Archive for May, 2011
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here about Mastermind, so it’s time to catch up. We are pleased the Insomnia album received so many nice reviews! But reviews aren’t sales and we hope more of you will pick up a copy. It is a good modern sounding rock album with plenty of our old progressive tendencies mixed in. Some people think it is our best work, others think we strayed too far off our original path. Regardless, we think it’s a good and pretty unique sounding record, so we hope you’ll check it out at least. There are lots of sales links, or purchase direct, in the Mastermind store and, if you read some of the earlier blogs there are places online you can give it a listen (youtube *cough cough*) before purchasing.
In terms of live performance, we’ve still been playing together, Rich and I, just not under the Mastermind moniker. People wonder what has happened with the band and I suppose some explanation is required. It basically boils down to you can only do the same thing for so long. As the past few albums attest, we have been exploring different musical elements. That combined with the difficulties of finding and keeping good people to work with as a live band, it was just all too much really. As much as I really do enjoy a bulk of the music we’ve produced over the years, not all of it is something I want to play night after night even if we could get it together and, the female singer thing is not something I really want to continue with. At least not in the ‘frontman’ kind of capacity. It distracts from what it is I really want to do musically, regardless of how you feel it may or may not add to the band. So we fell into kind of a state of limbo with no clear direction. I am the first to admit… that sucks.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if each Mastermind album is kind of a compositional opus, say something akin to a symphony or collection, then I’ve written some music that features a female voice. But I’ve written far more music that does not. So I beg your indulgence and hope our old fans will hang with us and new fans are not too upset. The core of Mastermind is, and always was, my compositions combined with Rich’s drumming style. Period. Anything and anyone else beyond that is subject to change at any time. So if you can wrap your head around that you’ll have a much better understanding of what it is we do. It’s always been like that, no matter how it may appear otherwise. OK, let’s move on…
As lots of folks know, especially locally, we’ve been performing as The Berends Brothers Band doing a variety of mostly old cover music that we simply enjoy playing. It gets us out, makes a little money, and more importantly, it has allowed me to explore different things to rediscover just what it is I loved about playing music in the first place. It’s made me a much better guitar player I think, and we’re exposing people, especially younger people, to music they probably have never heard performed live. Plus it’s a lot of fun to have the flexibility to play anything and switch up the repertoire at whim. So we’ve launched a new web site for that band which I’m sure will grow as time goes on: http://berendsbrosband.com
I’ve also been playing with G. Calvin Weston, a killer jazz drummer from Philadelphia in a band called Treasures of the Spirit performing a repertoire of music from The Mahavishnu Orchestra. It’s been good for my chops and my journey of musical rediscovery. That kind of overlaps into what the Berends Bros Band is doing to some degree in that The Berends Bros reaches into fusion-like territory quite often within the context of the music that we play. Come out and see either band and I don’t think you will be disappointed.
In terms of Mastermind we’ve recently recorded some new music, just Rich and I, more in the vein of some of our older stuff and have contributed a brand new instrumental track to our label Lion Music’s Japanese Tsunami benefit album. I will post a separate entry about that right above this one. So do not despair, Mastermind isn’t finished yet, we just needed to reevaluate where we were and where we were headed. To some who were fans of the 2005 era line up this may be a disappointment, for others it could be considered a return to form. In any case new music is on the way and I am finally feeling somewhat inspired again.
So visit the schedule page on my website for upcoming shows. There is also a Bill Berends solo record in the works that musically speaking, probably falls somewhere in the middle of all this… a bit bluesy, a bit progressive, a bit hard rock. I think it’s good stuff and hope to see that released sometime this year. Otherwise, thanks again for your continued interest in Mastermind and if at all possible, if we can get it together, we will be back sooner or later!