In Conversation with Bob Geldof’s Drummer of 25 Years and Author of Timing Is Everything (a Memoir), Niall Power

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There aren’t many people who know me who don’t know how much I love Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats. Even though I’m not always up to date with the latest camp Geldof news, it’s a love that has lasted for 40 years. So, when Bob’s drummer of 25 years (for his solo career), Niall Power, wrote to me through Facebook to advise me of his story since their last Canadian tour, I was at first delighted and then saddened by the news of his retirement from drumming due to Parkinson’s disease. However, it didn’t take long to realize that this is a man who doesn’t let life get him down, which is evident upon reading Timing Is Everything, Niall’s inspiring memoir, published in 2017.

Niall, after reading your book, I was left with the impression that you consider yourself an ordinary man, perhaps quiet and shy, certainly easy-going, who just happened to have a passion for drumming. However, although you never had a plan for your music career, you ended up having quite an extraordinary experience as a session musician, playing for many bands, including Stepaside, Les Enfants, Ordinary Man, Eamonn Gibney, Westlife and most notably, Bob Geldof, with whom you performed for 25 years.

How does a musician get as far as you have in his career without a plan?

I can sum that up in one word, ‘Luck’.

I never set out to be a session drummer and end up playing with so many bands.
As a teenager in the early 1970s, my ambition was to form my own band with my friends, write our own songs and hopefully be the rock gods of the future, like our idols, Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple.

Niall Power 1960

Niall Power in 1960.

My dad was a soldier in the Curragh Camp, Co Kildare, and there were two army marching bands who paraded past our home on most days. I loved their drummers from an early age. There weren’t many teenagers playing musical instruments in the area, so it was always going to be difficult to finalize a lineup for the band.

I was playing the unfashionable accordion and wearing a kilt in the school band during

Niall Power in 1970 on left with accordion.

1970, on left, with accordion.

the ‘Summer of Love’ in 1967. But as soon as I heard The Beatles on the radio, I realized then that I had to learn how to play another instrument to be in a rock band.  I chose the drums after seeing Mickey Dolenz, drummer with The Monkees on television, larking around and generally having fun.

After a few years of practice, much to the annoyance of the neighbors, I finally mastered the art of drumming and set out to join any band that would have me. I had no plan of action for how I was going to achieve this. My armory consisted of my dodgy first drum kit, long hair, a smile and buckets of enthusiasm for the task ahead.

For someone who clearly states in the preface of your book that you are not a writer, I congratulate you on the great achievement of having compiled your memoir, Timing Is Everything, which was written on an iPad with the index finger of your right hand! That, in itself, is a testament to your passion and determination to see a project through to its completion, and your resilience in the face of adversity. You are truly an inspiration, not just because of your drumming prowess, but because of the strength of your character.

I couldn’t help but notice your incredibly positive attitude about life in general and wondered to what would you attribute it?

My attitude to life has never changed from the outset.

I had a very safe and happy childhood and I seem to have kept that feeling with me throughout my musical career. My parents always encouraged me to follow my heart, even though they probably didn’t understand how you could possibly make a living from hitting things, whilst hoping I would come to my senses and get a proper job.  I don’t worry about stuff, including Parkinson’s. Above all, I love playing and creating music, just seeing people in the audience responding in kind to the noise that we make is good enough for me. Not many people get to live out their dreams every day…it’s been some trip.

“And what a drummer. Without question one of the best. I know from whence I speak. In the course of my 40 years playing rock ‘n’ roll, Niall Power is up there/alongside/on par with/equal to literally the Big Hitters. He’s a fucking amazing player.”

 

“Man he can sing.”

 

“He glued the band together. Everyone loved him. He was the spirit of the thing. The joy of it. The love of gigging. The fierce ecstasy of playing music…What a man to travel the world with for over 25 years. What a friend to share so much of your life with. The things we’ve done and seen and been together. He’ll remember. I won’t.” 

~ Bob Geldof, Introduction to Timing Is Everything

In the introduction of your book, written by Bob Geldof, he says that the tedium of touring never seemed to affect you. How was that possible? 

Sure, life on the road can be tedious at times. You’re living in a bubble with other musicians and roadies with deadlines to meet every day. Things can get a bit out of hand, tempers flare, we’d do a bad gig, one person thought the gig was great, the other five thought it was crap. Musicians live for the road and as much as I like travelling on the tour bus (your home away from home), it’s only okay for a few weeks. I loved waking up in a different country each day and going for a walk down the Champs Elysees in Paris after being in Amsterdam the previous night. But you also need to stop touring, stop moving at the speed of sound and be at home with your own family. I have always kept a low profile on the road and steered clear of any aggravation that may have been brewing from time to time. As our tour manager ‘The Mick’ (RIP) used to say, “we’re only up for the day.” 

You played with Bob for the Live 8 concert on 2 July 2005 which was undoubtedly one of, if not the biggest, career high of your life. I know that the experience must have been surreal, but what singular treasured memory do you take away from that event? 

I have many memories from that great day in July at Live 8.

The one that sticks in my mind the most is the fact that I had to play someone else’s drum kit without seeing it first. As I play left-handed, the kit was set up right-handed for the previous band’s drummer. So, I walked on stage in front of thousands of people in Hyde Park, live to the world on television, with no time to swap things around.

The song was ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and was probably the only song that I could play with the kit being the wrong way around. There was also no vocal microphone, so I did the backing vocals, “tell me why”, into fresh air. You can view this video on YouTube.

It was amazing hanging out backstage with all the other acts including Beatle, Paul McCartney, who signed a copy of my Beatles White Album CD cover, which I just happened to have in my pocket. Timing is Everything! 

 

Do you know if Bob has any plans to record a new album? If so, will you be singing background vocals on it? 

As far as I know, The Boomtown Rats are due to release a new album in 2019.

There are no new recording plans for another Bob solo album this year. I would hope to make a cameo appearance on backing vocals, when and if the opportunity arises.

I cannot help but ask, is there anything you can tell Bob’s super fans about him that they wouldn’t already know? 

Niall Power and Bob Geldof

2011 London. Photo by Eddy Valdameri.

I don’t usually comment on Bob, but I will say it has been a great pleasure to have had the opportunity to keep the beat behind him for all those years. I never expected it to last more than one tour. A truly amazing time that I will remember forever. His most thoughtful words to me were when I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He said, “You have a job for life in this band.” I replied, “What if I can’t drum?” He said, “We’ll find something for you to do,” so I ended up playing the spoons. 

Do you think that your remarkable memory is simply due to genetics or a result of years having to remember so many songs? 

I put the memory thing down to the fact that I loved every minute of being in a band. It’s not just the Geldof band, but all the bands that I’ve been involved with. I can recall the musicians, most of the songs and how to play them, the venues, the years, etc.; it just seems to stay with me.

Don’t ask me to add and subtract as that part of my memory is definitely missing. 

Have you ever researched whether spicy food such as the Indian curry you so love, may have a positive effect on your brain?

I never looked into the benefits of spicy food on the brain.

Many musicians have a fondness for Indian curry and while visiting a new town with the band, someone would always be on the lookout for the best Indian restaurant.
My DNA tells me that way back many centuries ago, my ancestors are likely to be of Middle Eastern origin, so that’s good enough for me.

I love that your favourite television program during the 1960s was The Monkees! I was born in 1964 but I also remember watching that show when I was a kid and loving it. Have you ever been able to play with Mickey Dolenz? Did you know that he and Mike Nesmith went back on tour last year as The Monkees Present: The Mike and Mickey Show before Nesmith had a quadruple bypass? It might not be too late for you to jam with them! 

Yeah, as mentioned previously, The Monkees were a big part of my musical influences. Every Saturday evening, they were featured on our RTE channel. We only had one TV station in the sixties and music programs were few and far between. It was always ballad singers or light entertainment TV shows with very little choice for young people. Radio was the only option to hear the pop tunes of the day like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. The Monkees were a breath of fresh air in a dull television schedule.

I met their drummer Mickey Dolenz in Nottingham, England in 1985 when he was working for a TV station. Charming man, and I told him how I would copy his drumming style with my air drumming in front of the television. He’s likely responsible for me being a left-handed drummer as he never seemed to set his kit up the same way twice. He wasn’t a drummer at all, just an actor who played drums in a TV show.

It would be cool to catch up with him again.

One of my favourite sections of your book was on the Thin White Duke. As a lifelong fan of David Bowie, your recollection of having once been his driver delighted me! Do you regret not telling him that you were Bob’s drummer? That was surely a big lesson that timing is everything!!

No, I don’t regret not telling David Bowie that I was a drummer. First rule of employment is that you do the job you were asked to do. My brief was that I wasn’t allowed to speak or ask questions unless I was spoken to. This is normal with celebrities and their hired drivers.

When the opportunity arose and I was just driving David on his own to rehearsal, we did have conversations about various things during the three weeks that I was his band’s driver. Anyway, he did find out that I was a drummer for Bob when both bands played at a concert in Paris a few weeks after my driving job finished.

He was a charming man and I’m so glad I was able to be that close to an icon of the music world.

Niall Power Dubai

Niall Power in Dubai. Photo by Mark Cowne.

Your book contains a very matter of fact outline of your career as a session drummer who travelled the world with many bands, but I noticed that you refrained from including saucy road stories about the types of antics that go on between traveling band mates. Surely, you have one or two amusing anecdotes to share in this regard? 

I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, “What happens on the road stays on the road.”  

Well you can’t blame a girl for trying!

On the road, you’ve rubbed shoulders with some of the greats in the music world. What was the single most exciting moment that you experienced and who was it with?

It has to be my first ever time to play live onstage, at the Liverpool Irish Centre in 1975.

Niall Power age 17.

1975 London, age 17.

For the previous four years I’d been bashing away at home, wondering if I was ever going to get it together as a drummer. I was a roadie for all of 1974 with a local band called Just Four. They invited me to go to England on tour with them and I managed to befriend their support group called Midnight who were based in Birmingham. I stayed in England after the tour and moved to London to stay with my friend Jim Sullivan and his family. Jim was the guitarist when we tried unsuccessfully to start our band in the Curragh some years previously. I had told Midnight that I was a drummer looking for a job, and if they were ever changing their drummer to get in touch with me in London.
I received a letter in the post a few months later to ask if I would like to return to Birmingham and join Midnight. I couldn’t believe it, I had never played onstage with a band before and that first gig in Liverpool was a blast. I was probably terrible on the night, but you have to start somewhere and that was where it all began. 

If you could have played with any musician in the world that you haven’t played with, who would you choose?

It has to be George Harrison.

I just loved his music and his vibe. Over the years I have played in many cover bands who performed Beatles tunes in their sets, but it would have been magic to get a chance to play “Here Comes the Sun” with George. 

You have travelled all over the world in your career. What is your favourite place to visit and why?

It would have to be India. We played there on three separate occasions and I loved it. The music is enthralling, the food is incredible, the friendly nature of the people and the sheer size of the place is amazing.

Driving anywhere is a task only to be undertaken by a kamikaze.

The sounds, smells, colours and the poverty have to be seen to be believed.
A truly wonderful country to visit.

Since you retired from drumming in 2015, you have been absorbed in genealogical research, both for yourself and others. What have you been doing in this regard since the publication of your book?

Initially, I only undertook the genealogical search for my own family tree. I found this process to be very helpful for my Parkinson’s situation as it gave me something positive to do after my diagnosis.

I needed a task to engage the brain, almost like doing a crossword puzzle and trying to find answers to the clues. There are many discrepancies on old documents, and it is painstaking work trying to decipher the handwriting and make sense of the information. I’m sure it helped me take my mind off the fact that I was losing the fine motor movements on my left side and my drumming skill was disappearing fast.

I have helped some friends with their own family research, but I’m not going to make a career out of it as it’s very time consuming.

Many Irish documents relating to births, marriages and deaths were destroyed by fire in the Irish Civil War, and only the 1901 and 1911 census records are available to view.
I’m still active with regard to my own family tree and I’ve traced many relations, in Canada and the USA. 

Are you and your wife, Michelle, still farming or working as entrepreneurs? 

Unfortunately, I can’t work anymore with my left hand shaking. It’s now 11 years since

Niall Power at home

Niall in 2016.

diagnosis and the motor skills on my left side are gradually disappearing. For example, I cannot put a letter into an envelope or hold a newspaper without my hand trembling.

I’m so used to the shaking that it that doesn’t bother me anymore, and even though it’s a progressive and incurable disease, I just get on with it and make the best of every day usually tending to the garden. Michelle is my career. 

Can you tell us more about your diet and exercise regime and anything else that has enabled you to make the best of your life with Parkinson’s disease?

Most people will tell you that they altered their diet after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, which I did. I did it as a reaction rather than a necessity. It’s a scary time and the need to do anything to solve the problem is great. My first move was to get supplements from the chemist and I also tried a course of acupuncture and meditation. No real benefits from any of these.

I was aged 50 at the time of diagnosis and in reasonably good shape, so I joined my local swimming club and gym. I rarely miss a day and workout on the treadmill and the bicycle, with some light weights. Then it’s into the pool where I power walk in the water and generally have some fun. This activity may not suit some Parkinson’s patients who have issues with their walking, but I find it very rewarding. You have to find something that works for you and stick with it. Never give up. 

How would you like to be able to help others who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s? 

During the last year I spoke at a few Parkinson’s related events and basically, I just informed the patients about my exercise routine, and how good it can make you feel to do something for yourself that gives you enjoyment and has many other health benefits. 

What have you been doing since your book was published in 2017?

Since the publication of my book I’ve been trying to keep busy. I went to Australia last October and cycled around 1,200 kilometers in the glorious sunshine state of Queensland. My symptoms decreased significantly, and I will be informing my neurologist about this at my next checkup.

Timing Is Everything will be featured in the book nook at the World Parkinson Congress in Kyoto this year, and who knows, a cure may be soon be found.

Niall Power in 2018

Niall Power in 2018. Photo by Frank Smith.

Toronto’s Chauteuse JORDANA TALSKY Debuts her new cd “Neither of Either”

Irene Carroll Et Associates
Public and Media Relations
I See.

Toronto’s Chanteuse JORDANA TALSKY
Debuts her new cd “Neither of Either”


Wednesday, October 4, 2017 – 8 pm
Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue (Kensington Market) Toronto

Jordana TalskyPhoto credit: JEN SQUIRES

Jordana Talsky and her band will debut her new full-length album ‘Neither of Either’ Wednesday, October 4th, at the Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave., (Kensington Market), beginning at 8 pm. Admission is free.

Marking an evolution from jazz songstress to performer with a distinct sound, Jordana combines acapella and full band tracks while seamlessly weaving between intricate support harmonies, vocal percussion, and quirky textures to create an innovative and compelling sound.

The Toronto based vocalist-songwriter takes risks, sonically and stylistically, encompassing her diverse influences across multiple genres from jazz to pop, to alternative and ambient, to blues and soul and beyond.

Produced by Juno award winner Justin Abedin, the multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer recognized Jordana’s innate sense of music and deep well of creativity.  “She understands the value in the craft of songwriting and brings a fresh approach to her style”. 

‘Neither of Either’ – The Tracks

Pushing the boundaries of her current sound, Jordana and Justin ensured the 10 track ‘Neither of Either’ has a great vibe, ease of vocal transition, convincing lyrics and musicality that harkens to other strong female voices influential on Jordana including Fiona Apple, Dido, Feist and Alanis Morissette.

From the catchy quirky intro of “Run” to the roots infused post-rock “Around You All The Time” followed by the darkly soulful “Ways”, and the epitome of being fed up expressed in “Sick”, Side A rounds out with “Bitter Sweet Heart”, where Jordana’s mesmerizing voice takes over. “Spark”, the first track on Side B, is a reminder that sometimes, that’s all that’s needed. “Wave of Emotion” conveys the confusion of being pulled in two directions while the title track, “Neither of Either” considers that sometimes not making the choice is wise. The RnB flavoured “Don’t Know” precedes Jordana’s imaginative acapella remake of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” and completes the album much like it began – catchy, great vibe and shining vocals.

“Jordana made a very positive impression on these ears with her 2013 debut, Standard Deviation.

She ups the ante on this new album, one that shows a real evolution in her singing and writing.

Her pure phrasing is devoid of affectation, and her supple voice is equally convincing on a wide range of material.”

– Kerry Doole (FYI Music News)

SIDE A

  1. RUN  (3:11)
    J. Talsky
  2. AROUND YOU ALL THE TIME (4:03)
  3. WAYS (5:26)
    J. Talsky
  4. SICK (2:29)
    J. Talsky
  5. BITTER SWEET HEART (4:03)
    J. Talsky, J. Gray

SIDE B

  1. SPARK (3:30)
    J. Talsky
  2. WAVE OF EMOTION (4:05)
    J. Talsky, D. Breithaupt, J. Abedin
  3. NEITHER OF EITHER (3.34)
    J. Talsky, S. McCully, J. Abedin
  4. DON’T KNOW (3.37)
    J. Talsky
  5. YOU OUGHTA KNOW (4.59)
    A. Morrissette, G. Ballard

Vocal Arrangementby JORDANA TALSKY
Produced by JUSTIN ABEDIN
Mixed by VIC FLORENCIA (Side A track 5, Side B tracks 1, 2, 3, 4)
KAI KOSCHMIDER (Side A tracks 1, 4 and Side B track 5) &
DARRYL NEUDORF (Side A tracks 2, 3)

Recorded in Toronto at THE CANTERBURY MUSIC COMPANY
By Jeremy Darby, Assistant Engineer JULIAN DECORTE and at
KEEN MUSIC by JUSTIN ABEDIN
Mastered by JOAO CARVALHO
Photography by JEN SQUIRES
Graphic Design by YESIM TOSUNER
© Jordana Talsky 2017. All rights reserved.

Jordana Talsky – The Artist

Jordana Talsky, is a voice to be heard. Her unique sound and varied style may be attributed to her wide-ranging experience. Once an opera singer, a musical theatre performer, and member of a funk band, Jordana pushes boundaries and embraces all of her musical sensibilities. She was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, a semi-finalist in the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, and runner-up for the Julian Award of Excellence for Emerging Canadian Artists and Toronto Independent Music Awards (vocal jazz).

With a live show of high energy and excitement, Jordana’s reputation has led her to perform in several music festivals and renowned venues. Established as one of Canada’s most exciting new artists in music, Jordana Talsky continues to perform on many notable stages both in the US and Canada making her a rising entertainer to watch.

Show Dates:

Sept. 16 – Kensington Market Jazz Festival – Justin Abedin -Trinity Common, TORONTO, ON

Oct. 4 – CD debut at Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue (Kensington Market)  8pm, TORONTO, ON – Free

Oct. 20 – tbd – Junction City Music Hall, Toronto, ON

Nov. – tbd  – C’est What | Cameron House, Toronto, ON

Nov 10 – Official Indie Week Showcase http://www.canada.indieweek.com  | The Painted Lady, 8:30pm Toronto, ON

Dec. 15 – Homesmith Bar, Old Mill Inn, Toronto, ON

– 30 –

For More Info:

www.jordanatalsky.com
https://www.facebook.com/Jordana.T.Music/
https://twitter.com/JordanaZT
https://www.instagram.com/jzt123/
https://soundcloud.com/jordana-talsky
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGDx5kOITWiyonLVry6-xRw

Media Interviews | Industry Enquiries:

i see.
Irene Carroll Et Associates
Public and Media Relations

Irene Carroll, Strategist

t] 416.366.5473
e] irene@iseeassociates.ca

Radio Promotions | Interviews:

LAST TANGO PRODUCTIONS LTD.
Yvonne Valnea
t] 416-538-1838
e] info@lasttangoproductions.com

Lily Frost’s Rebound Bitch Getting Ready To Make The Switch

“Rebound Bitch”, the new single and video from Aporia Records recording artist, Lily Frost is KICK-ASS.  The video was shot in Joshua Tree, California with Michelle Boback and stars burlesque dancer Red Herring. The song was co-written with Matt Lipscombe and produced with Tom Mckay and appears on Lily’s new Rebound EP, available now through Aporia, iTunes, and Spotify. With its Spaghetti Western surf guitar, retro style, and a powerhouse performance by Frost, it explores the idea of switching to the other team after being mistreated by men and burned by love one too many times.

A prolific songwriter, Lily Frost currently has 12 albums under her belt, under 5 different labels — Warner, Nettwerk, Aporia, Boxton, and Marquis.  Lily Frost comes from the Montreal underground mod scene. She moved to Vancouver in 1992 after singing in Cairo for 6 months on a ship on the Nile and went from busking rockabilly to spearheading the Cocktail Nation with her band The Colorifics who led the Blue Lizard Lounge scene throughout the 90’s.

Lily then signed to Nettwerk as a solo artist before moving to Toronto where she was born.  She has been working hard with Aporia and Marquis for the past decade.

Lily is a dramatic, stylish performer who draws from the aesthetic of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the soundtracks of Quentin Tarantino, and the hot and bothered emotional drama that goes on between us fascinating humans.  The poetry of Rimbaud, the erotica of Anaïs Nin, and torch singers like Julie London and Juliette Greco all serve as strong influences.

Frost has toured from Paris to Los Angeles and has shared stages with the likes of Pink Martini, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Coldplay, among others. Her awards include the Video Silver Sun through Bravo, a Gemini nomination for her theme song co-write for the hit TV series Being Erica, and Vancouver Female Vocalist of the Year in 2003.

Lily’s songs have been frequently placed in TV shows and movies such as Grey’s Anatomy, Crazy Beautiful, Chevy Cobalt, Charmed, Felicity, and many more.

Her efforts are now focused on curating a show that combines swing, rockabilly, burlesque, dance and fashion in an event called Big City Social.  Ideally, this show will hit the road to her most responsive markets of Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

“Lily Frost’s Rebound EP is the sexy, sassy story of a woman confidently exploring her romantic alternatives, told with bold horns, twangy guitars, and smoky vocals, in a moody, cinematic atmosphere. Utterly compelling.”

~ Howard Druckman, Editor in Chief, SOCAN

 “Lily Frost’s newest musical offerings are brassy, tantalizing and deliciously fresh. If James Bond were a woman, this would be the soundtrack to her epic, kick-ass existence.”

~ Ami McKay, Author of The Birth House and Witches of New York

Rebound Bitch on Spotify: http://bit.ly/2sfmpAk
Rebound Bitch on iTunes: http://apple.co/2ou5UdC
Lily Frost on Aporia: http://bit.ly/2s08D08

 

Sills & Smith Band Releases Music Video for They Don’t Come Knocking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2016

SILLS & SMITH BAND RELEASE MUSIC VIDEO FOR
THEY DON’T COME KNOCKING

Sills & Smith Echoes in Time

[Ottawa, Canada]  Sills & Smith, led by Ottawa singer-songwriters Jeremy Sills and Frank Smith, has just released a music video for the song They Don’t Come Knocking off their fifth studio album Echoes In Time. The video was produced by musical friend Robin Youlton, who has teamed-up with Sills & Smith for several music videos, including other Echoes In Time tracks We Are Receiving and Slicing Up The Clouds. Watch They Don’t Come Knocking on YouTube now.

Sills & Smith has independently released five studio albums of music that boldly blends and bends elements of folk, alternative rock, progressive rock, with hints of blues and jazz. On the heels of their critically acclaimed album Etched (2014), the band entered the studio for a second time with legendary producer Phillip Victor Bova (Bova Sound) in the summer of 2015 to record Echoes In Time.  The latest album — released in November, 2015 — includes 13 melodic, original songs and 60 minutes of music.

Echoes in Time features a stellar cast of players, with the core group: Frank Smith (words/music, vocals); Jeremy Sills (music, vocals, acoustic guitars, piano, trumpet); Phillip Victor Bova (recording engineer/producer, electric and acoustic bass) and T. Bruce Wittet (drums/percussion). Brilliant supporting musicians include: Kevin Breit – electric guitars and mandolin, Blair Michael Hogan – electric guitars, Roddy Ellias – electric guitar, Jim McDowell – organs, Don Wallace – electric guitars, Tara Holloway – vocals, Linsey Wellman – saxophone.

Grace Smith designed the beautiful, four panel digipak CD edition of the album. Sills & Smith “Echoes In Time” is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Bandcamp and in select box stores. The band’s first three critically acclaimed albums of all original material: The Glorious Ache (2013), No Way In, No Way Out (2012) and Uncertain Vista (2011) were recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards in his studio, Corvidae Music.

Jeremy and Frank have been inspired to continue rehearsing and writing new songs. They have an album’s worth of originals written for the next Sills & Smith recording, expecting to return to the studio in the spring of 2017.

Sills & Smith band online:

https://www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith
https://www.facebook.com/sillssmith
http://sillsandsmith.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-in-time
https://www.youtube.com/user/SillsandSmith
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/sills-smith/id462351918
https://twitter.com/SillsandSmith
https://sillssmith.bandcamp.com/album/the-glorious-ache

“No matter where Sills & Smith travel on Echoes in Time, though, the duo always hover around that same mid-’70s arena rock era, oftentimes stripping some of the “progressive” out of their brand of prog rock. Overall, Sills & Smith come off as seasoned and focused songwriters and distinguished instrumentalists on Echoes in Time. (Independent) – Get It” – Daniel Sylvester, Exclaim (Jan 10, 2016)

“Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to Echoes in Time, the fifth album from the Canadian duo of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Sills and vocalist Frank Smith. In fact, this mesmerizing album is best heard when you have the time to sit back and let the music — a light blend of folk, prog and rock with hints of jazz and blues — float into your head. Because Echoes in Time takes its time, and that’s not a bad thing. Sills & Smith open the album with “We Are Receiving,” a strolling song that gradually picks up the pace. “The Chalice/The Blade” is one of the duo’s dreamiest and most melodic songs, while a lone saxophone lends the ballad “One Step Behind” a film noir atmosphere… Taken collectively, these songs make Echoes In Time Sills & Smith’s best album yet”  – Michael Popke, Sea of Tranquility (Feb 09, 2016)

“Sills and Smith have made Etched an obvious labour of love, and this effort permeates the entire album.”  –Tristin Norenberg-Goodmanson, Earshot – The National Campus Community Radio Report (Feb 17, 2015)

 “This Ottawa band is growing by leaps and bounds with each new song. Living On An Island – Sounds like: A plea.” – Larry Lootsteen, Alan Cross – A Journal of Musical Things (Dec 11, 2013)

 

Sills & Smith Release 4th Studio Album, “Etched”

Etched by Sills & Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

CONTACT: Frank Smith
sillssmith@gmail.com
http://www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith

Sills & Smith Release 4th Studio Album, “Etched”

Sills & Smith is an independent, alternative rock/folk band based in Ottawa, Canada. 

Ottawa, Ontario – August 7, 2014 – With three previous, critically acclaimed independent alternative rock albums stoking the creative fire, Sills & Smith has released their fourth and most accomplished studio album of originals to date entitled “Etched.”  Etched is a powerful, melodic, 13 track musical and lyrical adventure.  The full-length recording explores the human experience and social justice issues to a hard driving, guitar-based sound.

Sills & Smith is an Ottawa, Canada based band led by singer-songwriters Jeremy Sills and Frank Smith. The music is a genre bending and blending stew that touches on folk, alternative rock and progressive rock styles.

Produced and recorded by the legendary Phillip Victor Bova at Bova Sound in Ottawa, the new album features an all-star cast of great players: Phil Bova (bass), T Bruce Wittet (drums), Kevin Breit (guitars, mandolin), Don Wallace (guitars), Roddy Ellias (guitars), Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello). Jeremy Sills plays acoustic guitars, piano and crystal bowls. All songs on Etched were composed by Frank Smith and Jeremy Sills — Words and Music – Frank Smith; Music – Jeremy Sills. Both Sills and Smith handle vocals on the disc.

Track order:

Where You’ll Find It
Meet Out By the Lake
What You Deserve
A Love For All Seasons
Space Junk
To Be Embraced
Please, Please Save Me
In Dreams
Etched
End Times
The Sound
Give Us Peace
Endings and Beginnings

Sills & Smith’s Etched is available online through all major retailers including iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, CD Baby etc.  A beautiful digipak CD edition will be sold online and in select box stores.

For further information: sillssmith@gmail.com / Sills & Smith band website: www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith / Twitter: @SillsandSmith

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Sills & Smith Release Hold Tight Music Video

The Glorious Ache by Sills & SmithFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, October 7, 2013 – A new music video for Hold Tight, the opening track from the Sills & Smith studio album The Glorious Ache has been released. The video was made by Megan Robertson, a wonderfully talented Ottawa photographer and filmmaker. Hold Tight was written by Frank Smith, Jeremy Sills and Jonathan Edwards. It was recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards at Corvidae Music in Ottawa. Watch the video now on YouTube.

 

Sills & Smith is an independent, alternative folk/rock band based in Ottawa, Canada. The group includes Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith and Jonathan Edwards. The band has released three critically acclaimed albums of all original material: The Glorious Ache (2013), No Way In, No Way Out (2012) and Uncertain Vista (2011). These are full-length efforts recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards in his studio, Corvidae Music.

The new music video and several others from all three studio albums are also posted on the band’s ReverbNation and Facebook pages, where you can hear many full Sills & Smith songs streaming. Links to Sills & Smith on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, CD Baby and other retailers that sell the band’s music are provided on its social media sites.

Hold Tight is about surviving the perils of life in the concrete, urban jungle. We had great fun working with Megan Robertson. Enjoy the video.

For more information:

Sills & Smith band on Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith

Sills & Smith band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillssmith

Sills & Smith band on Twitter: @SillsandSmith

Note from Christine:

I discovered this band by accident when I was doing some work on ReverbNation for a client and I’m so glad I did because I love their music! Do check them out and watch these videos too.  These guys are great!

The music of Sills and Smith has met with favourable reviews in respected music journals including: Cashbox Canada Magazine, Sea of Tranquility and Snob’s Music. Both Uncertain Vista and No Way In, No Way Out were lauded for excellence, making Snob’s Music’s Best of 2011 and Best of 2012 lists respectively. The band is known for its distinctive sound, an adventurous musical palette that is equal parts folk, progressive rock and alternative rock.

Isn’t It Time You Discovered UK Singer-Songwriter Emily Maguire?

UK Singer-songwriter Emily MaguireAcclaimed singer-songwriter Emily Maguire is performing at Artrix Arts Centre on Saturday 28th September 2013.

Best-known for her strong, thought-provoking lyrics and ‘supremely expressive vocals’ (Rock’n’Reel Magazine), Emily’s songs have been played regularly on Radio 2 and have won her fans across the globe.

Classically trained on cello, piano and flute, Emily taught herself the guitar and started writing songs when she found herself stuck at home with a chronic illness.  A few years later, back on her feet and fed up with grey skies and concrete, she decided to give up her flat in London for a shack made from recycled wood, tin and potato sacks on a farm out in the Australian bush.  There she set up her own record label Shaktu Records with partner Christian Dunham, and for four years lived an eco-friendly, self-sufficient lifestyle, financing her music by making and selling goats cheese on the farm.

Following the release of her critically acclaimed albums ‘Stranger Place’ and ‘Keep Walking’, Emily returned to the UK touring extensively with some of the world’s great singer-songwriters including Don McLean, Eric Bibb, Paul Brady and Roddy Frame.  The title track of ‘Keep Walking’ was playlisted on Radio 2 in the UK and on ABC Radio across Australia.  Emily’s third album ‘Believer’, a ‘masterpiece’ according to Maverick Magazine, won rave reviews in the music press with 2 songs playlisted on Radio 2.

After 7 months on the road in 2011 with the former lead singer of Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere, Emily took time out from touring in 2012 to write and record her fourth studio album ‘Bird Inside A Cage’.  The album was produced by Nigel Butler (k.d. lang, Will Young, Robbie Williams) known to TV lovers as one of the producers on X Factor.  With its release funded entirely by Emily’s fans, ‘Bird Inside A Cage’ is a bold departure from her previous recordings while still retaining all the underlying trademarks of her emotive, lyric-rich songs.  The album was released in July 2013.

Emily will be performing at Artrix Arts Centre, Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove on Saturday 28th September 2013.  Tickets are £10, available from the Box Office on 01527 577330 or online at http://www.artrix.co.uk.

www.emilymaguire.com
www.facebook.com/EmilyMaguireMusic
@emilymaguirehq

“Exquisite”
UNCUT MAGAZINE

“A class act”
THE MIRROR

“Assured…intelligent…enjoyable…a true artist”
R2 MAGAZINE

___________________________________________________________

Contact: Christian Dunham at Shaktu Records
Email: christian@shaktu-records.com
Phone: 07910 332393

High-res downloadable photos available from the press-pack at http://www.emilymaguire.com.

All Canadian booking enquiries:
Christine Bode, Scully Love Promo
Email: scullylovepromo@gmail.com
Phone: 613-531-9549 (office)
613-453-2419 (cell)

RBC Bluesfest: ‘She’s the One’ Finalists Selected

She's the One Emerging Female Artists Competition boom 99.7NEWS RELEASE

Ottawa, May 30, 2013RBC Bluesfest organizers today announced the finalists for their third annual ‘She’s the One’ Emerging Female Artist Competition, sponsored by Ottawa’s boom 99.7. The competition is a cross-Canada talent search for the best in emerging Canadian female music talent. With the help of boom 99.7, the festival welcomed submissions from more than 200 Canadian female musicians. The competition includes a solo and band category.

Ann Vriend

Ann Vriend

This year’s finalists in the Solo Category are Ann Vriend, Suzie Vinnick, and Ottawa’s own Tara Holloway. Finalists in the Band Category are Saidah Baba TalibahDanielle Duval; and Alejandra Ribera. Sample their music by clicking here or going to the RBC Bluesfest website and visiting She’s the One, on the ‘PERFORMERS’ list.

These six finalists will have a 20-minute slot to perform at the RBC Bluesfest in front of professional jury, on Saturday, July 6. One winner will be chosen from each category. Judging will be based upon various criteria, including performance, stage presence/showmanship, originality, musicality, audience reaction, and the ever-important ‘It’ factor.

Up for grabs are cash prizes:

  • Band Category winner will receive $5,000;
  • Solo Category winner will receive $2,000.

There’s also the bragging rights and exposure that go along with performing at one of North America’s pre-eminent music festivals. RBC Bluesfest staffer, Ana Miura helps coordinate the contest and marvels over the ever-growing popularity of the competition and the level talent that has come forward. “You can really see that this initiative is catching on,” says Miura. “We received close to double the number of submissions and the talent has been amazing! “

Festival fans will have a chance to see just how amazing when the winners are determined at this summer’s RBC Bluesfest.

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‘She’s the One’ contact: Ana Miura
Coordinator, She’s The One Emerging Female Artists Competition
Sponsored by boom 99.7
she’stheone@ottawabluesfest.ca
613-247-1188 x302

Note: I’m cheering on my client Ann Vriend and wish her the very best of luck in this competition!

Bob Geldof: Still Making Music & Better Than Ever At Age 61!

This review is a little late in coming as I saw Bob Geldof in concert last Tuesday night at The Empire Theatre in Belleville with four of my closest girlfriends, but the sheer enthusiasm and joy I felt after witnessing my 5th Geldof concert has not waned one iota!  So I must tell you about it!

I’ve been a fan of Sir Bob’s for over 30 years and have had the pleasure of making some pretty wonderful online friendships (most notably with Julie Koretz, administrator of the Bob Geldof Fans Facebook page who I have been friends with for 10 years) because of a mutual appreciation for the man and his music.  The former leader of Irish punk rockers The Boomtown Rats (1977-1986) is better known for his humanitarian and business endeavours than he is for his music, but make no mistake, this man puts on one of the THE BEST rock shows you are ever likely to see!  I’ve seen some pretty impressive bands including U2, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, The Clash, David Bowie,  Elton John, Roxy Music, Iggy Pop, The White Stripes, Lenny Kravitz and Matchbox Twenty to name a few, but no one, except for U2 & Springsteen can hold a candle to a live Geldof performance.

In the days leading up to Geldof’s performance in Belleville, Ontario he and

Bob with Jim Barber

the band played shows in Hamilton, St. Catharines, Oshawa and Ottawa.  Bob was interviewed by everyone from the CBC to The Napanee Guide’s Jim Barber (a personal friend of mine) and I got more and more excited about seeing him again.

On the night of his Belleville show, I was reminded that Geldof’s band is absolutely superb!  Guitarist Johnny Turnbull, bassist Pete Briquette (The Boomtown Rats), keyboard player & accordionist Alan Dunn, drummer Jim Russell, percussionist Niall Power and violinist Vince Lovepump (aka Bob Loveday) are as tight and professional a group of rockers as any of the artists I listed above. Not only are they each talented players, but they are so comfortable with each other and with letting Bob have all the limelight that they should be commended for standing by him for so many years.  Niall Power

Turnbull & Briquette

was quoted in an Irish newspaper article last year as saying, “Just let’s say that he doesn’t suffer fools gladly,’ Niall laughs. ‘We’re still friends after all these years so I must be doing something right.”

Then there’s Bob himself.  His unmistakable voice is still as strong and fierce as ever and can be equally soft and tender when the song calls for it.  He never stops moving on stage, sometimes padding back and forth like a caged tiger, arms waving in the air to express emotion in a song or while simply dancing back and forth on the spot like a whiskey-soaked gypsy.  As most people would assume, the verbose Geldof is a master storyteller and his rapport with the audience is second to none.  Whether he’s retelling the story of the inspiration for the song “Scream in Vain” and about how sweet potatoes/yams could feed a whole village in Africa or complaining about his hotel in Belleville being at some crossroads on the edge of town where there’s nothing but a Dollarama, he holds an engrossed audience in the palm of his hands.  He’s not above telling you to fuck off either (he told me to fuck off when I complimented Briquette in his presence after the show…but he said it with affection!) but when he smiles or laughs and those dimples are flashed, women are still melting in his 61-year-old presence.

And I can’t forget to mention the singularly charming anomaly that is Vince Lovepump.  He’s a premier violin and mandolin player but you tend to forget about the notes he’s plucking from the strings because you’re fixated on the crazy, mesh wife-beater shirts that he’s so fond of wearing.  His appearance in Geldof’s joyful trampoline jumping video for “Silly Pretty Thing” makes my BFF Jen & I laugh every time.  In it, Vince and Bob run through a wheat field propelling their arms like airplane wings before Bob jumps on the trampoline to show off his acrobatic prowess while Vince plays the violin beside him, wearing a white mesh wife-beater

Vince Lovepump

with a big stain on it.  It’s hilarious!  (Vince is a benign Ray Winstone.)  And on Tuesday night, Vince’s shirt had a hole in it.  Jen & I are seriously thinking about taking up a collection for him to buy him some new shirts!

Bob’s released 7+ albums with The Boomtown Rats and 5 solo albums since 1977, the latest being 2011’s How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sellthe ironic title of which is not lost on him.  On Tuesday night he performed selections from the Rats discography (“Banana Republic”, “Joey’s On The Street Again”, “Mary of the Fourth Form” and the classic “I Don’t Like Mondays”) and his solo repertoire – mainly from his last two albums – (“One For Me”, “Scream in Vain”, “Mudslide”, “Systematic Six Pack”, “Silly Pretty Thing”, “Dazzled By You”, “Mary Says” among others) opening and closing the show with “The Great Song of Indifference”, one of my all-time favourites.

I kept turning to look at my friends to see if they were enjoying themselves

L-R: Tracie, Nicole, Jen & Kelly

as much as I was and they were!  Only Jen had seen Bob before and knew what to expect, but Tracie, Nicole & Kelly were blown away by how fantastic the concert was.  They were all grinning from ear to ear.  I wanted to dance throughout the whole show.  As it turned out, I joined the crowd at the edge of the stage for the encore and danced at that point, beaming with rapture, and laughing at a middle-aged man who was in Geldof’s words “going apeshit” while pounding the stage to get his attention.  He wanted Bob to sing a song for his brother who was celebrating his birthday and Bob obliged with the beautiful “Mary Says”.

After the encore (several standing ovations were given to the band during the evening), the die-hard fans waited around for Bob to come back out to the front of the stage to sign autographs and pose for photos, which he does so graciously, and I’m quite sure he has a lot of fun doing it.  It’s hard to not want to have more than 30 seconds or so to talk to the man, but he always makes his time with you memorable.  Tracie asked him to sign her ticket so that it would say Happy Birthday to her as she’d just celebrated her 47th birthday.  Bob was gobsmacked at the fact that she was that old (with a 20-year-old daughter) because she doesn’t look a day over 30 and told her that he didn’t believe she was 47.  Needless to say, she’ll never forget that!

I was waiting in line to get Bob to sign a copy of his Live Target CD that I’d purchased from his tour manager Willo earlier in the evening, and saw Pete on the stage.  As he’s a Facebook friend, I called out to him and introduced myself, saying that I was Christine from Facebook, and Bob turned around and said “You’re Christine!” as I believe he realized that I’m one of the administrators of his Facebook fan page, along with Julie (Jules) and Irene Clayton.  I said, “Yes, I am,” and asked Pete to sign my CD.  So he laid down on the stage and Kelly suggested that his pose would make for a great photo and I replied, “You’re right!  Pete does look good!”  And that’s when

Pete signs my CD!

Bob told me to fuck off.

Bob & Jen had a conversation about Facebook and he said that if she was his friend on Facebook that he’d delete her and that in fact, he’d have a great time deleting people on Facebook!  He is gleeful when “taking the piss out of” someone.

When it was my turn to talk to Bob, he asked me when the last time was that I’d seen them play and I told him that it was in 2003 in Dublin at Vicar Street (he declared his love for the venue) and that I’d seen him in Quebec City the same year and that Jen & I had met him at the Palais Royale in Toronto in 2002.  So Bob replied with, “So you’re like stalkers then!”  I’m telling you, you haven’t lived until Bob Geldof tells you to fuck off and calls you a stalker!  Seriously Bob, I only get to see you every 10 years so that’s hardly grounds for being one!

We all had such a great time that it was hard to leave but it’s only fair to let all the fans who were waiting have their time with Bob and Pete told me that they might just come back to Canada next year to play some more shows.  We can only hope!

If you ever get the chance to see Bob Geldof live in concert, DON’T MISS IT!!! He will undoubtedly exceed your expectations in every way.

Interview with the Transatlantic Musical Collaboration that is THE BLACK & BLUE ORKESTRE

“Heavy beats, deep bass, wild guitar, moody vocals–some might call it Sturm und Twang. The Black & Blue Orkestre’s vocals and instrumental music sips from the sticky cups of Spaghetti Western Surf and Cinematic Gothic Rockabilly Groove on acid. Their sound was once described by someone as “sweaty vampire Elvis”, which resulted in a punch in the face and the instantaneous collapse of a multi-million dollar recording contract.”

The Black & Blue Orkestre (B&BO) is a transatlantic collaboration between three musicians who at first don’t seem like probable band mates.  Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom DiCillo (NYC) is also an award-winning independent filmmaker (Living In Oblivion, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors) while lead guitarist Will Crewdson (London) has a busy career playing not only for his own project, Scant Regard, but also for the likes of Rachel Stamp, Johnette Napolitano, Adam Ant, Bryan Ferry, Bow Wow Wow and even Celine Dion and Tom Jones. Backup vocalist and bassist Grog is the lead singer of her own successful London/LA based neogoth/hard rock band Die So Fluid, and has been known to delve into the session world with the likes of Melanie C from the Spice Girls, Kelly and Ozzy Osbourne, Mike Smith (Gorillaz) and Dave Rowntree (Blur).

Mike Scott of The Waterboys once tweeted about The Black & Blue Orkestre’s music, calling it “Fab Morricone influenced music”.  Lyrically, their music possesses just the right combination of irreverence and irony, not to mention a seriously cool sound.  So what else makes this trio so special?  Come join me for my recent conversation with Tom, Will & Grog to find out.

CB:  Tom, how did you, Will and Grog connect and decide to form this transatlantic triumvirate?

Tom:  We all met in a strip club.  Will was on stage.  Grog was the bouncer. Actually, it goes back a few years.  I’d started a website chronicling all the sordid details of the release of my film, Delirious.  Well, Will wrote in with a very cool comment about how he liked my films and offered his help with the British release. He mentioned he was a musician and we started exchanging emails about the kinds of music and films we liked.

I’d been knocking together some songs for a while; very simple stuff.  I’d gotten my home recording system to the point where I could lay down a few tracks and I experimented with some singing.  I started with 16 Tons because it seemed like it was easy enough for me to handle it vocally.  I also liked the dark undercurrent of the lyrics. Something prompted me to send it to Will.

I’d never played music with anyone, nor had anyone listen to my music other than my wife, Jane.  I think I just sensed a real compatibility with Will and I really hoped he didn’t laugh at me.  Will, I’m curious what you thought when I sent you that first mix of 16 Tons?

Will:  Initially I was very impressed with the vocals.  I couldn’t compare them to anything and I found it hard to believe that they had only been heard by one other person.  I knew they had to be heard by more.  I always liked that song anyway so to have a crack at arranging a new version with a fresh take on it was really cool.

Tom:  I was blown away by Will’s musicality.  Suddenly, the song had a whole new dimension.  Will’s guitars were very rich and atmospheric.  They helped me clarify this vague idea I had about creating a sound that was very modern but that drew from the coolest parts of some older music; like the surreal twang of the surf guitar or some of the chunky, stomping beats and rhythms of Bo Diddley.

So, I emailed Will another song; the 2nd song I’d learned how to play on the guitar–St. James Infirmary.  And then I sent Whiskey Promise, the first song I’d completely written.  And in each case our shared sensibilities resulted in better songs.

Now, all this time one of the most crucial parts musically, the bass, was being poked at with one finger by me on my synth.  Will played a series of gigs with Grog and after a while he suggested we see if she’d be interested in adding her skill to the mix.  I was kind of dumbfounded when she said yes. But, from the first track we sent her everything and it just clicked.  There is nothing comparable to real musicians playing and what she does with the bass really brings the song into a kind of trio feel; voice, guitar and bass all working off each other.

CB: Where did the name of the band come from?

Tom:  It just hit me one day.  It implies something bruised, something that has felt the impact of something and is showing signs of the encounter. It’s not homogenized or smoothed over–the bruises show.  I realized it touched the tone and theme of some of our music.  The songs are about people who’ve been knocked down or who are really struggling with something.  I happened to see the word ‘orkestre’ spelled that way and I really liked the way it looked.  And, I like that implication too; that there’s something a little formal about us–but just skewed.

CB:  What does each of you bring to the B&BO?  How do you technically manage to put all the pieces together to record a song?

Will:  Well all the original ideas stem from Tom’s incredible imagination.  He is definitely the driving force.  I try and embellish what he has come up with, with guitar lines and production/mixing ideas.  It’s definitely unlike any other collaboration or band I’ve been involved with.  The bare bones of the song – lyrics, melody and chords are normally sent to myself and Grog with some expert direction from Tom and we do what we can to make it sound like we’re all in the same room.

CB:  Although Tom writes the lyrics for the B&BO’s original songs, Grog, what themes would you like to explore if you were to write material for the group?

Grog: 
Well, I do nearly all the lyric writing in my own band, so I guess I’d want to write about things that don’t necessarily fit with Die So Fluid’s vibe.  It’s pretty hard to put my finger on what that would entail but I might indulge in some ‘my man done me wrong’ stylings, more raw emotional improvisational stuff, which might piss off some of the post neo punk DSF fans but be most therapeutic for me.  That’s all hearsay anyway because this is Tom’s baby.  It’s refreshing being in a band where that’s not my role and I can really focus on the bass and embellishing the feel of the songs Tom comes up with.

CB:  Tom, were you simply a shower singer before you sang for Will or have you had a secret desire to perform as a singer for a long time?  

Tom:  
I’m not really a “shower person.”  I don’t like getting my hair wet.  No, I sing more when I’m walking down the street which might explain why all the songs are in a kind of straight, walking 4/4 time.

I’ve acted in front of people in plays and on film.  I’ve given speeches in front of thousands of people at film festivals.  But, I have never, ever sung live.  I’ve come to trust my voice more but at the beginning it was really hard having people listen to me.  I like singing a lot but I’ve never fantasized about making a career out of it.  I’ve had an interest in music for quite a while though.  I’m very involved in the music for my films and have written songs and music that appeared in them as early as Johnny Suede in 1990.  This more serious interest just kind of happened because of some long periods of waiting between films and I decided I should try singing instead of going insane.

CB:  Will, you wear many hats: musician, producer, programmer…what is it about the entire process that you enjoy the most?

Will:    First and foremost I prefer being a musician.  All the other stuff for me is only a means to get across the original song or idea.  I still prefer playing live to wearing any of those hats.  That’s the real test.

CB: You have a stunning voice, Grog.  Forgive me for making a comparison but your voice immediately reminded me of Exene Cervenka (formerly of X), not to mention you’re incredibly photogenic with a real flair for dramatic video performance.  Who are some of your musical and non-musical influences?

Grog:   
Thank you kindly, that comparison is a first, but a good one to add to the collection!  I enjoy all the aspects that go into presenting that magical ‘other’ world created by music.  I’m inspired by many diverse artists ranging from Billie Holiday to Iggy Pop, with Debussy, Tim Buckley, Soundgarden, Deftones and Shirley Bassey in between!  They just need to excite me, if not with their technique, with their spirit, vision and energy.  Non musically speaking, I’m attracted to strong, don’t give a damn, larger than life iconic female figures such as Bettie Page, Vivienne Westwood and Wonder Woman, creative and spiritual forces like Paulo Coelho and Alan Moore for example, and I’m a horror fan; film and books.  Rob Zombie is great. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate plenty of other styles.  I enjoy Tim Burton films and also love the Coen Brothers, David Lynch, the weird world of Guy Maddin and, oh yeah, that guy Tom DiCillo…

CB:  It’s obvious that Will’s Ennio Morricone-style guitar-scapes stand out in the B&BO’s music, but whose style would you say that you most borrow from as a musician?

Tom:   I’m not sure I would say “whose” style but more “what” style.  Obviously, something about the surf sound imprinted on my brain at a very early age because I could listen to an Am chord with the whammy bar for days.  There’s something very evocative about the sound.  It is strange and beautiful but it also carries the potential of emotion and drama.

I’m not into nostalgia in any way.  I just like interesting musical sounds; I don’t care where they come from.  You look at Morricone’s work on his Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns in the 60’s and the musical ideas he incorporates into those scores are more original and modern than anything I’ve heard today.

I like singers, both men and women who have an organic, original sound–where you feel something truthful when they sing–whether it’s early Elvis or even Eminem. There is great energy today in the way rhythm and beat are recorded and mixed that was more subdued in the early days of rock music. I like combining the punch and grit of modern sensibilities with some of the cool ideas that came before.

CB:  Will, how much has film influenced your music and if you could score a major motion picture production, what would the genre and plot be?

Will:   
A hell of a lot.  Because I’m really into instrumental music the visual side is very important even if it’s only in your mind’s eye while you listen to it.  When you write words and use them in a song there are, of course infinite possibilities for interpretation by the listener.  Those possibilities are always multiplied infinite times when you leave them out.

I would like to score an improvised Zombie/Sci-fi/Noir/Comedy/Thriller please.  The plot, like the music, could take you anywhere at any given point in the film.

Tom: I would very much like to see that film and to listen to that score.  Most film music today sounds like it was all written by the same person.

Will:
 It probably was!

CB:  Grog, if you were to conceive and direct a music video for the B&BO, which song would you choose and how would you tell its story with images?

Grog: 
I would choose our most recent track Ball and Chain because it’s my favourite so far and it has a ‘f*ck you’ thing about it I can relate to.  It would probably be each of us escaping three individually harrowing scenarios trying to reach a destination where we finally meet and rock out.  I’ll let you know when I’ve written the treatment.

Tom:  
That’s a pretty cool idea, Grog.  I can see it!  Also, I’d like to say that though I write the vocals and sketch out the body of the songs I don’t feel this is my gig.  I depend very heavily on both you and Will for your musical and thematic ideas.  I see the songs as really coming from all three of us.  I know this way of making music, you know–none of us in the same room–could seem a little strange but I like the way it allows us all the freedom to do what we want.

I hate it when somebody tells me what to do; especially if it is even remotely creative.  Grog writes all the bass parts. The same with Will.  All his guitars come from what he feels like playing.

CB:  How did you create your first music video for the instrumental track Frozen Sunset?

Tom:   I was excited when we finished that track.  I think we stumbled into some very rich territory in terms of sharpening and defining our sound.  I was also beginning to think about ways to get the music out there more.  And suddenly it struck me this would be a perfect track to do a music video for.  There is no singing so that complicated (and expensive) element of syncing to the words wasn’t even an issue.  Of course, we didn’t have any money to spend and that was an issue.  So, the first thing I thought was, “Well, since we’re all in different parts of the world, maybe we could just film ourselves alone, as if we each were just sitting in our homes privately playing the music.  Will and Grog liked the idea so I suggested we each shoot ourselves with our iPhones.  They sent me the footage and I started trying to cut something together with other stuff that was free–which was some footage I’d shot over the years in NYC.

The little drop of glue that pulled it all together for me was dribbling some food coloring into a glass on my windowsill.  It cost $1.39 for the food coloring.  But, it added something–it was almost like a visual version of the Am chord on the whammy bar.

CB:  Will, what is Scant Regard Radio?

Will:   
It’s an online show I do once a month where I subject…er, enlighten my listeners with my own personal choices.  I mix up a lot of different styles and sometimes it even works!  You can tune in the first Wednesday of every month at www.wickedspinsradio.org from 8-11pm GMT.

CB:  Although you’re from the UK, Grog, you’re based in LA and tour extensively throughout Europe with Die So Fluid.  How does the music scene in LA differ from London’s and why did you decide to move there when it appears (from your website – http://www.diesofluid.net) that Germany & Finland love your band so much?

Grog:   I moved here about three years ago from London mainly to be with my now husband in LA.  We met on the road in the UK and started to visit each other until we reached the point when we needed to be in the same city!  Die So Fluid has done one extensive and very successful US tour with Mindless Self Indulgence and we have been discussing more work here, but of course Mr. Drew and Al can’t just jump on a bus for a couple of shows six thousand miles away.  It has to be financially sound and a well planned tour route; bands are fighting tooth and nail for those opportunities right now.  We love touring and I travel to Europe to play a lot. We’ve always said we’ll play where ever we find our audience around the world and that’s what we’ve embarked upon doing.  If you plan on being an international outfit then you just have to get used to the travel.  The internet definitely enables you to achieve a lot more as a band without being ‘together’, as The Black and Blue Orkestre proves!

CB:  When can we expect a CD from the B&BO?

Tom:  
Well, soon I hope.  We’d like to get at least 8 tracks.  Originally, I thought we’d use one or two of the covers we’ve done but since we’ve altered them slightly from the originals it makes getting licenses for them very difficult.  I still think our version of Ring Of Fire takes the song to a whole new level but we can’t use it.  So, I decided to come up with some more of our own songs.  That push resulted in Fade To Black, Frozen Sunset and Frozen Heartache. And Ball & Chain which is still in progress. That might be enough.

CB:  Do you have a title for the CD?

Will:    Not yet, no.

CB:  Do you see yourselves performing live and/or touring with the B&BO in the foreseeable future?

Grog:  I think it would be really fun; I’d be up for it.  I think Will would too.  But then we’ve been travelling minstrel poseurs for some years now, haha.  Tom goes pale and shudders at the mention of it.

Tom:  I shudder but I don’t go pale.

Grog:  Well that’s how I imagine it to look because I never see you!  Maybe some stiff whiskeys would be involved in making it actually happen.  If he received enough red roses and fan mail begging him to perform I can kind of visualize him adopting a rock n roll swagger and rising to the challenge.

Thank you for the pleasure of this interview Tom DiCillo, Will Crewdson and Grog Rox and for talking to Press +1 magazine.

Currently, you can listen to The Black & Blue Orkestre’s tracks exclusively on their BandPage on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theblackandblueorkestre.