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From The Frontline - Myke Heath Blog - December 2015

Merry Christmas to whoever is reading this and the good people at www.mikedolbear.com.  This month has consisted of the usual kind of Christmas wind down (or wind up) where everyone’s mind moves to credit card spending and the tough decision of which family members will be least offended by you not spending Christmas day with them. 


It’s not been without some live playing though and The Wounded Kings have just started to rehearse the new songs in preparation for our new album, which hopefully will be out on 25th March 2016. Everybody in the band likes the new songs so much that we’ve decided that we will play the album live in full. This is partly to help promote it and partly to try and keep things fresh for us, and to play a better show for the punters who pay their hard earned cash in some obscure venues in some far away places. Drumming wise it’s also great for me, as it requires a little more dynamics than previous albums and the average BPM has picked up above 60 too. 


I talked in the last blog about our lack of communication with our record label but there has been some positive correspondence and they’ve promised we will have the album to sell at the shows we’re playing in Europe in early March (before the album comes out), which will be great for the fans and us alike. Hopefully an opportunity for fans to but the album three weeks before the release date and hear it played start to finish in front of their very eyes will bulk numbers at shows a little bit too. Live music has taken hit after hit in recent years and I’m sure after recent events in Paris people may still be a little spooked for a while yet. Coincidentally we have been offered a show in Paris but as of yet nothing has been confirmed, but I’m totally up for it and I think the more the merrier. 


My recent dabble with retro flat based hardware has proven to be exactly just that.  It looked amazing on the kit and nobody would complain about the hardware bag being lighter but during recent rehearsals it was very clear that they are not the right tools for the job sadly. I think there was at least two inches of side-to-side movement each time I hit a cymbal and it was freaking some of the guys in the band out and to be quite honest it was freaking me out a little bit too. I’ll just have to bite the bullet and accept that I need to keep things a bit more heavy duty. 

I do quite a bit of gear sharing when we tour with the support bands who play before us and a lot of the rest of the shows I end up using hired gear so it’s fifty/fifty on how much hammering it takes anyway but it’s got to be reliable.  On the last show we played the kit was shared with six other bands and my heads took a real beating to the point of needing replacement but that subsequently led me to do some extensive research here and there and I think I now have plans to change my heads up a bit anyway.


We played a great show in Birmingham as a fundraiser for a musician in another band we have played live shows with who sadly died very suddenly. All proceeds went to his four year old daughter as part of a university fund. In total I think over £3,000 was raised which I thought was a surprising amount but it was great to be involved and we played a really good set too. Being that it was a special occasion with a bigger purpose I think that it pushed everyone to play just that little bit harder than normal and especially being so soon after the Bataclan Theatre incident in Paris people were in a reflective but forthright mood. The atmosphere in the van on the way home was of accomplishment and dare I say it but there was even an air of pride in ourselves for what we had done that evening too. 


So the forthcoming festive period will be largely consisting of me helping my wife to finish the never ending decorating I started in our bathroom and room changes to our flat to be finished in time for the 25th. I probably won’t pick up a pair of sticks until the New Year now and I’m actually really pleased about that for a change. It’ll be nice to chill out, catch up with friends and family and to focus on normal life for a bit. I will get grumpy (if I don’t play for a week or so it makes me really crabby for some reason) but I’ll be all fired up and ready to go once things pick up again in January. I’ve thrown together a list of new gadgets and noisemakers I want to add to the kit and I feel confident that I now have a strong idea of exactly the right heads I need to put on my beloved Gretsch and Ludwig drums all in time for a fresh new start in 2016.  I totally can’t wait and I have no idea what’s to come really but I’m super excited.


In the mean time take good care of yourselves and each other and I hope you all have a happy Christmas and a good New Year. May it be filled with the sound of drums and good humour!

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