Spike Edney Newsletter
Dear Friends of the SAS Band,
Well, the lame, cruel Summer has at last sunk without trace (was it even here?) and the cold damp of Autumn is upon us, but cheer up! It will soon be Christmas and time for egg nog and embarrassing hats!
It’s also time for an SAS Band update.
First of all, for those of you who didn’t receive our last newsletter, we will be returning again to Southampton and Guildford for our Xmas shows.
SAT, 1st DEC 2012, G LIVE, GUILDFORD:
Last year we were one of the first bands to play this fabulous new venue and apparently we hold the record for the most liquor drunk at the bar by any audience so far! I don't know if that's because of the band driving the poor audience to drink, or they're just naturally thirsty, but who cares because “Yippee!” we're in the record books for something at least! We are very much looking forward to returning to this great venue for some festive fun. If you didn't get there last year, make sure you don't miss this year's celebrations. For tickets contact the SAS Band office on +44 (0)1293 783 399. Most major credit cards accepted
THURS, 29th NOV 2012, THE BROOK
This show is SOLD OUT and we look forward to seeing you enthusiastic, music loving, party people, who cleverly got your tickets in time, for a raucous night! Unfortunately due to scheduling and availability, this means there is no chance of a second show being added at The Brook. Hopefully there will be no snow this year, so half the band don't end up trapped and sleeping in their cars on the M3 again!
WE WILL ROCK YOU 10TH ANNIVERSARY
In May we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the stage musical "We Will Rock You" at the Dominion Theatre in London. It's ridiculous to think 10 years have already flown by... It was an emotional evening with Roger and Brian joining the cast for an uplifting rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody and a hologram of Freddie debuting at the end! There was an after-show knees up and Jamie, Stroudie, Johnny, The Fabbagirls and Stevie Ham put on a joyous party show that had the ‘great and the good’ cutting a rug until the early hours.
CONCERT AT THE KINGS
June brought some very rare, beautiful Summer weather and we were invited to perform at a cancer fundraising show put on by our very good mate John "Grubby" Callis, who has been monitor man to the stars (Queen and a left handed Beatle bass player!) for many years. I, however, was away in Canada at the time and so for the very 1st time I entrusted a complete SAS show to my hapless, bewildered bridesmaid Jamie Moses (the Madge Allsop of our band). So, James nurtured the assorted talents of Madeline Bell, Midge Ure, Tom Robinson, Chris Thompson, Patti Russo, Kerry Ellis and Dr Brian May through a perfect sunny day in Wiltshire and enthralled an audience of several thousand, who had gathered in the field adjacent to The King's Arms pub. I received a multitude of reports praising the gig, the weather, the band and yes, especially dear ol’ Jamie who was a powerhouse of leadership and organisation on the day - a sort of Alan Sugar, Donald Trump and Boadicea, all rolled into one!
My favourite tale of the day was told by Midge Ure, who recounted on stage that he had a new experience, when earlier he answered his phone to hear a breathless Moses screaming "how soon can you get here? The bloody Wurzels haven't turned up!" All the great Rock & Roll moments - Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show, Hendrix at Woodstock and Queen at Live Aid, paled into insignificance when compared to this monumental event, now known simply as "The Day The Wurzels Baled"!
In June I went to Canada to prepare for an exciting new project called "The Queen Extravaganza". Roger Taylor wanted to create the ultimate Queen tribute band, so after thousands of internet based auditions, we headed to L.A to judge the 25, or so finalists. We actually left the day after the SAS Band G Live show in Dec 2011, which was also my 60th birthday bash. I'd had about 45 mins sleep then headed off to Heathrow with a hangover the size of my overdraft!
In L.A. we took the finalists and put them through their paces in the Foo Fighters private studio and ended up with 9 chosen musicians and singers. First there was Marc Martel, whose sound was so similar to Freddie's that his online audition went viral and was seen by several million viewers, which resulted in an invitation to appear on the Ellen Degeneres show. Second was Brian Gresh (yes really .....a guitarist called Brian!), whose audition knocked me sideways, then a fabulous singing drummer called Tyler Warren, a really unique girl vocalist called Jennifer Espinoza, "Frenchy" Doyon on bass, Tristan Avakian on Gtr, Yvan Pednault on vocals, Brandon Etheridge as MD and keyboards and special guest, our good mate, Jeff Scott Soto on vocals.
Our next adventure was to return to Los Angeles in May for our first 2 days of real rehearsal and then go straight on to American Idol to perform live to 40, or so million viewers. I was more nervous watching this performance than I have ever been, Live Aid included. Needless to say, this talented bunch nailed the song (Somebody to Love) and thrilled everyone in the studio and the vast viewing audience. Marc was poised and confident. He delivered a masterful performance and the rest of the band were full of energy and tore the roof off the place. Then the band and I headed to Steven Tyler’s opulent dressing room, “The Love Shack” to celebrate and listen to his new studio tracks.
After 3 weeks rehearsal the band hit the road with the most adventurous setlist of any Queen band and a fabulous touring production. What excited Roger and myself most was that these guys could sing and play anything we asked them to, so they performed the whole of BohemianRhapsody from beginning to end live and with note for note perfection. Even Queen have never been able to reproduce the full studio version onstage. We hit the road and the Band received rave reviews from both audiences and critics alike, everywhere in the USA and Canada. The next tour will be in January 2013. For more info go to www.queenextravaganza.com. Watch this space!
QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT
After one week into the Extravaganza tour, Roger and I rushed back to London to rehearse with the fabulously talented Adam Lambert. This guy is one of the most naturally charismatic and gifted vocalists I have ever seen. He appeared on American Idol as a contestant in 2009 and when I saw him I knew at once he was a phenomenal talent and hoped that I'd get to work with him one day. Then in Nov 2011, as luck would have it, MTV asked Queen to perform the closing finale of the MTV Europe awards in Belfast. It was a brilliant performance and 6 months later there we were, rehearsing for six amazing Summer shows. Checkout the Kiev debut live to 500,000 screaming fans on youtube, plus Moscow, Wroclaw in Poland and 3 wondrous nights at Hammersmith Apollo /Odeon. If you were there you know what I'm talking about and if you weren’t, then keep your fingers crossed and hope that it wasn't a once in a lifetime collaboration.
THE WONDERFUL MADELINE BELL
The ever lovely Ms Bell turned 70 this year (yes really!) and we shared the event with her on a lovely Sunday afternoon. Some friends we hadn't seen for awhile turned up including Graham Gouldman, Kiki Dee with Carmelo Luggeri and it was a blast to meet John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. We ate, drank and sang the afternoon away and then late in the day, a long time friend of Madeline's, Lorraine Chase (of Luton Airport fame) arrived breathlessly to explain that her flight had arrived late and she had rushed over to join us. When I enquired, straight faced, where she had just landed, she, with a stony countenance replied "Stansted".... the Brits fell about. The Americans present thought we were all mad....!
FREDDIE FOR A DAY
September saw us performing at The Savoy Hotel for the 2nd Freddie for a Day gala. This is a charity event centered around Freddie's birthday and raises funds for The Mercury Phoenix Trust's ongoing battle against HIV/Aids. A glittering audience, all bedecked with moustaches (including the ladies) enjoyed a night of extravagant celebration and some glorious music. The show kicked off with a 20 piece choir performing an acappella version of Freddie and Montserrat Caballe's glorious Olympic anthem "Barcelona". It was a thrilling and very moving rendition.
Our guests included Dr Brian May, Kerry Ellis, Alfie Boe, Marc Martel (making his UK debut), Madeline Bell, Tommy Blaize, Al Murray (Pub Landlord, who also doubled as our percussionist), plus a young talented group called "Cover Drive". To top it all off we had a surprise, mind blowing appearance from Sir Tom Jones, who turned up and "fancied doing a turn, boyo!" He jumped up on stage and sang "One Night with You", an Elvis hit. Pandemonium, plus a plethora of ladies knickers covered the stage. The audience, which included Freddie's mum, Sacha Baron Cohen and Damian Lewis, all had a night that none of us will forget in a hurry.
That's it for now Folks! Hope to see you at G Live in Guildford on 1st Dec, or maybe in Canada come January. I'm off to look for some thermals, as apparently it can get a tad nippy ‘round them parts!