Updates on video shoot, the Boerderij, YouTube Partnership, new website and gigs
I hope you're well and thank you so much for continuing to support the music!
My apologies for the radio silence particularly to those of you that aren't on facebook.
Firstly we'd like to extend a heartfelt welcome to our new Guardians, Steven Shakespeare, Howard Rankin, David Saunders, Stephen Lovegrove and my lovely sister Joanne. Thank you so much for joining this community and I hope you'll find something of interest in this first newsletter. Please let me know if you'd like back copies.
We're just home from a wonderful weekend where we spent Friday shooting new videos at the beautiful Grand Chapel Studio before flying out to Amsterdam for our first show at the iconic Poppodium Boerderij. Your support funded both these amazing opportunities and I can only say how incredibly grateful we are to you for making this possible.
The video shoot was once again directed by the brilliant Mark Jepson with the very young and super talented Harry Holt and Jonathan Clay on cameras. We shot video for Light Up, Mount Ephraim, Wongle No9 and Bulbul Tarang which we'll be releasing over the coming months. Of course, you'll see the results as soon as I have edits and will be crediting you so please do let me know if you'd rather not have your name on the play out.
Here's a few stills taken by the studio owner and engineer, Anneliese.
She also took some videos so I've added a folder on the server incase you want to check them out.
I've waited many a year for the opportunity to play this show and believe me, I was not disappointed! What an incredible venue! It's one of those magical rooms that feels immediately welcoming and sounds incredible thanks to great acoustics, superb production and a dedicated crew. Much like Veruno last year, we were so well looked after by a wonderful team of volunteers and a core professional crew who went so far above and beyond, particularly when things went pear shaped during the show.
Our show time was 10pm but an overrun meant it was 10 before we even had access to the stage and, being a festival, it was the usual high intensity 30 minute changeover with no possibility of a soundcheck or worthwhile equipment test. I knew something was up with my guitar the moment I plugged it in but hoped the intermittent cutting out was the usual dirty pickup selector issue usually cleared with some enthusiastic twiddling... I was wrong... and in an attempt to curb costs, hadn't taken my second Charvel recently acquired exactly for this situation.
Shout went by with virtually no guitar despite the crew running off and magicking up some switch cleaner.
Photo: Bryan Taylor
Realising the selector wasn't the problem, I discovered that by holding the guitar very still in a certain position (tricky □) it would work, which at least allowed me to play the last moments of Shout. As Jess chatted to the audience and the band grooved out, followed by a lengthy drum solo, the strange knocking inside the guitar suggested a loose battery. So while Pete displayed his chops, the crew produced a screwdriver and we took a look.
Sure enough the battery had been knocked from its clasp, presumably thanks to a heavy handed baggage crew member at Luton or Schipol, and the weight of it hanging there had wrenched a cable from the circuit board. With no further ado our hero, Domas, had produced a soldering iron... but which connector do we solder the flailing cable to?? There were several candidates so we made a choice and immediately the old guitar coughed into life. I triumphantly returned to the mic to announce our success only to discover that the guitar was operating at around half it's normal output and it sounded dreadful. Fighting off despair we put out desperate requests for a guitar I could use... by now the drum solo was over and an unnerving silence fallen across the venue. All the other bands had left and with no guitars to hand I called our hero back once more to take the guitar apart again. Out came the soldering iron and as we suffered the agonising wait for the iron to reheat, my despair began to take a grip. But soon Domas had freed the cable and with the focus of a bomb disposal team, we took our chances with a different connection... boom!! We were back in business and the Charvel was ready to play another show.
The moment me and Domas realise we'd overcome □
Photo: Marco de Niet
Getting over these things can take some time but the warmth of the audience and this wonderful band had my mojo back in no time. We ran way over schedule but no-one seemed to mind and when I spoke to the promoter, Arie Verstegan afterwards, the first thing that lovely man said was... "we've got to have you back". So all's well that ends well.
Here's some shots from that legendary prog nomad, Bryan Taylor
So after the show and a chat with those that were able to stay way later than planned, we were looking at booking taxis when Jan Buddenberg (DPRP) and the lovely Astrid Faber offered to run us back to the Golden Tulip for the night. There we were met by the night manager, Henry, who would spend the first part of his shift setting us up in a private courtyard with seats, lights and quilts where we could celebrate and share a smoke without disturbing anyone. How is it the Dutch are just so bloody lovely! □
The morning after required shades □
And on returning to the venue to pick up our gear and fly home we decided to approach Ken Loach about a new movie and shot this hurriedly arranged promo for your eyes only... theme tune to be 'Time For A Toke" □
Looking ahead our next shows are the mini Tour with La Maschera Di Cera from Italy. Jenny won't be with us unfortunately and will be hugely missed. She'll be recharging her inspiration battery by pulling all night lock-ins with some of the best fiddle players in Ireland. Sounds good! It's been some years since she's had the opportunity and we know how much it means to her, so stepping into Jenny's shoes will be the nearest biological dep we could find... our son Laurie Glass. He's a fine young musician who's been listening to the band literally from the womb so I'm sure all will be well.
April 28th - 229, London - Tickets April 29th - Northcourt, Abingdon - Tickets April 30th - The 1865, Southampton- Tickets
There's a couple of likely additions to the following dates. I'm delighted to say that we've just heard from Glastonbury and it looks like they want us back this year for Saturday night at Toad Hall. I've also been talking to Eivind Stronstad from Meer about playing together in Norway on Sept 16/17. Now that would be amazing!! Love that band!
July 22nd - Colchester Arts Centre - with TRILOGY - Tickets
August 12th - Cropredy Festival, Nr Banbury - Tickets August 28th - Towersey Festival - Tickets SEPTEMBER 2ND - THE STABLES - MK with The EBONY BUCKLE Band ~ TICKETS October 14th - 45Live, Kidderminster with TRILOGY - Tickets November 11th - HRH Prog - Great Yarmouth - As far as I know this is happening but would advice caution based on some of the stories going around - Tickets
Here's a catch up on a few things from the Facebook group for those of you who don't use it.
Firstly, huge thanks to everyone who helped us get to 4k view hours on YouTube! Some of you were even running Solstice videos on multiple devices which made a real tangible difference to the outcome.
It remains to be seen what, if any, revenue comes our way from the ads that YT run before and after our videos. Of course, we're not allowing ads during music videos and, for the time being, rejecting banner ads too, although these are easily rejected by the user. The other obvious benefits, apart from a decent support and advice service, are to receive a share from 'Premium' viewers subscriptions, link our shop to the channel and invite subscription support for our channel. The latter points could be really helpful since there's quite a large audience on YT who don't necessarily pick us up on other platforms. I'm just setting all this up at the moment and the first issue is that virtually all our videos have a 'copyright claim' which means they can't be monetised □ So I've spent have the day submitting dispute forms which essentially say "hello, I am the copyright holder". Any earnings are now held for 30 days while the mysterious 'The State51 Conspiracy' (actually a legitimate company but nothing to do with us as far as I'm aware) get a chance to counter. If they do nothing in the next month the copyright and associated income comes back to the band.
Whilst prepping vocal stems for our forthcoming shows with La Maschera Di Cera, where Alessandro will be going us onstage to sing Bulbul Tarang, I was reminded how beautiful those vocal tracks are. So I put together a couple of mixes and shared them on the Guardians fb group.
Update from Tim
Hello Guardians. As you know I have been working on creating a website that will bring all the online things that are spread across various sites into one. When completed this will not only replace Ko-Fi but also allow us to host our own group chat away from Facebook, and post to our own site with the posts automatically being shared on Facebook as well. You may be wondering what is happening with this so here's a quick update. To create the entire site with all the different functions is a very complicated process and for personal reasons I had to take a break a little while ago. Going forward rather than migrate to a total solution in one move I now plan to replace the existing site with something very similar but that can also handle our bulk emails and then add the extra functions we need one by one. I've got some online courses to complete before I get started again so I won't be getting going again for a couple of months. This is all taking a lot longer than I hoped but however slowly things are moving forward.
Ok, so I think that's about it for now. I'll be sharing the results of both our Grand Chapel Studio video shoot and the Boerderij, which was filmed and recorded, as soon as I have something. For those of you not using faceache, I'll be adding files to the Guardian Server as we go.
As always, we are so grateful for your support! There's no way we could do this without you.
Love and thanks
Andy, Pete, Jenny, Jess, Steven, Robin, Ebony and Jen X