With just under three weeks until Bike to The Future, it’s time to introduce my special guests. And gently remind you to book your tickets…
The Full Package
First up: Rob Whale. Anyone who saw his appearance at The Rondo, last Autumn, will agree he really is the full package. Fiddle player, singer, songwriter, arranger and avid cyclist, Rob is someone with whom it’s always an honour to share the stage.
We first met as music students in London, back in the late 1980s (I know – hard to believe ether of us is that old). In the orchestra there, Rob developed his talent for miming, on the back desk of the violins. Meanwhile, I was humiliating myself on percussion, coming in – fortissimo – on cymbals in all the wrong places.
Funk Soul Brothers
But things improved from there. Rob formed his funk/soul outfit Rob Whale and The Marleys, for whom I played drums. We traipsed round the usual London haunts, including the legendary Half Moon in Putney and Moonlight Club. The band featured Charlie Round-Turner (now Midge Ure’s keyboard player) on keys and Lisa Walsingham (Jools Holland) and Jason Yarde (Jazz Warriors) on sax. (Bet they wish they’d been invited to play for Bike to The Future…)
Rob went on to teach music, winning the Classic FM/TES Teacher of The Year award in its inaugural year of 1999. He continued to write and arrange, forming the African-influenced outfit Super Rhythm Express, with whom I had the privilege of recording. Today, Rob is a regular member of folk outfit Jake’s Rake and sometime member of a Band named Brian.
Somewhere in a Field
Rob will be accompanying me at a lesser-known event in some fields near the village of Pilton, later in June. But before that you can see him in all his glory (and you’ll know what I mean when you do see him), at the Bath Fringe. This is a fabulous event and it’s always a pleasure to perform in the magnificent Old Theatre Royal. If you’ve not been before, it’s worth coming just to experience the venue.
The Only Choice
So, when I was looking for a well-equipped, fiddle-playing, backing-vocal-singing, cycling enthusiast for Bike to The Future, there really was only one choice! Come along on June 1st and see for yourself.