Bang The Drum

Dominic Bailey-Clay is an in-demand producer, multi-instrumentalist, new(ish) Dad and all-round good egg (see pic). And, furthermore, he’ll be hitting things for Bike to The Future.

Solid State

Dom is one of those musician on whom many rely but of whom few are aware. He is responsible for producing some of the truly great acts to emerge from our environs and beyond. At the mixing desk, he’s an absolute legend but is also not afraid to get his hands dirty and muck-in on a multitude of instruments.

I first met Dom when he was working with local heroes Port Erin, with whose bass player I was performing in Rivers of England. We spent many a happy hour together at Glastonbury festival. Which became increasingly happy, the more I accepted the offers of shared herbal cigarettes…

Mixing it Up

Having become aware of Dom’s wizardry in the studio, I approached him to mix some tracks for my recent solo album ‘Never There at All’*. Not only did he do a blinding job, making sense of my sometimes over-complicated arrangements, he also augmented these with great session playing of his own. Replacing sampled electric guitars with real ones, layering acoustic drums on top of pre-recorded loops and dirtying-up Hammond and strings samples, Dom transformed my efforts into something way better than I could have achieved alone.

Spreading The Love

So, it was a natural step to introduce Dom to Rivers of England (with whom I play drums). He duly produced our recent EP ‘A Quarter to Eight in Spring’, with stunning results. Stand-out tracks are ‘Time Rolls On’ and Dom’s re-mix of our take on ‘Always on My Mind’. The latter has been enjoying radio play as far afield as Germany and Macedonia (no – me neither), so we’re poised for that long-awaited breakthrough!

Stage Presence

With all that behind us, it’s a joy to have Dom make a guest appearance in Bike to The Future. Dom joined me – briefly – onstage for my last Fringe show ‘Think of a Conclusion’, so he knows the ropes. He’ll be the one at the back, keeping us all on pointe and driving home the groove.

Did I Mention My Album?!

As mentioned, Dom produced my solo album ‘Never There at All’ from his wonderful studio, Nine Volt Leap, in Melksham. I can thoroughly recommend both to any musicians out there looking for a convivial recording space and a proactive producer. Dom has a terrific range of drums, synths, guitars and other instruments on-hand to enhance your performance. His studio also boasts an impressive array of vintage outboard effects, to get that unique sound you’ve been searching for.

Several songs from ‘Never There at All’ feature in ‘Bike to The Future’, so what better way to prepare yourself for the show than to grab yourself a copy? ‘And how would I do that?’ I hear you say. Well, it’s funny you should ask…

Free Download

* Just forward me your booking confirmation (to brian@madmusik.co.uk) and I’ll send you a link for the album download.

And to get your booking confirmation, you’ll need to book. Which you can do here:

Mr Bassman

Introducing Jason Albarin, who will be making a guest appearance on the bass for ‘Bike to The Future’. It’s fair to say that if you’re where Jason is, you’re generally where the party’s at.

Plucky Fellows

Jason and I first met as fellow rhythm-makers for blues-funksters Plucky Purcell. In that line-up, I was on drums, whilst Jason played percussion. At the same time, we performed in opposite configuration (Jason on drums and me on percussion) with retro-alt-popsters Thompson’s Lovechild.

Jason is largely responsible for my song ‘Avin it Large’, which featured in the ‘Think of A…’ fringe-theatre trilogy. He was part of a posse of Bath party-heads, who would show up at gigs and festivals with alarming regularity. They would dress to the nines and generate good vibes through their exuberance and general merriment.

For One Night Only

Plucky Purcell were playing at Sunrise festival one year. It was a great vibe and we had the whole place dancing to our funky grooves. Afterwards, I was taken under the wing of said crew and given a make-over. So, with glittery face-paint, fluffy jacket and curly wig to disguise my normally staid appearance, I became – for one night only – one of them. And ‘ad it large!

Want to Know More?

If you really want to know more, you’d better listen to the song. And if you want to listen to the song, the best way to do so would be to claim your free download of my album ‘Never There at All’. And to claim your free download, just forward your booking confirmation for ‘Bike to The Future’ to me at brian@madmusik.co.uk .

And to get that, click here:

A Whale of a Time

I can now reveal the second of my special guests for Bike to The Future, at the Rondo Theatre in Bath on 29th October. Rob Whale: a consummate musician and a keen cyclist too!

By Arrangement…

Rob is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, educator and performer. We first met as music students at Middlesex Polytechnic in the late 1980s. There, we performed together in numerous shows, bands and ensembles. Notable among these – if only for its glorious name – was Rob’s own band ‘Rob Whale and The Marleys’. This variously featured Jason Yard (Jazz Warriors) and Lisa Walsingham (Jools Holland) on sax, as well as Charlie Round-Turner (Midge Ure) on keys.

Rob created arrangements for my own degree final recital, which – in addition to Charlie and Lisa – also featured Dawne Adams (Pet Shop Boys, Lionel Ritchie, etc.) on percussion. Later, I recorded drums for Rob’s African-influenced project ‘Super Rhythm Express’. He then went on to become a regular member of the folk outfit Jake’s Rake, with whom he still performs.

Impressive Mileage

Perhaps more significantly, Rob is a mad keen cyclist. A member of Holmfirth Cycle Club, he clocks up impressive mileage on a near-daily basis and is Local Legend of Jackson’s Back Passage (anyone familiar with Strava might understand what that means)! Rob and his daughter Jasmin also accompanied me and my son Florian on fund-raising cycle rides to Paris and across Wales to their home in West Yorkshire.

Extra Flare

Rob’s energetic, folk-tinged fiddle playing, vocal harmonies and stage presence bring extra flare to any performance. So, I’m delighted that he’ll be travelling down to Bath to make a special guest appearance. We hope he’ll also be able to accompany me on sections of the planned cycle-based tour beginning next Spring.

Previously, Rob and I have appeared together at Bracknell and Glastonbury festivals, as well as numerous gigs and shows. It will be wonderful to rekindle this musical partnership for you at the Rondo. And, with Rob on board, we’re guaranteed a Whale of a time!

See you there.

Don’t Tell Anyone…

Yesterday, posters for my up-coming show ‘Bike to The Future’ were delivered to the Rondo, where I will be performing on 29th October. (Please put that date in your diary and do book your tickets early*).

An Open Secret

But there’s something you ought to know. And this is an open secret within the theatrical community. If you are involved in that world, it may not come as a surprise but others might think it strange.

The truth is, when you put together a theatre show, things happen in a peculiar order. One of the first things you generally do is create promotional images. Then, you’ll write some ‘blurb’, describing your masterpiece to prospective venues. After that, you design posters and flyers to attract audiences. Then, you write a press release for the media…

Something Missing

So, what’s the big reveal? Well, something’s missing from that list… The show!

I’ve worked on many theatrical productions, as composer, musician, writer and performer. And, in most cases, the show itself hasn’t been created until all of the above has taken place. But don’t be alarmed.

In order to produce all that promotional material, you really have to know what the show is going to be about. You need to have a clear vision of the mood, style and flavour of the performance. And you must be sure you can deliver, when it comes to putting it all together.

New Adventure

This new adventure follows on from my trilogy of ‘Think of a…’ Fringe shows. The structure will be similar to those. The audience (you, I hope) will be taken on a journey by way of a sequence of songs and the stories behind them. Along the way, there will be the odd surprise (well, it won’t be a surprise anymore – duh!) and some special guests will be joining me.

So, all I need do now is write the thing! Well, the songs are written. The structure is in place. Special guests are booked. And everything else will follow. I can promise you will be royally entertained and look forward to having you along for the ride (pun intended) 😊.

Free Album Download

*Email me your purchase confirmation (brian@madmusik.co.uk) and I’ll send you a link to download my recent album ‘Never There at All’ for free.

I’ve Thought of a Sequel!

You didn’t think the fun would end there, did you?  Oh no.

This year sees the premier of the follow-up to ‘Think of a Song’, which I have imaginatively titled ‘Think of a Sequel’.

If you were at the first show and would like to relive the agony/ecstasy/indifference it induced – or if you weren’t there and would like to take a voyeuristic look – then please click here. But look: now there’s more…

So What’s New This Year?

Well, this time around, I have enlisted the help of some first-rate musicians to fill the silences for you. Back into the breech will be the inimitable improviser/guitarist/composer/genius that is Paul Bradley. Alongside him will be the astonishing talents of drummer/percussionist/Gas Giant/wearer-of-shite-shirts Tony Orrell. And last but by no mean least is the ethereal oboist/percussionist/multi-instrumentalist/bear-foot-globe-trotter James Watts.

To say that these are three of the most affordable and available musicians I could find would be to tell the truth. But not only that! They are actually each hugely respected talents in their own field.

Meet the (A)Team

Paul Bradley, you will know from the first show, is the brains behind Organelles, Three Cane Whale and more besides. Renowned for his freewheeling improvisations, Paul is a hard man to pin down in terms of style or genre but you may want to think Frank Zappa meets John Williams and Pat  Metheny (and kicks the sh*t out of both of them).

Tony Orrell is notoriously one half of Gas Giants, alongside Will Gregory (of Goldfrapp fame). But he is much more besides, being the go-to drummer for jazz combos throughout the South West. Tony is an astonishingly expressive player with a flare for improvisation, which is how we originally met, back in the late 90s. Tony was commissioned to lead a series of free-improvisation sessions that culminated in Fringe performances around Bath in a variety of unlikely locations. Yours truly took part on a cobbled-together portable percussion rig and a battered flute.

James Watts is a very-much in-demand oboist, who also has a penchant for world music and a thirst for travel. He brings a multitude of influences to the party and is well-versed in the art of improvisation. James is well known in the area as champion of reed instruments among young students. He is an early music specialist, a classical soloist, producer, arranger and all-round lover of all things noisy and/or reedy.

Sublime Support

As I go to press, I don’t have any specific information for you on Jim Gallagher, who will provide the opening performance for Think of a Sequel. However, I have known Jim for many years and seen him perform at (indeed on) various stages over that time. His songs are beautiful, ethereal, engaging and at times other-worldly, all of which adjectives apply to the man himself.

Something of an enigma, Jim is someone who very much treads his own path. Having spent time in California during the 1960s, it is very possible that a part of him never really returned. Or that is the impression sometimes given. So, as you can surmise, Jim is a shoo-in for this show. He will set the tone and we will follow…

Put it In Your Diary!

Now, don’t come running to me saying you didn’t know this was happening. The date is booked for June 6th. The venue, as for ‘Think of a Song’, will be the Old Theatre Royal Bath (details available here). This space has a certain magic to it, which lent itself perfectly to the first show and will – I am sure – do the same once again.

I will be posting updates as more info becomes available (like actual information on the other performers), so stay tuned. Once tickets are available, the links to book will go live on this site and I will be sending out emails to those unfortunate enough to be captive on my list (but with an opt-out of course).

Any Questions?

Of course you have. Feel free to get in touch at brian@madmusik.co.uk: I should love to hear from you.

 

 

A Show of Two Halves

This Wednesday at the Old Theatre Royal in Bath is going to be a show the likes of which has never been witnessed before. Not only that but it comprises two very different performances. The unifying factor is that in each half the performer will be ‘thinking of a song’.

Improvised and Inspired

First up is Paul Bradley; Bristol-based Northern Irish singer-songwriter, guitarist, composer and raconteur. Paul improvises everything with such fluency and skill that it is hard to believe this is not all predetermined. Somewhere between Thom Yorke and Tim Buckley, his vocals soar to high falsetto one moment, then descend to a whisper the next. His guitar playing ranges from prog to folk to Pat Metheny-esque jazz-fusion. And the whole thing is augmented with electronic processing and pre-Ed Sheeran looping.

All in the Mind

Following that is Brian Madigan (a Band named Brian), presenting his experimental-theatre-cum-performance-art piece ‘Think of a Song’. In this, he literally does just that; performing songs in his head and inviting the audience to join in a communal mind-experiment. In between, he tells the stories – out loud – that inform the songs, weaving a compelling narrative thread and throwing in a couple of surprises along the way.

The Final Part of the Puzzle

Audience members will then get a third performance –  but not until after they leave. They will each receive a CD copy of ‘Think of an Intro’. This comprises the songs from Think of a Song, as performed at the Old Theatre Royal – live but without an audience -on May 15th. In this performance, the songs are delivered out loud and the intros are performed in the mind. That was captured on film and will be edited together with footage from Wednesday’s show to create a unique video document of the whole experiment.

Be a Part of It…

Naturally, the audience forms a major part of the whole thing. In both performances, the relationship between performer and recipient will be explored and tested. Come and be a part if this unique Fringe experience: it certainly is one you won’t forget in a hurry!

Book  Your Tickets Now

Tel: 01225 463362
Email: boxoffice@bathfestivals.org.uk

“So, What’s It About?”

Somebody posted on Facebook the other day “What’s ‘Think of a Song’ about?”. Which is a very good question…

 

Like many pieces of experimental art, the interpretation will lie largely with the audience. Which is – to a large extent – the point. However, there are some themes that run through the piece. If you don’t want to know in advance, then please look away now. Otherwise, read on.

The show asks how can we break away from our day-to-day routines and certainties. How do we  allow ourselves to move beyond our own and others’ preconceptions of who we are and where our limits lie? What does it feel like to put ourselves willfully into a position of discomfort and embrace present uncertainties?

Through these explorations, is it possible to transcend our  instinct for self-preservation and expand our creative potential? And by so-doing, can we allow magic into our world?

And what’s that Kingfisher got to do with anything?…

 

… Come along and you’ll find out.

Book Tickets

Tel: 01225 463362
Email: boxoffice@bathfestivals.org.uk

Well That Was Weird…

Monday was the first performance of ‘Think of a Song’. No, don’t worry, you’ve not missed anything – this was the non-public part of the performance. If you haven’t fully grasped the concept of this show, let me explain…

All in the Mind

But first, I want to share my experiences from Monday’s show. This was performed in its entirety, with no breaks or edits. The space was empty, save the film crew, audio technician and myself. What was disconcerting was the sensation that, having thought the introductions (the part that will be heard on 31st May) in my mind, I than had the strange sensation of not knowing whether or not I was actually singing out loud .

It was clear that I was playing the guitar but I very nearly forgot to externalise the vocal more than once, as I had become accustomed to the voice inside my head. This was an interesting and disconcerting part of the experiment and, I have to admit, adversely affected my performance. It should not have been a surprise, since I always think of my shows as being a dialogue with the audience. Yet I came away with the distinct feeling of having in some way let myself down.

Experi-Mental

As an exploration of the role of the audience within a performance, this has – then – already yielded some significant results. All the more fascinating to see how it goes ‘on the night’. That is, the ‘second night’. Let me explain:

On May 31st, I will be performing the introductions to my songs in front of a live audience, who will then join me in thinking the songs as I play them through – silently – in my mind. Yesterday, I performed those same songs, in the same space, out loud and thought through the intros. This was all captured live on camera and digital audio. Footage from both performances will be edited together following the live show on May 31st and audience members will receive a CD of the songs they have just thought. Clear? Thought not!

Please don’t forget to book your tickets while they are still available. These can be ordered from Bath Festivals Box office on 01225 463362 or online here .