Monday 06/04/20

I did an interview this morning with James Nice (and he was) about the early days of a band I played with, Durutti Column. The interview lasted 70 minutes which was surprising as I didn't think I could remember anything from over 40 years ago. Anyway, James has written a book about the infamous Factory Records Durutti Column’s label. The book is called Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records.

Shadowplayers book cover

James is now writing a book about Durutti Column. I’m not sure when the book will be coming out but no doubt I will post something on here.

Interestingly James sent me a couple of reviews of a Durutti Column gig in London that was just me on drums and Vinni Reilly on guitar. Here they are…..

From 1981. OMG!!!!

DoveTales have got some great gigs lined up at the moment. We're really looking forward to supporting Robert Ellis next Tuesday 22nd October in Liverpool. You can buy tickets here.

If you can't make that we've also got dates coming up at The Eagle Inn in Salford and The Mill in Walsden. You can find all the details here.

This past weekend I took a break from teaching to take on a weekend of learning. Three and a half hours away from home in Rushden, Northamptonshire I’m back in school. Jazz school.

I’ve enrolled on a two-day Big Band Jazz Course; think Duke Ellington, Count Basie and you’ll get the picture. I had never played with a big band before, and last year I decided I wanted to give it a go and signed myself up. Fast forward to Saturday and I’m about to play with the largest brass and horn sections I’ve ever worked with. Altos, Tenors and Baritones make up seven sax players. Alongside them are five trumpets players, three trombonists and even a flugelhorn for good measure. Competing with the fully stocked brass section is a fantastic pianist on a grand piano, a bassist with a double bass the size of a large person, and me on drums. Wow!!!

This was hard work. On the first day, we had to learn seven songs none of us had ever heard before, working with musicians we met the same day. All the pieces were original compositions written by Steve Waterman, our Musical Director and mentor for the two days. We went through four songs before lunch and another three afterwards, going on to perform all seven consecutively at 5pm to a small privately invited audience.

Chris & Kevin

What was hardest for me was the chart reading. I read and teach people how to read drum music all the time. It gives students the ability to open up a world of their own. It's like teaching someone how to read and write in a new language. It’s empowering. Despite that, some of these charts were 8 or 9 pages long with some very tricky arrangements and phrasing, I even needed three music stands just to be able to spread them out and read them! This wasn’t for the musically faint of heart. You have to constantly look at what you are playing, while looking at what comes next, while trying to make it sound good, while maintaining solid time and keeping the other twenty musicians from speeding ahead or slowing down. Phew!!!

Not sure whether to read it or use it as wallpaper!

On Sunday it was the same routine again. I thought Saturday had been a tough day but Sunday was really, really tough. More very difficult charts to read and another six songs to learn and then perform in the early evening.

The Jazz School is owned and run by Nick Weldon and Andra Sparks. They are the best hosts one could imagine. The venue is an old shoe factory that has been converted into various rooms for up to three groups at a time to be playing, though this weekend they needed all the space for the big band.
Nick and Andra have transformed the whole building into an amazing space for learning and making music, and they even live there. Lunches are provided and as much tea or coffee as you need is readily available. My coffee consumption definitely went up in the afternoons.

Did I learn anything? Yes, most definitely.

Did I enjoy it? Yes! Most definitely.

Did I make any mistakes? Yes, loads!

Would I do it again? Yes, Yes, and Yes. Most definitely!

DoveTales had a great time at The Eagle Inn on Tuesday evening - thank you to everyone who came along to support us.

You can catch us there again, next month on Tuesday 25th June. Find more details and some tracks to listen to over on the DoveTales website.

You can catch DoveTales live next Tuesday May 21st at The Eagle Inn in Salford.

We've also released a couple of new tracks this week. Head over the DoveTales website to give them a listen.

With a new bass player, Manchester’s DoveTales will return to The Eagle Inn in Salford on Tuesday, 23 April.

Fusing harmonic rock, folk and country with soulful lyrics, DoveTales will mark their first of three 2019 shows at the Salford venue, following a sold-out show there last December.

Since then, the band - which includes former Happy Mondays collaborator and guitarist Johnny Evans - have earned an impressive following in Manchester and beyond.

Members Stef Rose (vocals) and Chris Joyce (drums) - who met Johnny a decade ago when playing as The Sylvias - complete the line-up, along with new bassist Victor ‘Fela’ Freeman.

Having worked with legendary Madness producer Clive Langer and a long list of talented musicians, Manc-born Fela adds an extra dimension of rhythm to the band and has been working on four new songs with them at The Egg Factory in Hebden Bridge.

DoveTales’ new material - which is being recorded in the run-up to The Eagle Inn gigs - follows their breakthrough song Lost You Again, a beautiful track that’s fraught with emotion.

Talking excitedly about DoveTales’ upcoming shows, Finnish singer-songwriter Stef said: “We can’t wait to return to The Eagle Inn. It’s a quirky venue that’s become our second home. We felt the love at our December gig and know this year will be better again. The band are as energetic as ever and the bond we have is sure to make these upcoming shows special.”

DoveTales will return to The Eagle Inn in Salford on Tuesday, 23 April and will play two further shows on 21 May and 25 June.

My third and final post about my trip to the Tamborrada, the Festival of the Drum, in San Sebastián earlier this year and I've got a couple of videos to give you an idea of the amazing energy everywhere and at all hours of the day and night.

12.30 at night in San Sebastián and this was the scene in every restaurant!

In the restaurants and on the streets everyone is celebrating. Amazing!

DoveTales have three new dates at The Eagle Inn in Salford. Get them in your diary and come and hear what we've been working on!

DoveTales Band: Chris, Fela, Johnny and Stef (from left to right)

Great news: DoveTales have found our new bass player Victor "Fela" Freeman.

"Fela had two life ambitions; join the circus or storm the musical charts, when they were indeed stormable. Being unconnected in the circus industry, he opted for the latter. Fela spent his apprenticeship playing with musicians in the UK and Australia, working with Clive Langer of Madness fame."

You can read more about him over on the DoveTales website.

Here are some more pictures from the Tamborrada festival.

One of the main things that was so striking was how much everyone was enjoying themselves regardless of age.

From young children, teenagers, people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and upwards there was just genuine pleasure and enjoyment.


San Sebastian town hall

The town at night

The town at night

Discussing recipes or rhythms?

Discussing recipes or rhythms?

Time for a cigar

Time for a cigar

Can I help you?

Can I help you?

Window display

Window display

Streets lined with thousands of people for the children's parade

Streets lined with thousands of people for the children's parade

Tomborrada 2019

Tomborrada San Sebastian 2019

Drum festival San Sebastian 2019

Front page of Sunday's newspaper featuring the 2019 Tomborrada in San Sebastian

Front page of Sunday's newspaper


Manchester bee
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