Archive for the 'Mastermind' Category

Nine years ago today…

September 09th, 2008 | Category: blogging,history,Mastermind

It amazes me how quickly time seems to go on one hand and oh so painfully slow on the other. I can barely believe it was nine years ago today – 09/09/1999 – that I finished mixing our last full length studio release Angels of the Apocalypse. Surely it cannot have been so long ago! Yet at the same time it feels like we’ve been under the dark Neocon cloud for decades. Perhaps because we have, going back to Reagan, but I will refrain from getting into that here. It’s no secret I have deep disdain for Republicans and the people running this country so moving right along I will try to give a brief retrospective of how things came to be as they are (or are not as the case may be) regarding Mastermind.

So what did happen? The first crack in the armour was when Rich moved an hour drive away severely limiting our creative time together. Although it wasn’t apparent at first as he diligently made the drive to rehearsals and gigs, it became clear over time a few hours here and there is simply not enough time to do anything other than just run thru stuff to keep the machine running. I still had a drummer, but much less of a collaborative partner.

Adding a full time female vocalist took us too far off our original course. Not to detract from these lovely and talented women, but in retrospect a female vocalist may have been the biggest mistake we ever made. Although we were one of the first heavy bands to do so, when Evanescence hit the ensuing flood of fem-vox bands left us in the dust. Taking Mastermind out as a bar band simply to keep going was also a mistake that took us even further away from our original direction. I should have stayed home and worked on new recordings but…..

Changing over from analog tape to all computer recording also changed my work methods which slowed things down considerably. Dicking around with computers all the time was simply no fun, I’d rather just play guitar! The relentless march of digital technology and highspeed Internet also hurt the music business at large and though we completed a new album in 2004, we couldn’t get a label to pick it up. I’m not blaming this totally on labels or the Internet, the change in musical direction we were going thru was surely a contributing factor. But it didn’t help. The morphing from prog to metal was also not something I was totally comfortable with either and after a point my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

Finally, the revolving door of a half dozen bass players put a serious damper on my will to carry on. Each new player meant starting over from scratch and I just couldn’t do it again. When the last one left in January 2007 that was the death knell as I saw it and a chance to just make a clean break and start over. Rediscovering my roots with the 2005 Cream reunion I was remembering WHY I enjoyed making music in the first place, and in disconnecting my synthesizers I also rediscovered the joy of simply playing guitar. Taking a dive into the blues I grew up with has been refreshing, made me a better player, and has brought me full circle to a point where I am writing new music that I actually enjoy again. The previous blog gives some insight as to where that’s going.

So there you have it. Not that we haven’t been doing anything these past nine years! We played more live shows than ever before, recorded a whole new album, released the well received Broken EP in 2005, and put together a whole new act – The Berends Bros Band – but this date stood out to me and I felt a need to reflect on some of the things that have happened over the years. ~Bb


August Update

August 25th, 2008 | Category: blogging,Mastermind,music,News

Seems like it’s been a while since I’ve blogged! Time sure flies… well, no news is good news in this case. I’ve been busy writing lots of new music which we will begin recording in the coming weeks. A bulk of this material falls somewhere between Excelsior! and Until Eternity in concept and will probably be destined to become a Mastermind title. Some other material is more along the lines of the Berends Brothers classic-bluesy sound and will be something else altogether. Since writing has been my main focus as of late there have also been fewer live shows, but keep checking in, we do love to play live.

Yes, there is still a whole other album “in the can” so to speak, but we’re not quite sure what to do with it… with the flood of female vocalist bands since the early 00’s and the fact that it kind of veered pretty far off our original course, we may sit on it for a while and release it as something else. Not quite sure! But for classic Mastermind fans the good news is there is a new sense of purpose and am pleased with what I’m coming up with.

Thanks to everyone who has made a purchase from our digital catalog on Mindawn! This combined with some back royalties helps keep something in the coffers to cover operating expenses AND lets us know there is still an interest in the music of Mastermind.

Thanks for reading and hopefully no so much time between blogs next time! ~Bb

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Gagliarchives Radio Podcast

June 04th, 2008 | Category: internet,Mastermind,music,News

Our interview segment on The Gagliarchives progressive rock radio show May 24, 2008 is now being Podcast. Since it was a Saturday night on Memorial day weekend it *is* possible some of you weren’t at home listening to the radio or computer! Listen to (or download) the entire hour long interview segment at or just click here….

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In this program brand new music is debuted as well as selections from our recent offerings on Bill & Rich Berends discuss the past present & future of Mastermind. Special thanks to our host and long time friend of Mastermind – Tom Gagliardi – who has been serving the prog-rock community on the air for over fifteen years. Enjoy!!

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Mastermind Newsletter – May 21st, 2008

May 21st, 2008 | Category: Mastermind,News

Hola! Bonjour! Konnichiwa! Ciao! Hallo! Goddag! Ahoj! Hej! Shalom! Geia! Privet! Salut!

Hello everybody! After some time of inactivity Mastermind is rumbling to life again. If you’ve been by the web site and read the blog you have an idea of what is going on. We’ll shed more light on why we took a break in the coming weeks, but it feels like the time is right to get going again. So what’s up you ask?

First off, we will be on The Gagliarchives progressive rock radio show this Saturday, May 24, 10pm EDT [*] discussing the past, present & future of Mastermind and spinning some new material for your listening pleasure! The show is broadcast in southern NJ on 88.9FM and is available streaming off the web at

We have a new unreleased album that *will* be available later this year one way or another! We’re creating new music again and plan to record brand new music over the coming months. No, we don’t have a bass player currently, so no live shows in the foreseeable future. However, if a great opportunity comes up there are people we can call on if need be.

We’ve made our entire catalog available for digital download on Mindawn is the only music service that offers FLAC audio for full CD quality downloads, and we want you to have full quality! To entice you to visit Mindawn, we’ve released two live archive recordings in digital format only…

MASTERMIND LIVE 1995” which is quite a good recording of the original trio line up and what should have been our official live album of the period that has sat on the shelf for over ten years. This includes the only live recording of Tragic Symphony that we’re aware of.

Another Cold & Rainy Night” (Conduit Club Live 2002) features the quartet line up with Tracy McShane performing classic Mastermind material at full throttle. Visit the website for a track listings and visit to hear both albums. Cover artwork for both albums is also available to download.

We have tons of stuff in the archives from live shows, demos, alternate recordings, unreleased material and video which we plan to offer in the coming weeks & months. It’s a mind boggling amount of stuff to sift through, but we’re hoping this will rekindle interest in the band and set the stage for a NEW album release, so please help spread the word. Over the years we’ve developed quite a loyal fanbase, we just need to remind some of you we are still here! We appreciate the great support we’ve received over the years from the prog rock community and hope to please you again in the near future.

Also as some may know, the brothers Berends have been performing locally as “The Berends Bros Band” revisiting our roots and keeping our chops sharp. We have some material written and recorded for this band and hope to get to that in the near future. For people in the Philly / New York area we have a few live dates coming up over the summer. Check our live shows page for details.

For the loyal subscribers to this Newsletter list we shall try and reward you with secret links to unreleased tracks and cool things like that. Feel free to visit the “Sound Off” page on the website and leave some feedback. Spread the word wherever you can and visit our website often to see what’s up!

OK that’s enough for now. Thanks for your interest in Mastermind!

Related links:
Latest News —
Sound Off —
Live shows —
Press info —
Mindawn —
Gagliarchives —

Mastermind Live 1995 —
Another Cold & Rainy Night —

[*] Eastern Daylight Time is -4GMT for global listeners.

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New Digital Archive Releases

April 25th, 2008 | Category: Mastermind,music,News

Our Mindawn launch is off to a good start and we’re still just getting the word out, so be sure to tell a friend! As promised we’ve put up digital archive titles on Mindawn. Click the covers for more info, but briefly these albums represent different periods of the band in concert.

    Another Cold & Rainy Night

    The 2002 quartet line up live with Tracy McShane singing.

    Mastermind Live 1995

    What should have been the official live trio album of the 90’s.

You can listen for free then purchase (if you choose) and print your own covers. It’s a pretty neat way to get music out to the public and FLAC is full CD quality audio. Also coming are various studio out takes, band demos, and more live shows. Some of the live recordings are not quite “release” quality, so we may make some available free for the po’ folk. Some old master tapes require baking so it may be a little while, but we’re working on it.

The truth is a) we want this stuff to be heard and b) it will help raise awareness and capital to get a NEW Mastermind album released and promoted. Maybe even *hire* a great bassist so we can get out and do some festivals. Our target goal is $5,000 USD and we’re just getting started. So if you’ve enjoyed the music of Mastermind in the past and would like more, purchasing these (and other) digital titles will help us move forward toward these goals.

In all honesty, after the trials and tribulations of the last few years, I had to step away from it for a while to clear my mind. Now we’d all really like to get rolling again and we’re asking our true fans, friends, and supporters both old and new to help out. Spread the word, visit, sign up to the Newsletter, and RSS bookmark this blog. Thanks! ~Bb

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Digital Music Downloads Available Now!!

April 10th, 2008 | Category: internet,Mastermind,music,News

We are pleased to announce the entire Mastermind catalog is now available digitally for the first time. We have chosen as our host service for its superior audio quality and progressive music origins. The links have been active for a few days but now it is official – Mastermind has joined the digital revolution! In addition to our release catalog we will be offering digital-only titles from our archives. The first is MASTERMIND LIVE 1995 online now.

Webmasters, bloggers, & media are encouraged to quote from this press release.

[Mindawn is currently the ONLY site officially authorized to sell Mastermind digital music. Anywhere else selling our music is probably a legacy venture (i/e former labels) for which we no longer see a penny, or a pirate site. Please do not use them! We would appreciate you bringing any of these places to our attention so we may investigate. Thanks.]

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New & Improved Mailing List

March 21st, 2008 | Category: Mastermind,News,website

The NEW & IMPROVED Mastermind / Berends Bros list mail server is now up & running so please go add yourself. It’s very user friendly, you can subscribe & unsubscribe yourself, set preferences, and outgoing mail isn’t uploaded in bulk from our local machine. Very cool. We will import the current list and you’ll receive a welcome message allowing you to confirm your subscription and a link to update your list preferences. Please be sure to enter your location so we may fine tune announcements. Click here and sign up today!

[UPDATE: the mailing list has been moved to: -Bb]

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