A lot has changed in my life since beginning this journey of learning to play the guitar. Nowadays, I can’t even imagine not having my electric guitar in my life and it has opened up a whole new world to me comprised of many new friends and an ever-increasing obsession with guitar bands.
Quite recently, Kickstarter was finally launched in the UK. It is a crowd-funding platform enabling talented individuals or groups to obtain funding for their creative projects, ranging from movies to video games, photography books to music albums. Those who successfully achieve funding are then able to make their dreams a reality on their own terms, and in terms of funding music albums, I can’t help thinking that this all feels very reminiscent of the underlying philosophy of the punk movement: DIY music!
Curious, I searched the new array of UK Kickstarter projects for a guitar band attempting to gain funding for an album, thinking it would be pretty cool in some small way to be a part of the launch of a debut album or something, given it’s probably going to be many years before my guitar skills are developed to the extent that any such thing would be possible for myself (a guy can dream!), and to be honest I was also intrigued by the prospect of getting a signed album, with possibly your name in the liner notes – one of the many possible perks for supporting a project on Kickstarter.
In my search for a UK-based band, the band that stood out by far was a London-based band called Playmaker, comprised of Paul Rey-Burns (Lead vocals and guitar), Matt Monks (Lead guitar), Stacy Harman (Bass guitar), and Pete Lewis (Drums).
In addition to the above music video of ‘Helicopter’ being featured on Playmaker’s Kickstarter page which immediately highlighted the huge potential of this Britpop indie rock band, their actual Kickstarter promo video that featured at the top of their Kickstarter page was simply genius – their voices were dubbed with the young voices of one of the band member’s nephews, resulting in a unique, rather quirky and irresistibly amusing video.
Their promo video worked, as myself and fifty-seven other individuals pledged, resulting in Playmaker successfully achieving their funding for their debut album ‘Lucky Bag’, launched this month: Congratulations guys!
…and I am now the proud owner of a signed debut album, featuring my photo on the inside cover, alongside the photo of each of the other fifty-seven Kickstarters who pledged! (-you can spot my photo immediately above the word ‘Thanks’ inside the album cover!)
My signed copy of Playmaker’s debut album ‘Lucky Bag’ arrived last week just prior to the official release date and I’m pleased to say it has been played extensively, making for quite addictive listening beginning to end with hints of classic ’70s rock right through to ’90s Britpop, and always with a very modern sound that is quite unique and undeniably their own.
With the exciting launch of ‘Lucky Bag’, a debut album launch party was held in Koha Bar, Leicester Square, London last night on Friday 15th March …so I made the pilgrimage to attend, along with other Kickstarters and friends and family of the band, all in attendance to celebrate the triumphant launch of Playmaker’s debut album …and they blew us away with an intimate night of electric-accompanied acoustic numbers that clearly demonstrated their authentic credentials as the genuine article, featuring awesome vocals and great playing, impressing all with their ability to deliver a live performance that rivals the album …a sign of a great band!
Whilst I was anticipating a great night and the band delivered beyond all expectations, what I didn’t expect was just how down to earth the guys are, naturally exhibiting that inexplicable rock star ingredient that shines through in their performances of course, but also incredibly humble, down to earth and approachable. Before and after their set, I was able to get to know the band briefly, enjoying a drink with them and talking guitars with Matt, their lead guitarist, who was playing a Gibson Les Paul on the night which made me smile given my intrinsic love for Les Paul-style guitars. The band also provided us all with actual lucky bags of our own, featuring a special CD single of ‘Playtime Breakdown’, badges, wrist bands, guitar picks, and other fun memorabilia!
Of all the songs featured on their debut album, my personal favourite is currently ‘Strangedays’ for the somewhat darker, perhaps even melancholic tone that just particularly resonates with me. However, at the launch party in London, I have to say that the melodic, bright and optimistic-feeling ‘Emily Rules’ got my vote as my favourite song of the night! Paul has a great voice and can hit some impressively high notes with his own rather uniquely idiosyncratic style, rising up on his toes when hitting the highest of notes and you can’t help but feel he really gives it everything! Whilst all the band were excellent, my attention naturally was focused firmly on their guitars and Matt’s bluesy style of guitar playing on his Gibson Les Paul was a treat to watch and also a reminder to me that I have a long way to go!
Getting to know Playmaker, I can’t help but feel like I have just made some legendary new friends in Paul, Matt, Stacy, and Pete. Four genuinely authentic and talented guys, who clearly love what they do and just need the support now to reach a wider audience. Their music rocks, their sound is unique but feels like you’ve known them forever, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Playmaker!
Good luck guys!
– Joel BB
Update: Thanks to Playmaker for the mention on their website!