THE legendary Zombies are taking to the road in May.
The band, having celebrated their 50th anniversary last year, are busier than ever these days and are in ever-increasing demand.
“The 50th anniversary shows were absolutely great,” says founder-member and keyboard player Rod Argent.
“It was a very intense year as we toured just about everywhere, and this year is proving to be even more so.”
The band, which features original members Rod and singer Colin Blunstone, along with bassist Jim Rodford (ex-Kinks and Argent – and Rod’s cousin), guitarist Tom Toomey, and Jims son Steve Rodford on drums, has just returned from America where things have gone exceptionally well.
“It was the first of three tours we’re doing of the States this year,” Rod explains.
“We got a fantastic reception and great reviews – even in the South where we have had thin audiences in the past but we’re packing them in now.”
“I don’t know why this is.” He adds, bemused.
The band formed in St Albans in 1962 and had a hit with She’s Not There, which was only the third song Rod composed and was later covered by Santana.
Further success eluded them until the release – in America – of the album Odessey and Oracle (yes, it is supposed to be spelt that way).
The album spawned the single Time of the Season and the album has since become one of the most feted albums ever.
However, the success that should have been theirs was passed up because the band had split up.
Rod formed Argent and Colin had a very successful solo career.
They got back together twelve years ago and have been touring ever since.
Apart from a brief reunion tour by the band Argent last year, Rod says that he is concentrating on The Zombies these days.
“I just haven’t enough creative energy for two bands,” he admits. “So The Zombies has to be the focus, but it takes up a lot of energy and time.”
A new live album is being released around the time of the tour.
“Live in the UK has just ten tracks, it was a strict stipulation by the American distributors.
But it serves as a reminder of how accomplished these musicians are.
Colins’ vocals – a trademark of the band, are as clear as ever – and the solo’s allow the band come creative freedom on stage.
“There’s a lot of improvisation in the set which means that we can play what we feel.” Says Rod.
“The longer solos are always different every night, an exception being the solo during Breathe Out, Breathe In. We play that as written as it’s so short.”
The set list for the UK tour promises to be exciting for the band as well as the audience.
“That’s right,” enthuses the youthful keyboard maestro.
“Obviously there are tracks that we have to play and of course we’ll do a selection from Odessey and Oracle as well as Argent’s Hold Your Head Up and some of Colin’s solo stuff.
Motown legend Jimmy Ruffin says that Blunstone’s cover of his What Becomes of the Brokenhearted is his favourite version.
“We recently came across Tom Petty’s version of our I Want You Back Again which we haven’t played, so we may include that this year; and also some very old ones like You Really Got a Hold On Me and Going Out of my Head.”
After the tour, you’d think that Rod and his merry men might take a break- but no.
“On the 8th of June we are playing in Amsterdam, then on the 11th we are off for another four week tour of the States, during which we’ll be headlining the Summerfest open-air music festival in Central Park.”
“After that we’ll have a break before going back to America again.”
Seeing The Zombies on stage, it is apparent that they enjoy what they do,
“We wouldn’t do it otherwise.” States Rod.
The Zombies will be appearing at The Hall for Cornwall, Truro on Friday 3rd May.
Tickets are available from the Box Office on 01872 262466 and from all the usual agencies.
FOLLOWING the recent BBC 4 documentary, interest in the duo that is Chas and Dave has increased. And, bowing to the phenomenal demand by fans after what was supposed to be a farewell tour, they are undertaking on an extensive UK tour.
Chas Hodges (the one on the piano) and Dave Peacock (the bass guitarist), got together as Chas and Dave in 1972 after over a decade earning their living as jobbing musicians. Dave started in a band called The Rolling Stones (no, not that one) and many others, whilst Chas had been in The Outlaws (under the producer-ship of Joe Meek), Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers and the cult band Heads Hands and Feet. It was whilst with the latter band that he decided that he was fed up with singing in an American accent and wanted to perform songs in his own, London accent. He contacted Dave and the duo was born.
They had a string of hits showcasing their cockney-style and jaunty music, which was labelled Rockney. Their debut hit was Strummin, which was about Dave learning to play the guitar (in fact, a lot of their songs are stories), but it was an advert for Courage beer that have them their first big hit with Gertcha. Other hits included Poor Old Mr Woogie, Rabbit and Ain’t No Pleasing You, which – to Chas’ pride – is a ballad sung in a cockney accent. Despite the fact that their image is very ‘London’, they are popular all over the country as well as Australia and America. Chas tells me that it’s their Cockney image that has kept them popular. “We love playing songs that people can join in with. Verybody should sing.” “There’s honesty about our music, we enjoy it and we entertain.” “People always leave with happy, smiling faces, and that’s how it should be.” But, they have fallen foul of the dreaded BBC censor in the past. “Yeah,” Chas laughs. “They objected to the word ‘cowson’ in Gercha and they asked me not to sing it. I did though.” However, the BBC didn’t catch on with the use of the trade name Sainsbury’s in Rabbit. “Nah, they never objected to that for some reason.” Chas then reminisces. “I remember that a mate of mine, Mark Lamarr, actually went in Sainsburys and asked if they did sell rabbit.” “And they said that they did – it was in the cat food!”
Another aspect of some of their songs is the tongue-twisting lyrics in songs like Rabbit and Diddle Umma Day. Chas explains. “With Rabbit, it was OK, but once we’d recorded it, the real test was doing it live.” “For a while, we used to have it written out, but we’ve been doing it so long that we’ve got it off pat now.” Despite their success and popularity, they seem to have been ignored by music historians and reference book compilers. “I don’t know why that is,” Chas says, perplexed. “We’ve always been respected by other musicians, as they have always seen what we’ve got.” “And we’ve always been popular, but we’re sometimes seen as a novelty act.” “But nowadays, we’re getting some respect – if anyone really thinks that we’re just a novelty act, then I don’t think they’ve got a soul.”
Following the retirement of long-time drummer Mick Burt – who worked with Chas in the Rebel Rousers, they now have a new drummer behind them. “Yeah,” Chas says, “Mick retired about three years ago, me son’s on drums now. He’s called Nik.” The TV documentary showed Dave indulging his spare-time passion for restoring gypsy caravans, but nothing was said about Chas. Well, I’m always writing songs, but I’ve also got an allotment – I’ve been growing me own veg since about 1972.”
The tour will of course feature all the hits and much more and both Chas and Dave are looking forward to it. “We, so pleased that we’re still gigging at our age, I always say that I’m at least 50 (he is in fact 69 and Dave is 67), you’re as young as you feel.” And when the duo isn’t working, Mr Hodges has the Chas Hodges Band with whom he’s just released an album. “Yeah that’s right. It’s called Together We Make Music and it’s a tribute to all the people I’ve worked with: Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles et cetera.” And his book about his career and that of Chas and Dave is about to be released again as a paperback. Good-time music and a good laugh is guaranteed at their shows. “It’s all very well playing good music, but you have to have fun as well.” Says Chas.
Chas and Dave will be bringing their show to Exeter University on Friday June 7th.
Tickets are available from the Box Office and all the usual agencies. www.exeterboxoffice.com/diary.aspx
Simple Minds live 2013
Following a summer of festival appearances and their hugely acclaimed 5X5 tour, Simple Minds will be performing their Greatest Hits Live next year on a huge 28 date tour.
Simple Minds are one of the UK’s most successful rock groups to date. Having topped America’s Billboard chart, the Glasgow band have achieved six No.1 albums in the UK as well as hitting the top spot in countless other territories including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Simple Minds are also arguably one of the best live bands in the world and over a thirty year career have been responsible for some of the most innovative and enduring anthems in rock music. Expect to hear songs from their extensive back catalogue including ‘Alive and Kicking’, ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’, ‘Waterfront’ and more.
“When we started Simple Minds, our objective was to be considered as one of the great live bands. A band that had the desire to go all around the world – playing everywhere and anywhere. That challenge is ongoing and we will relish touring the UK next Spring, getting up close to so many who have supported us over the last three decades and more” says Jim Kerr.
9th April Plymouth Pavilions
15th April Bournemouth 02 Academy
29th April Bristol, Colston Hall
30th April Portsmouth, Guildhall
For more details and dates please visit www.simpleminds.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Exposed In The Light Tour 2012
THE SUNDAY TIMES described them as “the best tribute band in the world” and Floyd drummer Nick Mason has gone on record as saying that “they probably do Floyd better than we do”.
TRIBUTE band extraordinaire The Australian Pink Floyd Show, whose skill at their renditions of Floyd classics led to them being the band chosen by Floyd guitarist David Gilmour to play at his 50th birthday party, is touring the country again
with an updated show.
Their sound is uncannily like the original band and during a concert, if you close your eyes, you could easily believe that they were the originals.
But it’s best not to close your eyes though, as like the band they so faithfully reproduce, they have a light show that is second to none, with not just lasers, but massive inflatables making their shows a treat for all the senses.
It helps that all the band are Pink Floyd fans, and some of the backroom team behind the Aussie Floyd Show – or TAPFS as the name is usually shortened to – worked behind the scenes for Pink Floyd themselves!
One such veteran is Front of House Engineer Colin Norfield, who is controlling the state-of-the-art sound and light system.
The band is renowned for pushing the boundaries both sonically and visually and last year they introduced 3D visuals to augment the songs.
“They actually went very well,” says keyboard player and founder-member Jason Sawford.
“OK, they were a bit of an experiment, but it was pretty successful. Definitely a ‘Floydy thing to do.”
Jason, relaxing in Wroclaw, just before the Polish leg of the ‘Exposed In The Light’ tour (with the name taken from a line of the lyrics in the song ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ says.
“We’ve just arrived here from the Czech Republic and so far the tour is going well. From Poland we go to France, Germany, Holland, Ireland and then the UK.”
The band, which was originally formed in 1988 in Melbourne, still has two of the original members in Jason and guitarist/vocalist Steve Mac, explains that they constantly update the show.
“Well, this year we have more video material with some psychedelic themes, a redesigned light show, the inflatables and quadraphonic ‘surround’ sound; all of which is controlled by Colin Norfield, who handled Pink Floyd’s ‘Division Bell’ tour.
From humble beginnings in Australia, TAPFS has become a worldwide phenomenon, with ticket sales of over three million.
Bassist Colin Wilson, who joined the band in 1992 states, “For us, of course, the music has always come first. We like to breathe life into some material that would otherwise not get heard.”
During last years’ tour, they did indeed cover some lesser known tracks including ‘Dogs’ from the ‘Animals’ album.
“Yes,” agrees Jason, his once strong Australian accent now almost non-existent. “We’re still doing some older tunes, but a different selection exploring the psychedelic, space-rock side of Floyd.”
“We are doing ‘Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun’ and a newer version of ‘Astronomy Domine’ and from ‘Animals’ we’ve got ‘Pigs’ and ‘Sheep’.
“Also, we’ve got a few references to Syd Barratt (the genius behind the early Floyd whose reliance on drugs led to him being sensationally sacked by the band).”
The boys from Oz are not forgetting the best-known songs though.
“No, we are doing a fair selection from ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ with songs like ‘Time’, ‘Money’ and ‘Us and Them’ plus ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Within The Flesh’”.
Also, for this tour, they have a special guest. Singer Lorelei McBroom will be joining the band on stage. Lorelei toured as a backing vocalist with Pink Floyd on their ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason’ and ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder’ tours.
“It’s quite an honour to have Lorelei with us,” Jason tells me.
“It makes for a spectacular performance of ‘Great Gig in the Sky’ and she has been telling us stories about Floyd.”
There’s been a few new faces in TAPFS recently.
“That’s right,” says Jason, “And they’ve all been doing nvery well.”
“David Domminney Fowler on guitar in particular. He’s a great asset and also helps out behind the scenes.”
Some of the venues on the tour are in theatres and some in arenas, but apparently the size of the venue doesn’t detract from the shows.
“No,” asserts Jason, “We have a capable crew who can get as much of the show in as possible. All that may happen is that we might not be able to fit all the inflatables in at some of the smaller venues.”
He continues, “However, we should be able to get all the lights and lasers in – plus the smaller places are a bit more intimate.”
“We try not to alter the show too much.” He reassures me.
But what happens nest? They seem to have now out Floyded Floyd in almost every aspect of the show.
“There’s always the problem of what to do next,” says Jason.
“We could perhaps pay tribute to another album like we did with ‘Dark Side’ a few years ago; we could do different themes – say the Syd Barratt years et cetera.”
“Our plans vary from year to year, but for this year we are looking at doing some summer shows, plus we hope to do a lot more in America; we had a very successful tour there in 2011 and we are going back later this year.”
“And we are taking footage during the tour and we hope to put together a documentary DVD.”
The Australian Pink Floyd Show will be performing Pink Floyd’s classic songs, at the Plymouth Pavilions on Tuesday 27th March. Tickets are priced at £29.50 (subject to a booking fee) and are available from the Box Office and all the usual agencies.
Written by Martin Hutchinson.
For more information and to book tickets for Plymouth Pavilions contact the box office 0845 1461460 or check the website www.plymouthpavilions.com
For more information and tickets for other tour dates check their website www.aussiefloyd.com
Live in Concert @ The Riviera International Centre – Sunday 25th March 2012
“Make a date to see McFly on Sunday 25th March when they visit the Riviera International Centre as part of their Up Close And Personal UK tour.
McFly’s debut album, Room on the 3rd Floor, hit number one in the UK Album Chart in 2004 – making them the youngest band ever to have an album debut at
The album produced a series of Top Five hits, including Five Colours in Her Hair, Obviously, That Girl and Room on the 3rd Floor.
As of November 2010, McFly have had 18 consecutive top twenty singles, seven of which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart and 15 of which
were consecutive top ten singles. They have sold an estimated eight million records worldwide.
They are currently working on their sixth studio album, and will most likely have the record ready for the end of the year.
Tickets to be released for sale on: Saturday 3rd December 2011, 9am, from the Riviera Centre Box Office on 01803 206 333.
(Under 14′s must be accompanied by an Adult)
Following his recent TV appearance on BBC 2 Television’s Later With Jools Holland, WILKO JOHNSON, the legendary former guitarist of Dr. Feelgood, is pleased to announce an April 2012 UK Tour with very special guest Virgil and the Accelerators.
Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday October 28th. Ticket Hotline: 0844 478 0898. Book Online: www.thegigcartel.com. Fans can take advantage of a special 48 hour ticket pre-sale from 10am on Wednesday October 26th via www.eventim.co.uk and www.ents24.com
April 2012 Tour Dates -
Buxton Pavilion Arts Centre (April 5)
Sale Waterside Arts Centre (April 6)
Clitheroe Grand (April 7)
Newbury Arlington Arts Centre (April 12)
Tavistock Wharf (April 13)
Penzance Acorn Arts Centre (April 14)
Bristol Tunnels (April 15)
Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Theatre (April 19)
Stockton ARC (April 20)
Lincoln Drill Hall (April 21)
Bury St Edmunds Apex (April 22)
Leeds Wardrobe (April 26)
Dunfermline Carnegie Theatre (April 27)
Stafford Gatehouse Theatre (April 28)
Bridport Electric Palace (April 29)
In April, Wilko will release his autobiography ‘Looking Back At Me’. Fender will issue a Wilko Johnson customised signature Fender Telecaster. Wilko will also reprise his role as The Executioner in the second series of HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’, broadcast on Sky Atlantic. EMI will release a boxed set of three CDs and DVD in April. The CDs will include a mix of the first four Dr. Feelgood albums, along with previously unreleased material. A new Wilko Johnson studio album is also in the pipeline.
For more information http://www.noblepr.co.uk/Press_Releases/wilkojohnson/uk-tour.htm
The Reason 4 are supporting Peter Andre at Crealy Rocks on Saturday 13th August – Paul Murphy was lucky enough to catch up with them recently
When i first met these guys i was instantly put at ease as they are very down to earth guys and coming from humble upbringings in Southampton they know the importance of enjoying every minute of their new found success, although it isn’t a success that has happened overnight.!! The guys, Marc, Nathan, Glenn and Scott had been childhood friends and have been singing together for over 10 years bringing their different styles of music together to create the distinctive sound that they have created with this group… After an unsuccessful attempt at the first X Factor the guys took the knockback on the chin and started to work closely on their harmonies and arrangements which form the cornerstone of their group today, they then decided to brave the 2010 x- factor auditions and impressed the judges with a rendition of Cheryls Coles ‘Fight for this Love’…
Today they are signed to SonyATV and they are releasing their new single ‘ Take it all’ on 7th August…this is to be followed by their debut album ‘ Crying out Loud’ in the autumn of 2011….
They have a very busy schedule in the next few weeks before they return to Devon for the brilliant Crealy Rocks event supporting Peter Andre which is one of fourteen dates they have booked in with Peter.. They will appear on ‘This morning’ on 27th July and then they head to Leeds for a big outdoor music festival, also in the pipeline is a trip to Majorca and another big outdoor concert performing with some great artists in Bridlington including Lulu..
They have a passion for the songs they create as they draw on the bands personal experiences in life and have been heavily involved with the production of all the songs on their debut album.. Their style is very much ‘Westlife’ meets ‘The Script’ but there is a touch of rock music in there too..
With knock out good looks and a charm to match they are sure to be a sought after group for the younger generation but i can see their music winning a lot of people of all ages over..
They really work as a team when it comes to structuring their songs and delivering the lyrics, and their friendship is obvious to see as they share a healthy banter while the interview is in progress..
All the guys said to me they love their food but if your hoping to bump into them in town then take a close look as you pass the window of Nando’s as they all agreed this was their personal favourite place to eat..
Their musical influences range from Westlife and Stevie Wonder to Michael Jackson and even their hometown singer Craig David…
They are really excited to be performing at Crealy Rocks and cant wait to have the crowd singing their new single back to them on what they believe will be an awesome day..
The future looks bright for these guys and im sure it wont be long til we see their songs racing up the charts…
A Blast from the future!!
This editions’ exclusive interview and featured artist is legendary Simple Minds front man Jim Kerr with the release of one of the most highly anticipated solo projects of 2010. Having enjoyed a successful career with Simple Minds for over 30 years, Jim now has a collection of his own songs. From the influences and inspirations that paved the path for one of the most influential bands in history, Jim created an alter ego “Lostboy! AKA” to perform and compose songs which recreate the inspiration and the desire he felt as a frustrated young musician.
As with all songs that Jim has written over the years, to find the true essence of any song is to play it live and that same ethos is transpired to Lostboy AKA. I caught up with Jim to find out what is behind this build up of songs that have been drifting around with him for all these years and why now! Talking from Nice in the South of France a relaxed Jim Kerr, confidently talks about the past, present and the future, with a great insight on how this relentless creative spirit, keeps on rising!
JS) Jim, Who is this Lostboy character?
JK) I wanted to do something that took me back to the beginning, I have felt for a while now that I have some kinda unfinished business to attend to, it’s been burning for a wee while and more so recently. I had this feeling that this would happen some day but never knowing when and even more so if there would be a right time! I have, over the years found a way to revisit the past, which I’m totally ok with. I have been blessed with a great career with Simple Minds and that story has many chapters still to write, but at the moment I have the creative bug that’s burning brighter than ever before. It’s hard to contain sometimes, I love song writing passionately and for some reason I really fancied a new approach to music. Call it a fresh start and the realisation of doing something without a history. A fresh look kinda revitalised me in a way I had never thought possible. As for the timing of this, it just felt right to do this now and since that realisation everything seems to be falling in place. The feeling that brings is great and so far so good!
JS) Why has Lostboy come to see the light in 2010?
JK) It just felt right to get immersed into this now, a few reasons & some bizarre coincidences. The time felt right and I really wanted to do this without a safety net, no parachute! The music has to stand up on its own merits. As with Simple Minds all songs are born to be played live and that’s the ultimate test for a good song to a truly great song. I am also surrounded by a great dedicated bunch of people who I love working with. Without that I suppose it would be a different feeling and would I still be doing this? I don’t know! I wanted it to be part of a different story. The Simple Minds sound track is constantly evolving but does there have to be only one story? Is that how my life is meant to be? I don’t think so! I thought a lot about that, after the 30th anniversary tour, it hit me more than I would ever have contemplated. It is good to go back and have a look at the past but you need to find and live that balance – the future is the place we’re going now!
Another major factor is the recording/music business itself. This wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago as we have always been tied into some contract where you can’t do this or can’t do that. The thing that I disliked the most is the way it was structured, it was a case of doing only one project at a time. There are so many bands and artists that have numerous projects on the go & I always like the idea of that artistically and it keeps life interesting.
As a musician I find myself constantly looking for that creative pot of gold! It’s the same with Simple Minds – on a few occasions I felt we‘d found it! But even so there is so much still to be discovered!
Simple Minds are also having a wee bit of time out at that moment and apart from a few gigs down under, I had the time to look at Lostboy AKA plus the raw excitement and positive reaction to the demos! All roads just led to where I am now!
JS) Why the name Lostboy AKA? Wouldn’t Jim Kerr suffice?
JK) Good question, I felt a Jim Kerr album wouldn’t be as challenging and maybe looked upon as predictable. I wanted to create a character born out of frustration and eagerness and to create an entity all on its own. I wanted to emphasise on what I had within that needed to break out – a person consumed within a person! The idea of going back to when I was a kid and trying to find a way to communicate with the desire to succeed and elaborate on so many influences that contributed to my career, a kinda path I would have taken if Simple Minds had never of happened. Lostboy is a part of me within me! Call it an alter ego!
JS) Describe the music Jim – will the Lostboy sound be similar to Simple Minds?
JK) Of course there will be some characteristics the same, I have sung with Simple Minds for years and my voice is still the same. Charlie Burchill has always played a major part to the Simple Minds sound, live and on record, and of course all the other musicians we have played with over the years. The instant connection of my voice will be there but there is a new originality to the music, a lot more space, and by using different musicians the whole thing has a very different feel to it. If there were any references to Simple Minds it would be only in the very early days. Jez Coad plays guitar on the album and it has a completely different approach and vibe to it. Jez also produced the album and he is a very talented producer.
JS) what can we expect with Lostboy AKA Live?
JK) Lostboy AKA live is what I am looking forward to the most. The level of musicianship I have immerged myself into is exceptional and the set is going to be full of energy and passion. Lostboy AKA kicks off on the 21st May in Aberdeen; Glasgow the following night, down to London on the 23rd and there is also going to be a handful of European dates to follow shortly. We’re playing tiny intimate clubs which I always like. It also takes me back to the beginning, with Simple Minds – what better way to start the ball rolling in a tiny club with everyone going nuts!
We also intend to play some very rare Simple Minds songs have never been played live before. We are still working on them now but I can promise all the Lostboy gigs will be very special nights indeed; I would love to take “Lostboy! AKA” around the world. These small intimate gigs are just the start of things to come and that’s a promise!
- She Fell In Love with Silence
- Return of the King
- Red Letter Day
- Remember Asia
- Bulletproof Heart
- Nail Through My Heart
- Solo man Solo Head
- The Wait
The album “Lostboy! Aka ” will be released on May 17, 2010
For more information on Lostboy AKA please visit www.lostboyaka.com for live dates, news and of course to buy the album
The music has the same energy you would expect with anything from Jim Kerr - innovative, creative and full of emotion. The whole collection of songs has such a futuristic feel, it’s like nothing you have heard before. This album is not about the past, it’s a glimpse into future, which incidentally, is now!!