When in autumn 2009 eight total strangers signed up for The Sage’s new Silver Programme of Rock Music for the (well-) over 50 year olds they probably didn’t realise what they were letting themselves in for. Within a few months we began to think about forming ourown band. After some tentative first steps and with guidance and support from expert tutors Phil, Juliette and Ian, twe had developed a set list of twenty-odd numbers and in February 2011 decided, somewhat apprehensively, that it was time to face the public as ‘harmony rock band Black ‘n’ Blue.
Their debut performance consisted of a promising, if overcrowded, gig at a 100-capacity venue which had unaccountably sold nearly 150 tickets. Since then the band has played at over sixty gigs around the region. These have included public engagements at venues such as The Cluny and The Sage, private parties to mark birthdays, retirements, anniversaries and awards dinners and fundraising events for Charities, including those supporting Breast Cancer, Myeloma, Help for Heroes, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Motor Neurone Disease, St Oswald’s Hospice and Age UK. In total, the band has so far helped to raise over £30,000 for these worthy causes.
The band’s original line-up consisted of three lead vocalists, Merle, Norma and Pat, with Jeff on keyboard, Gordon on bass, Bill on drums and Steve and Frank on guitars.
Pat left in 2014 because of family and other commitments and the band has since continued as a 7 piece. We now have a repertoire of some 70 numbers to draw upon, mainly hits from the 1960s and 1970s together a few more recent ones, on which they put their own interpretation, with the emphasis on producing fine harmonies and a mixture of nostalgic ballads and rockers.
Rhythm guitarist Steve has now emigrated to Australia to be replaced by Lester, who although a Londoner by birth has lived so long in the north east that he is now an adopted Geordie.
Bill,our drummer, has decided to hang up his drum sticks after numerous years playing the clubs and pubs of the north east and has been replaced by Colin Cheesman, who like Bill has a wide experience of playing with bands in the area.