7 minutes with: The Brand New Heavies



The brilliant Brand New Heavies are back – although they never really left. Formed in the 80’s and huge in the 90’s, the band have remained true to their funk jazz-acid roots. We caught up with Simon Bartholomew, the man who’s been rocking their vocals, guitar and production since day one.

The biggest difference between the music industry now and 30 years ago?
Without a doubt the internet has rocked the very core on the music industry. At worst it’s taken away a crucial revenue stream ~ record sales. At best, it’s taken the power away from Major Labels to a certain extent and given a platform for any band to et themselves out there. No more novelty bands, like The Wombles, but it does mean that you have to be able to play live to get ahead. That’s the other main revenue stream. And Merch. Remember You’re A Womble !!!!

What’s the closest The Brand New Heavies have come to splitting up?
Me personally? There’s been a few moments, but that’s Funk n Soul N Rock n Roll for ya ! After 20 years, everyone’s had their moments. Our long term drummer ran off into the sunset with our lead singer, but the funk continues. Our new Guy n Gal are GREAT ! The shows are super duper we feel….

Have you had any recent bands and singers reach out for advice?
Not particularly, but I always like to say…. If you’re learning an instrument, it’s most important to be able to sing to your kids. Don’t think about fame. ESPECIALLY, Jam with your buddies ~ That way you can make your own stuff up n start a band and learn how to play in time! 

If you HAD to be remembered for one music moment or song – what would it be?
Sweet Freeek because we are one! 

Favourite venue to play?
I think the our music suits best to not the biggest venues. We love old theatres, so it’s more a type of venue than a particual one. Wherever we are, we give as much as we can. 

Who would your fantasy band line-up be made up from (Musicians past and present allowed)?
The Hulk on Bass, Spiderman on Guitar, Dr Strange on Synthesiser, She Rah on Drums ~ Margaret Thatcher on Lead Vocals. Backing vocals ~ Hilary Clinton & Donald Trump. Scariest band you ever saw !

Your worst moment on stage. Ever?
At the beginning of the show Andrew ran onstage first, but slipped over onto his back. Being a trooper he continued playing rather than stop the music. I ran out after and lay down next to him, which was fun ! Actaually, that is not a worst moment….

The band’s biggest regrets?
We very nearly supported Micheal Jackson and I’m a big fan of his music and that would be great to brag about now. Right in his heyday too. Damn, Blast, thanks for the reminder !

Brand New Heavies song that gets the best crowd reaction?
We have this kind of ‘Disco’ section that ends the live set where we try n give it all to ya. And you want it all, right ? That is where the crowd get going. 

What does the future hold for TBNH?
We’re working on new material. All I’m saying is it’s 30 years since Acid Jazz started and same for TBNH . 

DON’T miss The Brand New Heavies big show coming up at KOKO on the 7 December 2016! 

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About Deborah James

Loves live music. Terrified of mosh pits due to an incident circa 2006 involving a thrown bucket of random warm urine. Watches keenly from safer distances.

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