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Spiral Scouts / Blog

Where we've been, where we're going, and how it all began.episode 3

The Mellow Yellow on the Pier had been a most fantastic event to be involved with, it was a must we continued… later that month Saf found out she was with child, so that obviously became her primary focus, Ladders returned to his studies, and ‘The Magdalenas’ but the rest of the Spiral Scouts rolled on. Sublime and extremely busy solo performer Jon Brindley was recruited to play fiddle at a few gigs, he travelled to Lincolnshire in June, with George, Andy and Boffy to play the grass roots Alchemyfest warm up weekend, the performance on the very cool Kaplick Solar Stage generated the offer to return to the main festival in September to play again. Jon played fiddle again at several other June gigs one in Yorkshire with Vince, George, and new recruit Steph Powers offering her superb female vocals to the mix. Jon played again in Blackpool, where Spiral Scouts headlined a night at the ‘West Coast Rock Café’ along with Andy, George, Boffy, Vince, Woz and Steph. Support that night came from the fantastic Rae Morris, definitely one to watch for the future and a Jon Brindley solo set. Bookings were rolling in, as did a new more permanent fiddler, and an occasional mandolin player. Heath Lavery’s amazing fiddle appears on some of the recordings you can hear here, as does Simon Ledward’s superb Mandolin and Penny whistle. Two appearances on the Band Stand in Blackpools C19th Stanley Park plus local festivals Tommyfest, Bfest and a pre-cursor to the world famous ‘Fylde Folk Festival’ before returning to Lincolnshire in September for the awesome Alchemyfest. The line up has now settled after a very busy 7 months or so, where Spiral Scouts have appeared on the same bill as some extraordinary talent, including Edwina Hayes, Karima Francis, Rae Morris, Steph Fraser, Andy Stones, Dan Wilde, Karl Culley, Holly Taymar, Troubadour, The Magdalenas, The Roots Union, Phil Henry and Hannah Martin, Kismet, Jon Gomm, Jon Brindley, Gypsy Fire, Flutatious, Dirty Scavenger, Lupa Tom, to name but a few. (Please check out these artists if you haven’t already, all are amazing)….And have gigs coming up in the new year with equally high calibre performers including, a support slot with Bafta award winning artist Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, we’ve still only had three rehearsals, but a bit of freestyling seems to work out ok for us, so we’re sticking to the original plan…keep it simple and play what the lyrics make you feel…feeling being the essence of music …surely it should work..?? sincerely hope you enjoy the tunage, and hope our paths cross somewhere up the road….all the best…. Spiral Scouts

Where we've been, where we're going, and how it all began.episode 2

Thankfully we did have a handful of original songs, which had some shape and an idea of where they might go, but nothing really carved into stone with regard to arrangements or other technical stuff….Maybe best keep it simple then. And so it began. Saf Yarnold and George, both wrote their own stuff and had known each other for a year or so, during that time they had spoke of some sort of collaboration, maybe now was the time. The first piece of the puzzle had to be an amazing lead guitarist, in our neck of the woods there was only one choice, the leg-end that is Andy Hall, Andy is arguably the finest lead guitarist for a 100 miles, it’d be like having Carlos Santana in your band, he loved the tunes from minute one and we’d got him! I’ve heard say, when your jamming if it doesn’t happen on the first rehearsal, it just wont, experience has shown this may be a little harsh, as different musicians have differing learning styles, some need to go away have a think about what they want to do and practice, come back and it fits, Andy just hears it and plays, and it worked. Not easy as George’s style due to being self taught and having no real technical knowledge is not what you might call conventional. Some things shouldn’t really work, but somehow they did. Maybe it would be best to just listen to the lyrics, and play what they make you feel, rather than relying on learned musical technical jiggerypokery? That is what we decided to do. Once Andy was on board, more and more high calibre musicians became interested in what the project was, Stephen ‘Ladders’ Ladley was the next recruit, Ladders was already playing, solo gigs and lead guitar in a highly renowned local band ‘ The Magdalenas’ as well as studying to be a commercial airline pilot, so was incredibly busy, but somehow made the time to come and play fiddle for us, though it would only be a one gig affair, we had one rehearsal before the Pier gig with Ladders, he played a blinder!! Vince Macrae, supplier of some very funky bass lines indeed, met George and heard his tunes at an open mic in Blackpool, and whilst outside having a wee smoke, offered his services should Spiral Scouts need a bass player, they would definitely find the need for Vince’s slick rythms, and he was on board. A Sax would be an interesting addition, Vince’s good friend of 20 odd years Warren Matthews, could play a mean sax, a couple of tunes would definitely benefit, and Wozzer was in. The next thing to consider was percussion, not a drummer though, a percussionist, and what a find!!, Jon’ Boffy the conga Slayer’ Baugh, who again heard the tunes at an open mic and offered his services, his arm was snatched off, but quickly glued back on, he’d need it…. And the line up was complete…………….we played, a warm up gig before our set on the Pier on the same bill as Karima Francis and one of York’s finest Andy Stones and were very well received indeed, generating some fine reviews, and so the seed was sown…. it may just be an idea to continue, after the Pier?…Busy as we are, It could work out for maybe 8 or 10 gigs a year?…if we’re going to do it…we would want to do only original material, so where can we play? We need a special kind of audience.. one who will walk into the middle of nowhere to listen to tunes they may never have heard before?... We need to be a festival band.

Where we've been, where we're going, and how it all began. episode 1

Where we’ve been, where were going, and how it all began The formation of Spiral Scouts went something like this…An opportunity arose to play at a fantastic historic venue in our home town, in May of 2010. Gigs in this venue were very rare, two of any note in fact in the last 10 years. We quite possibly may never again get the chance again to perform at such at such a unique event. How could we possibly pass it up? The gig was to take place a quarter of a mile into the Irish Sea, in the Victorian Sun Lounge at the end of Blackpool’s Iconic C19th North Pier. A one day festival was planned, ‘The Mellow Yellow on the Pier’ with all proceeds going to ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’, Persian rugs, cushions, and fairy lights and Spiral Scouts, who as yet did not even exist, in anything other than a name!! yet where booked in to play a spot, along with a dozen or so amazing seasoned artists from all over the country…. first problem…the gig was in six weeks, 45 minute set to play, ten original tunes to learn …Is it even possible? maybe for a three or four piece band with time on their hands…yeah we could do that!! Thankfully George already had an idea of the musicians he would like to approach to see if they fancied getting involved and playing. So Three or four musicians, with time on their hands then ? No!! let’s try and put a seven piece band together and let’s pick musicians in high demand who have absolutely no time on their hands!!! We’re only playing the one gig, after all….It’ll be fine!!!……However even rehearsing for the one gig proved difficult, ordinarily getting so many people in one place at one time would prove difficult….getting so many musicians in one place at the one time was almost impossible, what with work commitments, the fact everyone was already committed to gigs with other bands or other creative projects and just general family stuff really, oh aye and musicians are total flakes!!!! All these ingredients made the task very difficult indeed……but it seemed worth the effort, so persevere we would