Jul 2 2012

New Duke Record ‘Oh Pioneer’ Out Today!!

Ladies and gentlemen!! The new Duke Special record Oh Pioneer is released in the UK today!!

Oh yes indeed. It’s been a while since the last album came out but the wait is finally over. I spent a couple of days with the Duke in the studio earlier in the year to record some bass and lots of backing vocals along with Dorie Jackson and producer Paul Pilot. It was a really interesting album to work on and the recording process was so open and creative that the results are pretty special. All the backing vocals were put down very early in the proceedings so the arrangements were bulit up gradually around the songs themselves. Fantastic concept for building an album.

Here’s a little teaser video from the Duke sessions…

I recommend you all go out and buy this record immediately. I’ve been a big fan of Peter’s music since he supported The Divine Comedy back in 2006, way before I joined his band, and this is my favourite album of his to date. There are some fantastic songs on this record and it sounds beautiful thanks to the sterling work of Paul Pilot and engineer Dave Lynch.

Tell your mates…

And whilst you’re at it, you should also check our Paul Pilot’s new band Guidebooks. Their new EP In The Future has just bee released via Bandcamp. You can stream it below, or on their Bandcamp page. Enjoy! 🙂


Sep 28 2011

The Much-Anticipated Double Feature Post…

How very remiss of me ladies and gentlemen. Now I know I posted at the beginning of our run at the National Theatre during rehearsals for the Double Feature, but have entirely failed to post anything since. I shall therefore redress the blog-balance with a little photo-blog. I shall endeavor to keep it short..

We finished the run of fifty shows just a few weeks ago and had a fantastic time. The band comprised myself on bass (and marching cymbals); Ben Castle on Sax, flute and sousaphone; Mark Edwards on keyboards and penny whistle and Phil Wilkinson on drums and tools.

The Double Feature was in fact four short plays; we would perform two each night on rotation, and all four on Saturdays when we had a matinee. The play was in the Paintframe which had been beautifully transformed by Soutra Gilmour into a new performance space, including a bar and foyer area. Our main function in the Double Feature was to perform in the foyer, and hand over between the plays and the changeovers as the performance space in turned around in the interval.

We were also on stage for one of the plays. We played a marching band during There Is A War by Tom Basden. We open the play by marching across a dark stage, self-lit by little lamps attached to our hats (oh yes indeed!)…

We cross the stage a further two times throughout the play, each time more bedraggled and beaten up by the war. By the final march, we have been robbed of our instruments…

We were joined by Dave Ohm on drums for the last few shows as Phil was off to get married. Dave and I have worked together a lot and it was really fun to have him in on the show.

We had a lot of fun during the Double Feature. I really love working at the National Theatre; it’s such a great creative environment and everyone that works there is fantastic. I went for an audition there on Tuesday for a new production and got the job, so I’ll be back there very soon rehearsing for The Comedy of Errors which runs between November and March in the Olivier. Can’t wait!

I shall leave you with a little gallery of other pics I took during the run. I’m still obsessed with the Hipstamatic application for iPhone and these are some of the results. Until next time…

Jul 21 2011

Back at the National Theatre

Thought I’d drop a quick post to let you know what’s been happening of late. Those of you that follow me on Twitter will already know that for the past few weeks I’ve been back at the National Theatre working on a new series of plays.

The series is called Double Feature, and we perform two short plays per night. There are four plays in total and they will eventually alternate each night. They are:

  • Edgar & Annabel by Sam Holcroft
  • The Swan by DC Moore
  • Nightwatchman by Prasanna Puwanarajah
  • There Is A War by Tom Basden

We’ve just finished three previews of the first two plays and are about to start technical rehearsals for the next two. The plays are being staged in the National Theatre’s Paint Frame which has been transformed into a unique performance space. This is the first time the space has been used to stage theatre and everyone is really excited about the project.

We have a four piece band drawn from the Duke Special gang. Our MD is Ben Castle and we are joined by Phil Wilkinson and Mark Edwards. We’ve got some great music and I’m getting a chance to play my Dano 63 again which has been great fun.

I really love working at the National on the Southbank. It’s one of my favourite parts of London. I’ve also been taking the opportunity to take lots of photos with the wonderful Hipstamatic for iPhone (my latest obsession). Here’s a few choice pics from the last couple of weeks…

The press nights are in a couple of weeks so there’s still a little while to go with previews. Hopefully see some of you there in the near future. The Double Feature runs until September 10th.

Until next time 🙂

ps. I had another lovely review for The Knowledge of Things To Come on Guitar Jar last week. You can read the review Here.