STRANGEFISH
THE SPOTLIGHT EFFECT
LATEST NEWS JUNE 2018
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Strangefish announce third studio album, 'The Spotlight Effect,' on 18th June.

We've never been blessed with a great sense of urgency, so two years on from deciding we had enough in the bag for the album and kick-started the recordings, here we are finally with a new collection of songs, of which we all feel immensely proud.

'The Spotlight Effect' focuses on the media driven world we find ourselves in today, where every move we make is analysed then picked to pieces. There's nothing sacred anymore; all things are considered fair game for an 'entertain-me' hungry audience. This perfectly summed up the general mood of all the songs, with aspects of the human condition as the overriding theme.

We really do hope you enjoy the fruits of our labours.

 
MUSIC
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DISCOGRAPHY   "You like it, so buy it!"
THE SPOTLIGHT EFFECT
2018
The long-awaited new album by Strangefish, out 18 June!
For bulk sales, contact sales@strangefish.co.uk
 

Death Of Common Sense
Progress In Reverse
Iconacon
Summer Slips Away
Delicate
Spotlight Effect
Reverse Switch
Up To You

Buy 'The Spotlight Effect' on iTunes
Available 18 June 2018


Buy 'The Spotlight Effect' on Amazon Music
Available 18 June 2018

UK ORDERS

£10 + £2.50 UK p&p
EUROPE/WORLDWIDE

£10 + £4.50 shipping
Old school?
Prefer to pay by cheque?
In the ten years or so since we announced the decision to put the band on hold there was always the feeling that a third album was in us. So when Paul asked us if we fancied getting together for old times sake to do a charity gig in his hometown, the temptation to start again was too great to be ignored.

Carl and Jo joined us for the gig so the natural step forward was to continue with them as full time members, once we knew we were going again. The first few rehearsals saw us work on songs such as 'Death of Common Sense' and 'Summer Slips Away,' as these had already been written as acoustic pieces, along with 'Iconacon,' which was just the barest of bones. We had a lot of fun fleshing it out.

The real turning point came with 'Progress in Reverse'. This was the first full song, written from start to finish, with Jo and Carl on board. Confidence was growing and 'Delicate' followed quickly after, although again, the memory banks were plundered for the opening section. This had been shelved around the time of 'Fortune Telling;' we just didn't know what to do with it, but once it had been dusted off and stitched onto a wonderful passage of keyboard work from Paul, the rest just fell into place. Thoughts were turning towards a third album. 'Up to You' came about in true Strangefish fashion after a jamming session one evening, where we more or less wrote the whole thing in one go. If you want to see change then it really is up to you. This left just the title track to go to bring the whole thing together.

We sincerely hope you'll enjoy it!
FORTUNE TELLING
2006
Multi-award winning second album.
  Happy As I Am
It Could Be Me
Random
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Keep The Exits Clear
Have You Seen The Light
Lightswitch
Ignorance Of Bliss
Reflection: This Is Me Parts 1 & 2
Lighthouse Jig
UK ORDERS

£10 + £2.50 postage
EUROPE/WORLDWIDE

£10 + £4.50 postage
Old school?
Prefer to pay by cheque?
'Fortune Telling,' Strangefish's second album was released in Feb 2006. Dealing with the concepts of materialism, marketing, greed, trust and the search for what is important in life, it tells an 'everyman' story of someone who believes he has won a fortune, only to be happy to accept in the end that wellbeing matters far more.

The album was critically acclaimed around the world and won a handful of awards, including Best Album at the Classic Rock Society, and Best Song for 'Ignorance Of Bliss.'
FULL SCALE
2003
Debut album.    
  Shifting Sands And Turning Tides
Oceans Deep
Listening To Ghosts
Take A Holiday
At First Sight
Touch Sensitive
Wallflower
Simple Life
* CD's OUT OF STOCK *
After years of playing gigs in and around Manchester, it was the discovery of Rotherham's 'Classic Rock Society' that spurred us into putting together our first album. Made up of songs written from our conception in 1989 to our arrival on the CRS stage in 2002, this was recorded completely on a shoestring budget. It helped to bring us to the attention of the Prog community here in the UK and overseas, with songs such as 'Shifting Sands and Turning Tides', 'Oceans Deep' and 'Take A Holiday', one or two of which still make appearances whenever we play live.
 
GIGS
SHOW SCHEDULE
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COMING SOON 2018      
Check back soon for more upcoming shows.
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MEET THE BAND
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Steve TaylorCarl HowardDave WhittakerBobPaul O'NeillJo Whittaker
STEVE TAYLOR
Vocals
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Photo by Larry Candler

"I'm addicted to music. Other addictions have come and gone but music is with me all the time at home, in the car, at work and in my head! There's always some melody or other floating around in there. Trouble is I'm too lazy to learn an instrument properly so that I can write my own stuff. I can play basic chords on a guitar when the mood takes me and if I aim the sticks right and the wind doesn't change then with a bit of luck I connect with a drum! Other than that I'm pretty useless.

Thank god I have had the good fortune to be with this bunch of wonderful musicians that is Strangefish. The music they create has coaxed those melodies out and coupled with the fact that I can also string sentences together in the form of lyrics then at times we can be pretty formidable. They really don't seem to mind me ballooning about in front of them on stage either. I try my best to put them off whilst they are in the middle of some complex solo or other by waving my arms emphatically in front of their faces or bouncing beach balls off their heads but they keep coming back for more so I must be doing something right.

It's all about having fun and aside from the creativity that's what the band is there for. It's a break from the norm, letting your hair down even though it's not there anymore, a way of letting off steam at the end of a working week.

I can't believe we stopped doing it for so long!"

JO WHITTAKER
Vocals
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Photo by Larry Candler
"Singing has been in my blood for as long as I can remember; my earliest recollection is of being two years old and I haven't really stopped since, getting most of my training from various choirs, such as primary school, church, Oldham Girls' Choir etc. - every opportunity, really.

My musical tastes changed direction quite abruptly one day when I heard Ann Wilson from Heart. What a voice, and what fantastic melodic music! Rock music! That was what I had been looking for. It made me realise that singing solo was becoming less appealing. I wanted to be a singer in a rock band and, after meeting like-minded musicians, that is exactly what I became. This is how I met Dave, who a few years later became my husband; and Carl, who has been a good friend ever since.

In the late 80's my musical tastes widened. I discovered Styx, who to this day are one of my all-time favourite bands. I just love the theatricality of the music and the creative use of melody with both the voices and instruments.

It's completely thrilling and exciting to be involved in writing new material. I count myself very lucky to be a part of something so special."
BOB
Guitars
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Photo by Larry Candler

"I'm the youngest (ages on a postcard please!) and also the quietest spoken member. I started playing guitar at 15, back in the days when Heavy Metal was king (I was a big Iron Maiden fan as a teenager. The first gig I attended was Monsters of Rock at Donnington Park, 1988)

As a young lad, I'd spend Saturday afternoons at home with Mum playing Elvis and Bill Haley on the record player (don't you just love vinyl!) In the evening, (hello Zeppelin fans!) my uncle, who also lived at the same house, would play his records in the backroom; Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Groundhogs, Shel Silverstein (is there anyone out there with a copy of 'Inside Folk Songs'?) and a little known band called The Beatles.

He also introduced me to PROG. He loaned me Fragile by Yes. And I lapped it up, loved it. It was so 70's, but I loved it. It was when I joined Strangefish that my progressive rock vocabulary grew. Paul introduced me to 'Selling England by The Pound' by Genesis, plus more Yes with some It Bites to finish. And this is the part where I say that Francis Dunnery is one of my all time musical influences. Today, I listen to all kinds of music regardless of whether it's pop or prog. From Led Zeppelin to Prince, Frank Zappa to Air, Richard Thompson (who I also admire) to Tenacious D, diversity is my middle name.

When you're in the presence of people who are not only band members but your mates, and top ones at that, life in Strangefish is bloody good. Friendship, support, comedy, and the fusion of six creative and talented musicians are the qualities that make this band stand out."

PAUL O'NEILL
Keyboards
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Photo by Larry Candler

"I've always been deeply affected by music, so I guess it was inevitable that I would wind up in a band. It wasnt until I discovered prog that my previously tedious piano lessons began to make sense. Ironically, it was at that point that my piano teacher threw me out because I was trying to play in my own way, rather than how it was written down.

As far as im concerned, music has to have craft and thought put in to it to move people, generate a reaction. You can do this in many ways, but my main area within Strangefish is melody and harmony (and the occassional dischord). I'm always chasing that elusive sequence of chords that make your spine turn to jelly. When you discover one it's the biggest thrill there is!"

CARL HOWARD
Bass
/bass pedals
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Photo by Larry Candler

"My single biggest influence as a musician has to be Geddy Lee. I remember listening to Rush's seminal "A Farewell To Kings" album for the first time and not quite being able to believe what I was hearing; the odd time signatures, the booming bass pedals and of course, those clanging Rickenbacker bass lines! Other honourable mentions include Chris Squire and Billy Sheehan.

As one of the "new guys" I'm mindful of the need not to tinker too much with the previous body of material. So, for the back catalogue of songs from the first two albums I've tried to be more or less faithful to Julian Gregory's original work, for which I have the greatest respect - if it ain't broke, don't fix it! But I've also given the older stuff my own bells and whistles here and there, wherever I feel it's appropriate and the song can take it. With "Spotlight Effect," I hope I've brought an injection of fresh blood and contributed to venturing into exciting new territories for the band.

When I'm not actually playing music, my tastes are eclectic to put it mildly. It depends what I'm in the mood for; anything from Dream Theater on a sunny day with the car roof down to uplifting vocal House music on a laser-lit dancefloor on a Saturday night."

DAVE WHITTAKER
Drums/percussion
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Photo by Larry Candler

"I started drumming when I was about 18. Up until then I had been playing guitar. The band I was in needed a drummer and it seemed that everyone we had down for audition couldn't play the parts we needed; I found myself behind the kit, showing them what we wanted. This made my mind up for me. I sold my guitar equipment and started learning to play the drums. I listened and played along to my favourite bands at the time - Rush, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, and The Beatles; I soon realized the drums really were for me.

Over the last 20 years playing drums I have been influenced by lots of different bands and drummers. Here are a few of my favourites: Neil Peart, Keith Moon, Terry Bozzio, Dave Weckle, Mike Portnoy, Nick D'Virgilio, Phil Collins, Vinnie Colaiuta, Mike Mangini, Chad Wackerman, Steve Gadd, Rod Morgenstein, Simon Phillips, Gregg Bissonette, Alex Van Halen, Carmin and Vinny Appice, Alan White, Andy Newmark and Morgan Argen.

When we are writing we usually jam ideas around with Steve joining in with vocal melody and off the cuff lyrics. Some of his jammed words will stay in the song. We seem to have a unique chemistry together and bounce off each other during rehearsals and in social situations. We are constantly writing new music and even ideas that have been shelved in the past can make an entrance if we think they will fit in."

 
BIOGRAPHY  
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1989 - 2000 Some flesh for a story to begin...
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Strangefish began in 1989 in a suburb west of Manchester, England. We started as most bands do, with some like-minded people getting together to play cover versions and have a go at writing songs. Various musicians came and went until we settled on the line-up that ended this period. Only Steve and Paul remain from the original band.

Gigs were mainly in pubs and clubs with the odd trip to Manchester venues to see if we could make an impact. Often the crowd would not be expecting a band to be playing so Steve in particular would have to work hard to get the material across and keep people's attention. The music written at this time was based around basic rock ideas with a hint of prog. Songs that have stood the test of time from this period are 'Wallflower,' 'The Lighthouse Jig' and 'Ladders.'

The main emphasis in the band was one of a bunch of guys having fun and having a go at writing. We were all influenced by bands like It Bites, Rush, Led Zep, Marillion, Zappa, Gillan, Wishbone Ash, Yes, Genesis etc., but as well as this the new people coming and going always brought in something fresh such as classical, jazz-funk and pop ideas.

Around 1995/6 the band activity had virtually stopped as we were busy starting families but the various members kept in touch and would still meet up socially on a regular basis.

 
2000 - 2008 Gracing every stage: Strangefish & The CRS
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Steve Taylor - Vocal ~ Paul O'Neill - Keyboards and vocal ~ Bob - Guitars
Julian Gregory - Bass and Violin
~ Dave Whittaker - Drums and Percussion

In 1999, the opportunity of some local gigs arose. To do this we needed a bass player so having previously invited Julian Gregory to do his Nigel Kennedy routine with us we asked if he would like to take up the bass role too. Julian (still) plays Violin with the BBC Philharmonic and was able to get us to do a recording in November 2000. This formed the basis for our first EP, 'Reeled In,' and it was this demo that landed us with our first gig at the Classic Rock Society in 2001.

The debut concert was a fantastic success and a lasting friendship with the CRS was formed with the band collecting multiple awards over the next few years. English progressive rock music has a long tradition of having its tongue firmly planted in its cheek and we were pleased to continue with this in our approach to our live performances. Consequently some venues and critics found themselves bemused that 5 guys could get up on a stage, tell jokes, hurl numerous inflatable objects out into the audience and then go on to play 'involved' and 'serious' music.

Strangefish played multiple concerts at the CRS, London Astoria and various other venues around the UK. Buoyed up by the support received we recorded and released our debut album in 2003. Continuing with the aquatic theme of the content and our name we called it 'Full Scale.' The album represented the realisation of our new confidence in writing and performing progressive rock music. The content of the album was a collection of older songs and new material, in particular 'Shifting Sands and Turning Tides' - our own take on the events of 9/11.

Another new song, 'At First Sight' helped to point the way towards the next album and the opportunity to tell an extended story with music and lyrics. 'Fortune Telling,' Strangefish's second full album was released in Feb 2006. The album was critically acclaimed around the world and won Best Album Award at the Classic Rock Society. This was a chance for us to get across some of our thoughts on materialism, marketing, greed, trust and the search for what is important in life. We created an 'everyman' story of someone who believes he has won a vast amount of money only to be happy to accept that wellbeing matters far more.

By 2007/8 the latest incarnation of Strangefish was showing signs of having turned full circle and the collective view was one of "let's take a break." The decision was made to shut things down until such time as the enthusiasm and energy necessary to do this thing called Strangefish had returned. At this time we received the sad news that Rob Leighton from Radio Caroline had died so the 2008 charity concert in his memory at the CRS was the last performance and a fitting conclusion to that period of Strangefish activity.
2014 - Present Rearrange: A new curtain call
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Steve Taylor - Vocal ~ Jo Whittaker - Vocal ~ Paul O'Neill - Keyboards
Bob - Guitars ~ Carl Howard - Bass and Bass Pedals ~ Dave Whittaker - Drums and Percussion

In the autumn of 2012, after another Strangefish fallow period, the band reconvened for what was expected to be a one-off performance for a local fund raising event. On this occasion, we rehearsed as a 6 piece band, inviting Jo Whittaker (Dave's wife) to sing backing and lead vocals, and Carl Howard, an old friend and previous musical associate, to help out on bass. Way back in the mists of time, Dave, Jo and Carl had all played in a band called Matrix and had enjoyed some success. Rehearsing and playing again revived our enthusiasm for all things Fishy so we carried on working and writing until we felt ready to resurface in early 2014, with an announcement that we were to play again at the CRS May 10th.

The addition of Carl has resulted in a stronger interaction between bass and guitar with a more direct, heavier sound. He is also a welcome contributor to the writing of new songs. Having Jo on board means greater vocal richness with Steve and they are working on developing vocal harmonies for new and old material.

For the new shows we intend to air some new material, whilst some previously unplayed songs are being given a fresh look to see if they integrate into the set. One thing that remains completely unchanged is our attitude towards the music and live performance. So here we go, it will be interesting to see where this leads.

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"In the end, it is just a game..."