The Story Continues

...February 2015: Steve 'Redders' Redhall returns to the band on vocals and harmonica, and we make plans for new versions of old favourites plus new songs with maybe an original piece or two thrown into the mix too - a new era for the band begins...

...October 2014: Band on hold as we seek new members and build a new set... await news...

...July 2013: F2B returns to the stage, fresh new look and sound...

..Sep 2012: A new direction, while we were keen to return to the 5 piece format, we discovered we were repeating ourselves musically... so the big decision.. to return to the 4 piece format - single guitar - as we did during the Germany tour years ago. This boost returned the musical edge to the band

...July 2012: After auditions and rehearsals - and a dabble with keyboard players - we have two new members - Zoe; vocals and harmonica and Greg; 2nd guitar and vocals.

...Feb 2012: Catherine leaves - destined for Europe as part of her university degree studies & Fraser moves on to pursue other interests

... July 2011: We reform as a 5 piece, joined by Catherine on vocals and Frazer on 2nd guitar/harmonica - new look and sound for 2011

...December 2009: We reform as a 4 piece with Amelia centre stage on vocals and a new look and sound for 2010

...March 2009: We hit the road with new drummer - it's going to be a big year...

...February 2009: Tony plays with F2B for the last time

...June 2007: The new line line hits the road

...April 2007: Redders leaves F2b and the band takes on a new look and starts rehearsals with two new members

...October 2006: Pops Callaghan leaves F2B and a new chapter begins... watch this space

...December 2005, 4 years on from those early rehearsals back in December 2001. Things are very different now. As we approach the New Year we already have gig dates throughout 2006. More songs, new equipment, new guitars...

...but what of us... personal thoughts over the years from band members...


Sparks

February 2015:

Another chapter in the fade2Black story is about to be written, and there is a familiar name involved. We give a warm welcome back to Steve “Redders” Redhall, who was the original vocalist and a founder member of Fade2Black back in 2001.

The old spark immediately returned at the first get together, and we are all very much looking forward to getting back out on the road, but this time, the re-launch will include some new material and hopefully some of our own numbers thrown in for good measure.

We are already in discussions with our old friends Kev and Steph at the New Barrack Tavern regarding a date for the first gig, but please stick with us, although we are working hard behind the scenes, we want to give the best possible performance of the fresh material, and this will take a little time.

 

Redders

February 2015:

One very unexpected phone call later and I find myself walking back into the rehearsal rooms.

Initially feeling somewhat nervous but more than a little excited, we started to play a couple of the old songs and, once I had blown away the cobwebs,  it felt like I had never been away.   

I am so looking forward to performing live again but know that there is lots of work still to be done before that can happen.

Many thanks to Andy, Richard and Steve for inviting me back after all this time.  It feels really good!

 

Steve

February 2015:

A bit of a traumatic 2014 for me I must say, but came out the other side and now I'm Feeling Good, is that a Q for a song?.

I would like to say a big thank you for the help and patience Zoe, Andy and Rich have shown over the last year.

With Zoe no longer with us now, a new but old member returns, you know what I mean. Welcome home Steve Redhall, I say home because after just a couple of rehearsals it feels like you belong here and never really went away.

I can see good times ahead. There is an energy and hunger back in the Fade2black camp, long may it remain that way.

Keep it tight

 

Richard

February 2015:

As a band we have had a number of new beginnings over the years - over 14 years as it turns out. I remember those early days well, especially how well we all rehearsed and worked together on new material as well as the chemistry on stage. With Redder's return to the band after leaving 7 years ago - the first of the original band members to move on -  there were a few nerves for our first rehearsal - but those years evaporated away and it was clear that the magic was still there - but with the added years of experience since we last played together thrown in too. The band is now a 4 piece rather than a 5 piece with a new feel and groove.

What has pleased us all was the the feeling of old and new combined - not just simply playing what we used to play in the way we used to. We have all grown musically since those early days - so old favourites had a new edge to them. Running through some new numbers was good too - hearing new possibilities.

Each version of the band has had different something to offer - but as always - the best is yet to come.
 

 
Past Thoughts:
Andy:

December 2013: 2013 saw Fade2Black consolidate two major changes to the band. Firstly, and for the first time since our tour of Germany, we are now back to playing as a four piece. This brings about a subtle change of style for both Richard and myself, and it certainly gives the bass a little more space to work in. Secondly, we give a warm welcome to Zoe on vocals. Zoe brings with her a wealth of experience, and this guarantees a powerful and expressive performance on vocals and harmonica on each occasion.

I’m really looking forward to 2014, and we are already starting to put dates into the diary, including some new venues for us. The Fat Skeleton biker event in April should be a cracker, and brings back memories of our debut at the farmyard MAG event a few years ago. A big thank you goes out to Greg, Frazer and Catherine for helping us on our journey in recent times.

July 2011: Well, we’ve had lots of fun since the last update, new gigs, new experiences, and we are excited to announce that Fade2Black has a line up change. We say goodbye to Amelia, and give a warm welcome to Catherine Cross on vocals, and Frazer Barnes on rhythm guitar and harmonica.

On meeting Catherine and Frazer we instantly knew they were perfect for Fade2Black, Frazer is steeped in the traditions of the blues, and Catherine has taken to the blues with an astonishing appetite, and both have worked tirelessly to get Fade2Black ready for re launch. This unique combination means the Fade2Black experience continues in a way that we are sure you will all enjoy. I for one cannot wait!

April 2009: I can’t believe that we have been together as fade2Black for over eight years now, and so many things have happened since I last updated these pages in June 2007.

 Tony is now fully focussed on The Call, and we welcome Steve Paling as our new drummer. We wish Tony all the best for the future, and thank him for all he has done to help establish the band. Steve and I were both in the rock band Kymaera some years ago, and I knew his personality and exceptional ability as a drummer would make his introduction an easy transition. At the time of writing this Steve has had two stonking gigs with Fade2Black, and he plays with a natural flair that would make you believe he has been with us from the start.

 There have been some memorable experiences in recent times, it was an absolute pleasure to play at Weston Park last summer, it was a day full of nostalgia reflecting on the summer Sundays of my youth, hanging around the park watching local bands, and I’m delighted that we will play there again this summer. We had a fabulous time at the Art In The Garden event in the Botanical Gardens, but the highlight for me personally was our mini tour of Germany last year.

 We continue to play our favourite spots such as the excellent New Barrack   Tavern and Rotherham Blues Bar, but we have spread our wings a little and can be seen playing in Greater Manchester as well as West Yorkshire venues on a regular basis. Coming up we are playing the MAG Farmyard event this summer, and that should be another exciting experience.

So, we have a settled line up that has an impetus to make the music we love, in a friendly, supportive  and expressive way that can only bode well for the future, I can’t wait!

June 2007: Exciting times! I could not have imagined writing about two new band members when we last updated the band history back in December 2005, but this demonstrates the dynamics of being in a band I guess!

Pops and Redders played more than a significant role in the shaping of Fade2Black, and we wish them well for the future. But fate is a curious and wonderful thing. I had asked Amelia to join us for my birthday bash at the New Barrack Tavern at the back end of March 07, she accepted, and brought the house down with her vocals and guitar playing. We found out afterwards that she also plays violin.

Shortly after this event I was surfing the net and I came across the details of a singer looking to join a band, and after a few exchanges of e-mails we met Willow for the first time……only as it turned out I had met him a few years earlier when I was involved in another band.

So F2B have two new members and an exciting future, we have a front man with a big voice who is not sure if he is man or ape (take a look at the promo photos he sent us!), and a versatile musician and vocalist who brings a fresh dimension to the band. I’m looking forward to launching the next phase of F2B, I hope you will enjoy it as much as we will!

December 2005: The last four years have passed so quickly, which sadly is a sign of old age - or too much beer!

We have experienced all the highs and lows that you would expect playing in a local band. Playing to a gathering of two! - who did become firm friends by the end of the evening - to over two hundred full on rock'n'blues fans, all gigs are good - some are awesome!

What never fails to amaze me is the extent of the knowledge the people have when it comes to music. Whatever number we play, no matter how obscure, there is always someone there who can real off all the artists associated with the song, along with the dates it was performed and the equipment used.

Something that has helped us is being listed on independent music web sites that provide invaluable information for bands and punters alike, check out: www.rockofthenorth.com

I can’t help but notice the diversity and quality of music that is now available in local pubs and clubs, often organised by great enthusiasts - such as Les at the King Of Diamonds in Shirebrook - and without them we would not get the same opportunities to play the music we love so much

 

Richard

December 2013: The last 2½ years could be summed as new beginnings. Marriage to Barbara in Jamaica in 2012, a year long house remodelling/building project, the making of a new home and a new approach to the band.

The cleaner, tighter more focussed 4 piece sound that started in 2012 has given an edge put more fun into all our playing. Musically, we are playing in new and different ways - giving old songs a boost and offering different choices of new songs.

In many ways this is a harder format because everyone can hear everything - no room for mistakes - but all that adds up to a fun challenge and some great music.

It has been interesting meeting with, rehearsing with and playing a number of different musicians over the last couple years - and a reminder of  how elusive it can be to have that special combination of people and musicians that turn a group into a band. And more than that - a band that can create the F2B ensemble sound we strive for. This line up feels just that.

July 2011: For me, the last couple of years have been a blur, a mix of highs and lows and great change. Separation and divorce is not a road I would want to travel again. But it has certainly  provided an emotional focus for my playing!

As a band we played some wonderful and enjoyable gigs. Now a new dawn rises with a new line up and different variation - a 5 piece with female lead vocalist: welcome Catherine & Fraser. In the past we have had members with multiple band connections but now this is our first dedicated 100% F2B line up - giving us the chance to really take our music forward - uniquely following the F2B way.

Since the band started - my attention and great joy has been the 'ensemble' sound and playing with great musicians who get what the band 'is all about', a very special feeling - the new vocal blend of Catherine and the "Stratmeister" that is Frazer - is music to my ears

December 2009: It is a time of endings and beginnings both personally work and band-wise - 2010 is going to be a big year. The early rehearsals as 4piece have been a joy - and the new format has given us a new twist on some old favourites and the opportunity for new and different songs too.

I remain touched and humbled by the loyalty and support we have received and the genuine affection people have for the band - and something I value greatly... thank you to everyone.

April 2009: The last two years have been great fun. New venues, new audiences and even a new country to us - Germany. Our mini-tour experience will be one I remember always. The cliché band experience is trailing many miles up and down the A1 in a ford transit van - the making and breaking of many a band before us.

However, the really nice thing about F2B is that we get on so well - all of us a bit quirky to be sure - and on top of all that - we make a great sound. I think our playing is getting stronger year-on-year. Playing and performing is an emotional affair - the stage is a place of highs, lows and drama... trust and belief in each other is the key... and in that we are well blessed.

A new person joining adds a new dimension too - and with Steve P now on drums it both refreshes the familiar and stimulates the new... so look and listen out for a lot of new songs over the next year.

I am amazed that the 8 years have past - am humbled that people have come to see us regularly over all those years, enjoying what we do and how we do it... am excited (and sometimes nervous) by new places and people - hearing us fresh for the first time and hopefully discovering something in our music that touches them. The thing is - it still touches us!!

When Andy first approached me all those years ago - we talked a lot about the kind of band we wanted to be... the sound, the feel, the music and our approach to making music - the F2B way. We have grown... evolved - but at the same time remained true to what brought us together in the first place... a love of the blues.

June 2007: I guess deep down, you know things will change - but you can never be sure exactly how and when. So here we are - a new F2B - with Willow and Amelia now in the band - and we have just played our first full gig together. A mix of old favourites but played in a new way and some new songs altogether... and more new stuff to come.

Playing with Redders and Pops was great and we got to know each other musically very well... and that made playing a pleasure. Now, with two new members, we are discovering what we can each do and what magic we can be bring to F2B - and that is a great pleasure too.

My playing is evolving and with our past success to build on there are some exciting times ahead... for those that have stayed with us over the years - thank you - I hope you love the next phase to F2B - and if you have only just discovered us... then I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. As for life in general, more change, more drama, more restructuring - but hey, I am still here... admittedly with slightly less hair - that blues for you!

December 2005: The last 4 years have seen some big changes in my life with all the emotional highs and lows that family dramas, illness and loss can bring - alongside company restructures - leaving job, no job then getting new job! Blues is the business of life!

Band-wise, we are in a very different place as we have grown and know each other musically so much better now - playing many gigs and many songs. Some songs are still with us from the beginning - others are new ones forged along the way. We do not always agree on stuff - but we do agree that we make a great sound together. 

If it's been a bad day and you are trying to get it together for a rehearsal or a gig - once the stresses of plugging everything in  are over (trust me on this - wires is a tricky business!!) - you hear the count and click of drumstick 1.2.3.4... the snare drum beat, Pop's sweet Fender Stratocaster kicks off, the Bass powers in, Redder's voice swells to the opening line and all I want to do is play my heart out.

One of the joys for me is that we can move freely from beautiful, tight controlled arrangements to the magic of "in the moment" improvisation. Add in a few jazzy moments due to some creative memory chords or riffs wise and no two gigs are the same - and that works for me.
 

Steve:

December 2013:Reflecting back on 2013, we found most of our time was spent building a solid gig-able set, together with learning fresh material with our new singer Zoe, who`s transformation from solo artist to fronting a band is a complete success, well done Zoe. Hard work, focus and great new ideas have made us all ready for 2014.

Playing live for me is the most enjoyable, rewarding and exciting part of being a member of Fade2black so its great to see the 2014 diary filling up nicely including some new venues. Can't wait to get out there again with a group of people who have the passion and musicianship to perform Blues the Fade2black way.

July 2011:I was starting to get paranoid, since joining Fade2black people have wanted to leave ( ahhhh ) but i have been reassured its not personal. I really enjoyed working with Willow and Amelia, thanks guys and all the best for the future. Moving on "Wow!" we have been presented with two new members, and both Frazer and Catherine have added a new dimension to the Fade2black sound. We now have a very talented Harp blowing hairy rhythm guitarist and a very youthful crackin vocalist, who's feeling for the Blues belies her years. The new material is going to be awesome. Come as see us soon.

 

Zoe

December 2013:John Lee Hooker once said that “The blues tells a story and every line of the blues has a meaning.” If blues music is  the ‘genre of human lament’ then I am in the right place as since joining Fade2Black in 2012 I have lost both my father (who was a keen Blues music lover) and my job.It is quite possible that Ray Charles was correct in saying 'If it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have no luck at all as performing live with Fade2Black is an exhilarating experience which has enabled me to explore this infectious music  with integrity and expression. Contrary to what people might assume, the band as a 4 piece makes for a raw, open expanse of sound that forces both Richard and Andy to work that much more creatively to fill the space. It also provides more focus and a spotlight for Steve’s tight and organic drumming. Fade2Black create classic blues backbeats and vivacious soloing intertwined , balanced nicely by percussion/ harmonica highlights sprinkled in at the right moments.