Lou Reed’s ‘melancholic ballad’ given 2020 makeover with nationwide musical collaboration, featuring 17 professional musicians and vocalists.
The track features seasoned professionals from the UK music and theatre industry, including Alex Larke of Electro Velvet (Eurovision Song Contest 2015), Kim Shepherd (Imagine Theatre and National Theatre Scotland), Anita Okienko (Scottish Chamber Orchestra) and Sofia Jones (Fastlove – A Tribute To George Michael). The band of 11 includes punchy brass section dbhorns (And Finally Phil Collins… and The Best Of Wham) and lavish strings from midlands-based Artume Quartet.
The concept, conceived by Stephen Coetzee, the drummer on the track, was inspired by the many collaborations performed by musicians around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stephen is hoping that the track, recorded in support of musicians, artists, actors and others in the Creative Arts, will raise awareness of the benefits of music and the value of artists in society.
Stephen said: “I wanted to create a project with a select group of colleagues, past and present, who I have really enjoyed making music with – we are all in the same situation together, with our industry not likely to be up and running again until 2021.”
The Lou Reed song was recorded for his 1972 album Transformer, and has since gone on to feature in the film Trainspotting, starring Ewen McGregor and Robert Carlyle. It is probably better known, however, for its star-studded 1997 version; the line-up of which included Elton John, David Bowie, Boyzone, Tom Jones and Lou Reed himself.
Stephen continued, “There are not many versions of this song, which in itself, presented a great opportunity for us. I feel we reinvented Reed’s somewhat melancholic, yet heartwarming, ballad, and added a level of ‘sweetness’ to it, much thanks to Michael Maddock’s superb brass and string arrangements.”
Perfect Day 2020 is raising awareness and support for artists in the music industry. Donations are going to the project and Help Musicians, an organisation which has been doing fantastic work assisting musicians during this difficult time. Click here to find out more and to donate.
Firstly, I hope that everyone is safe, well and making use of any spare time during this lockdown period that we wouldn't otherwise have. I have been finding plenty time to practice and work on remote collaborations with friends and colleagues, as well as lots more family time, which has been great.
Teaching online has been a rewarding challenge, and I'm thrilled to see students adapt to this new tuition method and see them progress - you can still book lessons online with me by sending an email to email@example.com
I am delighted to be hosting a drum workshop LIVE on FACEBOOK this Thursday, 11am for This Charming House.
If you have drums, great, but if not, get yourself some cushions, or pans etc to hit at the ready!
Join the page by clicking here and hitting the 'like' button to join in the fun.
Thanks to Joel Peter for inviting me to run this session.
New photography from Tom Jeavons Photography and video promos have been released for my function band The Wilderminds.
In November last year, we got together with manager Craig Robinson and his video team at the gorgeous Lost Village Of Dode in Kent - a real hidden gem, and must-see wedding venue!
On that freezing cold November afternoon, we shot the material and put on an intimate gig for the village locals; a lovely way to wrap our first gig Season!
Check out our new website by clicking here.
We are now taking bookings for 2020/2021. Get in touch with us through the website above.
Black Horse And A Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall (Cover)
Happy New Year to you all!
After a very busy month of 2 day show days with panto, it is lovely to be back home and back into the swing of things with teaching and preparing for the year ahead.
I was very proud to be part of the Imagine Theatre’s 5 star production of Jack And The Beanstalk this year at The Beacon Arts Centre, located on the West Coast of Scotland in Greenock.
As always, an intense band call and straight into tech rehearsals with this one. I do enjoy the rehearsal process though, especially for pantomime. Lots of changes are being made to the music, the script and the overall look of the production during this stage, sometimes even right up until the show opens – and further changes made during the previews stage!
Big shout out to the Musical Director, Dave Adey, for making me feel so welcome in the pit – there were only 2 of us (yes, I know), so we bonded very well!
The cast, creative team, crew and musicians worked tirelessly to put together the fantastic production which ran the whole of December.
After depping on The Carpenters Experience earlier in the year, I was offered some gigs with Real Magic – The Queen Tribute from the same company. I am delighted to be joining the band on their travels to Bahrain in the Middle East to play the Dilstock Festival – a festival of tribute bands – on 8th November. We will also play the role of backing band for the U2, Rolling Stones, David Bowie and 80s tribute outfits. Can’t wait for this experience!
In December, I will be heading to my homeland to play on panto with Imagine Theatre’s production of Jack And The Beanstalk showing at The Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, from 6 December to 31 December 2019. Looking forward to working with this company and Theatre for the first time!
For more information on Dilstock Festival, please click here.
For more information on Jack & The Beanstalk, please click here.
I am now trying my best to update this section of my website once a month – but of course, summer for musicians is usually crazy busy, hence my failure last month to write something! However, let me condense my June and July into one post instead...
Wedding Season has arrived again! I returned to my regular dep slot (dep means to fill in for the regular/resident musician) with The Gentlemen Of The Road Band – a 4 piece, powerhouse, function rock outfit playing wedding and parties across the country. As the name suggests, I get to see a lot of different places – well, usually a field or the inside of a barn, but still nice. . . it’s always a fun gig with these guys, go check them out!
My own function band, The Wilderminds, fresh from Stag Promotions, have taken on bookings this year with a new guitarist and a new bassist, and it has been great fun getting to know and work with those guys.
After being asked to play for The Carpenters Experience upon returning from tour earlier this year, I was invited to play for the company’s Queen tribute, Real Magic. It had been a while since I set up more than 3 cymbals and a double kick pedal! Queen is one of my favourite bands, so it was a pleasure to play this amazing material.
And on that note, a very enjoyable (if not slightly rainy) weekend was spent with The Carpenters Experience in South Wales. The first gig held in Cwmbran, followed by Barry Island (which reminded me of a very small Blackpool) and brought back found memories from my childhood. Izzy (saxophone/flute) and I made it our mission to find a House Of The Dead arcade game. . . but none could be found, so we had to settle for another shooter! The search continues. . .
Rounding off this post, it’s worth giving a shout out to the Newham Music team (and Chris Buglass) – a company which provide music tuition to schools in the Newham area – for the trust and hiring me for their youth concert performances at Stratford Circus earlier this month. It was awesome to perform with their orchestra for audiences of young people, many of whom would never have seen a live orchestra perform before. The evening performance starred young students taught by the music hub, including a short opera based around people in Newham, entitled ‘Full Circle’. With no drum charts handy, I worked off scores, lyrics and a bass chart – great band though, and a lot of fun! Thanks again for having me.
Since coming back from tour at the end of February, things have been pretty busy! I’ve returned to teaching and taken on some new students, and been kept busy gigging too.
The Carpenters Experience got me in to dep a gig in South Wales upon returning from Germany, and I’ve since been booked for further gigs with them. Those guys are great to work with, and I will TRY my very best to keep my gig page up to date with those concerts!
Another very enjoyable gig with Markus Michelucci & Sound Refuge took place at one of our favourite spots, The Feathers in Rickmansworth. You can watch a brand new live session with the band here. The song performed is ‘Blue Jean Bride’ (music & lyrics by Markus Michelucci), which was specially written for Markus’ grandmother. The song features lush guitar playing from Chris Buglass and soothing cello from Marianne Hardisty.
And last week, I found myself with a great band for Burgess Hill Musical Theatre Society’s Sister Act, a musical based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, with music by Alan Menken (Beauty & The Beast, Little Shop Of Horrors, Tangled) and lyrics by Glenn Slater (Love Never Dies, The Little Mermaid). Go check out this amazing musical if you haven’t already!
Now that I’ve wrapped up things on The 12 Tenors Best Of Tour, I thought I’d go back in time to November and share some pictures from where rehearsals began at the Schloss Schweinsburg Hotel in Neukirchen.
The cast had 2 weeks of rehearsals, and we (the musicians) had 1 week with the cast prior to the show opening in South Korea. The set, lights and instruments were built up in the big sports hall at the hotel and at the end of rehearsal week, we performed our dress rehearsal for a small audience of hotel guests.
Special shout outs here to Christian Hesse (amazing lighting design and operation), Attila Götz (instrument set up) , Philipp Fritz and Florian Burger (sound).
I am pleased to offer drum lesson vouchers exclusive for this festive period!
There will be several highly reduced lesson packages to take advantage of this festive season, so head over to my Facebook page here for the latest updates. Or, for more information on these special discounts and my lessons, please drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Returning from the international tour of The 12 Tenors in March 2019, I will be recommencing my tuition service. Here's just a few things some of my students and students' parents have said about me:
"Stephen is hugely encouraging and motivating - within the space of three months, our six year old is playing drums along to a CD - the progress made is fast!" - Martin and Eva
"Thanks to Stephen, learning the drums has never felt like a chore. It’s always really fun, and he has given me the guidance to progress" - Oran