in Telford). he asked if I wanted to play bass for his band, previously known as 10%, now re-named Rock Fever. I decided to give it a go for various reasons, not least of which was it would get me playing with new people again and back on the circuit.

Rehearsals have been going well and we played our first gig in early January. Not the best time to play as few people wanted to go out and spend money so soon after Christmas, but it got us playing and didn’t go too badly under the circumstances, these circumstances also including the fact that Simon, our drummer, had just decided that he wanted to devote more time to his other band, so this would be his last with us. We’ve been auditioning drummers since then and have a gig with Granville Davies on drums this week at The Duke Of York in Oakengates and will start rehearsing a new drummer next week. More details to follow…

Funnily enough, as we were waiting to play that evening, I received a text from my drummer friend, Jason Chambers, asking if I wanted to be part of a comedy tribute band based on Foo Fighters. My answer was yes and so I find myself a couple of rehearsals into Fat Fighters:

Fat Fighters

Fat Fighters, Feb 2012

It’s early days, but it’s sounding great and we all feel the band has real potential. I’ll keep you updated as the band takes shape.

Within a week or so, I took a call from another musician asking if I’d like to form a band. Ed Conway is a guitarist on the Newport circuit and we played together last summer at a garden party. The band had been put together by mutual friend, drummer Paul Crewe, and consisted of five of us performing with little, if any, rehearsal. The gig was a resounding success (despite a powercut halfway through our performance of Happy Birthday for the host’s daughter) and we parted on the agreement that we would have to do something further. Fast forward to January and Lost The Plot is formed. A stripped down version of the band that played last summer, Lost The Plot is a 3-piece consisting of Ed on acoustic guitar, Paul Crew on drums and myself on bass playing stripped down rock and rock’n’roll with a sense of fun (“Madcap Acoustic Mayhem” is the suggested tagline). Sunday saw our first rehearsal (immediately after a FF rehearsal) and things sound good straight out of the box. Gigs are already coming in thick and fast and I can’t wait to get this one rolling.

As it stands, our first gig is Sunday 29 April at The Wrekin Inn in Wellington, but keep an eye on my gig calendar for more news of appearances near you.

So, from no band to 3 bands in the space of a couple of months. The plan is that the three bands should be able to co-exist with little in the way of clashes. I certainly hope so, as they all offer me different challenges and musical styles.

Watch this space for updates.

It’s Been a While…

Posted in Bands, Rehearsals on September 15, 2010 by WeeMann

…Again! I just don’t get round to blogging, although I’m finding it easier to use Twitter now that I have finally got a Smartphone.

So. Music & bands. Not with Usual Suspects any more. Not entirely sure why, except to say it seems to be bloody Lead Singer Syndrome. Mike and Steve were blamed, but both have been fine with me since (we started on Mike’s songs recently). As someone said, with singers it’s all Doh Ray Me Me ME!

Still, it means I can be more relaxed about my commitments with Alchemy, which involve a Country and Western party in a couple of weeks. Country…? No, too easy! This weekend should be interesting with various songs from outside our comfort zone being rehearsed.

Beyond that, I have plans for a new band, it’s just a case of finding the right people…

More to follow. Soon.


Alchemy And The New DoddCabs

Posted in Rehearsals on March 1, 2010 by WeeMann

So, this weekend saw me travel south to meet up with Harj, Ray, Griff and Dodd, the rest of Alchemy (AKA The Hair Bear Bunch).  Since I moved up here and the others have moved apart we’ve decided to get together for occasional one off gigs as an excuse for seeing one another and having a damn good time.  We’re currently preparing for a gig in Telford in the Spring so Saturday saw an all day rehearsal.

Musically all as sounding as good as ever, with us resurrecting an old favourite – Iron Maiden’s Phantom Of The Opera.  It hurts to play, but it sounds fantastic and we all had silly grins on our faces as we blundered our way through it.  We also added a couple more new songs to the set list and, as the day drew to a close, we decided to polish up another favourite – Ace Of  Spades by Motorhead.  As Dodd was setting up a tone for the song I started a slow groove of the bass riff.  Before I knew what was going on the rest of the band had joined in and we now have a totally unique take on the classic, almost a lounge jazz style feel.  Odd, but remarkably cool.

Beyond what we were playing, another aspect affected our sound this weekend.  We all still play through (pretty much) the same gear as we always used and this means a multitude of large, unwieldy, 4×12 speaker cabs.  When playing small pubs this can quickly get problematic as we end up outnumbering the audience.  Dodd came up with an idea a couple of months ago and Saturday saw the first outing of the result of this idea.  I won’t go into detail here, but the upshot is a small, portable, yet powerful speaker cab, The DoddCab:


Harj Kallah demonstrating the prototype DoddCabs

The sound was incredible.  Harj has always had a very powerful tone, but for the first time it sounded very detailed and focussed.  Plus we didn’t break our (now ageing) backs moving them around.

Dodd’s off building me a bass cab now (in oxblood red to complement the blue of Harj’s cabs) and I can’t wait.

News of the Alchemy resurgence will follow on here.

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