The Atlantics [atlantics]
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
The Atlantics are a band playing 1950s style rock n roll and rhythm n blues. There's five of us in the band - double bass, guitar, sax, piano and drums (plus vocals) - so we create a BIG sound.
Do you work alone or in a group? If in a group, who are the others you work with?
The whole band are Shorty Long (bass), Ruby Darnell (tenor sax), Mr Miggs (guitar), Johnny Ace (drums) and Boogie Bill Browning (piano).
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
Our main website is www.the-atlantics.com
We're also on www.lemonrock.com/atlantics
and www.onstageregister.com (1st page of the 50s bands)
Please list discography in which you have participated.
We're currently writing our own original material and will be going into the studio next month (November 08) to record our first CD.
How did you begin making music? Who introduced you?
We all started at different times - Shorty bought a double bass when he was 18 on the way back from a rock n roll weekender. He was brought up on his Dad's Bill Haley records so jammed along with them before joining his first band. Miggs has always been in bands. He started on his Mum's acoustic guitar in the front room, moved onto a school rock band with a stolen electric guitar from an auction and never looked back! Johnny Ace is the youngest member (at 15) and has been playing since he was in the womb! His Dad and brothers have always played and are currently in Johnny Cash tribute Ring of Fire. Ruby D has played guitar and flute since being a kid and started playing sax a couple of years ago when she saw fab honkin sax player Johnny Wallace up close (Stargazers, Jive Romeros). Bill has played for light years and comes from the planet Zog.
What was your musical education?
Being out in the big bad world. Getting stung from promoters, sleeping in vans, bad PAs, etc The last 20 years spent being involved in bands and live music has been the best education. NONE of that rubbish happens with The Atlantics - every gig has been great and of course we understand how to be organised and get a good sound in every venue. We're members of the Musicians Union as well so always get good advice where needed.
When did you realise that making music could be a way of life for you?
Ruby D went to music college in Newcastle, playing and managing/promoting bands, so always had it in mind that this was going to be her career path and Mr Miggs was a professional musician with a previous band in the 80s. With The Atlantics, we spent quite a while playing covers of well known rock n roll songs - people like Bill Haley, Little Richard, Big Joe Turner etc - but quickly realised that we wanted to write our own original material.
What is your creative process?
We tend to write songs individually (words and music) then bring it to the rest of the band. Then we play through, drop in solos etc and, if we can, make a rough recording to listen back. We mull it over, mess about with song dynamics and build up a track like that. We like to work on tracks for a while rather than write something and be happy with the first draft. When we listen to the original 40s and 50s artists, you can hear all sorts of riffs going on in the background which make a huge difference to a song's depth and character. It can make a good song into a great song.
When do you have your most lucid moments, in the morning or night?
We all have our moments. Everyone's different I suppose but I think it's probably first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The bits in between are usually so busy.
How often do you practice?
Daily (individually) then as a band we get together as often as possible, every couple of weeks.
Which musicians or groups have been inspiring to your career?
We all have different influences, mainly from the late 40s and the 50s such as The Comets, Little Richard, Joe Turner, Elvis - they were all really groundbreaking artists and changed music in their time. Sax features a lot in our songs and Ruby loves all of those 50s honkers when jazz was just crossing over with rock n roll like Lee Allen, Jack McVea, Big Jay McNeely - the bar walkers that would get down into the audience and really entertain as well as playing some classic sax.
List three songs that are key to your life.
You Keep on Knockin (Little Richard) - Ruby D
Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley & His Comets) - Mr Miggs
Calling All Comets (Bill Haley & His Comets) - Shorty Long
What should be done to stop piracy?
sink their bloody ships
What type of music do you detest?
New Age - whales and tinkly bells. Not really relaxing, it should come with a health warning. And Europop hardcore dance stuff. House music. Stuff with drum machines. None of this does a lot for us. No musical talent involved, or even instruments.
What time did you get up this morning?
How do you sell yourself? What has been your experience with record companies and representatives?
We do most of this ourselves and we've had a lot of advice from the Musicians Union about copyright, PRS, MCPS etc We also do the management and promotion but do have an agent for national gigs. He has some great connections and got us bigger gigs much quicker than we could have done alone.
Have you ever played on the street or in the subway? How much did you collect each day?
Yes, we've done this before. I think it depends on where you go and when. Christmas seems to be a good time when everyone's quite jolly. I saw a fabulous piano player busking in Exeter High Street one day. He had a full real upright piano there and played some corking boogie woogie. He'd gathered a good crowd so I reckon he had a pretty good day. Good luck to him.
Who would you play with, without a doubt?
Little Richard and Chuck Berry. That would be awesome.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
Practice as much as you can. Write and record everything that comes to you. Get clued up on the business side - even if you let someone else handle everything so you can concentrate on making great music, you need to know how it all works. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Join the Musicians Union - they give loads of advice to members. And enjoy being a musician.
Devon - UK