Tag Archives: Gillan

Bernie Tormé and Dublin Cowboy – story of a phenomenally successful pledge-fund campaign

Former Gillan guitarist Bernie Tormé had pretty much turned his back on the costly business of making albums prior to the making of Flowers and Dirt in 2014 and Blackheart in 2015. Both of these were released as a result of successful pledge-funding initiatives, whereby fans rather than record label bosses stump up the cash to finance the making of an album through placing advance orders.

In October 2016 Bernie unveiled plans for an ambitious new triple-album that would similarly be financed through pledge-funding. On the day the pledge campaign was announced Bernie engaged with fans directly on social media and through the special pledge-fund page that had been set up here.

Meanwhile, I worked to secure external coverage with the aim of letting as many people as possible know about the album plans and directing them to the pledge-fund page. In this we were helped by positive coverage from the likes of BlabbermouthMetal Shock Finland,  Vive Le Rock!,  Rockchickenz,  Rock Guitar Daily,  Pure Rock USHeavy Metal ITEmpire Extreme  and many others who all helpfully provided links to Bernie’s pledge-fund page as well as news about the project.

Phenomenally, the pledge target was reached in less than nine hours. Thanking fans Bernie said:

“I’m absolutely blown away by this, can’t believe it, 100% of what I needed in 8 hours 45 minutes! Man, I’ve truly got the best fans in the whole damn universe! This is going to be a great album.”

MetalTalk captured the moment nicely here. However, it was not just the rock and metal sites that were showing an interest. Roots Music Journal No Depression made it one of their pledge-fund campaigns of the week:

“On its surface, Bernie Torme might seem an odd choice for a column about roots music campaigns. This is, after all, the guitarist who is best known for his work in the hard rock realm with acts like Gillan, Ozzy Osbourne, and Desperado with Dee Snider. But Torme’s recent works have melded his hard rock roots with a love of psychedelic and blues rock and he plans to up the ante even further with his new triple-album Dublin Cowboy. The triple album will consist of a harder edged electric album, a live album, and the part of most interest to a roots fan, Torme’s first acoustic album.”

Dublin Cowboy cover

Throughout the process of making the album Bernie kept fans up to date via social media and the pledge-fund page. Explaining the approach on his pledge page Bernie told them:

“When I made the last two albums, Flowers & Dirt and Blackheart, I really loved the fact that I was able to be hands on and communicate directly to fans, as an independent musician that was a really positive experience, so much better than the past when the cold, dead, (and also pretty judgemental) hand of the corporate music industry (in the shape of a record company) laid over everything you tried to do.”

Not only is it a great way of keeping in touch with current fans, the pledge-funding process can actually be a great way of re-connecting with old ones, too. This quote from a long-term Gillan fan is a classic example:

“Thanks for this. I’m a big fan of Gillan with Tormé but never heard Bernie’s solo stuff so I’ve bought this one now!”

Pledgers got early access to the album via download at the beginning of March ahead of the official CD release date in April. Fan reaction was immediately and 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

I worked to secure a further round of publicity ahead of the official album release on April 7 as well as the accompanying UK tour. Anti MusicBlabbermouthEmpire Extreme.  Vive Le Rock,  Totally Driven EntertainmentUltimate Guitar,  Heavy Metal Overload , The Rocktologist and many others were all extremely helpful in providing preview features on the album and the UK tour.

Meanwhile, Bernie carried out a series of interviews for the likes of Music LegendsRockgig and Just For The Record as well as for a number of radio stations and magazines. MetalTalk made Bernie’s London Borderline gig on 7th April their recommended Gig of the Week with an exclusive pre-tour interview, while Ultimate Classic Rock would publish an emotional and brutally honest interview with Bernie that marked 35 years since he stepped in to help out Ozzy Osbourne following the tragic death of Randy Rhoads. You can read the full interview here.

As well as preview pieces and interviews the reviews were also starting to come in and again these have been very favourable:

Get Ready To Rock:  “The word essential can often be overused in reviews, however this album really is that and then some. Two albums to rock out to and then one to wind down and chill out with, perfect.”

Eternal Terror: “Dublin Cowboy is a stunning and fascinating release that perfectly encapsulates everything that I love about Bernie Tormé.”

Sea of Tranquility: “Fans sure as hell get plenty of music with Dublin Cowboy, a varied and enjoyable collection of material that shows off every aspect of the talented Bernie Tormé. Don’t miss out!”

Equally, fan reaction to the gigs has been fantastic and I can certainly vouch for a superb show with fantastic new bass player, Sy Morton, joining Bernie and drummer, Ian Harris, at London’s newly-refurbished Borderline venue on 7th April.

So, what conclusions can we draw from all this? Certainly, Dublin Cowboy is an incredible album from an incredible artist.The music industry has changed beyond recognition and crowd-funding in the form of pledge campaigns can provide a way financing an album. The biggest artists are never going to need it, of course. Whatever changes the music industry goes through next the likes of Ozzy Osbourne or Ed Sheeran are never going to struggle to find companies willing to finance their albums. But for smaller artists with a dedicated fan-base pledge-funding can be hugely effective. You do need to have built your fan-base first, though. It’s not much use trying to crowd-fund without a crowd. There are still hurdles then for artists just starting out their career. However, Bernie Tormé has shown that if you have the talent and you have the fans, then a pledge-fund campaign can be a phenomenally effective way of getting a superb new album into their hands.

And for me? Doing the album and tour publicity for a guitarist I’ve been following since I was at school has been a pretty amazing experience as well!

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

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Bernie with drummer Ian Harris and new bass player Sy Morton on stage in Brighton
Photo credit: Jaideep S Jadav

A version of this article also appeared in Totally Driven Entertainment magazine 

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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

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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