Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Mersey Side Project

Mock up of the program for
Rhinestone Cowboy - The Glen Campbell Show
Tomorrow's the day! Three members of Denzeity join Amy Westney, Colin Garrett and Chris Loach in Liverpool to put on the show: "Rhinestone Cowboy - The Glen Campbell Story".

If you thought Glen Campbell is pretty far removed from the music of Denzeity you'd be thinking pretty much what I thought when it was first suggested I audition for the part of Glen. So why are we doing it?, I hear you ask...

Well the first thing I realised when I went through the Spotify list of songs we're performing is that Glen Campbell did a huge range of stuff. People often think of the song 'Rhinestone Cowboy' when they think of Glen Campbell and if they're not really into that song, might see little reason to explore his other work. I am a little guilty of that and that's one reason I'm so glad I took on this role.

He did a cover of the Foo Fighters, Time Like These, and even for a rock fan like me, in some ways I prefer Glen's version. Once you get used to hearing it without expecting Dave Grohl's version, it's a really good take on the song. I also had a bunch of, 'I didn't know Glen Campbell sang that' moments! Songs like 'Dream Lover', 'MacArthur Park' and 'Southern Nights' were all him!

Additionally I discovered a whole bunch of new songs that I really love - and may end up covering a few myself with Denzeity at some stage. Songs like 'Highwayman', 'Ghost On The Canvas' and even 'Turn Around, Look At Me' which has grown on me since I first thought what an odd set of chord changes. It reminded me of the old big band style a bit, which actually Glen did quite a bit of, and what is great for me is that I have come to understand that style of music so much better. That's not to say I'm going to do an album of big band music, just that I've seen a new set a ways that chords and melody can flow and work really well. And actually the song Rhinestone Cowboy has grown on me as well!

The vocal style is quite different to what I usually do and requires quite a bit more proper singing technique. It was odd to hear both Gary and Bora say, "I didn't know you could sing like that!"

So tomorrow morning it's an early start. I've got to be at Upminster tube station at 8am to be picked up for the road trip to Liverpool. It's going to be long day but we're all buzzing and ready to put this show on. It's going to be a great night! And - there are still one or two good seats available if you want to come along - but quite a few of them have gone since yesterday so book quickly!

There's even talk of taking it to a few other theatres around the country so watch this space... but don't worry - the rock will continue with Denzeity soon enough - in fact there's a gig in a couple of week's time at the Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane - Friday the 14th December to be exact... Hope to see you at at least one of these events!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Cover Girl

Denzeity playing at the Castle, North Acton

The other night we played a charity gig at The Castle in North Acton. Despite a few setbacks we managed to pull off a really great gig. We had a bunch of people dancing at the front and other people spotted trying to leave but hanging just inside the door until we'd finished playing. And we were persuaded to do an encore - not bad for a half hour set! (Thanks @georgepitt_ for the photos...)

Simon Denzley playing guitar and singing with DenzeityMike had an emergency dental issue at the last minute so we had to go on as a four piece with Gary and I (mostly Gary) covering Mike's lead guitar riffs and solos as best we could.

Ellie Daymond on the front cover of Rhythm magazinePaige was also not available for this night so we had Ellie Daymond covering for her as our drummer for the night. We'd only managed one rehearsal with her and that was with just Bora and me so this was the first time she'd even met Gary! However she was true to form and played really well. So a great night in spite of the problems!

A few days later Ellie's Facebook page was promoting her featuring on the front cover of Rhythm Magazine! I thought this was very cool - (even if it was just a mock up they were doing for every drummer who chose to pose for them at the Drum Show).

So thanks Ellie - this one's for you!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Feeling Well Composed

I was recently asked to write some music for a girl called Gloria Kirk from Missouri in the US. She had put out a call on one of the Facebook musician groups for someone to compose music to go with some lyrics and a rough melody she had come up with, so I offered to help. As she liked my other music she asked me to do it.

So I started with just a recording of her singing the words with a rough melody and timing and a lyrics sheet. It was clearly a very different style to my normal stuff. She apologised that it was much more 'girly music' than I normally write but I didn't mind. It would be an interesting challenge.

To cut a long story short (i.e. leaving out the description of the song-writing process and subsequent recording) I finished the song for her and sent her back the recording I had put together of it.

I was very pleased when her first reaction on hearing was, "I love love love it!" Later on she wrote to me saying, "I have listened and am still listening to “Simply Safe” and I totally love it."

I had put down a rough vocal on the song which I wasn't happy with but assumed she was going to sing the proper vocal herself. However she is actually planning to get a couple of other people to sing it as a duet. To my surprise she quite liked my vocal on it, saying, "Everybody who has listened to your demo of Simply Safe loves it. I know it’s not your kind of song but you sound great!"

Later on she wrote to me (and she's happily given me permission to quote her here):
"I know you said that your vocal is not very good in the “Simply Safe” demo, however as I said before, every time I have somebody listen to it they are all in awe... So you must believe that you are great even with your not so good vocal (in your opinion). The most frequent comment I got was “Ohh...I want that. He is very good. They want to know when/where they can buy/download it. That song somehow, the great music you created, and with your vocal... you are making people want to fall in love again. That’s the most common comment I have heard. They want somebody."

So I'm feeling quite chuffed about that! And with comments like that I could hardly hide the song away, however before I made the song public however I decided to re-record my vocal so it is at least listenable (in my view). That's the version you can now hear above.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Open Mic

Last night I went along to a new open mic night that I've not been to before. It was the Metrojam at the Metropolitan pub in W11, just next to Westbourne Park tube station.

It's been a while since I've played an open mic and it was good to get up and do it again.

What I really enjoyed about this one was that it wasn't just solo acoustic stuff. There was a house band which would back people up if they wanted. This meant most people would do covers that the band already know, however as the band were so good I realised they'd be able to play their way through some of my songs with the simpler chord progressions.

The first one I suggested we do was 'Slave to You'. I had Ross Gordon on Drums and Lefty Pete on Bass (due to his handedness, as opposed to any political persuasion as far as I am aware...) from the house band, and also Charles Best who'd got up to play some guitar. This is how it went:

Afterwards people came up to me in disbelief that we'd never rehearsed that song before, even less that we'd never played together before or even that the other musicians hadn't ever previously heard it. But that just shows the calibre of the musicians who joined me there on the night!

Thanks to Paul Mason for filming this - in fact it was Paul who I bumped into at a music industry event last Thursday, who invited me along to this particular open mic event - so thanks Paul for that too.

While I'm handing out credits, it should be mentioned that the night was run by a sublime guitarist (and pretty good vocalist) called TJ, who led a very tight and funky house band. I should also mention the plethora of talent that got up and played (or just sang) on the night. Even if I hadn't played myself I still would have enjoyed it as a great night of musical entertainment!