No Specific Rehearsal

Well, that’s not entirely true. This clip of No Specific Harm was filmed in rehearsal last Friday night, 30 March.

Somehow, in a power trio configuration, we’ve managed to whittle down the grand orchestras and sweeping desert landscapes to just the three of us. This is hopefully a musical taste of the live show we’re putting together. Featuring Chad Borchard on bass and Jason Green on drums. Filmed by Renae.

Now let me leave you with some footnotes.

1. Stage socks are the new black.

2. In the 21st century some of us still have box air conditioners.

3. Wiggling the tremolo arm madly in an attempt to coax some more sustain out of the guitar at the end of the song was a bad move. In a world’s first for me, the trem arm actually broke off later that night as I tried to remove it. Stay in school, kids.

4. This was the first time we’d got together in two weeks, poor old Chad having had eye surgery the week before. It never occurred to me what a powerful effect the bright studio lights would add to the mix. Performing sans sunglasses, sans eye-patch and sans blast-shield left Chad lying on the ground in urgent need of a combination of heavy painkillers and special medicine.

What price art!

Great & Terrible Potions – Vinyl now available!

Finally!

As some of you have already argued, this is the way Great & Terrible Potions was meant to be heard – on vinyl.

Well, the records have arrived, and are ready for shipping!

The album is pressed on 180 gram heavyweight “audiophile” vinyl, and factory-sealed in a magnificent gatefold sleeve designed by the great Roger Dean.

This is a limited production run and at present there are no plans for a repressing.

If you purchase the album from my Bandcamp site, you’ll get an immediate digital download of the CD version to go with it. I specifically mention “CD version” because the track running order and mix are slightly different for vinyl:

Side 1
1. Diabolique
2. Nobody Dies Forever
3. Aquamarine
4. Ready To Lose
5. The Conjurer

Side 2
1. No Specific Harm
2. Solace
3. Great & Terrible Potions

A quick note on international shipping. I’m not a fan of Australia Post’s prices, especially since they have no competition. I’ve managed to minimise the shipping cost by keeping the weight of the package just below 500 grams (this saved $20!). The flat fee I’m charging is the actual cost of postage and packaging to the US, and this amount is cheaper than most other countries.

So, Great & Terrible Potions on vinyl is now available at http://bencraven.bandcamp.com. If you don’t already have the CD, you can order a combined package and save on shipping costs!

Now excuse me while I go find my anti-static carbon-fibre groove-cleaning brush.

New interview at mwe3.com

Recently I was interviewed by Robert Steven Silverstein about Great & Terrible Potions, guitars, music practice, studio engineering, Roger Dean and Brian Wilson.

Plus he managed to extract some never-before-revealed great and terrible secrets about the making of the album.

Check out the full interview!

 

Review Roundup

Some more reviews of Great & Terrible Potions have popped up over the last few weeks. They’re all a good read!

JerryLucky.com (Canada)
Cosmos Music (France)
Classic Rock Society (UK)
Classic Rock Presents Prog (UK)
Progressive Area (France)
Babyblaue-Seiten (Germany)
Leicester Bangs (UK)
Get Ready To ROCK! (UK)
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (Holland)

And if you can, keep an eye out for the review in the new issue of Dutch print magazine iO Pages (#104). The one with Pink Floyd on the cover!

Free Single Download – No Specific Harm + Aquamarine

Now available for free download – for a limited time only – is the double A-side single release of No Specific Harm and Aquamarine.

This version of Aquamarine is a new edit unavailable anywhere else. It features a nice little acoustic guitar solo towards the end. I debated long and hard (with the other band members) about including it in the original album version. But in the end, the solo was sacrificed to give the album a rare moment of breathing space.

A single edit is different though. It’s an opportunity to cram as much information as possible into three minutes!

The single can be downloaded for free from bencraven.bandcamp.com.

What Happens In Vegas…

Ordinarily I go for Strats with maple necks.

While I was visiting Vegas recently, I stopped in at a “Center” that sells “Guitars”. I was on the lookout for something a bit different, perhaps a US-made Les Paul.

Imagine my surprise when instead I had an unexpected affair with a sonic blue blacktop Strat sporting a rosewood neck. From south of the border! I don’t know how it happened. It just did. And I walked out with it.

Blacktop Strat

Of course I’ll do my usual custom fiddling around with the hardware and electronics, but it really is a great-feeling neck and body combination. Unfortunately one or two of the harem will have to go to make way, but they knew the risks.

In the meantime, here’s some actual news.

– New reviews of Great & Terrible Potions have turned up at Progwereld (Holland), MLWZ (Poland), the Music Street Journal (USA), and JerryLucky.com (Canada).

– Keep your eyes out for the latest issue of Classic Rock Presents Prog (UK). Word on the street is there’s a positive review of Potions in it, but I’m yet to see it.

Potions has moved up to number 7 on the Progwereld World 10, and is currently charting at number 4 at the Just For Kicks webstore (Germany). That’s right, David Hasselhoff fans. I said Germany.

– I recently recorded an interview with Don Cassidy at Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio. To hear it, head over to the site and find the Interviews link on the left hand side. Then enjoy, in all its glory, my seldom-heard “6am Saturday” voice.

– I’m still editing the video from the Potions album launch. Almost at the half-way point, and clips of Diabolique and Nobody Dies Forever have made their way to YouTube.

Until next time!

Link-O-Rama

Well I’m on holiday in the US in the moment, experiencing theme parks and Hollywood, visiting exotic dark rums, finally discovering the joys of zinfandel, and learning to deal with large portions. And we head to Vegas tomorrow!

Thanks to everyone who has bought the CD. The response has genuinely surprised me. In fact the first production run has almost sold out, and I’ve had to kick off another one.

In the meantime, two new reviews of Great & Terrible Potions have surfaced:

Neoprog (French)

And I’m shocked and terrified to report that Potions is currently at number 14 on Progwereld’s “World Ten” chart, and number 13 on the Gagliarchives’ Weekly Top 20!

Until next time..