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That time of year? A new blog!

When I re-did my website a year or so ago I promised myself I’d start regularly blogging. After a cracking start I’ve well and truly let myself down! But here goes another attempt…

Since my last update I’ve been nice and busy, which I’m very grateful for. I’m currently on tour with the Circus of Horrors on their 2012/13 tour, about 70 shows into what will end up being a 100+ show tour from October of last year until the end of March.

There’s been quite a few changes from last years tour, and luckily pretty much all of them have been for the better! We’ve got a great bunch of people with very few (if any) antagonists or trouble makers — pretty much the worst possible thing to have in such a close-knit environment.

There’s been some big changes in the band lineup, with Dan Angelow departing lead guitar duties and Andy Higgins moving on to a life at sea. In their places are Ollie Burjan on guitar, and Steve Brundish on bass. With Ollie’s love of Dream Theater et al he’s managed to fill Dan’s (quite literally) big boots seamlessly. After a few health issues with our first bass player we were lucky to have good friend Jonnie James step in for a few weeks, and since January the job has been entirely Steve’s, making him the second longest serving bass player in Circus of Horrors history! He’s still got 17 years to catch up with Andy though…Steve has a real drive and energy to always improve both the music and overall show wherever he can, as well as being a pretty damned good bassist.

Musically the show is much the same as last years tour, with a couple of songs being swapped out and some re-written. I’ve got the job of MD (musical director) this year, which essentially comes down to cueing the band into new sections of music or responding to the acts on stage, and listening to recordings of the show to come up with ways to make things tick along better. Luckily with such a good band, new ideas can flow into songs organically; this means we can react to each others ideas on the spot during the show, which is definitely one of the benefits of not being restricted to the same dots every night!

On a personal level I’m much happier with my own playing this year, and can definitely see massive improvements when comparing to recordings from last years show – obviously there’s still plenty to work on, but that will always be the case! Working through Tommy Igoe’s DVD has helped a lot.

The show itself, in my opinion is much better than last years also. We’ve got some great new acts on board, and the audience reactions have been great. A personal highlight so far has definitely been playing in front of 1,200 plus people at the Manchester Opera House, with the Liverpool Empire a close second. Here’s hoping it can go from strength to strength, but most importantly in the short term I’ll be happy if the venues continue to be selling well and people enjoy themselves (and the music, obviously!).

Somebody uploaded a great video on YouTube of footage from the show at the Yeovil Octagon (or ROCKtagon…?), you can check it out here:

That’ll do for now – don’t want to get carried away after going cold (blog) turkey for so long. There’s plenty more long minibus journeys to come for me in the next 6 weeks or so, so lot’s more where this came from.

Until next time…