The Orchestra starring former members of Electric Light Orchestra
Darkness descends and a roar of excitement fills the air. A rumble of a mysterious and majestic introduction theme and with an explosion of multicoloured lights, the band appears on stage, bursting into the blistering opening number. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA Part II "The 25 LIGHT YEAR World Tour", starring one of the world's finest exponents of dynamic rock n' roll. is on stage tonight to take you on a soaring, supersonic flight through a glittering galaxy of their songs.
Classics from their illustrious past are liberally sprinkled with seeds of the year era as the band explodes across the stage, showering fragments of musical diversity in all directions So raise your spirits and join with them in a celebration of rock at its most excellent.
Bev Bevan is the founding renumber and driving force behind the band He believed So strongly In hisachievements with ELO that he raised the flag once more, breathing new life into their music and giving himself the opportunity to continue his much loved live work . He placed considerable importance on the band's name, retaining the original title yet using the appendage Part II. to signify the best of both world's, the quality and reputation of the old group and the excitement of a fresh direction.
As a teenager, the sound and Image of rock n' roll provoked the rebel within him to buy a drum kit and thus Bev formed his first band while still at school. Progressing with varied levels of success through Birmingham bands, Carl Wayne and The Vikings and Denny Laine and The Diplomats he eventually joined The Move at their Inception in 1966, Initially propelled by the creative genius of Roy Wood and later joined by Jeff Lynne, The Move "were innovators of "perfect pop with an attitude", Blazing their way around the gig circuit and taking no less than ten heady trips up the UK singles chart.
In late 1970, Bev, Roy and Jeff dimmed the luminosity of The Move and ignited the flame of hope for their new band the Electric 1,ight Orchestra. Although immediate success was gained with their opening single "10538 overture", it took time for the complicated musical line-up of ELO to find its feet. However, with the undoubted help of Bev's tenacity, ambition and of course his distinctive style of powerhouse drumming, ELO thrived as one of the world's greatest bands throughout the seventies and eighties, collecting copious amounts of gold and platinum discs.
Alongside his triumphant career with the band Bev branched out, publishing a witty and incise book ,amounting his life as a rock musician and recording a thunderous version of early sixties classic. "Let There Be Drums". He played and sang on the hit single `Funky Moped", by lifelong friend Jasper Carrot. He has also recorded with Ian Gillan. Black Sabbath and fellow band member Kelly Groucutt. Over the years and on the live front, Bev has also played, with Bobby Womack, Beverly Craven, Jules Holland, Rick Astley, Phil Lynott and Lisa Stansfield. As ELO retreated further into the studio, Bev's thirst for live work was quenched by the invitation to tour with one of heavy rock's most famous exponents Black Sabbath, with whom he played many dates in the USA and Europe including topping the bill at the 1984 Reading Festival. In 1986, Bev organised one of the decade's most memorable charity concerts Heartbeat, at the NEC. As well as featuring some of rock's biggest names, It was part of ELO's farewell tour and earned Bev the Birmingham Mail's "Pop Personality Of The Year Award". The nineties have seen Bev diversify further. joining Black Sabbath guitarist, Tony Iommi In Jasper Carrott's eloquently named rock n' roll combo, Belch!
The new band's formation was inspired by Bev, who began proceedings in 1988. It took almost three years of careful planning before the band was revealed to the world with a fanfare and flourish in 1991. It was Bev who Incited the idea of using the magnificent Moscow Symphony Orchestra on the band's trail blazing tour and his pride in taking part in this spectacle was clear. Since then, Bev and the band have, worked tremendously hard and performed countless concerts. Recent years have seen Bev develop his abilities as a lyricist and he is respon5ible for many of the lyrics on the band's new album. Although reputed for his multitracked studio techniques. the allure of the concert arena and the exhilaration of live performing has always been Bev's greatest incitement.
If ever a single aural and visual aspect had to be chosen to represent ELO and its incarnations, Mik Kaminski and his Blue Violin would be a major contender. Mik's scintillating exhibitions of showmanship are as much a symbol of the band as the mighty spaceship and the glowing light bulb! Offstage however, away from the spotlight, which chases him ducking and weaving across the boards. Mik has always been a shy and modest character. So much so that be had to be persuaded into taking the audition for ELO back in 1973!
Born and bred a Yorkshireman, Mik studied at Leeds College of Music and first appeared professionally at the age of fourteen, in a classical role with the city's orchestra After session work on early seventies cult rock albums by Andy Roberts and Joe Soap, Mik became a member of ELO, introducing his exceptional sparkling skills to the band's developing sound. Mik's soaring strings sweetened every ensuing ELO album, while his Blue Violin solos became a highlight of all live shows, exposing a rock audience to tantalising trips through classical tunes infiltrated by his own stunningly complex improvisations. In 1979, Mik formed Violinski, a band which ran simultaneously alongside ELO. They toured the UK releasing two albums and enjoying an enormous hit with one of pop's great instrumental singles "Clog Dance", furthering Mik's reputation as a fine exponent of violin virtuosity. He was also able to express his talents as a keyboard player during ELO's "Time" Tour, in which the accent turned away from strings towards the contemporary synthesizer sound.
A couple of years after Mik had taken part in ELO's final live shows, he and Kelly Groucutt took the basic essence of their former band to put together a new ensemble. OrKestra. The band gave Mik another platform upon which to shine, where his compositional work could flourish. Two superbly crafted albums, a European hit single and successful tours of the UK and USA were all part of OrKestra's worthy career.
When the new band rose phoenix like in 1991, Mik's presence, particularly for the live shows was unquestionable. In all the spectacle of his stage performances, Mik's song writing skills could be in danger of being overshadowed. However .they are there for all to on the band's latest album "ONE NIGHT" while his ear or inventive tunes and intertwining counter melodies are captured forever in the magical moments of every band in which he has been involved.
Louis Clark is the man, behind the majestic ELO string arrangements throughout their most prosperous years. He has also enjoyed enormous success in a separate career, selling millions of recordings of the "Hooked On classics", series, With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. A most talented and skilful arranger, Louis has been much in demand all over the world working with Artists ranging, from Ozzy Osbourne to Roy Orbison and scoring orchestral arrangements of music by Abba, The Beatles. Queen and Phil Collins, His work crosses all musical boundaries and he is equally at case with the classics as with M.O.R., pop and the heavier side of rock. Through this, Louis has opened up many areas to audiences who may otherwise spent a lifetime stranded on a musical desert island.
An honorary Brummie, although actually raised in Shropshire, Lou had an early interest in music, taking lessons as a child. However, his imagination was ultimately captured by The Beatles and as a teenager, Louis joined the Birmingham based Raymond Froggatt Band as bass player, recording two albums and ten singles in the late sixties. During this time, the band's need for a string arranger led Lou to learn the art literally "by the book". As his interest in this aspect of music developed, he enrolled at the Leeds College of Music, in a course studying arrangement and composition along with flute and keyboards. His studies completed, Lou returned to Birmingham and while working. once again, with Raymond Froggatt he met Jeff Lynne. Jeff was experimenting with ideas for the next ELO album and invited contributions from Louis, who went on to co-arrange the score and conduct a full orchestra on the 1974 album, "Eldorado" This collaboration marked the beginning of massive global success for ELO with Lou's keen sense of grandiose sweeping strings, integrating perfectly with Jeff's melodic, often soulful, guitar driven pop songs. Although Jeff Lynne's talents should never be undermined, it must be noted that Louis Clark's input to ELO's sound was absolutely intrinsic and was the hallmark of the band's biggest selling albums.
Throughout the seventies. Louis Clark was never listed as touring member of ELO, but this changed in 1981 when he joined up for live touring work on string synthesizer. It was around the same time that his remarkable. run of classical/pop album success began and he has since travelled far and wide conducting live concerts of this material.
When the new band was formed, there could be only one choice for orchestral arranger on the album and for a string synthesizer player at concerts. Who else could be invited to conduct the magnificent Moscow Symphony Orchestra on the band's first tour? Louis Clark, of course! His involvement with the "ONE NIGHT" album. recorded with the Sydney Symphony, once again underlines his immeasurable contributions to the band. Louis, string arrangements blend seamlessly with the other members songs, adding a rare dynamism, while his own orchestral compositions are dramatically atmospheric. Now famed for his statuesque approach to live keyboard work "Sir" Lou's visual persona has not yet challenged the colourful and crucial manner in which he impressed his character upon the band's sound!
Kelly Groucutt was a mainstay of the ELO sound from 1974 onwards helping to provide the distinctive layers of vocal harmony on albums from "Face The Music" to "Secret Messages" and contributing hugely to the band's live presentation. He was an obvious choice on bass guitar and as one of the primary lead vocalists when the band took their inaugural show on the road.
Kelly, born Michael, is from Coseley in the West Midlands. He began his career as a singer in the early sixties and graduated through several bands including the highly acclaimed vocal harmony, comedy group Sight and Sound. His musical influences are rooted in the rock n' roll of the fifties and pop of the early sixties with, particular fondness of the great vocalists of the time such as Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Ray and inevitably, The Beatles. He was invited to join ELO in 1974, shortly before their flickering star became a comet! Kelly's impact on ELO's sound was immeasurable. His voice blended perfectly with Jeff's to create luscious harmonies and his bass playing fused with Bev's drum style to form a tightly knit rhythm section. Even on record, Kelly's warmth and presence radiated. while his vocal agility during their extensive world tours proved both magnificent and indispensable.
Alongside his creative contributions to ELO. Kelly found another outlet for his talents by releasing a self titled solo album in 1982 with help from Bev Bevan, Louis Clark, Mik Kaminski and Richard Tandy. He continued a
solo career after leaving ELO until 1987 when he formed OrKestra with Mik Kaminski. Pooling their years of experience and extraordinary combination of talents, Kelly and Mik picked up where arguably ELO's finest chords echoed away, recreating an "Out Of The Blue" sound which also had room for their own new compositions. Enormously successful as a live band, OrKestra toured Britain and America. recording two well received albums and several songs for film soundtracks, while the single, "Fly Away" was a Top Five Hit in Europe.
Kelly is now a key figure in the band's song writing team. Inspiring new material while having an understanding of the ELO songs and their original intentions which probably equals that of their author. As lead vocalist on many of these numbers, he is able to express their melodies and meanings through his own strong personality, yet never intruded upon their delicate structure. A man who always has time and a word for everyone, his sense of fun and powers of communication shine both on and offstage whilst his effervescent character brings a genuine enthusiasm and joy which is infectious to band and audience alike.
Eric Troyer is one of the new band's founding members, initially meeting Bev Bevan in April 1989 when he was invited to join the project as a writer, singer and keyboard player Eric's immediate influence on the band's sound can be heard on their 1991 album upon which he sang lead and harmony vocals and is responsible for writing several tracks, "Honest Men" becoming the band's single release off that album. His contribution to the latest album. "ONE NIGHT", is also of great significance as a performer, solo writer and on collaborations with fellow band members.
Eric. a native of Elkhart, Indiana, USA, enjoyed a childhood rich in musical variety, embracing folk, classical, religious. Broadway shows and rock n' roll and developed a particular love of British groups of the Sixties. Following his college days in Indiana and California. Eric travelled east to New York City where he gravitated towards the music business and eventually earned a reputation as one of the most sought after session musicians around. A friendship with leading producer, Jim Steinman led to prodigious amounts of work, not only on the latter' s own recordings, but also on many of the world's biggest selling singles and albums. Eric's talents are illustrated on records by John Lennon. Bonnie Tyler. James Taylor, Carly Simon, Julian Lennon, Sisters of Mercy, Billy Joel and Celine Dion (the first voice heard on Billy's No. 1 single, "Uptown Girl" is none other than Eric!). Meat Loaf has featured Eric on albums including chart topper, "Bat Out Of Hell II Back Into Hell". whilst also using his vocal skills on tour. Eric can also be heard, on Celine Dion's latest hit "Its All Coming Back To Me Now."
An interest in history and current affair shines through on Eric's solo CD "Model Citizen", where his intelligent
lyrics are deep and incisive but also reveal a man who is certainly not without a sharp sense of humour. Ideas for his songs come from current and historical events or Inspiration can even be found in snippets of conversation. Eric's concern for his fellow man was clearly illustrated by his song writing involvement in memory of twelve school children killed in a road accident. Eric recorded the song with the classmates as part of a healing process and to raise money for the school's music department.
All this and Eric still finds the energy to be a full time member of the band. making records and touring the world. Emerging from his shadowy bank of keyboards. Eric now leaps into the spotlight playing his "walkabout" instrument, thus enabling him to join the band's fine front line of musicians.
Phil Bates is the newest member of the band, joining the band in the spring of 1993 on guitar and vocals. he first came into contact with ELO way back in 1978, when his band, Trickster, were support act on. the Out Of The Blue tour and also served as opposition for ELO in the "Friendly" football matches which took place as between-show entertainment for the touring party! However. the entire Eighties elapsed before Phil and the ELO chaps were in touch again.
Originally from the West Midlands, Phil's interest in music began while still in school. Under the ubiquitous influence of The Beatles, he played in various bands as a guitarist and vocalist, gradually encompassing the blues styles of such legendary artists as Clapton, Hendrix and most importantly Peter Green. In the early Seventies, Phil recorded singles with a group and as a solo artist before forming Trickster, who enjoyed an active career over the latter years of the decade. Formed in 1976, they released two albums on Jet Records, with 45 rpm success in the UK charts and on the US airwaves European tours with. Boston and John Miles and a British tour with Mik Kaminski's band, Violinski. led to interest from other major labels and the band almost signed to RCA before deciding to split in 1980.
Phil was a very busy man during the Eighties, working extensively as a live performer and as a session musician, notably with producers, Colin Thurston, Martin Rushant and Tony Visconti. He also spent time on various musical projects in. the Middle East before returning home to further live and recording work, it was whilst performing as a solo artist that Phil met Kelly Groucutt fifteen years after their previous encounter on the "spaceship tour". The band was looking to fill the vacancy in their new line up and it evolved that Phil Bates was their man!
Phil has brought with him a fresh angle to the band's sound. The latest album, "ONE NIGHT', highlights his strength as a lead singer and proves that he is equally at ease with an emotional ballad as with a more upbeat rock n' roll number, whilst his solo and collaborative song writing skills reveal a man of considerable talent, in a live context, Phil's style turns away from previous guitarist, Peter Haycock's slide technique, reviving the more direct and simple straight chord approach favoured by Jeff Lynne. He also plays a major role in the vocal sound, fitting neatly in the three part harmonics whilst taking an innovative lead on several numbers. Phil's all-action guitar hero stance has reaped its rewards with the recent honour of a sponsorship by the newly crowned "axe" company, Blade/Eggle Guitars. a sure mark of his arrival in rock's premier division!
The group has journeyed far to reach their current position. After much experimentation, they have settled on a sleek six piece band, augmented in the studio (and more and more on stage) by a full orchestra. The band's democratic approach allows each member equal contribution in all areas whilst inspiring creative freedom to reveal their far reaching talents. Lead vocals are shared by the three singers and collaborations in Song writing have produced the band's best material to date. As the band has blossomed as a band. so too. have the individual musicians but it has been a long story .......
The Electric Light Orchestra, enjoyed enormous success In the Seventies and Eighties with a splendid array of hit singles and albums, whilst earning a reputation as one of the most spectacular live bands, particularly with their "spaceship tour" of 1978. The final album was released In 1986, accompanied by a handful of stadium concerts after which one of the founding members, Jeff Lynne, decided to leave the live performance business and concentrate on solo studio work. leaving behind a legacy of superb songs. The legend of ELO remained aglow throughout the ensuing period of band inactivity, whilst individual members diversified to follow separate projects.
In 1988, Bev Bevan felt the time was right to rekindle the fire and began to look for suitable recruits, New Yorker Eric Troyer became involved after impressing Bev with his song writing and vocal talents. Bev spent almost three years resolving the legal side of things before the band could record and release their first album in the spring of 1991, Produced by Jeff Glixman, the album, was a mixture of old and new, with echoes of the big string sound of its predecessors whilst also revealing a rockier, more guitar dominated feel. In respect of live work, our Russian friends helped the band make history. At a time when the eyes of the world were focused upon East West relations, the band embraced the new state of "Glasnost" and, following a visit to Russia by Bev Bevan and Lou Clark, arrangements were made for the Moscow Symphony Orchestra to accompany the band on their maiden tour of Britain. Working closely with the MSO leader, Konstantin Krimets, the band created a show which, as well as having their rock songs backed by an eighty piece orchestra, also featured the MSO in their own, right, performing popular classics. This was the first time a western rock band has taken a full orchestra on tour with them and that along with a new spaceship stage set, laser lights and back projections combined to make a most thrilling and innovative show, In Britain's largest arenas. The following year. Bev decided to take the band further afield to tour the world. By now having broken all management, ties with the past, the band visited Europe and America before returning to Britain to play a selection of theatre sized venues an immensely popular decision amongst the fans. A further change of personnel saw the streamlining of the band to a six piece, introducing Phil Bates on guitar and vocals. In this form. the band successfully toured Germany, America, Britain, Scandinavia, Australia, South East Asia, South America, Central America. South Africa and Poland, where they gathered much experience playing together with spirit and cohesion. Their triumph on the live circuit paved the way for a new record contract and they have since completed their newest recording (recorded "live" With the SYDNEY SYMPHONY) entitled "ONE NIGHT". This album captured the energy and finesse of their stage performances. promoted their individual talents and realised their true direction as an orchestral rock band.
The band's extensive touring schedule has taken them far afield. re asserting their popularity in familiar territories and endearing them to a new found world wide audience. They have evolved into an exciting and potent unit capable of carrying the torch to satisfy the most loyal ELO fan. whilst at the same time forging ahead with a stunning brand of inventive rock music.