More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com
Sorry there has been a little gap since my last blog post. I have been incredibly busy helping to produce three new recordings for the TRANSFORMATES and the associated videos. In the past I have not mentioned much about my musical exploits so I have decided that now is the time to come out of the closet (musically speaking of course).
First of all let me share with you some of the details of my classical music background. I think the first notable training was at the Cotmanhay School for the Performing Arts located between Derby and Nottingham in the UK (otherwise known as Mrs Potter’s piano lessens for the under 10’s). Clearly the piano theory put me in a good position to secure a key role in the choir at Cotmanhay Parish Church. This gave me the first opportunity to develop my commercial musical skills. We were paid 2 shillings and 6 pence for singing at weddings.
Actually a few years after playing host to my classical training as a chorister Cotmanhay Church sadly fell into a hole in the ground and had to be demolished. The area was riddled with mine shafts and it would appear that one ran under the church (I don’t think my singing had anything to do with the structural issues at the church!). Since then Cotmanhay has struggled to maintain its reputation as a centre of cultural excellence in the UK.
My classical training was further enhanced when I auditioned and was selected to play the role of the Artful Dodger in the Cotmanhay Amateur Dramatic Society’s rendition of ‘Oliver Twist the Musical’. This was swiftly followed by my solo presentation of ‘Oh for the Wings of a Dove’ at St Mary’s Church in Ilkeston (Derbyshire). Clearly my musical career was moving from strength to strength.
In addition to my vocal training I auditioned as violinist with the Ilkeston Grammar School orchestra. My performance was so impressive I was offered the role of lead trumpeter (I think the precise quote from Ms Spedding the Music Director was: “If only we can find some useful outlet for Duggleby’s overwhelming ability to generate wind!”).
At this point as I reached 16 years of age I auditioned as a guitarist for one of Nottingham’s leading semi-professional bands called Sahara. They were so impressed with my guitar skills that they offered me a role as a keyboards player! As most of the band were in their twenties (one even in his thirties) I was very much the baby of the band and tended to get the soppy songs to sing (teenage girls wept at my delivery of Lobo’s ‘Baby I’d love you to want me’ – but I refused to stop!). Actually I was theoretically under age as we toured many of the top club venues in the Midlands and Yorkshire. In a reversal of the current trend I am probably the only ‘celebrity’ from the seventies that could actually start proceedings against his ex-groupies for under-age abuse (just imagine the scandal – I was still in-school uniform!).
Anyway I had to finish with the group just before I was 18 to try and resuscitate my chances of getting reasonable A-level results and a few years later had to sell my keyboards to pay for my first son’s pampers and baby food.
So benefiting from (somewhat early) retirement from the Oil business it is now time to put all of this classical training to good use. I have spent the last couple of months kitting out the V&LIUMM recording studios with new synthesizers and digital recording equipment (in other words lots of stuff with fancy knobs which is guaranteed to make me really popular with my neighbours in Surrey and the Alps). I have even acquired a fold away (rubber!) keyboard to take with me when I get my winter vitamin D boosts in Cape-Town. So I can now actually fit a grand piano into my hand luggage! (courtesy of Chinese manufacturer – The Shanghai Rubber Entertainment & Pleasure Company – no I wasn’t searching for something else!).
So let me now introduce you to some of the recent productions from the V&LIUMM recording studios. All the following numbers are from the band TRANSFORMATES. The first one is an instrumental called Heaven. I did produce a vocal track but it was such a tear jerker that I decided not to include it in the final cut (it actually sounded like I was trying to sell Bibles). To enhance your listening pleasure I have also produce a video with lots of pretty pics. If you have stereo headphones you can fully enjoy the fiddly bits!
The second of the TRANSFORMATES tracks is a bit of a love song. To be precise it is about a bloke who is trying to entice his girlfriend into a relationship but there is a third person involved – the man’s dog. He tries to describe the virtues of a relationship involving his pet but I suspect he might have gone a bit too far in selling the idea. Here is the TRANSFORMATES’ official video of ‘Let’s Play With My Dog’:
The third track I uploaded into YouTube last week featured a song about a celebrity relationship trauma. Regular visitors to this site will recognise the stars in the video. Pink Lips and RISKKO have asked me to point out that they were just play acting in this film and their relationship is as strong as ever (although as with every celebrity couple they have their ups and downs). The unique way in which the TRANSFORMATES have interpreted this subject is reflected in the vocals. People going through emotional trauma often want to shout out and scream but not all of us are capable of doing this. The Brits especially tend to be a bit reticent in showing their emotions and the singer in this song was no exception. He presents the chorus line (‘Shout out load – make the pain stop’) with angelic tones more suited to a chorister (see how my ‘classical’ training came in useful!). Once again if you have stereo headphones these will help you to spot the multiple themes being played concurrently (and I think I get more money if you use 2 speakers!). Here is the TRANSFORMATES’ official video for ‘Make the Pain Stop’:
I will try and keep you posted as the TRANSFORMATES produce more music and videos (and please keep an eye open for the techno debut of DJ RISKKO!). The group also has its own website where I will try and keep the music portfolio up-to date – here is the link: http://www.transformates.com
In addition I will also try and ensure my facebook page is upto date (the videos are also there – just look under Chris Duggleby). Tweets should also pop up from time to time (@chrisduggleby)
After a rather restless night I have another couple of themes which I must now quickly try to capture in the recording studio before they evaporate.
And finally just incase any old students from Ilkeston Grammar School happen to pass by this page here is an archive 1973 picture from the school just before the time when I was spending 3-4 nights a week playing to working men’s clubs with the band Sahara. I am the one in the back row who clearly didn’t like wearing a tie (= trying to hide the tide mark caused by insufficient shower time after another session of late night clubbing?). Thanks to Roger Mitchell for the photo (Roger is the poor teacher in the middle who had to look after this rather unruly class).
I hope you enjoy the music (and the videos).