Archive for the 'blogging' Category

Still alive and well!

May 15th, 2018 | Category: blogging,News

Bill Berends here. Visit for updates on my life and music. I am now living in São Paulo, Brazil (!) of all places. Rich Berends is out playing with all kinds of people. Mastermind digital catalog sales continue over on bandcamp (thank you all and welcome new fans!). We’ve all gone through some life changes, but everyone is alive and well and still making music. Thanks for looking in and check back now and again to see what’s up.

*May 2019 update: check back sooner than later for info on a new project that will interest Mastermind fans. Say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink.

ps: check out my new music site Benvalia Music if you haven’t already. There’s some cool stuff there, including my own solo releases. Thanks for stopping by. -Bb

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Keith Emerson 1944 – 2016

March 15th, 2016 | Category: blogging,music,News

Keith Noel Emerson (2 November 1944 – 10 March 2016)

Deeply saddened by the tragic news of Keith Emerson passing. An influence and inspiration, his music will be remembered.

“He was a man. Take him for all in all.
 I shall not look upon his like again.”

RIP Keith.

Keith Emerson

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March 01st, 2016 | Category: blogging,Mastermind,News,website

I can’t believe it’s 20-fucking-16. Damn.

Nothing new to say, really. I would love to get this going again in some form, but I can’t do it all by myself. So, although I still don’t consider Mastermind to be dead, it is in a deep coma. Will it ever awaken again is yet to be seen. It was never intended for Insomnia to be the last Mastermind album and still may yet not be, but people and things being as they were made it difficult to carry on. We kept it going for 20 years, maybe a 30th Anniversary of sorts could be possible. Then again, I’m not so sure I really want to go backwards in time. We shall see.

I’ve updated a few blog entries here since the site still gets a lot of hits to older entries. I’m halfway tempted to delete them all, but for now I’ll leave them as a historical record of sorts. Quite a lot of attempts at log-ins too, as I see from the site stats. WTF? That’s crazy. The rest of the site is mostly static and kind of a cluster fuck, like the streets of London. It grew over time and meanders around all over the place, but lots of interesting stuff to find poking around. I’ve thought of scratching it all for another boring wordpress site. Nah. lol.

Anyway, the recordings are still there for you to enjoy (and purchase) and new folks are still discovering the music all the time, which is nice. I continue to write and record music on my own and am shooting for some kind of new release in 2016. Some of that includes reworked Mastermind stuff. Most of it is brand spankin’ new material. Life goes on.

Visit and sign up to the mailing list to be notified when something happens.

Thanks for looking in.

Yours in music,
Bill Berends
March 01, 2016

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June 2012 Update

June 20th, 2012 | Category: blogging,history,Mastermind,music,News

I can’t believe it’s been a full year since I’ve made any kind of commentary on the state of Mastermind. Since we haven’t been actively performing live I guess there isn’t much to talk about, but I do update things more frequently over on my personal web site. Please take a moment to visit and check the News link for the most recent updates on

Our most recent Mastermind release Insomnia (2010) received a lot of nice reviews and we all thought it was a pretty good album! But with the state of the record business today combined with no live support, I don’t feel like it reached its potential. A shame really, because there is some nice stuff on it. If you still haven’t purchased a copy, I hope you will consider it. Visit the Mastermind store for details. Prices have recently been lowered as well.

2012 marks the 25th Anniversary (!) of the first Mastermind release Volume One and I would like to do something to commemorate the occasion. Twenty five years is a long time and although I am certainly not in the same headspace as when we first set out, I am still proud of these works. I still hear from fans all around the world and am extremely grateful and appreciative of their continued interest in what Mastermind produced. It is gratifying to know we reached so many people over the years. Thank you all.

Over the past 25 years there have been many changes: in personnel, in approach, in purpose. The saturation of the prog-rock market place. The never ending battle with other people calling themselves ‘mastermind’. You would think the internet and Google search didn’t exist in some parts of the world! But these morons severely diminished our ‘brand’ value in the market place. Unfortunately. Trying to accommodate other people in an effort to hold a band together. It is exhausting. But more significantly, changes with the music buying public in the 21st Century have made it extremely difficult to get ahead with recorded music which makes the challenge of presenting new original music all that much more difficult. All of these things have been contributing factors to our apparent disappearance.

Mastermind as a living, performing entity basically came to an end in 2007 after twenty years due to the loss of personnel. That was really the final blow in many ways, although we did go on to release another album in 2010. I just didn’t have the mental wherewithal to begin again from scratch. Combined with the geo-economic limitations of finding new players and difficulties getting the Insomnia album released properly, I needed to shift gears and step back from the situation. However, that doesn’t negate our past as if it never existed.

If someone were to approach us with an economically viable proposition I’m sure we could pick up and be rolling again in no time. Just putting that out there. But it isn’t something I have been actively pursuing for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is Rich simply doesn’t have the time these days, and going out and playing all the old tunes again doesn’t really appeal to me as much as creating something entirely new.

Having said all this, I haven’t stopped making music for one second. Rich and I went on a tangent for a few years playing classic rock locally as The Berends Brothers Band and it was good fun. For a while. It took me back to why I began playing music in the first place and concentrating solely on guitar has made me a better player I think. We can still do that at the drop of a hat… but after five years, once again I feel like it is time to move forward.

I have to admit I am pretty disappointed with some people who I thought were friends and supporters, deserting us simply because… what? Because we tried some new things? Adding something new to the equation doesn’t delete the whole formula. But that’s just the way it goes I suppose. We’ve also met many new, enthusiastic fans and friends over the past few years, so I guess it equals out. I’m sure we’ve confused a lot of people along the way.

This really isn’t a lament so much as reflecting, although there are some things I regret. Ultimately, I would much rather struggle with creation than be stuck regurgitating the past. Do that thing that you do. Giving recitals, essentially. Even if that creation doesn’t fit neatly into a prefab marketing niche. I guess that is my cross to bear for following the muse.

Wrapping up I will mention a few things in the works. My first “Bill Berends” solo album is nearly complete and I plan to get that out there this year sometime. I also have a vast wealth of new material in waiting as well as writing new music on a fairly consistent basis. I just need to work out a reliable method of presenting it without simply giving it away for free. I don’t accept the ‘new paradigm’ and refuse to do that. I’ve worked too long and too hard.

There IS some new music also, that is obviously meant to be new Mastermind material. Either a final chapter or a new beginning. Hard to say which at this point. We started demoing it a a while ago, but things kind of ground to a halt for various reasons. One way or another, I intend to see it completed. I also intend to at least present some of the archives before the end of the year to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Mastermind band. How things will pan out in the future remains to be seen, but I hope some of you will come along for the ride. Again, many thanks for your interest in my music and Mastermind.

Bill Berends

ps: drop us a line, leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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Blogspot, Facebook, Twitter, etc

April 13th, 2009 | Category: blogging,internet,News

Bill Berends here. Since I am doing some solo guitar material I thought I should have a place to shoot my mouth off about it, so I started a new blog at blogspot. Also started a Twitter account for whatever reason lol… but feel free to follow if you’re interested. Oh right, I’m on Facebook as well, look me up. I am totally connected! To what I’m not sure, but I am. Anyway I invite you to check it out….

Recording update and new music coming VERY soon!! I’ve been very busy!

[UPDATE: All non-Mastermind and personal stuff is now on -Bill]

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Ding Dong the witch is DEAD!!

January 20th, 2009 | Category: blogging,rants

HOORAY!!! I am so happy the Bush-hole is GONE!!! Goodbye JERKOFF!!

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Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2008 | Category: blogging,News

Best holiday wishes to all our friends! May joy & happiness find you this holiday season.

We look forward to the new year with hope & anticipation.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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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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Happy Birthday Rich!

April 26th, 2008 | Category: blogging

April 26th… today is the day. Best wishes to the venerable Taurus on the skins!


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