The Lifesigns album is now available and features John Young, Nick Beggs, Frosty Beedle and Steve Rispin.
Guests: Steve Hackett, Thijs Van Leer, Robin Boult and Jakko Jakszyk.
A new style of Prog for 2013.
Seamless and almost commercial in its aspirations, it changes time, it changes key - but you would hardly notice.
The album is full of melodic innovation but still has tunes that will stay in your head long after you finish listening ...
Don't take our word for it - there are now over 40 reviews on Amazon alone which will hopefully tickle your musical taste buds.
Music that gives us much needed optimism in these trying times.
A new light in the progressive firmament.
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John Young Keyboards, Lead Vocals
John Young (birthday 31 May) is a British progressive rock keyboardist and singer from Liverpool. John spent his early years with the Liverpool Cathedral Choir where he was classically trained on the keyboard and voice. He mainly played in semi-pro jazz rock bands until the mid-1980s, his first major break coming in 1985 when he auditioned and became part of Uli Jon Roth's band (ex-Scorpions). After the World Tour, John spent his time doing studio and session work with artists as diverse as Steeleye Span and Bon Jovi. John went on to play with the MTV band in London, during which time he met John Wetton who asked him to join Asia for two European tours. Shortly after , he joined Paul Rodgers and Kenny Jones in a short-lived band called The Law, and they played one show at The National Bowl in Milton Keynes with Bryan Adams and ZZ Top.
John joined Bonnie Tyler in the mid-1990s and has since worked with her all over the world. In 2001, he joined the Scorpions for a world tour to promote their Acoustica album. In the same year he was co-writing the Fish album Fellini Days with John Wesley and also appearing on the resulting live album Fellini Nights. John has also worked as part of the regenerated Greenslade, appearing on the albums Large Afternoon and Live 2001.
In 2002, John formed his own band and released albums Life Underground and Significance. The John Young Band continue to play and have a fairly fluid line-up depending on the availability of its various members.
John has worked with Jon Anderson of Yes, and the first product of that union saw Jon touring Europe and playing the song 'Sooner (Than Later),' a track co-written with John. His most recent work has seen him as keyboard player with The Strawbs on their Canada / UK tour in November / December 2010 alongside Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk and Tony Fernandez.
Although things have been relatively quiet on the John Young Band front, a limited number of gigs have already taken place during 2013 with more in the near future. In the meantime work continues on a new John Young Band album and is likely to include several tracks first played during recent gigs. The new album is hoped to be released sometime in 2013.
Just to ensure that the pressure was never off, John has also completed many albums of instrumental music, the latest being Financial Meltdown, a semi-classical album in the vein of Political Agenda and Scientific Breakthrough. Music from these albums varies from semi-classical to jazz and ambient to world, and is often heard on TV programmes such as CNN's coverage of the war in Iraq, the BBC programme Coast, The Jay Leno Show and the Obama election campaign!
Nick Beggs Bass, Stick, Backing Vocals
Martin 'Frosty' Beedle Drums and Percussion
Nick Beggs (birthday 15 December ) was born Nicholas Beggs in Winslow, Buckinghamshire. Nick is an English musician, noted for playing the bass guitar and Chapman Stick, and was a member of Kajagoogoo, Iona, and Ellis, Beggs & Howard. Nick's first band Johnny and the Martians (formed when he was 10) consisted of two friends on trumpet and acoustic guitar with Nick on drums. He attended Linslade Secondary School and Cedars Upper School. After attending art school, in 1979 Nick formed the band Art Nouveau with Steve Askew, Stuart Croxford Neale and Jez Strode. Chris Hamill (Limahl) joined in 1981 and at Nick's suggestion the band was renamed Kajagoogoo. The release of the first single 'Too Shy' in January 1983 saw the band on a promotional tour as the record reached No. 1 in seven European countries, including the UK.
Between 1985 and 1987 Nick concentrated on writing with various other songwriters and finally formed Ellis, Beggs, & Howard in March 1987. The band split in 1989 after enjoying a hit single titled 'Big Bubbles, No Troubles' in Germany and Holland. 1990 saw Nick joining the progressive folk band Iona with whom he later recorded two albums, The Book of Kells and Beyond These Shores.
Nick continued working with various artists and bands including Alphaville, Belinda Carlisle, Emma Bunton (on her album Life In Mono) and John Paul Jones , Led Zeppelin’s bass player. In 1996, Nick met Howard Jones on a flight from the United States and a friendship was established, with Howard inviting Nick to tour as part of his band. During this time Nick also worked with bands and artists such as ABC, China Crisis, Cliff Richard, Curiosity Killed The Cat, D:Ream, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gary Numan, Go West, Kim Wilde, Maddy Prior, Mark Shaw, Michael Bolton, Midge Ure, Nena, Nick Heyward, Polysics, Right Said Fred, Seal, Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, T'Pau, Then Jerico, Tom McRae, Tony Hadley, Toyah Willcox and Warren Cuccurullo.
In 1992 Nick went on to work as an A&R Manager for Phonogram Records, becoming a contributor to various guitar publications as a staff writer.
Nick has also recorded and released two solo albums, Stick Insect (2002) and The Maverick Helmsman (2004), and will release a new solo stick album, The Darkness in Men's Hearts (Burning Shed), in 2013.
Nick is currently a member of Steven Wilson's touring band in support of Wilson's two solo albums, Grace For Drowning and The Raven that Refused to Sing; Nick also plays on these albums. He has also found time to write, illustrate and publish Dangerous Potatoes, 13 books of short stories for children. In addition, he has created two comics titled Steven WIlson's Day Off and Steven Wilson and the Guitar of EPIJ, the latter of which will be released shortly.
Martin 'Frosty' Beedle (birthday 18 September) was raised in Hull, East Yorkshire and drummed his way under licence around local pubs and clubs from the age of 11. At the age of 17 he joined the QE2 and spent three years playing and travelling the world. Frosty (or Fro as he likes to be known) then set up camp in London and eventually met Colin Farley who introduced him to the band Cutting Crew in 1985. The song '(I Just) Died In Your Arms' became a No. 1 hit in 18 countries. A number of tours followed and a second album, The Scattering, was released in 1989. Cutting Crew disbanded in 1991.
From the early 1990s until today Frosty has worked with Kiki Dee, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Brightman, Madeline Bell, Billy Connolly, Sinead O’ Connor, Zucchero , Russell Watson, Never The Bride, Boy George, Marie Claire D’Ubaldo, The Wombles, Clannad, The Three Degrees, Harold Melvyn and The Blue Notes, The Tramps, Jimmy Ruffin, The Supremes, Kim Wilde, ABC, Steve Coogan, Hannah Jones, Brian Conley, Bradley Walsh, Jimmy Somerville, Precious Wilson, John Wilson, Gloria Gaynor, Mary Wilson, The Chi-Lites, The Miracles, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The English National Orchestra, The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the John Young Band. Frosty has also worked on several West End Musicals including Tommy, Hair, Saturday Night Fever, Smokey Joe's Cafe and has held the drum chair at the original production of Mama Mia since Aug 1999.
Steve Rispin Engineer and Producer
Steve Rispin has been involved professionally in the music business since 1981, when he started running PA Systems for students' union events. On graduation, Steve worked at Village Way Recording in Harrow and then Tin Pan Alley Studio in Soho and during this period recorded, with Paul Stewart, many now classic rockabilly albums for Nervous Records.
Leaving Tin Pan Alley Studio in 1986 Steve went freelance, working on several progressive and metal projects including two Sabbat albums for Noise Records, which led to a year living at Skytrak Studio in Berlin. He returned to the UK in late 1989 and became more involved with live productions, working with Kingmaker for Chrysalis, Pendragon for Toff Records and Threshold for Inside Out amongst many others. An offer to help develop The Bottom Line Club in London led to a few years of working with internationally renowned blues artists, but the shareholders eventually sold the business on.
Sensible Music offered an opportunity to work with Clair Brothers Audio Systems with artists including Tina Turner, Elton John, Sly & Robbie, Mick Taylor and Snowy White ...
Returning to recording in 2002, Steve took an opportunity to build Liscombe Park Studio in the countryside, on the border of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Studio clients include Asia, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash and Roger Chapman, ELP, Snakecharmer, Uriah Heep, Paradise 9, Dave Kilminster and Damian Wilson as well as recording John Wetton's vocals for District 97 and Billy Sherwood, and Damian's vocals for Headspace. He is also working with many up-and-coming bands such as Virgil and the Accelerators, Mitch Laddie and Silverbox.
Maintaining the Live side, current clients include The Carl Palmer Band, Greg Lake, Family (with Roger Chapman), Fish, Asia and Harley-Davidson, the latter with whom Steve works on large-scale European events that can feature a number of bands over a five-day period. Steve also worked with Alvin Lee for 12 years, until Alvin's untimely death in March 2013.
Niko Tsonev Guitars
Niko Tsonev is a guitarist's guitarist and a gifted songwriter and producer who really stands apart from the pack of new similar artists with a unique personal style, and a sassy edge. His guitar work is a melting pot of progressive rock, djent, jazz fusion and classical impressionism reminiscent of a dark, modern and edgy Treznor-esque film soundtrack.Niko has performed and recorded with artists and producers from very diverse stylistic backgrounds: Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), JJ Grey (Mofro), Youth (Paul McCartney, Joy Division), Die So Fluid, Digitonal, Aquilina and Fabrice Quentin, encompassing genres from Progressive Rock, Jazz, Blues, Urban through to World music. His stylistic flexibility is showcased in his solo work as well as his work as a film and TV composer.Niko's debut album Black Feather was released in 2008 resulting in collaborations with fellow guitar heros such as Mr Fastfinger (aka Mika Tyysk), Christophe Godin (Mrglbl) and Mathias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen).
2011 saw the release of "Nix Hydra" which lead to Tsonev being invited to join the Steven Wilson Band as a lead guitarist for his 2012 Grace for Drowning World Tour. The band consisting of Steven Wilson, Adam Holzman, Marco Minnemann, Theo Travis, Nick Beggs and Niko Tsonev filmed the live concert "Get All You Deserve" DVD/BluRay in Mexico City (2012). Niko also contributed guitar solos and additional guitars to Steven Wilson's 2013 album The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories).
Tsonev's guitar and production approach on his 2013 solo album "Banshees and Harpsichords" depicts sonic broken landscapes of desolate crystalline beauty, incarnating heavy, glitchy, distorted and intentionally "ugly" guitar sounds as well as the lyrical and near-vocal expression found in Niko's guitar melodies.
Acid Tears features the amazingly talented Grog from the British alternative band Die So Fluid on vocals (also known for her work with Ozzy Osbourne, Kylie, Goldfrapp among numerous others). On the title track Banshees and Harpsichords the call of Niko's guitar is answered by the soaring jazz violin work of Samy Bishai ( Natacha Atlas, Tom Jones, Basement Jaxx and Shakira). With elements of progressive rock, djent, jazz fusion and classical impressionism brought forward from Tsonev's previous works, this record breaks new grounds in terms of sonics and pure guitar creativity.
Jon Poole Bass Guitars
Jon Poole (aka Random Jon Poole) is a multi-instrumentalist (Bass, Guitar, Keys and Drums) and 'primitive producer' from a musical family who also spawned session bassist, Ed Poole who John Young works with in Bonnie Tyler's band.
Jon started playing guitar when he was 11 and has maintained a music fan/anorak attitude to all forms of music ever since, favouring no particular style whilst taking influence from diverse acts too numerous to list.
"Although I resent the fact that genres have to be constantly referred to when 'judging music', I understand and accept that they do for reference purposes"
"...anyway it was John Young that put 'prog' in the ad - that's why I applied!"
The first significant live/recording act Jon played in and co-led (with singer/drummer, Bob Leith) was 'Ad Nauseam' who's prog, punk, jazz-rock style was very out of step with the baggy/ shoe-gazing scene of '90/'91 but who did manage to catch the attention of Cardiacs leader, Tim Smith.
Jon jumped ship and joined Cardiacs (later followed by Ad Nauseam's Bob Leith) and he remained a full-time member for 12 years. In this time he contributed guitar, bass, keys and songwriting.
Jon then went on to play in legendary British rock band, The Wildhearts and various other projects with leader, Ginger Wildheart including a supergroup of sorts known as Mutation featuring contributions from The Fall's Mark E Smith and Napalm Death's 'Shane Embury and who's album, 'Error 500' has picked up many glowing reviews for it's rhythmically complex and sonically offensive weirdness.
On the other end of the spectrum Jon was MD, bassist and guitarist for 80s Liverpool scene band, The Lotus Eaters who's 1983 hit 'The first picture of you' had left an impression on the adolescent Jon Poole of the 1980s.
Jon has made and continues to make solo albums including a tribute album of Frank Zappa covers on a Fostex 4-track cassette machine when he was 24.
As well as working on his own material he is also nearing completion of a joint album of psychedelic, summer pop songs with musical whizz-kid, Willie Dowling (The Grip, Honeycrack, Jackdaw 4) as well as contributing keys to a second album by Wyatt-influenced, psychedelic lounge guru, 'Crayola Lectern'.
Jon's proudest moment (other than joining Lifesigns!) was appearing on stage at a Ginger Wildheart gig, doing a cover of 'Pretty Vacant' with Sex Pistol, Paul Cook on drums.
Pic by Trudi Knight