Colin Tench has been gone to the other side
Colin “William” Tench, 30th May 1954 – 27th December 2017 This is without any doubt the darkest day in the history of Murky Red. We lost our very dear friend Colin Tench, too young, too soon, too unfair to be true. We will miss the long conversations with him about music, life, silly things and funny noises. Because he wasn’t only a brilliant musician, he was also a brilliant person, always encouraging and supporting for everybody he met. A humble guy with a very big heart. Loved by many, Admired by many. When we were down and feel like we wanted to give up, he was always there to tell us that ‘you silly sods should keep on doing what you’re doing, never give up!’ Words from Stef: Back in 2009-2010, when we took our first steps on social media, we learned that networking is the keyword. Yolanda, who always was the driving force behind Murky Red, tried to connect mostly with Belgian bands, and spent a lot of time listening to music with a high crap-factor. Results; hardly any reply and a miracle if you could find a decent song. I must admit, our tracks weren’t that good either. I was writing pop rock songs because our focus was to get gigs on the local stages. One evening, after hours of ploughing through ugly music again, Yoli said to me: ‘wow, you have to listen to this’. It was ‘The Deal’ by BunChakeze. ‘Wow’ indeed! We left a comment and got reply almost immediately, from Sonia Mota and from Colin himself. We couldn’t believe he was accessible. We kept in touch, discovered more BunChakeze, and maybe a week or 2 later we had our first Skype chat. He gave us guidance, go there, check this out, contact that guy … We entered another world and realized that pop rock simply isn’t our thing. I started writing from another angle. First of all only music I like to play, and also: ‘what would Colin think of this?’ No doubt about it, if we would have never met him, Murky would sound different today. If there still would be a Murky even. We were lucky that Colin was one of the first people we got connected with on social media. It sets the standards high, on many levels. Through the years he became a musical mentor, a big brother that says ‘don’t worry about it you nincompoop, we’ll make it happen’. A soul mate in funny noises and nonsense. We laughed so much with ducks, pweeps and ploings. He also could take critique from a snot nose like me. We exchanged tracks in progress for feedback, and he wanted you to be honest. Yolanda listened to numerous mixes in progress, mostly titled ‘final version 4’. He was a perfectionist, it had to sound good before he went to bed. Yolanda and l miss the long conversations about music and life in general, that British accent, the many laughs he gave us, his wisdom. I am not religious, I only believe in science and the laws of nature. But I’m the last person to say that there is no afterlife. We’ll see it when we get there. Still, deep inside, I am sure he is still around. Not as an angel with wings, but like a shiny plasma from a psychedelic Star Trek episode from the good years. Watching over us like he always did. I still talk to him. ‘Hey silly sod, I suppose you’re busy showing Hendrix a few tricks’. And in my imagination he answers: ‘Aargh, he’s hopeless!’. Only Colin had the ability to shout around ‘I am a rock god’ and get away with it. So clever, so sharp, so incredibly funny. But always a gentleman. Monty Python and Beethoven in one person. For us, he already was ‘Sir’ Tench. Now I recently found out what he meant for such a huge amount of people, his whole life long, he deserves a new title. Farewell Saint Tench, thank you for everything, I’ll carry you in every note I play from now on. Words from Yoli: I met Colin in 2009 on Last FM, and his music blew me immediately off my socks. It was so long ago that I heard music which beauty touched me that much. I’ll had Stef listen to his music, and he also fell immediately in love. We contacted him and Skype became our meeting place. We had so much to talk about, he and we! We also got to meet Sonia Mota, Colin’s heart girlfriend, and it clicked immediately. We became a little family. Colin was the one who introduced us to his Facebook circle. We were so uncertain about ourselves, but again Colin convinced us that we were fine, that our music would eventually convince people. It didn’t go that fast. We were dumbasses, greenhorns searching for our own identity. Made one mistake after another. Until we came up with one track that got us signed with record label Melodic Revolution Records. When we got a new contact or opportunity we told Colin and dragged him with us, and vice versa (more vice versa to be honest). Sonia helped us a lot too. I became a Bunbabe (more Bun than Babe) and felt part of some kind of a sisterhood. By that time Colin started to become a real icon. We were so honoured when he played a duo solo with Stef on ‘Heal my Bleeding Heart’, the first track and album of Murky Red he played on, ‘Time doesn’t Matter’. When the tracks for our first album were ready, we needed someone who could do the mixing and mastering of it in a rush time, because the first mixing and mastering turned out to a disaster, and the deadline of ‘Time Doesn’t Matter’ became ironically a nightmare . We needed someone who would understand what sound we would like to have. It was Colin who saved us. He did the mixing and mastering of ‘Time doesn’t Matter’ in a rush time, putting all his own work aside to help us. I had to cry because of what he did for us, tiny Belgians. We soon realised that he felt almost instinctively how it was supposed to sound. Also because he had the same sound preferences. Years went on. I went from Bunbabe to ‘Mum’. It was our joke: I adopted him virtually, so I called him my son and he called me mum. And Stef was ‘Mummy’s fluffy toyboy’. Sonia became Colin’s ‘nephew’ and my ‘wife’. Just to keep things simple. Colin and I had long conversations. He often talked about his frustrations and the problems he had to overcome and his private sorrows and worries. But mostly we talked about the beautiful things in life. When he talked about his family it was always with so much respect, I loved that! He and I shared the same values. The way how he could get along with so many people was astonishing. His humour inimitable (after a while I knew exactly when I had to wait to take a nip from my coffee). He was also very sensitive about Sonia. Nobody was allowed to say one bad word about her! Which we didn’t, because we also love Sonia. Sometimes she and we (Stef and I) were talking on Skype about how Colin could drive us up the wall when he didn’t understand something regarding the progress on his artwork. He also wanted to keep control of every little detail. Sometimes we passed him by and dealt things immediately between her and us. Stef played on tracks from Corvus Stone, he was the bass player in Oceans 5, and wrote the song ‘Jussipussi’ on which he also played, for the first album of Corvus Stone (released 26 November 2012). According to Colin: “Now this is a little different. Sonia Mota donated her jussipussi and Stef Flaming composed this in honour of that”. Meanwhile I created the website of Oceans 5 for him. We listened to version after version of his songs to let him know if we could hear something which didn’t sound right. We made Sonia Mota’s artwork print-ready for the pressing company,… We became a small company in fact. Together with John Moulder Colin and Stef created the band ‘Transmission Rails’, with Gary Lynn Hodges (Lindsey Buckingham) and Joe Vitale (Joe Walsh) as drummers. We released our 2nd album ‘No Pocus Without Hocus’, where Colin played on ‘Collateral Damage’. Once again he did an amazing job with the mixing and mastering of our album. Stef and Colin worked intensively together for a few weeks. Colin didn’t need much guidance. He knew. We were confident. Doing the promotion and management of Murky Red, being the keyboard player too so that meant rehearsing every new track, the concerts we played, take care of my children and family, the household, meanwhile working full-time for a company where at that time our department was really understaffed, … I crashed. I had a burn-out, and on top of that my thyroid decided to retire and stopped functioning and I was in the middle of my menopause. Because of that I gained 40 kgs, my mood changed so I became a bitch, I had huge panic attacks and my short memory was heavily affected. So I really won the jackpot! I had a really bad time for almost 2 years, I couldn’t accept the changes with my mind and body. I knew what a bitch I became so I didn’t want to bother friends and family with my problems. At that time I lost many friends, who gave up on me. Colin didn’t. Never. He was worried about me, asked me how I feel, if it was going any better. And it did, slowly but certain. According to Stef I am no longer a bitch, I learned to accept my new looks, body and weight, got meds for my thyroid, built off the workload, and my short memory?… naaah, that is still the same: a hopeless case. But Colin (and certainly Stef) was relieved that I became back the woman that I used to be. My friendship for him went deeper and deeper, and I promised him that we would never let him down. No matter what, he could always count on us. Stef and I continued with the layout of his music artwork, always done by the ravissante Sonia Mota, his muse. We listened to each other’s tracks, commented, laughed and joked,… We could get angry about the same subjects: prime minister May, the Brexit, war, racism, the environment,… But we also had fun about the same subjects: British TV series, Monty Python, silly pictures, silly songs,… He complained about the bad weather: he hated too much sun because he hated to mow the lawn and it was too hot for him, but he loved his snow blower. We both were big nature lovers. I loved his garden with the majestic trees, and he was waiting till my trees would grow bigger, haha. We ‘walked’ virtually through our houses showing each other’s furniture and decorations, the rooms in each other’s house. He with the laptop, I with my tablet. He gave me ideas, and I hope I have given him some ideas too. Friday Dec the 8th he skyped us to say that the artwork for CTP was nearly done and that he would send us the images after the weekend to put them in the layout. We worked again as a well-oiled team, Colin, Sonia and we, to get everything done in time. The last days: December the 24th: Colin: ‘Thank you for everything you did! The panic is over and I can relax at last, Now have a fab Christmas’. Me: ‘Have a fantastic Christmas too Colin! Glad that you can relax at last 🙂 xxx’ Stef: ‘Hello Bunbun, Cherry Mixmas !! :)’ December 26: Colin: ‘Just got back from a long drive on sheet ice but the important thing is that I was listening to Boots for hire. Wow! Had to say that. Happy holidays.’ Stef: ‘As long as people keep hiring them, we’re good!’ Normally he would have sent a reaction, but nothing this time. On the 29th we knew why… I feel strange now. Like if someone has cut out a part of my life and didn’t replace that part. A hole that will never get closed. I won’t be called anymore in the middle of the night to listen to one of his tracks or when he only wanted to talk. I can’t say ‘Shut op for 5 minutes for God’s sake if you want me to listen to that track’, or laughing with his silly talks. I can’t ask him no longer for advice. But I’ll keep the memories in my heart, forever. And I am convinced that he listens somewhere from above. I still wanted to give you so much more my friend, but you left us too soon. I didn’t get enough time… Go to rest now my friend. It was a great honour to have met you and to share our special friendship. Thanks for showing your big heart and make one big family of us. From Colin Tench himself: I love music. I hate music by numbers. I didn’t even try actually playing an instrument till I was 22. I never really became any good at it either. I am a weird “guitarist” I can’t pick one up and knock out a tune. I really don’t like any kind of folk or roots music as such. I like music with a hell of a lot going on, so what I do is find a secret place in the music to add real content. Take away the rest of the band and you will hear disconnected notes and noises with the occasional chord from me. It only has any worth inside the whole piece. There is no doubt that music needs no rules or boundaries. My approach is my own but it seems to work!
Interview by Tom Charlier from Prog-Resiste
We’re happy to present you news from the literary front! In August Stef got interviewed by Tom Charlier from Prog-Résiste, thé Belgian magazine of progressive rock. Prog-résiste is a Belgian “Non Profit Making Association” having the aim to promote the Progressive Rock in Belgium, in other French-speaking countries and all around the world if possible. To do this they publish (in French only) a quarterly, professionally printed 132 pages magazine. The magazine comes with a sampler of interviewed artists + those whose albums are elected as essentials of the quarter. Our track on the sampler is ‘Elena’. It’s is not only an honor to get exposure in Prog Résiste, it was also a fun interview, great questions and a nutty interviewer. Many thanks for that Tom! How did the idea for your band came around ? Who were the instigators and what was/is your aim(s), if I may say so ? Creating the band was the idea of my wife Yolanda. I had a number of songs I recorded, and she convinced me to do something with it. Not just post them on music platforms, but to go live with them. So we decided to search musicians and start a band. The aim was to get so filthy rich we could demand for dwarfs on giraffes to entertain us backstage and drive limo’s out of pools (into pools was already done), but rather quick we found out we weren’t living in the 70’s anymore. We adjusted the aim a tiny bit. We’re musicians in the first place, we put our heart and soul in a song to get recognition and appreciation from real music lovers. That is what really counts. The audience we aim for are people who are aware that there is a bit of a quality gap between let’s say, Focus and Kanye West. When you get positive feedback from those listeners, it feels damn good! For me as silly Belgian it was unthinkable that folks from Mexico or South Africa to name few, would ever hear our music. Saying this, big thanks to all dj’s that give us airplay, and to all our fans and friends for spreading the word! To my ears, Murky Red is a striking new melting of sounds : the hypnotic/smokey late-60s vibe, the psychedelic fury of 70s rock, be it the dark poetry of The Doors, more incantatory ceremonials touches/soundscapes and a sprinkling of heavy stoner atmospheres… It evokes to me a handful of mystical groups like the The Velvet Underground, Swans of The Stooges… On another hand, I am reminded of bands like Atomic Rooster, Blue Öyster Cult, and Nazareth, part of the so-called “classic hard rock” scene that was quite innovative, open and progressive in its own way. Can you list some of your influences and/or reference points for this project ? Underground, Stooges and Swans weren’t on the list of ingredients, but all the rest is correct. First of all, I love the ‘uncompressed sound’ from the 60’s and 70′. A snare drum sounded like a snare drum, and not like some idiot smashing a woman’s purse on the plastic seat of a mobile toilet. Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, CTP, Bunchakeze …) understands our music so well and gives it that natural sound in his mixing. We’re always happy when he has the time to mix and master our albums. Musically we are mostly inspired by classic rock and prog, but also blues, stoner, and a sniff of thrash metal. I love rhythm sections like Geezer Butler/Bill Ward and Roger Glover/Ian Paice. When I need a bass-line, I start with: ‘what would Geezer do?’ But sometimes Murky Red tracks end up as some kind of tribute to a certain band or song. ‘Wild Flower’ is inspired on ‘Bird of Paradise’ from Snowy White. Probably not on first sight, but some elements and the guitar leads reflect to Bird. ‘Bad wolf of the pack’ starts Floydian and the up-tempo ending has the feel of ‘Don’t fear the reaper’ from B.O.C. ‘Stoned & horny’ is our humble Doors-tribute with a little Led Zeppelin interruption. To play safe I avoided all Morrison-poetry and narrated the manual of the song during the stoned part. ‘Mermaids’ has some Manzarek/Krieger inspired parts. Black Sabbath and Dire Straits are also often in the neighborhood. Do you have any desert island discs to recommend to us ? Anything from Frank Zappa or The Muppet Show to stay happy. ‘Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do’ – Hawkwind, in case the island provides the right herbs and/or toads. Anything from Pink Floyd to stay mentally sane. ‘Reign in Blood’ – Slayer, for bad hair days. Can you tell us a bit about the conception and recording of your last album, No Pocus Without Hocus ? I can’t tell anything about the conception, maybe young kids are reading this. We did all recordings ourselves in my very humble home studio. It was hard to get all members together at the same time, so we did it bit by bit. It was a long process but in the end it was worth the effort. Colin Tench recorded his guitar parts on ‘Collateral Damage’ in Sweden. While collecting info on Murky Red and experiencing your songs for the first time, what struck me immediately is the cardinal/prominent place of humor in your music, especially in the lyrics ? Did you keep an eye close to what Zappa was doing with his parodic stance and total mixing of styles, and the self-critical posture of Canterbury bands like Egg, Gong and the early Soft Machine with Robert Wyatt ? Any extramusical inspirations for this ? (I am particularly fond of the “problems to get back to the first part of the song” bit and the quite Zappaesque Mermaid) I learned from Zappa that everything is possible, music- and lyric-wise. I’m also a big Monty Python fan. So for me it doesn’t have to be too serious all the time. Using music to preach and complain is not my thing. I prefer to make up stories that don’t make sense instead of singing about killing myself because of a third nipple. But it’s not comedy all the time, it’s mostly about love and daily life. Sometimes a struggle, sometimes wonderful. Wrapped in mystery-paper. I love the bands you name. I probably absorb a lot of influences without realizing it. ‘Problem is to get back to the first part of the song’: yeah, the ‘manual’ is a very silly thing. I thought it might be handy. And it’s a thing that happens a lot during songwriting. Sometimes the bridge gets out of control and at some point you realize you have to bring it home in a way it still makes sense, musically. Any future plans and/or touring schedule for 2016 ? Sadly not. Patrick en Luk (guitar and bass) left the band because of lack of time. Because it’s so hard to find musicians in our area, we decided to go further as a studio project with the remaining members. It’s a common thing these days. Maybe in the future we’ll go live again with some hired guns or new members. We’ll see when it starts to itch. First now comes songwriting for album 3. I sense a Pink Floyd/Gilmour/Camel influence on most of the album’s cuts…something from the school of slower, lyrical, economical and more thoughtful guitar and organ solos. Is it an approach you defend ? Yes! Gilmour is a huge influence for me as guitar player. I learned from him to pay attention to tiny details and to stay in service of the song. Also Mark Knopfler. For me he’s a style on his own. Discovering Sultans of Swing as a young kid was a revelation. And of course Krieger, Hendrix, Iommi, Blackmore, Page … you can learn so much by listening to these guys. Also a breed apart is Jan Akkerman. What is the impact of different forms of folk & ethnic music – I’m thinking more precisely of indian raga, arabic and celtic folk – on Murky Red’s sound ? Hard question. I never thought about it actually. I think it just happens. Sometimes it feels as if the song asks for it during songwriting. ‘She’s crying diamonds’ is build up around a few piano chords and an Indian-beat. It was enough to give it a desolate and lonesome feel. Replace the Indian beat with a steady rhythm and the whole atmosphere will collapse. One last question : I like the freedom in your sounds, that seems to dissipate the boundaries between written & improvised sections, particularly on a multipart track like closer Elena. Does it reflect something in your writing process ? Is it a more or less collective affair ? We always had a shortage of rehearsing-time which made collective songwriting impossible. I recorded demos of all tracks I wrote, so the band could hear immediately what I had in mind. The selection of the tracks was a band decision and the fine tuning happened during rehearsals. Elena is actually a track that wasn’t written for Murky Red. When I write for Murky, I am bound to the number of band members to perform it on stage. To bring ‘Elena’ live, we would need at least 2 more keyboard players and a bunch of extra guitarists to give it the same energy as the recording. This track belongs to my solo work but Yolanda insisted to add it to ‘No Pocus Without Hocus’ because the album needed an epic last track. I had my doubts about it but she was right. Again. She’ll love to read this. My solo work has a different approach. Because it’s not meant to perform live, the writing process has no limitations. If I want to use 5 keyboard or guitar layers, I just do it. I write songs by recording them. That’s how it builds up until a song is ready. It’s a fun thing, switching from guitar to bass, program some drums, play keys over it, record, erase, re-record … it’s my musical playground. I allow myself complete freedom for my solo stuff. These tracks are usually too weird for Murky Red in the end. Also the lyrics are more overall silly. But ‘Elena’ is a track that also fits on a Murky Red album. The plan is to release my solo album in the future. Obviously, it makes no sense to release it in the past. That aside, I would like to personally thank you for injecting some unquestionable freshness and humour into Progressive Rock! Thank you so much for the great comment. This makes me very proud, and is exactly what I mean with our aim. Way better than giraffes! Take care, all the best to you! Stef
Murky Red Release PIXELATED FRIENDS as the First Single
Murky Red released No Pocus Without Hocus Special CD Edition on December 21, 2016. The Special CD Edition features new versions of Pixelated Friends, Stoned & Horny, A Wooden Groove, Nothing Can Go Wrong and She’s Crying Diamonds.To Celebrate the release of the new album the band have decided to release of the first single PIXELATED FRIENDS from the Special CD Edition for a limited time.Buy Now! for only $1 or more The Band Stef Flaming: Vocals & Guitars Rene Marteaux: Drums Luk Lantin: Bass Yolanda Flaming: Keys Marie Vancamp: Percussion & VocalsMusic and lyrics by Stef FlamingStudio Notes Recorded in the Murky Red Studios, Belgium Mixing and Re-Mastered: Colin Tench, Stoned Bun Studios Sweden © 2016 Murky Red MusicColin Tench Links: Website: www.corvusstone.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/CorvusStoneMelodic Revolution Records Website: mrrmusic.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/MelodicRevolutionRecords MRR Facebook Fan Page