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Spikedrivers
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Spikedrivers
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Modern blues with a traditional feel. Original and traditional songs with a unique twist.
Taking inspiration from their American roots and the countrys rich musical heritage, the Spikedrivers songwriting, vocal harmonies and unique instrumentation make their sound fresh and exciting. The atmosphere created by the band takes you on a journey, from southern jukejoints and lazy front porches to the huge open spaces of dust bowls and railroad tracks disappearing into the distance Ben Tyzack - Guitar, vocals & harmonica Raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Ben picked up his passion for the blues while growing up in the deep south. Once he heard the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Doc Watson in his fathers record collection the decision to play guitar was an easy one. After years playing in bands honing his fingerpicking and slide playing, Ben decided to start a project based around his love for early blues. He formed the Spikedrivers in 1992 and continues to develop the bands sound and his song writing. Ben has also performed with Lee Sankey, Ian Siegal and recently with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Constance Redgrave - Bass guitar, vocals & percussion From Hollywood, California, Constance learned her craft at the Music Institute of Technology in Los Angeles. Her obvious talent landed her the gig with 'Christian Death' who were just about to leave for a European tour. Now living in London she has gone on to play with Otis Grand, Steve Cropper, Anson Funderburgh, Hank Wangford, Chris Jagger, Pierre La Rue, Wes McGhee, Companions of the Rosy Hours, Boo Hewerdine and The Colin John Band among many others. Maurice McElroy - Drums, vocals & percussion A "veteran blues drummer" according to Blueprint Magazine, Maurice originally hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Nicknamed 'The Groove Meister' by the Earl Green Band, his credits include Otis Grand, Larry Garner, Philip Walker, Robert Ward, Guitar Shorty, Wes McGhee, Kimmie Rhodes, Lee Sankey, The Colin John Band, and, of course The Earl Green Band.
Band/artist history
Ben first formed the Spikedrivers in 1992 when he moved back to the UK. They had various lineups and released two CDs 'Delta Boogie' and 'Whisky River Blues' which are now out of print although there are plans to release a compilation of the original songs from both CDs sometime in 2008. Constance and Maurice joined in 2000 and have been there ever since. So far we have released three CDs; 'Delta Roots' 2001; 'Blue Trash' 2003 and 'Ain't it real' 2005.
Have you performed in front of an audience?
We play live all the time and for us it's the whole point of playing music. We play all over the UK and Europe from Cornwall to the Shetland Islands, the furthest south we've played is Italy and the furthest north is the Arctic Circle. We've had loads of special moments. Sometimes it's when we walk out onto a big festival stage like the Shrewsbury Folk Festival and other times it's when someone comes up after a gig and says 'I don't usually like this kind of music but I like you.'
Your musical influences
We are influenced by a hell of a lot of people. The one thing we have in common is the old blues guys and gals. Rev Robert Wilkins; Bessie Smith; BB King; Robert Johnson, the Staple Singers and such. Then there's people like Ry Cooder; Dr John; The Rolling Stones; Led Zeppelin Pink Floyd and so on. We like big bands, Duke Ellington, Count Basie; country, Emmy Lou Harris, Willie Nelson; Flamenco, Paco De Lucia, Paco Pena, Ojos de Brujo. Recently we've been listening to a lot of soundtrack music by Ennio Morricone and the Belleville Rendezvous soundtrack. Then there's the people we know and love. Little George Sueref, Ian Seigal, Matt Schofield, the Rockin' Armadillos, Kimmie Rhodes, it goes on and on. If it's good, we'll listen
What equipment do you use?
We like the old stuff, mostly from the 60's. Ben has a 1952 Gibson, a 60's Hofner, a Lowden and a strange resonator that was made two friends from several guitars and a kitchen mixing bowl. They all run through Fender amps. Constance uses a a 1963 Fender Precision bass with a Selmer Treble 'n' Bass 50; Maurice has a 1960's Ludwig Downbeat kit plus what he calls a 'Lounge Lizard' kit which he made out of old Premier and Carlton drums and is based on the cocktail kits of the 40's and 50's. The difference is that he can sit down to play his. We use a lot of percussion including zydeco washboard, udu drum, cajon, temple blocks and assorted hand percussion.
Anything else?
Along with our liking for old equipment, we also like analogue recording. Our last three CDs have been recorded on 16 track 2" tape. We my not be able to do it again as it's getting difficult to find 16 track tape machines that still work well. 'Blue Trash' and 'Ain't it real' were both recorded at Helioscentric Studio in Sussex where they have the desk that used to be in Island Studios during the 1970s when people like Traffic and Bob Marley were recording there. We have to give a special mention to our recording engineer and co-producer Phill Brown who has worked with us on the last three albums. Working with him is a joy and he's the reason our albums sound as good as they do. Phill has recorded everyone from the Rolling Stones through to Dido taking in artists like John Martyn, Duke Ellington, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Talk Talk, Faithless and Dave Gilmour along the way. Go to his website www.tape.demon.co.uk and be amazed.
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