The Brand New Heavies are part of the line-up for the forthcoming ‘Utilitia Live From The Drive-In’ shows around the UK and their own headline tour in late autumn this year (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) – celebrating their 30th anniversary.
It is three decades since UK funk and soul stars The Brand New Heavies burst onto the charts with their sparkling self-titled debut album – which began a rocket-propelled career that notched up 16 Top 40 chart hits and more than three million album sales, including two UK Platinum-certified albums.
Emerging at the heart of the Acid Jazz scene, their May 1990 debut made impact with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Since then they have dropped classics such as “Apparently Nothing”, “You Are The Universe”, “Midnight At The Oasis” and “Dream Come True”, with vocal performances from Beverley Knight and N’Dea Davenport on “Beautiful” and “Getaway”. Plus, “Never Stop”, “Dream On Dreamer”, “Back To Love”, “Brother, Sister”, “Sometimes”, “People Get ready”, and more.
Original members and the band’s main songwriters: bassist, keyboard player and producer Andrew Levy and singer, guitarist and producer Simon Bartholomew have remained the core of the nine-piece band.
The Drive-In tour calls in at Leeds, Darlington, Bolton, Lincoln, Liverpool, Newmarket, Bristol, London, Milton Keynes, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester from July to September.
The Brand New Heavies are releasing a seven-inch vinyl version of their hit single, “Beautiful” and a “Best Of” album is slated for release in 2021.
Singer Simon Bartholomew reveals his Track Record:
- First song you remember hearing as a child? My Boy Lollipop by Millie. My mum had the 7’’ single and you could colour in the back. I later found out that my friend’s Dad had played bass on the record, which was impressive to me when I was little. It’s certainly a song for all ages – through the ages. People’s hearts are still going ‘ giddy up’ to this day!
- First single you owned? I was really into rock and roll as a kid. Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry. The first starters of all we know, and still incredible recordings to listen to.There was this tiny record shop in Camden called “Rock On”, and my dad would take me there.I’d heard Reveille Rock by Johnny & The Hurricanes, so what caught my eye that day was Rocking Goose with the B-side, Red River Rock by the same band – on London Records, who The Brand New Heavies later signed to.I also had some Elvis re-released singles from Woolworths for 75 pence each, with great Technicolour sleeves of handsome Elvis. All Shook Up and Heartbreak Hotel. I had the Brylcreem and the luminous socks, a-rocking every day to school; comb in the back pocket!
- First LP/album you owned? First LP: A terrible rock and roll covers compilation. It was cheaper to re-record them with non-original singers and musicians than it was to licence the originals. Classic rock and roll tunes.
- First CD you owned? Sex Packers by Digital Underground. Great record. It featured Humpty Hump and I think George Clinton is his dad.
- Last music you bought? Die Antwoord.
- What album would be the perfect gift for Christmas or a birthday wish list? John Coltrane’s original LP My Favourite Things.
- Absolute favourite album ever? Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix.
- Best record ever made? Mozart’s Greatest Hits!!!
- Guilty secret in your music collection? I always call Genesis my guilty secret, as they were kind of posh guys and their later work was scoffed at and ‘not cool’. In my hazy experimental Teens there was a lot of all sorts of music: reggae, prog’ rock, rock, classical. I had the live Genesis LP Seconds Out, when Phil Collins had started singing. Not that long ago, I heard Peter Gabriel singing some of the same songs and it floored me.I love Phil’s first vocal LP with Genesis, A Trick of The Tail. It took them into stadiums.But the earlier stuff…I have all of it and there are some incredible moments. When you are a fan, you love it all, I guess. The synths and unusual song arrangements are perhaps some of the finest prog’ rock had to offer. A bit of 70s nostalgia? Evergreen. They’re my guilty pleasure, I think.
- What does music mean to you and how does it make you feel? Music is woven into my life. It was also my personal place as a kid. I remember saying to myself, when the band took off; Oh no. I’ve lost my hobby! Just playing guitar on my own is a kind of personal drift-off escapism.I have never practised scales exercises – I just noodle the blues and make up songs. I can make up a new beginning to a song or two every time I pick the thing up.I’d say music kind of stimulates all the emotions and satisfies all those needs. It can cheer you up, help you wallow and just get you dancing and motivated. Thanks music!
- What one song or album is a guaranteed mood booster? Well, that depends on what mood…To relax: The Sex Pistols and Never Mind The Bollocks. Or anything by Johnny Thunders.
- Which song or album would be the soundtrack to a film about your life? Music For Airports by Brian Eno.
- Favourite driving track – or to exercise to? Pat Metheny: Are You Going My Way. It’s a nice ‘builder’.
- Best song or album for a romantic moment? Caravanserai by Santana. Guaranteed intimacy.
- What song did you have played for the first dance at your wedding – or would you like played if you did get married? Whatever she wanted. So, perhaps Whatever You Want by Status Quo.
- Song to sing at karaoke? Supper’s Ready by Genesis.
- Which song takes you back to your childhood and to which specific memory? So many…Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder. U Roy Jah Son Of Africa. Dillinger Bionic Dread. Barry White tunes…..
- All-time favourite band? Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath or 70s James Brown.
- All-time favourite singer? Impossible to pick one…I like Ernie Isley, Jimi Hendrix and of course, Ian Dury.
- Which song or piece of music would you like played at your funeral? The Bitch Is Back by Elton John.