15th March 2018
Another Just Johnny article appears! As if by magic. Johnny moans about the practice of tuning down guitars.
24th February 2018
Sad news to report today. Ian Herbert has had to pull out of the Abbey Road trip this year for personal reasons.
The poor boy is gutted over this reluctant decision.
"I am gutted over this reluctant decision which I have had to make reluctantly. It is a trip I always look forward to making and I'll miss seeing many friends across the water."
Ian's absence leaves a rather large hole in the band's ranks which can only be filled by 2 people! On rhythm guitar comes long time band friend, Rob Bridge formerly of the Rockits. He is over at the festival with his new band The V8's and sees the chance of playing with Wingsbanned as a dream come true.
"This is something I have wanted to do since Gareth, Johnny and myself played together in the US back in October 2014. We had such a great time that we have been looking for a chance to do it again. It's a dream come true," he confirmed.
Thus, the bass sized gap left when Johnny moves to the piano will now be filled by current Rockits bassisit and lead singer, Chris Grindrod. Rickenbacker playing Chris will add his distinctive bass and voice on several numbers and if he behaves himself, will be allowed to do some lead vocals. Chris will also play bass with the V8's.
On the down side, the amalgamation of Rockits and Wingsbanned has always led to savage debauchery and ruin of reputations in the past and it is feared that this summer will be no different. The mix of Southern Poncey's with some Northern Luddites is a volatile one usually fuelled by alcohol and out of control libido's. However, Wingsbanned's Johnny Heywood has a different take on it.
"I'm from Glasgow, Scotland so as far as I'm concerned they're all Southern Softies to me."
6th February 2018
Yet another change in plans for the Abbey Rd Festival this year.
Out goes the Top 100 Beatles songs to be replaced by a simple "Best Of Macca" which, after all is what the band specialises in. There was much relief sighing from band members.
"I sighed with relief," confirmed guitarist Gareth Davies (27). "With all my featured rock God guitar slugging on Saturday, plus 3 Wingsbanned gigs plus being the leading light of a new band, The V8's, I simply don't have time to eat let alone learn new bleedin' songs. I only have so many notes on my guitar and after that...."
Keys maestro Shane Gould (31) breathed his sigh of relief admitting that he seldom learned any songs. "On my custom made all-singing, all-dancing Acme synth, I simply program it all in and then hit the "start" button. It's really no problem at all."
Lead person Johnny Heywood had no such concerns. "These Beatles songs are ingrained in my whole being as I grew up with them and have performed them all many, many times. Mind you, sometimes I forget the words....and the tunes."
So all in all, it's shaping up nicely.
5th January 2018
A Happy New Year to all!
It has been quiet on the Wingsbanned front recently but plans are being made for the annual jaunt to the States in May for the Abbey Road On The River Festival.
The band will be playing 3 gigs this time to allow for some other extra activity from the various band mambers.
Gareth and Shane have got themselves into the house band for the big Saturday Night concert which features several vocalists from various bands who will be featured on specific numbers. Johnny will be doing Roy Orbison's Oh, Pretty Woman backed by this band.
One of Wingsbanned's gigs will feature a set chosen by AROTR's head man, Gary Jacobs who has specified 100 Beatles songs to be divided amongst several of the top bands. For this set, the boys will need to learns several new songs such as, Michelle, Things We Said Today and a couple of numbers only occasionally performed such as We Can Work It Out and Twist & Shout.
This time the band will have to do without the services of drummer Lee Herbert who is unable to make the trip due to personal reasons so the boys will have to ensure it is so good that he feels such remorse that he saves up for next year!
8th November 2017
Some pix from last weeks gig at The Horns has appeared on the Gallery. Thanks to Gail for taking them!
It was a great night and much busier than last time. Although the band was under-rehearsed everything seemed to go well despite a few interesting "jazz" substitution notes. Johnny was in great voice and managed to take up most of the stage area by using 2 microphone stands - but then, as he pointed out, so does bloody Paul McCartney.
Many were worried that Gareth Davies would not perform in his usual rock god way as he had admitted to having 18" lopped off his magnificent barnet - the source of his near mythical guitar powers. They needed have concerned themselves; it was all still there in spades. A comical burst strap only added to the enjoyment as it happened on the intro to Band On The Run - a spot where there is no hiding!
Shane Gould's only disappointment was the non inclusion of Octopussy's Garden in the set simply because it got missed in all the excitement. This has become a highlight of the band's and gives much mirth to play especially Lee Herbert's underwater singing!
Ian Herbert wore his trousers well tonight in the wake of much flak and derision from (mainly) ladies. His pleas of "I have no bum," cut no ice here but he was able to keep them up most of the night. The only let down if you pardon the pun was that his flies were undone for much of the evening. Still, his guitar playing almost made up for it and he vocalised the top line on Something, Here Comes The Sun and Medicine Jar.
Lee didn't enjoy himself quite as much as usual despite the accolade and approval from the crowd. This well known perfectionist accepts nothing but the best and felt the band need to play more to get the quality consistent. He took the lead vocals of several songs such as Twist & Shout, Come Together and Don't Let Me Down sounding more like Neil Lennon than John but still powering the band through the night on his mighty drums.
1st November 2017
The band play at The Horns, Watford on Thursday 2nd November and this will be the band's first gig since May. This is the longest time the band has gone without performing but that holds no fears for frontman, Johnny Heywood.
"That holds no fears for me," he confirmed. "We are like an old pair of wellington boots. Comfortable, dry but not terribly hygenic."
The set list will comprise the usual Macca faves but also several Beatles numbers which the band seldom plays.
2nd September 2017
Wingsbanned have been invited back to the Abbey Road On The River Festival in 2018!
Having taken a year off in 2017, it has been arranged for the band to return next May which will be the second time it has been held in Jeffersonville. Previously, it has been held for many years in Louisville. Geographically, it is directly across the Ohio River and the old site can be seen from the new stages but everything about it is new - apart from the people! The band looks forward to seeing familiar faces, friends, comrades and band mates. There is such a bond between the artists that transcends any rivalries and there are alway several guest spots every night and interchanging of band members.
For the next few weeks the band will be choosing the sets and albums to be featured. There is talk of re-doing the Abbey Road album.
1st September 2017
Former Wingsbanned guitarist/bassist/vocalist Martin Fleming finally hangs up his guitar for ever tonight as he plays his last gig with Large Portion at the General Elliot, Uxbridge. Martin has been in the Portion for 7 years but now feels it is a younger man's game. He leaves the Rock World in the capable hands of teenagers such as Lee Herbert and Johnny Heywood and spring chickens such as Gareth Davies. His place in the Portion will be his Wingsbanned colleague, Ian "Baby Face" Herbert who looks to make his official live debut on Saturday night at the Crown, Cowley.
Martin has taken up painting as an alternative lifestyle which keeps alive his artistic nature. He has already done his lounge and bathroom.
The band feels he will be bored stiff in 6 weeks and predict the formation of the Marty Fleming Band by wife Jan just to get him out of the house.
Meanwhile, in other news, Wingsbanned manager Billy Weasleknob is negotiating for a German tour including Hamburg for next year. This will be the first time the band has played in Germany and takes in the famous port where the Beatles first found a degree of success and more importantly, got their sound and stage act together to take back to the UK and then the World!
25th May 2017
Sadly, the Jacaranda Club is not going to happen this year after all. Such a pity.
However, this weekend sees the band playing the Rock & Roll Marathon in Liverpool as part of the all day fun. The boys will not be running, fortunately but will play an hour long set made up of the classics so no surprises then!
The band kicks off at 11am at Stage M.
15th May 2017
Wingsbanned are looking set to play the Jacaranda Club, Liverpool on the Beatles Weekend. We don't know if it will be the Friday or Saturday but it is looking good. This is another of the clubs made famous by the early Beatles who used to rehearse here as well as playing around a dozen times. It was originally opened as a coffee bar by Allan Williams in 1957 and from here, Williams organised the Beatles first trip to Hamburg.
Wingsbanned will be playing a 2 x 45mins set.
22nd April 2017
Wingsbanned's rehearsal tomorrow has been cancelled due to a family bereavement so the band will have to go in a bit rusty for the upcoming gig at Beatles 1 Day, Chiswick Club Society Sunday 30th April. It promises to be a great all day event with bands, stalls, guests, chats and all things Beatle related. Expect a few off the wall numbers as we will be playing to hardened Beatle fans.
24th February 2017
Not much news at the moment but there's a new "Just Johnny". Click here.
4th February 2017
Wingsbanned played the Horns at Watford again on Thursday night.
Turnout was a little disappointing but the band rose to the occasion and really played a storm in this first gig since November. The boys said they were a little rusty but it didn't show. Poor Lee Herbert was nursing stinker of a cold and he worried that his golden voice might struggle. Not a bit of it! The man is a trooper.
The band played the same set as last time and included Octopussy's Garden along with Something, Here Comes The Sun and Come Together as the only survivors from the Abbey Road album which occupied so much rehearsal time last year!
Evryone enjoyed it and many favourable comments were made by the punters. One couple said it was the best McCartney tribute they had seen. Other commented how good Lee's drumming was and that he had stolen the show. He will be receiving his P45 shortly. Ian Herbert displayed both his singing and guitar prowess along with his underpants as lack of braces caused problems in the trouser department.
Shane finished the set and raced off back to Wales where he would be struggling to get more than a coiuple of hours sleep before starting work! Another trooper. Gareth chose a black beanie hat as his stage gear and claimed a bad hair day but he was forgiven as the sounds eminating from his Mesa Boogie amp were so sweet and tasty!
Another lay off for the band till May which is a pity as they should be working more. Last year was such a bumper one that this year may pale a little....
Pix on the gallery.
13th January 2017
Wingsbanned have been booked to play the Beatles 1Day Festival on the 30th April 2017. This is an event set up by Dan Richards and follows his previous Beatles day-long festivals to celebrate the "Hard Days Night" and "Help" film anniversaries. Timings are yet to be finalised but this promises to be a cracker.
The festival will be held at the Chiswick Club Society, 11 - 13 Chiswick High Road W4 2ND
25th November 2016
Last night Wingsbanned played at The Horns in Watford, a venue the band has been keen to play for a long time. Thursday night is tribute night and tghe boys were keen to do a good show as they hadn't played since last month and no rehearsals had taken place for this gig!
No worries as the band smoothly hit it's stride early on and kept it up for over 2 hours with a set using many of the Beatles songs and less of the more obscure tracks. However, that didn't stop one wag asking for Octopussy's Garden and he got it. Wingsbanned actually love this Shane feature and now plan to stick it in at every opportunity! With this longer set the band was able to use all the singers with Lee singing Come Together & Don't Let Me Down and Ian featured on Medicine Jar, Something & Here Comes The Sun.
Ian played his own bass tonight rather than use Johnny's left handed Hofner upside down which he has been working on. Very impressive, too. Poor Shane left the gig around midnight and drove back to Wales to start a day shift at 5am. Lucky him! Lee & Ian also had similar early starts but all admitted it was worth it.
The whole reason for doing the gig was not only to play this great venue but also to get more gigs here on an all-ticket occasion and next year Wingsbanned will be back in February and November.
4th November 2016
Wingsbanned closed the Beat At Tencreek Festival in Cornwall on October 16th and brought to an end a fantastic celebration of 60's and 70's music. So many great bands played over three days at such a beautiful setting and even the weather played along with bright sunny days and clear skies.
The final day began with Edison Lighthouse then Hamburg Beat played early Beatles music aided and abetted by Wingsbanned's very own Lee Herbert on drums. After Union Gap had everyone singing along, Wingsbanned closed the evening with a full set of Macca/Beatles/Solo faves. The band played well despite the late hour and the lack of sleep by event organisers Shane & Gareth over the course of the weekend. Some pix are up on the gallery.
Regular festival goers remarked that this event was one of the best organised and fun weekends they had experienced and this is down to Shane & Gareth's tireless work. They knew how to keep things running to time and treated the bands magnificently whilst always being on hand to chat to the punters. Once they've caught up on sleep they might attempt another next year!
28th October 2016
Wingsbanned have just one more gig to finish a fab year. November 24th sees the band making their debut at the prestigious Horns Club in Watford.
Although Johnny and Lee have played here before in different bands this will be a great chance to impress and look for a weekend slot in the future. It will be a two hour show allowing the boys to play the entire cannon of material including some songs usually left for special Beatles Festivals!
Some good pix from Mons last year are on the Gallery. The full show is on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJLOfT-Huf8
26th September 2016
The band returned from Salon De Provence Beatles Festival in the South Of France totally blown away with the good vibes and great reaction from the audience.
Wingsbanned played the penultimate slot following great friends and top band The Rockits also from the UK and those boys really upped the ante. The Rockits keep it rocking from start to finish and cover not just Beatles songs but everything remotely 60's. However, much mirth was forthcoming when front man and bassist/singer Chris Grindrod called upon the French crowd to sing along with Day Dream Believer and was met by silence. They didn't know the song! How can anyone not know the Monkees?
The Wingsbanned boys played a Beatles-free set of Macca rockers and went down a storm. Gareth was all hair and rock star posing, Ian looked relaxed and moved around the stage confortably. Shane was Mr Reliable as always and Lee thundered the drum kit into submission, once again. Monsieur Kit Killer est revenue!
Johnny was in good voice and the new Hofner bass sounded great through the big rig.
All in all a great gig and many thanks go to the organisers of this great festival. Three days in the South of France in the Autumn can't be bad!
16th August 2016
A new gig is in for September - Loddon Hall in Twyford.near Reading. TThis will be a great evening with the band playing the full repertoire. Starts 7-30 and minimum age is 8.
6th July 2016
Finally, some pix are up on the gallery. All from the 5 concerts in the USA's Abbey Road On The River Festival.
Johnny is playing at the Liverpool Beatles Week with Stan Bullock and former Wingsbanned guitarist, Martin Fleming in a McCartney/Lennon flavoured series on concerts. There will be nine in all, from the Adelphi Bars to the Cavern Club and pubs.
9th June 2016
After a fantastic and successful 8th Abbey Road Festival in the US the band returned jet lagged but happy. Reports and pictures will appear soon but the immediate news is that July's Payback Festival has been cancelled due to the promoters going burst! Very sad news, indeed.
9th April 2016
Wingsbanned guitarist/singer Ian Herbert and bassist/singer Johnny Heywood have
both taken delivery of new guitars recently just in time for the band's upcoming
flurry of gigs.
Ian's is an accurate re-production of George Harrison's rosewood 1968 Fender Telecaster, one of the most coveted versions of the Tele ever produced. This was painstakingly created for Ian by master luthier Ting Tong of top guitar makers, Ali Baba of California. Or possibly China. A delighted Ian has been playing non stop it since receiving it much to the chagrin of his wife and child who think Daddy needs to get his priorities right. Ian is looking forward to playing it in May on the AROTR festival and to get away from the nagging.
Johnny has converted to left hand and needed a Rickenbacker bass like McCartney's to suit this new skill. After feinting at the price Rickenbacker wanted he has had one of the Worlds top craftsmen, Ho Lee Fuk recreate the 1964 Macca bass exactly and at a price he could afford! There's always change at Ali Baba's. This Fakenbacker has already made its debut but seems plagued by volume problems which will prevent its coming the States till it is sorted out.
3rd March 2016
Wingsbanned are playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool on April 15th and the band are going to be playing the medley from Abbey Road amongst other songs added to the repertoire this year. In fact, the whole Abbey Road album will be played in its entirety in May at the Abbey Road On The River Festival.
Drummer/Vocalist Lee Herbert (27) expressed his joy at playing this music. "It's been a dream of mine to play the Abbey Road medley since I first heard The Beatles as a kid. Now it's a dream come true and I'm deeply moved."
Vocalist/Bassist Johnny Heywood (31) was equally forthright. "Bloody Lee Herbert forced us to play this and it's ok for Shane Gould who sings Octopus's bloody Garden. That's easy peasy but I have to do Oh Darling in a silly key and it's really at the limit of my talent. I'm deeply unmoved. Let him sing it and see how it sounds!"
Keysman Shane (24) was unworried. "I'm unworried as I have purchased a new keyboard which allows me to replicate any orchestral instruments or weird sound effects from those LSD laced 1969 sessions and really, it's a dream come true for me. I'm moved - deeply."
Guitarist Gareth (18) faced an uphill battle to play all the guitar parts necessary but in an astonishingly short time he had learned not only the lead & rhythm parts but everyone else's parts and all vocals, too. "I'd really rather be doing cabaret or a tribute to Django Reinhardt but sod it, any chance to use all my 6000 guitars in my collection then I'll take it. People will be moved when they hear me. Deeply"
Multi-tasking Ian Herbert (12) has already lined up a nice new Rosewood Telecaster similar to Beatle George's and plans on using it for the first time in Liverpool. "I've always wanted one, well for weeks anyway and now it's about to come true. Like a dream. When my wife finds out I've bought another guitar then I'll have to move. Actually, I'm in deep trouble."
After Liverpool the band returns to The Stanley Ward Club in Blackpool which was such a success last year and on May 1st will play the Oddfellow Arms in Apsley - a nice warm up for the States.
28th October 2015
Wingsbanned returned from the Mons Festival last week extremely happy after a fabulous day of Beatles related entertainment.
The massive Expo Hall played host to 12 hours of bands and musicians across two stages and was also packed with stalls selling clothes, CD's, DVD's, videos, clothes and a nice selection of food and drink. All ages were there from grizzled original 60's fans to children and grandchildren all here to enjoy the spectacle.
Wingsbanned travelled by Euro Star along with "Beatles With An A" and the Cavernites arriving early afternoon by which time the festival was in full swing. The latter two bands were on mid afternoon but Wingsbanned didn't go on till 9pm following The fabulous Rockits who actually came offstage unhappy. It appeared that the promoter was anxious they play more Beatles songs in their set so stood in front holding up a placard with the word "Beatles" on it. The Rockits can play a full set of Beatles songs if they need to but their magic is in the vast repertoire of 60's & 70's classics they deliver. This was why they thought they were booked. They went down a storm of course but we were reminded of our own recent gig where we were criticised for playing too many McCartney songs!!
However, Wingsbanned played an extended set and encored with Long Tall Sally & Paperback Writer. The crowds reaction was tremendous and backstage there was much back slapping and high fives. The band's singing and playing was at a peak. If a video exists then we'd like to see it! The band has already been booked for another festival in The south of France so we're already looking forward to that!
The following day was spent in the massive town square with The Rockits, drinking tea, coffee and beer till it was time to depart. Sadly, the taxi did not appear so the band walked to the station with their instruments in hand and made the train back to Brussels to re-enter the Eurostar. Some immigrants attempted to cross the channel tunnel and held the train up for three hours, a situation which seems to happening regularly now according to the stewards so it was midnight before we got into London.
Nevertheless, a totally great weekend of which we need more!
16th October 2015
Wingsbanned have been booked for the main stage at next August's Tribfest in Slidmere, Yorkshire. This is the largest tribute festival in the UK and promises to be a fantastic weekend. Hopefully, the band will be able to play Liverpool's Beatles week at the same weekend.
14th October 2015
Everyone has recovered from the weekends' all day bash at The Cavern in Liverpool raising money for the children of refugees. Estimates say around £4000 was raised in the one day. Marvellous!
Wingsbanned played for an hour at 9.10pm precisely and kept the set rocking from start to finish. Kicking off with Rockshow into Jet, the band followed with Letting Go and two piano songs, Maybe I'm Amazed & Live And Let Die. Silly Love Songs and Coming Up were next before the mighty Soily got a rocking treatment. It was blistering!
Back to the piano for 1985 which was one of the best received numbers and finish with Band On The Run. Epic!
After the Starclubbers (aided by Gareth Davie (27) and Them Beatles (final ever gig!) finished the show everyone trooped across the road to the Cavern pub where The Rockits were playing their second gig of the day. Do these boys know how to party? They'll be in Mons next weekend with Wingsbanned and the clear message is, "lock up your grandmothers". Mayhem and mischief will be the order of the day.
See gallery for pictures.
8th October 2015
We have a couple of gigs in the book for next year in addition to the annual jaunt to Louisville in May.
In January we will once again be playing the Diamond in Sutton-In-Ashfield which is a great venue and one that always welcomes the band. We can only hope for a few more through the door as numbers were not so great last time and it will be COLD at that time of year.
On May 11 we will be playing an all too rare pub venue, The Oddfellow Arms in Apsley which will be a nice warm up for the States later that month.
This weekend sees the band playing Liverpool's Cavern Club again as part of a charity bash for refugee children and will be an all day affair. The Rockits, The Starclubbers and Them Beatles all will be playing so it looks like being a fabulous day.
30th September 2015
Great news for next year! Once again Wingsbanned have been asked to play at the World's Largest Beatles Festival - Abbey Road on The River in Louisville, May 26th - 30th 2016. This will be the eighth consecutive year the boys have played there though it may very well be the last time the event is held in Louisville.
Due to problems with the site and more importantly the Hotel which traditionally hosts much of the event, it has been decided to move the whole festival elsewhere for 2017. Rumours are that it will return to Cleveland where it began some 12 years ago.
The theme this time will be ALL the Beatles albums! Bands will all cover each and every Beatles album and Wingsbanned have fulfilled drummer Lee Herbert's ambition of playing the entire Abbey Road album.
"Yes, it's a dream come true for this working class lad," gushed an enthusiastic Lee (23). "I have wanted to play the medley on side 2 ever since I was in short trousers and although I'm actually wearing shorts now cos it's a very hot day I really meant when I was still at school."
This will also mean that vocals will be shared as the band must cover Lennon, Harrison and McCartney songs.
"Well, it means I'm not getting my own way enough", quothe Paul impersonator Johnny Heywood (31). "Lee and Ian can fight it out over who sings bloody Octopussy's Garden"!
Rehearsals will begin after the October gigs at The Cavern (11th) and Mons Festival (17th).
9th September 2015
Starclubbers guitarist/singer Fernando Duarte has organised a charity event at The Liverpool Cavern Club in aid of the refugees. It will be all day on October 11th and will feature bands such as Wingsbanned, Them Beatles, The Rockits and many more. Looks like a great day for a great cause.
24th August 2015
The band has been pretty busy recently with gigs in Blackpool, Hayes and Sutton.
The Stanley Ward Club is in Blackpool and what a fabulous place it is. The boys were made very welcome from the start and the packed audience loved the material. There is now a hard core set list which the band is using though there may be a few changes made depending on how "Macca-oriented" the audience might be. Guitarist Chris Hunt from the Rockits came to show support and joined the band for Live & Let Die just as he had done back in May in Louisville.We look forward to a return visit next year. See Gallery for pix.
Not long after this success the band played in Hayes where the large Working Men's Club was almost empty. This was a poor turn out and later the band was criticised for playing too many Paul McCartney and Beatles numbers! Words bloody fail me. We won't be returning.
Finally, it was back up to the Diamond Club in Sutton. Once again the turn out was not so good but the few that were there more than made up for it. It was one of the best shows the band has played there. Johnny was in good voice, the harmonies were crystal clear and though we followed the same basic set list a few additions and subs were made. Nice to get a chance to play Uncle Albert again as it was requested. The bar staff remarked that we were the best band to have played there so that's something! Back again in January so let's hope it has a better turn out.
5th August 2015
Wingsbanned played a short set at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations for the Help film on July ? With keys player Shane Gould (25) missing on holiday it meant the band played songs that didn't rely on heavy orchestration!
This gave a nice rocking vibe and allowed several Beatles songs to get played which don't often get an outing. Lee Herbert (31) took the lead on Don't Let Me Down which got its debut here and was played flawlessly.
However, the guys were unaware that there was a sound limiter on and it didn't stay on when the band got a little carried away. This meant the power cut off twice during the show halting Maybe I'm Amazed right at the crucial climax. Johnny Heywood (16) finished the song without a microphone.
Gareth Davies (22) enjoyed the extra sonic space left by the lack of keys but found the lack of physical space on the tiny stage prevented his usual boisterous act.
Ian Herbert (43) moved between electric, acoustic & bass guitar simultaneously singing backing vocals and gets stronger with every performance after missing much of last year's schedule.
The band has a handful of club gigs lined up before the big Mons Beatles Festival in October.
8th June 2015
Here's a video from the Rock Show Concert, May 22nd 2015
Call Me Back Again - From Abbey Road On The River 2015
4th June 2015
The Apple Corps Band are organising a 50th anniversary celebration day for The Beatles HELP film and album on the 19th July. Just like last year's A Hard Day's Night celebration, this one will also take place in The Turk's Head pub, Twickenham and will feature different bands plus videos, guests and stalls selling related Beatle's bric-a-brac.
Wingsbanned will be there but it looks like we'll be missing keys player Shane Gould who is off happily holiday-ing with the family. Thus, the set met well be aimed at early Beatles, early Wings, simple Macca songs unless we find someone keen to learn the parts!
2nd June 2015
Wingsbanned returned from Louisville this week having successfully completed their seventh Abbey Road On The River Festival. New pix are on the GALLERY and everyone played out of their skins. Each year that has gone by has seen the band climb higher in the pecking order and seem to be a favourite of many. This is pleasing given how hard everyone has worked.
Many of the concerts were filmed and when we have edited the best bits then they'll appear on this site. Johnny reckoned he had his best vocal performance in years, staying in full voice right till the end and avoiding the dreaded "L'ville throat" that plagues so many.
Drummer Lee played 13 times as he was combining duties with The Rockits so averaged 3 gigs a day. Johnny played 11 times as he joined Never Mind The Bullocks on bass and depped with Janne Brough's Identity Crisis. Guitarist Gareth Davies also got up several times with the Rockits and good friends The Starclubbers to add his sparkle to the proceedings.
Next year may well see some changes and may well be the last but it promises to be the biggest and best yet. Wingsbanned are already planning!
Band On The Run from the first night (it was cold!) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4JvvyNMy4c
Live And Let Die from the second concert - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFxcyGDmeo
1st May 2015
Wingsbanned are playing 7 concerts at the Abbey Road Festival this year covering all aspects of Macca's career.
Six of these will feature the normal 5 man line up but the seventh see the entire Band On The Run album being played with guest US musicians Jesse Jordan & Aaron Scott from the Newbees, Stan Bullock from Never Mind The Bullocks and Rob Bridge from the UK band, The Rockits. This is to recreate the successful October "To Sir With Love" festival which featured these musicians along with Johnny & Gareth.
Vocal rehearsals have reached the critical stage and with just two more full band rehearsals to go decisions are being made as to what songs will get dropped. The full list is just too much! Usually, earlier Beatles songs tend to get left out as there will be so many other bands covering this area. Wingsbanned tends to stick to Macca music.
23rd April 2015
With less than a month to go before the band flies to the States again, rehearsals have reached the fine tuning stage. many vocal parts have been reassigned and guitarist Gareth Davies (23) finds himself reaching for notes he never knew existed before.
"Yes, it's given me a real push", he gushed. "I'm used to standing absolutely still, applying my legendary guitar prowess with a cool yet threatening demeanour. Now I find myself front stage using my newly learned mic techniques and stage craft learned from the great vocalists such as Rodgers, Jagger, Plant and Cohen".
In previous years Wingsbanned has used 4 lead vocalists but this year a fifth singer, Shane has entered the fray. He's selected Ringo's version of "You're 16" to make his vocal debut on and has no doubt the Louisville audience deserve it. Originally in C# the key has been lowered a half tone to make it easier to sing and because Johnny can use all the white notes on the piano.
27th March 2015
A new venue called The Buccaneer bar in Exeter has been added to the Gig List for September 26th. It looks like being a good one and will require a stop-over for sure!
Meanwhile, the band has been holding several vocal rehearsals in preparation for going to the studio this Sunday for a full rehearsal of songs old and new. The boys have been learning several songs by John Lennon, Ringo and George Harrison to perform part of The Black Album at the Abbey Road On The River Festival in May. This will mark Gareth and Shane's lead vocal debuts so that will provide much needed mirth especially when their nerves kick in shortly before. Not many people sing in public for the first time in front of hundreds of people and this particular gig will be one of the final acts of the whole festival.
13th March 2015
A last minute gig has come in at The Diamond Club, Sutton-In-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire.
The band has played here several times before and it's a fantastic club. It will be the only concert before Wingsbanned flies out to Louisville's Abbey Road Festival.
12th March 2015
More vocal rehearsals took place this week in the quiet seclusion of Gareth's house in Twickenham. One more of these and the boys will dare to go into a real studio for a noisy run through. Many new songs have been added to the list and now we have been specifically asked to do My Brave Face. This is good as the band does not cover enough non-60's & 70's numbers!
Drummer Lee Herbert will be extra busy this year as he has been asked to drum for UK band The Rockits as well as Wingsbanned duties. Fortunately, the concerts don't cross but there are some that run consecutively. Serves him right!
Johnny Heywood is performing for songs at the special John Lennon 75 Solo Years concert which is on both Saturday & Sunday. So here we will have Johnny doing Paul doing John!
5th March 2015
Rehearsals began this week for the upcoming annual trip to Abbey Road On The River, the World's largest Beatles festival. The band is playing 7 concerts over the 5 days which is more than ever before and will include a special concert relating the Black Album!
This is an unofficial album compiled from the Beatles solo tracks and so to do justice to the John, Ringo & George numbers, lead vocals have been shared throughout the band. This means that Gareth & Shane will each make their debut solo vocal performances at this concert and anticipation is high! We are not sure for what exactly but judging from what was heard the other night there is plenty of work to do yet. However, this now means that Wingsbanned can claim 5 lead vocalists and our two new singers can add a "slash" to their job descriptions!
16th February 2015
Wingsbanned have been booked for the Mons Beatles Day on October 17th 2015.
This is a fabulous Festival which has been running for many years and has featured bands from all over the World. Already, several of our friends in Tribute bands such as Canada's All You Need Is Love and Holland's Day Trippers have said how much they have enjoyed this Festival in recent years.
More good news - our very big pals, The Rockits are also appearing at the festival so a public warning has already been issued. "Lock Up Your Grannies"!
10th February 2015
Wingsbanned played the Sports Bar in Bedwas on Saturday night and the joint was rocking.
This was the first time this line up had played together though it few could tell and everyone with the band was very happy with the results.
It was deliberately kept rocking with most of the popular Beatles and Macca songs being played with only a few curve balls thrown in for good measure. In the second half a chance encounter with an enthusiastic punter who announced Wings Over America as a favourite album and could we play Venus & Mars/Rock Show? They weren't on the list but got played anyway.
By the end the band could do no wrong and seldom played rockers like Long Tall Sally & Twist And Shout were put in plus Johnny B Good for an encore.
5th February 2015
The first gig of the year takes place on Saturday and it's back to the Bedwas Sports Club for a couple of hours of Macca's finest. The set will probably feature the more commercial and obvious songs but will also include numbers not played all that often such as Twist & Shout and You Can't Do That.
It will be the first time that the 5 piece line-up has played together but all indications are that this is the tightest and sound wise, the cleanest yet. Gareth and Shane are now up to having a microphone each and in some cases they actually are turned on. If they pass this test then we'll inflict their sound onto America.
There has been a first draft of May's gigs but as these may change we will report them as soon as all is definite.
We have been booked for the Beatles Festival in Mons, Belgium in October - more details to follow.
16th January 2015
Wingsbanned held its first rehearsal since August last weekend and the first without Martin Fleming who had decided not to come out to play this year.
This means Wingsbanned is once again a five piece and the sound seemed clearer as a result. Ian Herbert is now the sole rhythm guitarist and Gareth found he couldn't leave as many gaps as before!
Singing wise, Gareth has volunteered to step into the breach and for the first time ever has become a vocalist in a band. He is very keen to succeed as he feels this will increase his marketability, his value to the band and his desirability with the ladies. Well, it never helped Martin!
3rd November 2014
Johnny & Gareth returned from the "To Sir With Love" festival in Louisville, Kentucky this week tired but extremely happy. It had been an outstanding success. This was a smaller festival ahead of Paul McCartney's first gig ever in Louisville on Tuesday 28th and was designed to whet the appetites of fans.
All the bands played in the one ballroom at the Galt House Hotel from Friday to Sunday and featured guests such as Denny Laine, Laurence Juber & Steve Holley from Wings plus Terry Sylvester from The Hollies. Saturday night was headlined by Britbeat and regular Abbey Road regulars such as Juke Box and "64" were there, too.
Gareth & Johnny put a band together featuring Rob Bridges from The Rockits, Jesse Jordan & Aaron Scott from US based band The Newbees and Stan Bullock from Never Mind The Bullocks. Without the incredible work these guys put in this show would never have happened as no rehearsals took place prior to meeting on the actual Friday! A quicj discussion in the Hotel Suite and off they went.
Concert one was a set based on Louisville Courier writer Jeffrey Lee Puckett's fave Macca songs which had a few surprises in it. Concert two was a safer "Best Of" but the third night was the entire Band On The Run album. This went down a storm and during the encores, the "Friends Band" was joined by Juke Box, Joe Orlando from The Cryers and organiser Gary Jacob actually singing on the mike.
Our thanks to Gary and his wonderful team and we all can't wait for May when we do it all again!
28th August 2014
Wingsbanned returned from the Liverpool Beatles Festival thoroughly exhausted but happy. Mersey Gig Guide voted them in the top 3 stand out bands of the whole week.
The band played four times culminating in the Adelphi Ballroom on Sunday night with a fantastic show. Earlier in the weekend the boys took part in the Mini World Cup tournament thought their performance here was somewhat less than impressive and led to guitarist Martin Fleming being stretchered off injured and everyone else limping their way through the next three days.
Two shows at The Cavern were particularly enjoyable and it was noticeable how the temperature these days in the club is much more reasonable in comparison to previous years when you could only perform in shorts & a t-shirt!
The Adelphi gig was filmed and will appear on the video page soon. See gallery for some shots from the weekend.
19th August 2014
Just hours away from the bands' appearance in Liverpool, it was noted that the gig at The Cavern on Sunday night finished at 8-45. This left a mere 15 minutes for the boys to break down the gear and walk up the road to The Adelphi for a 9pm start. The Cavern gig has now been brought forward to 7pm much to the older band members relief.
11th June 2014
Rock Covers: In an effort to ensure the Wingsbanned set gave the audience full value for money, guitarist/vocalist Martin Fleming (Denny Laine) has suggested a set of cover versions of classic rock songs. Martin (27 at least) earmarked such notable tunes as The Stones' Brown Sugar, Metallica's Enter Sandman and The Prodigy's I'm a Firestarter as possibles with himself on lead vocals and guitar. Said rocker Marty, "There really is no reason not to allow ourselves some flexibility with material - why limit ourselves to just Macca's songs?"
However, Wingsbanned manager Robert Knob ("call me Bob") has released a press statement denouncing the suggestion as "ludicrous" and that "Fleming was on a verbal warning".
6th June 2014
Some quality videos are on You Tube from Louisville. Here are a couple of links:
Live & Let Die: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7hVVnFfCLY
5th June 2014
Pix from Louisville have started to appear. Here are some on the Gallery.
30th May 2014
The band returned from the best ever festival at Abbey On The Road in Louisville, Kentucky.
Six concerts were played and several videos have appeared so far. Here is one which opened the Lawn Stage on the final day. Paperback Writer:
Reports and News will follow when the jet lag has gone.
19th May 2014
Final rehearsals have been completed for the Abbey Road Festival which begins this Thursday. The band arrives in Louisville on Wednesday and play their first of 6 concerts on Friday evening.
As always there is drama as guitarist Ian Herbert risks missing out on the trip this year as passport control have taken rather longer to issue his new documents than advertised and as of this morning he has 48 hours for the postman to deliver it, get a new ESTA and turn up at the airport. We are all praying the gods of rock for this to happen or else Martin has to wear his tight underpants and sing notes he would rather not!
Ballroom Dancing, Monkberry Moon Delight, Big Barn Bed & Soily have all made the grade but New has been dropped. Hopefully we can fit all the songs in and still have a riotous final Monday afternoon blast with guests including The Newbees and UK's The Rockits!
9th May 2014
Here is the band playing Paperback Writer at the recent Turks Head gig. Paperback. Also there a couple of new pix on the gallery site.
One more rehearsal for Abbey Road On The River which starts on the 22nd so all is looking good for that. Some new songs will appear in the set including Soily, New, Monkberry Moon Delight and Big Barn Bed.
In August, the band is appearing at the Liverpool Beatles week and on the Friday night will be accompanied by a brass section led by Howie Casey. Howie is life long friend of Paul McCartney's and appears on several albums including the brilliant Wings Over America. Amongst songs to be played that night will be Jet, Call Me Back Again and Bluebird. This last one will be an instrumental version featuring Howie. The gig has been arranged by sax player Jean Catherall who will also be in the line up.
28th April 2014
Great day at The Turks Head, Twickenham celebrating the 50th Anniversary of A Hard Days Night Film. See gallery for some pix.
Change of gig dates in. July 18th is in Cippenham Working Men's Club which is a great little place and now all our gigs are in for Liverpool's International Beatle Week in August. See Gig Dates page
21st April 2014
We have been re-booked for the Diamond Club, Sutton In Ashfield for June 20th. Should be a blast!
14th April 2014
Another fantastic night - this time at the Buffs Club in Wales. Several pix are on the gallery. Report to follow.
7th April 2014
Great gig at the Diamond Club, Sutton In Ashfield last night. What a fab club this is! It is a total rock music club with memorabilia lining the walls and so many great names have played here over the years.
It was a Sunday night and a kind of audition for the band so it was not all that well attended but the feedback was so good we should be looking at a Friday night next time. A few pix are on the gallery.
21st March 2014
Tickets booked for the USA - roll on May.
In the meantime, our next gig is April 6th at The Diamond, Sutton In Ashfield and it promises to be a cracker. All the best of Macca plus a few new ones and off the cuff numbers. We have had to learn some obscure album tracks for Liverpool in August so might well try them out in Sutton.
Monkberry Moon Delight, Queenie Eye, New, Ballroom Dancing, Big Barn Bed, Soily are now up and ready to go.
25th February 2014
There has been a change of venue for the gig date 12th April. the venue is now The Buffs Club in Abertridwr, Caerphilly. This is a bigger club so that's works well!
31st January 2014
Two more gigs booked for April - see gig guide for details. Both are out Cardiff way as keyboard player Shane Gould (25) has built Gould Towers out that way and lives like the local Squire ruling over his serfs. It's a far cry from the streets of Iver where the lad was raised in the gutters, starving and learning to be street savvy whilst simultaneously studying the piano masters such as Beethoven, Lizt and Frank Fartleburp who played the ivories in the Dog & Duck in the High Street.
We will be looking closely at the lives of the Wingsbanned members soon in a new series. Watch this space.
27th January 2014
Wingsbanned are booked to play the Liverpool Beatles Week in August. The first date is August 22nd which will be as part of a Paul McCartney Retrospective Concert covering songs from all era's both pre-Beatles and post. Liverpool Legend Howie Casey will playing with the band and other acts on the night include the Cavern Club Beatles all covering songs not normally heard - Monkberry Moon Delight and Magneto & Titanium Man for starters!
6 December 2013
Good news regarding the Abbey Road Festival in May - The Beach Boys have been booked for the Sunday plus John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful, too. Should be a cracking Festival but then it always is!
Concern exists that the Wingsbanned Sunday concert might be scheduled at the same time. The problem here is that not only would the punters choose to see The Beach Boys but half of Wingsbanned would too.
28 November 2013
Some new pix have appeared on the Gallery. These are our promo pix for 2014. Martin is absent as he decided to leave the band but very quickly realised what a gaff that was and came back. Sadly, his face will need to be cellotaped onto any cards or flyers. Or possibly he'll just be ignored, whatever...
So it's as a 6 piece line up that takes to the rehearsal studios next month so there will be fights over who is playing the acoustic guitar between Martin & Ian.
12 November 201
A new club for the band to play has just booked Wingsbanned. It's the Diamond Club in Nottingham on the 6th April. Should be a blast!
Also, plans are being made for Wingsbanned to take part in the Beatles Day at the Turks Head in Twickenham. This is being organised by the Apple Core Band and the British Beatles Fan Club to celebrate A Hard Days Night's 50th anniversary. Details to follow.
1 November 2013
Wingsbanned are booked to play at The Roadhouse Club, Kings Norton, Birmingham on Sunday, January 12th.
There will be a couple of local support bands too and then a full 90 minutes set from us. All the best of the hits plus a few "off the wall" numbers for good measure - should be a blast!
23rd October 2013
Shane has put together a very nice little collage of Wingsbanned action from 2013 on Youtube and also, don't be afraid to befriend the Wingsbanned Facebook page. Collage is on:
20th August 2013
A fantastic weekend was spent in the company of The Newbees from Kentucky, a fabulous band whom the boys got to know at The Abbey Road Festivals over the last five years.
They came across a couple of weeks early to prepare for the Liverpool Beatles Week and had already played in Holland before nipping across the channel to rehearse with guest drummer Lee Herbert. A very pleasant afternoon was spent in by Caerphilly Castle before both bands took to the stage at The Irish Tymes pub in the town. See Gallery for pix.
Wingsbanned played an hour long set and this was very well received. Sticking to a "Best Of" set the band also threw in Uncle Albert just to test themselves. The gig was noticeable for being the first time they have appeared as a six piece, Ian Herbert back with the band and sticking mainly to acoustic guitar and singing those fabulous harmonies with brother Lee.
Gareth and Martin traded solo's on Maybe I'm Amazed and with a rented PA courtesy of band pal Carl and Jeff Perholtz handling sound, the band sounded fantastic.
The Newbees set was a great selectione of Beatles numbers and originals mixed up as only Jeff and Misty can do, segue way-ing into other tunes and routing back again. Genius! Johnny guested on piano on a couple of numbers and Lee took lead vocals on Don't Let Me Down.
Fabulous evening and big thanks to The Newbees for making it so.
12th August 2013
Ian Herbert made his return to the band this weekend as he joined the others at the studio to rehearse the set for Sunday's gig at The Irish Times in Caerphilly.
Ian will be bringing his golden vocal tones back to sing with brother Lee in what vocal coaches throughout the World call "Herberising" rather than harmonising. This family-voice-similarity when used in Wingsbanned tends to sound like a full 100 piece choir rather than just two voices and this has led to some recent arguments about how much the brothers should be paid.
The Herbies are demanding union scale and the Wingsbanned budget does not run even close to this. Johnny Heywood has maintained that he is a multi-instrumentalist and should therefore get paid far more than he currently is. This has led to Martin Fleming taking up piano in order to double up on his input but this argument falls flat for keys player Shane Gould who maintains that his tambourine on Paperback Writer makes him a percussionist.
Hopefully, the financial side can be sorted out before the chaps take to the stage around 8-30 on Sunday.
9th August 2013
Wingsbanned are playing at the Irish Times, Cardiff Road, Caerphilly on the 18th of this month and are playing alongside The Newbees from Kentucky. The NB's are over in Britain for a a few days prior to their appearances at The Liverpool Beatles Week starting the following weekend.
As The NB's are travelling light, Wingsbanned's drummer Lee Herbert will guest on drums after completing a set with his usual band so he'll be in no state to drive back from Wales that night!
Serves him right for being talented.
11th July 2013
Wingsbanned video footage has been appearing recently so here are a few examples including some of the Wingsbanned Over America Set. This was the only indoor concert the boys did and it's nice to have the opening track available. Some footage is also available of the last concert by The Newbees featuring Johnny guesting on lead vocals.From the final concert, Lawn Stage 27th May - Got To Get You Into my Life From the Newbees concert, Lawn Stage 27th May - Maybe I'm Amazed with Johnny guesting on vocals. From the second concert, Archibald Stage 24th May - Venus & Mars/Rockshow/Jet
3rd July 2013
Wingsbanned have been invited back to the Abbey Road On The River Festival 2014 and you can bet they'll be there! This time Ian Herbert threatens to return so that makes a six piece line up heading West next May. This will allow a greater instrumentation and should give a bigger sound. Of course, it also might lead to a cacophony of mush but it's a chance the band are willing to take.
Good friends The Newbees from Kentucky are coming to these shores in August and will play a gig with Wingsbanned supporting just prior to their concerts at the Liverpool Beatles Weekend the following week. This gig will take place on the 18th August at The Irish Times pub, Caerphilly in South Wales.
This promises to be a great night and The Newbees should play a nice mix of great covers and some from their new album Modern Vintage.
A rare song indeed - Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey gets an outing from Abbey Road, 3rd concert on the Lawn stage. Filmed and recorded by Jeff Perholtz of the Newbees!
Wade Harris has made a fantastic compilation of various Wingsbanned concerts from Abbey Road On The River and has put them up on You Tube. Misty Perholtz from the Newbees guests on vocals on one song. Here they are and thanks very much, Wade!
3rd June 2013
More videos have appeared from the States. Coming Up and Long Tall Sally features Ex Wings guitarist Laurence Juber so that was a particular fun concert.
Coming Up - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weuHKPQN_e0
Long Tall Sally - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9DpHV9myLc
Maybe I'm Amazed - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmrFZNUshRw
29th May 2013
Just back from the States and so much has happened. Pictures, vids to be posted and reports to be written. Here is a little taster from WHAS11 News who covered the event.
21st May 2013
The final rehearsal took place last Sunday and sets have now been solidified for this weeks trip to the States. Armed with this enthusiasm, two of the band headed for High Wycombe last week to see the newly re-released Rockshow which is the concert film from Paul's 1976 gig in Seattle during the Wings Over America tour. The live album from this tour was the original catalyst for starting Wingsbanned some years ago. A fantastic time. Was he ever better?
Wingsbanned will feature this set on the opening day and maybe once again during the Abbey Road On The River Festival.
Passports ready, Esta's checked, currency changed. Louisville, lock up your Granny's.
2nd May 2013
Another gem of Just Johnny from the archives. This one concerns the misguided belief that songs are not written but are simply plucked from the ether.
29th April 2013
With only two more rehearsals booked before setting off for Louisville, the band have organised a gig for Friday May 3rd at The George Pub in Calcott, Near Reading. This has become a bit of an annual pre-States bash as it gives the band the chance to iron out any problems and debut any new material in front of an audience.
Lead guitarist Gareth Davies should have his new custom guitar by then and hopes to try it out in anger! Johnny reports that after recent throat problems, he can just about talk again and drummer Lee has been working on a new get fit campaign which has seen him shed some weight, pump some iron and only when the hallucinating got too much did he go back to his old ways. Way to go, Lee!
But full marks to guitarist/vocalist Martin Fleming who has spent the last few weeks singing along to a specially prepared CD of all backing vocals which he has had to learn from scratch. Martin didn't realise quite how high some of Ian Herbert's parts are and now he can hit notes which only his pet dog Chutney can hear.
10th April 2013
Recent rehearsals find the band introducing Penny Lane and Eleanor Rigby into the set. Massive work for keyboard player Shane Gould as he has to recreate the strings and orchestral parts on his own.
Losing Ian Herbert this year has meant one less vocal and this has led to problems on numbers such as Paperback Writer. The intro needs four voices. This has been solved not by getting Gareth or Shane to cover the part as the resulting noise would scare young children but by Lee sampling his voice and having it played back as he sings the harmony. As long as Shane presses the correct key and not the one next to it which produces joke farting noises then all should be well.
28th March 2013
Another gem of wisdom in the series Just Johnny was posted today and it's a lesson for would be rock stars. Don't Bogart when there's a real star around.
21st March 2013
A sixth gig has been allocated to Wingsbanned for Monday 27th May on the Lawn Stage at 1-15. This clearly means that the any debauchery planned for the previous night must be curtailed so that a full 8 hours sleep can be sought and all alcohol ignored. This will help the stamina and voices. Please read Just Johnny for issues concerning proper vocal care.
If that doesn't help then just have have a large red wine and don't worry. Just look at the new pic of the band on the Gallery page.
19th March 2013
To copy McCartney, Johnny decided recently to switch to playing left handed bass. "This was a quite a daunting prospect and it was like starting all over again but I got some pictures of him and then held them up in front of the mirror to see what notes he was playing. I must say, it all seemed rather natural and it was if I'd been playing that way all along. Imagine my surprise some weeks later, when a pal informed that the mirror image was actually reversed and I'd simply being playing right handed all along. How we all laughed."
These and other musings can be found on the new Just Johnny page.
18th March 2013
Another rehearsal at the weekend and all songs have been played or at least attempted including the notoriously difficult Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. What makes this particular track hard to recreate is the mass harmonies which McCartney painstakingly overdubbed with Linda and are quite fantastic!
The band has worked out four themed sets which will be - Macca's Best, America's Top Ten Macca Hits, Good Evening New York and Wings Over America. The Best Of set will get played twice but it was felt that we wouldn't do the Band On The Run set again as it has been featured over the last two years.
15th March 2013
Gig dates for the Abbey Road Festival are on the Gig Guide page and it looks rather nice! Wingsbanned have the honour of closing the show with the very last gig of the festival. Party time, I feel!
13th March 2013
Two rehearsals completed now and all is well. The band sounds extremely good and Martin and Gareth are working hard together to cover all the guitar parts. Poor Martin has his work cut out to reproduce all Ian's harmony vocals and he admits to being surprised at how difficult this is. Ian covered three octaves, sang lead on at least one number and still had enough time to drink and party us all under the table. Oh well, the birth of his child around June will sort that out... possibly.
We have a new logo which is on the home page and shall be adorning T-shirts very soon.
4th February 2013
The first rehearsal of the year begins on Sunday 10th and we will be welcoming new boy Gareth Davies to the fold. He will be playing guitar alongside Martin Fleming and between the two of them they can work out who plays what. Martin will be covering the bass duties when Johnny moves to piano but he admits to last picking up a bass in 1980 so God help us!
The band is pleased that our good friend Rick Armentrout in the States has offered Johnny the use of his tasty Hofner bass during the Abbey Road Festival this year. This please the boys as they have been pushing Johnny to use this "Beatle" bass for years but Johnny prefers the Macca Rickenbacker which he used both with the Beatles and Wings in the 70's. Johnny has a vintage 60's Hofner but will never allow it to near the baggage handlers of any airport especially after the destruction of his hardened Rick case last year. A staggering amount of damage was done by Chicago's handlers and only special tools or throwing it off the roof of a skyscraper could have achieved this!
On a much nicer note, plans are underway to do a set with Top Guitarist and former Wings man Laurence Juber in the States. This is a very tasty treat and a set will be worked out soon. Lawrence was with the band in the late 70's and completed the album Back To The Egg with them. Lawrence is an astonishing guitar player and we hope this works out!
4th January 2013
Happy New Year from Wingsbanned!
Sad news from the camp. Ian Herbert, vocalist, guitarist, bassist will not be making the trip to Louisville this year. The poor boy has went and gone and done and is expecting a baby (with his lady's help) early in June. If the whippersnapper appears early then he would need to cancel so feelers are out for a replacement for May. It won't be the same without Ian!
20th September 2012
Plans for next May's Abbey Road On The River Festival have already started and Wingsbanned are pleased to announce they will be playing for the 5th year in a row. This gives them "veteran" status! Also great to see the Meet The Beatles UK are returning thus opening the door for more inter band joviality and frolics, none of which will get reported here.
Martin is pushing for the complete Red Rose Speedway album to be played whilst others favour Venus & Mars but still others prefer a more evenly balanced blend of hits and lesser known Macca songs.
13th September 2012Liverpool Beatles Week 24th August 2012 The band hadn't played the Beatles Week since 2009 so they were keen to make it a good show. The event was Paul McCartney's 70th Birthday Bash at the Philharmonic Hall. Wingsbanned supported Wings Over Liverpool fronted by Tony Coburn and the evening was kicked off by Bob Bartey's Band playing numbers from Macca's Unplugged set from a few years ago. Kicking off with Paperback Writer the band launched into a powerful set. many of the band's first choice songs such as Jet and Band On The Run had been allocated to the headliners but if there's one thing not lacking in the McCartney Song Book it's a hit song so the set was made up of biggies like Got To Get You Into My Life & Drive My Car plus a few more off the wall numbers like 1985 and Uncle Albert, Admiral Halsey which earned a special cheer on completion of this very intricate tune. Martin prowled the stage with trademark bandana on, every inch the Captain Jack Sparrow of the guitar world. Lee Herbert never let up on his powerful drums and exquisite vocals aided by brother Ian on acoustic and electric guitars and an equally gifted singing voice. New boy Shane Gould make his his debut in Liverpool and filled out the band with his strong keyboard playing plus deft tambourine action when required. Out in front, Johnny Heywood played Paul with confidence covering all vocals, bass guitar and piano parts with ease. There aren't many Beatles/Macca cover bands who actually play these songs in the original keys, a fact never noted by fans or critics but Wingsbanned do. "It was great to back in Liverpool," gushed Johnny after leaving the stage. "We really missed it." Later that evening, the band were to be found down in the Cavern Club enjoying good friends, Revolver from Scotland. Later still, they watched Nova Scotia's finest Hal Bruce entertain as only he can at the Adelphi Hotel, late into the night. Lee & Johnny had to return South after that and as they walked the buzzing streets in the early hours of the morning back to the car both remarked what a fabulous festival it was. "Let's hope we can do it all again next year," said Lee.
11th September 2012More videos from Liverpool have emerged. Mrs Vanderbilt - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzu53qrh7X4 Coming Up - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgRKPwHQ3bg&feature=relmfu Got To Get You Into my Life - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk3_uq462HE 1985 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR1bL3LISxw&NR=1&feature=endscreen Live & Let Die - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEbr1SSkL20
3rd September 2012
The band have just completed a great fun gig in Bedwas, Wales and a report will follow soon. Meanwhile, some pix have appeared from The Macca Birthday Gig at Liverpool's Beatles Weekend and they are on the gallery now! Gallery
29th August 2012:
The NME was a rock paper which every young aspiring rocker read during the 60's and 70's is still available as an online version. The Wingsbanned crew are very pleased to see that one of the band's videos is featured in it:
To round off the USA trip in May, here is the next part.
Friday the 25th found the boys still jet lagged and voices rough. Temperatures remained around the 100 degrees mark and the Band On The Run set was featured at the Fountain Stage. It was played well but the overall effect seemed to lose some of the audience so I doubt we'll play that set again. The whole gig is on the video page.
Saturday found the band on the Lawn stage at the prestigious 6-30 slot, preceding one of the big shows so the audience was large. Voices were better and the whole gig was filmed professionally and the results were very pleasing. Some of it will appear on this site soon. The set tonight was Macca's Top Ten American hits.
After dinner, the band headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe where they followed Gary Quinn on and played a storming set of Macca rockers and other British rock classics. Ian Herbert got a chance to air his vocals on Wishing Well and sang it brilliantly. In the audience was new best mates Meet The Beatles UK who shouted abuse and hindered the performance in the best British Yobbo way. Great guys, all!
Sadly, this gig took rather a lot out of the band and Johnny croaked his way the following day on the River Stage. This was another storming gig aided and abetted by another bunch of new best mates, the wonderful Goodfella's. Some of this gig is on the video page and the NME featured Mrs Vanderbilt from it - see above. Earlier that day the band had a mix of bad luck and good luck. Ian Herbert planned to purchase a brand new Gretsch Duo Jet but it got sold before he could hand over the readies. Amazingly, Johnny won the $1000 Gretsch that was kindly donated by the Gretsch company and signed by President Fred Gretsch.
The final day found the boys out in the sun again and without suits for the Fountain gig and it was another great gig. Voices may have been "shot" but the band were cruising by this point. Ian got to use Johnny's new Gretsch at today's gig but he may not have really appreciated it after losing out on his own great deal, snigger.
By 8pm the band met up with the Meet The Beatles guys to fly home after what was absolutely the best festival yet!!
July 23rd 2012:
Time for a report from the Abbey Road Festival back in May. This was the band's fourth outing at this most prestigious of Beatles Festival's and by far the best. It was bigger, better in every way and a new Company doing the sound which seemed to be a higher level than before.
Arriving at Louisville airport, the band discovered that Johnny's bass case had been smashed but the guitar was intact. Ian's clothing case had not arrived so he had to borrow T shirts and pants till midnight when American Airlines found it and had it sent to the Hotel.
Walking round the site it was clear that the whole event was the largest yet! The band had dinner together in uptown Louisville and then hit the bar at the Galt House Hotel where the band attacked Johnny verbally for simply "not being McCartney enough". The crux of this complaint involved Johnny's refusal to wear braces, a style which Macca favoured for a few years in recent history and one which Johnny feels represents the worst of styles from any period. Fortunately, Macca had favoured other styles and this year Johnny had brought a lovely new suit and white shirt in keeping with the current "look". The boys also want the Hofner Bass to be the main axe of choice but Johnny fears the vintage bass he has will not stand the rigours of American Airlines and in this, everyone agreed.
The next morning, breakfast was at Cravings, a local eatery and one which does killer omelettes. After a visit to local Music Store Mons Music the band watched Hal Bruce kick off the proceedings as only he can, totally solo and totally great.
To start Wingsbanned's series of shows, the Wings Over America Set was chosen and the band kicked off on the Fountain Stage at 6-30. Despite the roof over the stage there was no protection from the sun and Johnny raced around trying to borrow sun tan lotion for his face which has a tendency to go beetroot after 2 minutes in the sun. He took to the stage with a greasy, pale look but there were some who said it wasn't that different from his normal look!
For Shane, this was his debut on an American stage and he was very nervous. However, he played a blinder as all the others did to and this was a great start to the festival. Jackets stayed on for a couple of numbers then were removed as part of the show. As the temperature was up around 100 degrees this was a welcome part.
Martin had his guitar decorated with the Stars & Stripes Flag and this went down very well with patriotic Americans. Many pictures were taken of Wingsbanned's Captain Jack wearing his bandana and black waistcoat whilst wielding the mighty Yankee Doodle Stratocaster.
A great start and then it was off to relax watching some other bands and beers in the bar. Amazingly, the boys still seemed to be suffering a little jet lag and were all hitting their beds shortly after midnight.
July 18th 2012:
Back into training for our forthcoming gig in Liverpool on August 24th. Our first rehearsal revealed that the band was still blasting on all cylinders. A couple more warm ups and it's off "oop North, like".
June 25th 2012:
Beatles Tribute Fanz has put up some more excellent quality videos from our gig on the Sunday night at the River Stage in Louisville. Check them all out here:
June 15th 2012:
A couple of nice snaps are now up on the Gallery. More to follow. Gallery
June 8th 2012:
Andrew Ratliff has been busy with his video camera and pasted up some songs from the Wings Over America Set, the first concert we played on Thursday 23rd May. Have a look -
Let 'Em In : http://www.youtube.com/
June 7th 2012:
Before the diary of the Abbey Road on The River adventures begins, the band would like to say "Hellee" to the very fabulous Meet the Beatles from the UK who made the trip to Louisville for the first time and were the undoubted "darlings" of the event. These boys perfect every single note of the Beatles music through all era's and must be the best Beatles band in the land! Better than the original, Wingsbanned reckons but on the other hand, these boys from Rugby did share a lot of beers and aim to do the same next year, too.
Check out the boys on Meet The Beatles website.
May 30th 2012:
The band has just returned from their 4th journey across to the Abbey Road On The River Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the best trip so far!
Old friendships were rekindled, new friendships were begun such as the very fabulous Meet The Beatles band from the UK who made a big impact on their first visit to the States.
Wingsbanned played 6 times including a Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe and filmed a full show with multiple cameras for DVD use.
Footage and photos have started appearing on You Tube and Facebook. Check out the gallery for the latest.
Andrew from the fantastic Apple Core band has put up Friday nights' Band On The Run Set on You Tube and you can watch it here Band On The Run.
March 7th 2012:
The Paul McCartney 70th Birthday Concert has been confirmed for August 24th at The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.
The evening will see an acoustic set by Bob Bartey, a full on rock set by Wingsbanned and then finished off by Wings Over Liverpool featuring Tony Coburn. It promises to be a fantastic evening of Macca Mania and the band is very excited by the prospect.
"I'm very excited by the prospect," confirmed Johnny Heywood, fresh from stocking up on dark brown hair dye. "We've missed playing Liverpool for the last couple of years and this is certain to be a great night and a great weekend!"
More news as it comes in.
February 24th 2012:
After the first full scale rehearsal with new Keys player Shane, the band feel very confident that the new line up will hit the dizzy heights before May. Some 20 plus songs are ready to go but the Wingsbanned list is closer to fifty so there is a bit of work to be done yet.
This coming Sunday finds the boys locked in another rehearsal and new songs such as Flaming Pie & Mama Knows should be added.
The band is aiming to play at The George & Dragon, Reading in April as a full warm up gig.
February 6th 2012:
A full scale rehearsal has been booked for Feb 12th to run over the potential song list for this year.
Keys player Shane Gould has been in his woodshed learning up parts to some 40 songs and is now ready to share his skills with the rest of the band! Hopefully some warm up gigs will be arranged before the band flies out to Louisville in May and Washington in September. So far, they look like the only British band to be making the trip to the Capital so far.
Doubts about drummer Lee's availability for Washington may mean a dep is brought in but time will tell.
January 13th 2012:
Exciting plans are underway to mark Wingsbanned's return to the famous Liverpool Beatles Week in August.
To celebrate Paul McCartney's 70th birthday a concert will be held on Friday 24th August 2012 which will feature Wingsbanned plus support and one or two guests yet to be announced.
Johnny Heywood said, "It's very exciting to be going back to Liverpool and we plan to make this night one of the best. I can't wait!"
Winsgbanned last played this Festival in 2008 and as a result of this were invited to play the Abbey Road Festival in Louisville, USA. It is hoped that the band will play a few gigs whilst in Liverpool. To be announced!
January 4th 2012:
A Happy New Year from Wingsbanned!
After a period of inactivity, the mighty Wingsbanned Machine starts to roll as The Abbey Road Festival looms on the May horizon. This will be the bands 4th year and the stakes are higher than ever with more great bands once again and headliners Jefferson Starship playing on the Saturday night.
Sadly, keys/sax player Amy Gibb has had to withdraw due to work commitments. This is very sad news as Amy was a great hit last year and such a great addition to both the musical and social side of the band.
Her place will be taken by multi talented Shane Gould who has started rehearsing already and plans to learn the entire Wingsbanned catalogue by Valentine's Day. Shane will not be wearing any of Amy's dresses sadly but will find his own identity and add a more "Wix" appeal to the band.
This year Wingsbanned will play the Macca albums, Band On The Run and Venus & Mars at special concerts in Louisville.
August 26th 2011:
The Nash Arms was rocking last weekend when Wingsbanned pulled into town. Or at least 4/5ths did. However, keyboard, vocalist, sax player, chanteuse Amy J. Gibb texted the band to say she was stuck in a stationary train somewhere between Chesham and London. It seems that some kids (God bless 'em) had been seen playing on the railway embankment and that was enough for a 40 minute delay before power could been restored. This left the band with a very late starting time looming and in the end they started one number without her only to have the door flung open and Amy appeared with big band pals Richard & Tony who had also been on the same train.
Minutes later the set proper started and it was a cracker. Some of the best of McCartney alongside some of the album tracks that Wingsbanned likes playing earned them 2 encores and hopefully converted a few fans along the way.
The vocals were strong as always and Martin Fleming's lead guitar soared above it all. Lee Herbert on the drums powered the band along and locked in with Johnny's Rickenbacker Bass guitar. Brother Ian moved from guitar to the bass when Johnny was on the piano and took the lead vocal on Medicine Jar.
Amy's keys and sax was the icing on the cake and all felt that the band played as well as they did some 3 months before in the States. It would be a crime if the band didn't play more often so steps are under way to get this going.
August 25th 2011:
The band played that rarest of things - A British Gig last weekend at the Nash Arms. Initially it was a warm up for the 2nd USA jaunt of the year but problems with the Festival led to the sad decision not to make it this time. Still, the gig was so good that more will follow! A review will follow soon and there are a couple of snaps on the gallery.
July 8th 2011:Johnny, Martin and Lee have been in the recording studio again and have a few songs available on The Large Portion website. This is really Wingsbanned under a non-Beatles related name. Here is the demo, warts and all. www.largeportion.webs.com
June 17th 2011:
Our good friend Rick Armentrout has taken some fantastic pictures from Louisville and you can check them out here. Meanwhile, the band has confirmed that they will be playing in Washington DC, Sep 1 till Sep 5th at the Abbey Road On The River Festival, Gaylord Hotel. This is the second year that the festival has run in DC and promises to be a cracker. Check the site here.
A rare British gig will take place on August 19th at the Nash Arms, Chesham as a warm up for DC.
June 14th 2011:
Some new pix from the States have come in courtesy of Beatles Tribute Fanz. Check out the gallery Here
June 8th 2011:
A very nice man named John shot some footage from the Band On The Run set on Saturday night in Louisville. Watch it here:
June 6th 2011:
Prior to flying out to the annual Abbey Road On The River Festival, there had been a severe flooding problem in the Kentucky area which spread to other states too. That was the first worry that nature was trying to stop the band. However, it dried out well enough as time went on.
Next, a volcano in Iceland erupted, spewing out it's dust into the stratosphere and threatening flights from Europe (for the second year running). This was only a girlie attempt by unseen forces and didn't bother the Wingsbanned pop group in the South East of England though a couple of the Scottish bands making the trip had a few days of worry!
Finally, upon landing in Louisville, Kentucky on the Wednesday evening, tornado warnings were issued and flights after the bands were delayed. Indeed, the weather threatened the whole festival for a couple of days before turning out "right nice".
It seems God is a Beatles fan after all.
A video has appeared from the bands second gig on the Fountain stage - Smoke On The Water from the "British Invasion" set.
June 1st 2011:
The band have just returned from the Abbey Road On The River Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. A fabulous week was had by all and some pix have appeared already. Check out the Gallery.
April 26th 2011:
Johnny, Lee & former Wingsbanned guitarist, Gary Davis performed as The Self-Righteous Bros in Uxbridge earlier this month. The venue was the General Elliot and though it appears the band are playing in someone's living room, it was a pretty rocking gig. Photos are by Paul Dubbelman. Gallery
April 6th 2011:
Listen in to Liz Dugan's radio show, ONE AFTER 909 on Monday night at 9.10pm on Bellarmine Radio in Louisville, Kentucky. This coming Monday, the 11th, she is doing a feature on the Abbey Road Festival coming up in May.
It's available on the internet. Check it out - www.bellarmineradio.com
March 25th 2011:
Rehearsals are being stepped up to get a full range of four different sets of material for 2011. This means that poor Amy has had to learn about 30 songs from scratch on various instruments but that will teach her to be young, as the others observed. If she'd been 20 years older then a lot of these songs would be part of her and she would know them already. So there!
New photos have been placed on the gallery here.
See Abbey Road On The River's web site for the USA dates in May. here
February 10th 2011:
Some changes have taken place in the Wingsbanned Camp this month. No, no, not chord changes. Personnel changes. Again.
Martin Fleming, drafted in last year on keyboards is promoted to lead guitar. This ensures accuracy of the closest degree to the original guitar parts laid down by various Macca sidemen over the years not to mention the proper chords to Beatles songs up till now the subject of much in-band speculation.
In on keyboards and wind instruments is the very fabulously talented Amy Gibb. Displaying a far greater musical skill to anyone else in the band, Amy brought her mighty Korg keyboard, clarinet and Melodica to a rehearsal and not only fit right in but really filled the sound out with proper orchestral parts which the band had missed last year. Welcome, Amy here!
Click on Pic to meet Amy. Rehearsals now start in earnest for some warm up gigs in April followed by the Louisville Festival in May and now plans are going ahead to bring the band out again to the States in September for the Washington Abbey Road On The River Festival.
January 7th 2011:
As the new year begins and the band are turning their attention to the May Abbey Road Festival in Louisville, another video has surfaced from 2009 - Band On the Run from the Fountain Stage. Here it is - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alTW4hbCESU
This year the band is planning to play a variety of different sets. As well as the usual "Best of Macca", there will be a "Wings Over America 1976" set plus the whole Band On The Run album and a set of acoustic songs. The problem with the latter is access to acoustic guitars as the boys are loathe to carry 2 guitars each plus suitcases onto aeroplanes. Last year saw them partake in hand to hand combat with stewards to keep the precious guitars out of the luggage holds!
October 4th 2010:
More from the Abbey Road Festival in May.
Saturday May 29th was another beautiful morning and the band decided to hit Walmart's for a little shopping. As this wasn't very rock & roll, Johnny stayed back at the Festival Site and had a burger for breakfast - infinitely more R & R, and checked out some early starter bands. Whilst innocently minding his own business, he was accosted along with pals, Drew and Mandie (from Stan & Mandie Duo) to be expert judges in the Karaoke Contest a la X Factor or any one of the other "talent" contests.
Big fun, too and Drew was so confident and natural that it was reckoned he should have had his own chat show. All the contestants were pretty good and included last years winner who was favourite to repeat her success. Johnny foolishly sat in the sun and ended the afternoon with a face like a tomato.
Joining up with the returning shoppers, the Wingsie boys hit the dinner table and ate enough for a starving third world country. Burping their way back to the Archibald Room, they prepared a "best of" set which was well received. This was better than the previous two gigs and all seemed to be coming together. Ian Herbert was determined not to lose his voice this year after a bit too much rock & roll excess and he was true to his word, singing like a bird. If last year he had been a little under prepared, this time out he was a true rock god!
After gig festivities included hearing Whiplash, a teenage band blasting out excellent versions of classic rock with true balls and swagger - excellent! By the early hours, Wingsbanned could be found once again in the bar with band pals, Janna & Rick. Even Johnny, notoriously shy of late night drinking was joining in.
More to follow.
July 30th 2010:
Here is Let Me Roll It again from the Lawn Stage but from Rick's angle - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCIVWWNtggA
July 27th 2010:
Two more vids from the Lawn Stage courtesy of our good friend Rick -
Helen Wheels Live & Let Die
July 26th 2010:
Another couple of videos have appeared on You Tube.
Good version of Letting Go from the Lawn Stage on the Friday complete with Gary's popular comedy brass lines - Letting Go
My Love from the same gig with introduction of martin as "Linda". - My Love
July 23rd 2010:
More from the Abbey Road Festival in May.
The Friday morning was beautiful and sunny and the band breakfasted at Craving's, a marvellous place which they'd found the year before. A quick walk to the town centre then found the band stocking up with unhealthy quantities of alcohol and they were joined by Rick & Janna who proceeded to buy the entire stock of the shop. On the return walk, they got requests from passers by as to how they could join the party, so loaded down were they by booze.
However, that had to wait because at 4-45, Wingsbanned were back on the Lawn stage. This time, the piano had been sorted though there was no sustain pedal so Johnny could have another moan. The audience was busier - overall attendance must be up and the sound was good. A punter called for Magnetto & Titanium man and though it wasn't on the set list, the band launched in to it. Very good it was too! Rick videod Band On The Run and it can be seen here.
Heat seemed to be taking it's toll. Lee confessed he'd not been at his best and Gary was suffering too. However, a shower and vast quantities of food saw the boys all right and they whiled the evening away watching bands. Hal Bruce performed a medley of every Beatles song from every album! Staggering!
July 6th 2010:
A few more videos have appeared from the Abbey Road Festival.
LONG TALL SALLY - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2headMPsDyc
LET IT BE - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ_04XucToo
BAND ON THE RUN - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXvA8gQka7w
June 21st 2010:
Time for a review of the Abbey Road On The River Festival 2010.
On Wednesday 26th May, the band met at Heathrow Airport to fly to Louisville via Newlands. That flight took around 8 hours and was very pleasant and effortless. Sadly, upon arrival at Newlands, all bags had to be retrieved and re-checked in to fly the remaining leg to Louisville. The problem was that the flight wasn't due for another 9 hours! Let me tell you, there isn't 9 hours of entertainment in any airport and between the hours of 9pm - 6am, there aren't even any chairs without arms in Newlands so that you can lie out and snooze. By 1am the band was so tired that Ian was flat out on the floor of the airport and the others were trying to sleep upright - this really doesn't work.
Still, we eventually landed on time and after checking in at The Galt House and making a quick "hello" to the organisers the boys grabbed a couple of hours sleep. Except for Ian who felt it would be better if he waited till after the gig. Total travel time was 25 hours so to add another 6-7 hours without sleep seemed a trifle beyond the brave.
The first gig was on The Mighty Lawn Stage at 8-45 and was most memorable for the worst piano sound in recorded history. The keyboard itself had been re-programmed by another band and no-one knew how to change it! It was like a rinky-tinky child's toy piano but even that had more depth & warmth than this piece of crap. What can you do? Soldier on, son and that's what the boys did. The set was mainly the Wings Over America set and was okay but probably the poorest of all the shows.
The audience was great and it definitely was busier than last year. There were fewer bands this time but the quality was high. Johnny, Lee, Ian and Martin had honed the vocal harmonies so that they felt they would stand out this year but in actual fact, all the bands had great 3 part vocals. What was noticeable was that many bands chose non-Beatle material from the first day and that was unlike previous years when groups would tend to play other songs on the last day.
By midnight USA time the boys had crashed and were sound asleep. To be continued.....
June 10th 2010:
Another video has popped up on You Tube courtesy of Beatle Tribute Fanz1. From Friday 28th May, The Lawn Stage - Let Me Roll It and you can check out some great quality footage but usual standard playing! HERE
June 8th 2010
From the Courier-journal, Louisville.
Wingsbanned big pals Rick & Jenna were interviewed by the Louisville Courier-Journal as part of the Abbey Road On The River Celebrations. Thanks to these two guys for their company, sing-a-longs and videos. It wouldn't be the same without them!
Rick and Janna Armentrout have driven the 632 miles from Pensacola, Fla., the past three years.
"You hear the same songs the whole weekend but you never get tired of it," Rick said, adding that there's a family feeling among all the fans.
Last year, the Armentrouts met Wingsbanned, a band from Nova Scotia, Canada. "It was their first time in the States, so we wanted to make them feel welcome," he said.
The first footage has already gone up on You Tube. From the first gig, Thursday 27th May at the Lawn Stage - Silly Love Songs. The band had travelled for 25 hours and had managed 2 hours sleep. Still, here are the results. HERE
June 4th 2010:
First couple of pix are up on the Gallery. These are from the band's 5th and last gig which was at The Fountain Stage and featured Classic British Rock songs.
During the five days of concerts, many performers experienced voice problems and Johnny has spent his entire life in pursuit of the answer to such problems. Read what the smart ass has to say on Just Johnny.
June 2nd 2010:
The band has just returned from the Abbey Road On The River Festival in the States. This is the second year that Wingsbanned has played this, the biggest Beatles festival in the World. With five gigs in as many days it was a whirlwind of sunshine, music and good vibes and many new friends made amongst the fellow musicians there.
Highlights were the Sunday night gig on the Fountain Stage and the Classic Rock Set on the Monday which earned comments from the festival sound crew who'd been working there since Thursday and heard 65 bands play thousands of songs. Some of the better moments will appear in video form soon on this site.
Thanks as ever to Gary Jacobs and the Abbey Road team for putting on this wonderful event.
May 19th 2010:
Rehearsals continue in St Johns Studios to bring the band up to speed for the visit to the States in one week. The volcano in Iceland has been sealed specially to avoid any more ash clouds fouling up the air waves. Planes have been converted to run through the existing ash without crashing so it looks like all will be well.
Some new (well, old really) songs have been included such as Paperback Writer and Magneto & Titanium Man and some other cover tracks have been learned for the Summer Of Love Concert featuring the music of 1967. Martin has bought the Fender Strat with a synth pick up fitted so that he can play keyboards on his guitar if he chooses. He really is a one man orchestra and such a dedicated musician. We all love him.
May 11th 2010:
Meet Martin Fleming - latest sucker, I mean recruit to join the Wingsbanned boys. He has spent the last three weeks working five hours a day learning parts both on keyboards and guitar synth so that he be a one man orchestra. He'll no doubt want to play lead guitar at some point and sing too, so we'll be keeping an eye on the arrogant sod!
Martin Click here
April 30th 2010:
Oh no! Anne-Marie has had to pull out of the Abbey Road Festival in Louisville due to circumstances beyond her wealth. At this late stage, disaster appeared to be looming and the boys were formulating a set list based on guitar tunes. Suddenly, like a giant demi-god of heroic stature, a figure appeared on a flaming meat ball saying, "I am a giant demi-god of heroic stature and will play keyboards and guitar synth to aid you in your hour of need."
Well, actually it was Martin Fleming from the band My Generation! and he was more than happy to don a blonde wig and one of Annie's dresses. He sings too and plays neat guitar so the band are sorted and fly out on the 26th May unless that big mountain in Iceland burps again.
April 14th 2010:
The band has re-grouped and is now starting rehearsals for May's Abbey Road Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. Amongst the usual classic Beatles & McCartney tunes will be a selection of Classic British Rock songs and a few Summer Of Love Grooves such as Itchycoo Park for the Proposed 1967-themed concert. Also in discussion is the return of the acoustic section of the concert in order to accent the mighty Wingsbanned 4 part harmonies. In the event of not being able to borrow an acoustic guitar, the band will just play their electrics and see if it's spotted by anyone.
January 5th 2010
Whilst in the States back in May. Wingsbanned were interviewed by local TV News team WHAS and you can laugh at their mumblings here. What they didn't show is Lee's black eye after making an anti Scottish comment to Johnny and the subsequent court hearing. WHASBroadcast2009.mp4
Some more sound bytes are now up on the Sounds page Click here
November 23rd:Wingsbanned's Showcase appearance at The Crofton Club is in The Stage this week. The main bit - - An act with a good few more years of collective experience, Wingsbanned pay very impressive musical homage to Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles outfit, Wings. If they only covered Wings’ songs, you suspect some audiences may get a little restless - not that tracks such as Band on the Run and Live and Let Die don’t make for great listening - but their set list also includes Fab Four classics, so there’s something for every Macca fan. They’re a great tribute act, fine musicians and gel perfectly on stage. Interestingly, they don’t perform Mull of Kintyre - perfect, surely, for that late-night, lighters in the air singalong. www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/26280/inspirations-entertainments-in-association
As recording and mixing nears completion, here are a couple of tasters of the forthcoming album.Got To Get You Into My Life Hello Goodbye Click on each track or right-click and "save as". More to follow.
October 16thRecording News The boys and girl have been holed up in St Johns Studios for the last 3 weeks gaining nice studio tans whilst recording the Wingsbanned CD. Thirteen tracks are being worked on and three are totally finished, bar mastering which will be done elsewhere. This time has been well spent especially as producers Lee & Johnny are not letting anyone "get away with it" and this has revealed a serious lack of knowledge of parts, keys, chords and words hitherto un-noticed! If you want to make a musician squeal then isolate his particular part in a song where, without the rest of the band blaring over the top, he/she can no longer hide. Very good stress therapy! A few backing vocals by Ann Marie and about the half the keyboard parts are all that is left to be completed and the band hopes to have the CD available by a series of Showcase events lined up next month.
October 8th:More Videos From USA A couple of video's have appeared even now from our May jaunt to the States. Both are from the penultimate gig on the Sunday night where the band played for more than 2 hours without a break, far into the night. A smattering of British rock classics found their way into the set such as - Whole Lotta Love/Rock & Roll - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4e7d3dcVS0 Hi Hi Hi - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OpOiZid7yk Thanks to the quilt girls for this post. See y'all in May.
October 5th:Wingsbanned New CD (Part 2) Johnny, Lee & Gary have been ensconced in St Johns Studios, Berkshire laying down vocals, basses, pianos and guitars. Only a handful of backing vocals remain to be done and a couple of Ian's bass lines but he's been flat searching so we can forgive him (a bit). Sadly, all Ann Mari's parts will have to wait a bit as the poor girl can only schedule some recording time in 2 weeks time due to commitments. Then we can air some samples to see if it works! Onwards & Upwards!
September 21st:Wingsbanned New CD This weekend saw the band locked away in Blue Moon Studios, Banbury recording tracks for an album to be released shortly. Thirteen tracks have been selected and work began on Saturday morning with drummer Lee Herbert doing first take "keepers" on all but one song and that only went awry when he misheard Johnny's vocal instruction over the microphone. By 4pm he was finished and that included an hour off for lunch! This is an unparalleled feat of musicianship as the rest of the band who were only playing along as a guide succeeded in playing perfectly none of the 13 songs. Lee can expect to get paid (one day) and has certainly increased his chances of being kept on for the American festivals next summer. Starting this week the band move to St Johns Studios where all guitars, vocals and keyboards will be laid down to complete the album. More news to follow.......
August 13th:Ann-Mari rejoins Wingsbanned There has been a change in line up in the band. Best wishes go out to departing keyboard player Bob Adams who has decided to hang up his piano for ever. After playing with Wingsbanned he felt there was nowhere else for him to go in a playing capacity. Hmm, whilst that may not be completely true, we would like to welcome back Ann-Mari Elgar who brings her brand new keyboard and same old voice and a whole lot more besides. Ann-Mari will make her debut (again) with the band at The Victoria Club on the 28th August and if she doesn't make a complete pig's ass of it, will be around to do lots more. The second American trip has been scheduled for May 2010 but for longer and a third stint is being discussed for September 2010. Ann-Mari said "I knew I had to join this line up after I heard the incredible harmonies we were making - such a blend of voices!" Drummer/vocalist Lee Herbert added, "Oh thank God - I don't have to sing all the high notes anymore. I can stop taking helium balloons on stage with me."
July 21st:Abbey Road On The River 2009 Part 3 Bob & Johnny walked across the Louisville road bridge in the hot morning sun whilst the others slept off the previous night's excesses though Ken, a former band member and big time pal appeared for breakfast at the best place around - "Cravings" where eggs and steak is the order of the day. By 1-30 the band kicked off it's first slot at the Fountain Stage and delivered a very powerful performance. Johnny wore his trade mark ear plugs which helped with the voice and showed no sign of the hoarseness which was to inflict so many of the performers this week. Ian Herbert had befriended Rick, Jenna and Kristy and forced them to attend all Wingsbanned gigs and to video as much as possible. For the band, it was an afternoon of relaxation, burgers, booze and bands. Some great acts were playing such as Backwards and Gary Quinn before the next show which took place in the Archibald Room inside the Hotel. Sadly, this was poorly attended and the band struggled to raise itself to the dizzy heights of mediocrity! Call Me Back Again was performed for the first time as it was important to vary the set as much as possible. Bruce from the Sun Kings befriended the band afterwards and said some nice things so a note was made to go and hurl abuse at their show later on! With that, it was another night of depravity for the real rockers and a relatively early night for Bob & Johnny. Day 2 was complete. More to follow.........
July 1st: Abbey Road On The River 2009 Part 2 By the afternoon of the first day of the Festival stages were still being set up and there was a little concern that all would be ready. However, wonders were worked and a couple of bands started a lunchtime session of a rooftop in the City Centre and then the brilliant Hal Bruce kicked the main event off with a set on the Lawn Stage. Itchycoo Park from Scotland went on before Wingsbanned and did four songs from the set list necessitating some quick substitutions! However, the band played well and some of the material from this set are on the video links below. Crowds were still fairly sparse on this first day but after all, most locals were still at work. Johnny felt a little hoarse which was worrying after only an hour's singing and wore ear plugs on each subsequent gig. In conversation with German band Lucy In The Sky, it was agreed that the hot, humid weather was not having the expected good effect on voices as they had also suffered hoarseness after a relatively short time! An evening's entertainment was spent watching other bands then Bob & Johnny retired and left the others to some serious rock & roll debauchery. The first day was complete. More to follow.......... June 19th: Yet Another From The Lawn Stage Let Me Roll It - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCO1lC4HN00 Also some more pix are on the gallery today. GALLERY Different vids from the Lawn Stage: My Love - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF6fhN2aZjk Letting Go - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXk5nWRhtSY Live & Let Die - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ6XSJACkxY From the Lawn Stage at Abbey Road On The River, 23rd May 2009
June 10th: Another short Vid: Maybe I'm Amazed - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d61AgSmiZD8 June 9th: Yet More Vids: Got To Get You Into My Life - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IlsXbWmdG8 Letting Go - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-T3DG0bnV0 Band On The Run - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKg5swheLbU&feature=channel_page From the Lawn Stage at Abbey Road On The River, 23rd May 2009 Jet - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXtMzKUfAqw From the Fountain Stage at Abbey Road On The River, 24th May 2009
June 8th: More Vids A couple more Videos have surfaced on You Tube. Smoke On The Water is from Sunday's Late gig on the Fountain Stage where we played for 2 hours and Live & Let Die is from The Lawn Stage on Saturday afternoon. Live & Let Die - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYWWRZSasYU Smoke On The Water (Featuring Ken bannister on guitar - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgRQmdHMt5s June 3rd: Abbey Road On The River 2009 Now the dust has settled and the pix & videos taken by many people begin to flood in, the band can look back and congratulate themselves for a job well done. Rehearsals prior to the festival had been patchier than intended so it was hoped that busking would be kept down to a minimum. Wingsbanned met at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday 20th in the early hours hoping to upgrade their tickets to first class as they had a "mate who worked there and would help". In the end only Lee & Ian blagged the upgrade and sipped champagne all the way across the Atlantic whilst others settled for packaged American Airlines food. Still, there were movies on offer and the 8 hours was whiled away in relative comfort. the plane was barely half full and the boys spread themselves out over more than one chair. Changing at Chicago to a smaller jet which terrified Ian who described it as a "tiny" plane and "very likely to crash" due to movement in the air. Hardened travellers like Bob who works for British Airways and Johnny who flies single engine propeller planes enjoyed his discomfort. "Big girl's blouse", explained Johnny. One hour later the band was in 2 taxi's heading to the Galt House Hotel in down town Louisville. It appeared that the venue was a long way from being ready and the concerned faces of the organizers reflected this. With nothing to do except wait for the start of the festival the following day, the band adjourned to a steak house where portions would have fed an average British family for a week. Johnny and Lee each had a whole chicken plus side orders and even these two greedy guts couldn't finish it all off. Fortunately, the restaurant bagged this all up and Wingsbanned could enjoy chicken for breakfast or late night snacks or indeed, feed the hungry of the Louisville Streets for a couple of days. The more rock & roll members headed for the bar whilst Bob & Johnny retired for the night into the two suites supplied by the Festival. Johnny avoided alcohol all week (unheard of) in order to keep his voice intact and Bob was anxious to get proper rest before the concerts which would number 7 over 5 days. The heat was relentless and dehydration was a concern. More to follow.............
Some footage of the band is now up on You Tube. This was from the Fountain Stage at the Abbey Road On The River Festival, Louisville, Kentucky. The soundman seems to have given Johnny a "lisp" that isn't there in real life but it was a good gig, the Sixth of the Seven we did.
Let Me Roll It/ Spirits Of Ancient Egypt - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsnGCuZDnR0
Maybe I'm Amazed - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcZUT8_izQ4
My Love - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhFWZmCCUnE
Live & Let Die - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQA3BJqQpQg
Wingsbanned have just returned from The Abbey Road On The River Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, jet lagged and exhausted after playing seven gigs in five days, appearing on ABC TV and local radio and generally living the rock & roll lifestyle.
Ian, Lee, Gary, Bob and Johnny did themselves proud and made many new friends and admirers while there. There will be many pix to follow plus some great video footage which will be available when sleep has been caught up on.
Some of the interviews appeared here - http://www.wave3.com/Global/story.asp?S=10412369
Wingsbanned played a new venue (for them) on the 28th March - The Victoria Club, Aylesbury. Despite severe access and parking problems for the Wingsbanned 7-ton truck, the venue was a delight. Sadly, there was no lift to reach the 1st floor but the boys took it all in their stride, laughing off any discomfort in hauling the gear up 50 steps countless times. Due to a timings mix up, the band started some 15 minutes late.
Fortunately, the audience was in a good mood and got into the band from the opening salvo of Got To Get You Into My Life followed by the Venus & Mars medley. This set the scene for the evening and the band played 3 sets mixing McCartney songs with other pop/rock classics. Ian Herbert did his best Elvis (a-huh, huh) vocal on Suspicious Minds and brother Lee did Sweet Home Chicago and All Or Nothing.
Johnny's 22 month son, Johnny Junior had been taken to hospital earlier that day having been diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia so his mind may have been on other matters and Johnny and Sarah spent the rest of the night in vigil at the bedside. However, all was well and the next day the little man was up and about and able to come home.
The club were so happy with the band that they sent a very nice e-mail the next day and here it is......
Well, this was the first time for Wingsbanned at the Victoria Club, and you did not let us down. I have to say you are a talented group of musicians and you did not, for one moment, lose pace...And the audience was with you, all the way! I hope you found the Victoria Club throng friendly, and the staff helpful.
The band began regular rehearsals this month at St John's Studios in Slough which is owned by Bassist/vocalist Johnny Heywood and is excellent for sorting out songs and getting the notoriously difficult harmonies right. After a few visits there it was on to full scale dress rehearsals in Staines and the report is "everything is tickety-boo".
Finally, Hi Hi Hi and Helen Wheels have been added to the set. The former was banned by the BBC back in 1973 for "drug" references which could only have been heard by a "man from the BBC from a different generation" but we did notice a forum on the Abbey Road On The River website asking that, as we called WINGSBANNED whether we would be doing any other banned Wings songs such as Give Ireland Back - another banned by the Beeb but this time for "political content". Out view is that it should have been banned for being a really shit song and no, we definitely won't be learning it.
The band is due to make a lot of noise in a musical context on March 28th at the Victoria Club, Aylesbury. Rock & as they always add, roll.
Back on November 8th 2008, Wingsbanned played a couple of sets at The Hillingdon Athletics Club to a packed audience. This club is really buzzing and the reaction was wonderful despite it being one of the wettest nights imaginable and the band got soaked getting set up
However, these muso's are a hardy breed, especially when they are getting paid and it was straight into the opener, Got To Get You Into My Life, Macca's thinly veiled ode to wacky baccy and then followed it with a mixture of Beatles numbers interspersed with everything else from Elvis to The Searchers to Led Zeppelin and back again. This "throw everything at the wall & see what sticks" approach kept people on the dance floor and seemed to be a success though anyone expecting a Macca Tribute only would have been puzzled.
As always, someone asked for Abba and for a moment it was considered till the image of 5 middle aged men covering Dancing Queen brought them to their senses and a nice rocker was served up instead.
With only one more outing before the end of the year, it was nice to find such a hot bed of rockular activity and the boys look forward to a return visit.
Sad to say that May's visit to the States has been shortened by a week due to the cancellation of the Cleveland Abbey Road On The River Festival 2009. This is due to illness within the ranks of the organisers and without going into detail our prayers and blessings are with Gary and his family in this difficult time. It's to his credit that the Kentucky Event is going on as planned and Wingsbanned will be flying out for about 8 gigs in May.
Several warm up gigs are planned so check the gig guide for details between now and then.
On 27th September 2008, the band played at The Morning Star in Datchet for the first time since the Liverpool Beatles festival the month before. It was a reasonably large venue though the stage area was a little cramped for 5 people especially with 2 sets of keyboards but Johnny stood behind his piano and did away with the stool and Bob squeezed into the back with his bum sticking out the door. Ian Herbert stood behind a pillar and it was only when he came forward to sing Medicine Jar that he became visual. A fine job he did too and in fact the singing was of the highest standard all round. The harmonies were extremely tight and with three lead vocalists in the band it was no surprise.
The venue demanded an extra half an hour after the full set was finished which Manager Sarah negotiated skilfully and a set of rock classics came out the woodwork. This was where guitarist Gary excelled and on songs like Owner Of A Broken Heart, he revealed his true standing as a rock god. Credit to Ian & Bob who had not prepared these numbers but slotted in easily. Lee sang Sweet Home Chicago and All Or Nothing and Johnny covered In A Broken Dream and Wishing Well plus others. Finishing with a bit of ACDC's Highway To Hell which showed the complete scope of the band they finished tired but happy and were rebooked for January.
This cross over of numbers is an area the band will continue to explore especially on gigs where the requirement is not solely Beatle related.
A Round up of The Liverpool Beatles Week 2008 Part 4
After the Derby Square gig in front of a vast sea of people as far as the eye could see, the band got bussed back to St George's Boulevard to pick up the cars and get back to base. There was barely time to shower and change before taking a much reduced amount of gear back into the City centre via two taxis to the Cavern Club for the final appearance.
No piano numbers for Johnny this time and only one keyboard for Bob - this was a lean, stripped down rocking version of the band. Bob's other keyboard had not liked the damp heat that is so prevalent in the cavern and had refused to work so he was taking no chances.
The sound was a little off putting and seemed to suffer from a plethora of bass frequencies so Johnny turned the bass "off" on the house amplifier and all was well. The Sound Man hardly put anything into the PA speakers as the stage sound was so loud - well, that's how it goes with a drummer like Lee who plays harder than any other man alive. Mind you, that's what gives WingsBanned it's power.
Johnny had remarked earlier about the number of singers who appeared to be losing their voices as the week went on. By the 4th gig on the trot he was joining them.
"Hmmm, yes, I was definitely running out of talent there," he confessed as the band stepped up a gear into Long Tall Sally. "We really pushed it towards the end."
It was a real rock set - no piano numbers and no switching round of instruments. The crowd yelled for more but the band had none left to give. John Lennon Tribute Act MARCUS was in the audience and the band had enjoyed his set earlier in the day at the Adelphi American Bar. Marcus was playing so many gigs he didn't know what day it was but this man has an incredibly accurate voice and looks more like Lennon then Lennon. Click the link and check him out.
At the front of the crowd were a couple of Belgian promoters who handed Johnny a flyer for a Festival in October and Johnny read out the details. Meeting up with them later, they booked WingsBanned for the 2009 event.
Then it was all over.
The boys took the gear back to the apartment, showered and changed then hit the Town. Main event was the Summer Of Love Concert by Hal Bruce and others and this was a fab selection of groovy tunes from around 1967. It was really gear! After that, some band members went to bed and others who will not be named such as Lee, stayed out till breakfast then went home down the M6.
Terrible jams plighted the return journey and Johnny's vehicle stopped off for a break in a service station only to meet up with the others by coincidence and one more final meal was enjoyed.
A Round up of The Liverpool Beatles Week 2008 Part 3
Drummer Lee Herbert flew the flag for debauchery and depravity last night in an attempt to beat the World Record Alcohol Intake. This, understandably, took all night and thus, Lee was not available for a band breakfast in downtown Liverpool mid morning.
By afternoon the band had grouped at a special parking place in St George's Boulevard where a mini bus then took a very long drive round to Derby Square. Joey Molland was finishing his set and he was followed by the excellent Peppeland who were terrific despite having severe keyboard problems. They went down very well and left the crowd gagging for more.
It really looked like rain but it held off miraculously as Wingsbanned took to the stage in front of a sea of people as far as the eye could see. Johnny Heywood announced this as "gig of the decade" and he was in great vocal form as the band played a varied set starting with Hello Goodbye followed by Got To Get You Into My Life.
The audience was with the band on every song, singing and clapping without much encouragement. Most of them had heard the Beatles songs all day but the 70's Macca stuff went down a storm. Finishing off with Let It Be, the crowd sang as one giant choir and there wasn't a dry seat in the house (if it had been a house where there were seats)!
Even Gary Davies was seen to move onstage which astounded his fellow musicians. Normally Gary moves only if targeted by rotten fruit throwers but today he was just happy. Ian Herbert, not renown for dynamic gestures was also in the mood to move and this may have been because he realised he could be seen on giant video screens around the Square. See gallery for pix from this gig.
After 45 mins the boys finished their encore and fled the stage. The weather had stayed dry(ish) and the band had played to their biggest audience ever. However, there was no time to relax because they had time only to get loaded up and head back to the Cavern Club.
Much later on that night, Johnny met Kevin from the Flashback Band who stopped his taxi in the street to compliment the band. This was easily returned as Flashback were one of the best bands on this year.
A Round up of The Liverpool Beatles Week 2008 Part 2
The second gig of the day found the band packing up their gear from the cavern and walking it through the Streets of Liverpool to The Adelphi Hotel in search of the ballroom where a series of "solo albums" was the centre of attraction. WingsBanned had been asked to play the "Venus & Mars" album and this was no small request. The range of material, styles & instruments meant that a lot of homework had to be done and sessions had been held in Johnny's studio right up until a few days before the band came to Liverpool.
It was mainly down to keys player Bob Adams who sorted out the orchestrations and all the non guitar solos! Indeed, one particular track, "You Gave Me The Answer" was initially deemed impossible due to the instrumentation but Bobby Boy recreated all the clarinet, strings and brass parts leaving Johnny to play piano and Ian Herbert filled in the bass guitar line. The final song on the album, the "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People/Crossroads" medley, was only run through three days earlier and was the one that had the boys most moist at the thought of botching it.
Anyway, the band deposited the gear in the tiny band room and whizzed off to feed it's collective face at a nearby take away. Returning to the Ballroom just as Instant Karma finished off their fabulous reproduction of Lennon's "Imagine" album, there was a quick change over and the band launched into "V & M/Rock show" but curbed their normal desire to follow it with "Jet" as the some "fans" had complained that other bands had not been anorakly recreating the albums with analy retentive accurancy. That was not a criticism that was going to be levelled at The WingBanned Boys and the 3rd song was, therefore, "Love In Song".
Johnny stayed at the piano for the next two songs, the Noel Coward styled "You Gave Me The Answer" and the pumping rocker, "Magnetto & Titanium Man". If you can sing these two songs then you can sing anything as McCartney's vast range, both tonally and pitch plus vocal stylizations has no peer! "Letting Go" is the song most voted for in a Macca wish set list and WingBanned did a storming version shaking the Hotels foundations (well, maybe just the stage).
The Herberts stepped up next to sing the leads on the next two tracks. Lee covered "Spirits of Ancient Egypt" which Denny Laine used to sing and he hit notes that only he can reach and no-one else would want to. This song spans almost three octaves and Lee did it effortlessly. Brother Ian, on only his second ever Liverpool gig sang the rocking Jimmy McCulloch song, "Medicine Jar" and he just keeps getting better every time. This song also has a few notes that others would need a ladder to get to but not our Ian. Just his tip toes.
Johnny finished the album on piano as "Call Me Back Again" was up next and if your voice survives that one intact then hospital treatment is often advised. Sadly, there was no break as "Listen To What The Man Said" followed on and this was one that the band had attempted in previous years and given up on due to the complexities of the vocal harmonies. Those days are over as nowadays the band has musicians who can actually play! Gary Davis got to rock out with an over the top version of "Crossroads" and the band heaved a sigh of relief. The hard bit was over and they could now relax and just play.
A few more songs from the repertoire and off they went. Some bands were checked out and some members went to bed whilst others( no names) flew the flag for dirty stop outs and debauchery. All in all, this was a bloody great gig and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
A Round up of The Liverpool Beatles Week 2008
Arriving in Liverpool on Saturday 23rd August, a full day before the first gig gave the band time to relax and check out some of the other bands. For Lee Herbert, this was almost a full time vocation as he experimented with a sleep deprivation and alcoholic intake mixture. It was a success too though he is not able to recount it now. Next up for Lee is a brain cell loss count - caused by a sleep deprivation and alcoholic intake mixture.
Some of the bands that impressed were Flashback with great vocals from Kevin and The Blue Meanies who rocked the Adelphi bar far into the night. The crowds were great, the venues ran as regular as clockwork and this promised to be the best Festival yet.
Saturday afternoon and the first glich popped it's unwelcome head up. The streets had been closed to all traffic in the inner city due to the massive Mathews Street Festival which had just begun. This meant that no cars or taxis could get within a quarter mile of the Cavern Club, Wingsbanned's first gig. Johnny took the gear as far as he could in his car but it needed the whole band plus assorted friends and relatives to assist in carrying the gear into the club. With two keyboards from Bob and another piano from Johnny, this was no small task. On arrival at the club, some were close to exhaustion and the incredible heat of the Cavern takes no prisoners. There was barely 20 minutes to rest before they were on.
It was the first time at the Cavern Front stage and it was quite different from the larger rear stage. Definitely more intimate with the audience just a few feet from the singers' faces but a great atmosphere. Kicking off with the Wings Over America set the band quickly settled and was able to concentrate on putting on a show. Johnny had dyed his hair specially for the occasion but had chosen a spray on type. This was a poor choice as after 15 minutes, it began to run and he ended up looking like at tart at best or a pantomime Capt Hook. After this gig, he went "natural" on the hair front.
Vocally, it was a great show. Ian Herbert made his debut and carried it off like a professional which caused him to expect payment but he was soon put right on this by the Band Manager and purse strings holder, Sarah Pate. Bob Adams, also a Beatles Week Virgin admitted first night nerves and was pleased he was at the back of the narrow stage and could quietly be sick into a bucket without putting off discerning punters. He had brought 2 keyboards with him (and felt every kilo of weight bringing them down the stairs) but one of them refused to work! Perhaps they had not reacted well being carried rough-shod through the back streets of Liverpool. Perhaps the heat and humidity had got to them but anyhow they did not work! Being the trooper he is, he simply fudged it one keyboard and no-one was any the wiser.
Guitarist Gary had no such problems and set up his gear plus a microphone to sing his very essential backing vocals, unique to the band. Maybe the excitement got the best of him but he never actually uttered one syllable into said mike throughout the gig. Well, no-one asked for their money back so it must have been all right. He did play a mean guitar though.
Drummer Lee laughed off all worries and hit the skins so much harder than any other drummer that the sound man rubbed his hands in glee and turned off all the PA faders linked to the kit and sat back. Lee's voice is one of the wonders of the modern World. How he can sing so clearly, so high and so smoothly especially after staying out all night and drinking the Cavern Bar dry, is a mystery to the band. Still, as he says, "someone has to fly the flag" and he's the boy to do it.
No more hic-cups and the boys pronounced the first gig as a success and had them all nicely warmed up for the Venus & Mars show later that same night.
From the cavern Club, the band had the same equipment to haul over to the Adelphi Ballroom and fortunately, the same friends helped out. the gear was left safely and then dinner was consumed.
MORE TO FOLLOW.......
Phew! Liverpool Beatles Week has just finished and we are recovering. We have quite a few pix still being prepared and will go on the gallery shortly. Gig reviews will also follow.
We have been invited to the Abbey Road On The River Festival in May 2009 in Kentucky and the Mons Beatles Festival in Oct 2009 so we're excited about those.
More to follow................