Welcome to the next instalment in our 15 Questions feature, where we give a voice to new and unsigned talent. This time around we talk to Anver from ‘The Gentlemen Of IO’, a band, who you’ll soon realise, have a big passion for instruments of the stringed variety!
1 – What is your band / artist name, and why did you choose it?
The name of the band is “The Gentlemen of Io” we recently changed it from “Io”…. it’s the name of a moon of Jupiter – which was named after an ancient Greek princess whom Zeus took a fancy to. When Hera found out he was having a bit on the side, she went looking for Io – so Zeus turned her into a cow…. as you do.. Anyway, Io is a mysterious satellite, full of energy and volcanic eruptions – much like the band!
2 – What stage are you at in your career at the moment?
We’re in the twilight really, the band is around 200 years old collectively – and there’s only four of us!! We’ve been playing individually for 30 years or so. Three of us played in a ceilidh band for 15 years or so, and we performed at many weddings, PTA events, and birthday parties over the years. We’ve just realised that we’ve got about 40 original tracks that we really ought to commit to the recording studio, and we’re just about to release our first album – it will be a double!
3 – What is your music background? (Who are you and your band members? Tell
us your story!)
Anver Anderson plays mostly acoustic guitar (a 30 year-old Yamaha with a fantastic growl in the bass), as well as playing the electric (a fabulous Gibson Les Paul, with a gutsy ribbony sound for overdriven leads, and a beautiful clean jazzy sound which cuts through like a hot knife through butter). Often the front man of the band and songwriter to boot, Anver is an old avant-garde rocker, taking influences from the early Bowie, Roxy Music, Bebop Deluxe and Francis Dunnery.
Roy Bartholomew plays bass… several of them actually… 4-string, 5-string and 6-string, fretted, unfretted and even a double bass. He’s such a solid player, adding a secure underpinning of the rhythm. He drives the band along in fine rock-steady fashion. He’s also no stranger to the keys, providing string and voice accompaniments to the more progressive side of the music. He’s a bit of a rabble-rouser when you let him loose on the vocal mic too. Roy has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music – just give him a few words of the lyric or hum the opening bars and he can tell you who it was, the name of the song, the year of release – and name of the bassists third cousin twice removed!!
Myles Barrett can just about play anything. He mostly adds melodeon and mandolin to the ensemble, but is also an adept guitarist – acoustic and electric – playing either a Martin or Gibson Les Paul. Myles is also an extraordinary sound technician and spends much of his time in his recording studio capturing The Gentlemen’s output. His White Barn studio is where most of the new album has been recorded, and will be completed later this year. Myles is another of The Gentlemen who has an extensive knowledge of all musical genres, but his real love is traditional and progressive folk music.
Tim Hancock is the bands main axe man, playing acoustic guitars – mostly Martins – many and various – several different body-sized 6 strings, 12 strings and Jazz models, as well as the well-healed Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls – two Black Beauty models. His collection of Martin and Gibson Mandolins and Mandolas is legendary, along with his collections of wooden and silver flutes. Tim is a virtuoso player of the highest order and has deservedly earned the nickname “Timothy ‘Fingers’ Hancock.” A talented tunesmith, Tim has written and developed many of the band’s output of tunes, based on traditional or progressive styles, and is proving to be a prolific songwriter. Tim has a deep love of classical, folk, and progressive rock genres, which brings a wide range of styles to the band.
4 – How do you describe your music to people?
An eclectic mix of classical, folk, rock and electric licks…
5 – What do you think about people downloading music online?
Downloading is great! Fundamentally, musicians want people to hear their words and music – downloading allows that on a global basis. There are mechanisms to make a bit of cash from that too – which is also a good thing. I don’t think the big record companies should have the monopoly on that – but I don’t begrudge them it either.
6 – What dream tour would you love to be on, with any past or present bands?
Anver would have loved to have gigged with Mick Ronson (Bowie’s guitarist),
Roy with Paul Rodgers or Led Zepplin.
Myles with Fairport Convention or Richard Thompson; and
Tim with Yes, being the all time biggest fan of Steve Howe (he even owns a tenor guitar from Mr Howe’s collection)
7 – What have been the biggest obstacles for you, to get your music heard?
Laziness, we need to get out more, and get the album finished. There’s so many places to play these days…it’s great!
8 – What is the best freebie you have ever been given?
Well I’m not sure we should mention her by name…. just kidding!!!! It was a natty little piece of plastic with a sharp bit in it – to open cd’s. I can never get that plastic off!!
9 – Everyone has a song that annoyingly sticks in their head, what is yours
at the moment?
Adele – Make you feel my love… lovely song but can’t shift it.
10 – Who are you tipping for the top, music wise?
Emerald – Julie McKee – Dave Stannard – all unsigned but destined for great things!
11 – What do you do with your free time?
Free time? What’s that… well when I’m not working I’m a member of a very active drama group, Springers, I present a radio show on Saint FM – Unsigned on Tuesday evening 8pm – 10pm (www.saintfm.org.uk). I play squash every week, and golf most weeks. I love to eat out with friends and family, and I go to a lot of open mic nights and local gigs. Other than that, not much really!
12 – Have you discovered any interesting music related sites online?
Myspace is great – for promotion of your own music and to gather new artists for Unsigned – and general local music action. Youtube of course for great look backs at yesteryear and I use riffomatic to work out new stuff on the guitar. There’s probably a load more.
13 – Which comes first, the music or the lyrics?
Sometimes the music, sometimes the lyric, mostly together – which is the best way for me.
14 – Tell us about your next gigs and why we should be there!
The Gentlemen of Io will be playing at the Bewicks Suite in Maldon on 29th July and on the bill that evening are Stu Sounds – who is a brilliant vocal and loop artist – and the magnificent Ease Springs… it will be a great night! Then we will be doing a full evening at the La Vista bar in Great Baddow on 21st August – much of the new album stuff will be played that night so it will be a good one to come and see what we’ve been up to during the summer months. (All Dates in Essex)
15 – Interview questions can be quite dull, so what do you really want to be
to talking about now?
World peace, the economy and politicians in general…….not.