Tag Archives: Bernie Torme

News: Bernie Tormé releases new triple album – Dublin Cowboy

New album ‘Dublin Cowboy’ out April 7th and available for download and pre-order now

Retrowrek Records RTRK204

‘Dublin Cowboy’ is the new three-disc album from former Gillan guitar legend, Bernie Tormé, comprising an electric disc, an acoustic disc and a live disc.

Bernie: “I always wanted to do a triple album and also an acoustic album, and combining the two seemed like the obvious idea though truth is it nearly killed me: I’m still in recovery! But on top of all that, and with two albums of screaming wails and dive-bombs, I am totally knocked out with how the shred-free acoustic album has been received! Fans who pledged and have heard it absolutely LOVE it! Quadruple album next time? Nah, I really don’t think so!”

The album was made following a phenomenally successful pledge-fund appeal that hit its pledge target in less than nine hours. Containing twenty-nine tracks in total across the three discs, the first two are made up of brand new material, including title track ‘Dublin Cowboy, and the infectiously bluesy ‘Power Of The Blues’ on the electric disc; as well as the rich unfolding tapestry of sounds on ‘Shine’, and ‘Wolfgirl’ which both appear on the acoustic disc. The third disc, recorded live in South Shields in January 2016, contains live versions of classics that span Bernie Tormé’s career, including old favourites ‘Wild West and ‘New Orleans’.

The album is available for purchase in CD and digital download formats via pledgemusic.com/projects/bernietorme2017

Fan reaction from pledge-funders has been overwhelmingly positive:

“This acoustic one cuts me to the core. Can’t stop listenin’…Love it!!” DP

“What I’ve heard is sounding great, and Janus is just awesome!” PW

“Beyond the obligatory 5 stars!” OBN

“My favourite is the live one where it can be seen if an artist still has the “beans”. U certainly do dude, u absolutely rocked it.” RS

To tie in with the release of the album there is a 2017 UK Tour next month and the album will be formally launched at the Borderline, London on 7th April. Bernie: “Got a bunch of rock ‘n’ roll pint-spillers from the new Dublin Cowboy album that we will be rocking out live on the tour! I can’t wait, get ready people, this one will be total killer!”

UK tour dates are as follows:

1st April SOUTH SHIELDS The Unionist Club
2nd April GLASGOW Nice n Sleazy
3rd April EDINBURGH Bannermans
4th April GRIMSBY Yardbirds
5th April MANCHESTER FAC251
6th April WOLVERHAMPTON The Robin 2
7th April LONDON The Borderline
8th April BRIGHTON The Prince Albert

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

Dublin Cowboy cover.jpg

Review: Giants Of Rock Weekend 2017, Minehead

Giants Of Rock took place at Butlins Minehead again this January for the the fourth year running. Apart from the first year (when I was already booked into another Butlins music weekend the week before) I’ve been each time. With three days of music, two main stages and a smaller ‘introducing’ stage there is always plenty to choose from but here are the performances that particularly captured my imagination this year.

Friday

Eschewing both main stages for the first start of the Friday evening programme, we opted instead for The Troy Redfern Band on the introducing stage. I’d seen Troy and co a couple of times before so it was less of an introduction and more of welcome re-acquaintance with the band’s high-octane brand of blues rock. It’s good to see the band go down well.

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Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://troyredfern.com/

After Troy we moved to one of the main stages for a gloriously bonkers set by Dutch flute-playing, Hammond-pounding, yodelling prog-rockers, Focus, which gave all of us in the crowd the chance to let ourselves go wild to a suitably deranged version of Hocus Pocus.

Focus #5.JPG
Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://www.focustheband.com/

Former Gillan guitar legend, Bernie Tormé, is on next and delivers a blistering set as always. Consistently original, the self-styled glam punk shredmeister has been enjoying a real career renaissance of late with two very well-received solo albums and a third on the way. With drummer, Ian Harris, and bass-player, Chris Heilmann, these three make a classic power trio which is the perfect showcase for Torme’s  guitar wizardry. Not only are the Minehead crowd treated to a great selection of some of the more recent material we also get some Gillan-era classics, too, like No Easy Way and New Orleans and a stonking Smoke On The Water as an encore (the first but not the last time we would be hearing that particular song over the weekend). It was a fantastic end to the first night.

bernie-minehead
Photo credit: Lisa Valder

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

Saturday

Live Dead 69 are a reincarnation of The Grateful Dead with original keyboard player, Tom Constanten, currently touring the UK performing the band’s classic Live/Dead album in full. The Grateful Dead are not a band I’m hugely familiar with, although I’ve long been aware of the epic jams which the band are renowned for. A brilliant bunch of musicians, I was finding the initial part of their set perhaps a little too jazzy for my tastes. But then more of a blues rock vibe kicked in and I found myself more and more drawn in. Certainly, I’m pleased to have tasted a little of what this legendary band were all about.

Living Dead 69 #20.JPG
Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://www.tomconstanten.com/

To kick things off on the Saturday night, Bernie Marsden was an obvious choice for me. I’ve seen him solo several times before (plus, of course, I saw him with the classic Whitesnake line-up back in the day) but this is a completely solo set – just Bernie and an acoustic guitar. He completely holds the audience for the full hour: some solo blues material, some Peter Green material and, of course, some Whitesnake material, the latter turning into a beautifully intimate communal sing-along to the likes of Ain’t Gonna Cry No More and Here I Go Again. Superb.

bernie-marsden-8
Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://www.berniemarsden.co.uk/

With a quick change of venue we were ready for Ian Paice with Purpendicular. OK, Giants of Rock is not supposed to be about tribute bands but here you’ve got the legendary Deep Purple drummer himself, together with a cracking bunch of musicians. They absolutely nail the Mark 2-era Deep Purple sound, from the chugging bass lines, to the majestic Hammond organ, to the blinding guitar solos, to the Gillan-esque screams.

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Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://purpendicular.eu/

To round off Saturday we had a non-stop run-through of Saxon classics by Oliver Dawson Saxon. Original Saxon members, Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson, have been touring their alternative version of the Barnsley NWOBHM heroes for twenty years now and, impressed as I am with Biff Byford’s continuing version of the original Saxon, Oliver and Dawson do also offer something brilliantly entertaining. Lead singer, Bri Shaughnessy is a powerful vocalist and a charismatic front-man in his own right and he has absolutely made what might have been a difficult role his own. And as you can never really have too many crowd sing-alongs to classics like Denim And Leather, 747 (Strangers In The Night) and Wheels Of Steel, the fact that there is not just one but two bands out on the road doing this is a bonus in my view.

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Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://www.oliverdawsonsaxon.co.uk/odsroot/

Sunday

In spite of a love 60s R&B bands, I’d never actually managed to see The Pretty Things live until now or even listened to one of their albums in full. But front-man Phil May and guitarist Dick Taylor still cut it live after more than half a century together. The two original members are joined by second guitarist/harmonica player, Frank Holland, who has been playing with them since the late eighties, together with a fantastically energetic young rhythm section in Jack Greenwood and George Woosey. Obviously, a band that’s been around since 1963 is going to have a hefty back catalogue to choose from and, while I enjoyed the whole set, I found they had more to offer when they concentrated on their mid 60s R&B period rather than their later stoner rock phase. Fortunately, the former makes up a significant part of the set and anyone who is currently enjoying the Rolling Stones new back-to-basics Blue & Lonesome album and wants an authentic slice of 60s rhythm and blues should certainly try and get to see The Pretty Things live.

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Photo credit: Elise Benjamin

http://www.theprettythings.com/

Still in the mood for more music after The Pretty Things, we headed off to the introducing stage and arrived just in time to see an awesome performance from the band KilliT. Great vocals. Great musicianship. Great guitar solos. Great stage presence. And, importantly, great songs, too. Instantly memorable numbers like Calm Before The Storm and Shut It Down from their debut album meant that this classic-sounding heavy metal band could wow the audience with some classic-sounding heavy metal songs. The best new hard rock band I’ve heard in ages, I was genuinely delighted for them when they were officially voted top act on the introducing stage that day. That means they will be back at Giants Of Rock to perform on the main stage next year. KilliT are a new band that have clearly arrived fully formed and deserve to go far.

killit-mineheadPhoto credit: Sally Newhouse

http://www.killitband.com/

That pretty much wraps up a brilliant weekend of music for me. There were more bands on the Sunday evening and for head-liners that night punters had a choice between Steve Hackett doing Genesis or Ian Anderson doing Jethro Tull. I looked in on both but it was all getting a bit proggy for me and I just didn’t seem to have my prog head on. Reflecting on what a great range of performances I’d witnessed over the weekend, I was happy to call it a night.

A great bunch of bands. A great crowd. A great weekend. Here’s to Giants Of Rock 2018.

Rocking the EU Vote: Could Brexit screw British rock bands?

A guest article from me on Peter Cook’s Human Dynamics blog.

The Music of Business

A Guest Post from Darren Johnson

Rock Fanatic and former Chair of the London Assembly for the Green Party

Darren Johnson and another Johnson ... not related Darren Johnson, Rock Fanatic with Queen and another Johnson … not related

Younger voters have been overwhelmingly pro-EU. And in spite of concerns that younger people are less likely to vote, less likely to be registered or be at Glastonbury for the referendum and failed to apply for a postal vote, it seems that younger music fans are pretty much like the rest of their generation when it comes to recognising the benefits of Britain’s membership of the EU. But what of older rock fans? I’ve both heard some pretty alarming sentiments expressed amongst fellow music fans of our generation. In some ways that’s not surprising. Opinion polls are showing that while there is a massive lead for remaining in the EU amongst the 18-39 age group, when it gets to…

View original post 1,162 more words

Bernie Tormé at Horsham 23/4/16

Horsham’s Holbrook Club was transformed into a buzzing rock venue on Saturday 23rd April with appearances from The Stuart James Band and headliner, ex-Gillan guitarist, Bernie Tormé. Local trio, The Stuart James Band, opened proceedings with their brand of classic blues rock. With some well-chosen covers as well as original material they will have delighted existing fans and almost certainly gained some new ones on Saturday.

From one power trio to the next, punters didn’t have to wait long until Bernie Tormé and his band, Chris Heilmann (bass) and Ian Harris (drums), took to the stage. Dublin-born Bernie Tormé first came to prominence in the late 70s/early 80s as the guitarist with the heavy rock outfit, Gillan. His distinctive riffing was as much an intrinsic part of that band’s sound as Ian Gillan’s famous vocals. And it’s all still very much on display for those watching Bernie Tormé and his band on Saturday. Fuzzed-up glam-punk, squealing Hendrix-style feedback and guitar wizardry galore, combined with great songs that span an illustrious recording career, Bernie and his band truly rocked the Holbrook Club.

Material from his post-Gillan solo career such as the storming Wild West, which kicked of proceedings, is combined with newer material from his two recent solo albums. The two albums Flowers & Dirt and Blackheart have proved to be something of renaissance for Bernie Tormé with excellent reviews and renewed interest from fans around the world. Songs from both albums are well received. There’s still room for a bit of nostalgia though and the main set ends with those two early rock n roll classics that were given a new lease of life by Gillan back in the early 80s: Trouble and New Orleans. The band are called back on stage for an encore and end the evening with an incendiary version of another Gillan classic: No Easy Way. Bernie Tormé is still rocking hard!

Setlist:
Wild West
Bullet
Blood Run Cold
Turn Out The Lights
Pain Song
Flow
Star
Dirt
Stoneship
Rocky Road
Can’t Beat
Trouble
New Orleans
No Easy Way

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

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Previous reviews
Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 2014
Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 2015

Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 31/10/15

It’s 1981 and the band Gillan, fronted by former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan, created a ripple of excitement amongst the teenage rock fans at my school when they burst into the charts with a cover of New Orleans. One of the things that seemed to make this far more than just a heavied-up version of an old rock ‘n’ roll number was the guitarist, Bernie Tormé. He looked like a punk, acted like a hippy, sounded like Hendrix and seemed different from anyone around in rock and metal at the time.

Tormé was soon gone from Gillan and, after a very brief sojourn with Ozzy Osbourne, he formed his own band and started hitting the smaller venues circuit. That’s where I first caught him live. And in similar types of venues now, he’s still out there gigging as well as recording. Hot on the success of his crowd-funded Flowers & Dirt double album last year, he’s used the crowd-funding formula once again and has a brand new album to promote, Blackheart.

First, though, he opens with a storming version of Wild West, the standout track from one of his early solo albums, Electric Gypsies. He has a really strong band in Chris Heilmann (bass) and Ian Harris (drums percussion) and the power trio format suits Torme’s style of music perfectly. Well, of course, why wouldn’t it? The fuzzy feedback-laden guitar is combined with well-written, accessible tunes and vocals that give an honesty and meaning to the lyrics. From the same era, the excellent Turn Out The Lights also gets an outing. It’s not just about nostalgia, though, and songs from both last year’s Flowers and Dirt album and this year’s Blackheart both feature prominently. It’s not all blistering hard rock, either. As on the recent albums there’s some lighter, bluesier, folkier moments, including Flow from the new album and the excellent Spirit Road from Flowers and Dirt..

Soon, however, we are nearing the end with an explosive set of Gillan songs, including the one that got me hooked on Tormé’s guitar-playing in the first place, New Orleans. At the very end of the set, friend of the band and the man who first helped Torme get the crowd-funding venture off the ground, Peter Cook, joined the band for an encore after pledging to “buy” a guitar solo as part of the crowd-funding appeal. In a big arena gig with big corporate sponsors this could sound like the tackiest thing in the world. In a small intimate venue of this size, however, it’s genuinely fun and there is no doubting Cook’s evident passion both for Tormé’s music itself and for helping him secure a viable recording career in this challenging era for the music industry. Indeed, compared to the old record company model, the crowd-funding approach has allowed Tormé to connect very directly with fans and even re-connect to those, like me, who had fallen by the wayside and previously lost touch with Tormé’s career.

A mention, also, for the Bordeline. While numerous other live venues in the West End have closed their doors, this 300-capacity venue has held its open now for over 20 years, always with a stirling line-up of acts throughout the year and the perfect setting for Bernie Tormé tonight.

Setlist:
Wild West
Bullet in the Brain
Blood Run Cold
Turn Out the Lights
Pain Song
Flow
Star
Dirt
Spirit Road
Stoneship
Rocky Road
Can’t Beat
Trouble
New Orleans
No Easy Way
Party’s Over

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

2015-10-31 20.49.40

Previous review: Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 2014

Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 29/10/14

For those looking for fuzzed-up  glam-punk, squealing Hendrix-style feedback and guitar wizardry then Bernie Tormé is clearly the one to look to. In fact, if this is what you are looking for then Bernie Tormé is probably the only one to look to.

Part punk, part hippy, Dublin-born Tormé, first came to prominence in the late 70s/early 80s as the guitarist with Gillan. His distinctive riffing was as much an intrinsic part of that band’s sound as Ian Gillan’s instantly recognizable vocals. There has been something of a slight interlude since I last caught up with Tormé, however. In fact, the last time I saw him was not long after he left Gillan and was busy promoting his then new solo album, Electric Gypsies.

Skip forward thirty years and Tormé is in London’s Borderline promoting another brand new solo album, Flowers and Dirt, with a classic trio line-up of guitar/vocals, bass and drums. The first song they play though is an old one. Hearing them kick off with Wild West, a great energetic song from the aforementioned Electric Gypsies album, was a delight. That’s not to say there was not plenty of room for new material tonight, however. Several songs from Flowers and Dirt make an appearance and although he has never stopped playing and recording, the album may deliver something of a career renaissance for the guitarist and songwriter. It is Tormé’s first solo album in fifteen years and following an enormously successful crowdfunding appeal this summer, it’s been attracting very favourable reviews. Partytown is one of the new songs from the album that’s performed tonight. Raw and raucous with frantic riffing and the type of chorus you can immediately sing along to, it’s classic unadulterated Tormé

Nicely balanced between old and new material, the crowd were given a great set tonight covering various stages of Torme’s career. For me, Lightning Strikes and Turn Out the Lights were both very welcome inclusions from the earlier days. The main set ended with those two early rock n roll classics that were both given a new lease of life by Tormé’s former band Gillan, back in the early 80s: Trouble and New Orleans. As the band are called back on stage for an encore and perform two more covers, Bony Moronie and Jimi Hendrix’s Fire, I did begin wondering why I’d left it quite so long before catching up with this unique performer once more. But it was certainly worth the thirty-year wait.

Setlist:
Wild West
Bullet in The Brain
Blood Run Cold
Turn Out the Lights
Getting There
Partytown
Your Voodoo
Star
Lockjaw
Lightning Strikes
Stoneship
Rocky Road (From Dublin)
Can’t Beat Rock ‘N’ Roll
Trouble
New Orleans
Encore:
Bony Moronie
Fire

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

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