Raised in the comfy Bay Area opulence of 1950’s Atherton, California, a handsome, athletic golden boy suddenly and forever sidetracked by his elder brother’s Elvis and Buddy Holly 45s. He quit the school water polo team, moved with his guitar into a local hotshot band called Fritz, left for L.A. with their singer Stevie, produced with her the magnificently understated Buckingham Nicks album, was soonafter asked to join Fleetwood Mac with whom he helped craft a 40-million-plus-selling album called Rumours and, by 1978 at the age of twenty-nine finally found himself at the very tip-top of his game.
For all intents and purposes, that is.
Black Manalishi are emanating, illuminating and blasting out of the Northwest corner of the U.K. They have a classic/heavy rock style shaped by many great influences such as Black Sabbath, Cream, Crosby, Deep Purple, Free, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynrd, Nash & Young, Pink Floyd and a great many more.
I recommend you check out their tunes, as these guys have got everything that a true classic rock fan is looking for, in triplicate. The band members are Nathan Moore on guitar, Adam Ward on vocals, Lee Gallagher on drums and Sean Gallagher on bass. Yes, you may have guessed the fact that Sean and Lee are brothers, which must add so much to the bands synergised, taught sound. Black Manalishi stimulate your mind, body and soul with an amazing wall of guitar sound and vocals backed up so well with that brotherly rhythm section. I recently threw a few questions at Nathan…
Q: How did Black Manalishi come to form initially and what inspired the choice of name?
A: I met Adam Ward through a mutual friend when forming a cover band for fun. I decided to form a new band and continue writing and performing original material, something I had done since first learning to play. Being a great vocalist, with a style reminiscent of some of my favourite rock singers, Adam was the perfect choice for vocals. The other members have always been auditioned to find the best musicians when needed.
For many years, from the late ’70’s to the mid ’90’s at least, bands and artists seemed to be constantly trying to outdo each other as to how much money they could spend recording and producing an album. What started comparatively modestly with the then-huge budgets afforded bands like Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac later spiraled out of control as bloated act after act tried to spend as much as they could adding whatever gee-gaws they could to record their latest disaster-piece. Now, I am not talking about indie acts but mostly music released on the big labels at the time. Also, note that this endless spiraling of costs conspicuously coincided with the best money-making years of the music business and was a game played with artists as the labels wanted their artists to spend as much as they could so more could be recouped before any of these misguided artists got paid. Eventually, this spending proved their undoing as the business now sits, wasted and spent, headed towards certain extinction as the power of the Net has put business in the hands of the musician finally.
Enter artist Robert Valente, who seemingly prefers his music bare-bones and raw, which makes sense right now, with the music business in its’ huge sort of insanely terrible flux. Not that Valente seems to care a whit about the “music business” per se – this is music from an artist who sounds as if he recorded his album on his back porch. Which is not a bad thing, I guess, just a very interesting and often unsettling one, but in the way of the music being immediate and downhome, not in a “bad-quality” sort of way.
It’s not often you come across a band that has, yes, six members. On top of that two are dating, two are brothers, and it still all manages to work out wonderfully. Sound impossible? Not for California’s Family of the Year who are one such band. The self-professed indie-rock-folk-Americana songsters have just released their debut album, Songbook, and seem to be charming their way onto everyone’s iPod. If you haven’t heard them yet, SPIN Magazine recommends that you do – and so does The Rock and Roll Report.
The band consists of: Vanessa Jeanne Long (vocals), Joe Beaulieu Keefe (Vocals & Guitar), Sebastian Keefe (Drums & Guitar), James Buckey (Keys), Christina Schroeter (Keys) and Brent Freaney (Bass). Vanessa recently phoned in for a chat about Rock Band’s (yes, the videogame) pivotal role in their formation, impossible to remember band names and actually living and feeling like a family.