Brighton Rock

I’m performing with Bernie Tormé , celebrated guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Gillan, Dee Snider and GMT this Saturday 8 April in Brighton. It’s part of my “official birthday” celebrations so I hope to see you there !! 🙂  Tickets, just £13.25 available here.

Bernie will be playing songs from his triple box set album “Dublin Cowboy” plus a selection of old favourites. The album features a whole album of new rock songs, an acoustic album rooted in Bernie’s Irish and other traditions and a live album. My wife and I went round to Bernie’s for dinner the other week and there are some exciting developments in the pipeline … shhhhh …. 🙂

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So, I’m ready with my bucket, spade, shades and suedes to hit the town of Brighton, famed for its rock, cock and royalty … Come join me for an unforgettable afternoon and evening.

And the inspiration for the title of this post. The magnificent Brian May and Queen : Brighton Rock. One of my early inspirations was the guitar playing of Brian May, alongside Ritchie Blackmore and Jimi Hendrix and they taught me much of what I know now. Bernie Tormé‘s playing is out of this world, a fusion of psychedelia, hard rock and irish roots.  R U Experienced?

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Peter purges your inner business demons through music. Check his keynotes and longer masterclasses out at The Academy of Rock. For 1:1 mentoring and coaching on a worldwide basis contact him.

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Hollywood comes to … Wakefield

With the great Bill Nelson - continuously creative for more that 45 years

With the great Bill Nelson – continuously creative for more than 45 years

It was a rare privilege and a great pleasure to make a 12 hour round trip to Wakefield on Monday, to witness the artist, musician and friend Mr Bill Nelson receive a lifetime achievement award for his work in a ceremony that lasted less than 10 minutes.  The Wakefield Stars Scheme aims to acknowledge lifetime achievements of local people and the ambition is to pave the area all the way from the Bull Ring to The Hepworth Gallery with these Hollywood styled pavement plaques. Bill will be sitting amongst such stunning company as Henry Moore, the composer Noel Gay, John Godber the playwright, Barbara Hepworth, Sir Martin Frobisher, conservationist Charles Waterton and many others who made Wakefield’s mark on the world.

Bill has defied convention, setting his own path in a music world dominated by people who prefer to follow the latest fashion. Perhaps one of the first to start his own independent label Cocteau Records, Bill has always been at least two steps ahead of the world.  Admired by Sir Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Brian May and many other greats.  An influence on people such as Prince, Big Country, Dave Grohl etc. and copied by post-modern acts such as My Chemical Romance and The Darkness.  You can read more on this aspect at Bill Nelson – integrity and creativity in a bottle.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the ceremony was when Bill recalled that he had stood at the foot of the stage at around the age of four years old as his father Walter played the saxophone at a wedding. Bill had been given a toy saxophone to play along with his father! He has had some sadness in his life of late, as he is suffering from hearing loss. It was this news that compelled me to make the journey for what was less than an hour at the event, having connected deeply with Bill’s sense of frustration at the thought that he may not be able to make or hear music in quite the same way ever again. I also know that Bill will rise again as there are some wonderful things that can be done in this age to mitigate the symptoms that he is experiencing. It was also lovely to see Bill’s Mum who always looks fantastic, alongside Bill’s wife Emiko and the Nelson family – a proud moment for them.

I was reminded of scenes from “Dads Army” with the Town Clerk, as the Director of Culture and the Arts attempted to read his speech without any real knowledge of Bill’s work and his impact across the world! 🙂 Still, it was rather charming for all that and he made a really good effort despite his lack of knowledge of Wakefield’s finest. A little less time spent in strategic planning committees and more on the street is recommended 🙂 Bill pointed out that the last prize he won was a bar of chocolate for striking the triangle once in a performance when he was a boy! He has been hitting all the right notes ever since despite no formal musical education. Like myself, Bill claims he cannot read music, playing by ear and using intuition to guide him into new sonic territories. It’s a refreshing change to the ‘painting by numbers’ approach that turns out identikit musicians these days.

From Hollywood to Holyground ...

From Hollywood to Holyground …

In case you are unfamiliar with Bill’s work, here’s a sample of the huge diversity of his music. Check his website out at Bill Nelson and catch up with his output. This truly was an adventure in a Yorkshire landscape which was made in heaven … Sign your name with a star …

Here's hoping the Wakefield's Starman will rise again - Thank you for 40 years of continuous joy

Here’s hoping that Wakefield’s Starman will rise again – Thank you for 40 years of continuous joy. Stay Young

Maid in Heaven – Bill Nelson releases ITV Legend’s Concert DVD

Click on the guitar for the ITV Legends DVD

On March 26th 2011 ITV filmed a special concert in London, featuring guitar legend Bill Nelson, leader of pop art bands Be-Bop Deluxe and Red Noise. Bill Nelson left high profile music some years back, due to his dislike of the music industry / media circus. However, his influence on modern music is immense. Admired by Paul McCartney, Big Country, Brian May, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Eno, Prince, The Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance et al. I’m delighted to announce that the video of this unique evening at ITV Legends is now available on to buy on AMAZON. In case you are still wondering who Bill Nelson is, here’s some background.

Bill Nelson’s career started with 1970’s Art School band Be-Bop Deluxe, where he had considerable success with classic albums like Futurama, Sunburst Finish and Drastic Plastic. By the mid 70’s Be-Bop Deluxe were conquering America but Bill was disaffected by the celebrity lifestyle and its requirements of him. He disbanded Be-Bop Deluxe and formed Red Noise, a synth / new age band way ahead of its time, paving the way for 80’s acts like Gary Numan, A Flock of Seagulls and many others. Red Noise’s music was jagged and edgy, although it has undoubtedly stood the test of time, influencing artists such as Razorlight and The Kaiser Chiefs.

EMI dropped Nelson at this point since he refused to perform ‘more of the same’. Shortly after Bill pioneered Indie music, releasing albums made in his own studio on his own ‘Cocteau’ record label. Many of these home-made creations were of superior quality to what others have since recorded in the most professional of recording studios.

Bill Nelson’s heart is firmly fixed within the inventor’s domain, with a more or less continuous stream of musical creativity. Much of Bill’s work can be accessed through his website ‘Dreamsville’.

Nelson’s latest works are mostly lush ambient soundscapes, not typical of his recent ITV release, which is a must-have release for Be-Bop Deluxe / Red Noise / music lovers. Almost literally ‘maid in heaven’.  Here’s an example of Bill Nelson’s less commercial work, called Imperial Parade, taken from his recent performance at the Sheffield ‘Sensoria’ Arts Festival – music which owes no regard to an X-Factor culture.

I wrote a personal cameo about Bill Nelson, who I am proud to know, in the book Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll, as he is a master of continuous creativity and reinvention. A copy of the cameo can be found at the Academy of Rock. A video comparing the reinvention qualities of Bill Nelson and Prince Rogers Nelson can be seen below: