Flat Spells

In surfing (one of my favourite sports) there is a term known as ‘flat spells’… it relates to a period of time when the waves leave our shores. Sometimes these spells can last for weeks.

Surfers struggle with flat spells….the reason they find it so hard is because the deep relational act of connecting with waves is very life giving and freeing …

It takes many years to accept flat spells and in reality a surfer will never really come to terms with the departing of the ocean wave ….it’s why surfers are often unsettled… nomads…travellers…searchers.

It’s at this time I realise (deeply)…as much as I would like to be, I’m not in control…

I can’t make the waves arrive and I have no say in when they leave…..Gareth_surf

I do know that I can’t contain myself with joy when they turn up, when they begin to kiss our Cornish beaches, conversely I also know that my spirit has an inherent sense of lasting bereavement when they leave.

Let me share with you about that one ‘special wave’…the wave that arrives at the very moment that I happened to be in the ocean, sitting in that God given right place, at the right time, on the right day…it’s feels far from random…far from accidental.…as if I was meant to be there..…

In that moment I ‘hook in’ … I ‘catch’ and ‘connect’…it’s when unexplainable quantum mechanics come in to play…time stands still…and the wave dancing begins…it can last seconds but for me it’s a life time….unforgotten…embedded forever in my synapses and deepest parts of my God given soul.

We all will have relationships with special waves in our lives…and we will all have flat spells …because walking this earth is both immeasurably beautiful and immeasurably painful…and we’re not in control.

A surfer handles flat spells by hanging out with other surfers…in social science we call it ‘community’….and do you know what they talk about? for hours and hours…yep…you got it…’waves’…’special waves’.Naomi

Many of you know we recently lost our mate Naomi to cancer …Nomesy inspired us to write ‘tulips and coffee’…she is embedded in the deepest parts of our soul…we will always talk about Naomi and we will keep the dancing going…

We urge you to never miss an opportunity to Dance, dance and dance some more….as our ‘breathing people’ song says ..“we’re a dancing people”

Gareth
The Claze – a hopeful non religious non judgemental bunch of ‘not in control’ wave kissing dancers with a loving Christian faith and more questions than answers

ps hope to see you at a gig or festival over the summer check Facebook or website for dates.

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Bezerk in Belgium (& Douglas Macmillan)

We were on our way to Belgium to play a gig (more later) with Tom driving, Dave navigating and the kids, Jimmy & Gareth, asleep in the back when the Dad dancing euro driving bass-man let out a big happy/loud sigh followed by “this is just bezerk!!”.

What a great word!!! It’s a new word for us, completely rediscovered. Apparently comes from the fearsome Norsemen known as ‘berserkers’ due to a rather animated approach they had to their work. Words with a ‘z’ (eg The Claze) suit us ..last word in alphabet…we love things that are last, like we love underdogs…another blog for another time.

I think we’re the complete opposite of fearsome Norsemen but its fair to say we do have a rather animated approach to our work, tough to even call it work.packing

So here we are, end of March 2014, and the whole Cornish bezerk-band of brothers spreading the smiley love type journey continues…now even into Europe.

How we ended up travelling from Cornwall to Belgium to play at our new friend Dimitri’s grande annual party is a whole other story. We stayed at the beautiful French speaking Gerpinnes south of Chaleroi and took in the sights of Dinant, home of the saxophone and dined in the beautiful citadel city and Walloon capital, Namur.

We ate Lescargo (snails) which Dimitri found very funny…Tom & Jimmy did their best, Gareth put on a brave face, Dave downed 4 in quick succession (sturdy pallet). We sampled some great belgian beer and spent a wonderful few hours at abbeye de Maraedsous. We were hugely impressioned by the serene nature of the monastery and the commitment to ‘work’ and ‘faith’ by the monks that have been working there for hundreds of years…we saw one monk he was 742 years old :-).The Claze in Dninant

We are very thankful to Dimitri and Delphine for asking us to Belgium and continually amazed that our music and approach can really make ‘new things’ such as great friendships and break boundaries ..in so many ways.

We played on the Friday night for 3 hours, so much fun!!! Tom only knows one French speaking statement ‘Ou est La Biblioteque?’ … ‘Where is the library?’ So he used that about 4 times during the gig…slightly confusing to the locals …but Mr McIntyre was nonetheless very proud of himself.

Other news …

It was great to see Mark, Kirsty, Helen S and friend, Terrina and Helen G at our Basingstoke gig on the way back. We don’t think we’ve ever done a concert where during the singing of Nina Simone’s feeling good, a slightly inebriated chap planted a bar stool in front of the speakers and did a head stand (on said stool) while holding two wooden spoons in his mouth…he used these to drum along to most of the gig but broke 4 in the process…drummer Jimmy was proud of him.

We certainly see it all. Good head stand as well.

We’re so humbled to find in March we had been awarded the Douglas Macmillan national award for services to Macmillan Cancer support…this came through because our mate Em Wright cheekily nominated us after our work on tulips and coffee..which was written for our mate Naomi who continues to inspire us hugely as she lives life to the full and battles on through the big challenge that cancer brings.

It was also sooooo cool to have Abide played on BBC Radio 2 this month as well. We heard that there was quite a bit of jigging around during the song in the radio 2 studio and we appreciate the lovely comments from presenter Hardeep Singh Koli.

Until next time… When We’ll be back with more tales of bezerk-ness.

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Love Wins

Must admit 2013 was a year that won’t be forgotten…..we were in a venue the other day having a beer before going on stage reflecting on the year (and unbelievably …planning dates in 2014).LoveWins

So here’s a few reflections of the roller coaster of 2013.

We released our first album ‘breathing people’ in January and began to receive first air play on BBC introducing in Cornwall. By the end of the year 9 of the tracks had received plays on BBC introducing.

In February we were told we’d get some play on national radio, BBC Radio 2, and in March our song Nathaniel, written for our friends, had been played to a heck of a lot of people around UK on Clare Balding’s programme Good Morning Sunday.

In April we travelled to London and played a live set on BBC Radio 2 which included Nathaniel and Mumbles. We took some Cornish scones for presenter Clare Balding and team and had to pinch ourselves warming up on Elton John’s grand piano in the green room surrounded by David Bowie records on the wall.

During May and June we did a live recording for BBC Radio Cornwall as part of BBC Introducing and were selected to play on the Introducing stage at the Royal Cornwall Show along side some really cool artists.

Throughout this time we had a great time playing gigs and festivals around Cornwall allowing us to still be close to family.

In July, having been moved by local mum Naomi and her battle against cancer and having been contacted to work with Macmillan, the song Tulips and Coffee was written. This was recorded and a video released in the first week of August.

By the middle of August the song and video had gone around the country hitting over 1 million twitter accounts and #tulipsandcoffee was officially trending in the UK for 2 days. We also made The Guardian national newspaper’s website.

September’s lasting memory is playing a fantastic festival in the afternoon on the Lizard in Cornwall, Henry’s little big gig (we’ve been invited back…yippee) and then travelling the length of Cornwall to play at the legendary Blue Peter in Polperro.

In October we were fully blessed to play at the Cherished Forever charity ball in Worcester helping raise funds to help parents cope with loss of children before full term… Run by Beth and Paul…parents of Nathaniel and the inspiration behind the song.

By the time we got to November we were a little tired :-) as we’re all working and family chaps. We got the energy juices flowing agin and headed to BBC Radio London and played a live set again at Broadcasting House. This time playing Penlee and Mumbles. We also loved playing at one of Truro’s premier venues.. The Olde Ale house.

Finally in December we were asked by Radio Cornwall to feature on their BBC Introducing Christmas EP and wrote, recorded and made a really fun video of our Christmas song Love Wins with a little help from the Steel Angels… The song received over 1,000 views on youtube in 36 hours and has made the Christmas Day playlist on BBC Radio 2.

And that’s it….one parting comment…Love wins reflects the real Christmas story and was an opportunity to wear our faith on our sleeves. For us music comes out because we are loved and can love….there is no more agenda than that….this is the heart of our Christian faith.

We are so, so, sooooop grateful to all our family, friends and supporters for the hugs, hand shakes and thumbs up….. You know….love really does win :-).

Now time to sleep and love our families a bit more……see you in 2014.

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Storm Chasing….

Well there it was….October 27th, the October storm to end all storms… we’re not sure if it was quite on a par with the famous Michael Fish storm but whenclazeVideoShooo you’re living in Cornwall you get to see what storms can do…..just by standing and looking at the ocean

Amazing, frightening, clearing, damaging, sculpting, out of control, re-shaping, creating…..

Listening to a really good speaker not so long ago, he said metaphorically some people will run from storms and some people will run towards them……another cool thing is that if you head down to our local beach once a storm has passed you’ll find the beach has been re-shaped……what’s even more groovy is that you can never predict how the beach will look until you get there.

Now, we’re not suggesting you all go storm chasing J but this storm picture kind of works for us because as a band we’re seriously ‘bricking it’ most of the time when we say ‘yes’ and head to some of these unpredictable events called gigs or have to go live on the radio or put our ‘art’ out there…it feels so out of control….and yet somehow its re-shaping and life giving….

Yep…just a bunch of mates having a go, getting seriously shaped and hoping / daring that somewhere along the line our music gives a bit of a blessing.

Talking of that….a couple of crazy and cool things and a few thanks…

We’re really looking forward to heading off to play a live set on BBC radio London next month, check out facebook or twitter for more details.

We’re also looking forward to recording a Christmas single for the Phoenix stroke appeal in partnership with BBC Radio Cornwall and working with producer Gareth Young.

We had a good day filming with Toby Lobb the video for our song Penlee and we were completely humbled by the blessing from Neil Brockman whose father (Nigel) died on the Penlee lifeboat, the Solomon Browne, in 1981. Tulips&Coffee

Big thanks to Beth, Paul, Barnaby and Arabella Tripp for allowing us to stay in their lovely home and having us play at the Cherished Forever charity ball in Worcester.

Also thanks to Naomi and family and all at Macmillan for the great journey of tulips and coffee and those really cool memory rings given to us … that story just keeps going…

We’re not quite sure how he’s done it but the small Welshman (aka Gareth, lead singer and chief song blokey) has gone and been offered a Clore Fellowship.  We know that sounds a bit like something out of the Hobbit, but actually it’s a big deal – google away peeps – it recognises him, at a national level no less(!!), both for what he’s done professionally and for what he’s capable of as an aspiring  leader in the social sector. Should be an interesting journey for him over the next couple of years, but we are very worried about him getting lost on his London trips, so if you see him wandering aimlessly around, please be kind.

Finally, check our gigs page for where we’re at over next few months …from Liskeard to London

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Forest Gump, Tulips and Coffee

I sat one night last week until the early hours watching the oscar winning movie Forest Gump (again). TulipsAndCoffee

Forest Gump, a simple chap, with a simple outlook, stumbling profoundly through life, loving people…..mmmmm??

It was at this point I laughed out loud. I think The Claze is becoming ‘Gump-like’.

We sat in a pub a few years ago believing that local music can have purpose, change lives and inspire people to love thy neighbour….and that was it….the fact we could barely play (improving all the time – lol) had no bearing on our vision to become a social enterprise band (linked to www.exhale.org.uk)

What a journey…I do feel ‘gump-like’ when I think of being sat playing live on BBC radio 2 this year… I do feel ‘gump-like’ recording the deep words of our song ‘Nathaniel’ for Beth in one of the most well known studios in UK overlooking the river Fowey…and when Jimmy (more lieutenant Dan-like) our drummer fell fully into the river Fowey and was unable to be rescued by Tom and Dave due to belly laughter on the slip way.

So it with Gump, the smiles come with pain…and here we are…
#tulipsandcoffee…(as it’s now known)….

We got a neighbour (Naomi) …she is super groovy, so is her hubby (Tony)…he rocks on a bass guitar…so are their kiddies…big smilers, legend lego builders and beautiful dancers.

Naomi loves tulips…my wifey (Niky) painted her a picture with tulips which now hangs in the front room. Tulips, or any flowers bring smiles. When Naomi isn’t fixing people as a health professional, she has a gang of girly mum mates in our town…they often go and drink coffee and hang out…(I’m never invited, I’ll get over it…hope you’re reading this Naomi and gang!!l lol)

Hanging out over a few coffee beans and giving flowers makes sense…it gives strength…

…especially when Naomi got cancer….that was just pants, pants and more pants!!

So that’s where Tulips and coffee came from, it’s a gift to Naomi and so many more fighting huge battles… as the song goes “we can be community, we will build for you kettle wall and pots that brew…because we are all few crazy beans”.

We’re really blown away it hit 750,000 twitter accounts in 4 days, we’re amazed it received well over 2000 you tube views in just a few days. We think Em Wright of Macmillian-Kernow is tops as is all Macmillan UK who have got behind the song, which features the Macmillan dancing mugs. We’re totally blessed that presenter Clare Balding supported us, author Amanda Prowse and mum of the year Michelle Thompson gave us a big thumbs up, and that Claire Young apprentice finalist and founder of Teen biz also gave us a smile.

We’re also fully stoked (surfing term) that Soreen UK offered a years supply of yummy soreen malt loaf for re-tweets…wow, wow, and double wow…

…but most of all…we’re mostly blessed and inspired because of Naomi…tulips and coffee is for you matey…

Further Gumpisms…

Bubba Gump on Bass (Tom) who served his country proudly around the world and three years ago could barely play a guitar.

Dave… on piano runs and runs and runs and runs (without running shoes…crazy-fool)

James… more Lieutenant Dan like…who despite Tom Bubba Gump’s letters is always late and fell in the river

Gareth…who once stood in front of the prime minister and cabinet in skate shoes and made a rubbish joke

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Music with a purpose (and with coffee)

We’re loving the summer vibe here in the Duchy… As we write the surf is rolling & the sunshine is reeling :).

ClazeRockOysterWhat a top time we had with the BBC crew at Royal Cornwall!! It was a hoot (a very hot hoot). Playing a set with Keziah (she’s going places). Big thanks to the producers and David White. We’ll put some of the live recordings on our sound cloud profile …maybe check out ‘Stand Up’ which is already on there.

The Rock Oyster was blummin’ rocking hanging out with Josh Curnow (he’s going places too). Do you know they even printed our name on their festival pint pots … Tom our bass player was in tears of joy.

We can’t wait to hook up with 2 great charities this year Macmillan and Cherished Forever (parents coping with loss of children).

We’re blessed about this as its one of the main reasons we exist… ‘Music with a purpose’… So we’re blown away to be able to help these great charities.

Check out the ‘cherished forever’ event poster in October in Worcester (on CherishedForeverFlyerour gigs page).. Come along if you’re any where near West Midlands :).

In terms of Macmillan we can’t wait to record and film our song ‘tulips & coffee’ for one of our mates battling cancer …all in support of the coffee morning campaign…we’ll get the film on youtube so you can have a look as soon as …

Next time further tales of summer trips to Creation Fest, St. Columb party in park and The Blue Peter, Polperro.

Ps if anyone is reading this & was at our pics n coffee gig in June or The olde ship in padstow – Blimey t’was pumping eh?

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Bucket Lists

The_CLaze_Radio2What a fun couple of months! Some serious absorbing (see prev blog).

Anyone seen the bucket list movie? The one where Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman become pals and start ticking off the list of crazy things to do before you die.

We’ve been ticking our bucket lists in the last 2 months.

We played live on BBC radio 2 with Clare Balding at broadcasting house, London.

We were interviewed at length on BBC radio Cornwall, David White show with some great questions about our faith & music
We played a proper independent record store, nostalgia music, Truro (who now stock our album)
We did live recording at BBC radio in Truro
Did a fab session at picture house Wadebridge with Albert our guest 80 year old bongo player
We’ve had our recorded music played at a number of radio stations across the land
Wadebridge u11 B football team won 2 consecutive matches
And to top it off drummer Jimmy has left home & moved to a caravan near the surfTom_James_BBC_Cornwall

When I told a mate we were off to the ‘big smoke’ to play some songs he said he’d never been to Plymouth and to look after ourselves….you got to love Cornwall.

So, a few thanks & blessings to those that have crossed our paths (or we – theirs) ….

…all at BBC radio 2 Good Morning Sunday, all at BBC radio Cornwall and David White show and BBC introducing, Nostalgia records in Truro, Rev Phil McGee in Brisbane @ Dream records/EMI….stay in touch mate, particularly for lions & ashes banter.

Big love to those with some hefty health battles on their hands we’re made up our music helps & are praying for you.

Next time….tales of a performance at “later with David ‘jools holland’ White”, Royal Cornwall show, some fine dining at Rock Oyster food and music festival and a visit to the legendary St. Columb carnival & music festival in August.

More bucket lists peut d’être

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Absorb

Sprrrrrrrrring!!!! Yehaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!TheClaze_laughing

Me’s a love spring!!!! Everything grows, like as if you can hear one big wake up ‘yawn’ then all the plants and, for us in Cornwall, farm animals say to each other….(in a James Brown / Cornish farmer voice) “Get Upppa, Ged on upppah” ……. what I like about it is that this growth thing isn’t one big competition fest, it ain’t like the apprentice on TV.

It’s just so darn cool….how in spring things just… grow….no stress…no drama….no one’s getting fired……it’s just growth time…the rain comes (thank you God)…the sun shines (thank you God)….and things…..just…..well….grow.

Do we get it wrong sometimes? and get caught in this ‘striving painfully’ thang?……I notice the music industry is a bit like that….huge promotion, striving for exposure, playing until you knackered and can barely mumble another word let alone sing, being told to go here and there, no opportunity missed….. it can kind of make things colourless and surely music has got to have colour and lots of shades and bags of creativity…..

The Claze had a big ol’ chat last month after getting national radio play …..we talked about what makes us tick, stuff like loving our families, loving our friends and our community, hanging out at the beach, fellowship with church, loving our beautiful surroundings, being a servant to each other …this includes the good stuff and the hurts …..so for us, it’s so much about being able to ‘listen’ lots to what’s going on around and ‘reflecting’ that in our music….the great thing is that all this kind of helped us to know who and where we are in all this band stuff….it felt like discovering the (not so) secret ingredient to growth….

The ingredient: ‘Absorb’ – to soak up

So the Clazey word for April is – ‘absorb’……I love that word…..absorb…say it slowly ‘ab-sorb’…..beautiful….the flowers absorb the sun and the rain and the nutrients and then they….. grow…..so we hereby declare…The Claze will be absorbing lots this year, we’ve actually said ‘no’ to quite a few striving type things especially since our recent air time on radio 2 ….(tough for me being an opportunist) as we believe….we grow better by absorbing all that life has to offer ….not stifling creativity by nutter type exertion…of course, we may lean towards the sun for a bit more ‘aborbing’…..but we certainly ain’t gonna try and pull it from the sky…..that’s not how God intended it for us……or anyone…it stifles growth….’stifle’ that’s a cool word as well… tho’ I prefer ‘trifle’……see, growing already:).

Big up to tick tock photos again you lot are legends……

next time tales of The Claze trip to London…. or better titled ‘a carrot crunchers perspective of the big smoke….’

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Clazey Tuesday..

“And it came to pass that Tues 6th February 2013 shalt now-eth be called-eth Clazey Tuesday”
ClazeCoverBlank
It’s best to keep this short, the emotions have swung all over the place this week (and last week)…..we’ve been blessed and humbled…tough days and amazing days… All peaked on Clazey Tuesday.

We’ll be straight, we’re not immune to difficulties and struggles like anyone else, Stuff we deal with in our daily working lives, pressure and demands from all angles, trying to get a balance and not quite achieving it….making a few wrong decisions yabba yabba…. But there’s no better thing than ‘community’ amongst friends to work through this…not to mention a few prayers….which is what we did last Friday….then the following happened, mostly on Tuesday

  • BBC radio 2 says they want to play our songs
  • BBC radio ask us to play a live session on Claire Balding show
  • Our album gets on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc
  • We get gig requests from all over
  • Tom buys an I-pad (we think this is the most amazing thing)
  • Jimmy gets all his drums protected with new cases

theClaze-words
We’re not really up for the big time, (as a minimum Wadebridge u11′s would lose their footy coach, so the Claze would have to find another singer) and as said before our music is so simple and un-technical we’re a little wondering – ‘why?’ But if our songs or story help others, through raising awareness of need in Cornwall or simply to help increase someone’s faith….

…Then ‘why not’ :-)

the Claze – A bunch of mates with struggles … And a few exciting times ahead

‘Love thy neighbour’

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blog No 1

“Wazzon! I’ve always wondered about the Cornish greeting ‘WalbumAzzon’! Is it ‘Wazzon?’ or ‘Wazzon!’, a question? or exclamation?! ….

I was working the other day with the lads from Cormac (Cornish road fixers and builders)…and it was definitely ‘wazzon!’. It was great to get to know some of the lads, it was very obvious to me of the hardships working on the Cornish roads in the bleak winter, sometimes in the early hours of the morning, just to earn a some pennies (literally pennies) and put food on the table for their families. I noticed the deep friendship or sense of community between them, watching each others’ back as it were…….

This sense of compassion for others and comradeship is kind of what brought The Claze together. Let’s face it musically we’re pretty naive…we watch ‘Later with Jools Holland’ in awe and we often joke about when someone in the band will learn the ‘F major’ chord so we can progress. However the reality is our ‘soul’ burns to play music and our heart and faith says that music can be a tool for change in ourselves and others

Lets take Tom our bass player, former military man, he’s been there and done stuff we wouldn’t want to know about or could deal with….he had nevClazeGearer even touched a bass when we started, he’d just learned a few chords on the guitar, but you could tell his ‘soul’ burns to tell his stories through music and be part of something that is far more about ‘availability’, ‘responsibility’, ‘express-ability’ and than simply ‘ability’….. ok, I just made up ‘expressability’ ….lol.

So…it is with a sense of community and desire to see music help change people’s lives in Cornwall that ‘The Claze’ exists. Our lyrics and sounds that we recorded on our debut album ‘breathing people’ is a reflection of that, we are into people who are brave, particularly those that are on their last legs physically or emotionally and still keep going, we have a strong connection with Cornwall, a deep Christian faith and sense of justice all of which helps us loads in our writing…..most of all it’s about relationships, comradeship, sense of community, backing each other up…..kind of like the disciples did in old times…

With that in mind, we’ve been blessed to support Help for heroes, Marie Curie Cancer, jeremiahs journey and Cornwall Air ambulance and in the future we will be supporting the Exhale Foundation, a new charity we are setting up that can help address and raise awareness of acute poverty in Cornwall….and aspirationally further afield…….

Hope you join us in our little crazy journey

The Claze (a bunch of friends with big hearts making simple, even naive, music for positive change

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