Take – Away Music?

Howdy,  Howdy folks.

No matter how much one values certain principles, age and experience also teach us the value of compromise. The last few weeks – and the foreseeable next few months are going to be a bit of a balancing act for me. More of that in a moment.

fo2-glow-small I’m very pleased to announce that sales of FO2’s new album are doing well. (No sign of reaching platinum, but doing well!) We’ve had media interest from Brazil, Germany  and Italy and copies of the album have been snapped up by radio stations in those countries.

Some of the traffic is no doubt due to our induction into the ‘Prog Archives’ (link here). For those interested in the Prog scene this site has pretty much all you might need, information wise – discography, line-ups, reviews etc. It was really good to have ‘the nod’ from them.

casting-shadows-150x150  And for those tentative purchaser’s we’ve released a short sampler of the album so you can get a feel of what’s on the disc before you buy. Check our Media page at: http://www.fusionorchestra2.com/media – or click the link here.

Oh boy, Christmas is on its way again. To offset the winter blues FO2 are planning a very special Christmas treat – a new single! Timing is tight but we are fortunate to have two tracks that are pretty much ready to go, so we thought we’d try and put at least one of these out as a single before the yuletide season.

It may seem a little strange to not use one of the tracks from the album but, FO2 being a good old british prog band, we’d like to keep the album as it is – one to enjoy as a whole. In the meantime we’ve been honing our writing skills on songs that are under (or as near as dammit) the six minute mark.

This latest batch of songs are also the first to be arranged / re-arranged / co-written by fusion_orchestra28Railway Winchester 17th April 3 img_6297BenColShemski

the  new line up. (Are we still ‘new’?!) More news to follow!

Take – Away Music?

Regular readers of this blog will, I hope, appreciate how much I enjoy the whole creative atmosphere of FO2 in particular and music in general. For me creativity, improvisation, expression are all vital parts of my musical career and enjoyment.

To that end I must admit that I have mixed feelings about ‘Cover’ Bands.’ Bands that exist solely to replay the work of other musicians. I was at small gathering of folk musicians the other night, one which always contains a good mix of styles and ages, experience and approaches. (I was fiddling about on my mini Cahon, accompanying a good friend on guitar.) One visitor that evening produced a couple of well – worked songs and was obviously a good guitarist, singer and raconteur.

The thing that sticks in my mind though is his answer to a question from one of the circle – “Do you have any of your own material?” At which this chap pulled a very strange face, as though he’d tasted something unpleasant and replied “My own stuff? Good god no, I don’t write my own stuff.”

Life being what it is, I barely had time to ponder on the import of what this guy was saying before at least two  friends had contacted me and asked if I could help them out – could I take over the drum stool for their cover-bands as they had gigs fast approaching and needed someone who could manage the material quickly?

Now most bands I’ve played in have done a few covers (with the exception of the mighty FO2 of course), but I will admit that I’ve steadfastly avoided working in bands that only do covers because the thought of spending all your time playing someone else’s work just seems … wrong to me.

mcdonalds_logo_5x3If music were food I’d definitely cite Macdonalds et al as the cover bands of the world. Fast, easy food, that hints at the original. You know what you’re going to get although it’s never quite as tasty as it could be. It is mass produced, assembled rather than created and, ultimately, doesn’t satisfy.

I’d hope that the work of the musician would be more like that of the chef or even the humble meal maker at home – Michelin stars or no. Creating, deciding, trying, testing, tasting and experimenting, adding a dash of individuality to even the humblest fare.

mcdonalds-badge But here I am, I’ve got my little uniform on and I’m wearing my badge and I’m working through about four hours worth of other peoples songs. I’m happy to be helping out my friends and it’s always good to play but I’ll admit I’m uncertain as to how long I can stay on this diet!

I shall, as ever, keep you posted but at the moment I can’t quite get rid of a slightly unpleasant taste…

Supersize my kit?

As a little p.s. to the above, gear aficionado’s may be wondering about my rig. With the recent addition of two vintage Premier concert toms it stands at a nine-piece kit, plus cymbals, chimes etc.  And size of performance area at your local pub is usually pretty limited so there’s my next conundrum (geddit?). As one friend said – “You bring along your full kit and we’ll set up in the other bar.”

So from this ….                                                     …. to this

2013-10-10 17.41.562013-09-28 12.55.55

I’m washing away some of the funny taste about doing covers by using a very pared down version of my kit. There is still something quite liberating about using ‘the basics’.

(Not least the paltry fifteen minutes it takes to set up and take down!)

Railway Winchester 17th April 6 img_6297 ‘Til next time,

Seex

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About Stuart Dyer

Stuart Dyer, Christian Writer and Musician living in West Sussex, England. Works in the hope of producing the worthy novel or solo; giggles at Oliver Hardy, Peter Sellers and Spike Jones; admires Hudson Taylor, Dickens, Salinger, Bill Bailey and Neil Peart; listens from Wagner to Miles with lots of stops in between; dances to motown and aims to achieve balance in all things.
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