the story of some great reward
This year Some Great Reward has continued to deliver quality performances in Coventry & the surrounding area. Mark’s integration on bass is complete - his expertise & enthusiasm have been a major factor in our success in 2017.
Kev & Kez took on the challenge of providing all lead vocals between them this year & they have both relished it. Mark has also started supplying backing vocals recently, which is a welcome addition to the more ‘anthemic’ numbers.
2017 began slowly in terms of gigs as a couple of regular venues had decided to go down the cheaper route of booking solo karaoke singers instead (their loss!) This gave us extra time to hone existing & new songs, so when the regular gigs started coming in we were raring to go.
What has been particularly pleasing has been the number of private functions we were asked to perform this year. To be chosen to share & add to these happy occasions is real privilege. Particular highlights were a wedding party at the Jaguar Club & birthday parties in Birmingham city centre (a logistical challenge but a fun night), Christ the King Club (a ‘Depeche Mode-fest ’ where we played a record 48 songs) & the Albany & Railway Clubs in Coventry (both great venues & audiences).
Our last gig of 2017 was at the New Spires on Boxing Day. Despite awful weather we got a good crowd & it was an excellent way to end the year. We’ll be back there in January. 2018 is shaping up well already, with lots of re-bookings, a couple of new venues in Nuneaton lined up & a regular slot at our favourite pub in Rugby, along with more 50th Birthday parties for which we are becoming renowned (must be our age!)
Thank you to everyone who has listened & cheered us on this year & to the venues for having us. We’re enjoying playing more than ever & it’s great to see that reflected in our audiences. Hope to see you again in 2018!
Kev, Mark & Kez
Bedworth Liberal Club will sadly be Nathan’s last with the band. Back in March Nathan told Kev & Kerry that he would be leaving Some Great Reward at the end of the year, giving them plenty of notice to look for another bass player & get them up to speed, which Kev & Kerry really appreciated.
The solution was closer to home than they first imagined. Mark (or Payney as a lot of people know him) had been a regular supporter of the band right from their gigs at Al’s Bar. He also played guitar in a band already. Thankfully Mark agreed to take up bass duties when asked.
Mark’s work ethic & enthusiasm were immediately apparent. He had a lot of songs to learn & did so at an astonishing rate. Nathan was a big help, both at rehearsal & by lending Mark his ‘bible’ of chords to the band’s songs. Ultimately though, Mark’s successful integration was down to his own dedication (not to mention talent).
Mark made his debut in June, playing half a dozen songs, quickly building up to playing whole sets of 13 songs. Nathan meanwhile would continue to sing lead & backing vocals when required. Some Great Reward #2 (Mark, Kev & Kerry) then made its first appearance as a three piece in October. They have now performed several times, mixing in gigs as a four with Nathan, and a couple with the ‘original’ line up.
Nathan has been writing his own songs & working on them with other musicians. His initial plan doesn’t include gigs, but watch this space in case the performing ‘bug’ re-appears – Nathan knows where to come if he needs a support act! Here is a sneak preview, https://youtu.be/hMlFv1Uzgxw.
Nathan leaves Some Great Reward with our best wishes & gratitude for the way he has helped us to manage the transition. Nathan has been a massive part of our success so far & we will all miss him. We hope to see him at some of our gigs next year.
The story of Some Great Reward
When Kev finally hung up his football boots he realised he needed a new hobby & decided to take up the guitar, something he’d always liked the idea of but never had the necessary time (or attention span). Armed with a ‘Teach Yourself Guitar’ book, he bought an electric guitar from e-bay & started practising. Although Kev found it difficult at first, he was determined & steadily he learnt a few chords, then full songs, with the help of on-line sites such as Ultimate Guitar, Betty Lou & e-chords.
When he heard of this new ‘venture’, Kev’s oldest friend Nathan confessed his long held fantasy of being a bass player (he had always thought it looked cool & didn’t appear too difficult). However it wasn’t until the following year that this became a reality: Nathan finally got hold of a bass & amplifier and a ‘band’ was born!
The two friends then met up regularly at Kev’s house to practise. With the added assistance of a drum machine, their early efforts were Depeche Mode covers, with a few ‘indie’ songs thrown in for much-needed credibility. Kev also bought a 4-track Tape Recorder so some of these recordings have been preserved for posterity (though the recording quality is not the best & the playing abilities can most kindly be described as ‘embryonic’). The duo called themselves ‘Sea Of Sin’ (after a Depeche Mode b-side).
Meanwhile Nathan had been tipped off by one of his work colleagues that there was an experienced drummer in their midst, i.e. someone who had been in a real band and, impressively, had played actual gigs! (One of the bands was called Catherine Spirit – check out YouTube for one of their songs) Nathan then got to know Kerry & asked if he was interested in having a ‘jam’. Fortunately Kerry agreed to dust off his drums & the first rehearsal soon took place at CM studios in Coventry.
It was quickly agreed that this would be a ‘covers only’ band. None of the three had any illusions of rock stardom (you need your own songs &, to be honest, they were all ‘getting on a bit’!); they all wanted to play songs they liked & that other people/ audiences would know. Progress was initially slow & patience was required all round: Kerry had to put up with Kev & Nathan’s comparative inexperience/lack of expertise, while problems with Kerry’s back (drumming is a lot more physical than it looks, try it!) interrupted the momentum, leading to temporary re-deployment of the aforementioned drum machine.
It also immediately became apparent that a ‘lead’ singer was not required. All three band members were a) capable & b) willing to sing lead on certain songs, the different ranges & styles of their respective voices allowing them to tackle a wider range of songs than most other bands, thus providing more variety to potential audiences.
After many months of building up the number of songs they could play through without too many mistakes (also known as a ‘set list’) the band discussed the next step: live performance. Open mic nights were mentioned & seemed a good option until Kerry announced that his dad, Alan, was willing to give the band a gig at his club (Al’s Bar in Barrow-On-Soar, near Loughborough).
Early the following January finally saw the live debut of Some Great Reward (Kev & Nathan had decided a name change was necessary several months earlier & settled on the title of Depeche Mode’s seminal 1984 album). Some of the songs played that night remain in the band’s set to this day (e.g. Fire, Rock n Roll Star, 20th Century Boy). The next few gigs all took place at the same venue, giving the band valuable experience of playing to an audience but in a familiar setting. The band moved on to other venues but has regularly returned to play at Al’s Bar. They remain very grateful to Alan for giving the band its ‘start’.
Gigs have predominantly been in Coventry, but the band has also played in Birmingham, Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Rugby, Lutterworth & Bulkington to date. Bedworth will shortly be added to the list of ‘hosts’. They have also played several private parties, in tandem with a DJ, and have more lined up as far ahead as 2016.
Some Great Reward continues to go from strength to strength – friends/audience members who have not seen them perform for a while consistently comment that they have improved since the last time, which is always nice to hear, especially as the band thought they were great to start off with! Re-bookings from venues are standard now, which again is a positive sign.
The band now has more than 80 songs ‘in the bag’, covering a wide range of eras & styles (Kev has also added the keyboard/piano to his ‘repertoire’) allowing them to vary their set depending on the occasion, venue and/or audience.