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From the North West of England – Forty4 is a new name

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From the North West of England – Forty4 is a new name to most- here they tell LBI about themselves

Forty4 are a North West UK based 5-piece band, consisting of Drums, Bass, Piano, Guitar &

Guitar/Vocals.

Q: Tell us about the band members, who are they and what are they like?

We have Nick Lauro on drums; Nick is a shy, mysterious and complex character who needs

everything to be ‘just right’. Bill Price on Bass Guitar; Bill is the chilled member of the band.

He’s never ruffled and loves his Chilli-coated peanuts on stage – it’s a ritual! Glen Lewis is on

keyboards and is the only ‘formally trained’ member. He also has his own music school

which he ploughs his time into when not playing with Forty4. Paul Starkey is the more

upfront guitarist out of the two in the band. He’s the ‘pull it together’ guy in the group when

it all seems doom & gloom! He can pull a positive out of any tough gig. Neil Partington is the

lead vocalist and other guitarist in the band. He’s the ideas man; always turning up to gigs

with something in his head he wants to try.

Q: Has it always been plain sailing or have the band had tough times as well as good?

It’s never been plain sailing; we still see it as tough times with an occasional ‘break in the

storm’. We feel it’s still early days to consider ‘good’, what with our debut album release

only weeks old.

Q: Why do you call Steve, ‘The Referee’ on your website?

Steve Brown was our original Bass player for 5 years who unfortunately had to retire due to

a sudden and very serious illness. Nick coined him ‘The Referee’ because we would often

discuss our gig performances after good nights, you know the sort of thing, where bands like

to converse post-gig about their licks/chops/fills etc that made the performance just that

little bit better. Anyway, just to bring us back to reality, Steve would pull us aside and give it

the real ‘match breakdown’ with his often-used catchphrase, “you’re not on your game!”

We do miss his hard-line impartiality!

Q: Who is the main songwriter in the band?

Neil writes the lyrics and has a specific idea about a tune, then the band jam out the idea,

contributing arrangement ideas and musical structures in a collaborative process, which

evolves into the finished article. What you hear is the result of 5 people bringing their own

individual musical feels to the cook-pot to produce the definitive Forty4 sound.

Q: The new CD sounds great, where have you got the inspiration for the music from?

We had been listening to a lot of James Brown and Freddie King 70’s era stuff (his albums

with the horn sections) on the way to our gigs and this seemed to define a style we were

moving towards, plus we liked the old school New Orleans Funk so it all came together to

create the vibe we wanted to put out.

Q: The cover is plain black, what made you pick that look?

With the CD cover, we played with ideas but thought the black sleeve gave the most

profound visual impact on the band name and album title. This simplistic approach doesn’t

give people any pre-conceived ideas about what the band’s music is about, leaving them

free to draw their own conclusions after listening.

Q: What has been the best gig you have done to date?

Birmingham Jazz & Blues 2011 was a standout gig in our performing history, but to be

honest, there have been too many other similar gig experiences to narrow it down to a

single performance.

Q: Where do you dream of playing and why?

Quite a broad question, but we’d say the Albert Hall for its acoustics and musical/historical

prestige, plus Antone’s in Texas for its history. We could definitely say we’d ‘arrived’ if we

ever got to headline at either of those venues!

Q: Which bands do you think are hottest on the modern blues / rock scene and why?

We all have different opinions between us; Nick would suggest Jon Cleary & The Absolute

Monster Gentlemen, Bill would go with Taj Mahal; Glen, Neil & Paul would go with the

current Tedeschi/Trucks line-up but not forgetting a mention from Neil & Paul for the

current Jimmy Vaughan show which they vouch to be outstanding. We choose these

particular artists because we believe they stand out as people who continue to bring

something fresh and original to American roots music.

Q: And finally, when the band go to eat after or before a gig, what is it you like to eat? Chinese,

Indian or something else?

It’s got to be Indian – but we must give a special mention for Bill’s home-made ‘Moon Curry’

which can be absolutely mind-blowing!

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