My main musical endeavour between 1996 and 2007, and again since the band's reformation in 2010 has been that of drummer with the band BAiT, which I joined after Dan Hall (original vocalist and guitarist) and Andy Pitcher (vocalist and bass player) decided that they wanted a bigger sound than that of an acoustic duo (their original intention).
Between 1996 and 2007, BAiT played 222 gigs around the country and as far away as Nice, France, in clubs, pubs and corporate events, and released five home-produced albums.
Daniel Hall announced that he was leaving Kid Gloves (the previous band in which we both played at the time) just after my wedding in 1996 and that he was intending to work again with Andy Pitcher, initially as a guitar duo. After a short period, they asked me if I'd be interested in joining to create an original pop/rock three piece, with an emphasis on writing crafted, but more accessible songs. To me, Kid Gloves was struggling without a strong lead singer and I had befriended Andy in the meantime (he played lead guitar with Kid Gloves for a while), so I accepted the offer and BAiT was started.
Early BAiT years were characterised by a three-piece line-up, which played extensively on the social clubs circuit, thanks to behind-the-scenes work of Julian Phipps and Ian Nash. Playing the clubs really helped us to craft our 'chops' and made us play together much tighter as a band and listen more attentively to each other. We had quite a big sound for a three piece and exploited our ability to sing three part harmonies wherever possible.
By 2000, and following the recording of our first home recorded and produced album, Not In My Back Yard, which gained favourable reviews from Guitarist magazine, we realised that we wanted to try to recruit a fourth member (lead guitarist) into the band and so we set about looking for a suitable candidate. Initially, we had Dave Perry, then Ben Campbell, before finally meeting up with Chris Johnson.
We recorded a second album, Shut Up and Take a Seat, in 2001 and then Dan moved back down to Surrey (where he grew up). Chris, Andy, and I carried on initially as a three-piece, but decided that we would try to find a keyboard player. After a couple of amusing auditions, featuring blind keyboard players and banjo players (don't ask!), we found the perfect person in Nick Nugent. Nick shared my love of Progressive Rock keyboard sounds (Mellotrons and analogue synthesisers), and so we set about reworking the few songs we'd started to work on and wrote some more with Nick, culminating in the band's third album, South Of The Delta, in 2004.
Following the recording sessions for South Of The Delta, we spent quite some time rehearsing the whole album live, and actually got it sounding very good and faithful to the recorded version, when fate threw a spanner in the works (or more acurately we did it for fate) and Andy was gone from the picture.
Faced with little alternative and without a bass player (Andy was a hard act to follow as a songwriter, bass player, and vocalist), we returned to the studio and started to work on some new songs, this time with Chris playing both guitar and bass for the purposes of recording, Nick stepping up to do some more backing vocals, and me stepping much more into a melody and lyric writing mode.
After a few months, in 2005, we emerged with our fourth album, The Full English, and then were pleased, whilst auditioning bass players, when Andy said he liked the material and would like to rejoin.
Following the recording of The Full English, we decided to attempt to put together some acoustic versions of our songs which we could play in smaller, more familiar settings. This was a particulalrly enjoyable experience for me, as it gave me the chance to play more material on the mandolin (and not have to set up a drum kit every time we played!)
Back into the rehearsal rooms we went and worked out a nice set comprising material from the two most recent albums, and a couple of songs from earlier albums, but we played very few gigs before Chris decided he wanted to step back from the role as lead-singer and concentrate on his guitar playing.
We decided to look for a singer and tried for some time to find the right person, but were unsuccessful. Eventually we met up with Declan Sharma (a singer / multi-instrumentalist from Bromsgrove) and recorded some new material with him on a session vocalist basis, based on songs we had written in band studio jam sessions. These final three tracks were the last we worked on, before we parted with Declan and ultimately concluded that we couldn't agree on how to continue, and so, sadly, we called it a day.
Three members of BAiT (Chris, Nick, and I) continued to play in the covers band, Kill Clouseau until the end of 2007.
In 2010, Andy, Chris, and I reformed the band and started initially to write new material for an electric set, before deciding to pursue the acoustic side of the band's music again.
http://www.baitband.com/ - BAiT's website
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