After Silvers finished shooting their video for ‘Not the Christmas Number 1’, the lovely people from the ‘Help the Heroes’ charity went home and Julius Bernth (the super-talented Silvers drummer), invited me out for a hot chocolate and mince pie. How could I say no? He’s such a lovely fellow and I do have a teensy weakness for chocolate…
Off we trotted (actually, Julius gave me a lift in his coat pocket) and when I was mid- pie, I realised that Julius is more than just a top gent; he’s also rather interesting. This is what I learnt….
Julius is 24 and from Copenhagen, Denmark - or Hej’ to all my Danish friends.
He first picked up the drumsticks when he was 13 - and hasn’t looked back since.
He played in a number of heavy rock and punk bands before he found Alistair and Patrick at the University of Kent. It’s here, that the three of them got together and Silvers was born!
Julius credits his musical influences as; Smashing Pumpkins (first band he ever saw live!) Minor Threat and Black Flag, Queens of the Stone Age, At the Drive In, The Pixies and Pheonix.
Whilst Demonstrating some other-worldly movements of his wrists and feet, Julius cites his drumming inspirations as Jimmy Chamberlain from the Smashing Pumpkins, Keith Moon from The Who, Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones and John Bonham from Led Zepplin (He is in good company- I love Led Zepplin!).
Julius is currently doing a degree in Engineering (on top of his degree in English and Philosophy – clever chap!) . Oh yes!! And here’s a little secret, just between you and me - Julius may have great taste in music, but he also has a deep-seated obsession with sci-fi and he’s a self-proclaimed ‘Trekkie’.
Beam me up Julius! Next time, the mince pies are on me.
I am sooooo excited!!
Not the Christmas Number 1 has been released :o)
Please download it NOW from iTunes
and you can also download from Amazon
It’s for Help for Heroes - so please download and tell your friends too!
With ‘Not the Christmas Number 1’ - our charity song in aid of Help for Heroes just released on YouTube - and the 99p PRE-ORDER already flying off the digital shelves - it’s high time I introduced you to the lead singer of Silvers… so, without further ado, let me introduce you to Alistair Crow.
I grabbed 15 minutes with him today - in between important rock star type meetings - and we shared a lovely pot of tea and some cakey. And this is what I learned…
Alistair is from Gravesend in Kent. He’s just 26 years old and has a Degree in Comparative Literature (don’t ask!).
He has always been a keen musician and loves to play guitar, piano and keyboards - although he can get a tune out of most things. He collects and plays old instruments and his home now boasts an eclectic mix that includes an old electric organ, a violin, accordions, zithers and a Marxophone.
Alistair was a founder member of Silvers. It all began when he met Patrick Elliott at university and they started writing together. After graduating, they knew they had to put a band together. They had previously played in a punk band with friend and drummer extraordinaire, Julius Bernth, and they knew they wanted him on board. The final missing piece was a brilliant bass player - and Patrick had seen Bradley Stamper performing with Kevin Tuffy - so it wasn’t long before he was asked him to step in and complete the lineup.
Since then, they’re been writing, gigging, and self-releasing music in and around London.
Alistair cites his key musical influences as Radiohead, Bjork, Patrick Wolf, Efterklang, Kate Bush, Bon Iver, Bat For Lashes, Mogwai, and David Bowie.
Guitarists he worships a little bit include Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), Annie Erin Clark (St Vincent) and Prince.
Alistair’s biggest wish at the moment (apart from seeing Not the Christmas Number 1 shoot up the charts) is to own a lavish home studio where he could hide away and make music all day (and night) long.
I’m not sure if he wanted me to tell you this… but he met Jules Holland and few years ago - and after shaking his hand he dashed home to the piano, hoping some of his talent had magically rubbed off…
Great to get to spend a bit of one-to-one time with you Alistair.
You’re firmly on my Christmas card list :)
I was honoured to meet three truly amazing people from Help for Heroes (H4H) when they came to be part of the video for Not the Christmas Number 1.
I’d like to introduce you to Mark Lanchbery and his partner, Denise Elton. Mark used to be in the army, but he was discharged in July 2011. He has been on a very long road to recovery since being injured in the active service of our country in 2008.
I also met their friend, Kennett Facel, a young man from East London. Mark met Kennet in rehab following his time in Afghanistan. Kennett had been injured by an explosion in 2010 that took one of his eyes and severely damaged the other. He was blind when Mark first met him. Kennett is only 25.
But this isn’t a story of doom and gloom - far from it! It’s one of hope and positive action - and hopefully, it will encourage you to support the work of H4H - the phenomenal charity that Mark, Denise and Kennett represent.
Mark and Kennett are both part of the Band of Brothers – which is the H4H way of keeping in touch with those wounded, sick and injured and sharing with them the job offers, holidays and VIP invitations to sports matches/concerts they receive from a very supportive public. Members can also volunteer to attend fundraising events and be the very real face of the important work that H4H is known for. They joined us on a chilly day in central London to be part of Not the Christmas Number 1 andto represent those who will directly benefit from the sale of this charity single. Mark’s partner Denise is now also a part of H4H’s Band of Sisters - a support network for those who care for, and support their wounded Hero.
Mark said… “This charity song is absolutely fantastic! It’s so important to have companies such as Greggs supporting Help for Heroes and raising awareness. It’s also really nice for us to know that injured soldiers are being thought of - and that what we do is appreciated. Every penny raised for Help for Heroes goes directly to help people like us - and we can see where the money is being spent - and that’s on really practical stuff such as wheelchairs, rehab centres and all the equipment we need to get better as quickly as possible. And it all gets spent - nothing is left in the bank.
I met Kennett in rehab - and when I first met him he was blind. But thanks to his rehab he can now see a bit again. It’s absolutely terrific, to see him walking around again - and he’s got a smile back on his face.
Help for Heroes alsoprovides really important support for families - so that they feel cared for too. In the army, we go and do the job, but it’s the families at home that have to pick up the pieces when we get injured. And that’s where H4H’s Band of Sisters comes in. Those who were left at home can feel really isolated when their loved ones get injured.”
Kennett said… “Because I am still in rehab I get to see the impact of the work that Help for Heroes does. I see the difference it makes, every day. The rehab centre at Headley Court is always full and I’ve seen a lot of people benefitting. The reality is that more people will get injured - and the important thing is that the funds are there to help them with whatever they need; for life.
The fantastic rehab centre at Headley Court… the swimming pool… the important exercise equipment… it all helps to make recovery so much quicker - it helps to make people stronger and to start walking again.”
Denise said… “When Mark was first injured it took me a long time… in fact, I would say that I am only just accepting what happened. I recently joined the Band of Sisters because they support the families… the work they do is so important because it helps you to pick up the pieces as you have to live through it every day. You have to be as strong as they are… trying to accept their injury and helping them as they come out of the services and to try and start a normal life. It’s a very difficult road - and the work that Help for Heroes does is amazing. And so very important”
It was wonderful to meet Mark, Denise and Kennett - and extremely humbling. I do hope that you will be able to support the vital work of Help for Heroes by downloading Not the Christmas Number 1.
Every penny that goes to Help for Heroes will be spentproviding direct, practical support for our wounded, sick and injured Heroes and their loved ones.
Watch the video and then PRE-ORDER THE SONG NOW for just 99p!
Watch our lovely video » Not the Christmas Number 1
And pre-order the single for just 99p! It’s for Help for Heroes.
I’m feeling as Festive as Rudolf’s paddling pool full of eggnog.
Ho Ho Ho!
When you see the video for Not the Christmas Number 1 - our Christmas charity hit for Help for Heroes - you’ll appreciate the amazing talent of the team of illustrators that created our wonderful festive mural.
Today I took the opportunity to sit down with Oli Frape, the brilliant fellow who created it, for a lovely cup of tea and a good old chinwag. This is what I discovered…
Oli is 29 years old, born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire and now living in Hackney, East London. He’s a Hand-letterer, Typographer and Illustrator.
He recently released his first typeface so that people can type words the way that he draws them. (Clever chap!)
Oli was approached by digital agency STEEL (the team who are helping me with this project) and he jumped at the chance to be involved. He was briefed to produce a lively, colourful illustration featuring ME, Festive Jake! Plus a variety of other Christmas things that were inspired by suggestions for the song lyrics, which hundreds of Greggs Facebook fans and Twitter followers suggested.
After a brief period of refining the illustration he started preparing to paint it on a big wall. He began by projecting it onto the wall at a friend’s house to get an idea of scale - and apparently I looked rather splendid at that size :0)
Oli then spent a long time hand mixing paints to get the colours just right. And then it was off to the studio to film the video for Not the Christmas Number 1 - which is when I first met Oli.
Everything on the day was so well planned that it went like clockwork - and it needed to be because there was an awful lot of painting to get done. Oli brought a fabulous team with him who joined in with the drawing and painting. Thanks must go to… Ella Brock-Morgan (Oli’s lovely lady), Simon Brader (a fellow illustrator), Tom Cardo-Moreno (an animator and avid doodler) and Tom Goodfellow (a product designer and a whiz with practical tasks).
The finished mural was brilliant - and don’t I looked splendid - if somewhat gigantic!!
I’ll let Oli have the final word… he said… “I really appreciate the work that Help for Heroes do - and today I met some fantastically brave people.
Sitting in a studio painting a wall mural is a far cry from what these men and women are doing each day in extremely dangerous situations around the world. I just hope that everyone goes out and buys this single so they get as much help as possible.
It was a real pleasure and an honour to meet the guys from Help for Heroes on the video shoot day, since they’re exactly the kind of people that this project will help - and they were really good painters as well! Come on everyone! 99p for this single is such a small amount of money - but together, we can make a really big difference.”
Someone caught me on candid camera!!
This was last Sunday when I was chatting with Silvers about their next scene for the video of Not the Christmas Number 1 - our charity song that’s for Help for Heroes.
Good morning everyone. A lovely lady called Paula Lee, from the Greggs in Middlebrook, Bolton, has sent me a poem - and it’s all about me!!! I am so moved and touched!!! Thank you Paula. And here’s her poem…
At Greggs we have a secret
A secret we can’t hide
He’s a cracking little cutie
With Christmas wrapped inside
His pastry rich and crumbly
And filled with chicken breast
He’s such a snappy dresser
He’s the one we love the best
His chest is crisp and swollen
With a lattice pastry shell
He’s really rather handsome
And smells so good as well
With cranberries and stuffing
And a tasty, cheesy crumb
Out of all our savouries
He is our number 1
Come closer and I will tell you
A confidence I will break
Then you will know our secret
We call him Festive Jake!
Hello everyone! Sorry I’ve been so quiet - it’s been a very busy few days.
We filmed the video for Not the Christmas Number 1 on Sunday - and so, so many people came to help out and lend their skills - I was a thoroughly moved little pasty! I chatted to as many of them as I could and I’ll share some of their stories in the coming days.
This week I am overseeing the edit of the pop video - it’s such fun! And I’m now convinced that we’re going to get a great reaction to our charity hit. The song is amazing - the video very clever - and the charity utterly deserving.
I reckon that’s a winning combination :)
More from me soon - but for now, here’s a photo of Silvers that we took during the videoing as a sneak preview!
See you all soon!
Many of you have been asking about Silvers, the amazing band who are the talent behind ‘Not the Christmas Number 1’. So, I thought I would spend some time with each of them, to find out a little more. After we finished in the studio, I took Bradley Stamper, the bass player, for a lovely cup of tea, some cakey and a good old chin wag. And what a delightful young man he is too!! Here’s what I discovered…
Bradley is from Ickenham in NW London. When he was about my size, he started playing the Baritone - but that gave way to his beloved bass guitar at the age of 9 when his sister convinced him it was far cooler. (Thanks sis!)
Bradley had trouble deciding whether to go art college or join the army. He’s now 24 and a graduate of the Chelsea College of Art and Design at the University of the Arts, London. Decision made!
He cites his key musical influences as Bon Iver, Metronomy, Death Cab for Cutie, Ra Ra Riot, Yeasayer, Local Natives, La Shark, Beirut, The National, Grizzly Bear, The Maccabees, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Belgrade and We Barbarians.
Bass players he loves, respects and is a little bit jealous of, include Jaco Pastorius (70’s Jazz legend), Pino Palladino (Session bassist and The Who/John Mayer Trio), James Jamerson (Motown), Victor Wooten (Solo artist), Marcus Miller (Miles Davis/Solo artist), Ben Kenney (The Roots/Incubus/Solo artist) and Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie).
Bradley has played for The Routines (a London indie band of yore), Oh Minnows (an American band on their UK tour), Kevin Tuffy (Folk Troubadour) plus a few session gigs.
He also taught bass guitar to a wonderful mix of ages and abilities. (And when Bradley is hugely famous, I’m sure all his former pupils will be dining out on that story!) His musical dream? Apart from climbing the charts with ‘Not the Christmas Number 1’, Bradley would most like to play on Jools Holland and to ride on a swanky tour bus.
What else did I learn? Well, apart from the fact that he has the same best friend as when he was a tiny wee chap at nursery school, I also learned that he is the world leading authority on American political drama ‘The West Wing’. Ok, he’s actually creepily obsessed with it.
Thanks Bradley! You can pop round for a cuppa with your old pal Jake any time.