29.01.2017. R.I.P. Geoff Nicholls. (Quartz, Black Sabbath and The Tony Martin Band)
First Posted at www.black-sabbath.com
"Musician, Funny Man And Friend
When I was a teenager and suddenly all I was interested in was music, Ozzy Osbourne was a solo artist and Black Sabbath had Tony Martin on vocals and of course, Geoff Nicholls was the invaluable offstage extra band member. So to me, that was what Black Sabbath sounded like. Tracks like The Shining and Headless Cross, resplendent with the gloss Geoff’s musicianship brought to the band were always on my stereo at that time. I discovered the other Sabbath stuff later. So for me, to suddenly get to be in a band with Tony Martin and Geoff Nicholls and be up there, playing those songs on tour on stages all over the world was like a dream come true. Now, they say you should never meet your heroes, and I’ve met many of mine, even worked with some of them. But I can tell you truthfully that knowing and working with a Geoff was nothing but a pleasure. Geoff was a big hearted, kind guy – a big softy. He loved music and he loved to make people laugh. The jokes never seemed to stop coming, he could really be the life and soul and if he wasn’t joking around he was telling us one of his many many road stories. Sometimes I really wanted him to shut up because my sides were hurting.
People tend to think of Geoff as a keyboard player, but essentially, he was musician. He could turn his hand to a lot of different instruments, he could sing, he had an amazing ear, he was a great writer – and he did it all with and endearing humility. It didn’t matter who he’d worked with, he was just Geoff.
Danny Needham and I once spent a day at Geoff’s where he fed us and showed us some music he’d been working on for a TV show, beautifully constructed instrumental stuff. He showed us some of his old instruments, platinum disks and tour shirts from old tours. He also told us about some of the pitfalls of the industry and gave us some advice of how to survive when the nasty stuff happens. And when Danny and I headed off into the city at night to sample a few beers, he gave us directions and a key, and told us to be careful like a loving parent.
When the band ceased to be, Geoff and I kept in touch with the occasional e-mail or phone call. He sent me funny stuff and always asked after my family. He used to remind me that Birmingham wasn’t actually that far from Sheffield and that if I was playing out that way I should call for a cuppa and a catch up. I always said I would and of course, I intended to. But I’m sad to say that I never got on with it. When you’re in about 15 bands and you’ve got kids and responsibilities it’s always next time I’m out this way…. Next time I’ll make sure I make time. There’s a lesson to be learned there.
When you’re on the road with a band, there are always experiences you share that result in certain catchphrases, band sayings and maybe in-jokes. When we were in a restaurant with Geoff, he would always ask (no matter what the meal was) for some chips (fries) with it, orange Fanta and ketchup. I think he had ketchup on just about everything. Whenever Danny and I speak of Geoff we always say, “can I have some fries with that,” or simply shout, “ketchup!” I dunno, maybe that’s not even mildly amusing to read, but if you’d ever been on the road with Geoff it would be.
So anyway, another stellar musician has left us. I wish I’d known him longer, I wish I’d worked with him more, I wish I’d called for a cuppa. My life was very much enriched for having known him. I thought of Geoff onstage tonight with The John Verity Band. We were playing, “The Devils Music,” from the “My Religion” album. I remember when I recorded the bass, thinking Geoff would have really liked that line. Anyway, goodbye Captain Ketchup, you’ll be sadly missed. So raise a glass to Geoff people, stick Headless Cross on and pay your respects."
Jamie Mallender 28.01.2017.
Happy New Year everyone!
As advertised in our previous news bulletin, almost all the Swear Box pool of players, plus special guests performed at The Milestone on the 4th of December. It was a free and easy acoustic jam with different members of the band assembling assorted line-ups and trying out songs they had never played before or had never played with each other before. The gig was booked as a 6 until 8 slot, but the performance actually lasted 5 hours and the pub was packed for the duration. There were some stunning performances, which can be viewed on YouTube by clicking on the picture to the left.
All musicians gave their time for free - the fee for the gig went into the Swear Box for Sheffield Children's hospital.
Special thanks to Tim Gillespie of Urchin Percussion, Paddy Maguire, Janna Hooson Maguire, Stuart Lord, Nigel Killner and Mark Lowe.
On Sunday 4th of December, the first annual Swear Box Christmas Party will take place at The Milestone, Crystal Peaks - and you're all invited.
Jamie, "I started Swear Box as a diary filler in late 2014 and our first gig was at The Milestone. I was already a member of The John Verity Band and also The Paddy Maguire Band, but I wanted to fill up those few gaps I had left in the diary. I decided to do this by having a very flexible band with a pool of excellent players and good friends. I book gigs and then look who is available for that date. It means that I'm able to provide a band suitable to the venue and we can work as a 3 piece, 4 piece or sometimes more. It keeps it fresh and exciting and it's one of the best things I've ever done. Sometimes I front the band and share the singing with one or two other singers, sometimes I employ a front man and I just play bass. Whatever the format, I always enjoy it and it always goes down well. The latest development is Swear Box acoustic. I've started doing an unplugged version of the band which can again, be of any size from a duo up. It's 100% live as always of course and it gives me a chance to showcase some of these fantastic acoustic instruments I have from Vintage. With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it would be nice to bring together as many musicians as possible from the Swear Box pool of players to have a big acoustic jam together. I hope a lot of people will join us for what promises to be a very spectacular evening and it's very fitting that it will take place at the Milestone. We will begin at 6pm and continue until we stop."
27.09.2016. The Xvive U2 Wireless Guitar System
Jamie has recorded a video sharing his thoughts on a revolutionary new guitar wireless system from Xvive, called the U2. He has been using the system at his gigs for the last 2 weeks and in this video, covers all its features and explains how it works. Click the pic to the left to watch the video on YouTube.
12.04.2016. Blues Festival in Jamie's Home City
The John Verity Band have been added last minute, to the bill of The prestigous HRH Blues Festival at Sheffield's O2 this weekend. Jamie will be in Stoneleigh Park on Saturday with The Paddy Maguire Band, but back in Sheffield on the Sunday to rock some blues with John Verity on a bill that reads like a who's who of british blues-rock.
08.03.2016. The new John Verity album, featuring Jamie Mallender
Jamie, "You'll probably think I'm saying this just because I'm playing on a couple of tracks on the album, but the truth is, I honestly think that this is John's best ever album. I was a fan of his music before I met him, before I found out what a lovely guy he was and before he asked me to join his pool of amazingly talented players. The album rocks harder than his recent records, but the blues feel is still very present. The drama and variety that are key components to composing a capivating album that makes sense as a whole - an experience, not just a bunch of tracks on a disk but a journey with highs and lows and power and balls and joy and pain and beauty and desperation and so much, much more. This album has been crafted beautifully and never cynically. The songwriting feels so natural and really speaks to me. This is a man, communicating with the audience, expressing something that matters - connecting via his exceptional command of his voice and his guitar. Lyrically, this album has some very amusing moments and also some deadly serious, poignant stuff. There's just so much to it I can't describe it in enough depth. It embodies exactly what I believe music should be all about. Do your ears a favour and buy it!"
Click on the album cover to be transported to John Verity's website where you can find out more details about the album and where it can be purchased.
01.02.2016. Jamie Mallender performs at this years Giants Of Rock with The John Verity Band And Oliver's Army
In 2015, Jamie performed at The Giants Of Rock festival with The John Verity Band along with such rock dignitry as Slade, Magnum, Black Star Riders, Manfred Mann's Earthband, The Quireboys, Mick Ralphs, Bernie Marsden and many more. The band was very well received despite playing the graveyard shift, late on sunday night when the audience had had a full weeked of having their ears assaulted by rock music and their livers pickled. The band was quickly added to the bill for the following year which is an unusual move, for a band to play the same festival 2 years in a row.
In September 2015, Jamie stood in on bass for the Legendary but sadly unwell Steve Dawson - with Oliver/Dawson Saxon. As a result of this very successful "dep" job, Jamie was asked to join Graham Oliver's side project - Oliver's Army. The band would perform early, classic Saxon hits and would feature:-
Vocals: Brian Shaughnessy (7th Son, Oliver/Dawson Saxon)
Guitar: Graham Oliver (Saxon, Oliver/Dawson Saxon, T.Rex)
Guitar: Gav Coulson (Gav Coulson Group, Swear Box, Dog House)
Bass: Jamie Mallender (Tony Martin Band, John Verity Band, Swear Box, Paddy Maguire Band)
Drums: Paul Oliver (Oliver/Dawson Saxon)
Oliver's Army were soon added to The Giants Of Rock Bill, meaning Jamie would perform with both bands.
It transpired that The John Verity Band would open the Saturday afternoon slot. Many complained that it was too good a band on too early, but no matter how early in the day it was, the band played to a full house and went down a storm. John Verity was the highlight of many people's weekend and certainly had the best sound out front of any band that performed at the event this year. There just aren't many players in the same league as John, who as well as being one of the world's finest blues/rock guitarists, also posesses one of the best voices in the business.
Oliver's Army were asked to close Saturday night's entertainment, which they did in style! The band never told anyone that it was their 1st ever gig, they just went and did it with bravado and attitude, blasting through a set of Saxon classics to a very loud and excited full house of rockers. You would have thought this band had been out touring for months. Brian had the audience eating out of his hand with his stunning vocals, down to earth approach and Barnsley humour. Whatever lies in store for this band, they certainly showed off some great potential at Giants Of Rock.
Jamie, "It's my birthday tomorrow and this weekend has been like a dream come true - a proper, amazing early birthday present. I'm really proud to play for John Verity. I believe he's one of the very finest performers on the circuit and is certainly one of the most decent chaps you could ever meet. To step out in front of a nice big audience with a musician I respect like that, who is also a good friend and receive such a warm reaction from a crowd that obviously know their eggs, it's very moving. Musically too, John's material is right up my street. Unfortunately, Bob Henrit wasn't available to play drums for John this weekend so we had young Liam Gray standing in. A truly excellent drummer with a natural, easy groove and incredible chops. This is a young chap I expect to see do very well in the future. He's a great guy too. To be honest, everyone I work with is a great guy these days. Life's too short to make career moves that involve working with dick heads. I loved playing Giants Of Rock last year and it was great to come back so soon. But to have the chance to play with 2 bands there in one day - double prizes! Oliver's Army gives me chance to let off some steam with some old fashioned heavy metal bass thumping. I get to stand next to my good friend and ridiculous talent, Gav Coulson on stage too! And to my right, is Graham Oliver! It's a bit surreal really. You don't realise until you see the set list, just how many of those early Saxon tracks are classics, that all rock fans know. The formula is very simple really, 5 talented chaps who are all easy to get along with - having fun smashing out some really cool songs everyone loves. It's difficult to screw that up really. And I'm going to be totally un-modest and tell you, we rocked the place. It was amazing. On the Sunday I went for a burger and sat listening to people walking by chatting. People were buzzing about a lot of the bands. Who was their favourite, who wasn't, who was past it, who's trousers were too tight and so on.... The place was buzzing with great feedback about John Verity and Oliver's Army. I felt like a very small, long haired hippie rock god. A highlight too for me, was watching Bob Henrit and John Verity play with Russ Ballard from the wings. That was super-cool!"
Stay tuned folks - more news soon!
28.12.2015. The Xvive Duet Looper Pedal Walkthrough By Jamie Mallender
Xvive recently released a brand new looper pedal. It is so small that you could be forgiven for wondering just how it could possibly be capable of all the exciting features it boasts. Xvive commissioned Jamie to re-write the manual for the looper and to make a video walkthrough of exactly how to operate this little beauty. Check out Jamie's video at:- Duet Looper Demo Video
xvive facebook page
01.12.2015. Meet The Octopussy
Jamie TV Episode 13 has just been published to YouTube. The episode features a very exciting one-off 8 string bass converted from a Vintage V90 4 string by world renowned guitar guru and super-hero, Trevor Wilkinson. Jamie demo's the sounds of the bass and explains its origins, and discusses why he wanted an 8 string bass. Jamie is still gigging constantly with Swear Box, The John Verity Band, The Paddy Maguire Band and others - and has some very exciting big shows to announce soon..... Click here to see Jamie TV Episode 13: Meet The Octopussy
13.11.2005. The Xvive Bass Squeezer - A Signature Pedal By Jamie Mallender
Here is the brand new publicity poster/flyer for Jamie's signature Xvive pedal - the B1 Bass Squeezer. The initial buzz in response to the pedal's release is very promising. It is certainly selling and is receiving some glowing reviews.
Jamie, "Bass Compression is an unexciting, not very sexy subject. But if you get into it and really get it right it can revolutionise your sound. It can give you all the punch and control, sustain and even signal you need to make you best effective in the mix. The problem is, at first it's tough to know what all the controls really do and often bassists are so unsure about it that they just give up. There are more unused bass compression pedals at the bottom of old gig bags than any other discarded musical item. When Xvive asked me if I'd like to develop a signature pedal with them I jumped at the chance to create a compression pedal that was easy to use and inexpensive. The problem is that it's so cheap - bassists have a hard time believing that it's as good as I'm telling them. But the truth is - it's very well put together, tank proof in fact with high quality components by engineers that care passionately about their craft. It will take up hardly any room on your pedal board and can be used in a number of different ways. It can be an overdrive, a pre-amp, a boost and also an effective paper weight. It takes a regular 9v power supply and would make an ideal stocking filler for your bass playing loved ones."
21.09.15. Jamie Standing in on bass with Oliver/Dawson Saxon
Jamie stood in on bass for Steve Dawson with Oliver/Dawson Saxon with only one and a half days notice at a sold-out Whitwell Music Festival on the 12th September. The band played an absolutely killer set of Saxon classics and were hailed by many as the absolute highlight of the weekend. Jamie's last minute effort at learning the set and rescuing the band has been very widely praised. We've managed to gather together a few shots of the set - check them out in the photo album.
11.09.15. Oliver/Dawson Saxon enlist Super-Dep at the 11th hour.
Jamie will perform with Oliver/Dawson Saxon at Whitwell music festival on 12th Sept 2015. Stage time - 8pm.
With 1 and a half days notice, Jamie has been asked to stand in for Steve Dawson with the legendary band who will perform a 1 hour set tomorrow evening. The band also features:- Graham Oliver-Guitar, Haydn Conway-Guitar, Paul Oliver-Drums, Bri Shaughnessy-vocals.
Jamie has jammed with Graham previously and recently Graham jammed with Swear Box at Mexborough Imperial - performing Wheels Of Steel, Get It On, Voodoo Chile, Smoke On The Water and Rock 'n' Roll.
Click here for ODS info : ODS
Click here for Whitwell Music Festival info : Whitwell Music Festival