Toast: a covers band above the rest
Predominantly playing hits from the 60’s with a touch of the 70’s and a smidgen of the 80’s. “The band that do numbers that other bands can’t” – fronted by Beau and his vast vocal range covering hits from Frankie Valli through to the Rubettes. Other artists covered: The Beach Boys, The Drifters, The Beatles, Crowded House, Del Shannon, Bobby Vee, etc. Toast come fully self contained with their own sound system and lighting. Dance music can be played through their sound system before, in between and after showtimes.
Lead vocals, bass
Ex Ricky and The Hi-Lites, Brownhill Stamp Duty, Pancho, Tramp and Mungo Jerry. Played in Pancho with Paul Sheath (who was the musical director of The Fantastics), and Steve Faithful. Originally started on rhythm guitar in 1964 with The Abdo-Men, but moved on to bass. Wealth of vocal experience having done most of my recording at Abbey Road Studios with the fantastic Norman “Hurricane” Smith. My falsetto enables the band to recreate the music of Frankie Valli plus other difficult high pitched classics. Worked with Ray Graves in Tramp for over 20 years. Worked with Richard Digance for many years on various recording projects, including his brilliant Christmas song “The Toast of Christmas Past” with Matt Black in 2013. Also did a lot of recording with Trev Cummins. Multiple tours including, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Holland France, Belgium and Germany etc. A dozen live performances on Radio 1 Road Show working with Dave Lee Travis, Emperor Roscoe, David Hamilton, Noel Edmonds, Stuart Henry etc. Brownhills version of “Hey There Lonely Girl” was DLT’s record of the week in 1973. Recording contracts with Columbia and Pye. Shared the stage with the likes of Eden Kane, Millie, Rod Stewart, Steve Marriott, Rory Gallagher, Sam and Dave, The Fortunes etc. Biggest regret, not being able to sing Mr. Bass Man by Johnny Cymbal…
I started piano when I was 5 and took Grades up to the age of 9. I then taught myself guitar at the age of 12 based on what I had learnt on the piano. At 16 I started playing in bands but back on keyboard because everyone was playing guitar and keys were in short supply! Predominantly played with The Chris Shakespeare Movement, John Drevar’s Expression and Inflatable Toy. As I played with Derek in 2 of those bands we share a lot of history. Spent time in Germany in Frankfurt, Berlin & Hamburg and had recording contracts with MGM and Polydor and had a season at The Playboy Club. Biggest claim to fame was supporting Stevie Wonder with The Chris Shakespeare Movement but also played with Georgie Fame, Amen Corner, Jeff Lynne etc., Mid life I concentrated on Classical Guitar and played in The Alhambra Guitar Quartet and had appearances at The Southampton Show, The New Forest Show and appeared live on Radio Solent. Been with TOAST since it’s concept and am always amazed by all the youngsters that know all the words to our songs.
I can’t remember not being involved in music. I auditioned for King’s College Cambridge at ten and got “first reserve” and was told I needed to play an instrument to get in. I started piano lessons one week after, and the next week I got a guitar – teaching myself initially from the “Play in a Day” book. I got a singing scholarship at Lincoln Cathedral, followed by a music scholarship to a public school. As a teenager I was keen to be in a band, so I moved onto electric guitar, formed “The Void”, wrote some songs and did well locally in Hull, sharing stages with Adam Ant and John Lydon and had a small record deal with Virgin. I’m technically still under contract to them in the sum of one penny! Eventually I went to Southampton University to do a course in Acoustics. I’m still here and not quite retired yet. I work as a noise consultant and a sound engineer and producer with my own PA and recording kit. In the 90’s I joined a Rhythm and Blues band “Taller Than Stan” playing the pubs. I started teaching guitar – electric, acoustic, classical and bass (I still do). I fitted this in with a job which took me onto oil rigs all round the world. I have talked my way into playing in many a band in a foreign hotel or bar and I always carry my own plectrum! After a spell in Paris, some of the “Stan” guys asked to form a 60s function band – “The Attributes” and I played both lead guitar and keyboards (those piano lessons paid off finally) and also in the duo “Mixer”. More recently I was in “The Absoulutions” as keyboard player and MD, the “Blue Tides” as bass player and the “Re-Issue Rock n Roll Band” on lead guitar. I started playing the flute and play in “Flautissimo” Southampton’s flute orchestra. And it was my flute teacher who put me onto “Toast.” I went to see their early gigs and could not resist singing along. I guess I didn’t put them off and was so pleased when they asked me to try out for the band. It’s great to be with them and to sing and play those classic songs.
Started playing in 1964 with The Earth Angels – professional late 60’s. Recorded for MGM and Polydor. Music type – soul, rock and prog rock (Nice, Family, type band).
Supported Jimi Hendrix in Paris, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Yes, Amen Corner and The Equals amongst others. Season at the Playboy Club in Park Lane, World premiere of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the London Hilton. Time in Germany at various clubs in Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg
Now playing all genres, rock, blues, soul, disco, jazz, fusion, etc. Past bands have included John Drevers Expression, Inflatable Toy, Base Elegance, UK Jazz Voyagers and the Steve Gifford Band. Also Musical Shows at theatres in Milton Keynes. House band drummer for MK Dons stadium opening by the Queen and Milton Keynes 40 year’s anniversary at the main theatre in the city.
Teaching drums for 20 years, Trinity Guildhall and Rockschool graded exams as well as leisure students.
Influences – Mitch Mitchell, Bill Bruford, Dennis Chambers and Dave Weckl.
Style – Really all types – more leaning towards jazz and fusion but adaptable to all styles.