Time sure flies…

Posted: May 10, 2011 at 2:50 am

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!



category: history,Mastermind,music,News

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The best of 2010

Posted: January 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Happy New Year everybody!

2010 was a great year for Mastermind because we finally saw the release of the long awaited Insomnia album by Lion Music. As is customary at the end of the year, critics, DJ’s, etc compile their “best of the year” lists. We are pleased to know Insomnia made at least a few of these lists! Music critic Chris Latta, who wrote a very nice review at suite101.com, included Insomnia in his Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2010 saying…

“Mastermind’s newest album is dramatically different when compared to their prog metal past. While the band does occasionally show off some technicality, the songwriting on this album is much more accessible and has a really modern feel thanks to the vocals of Tracy McShane. In a perfect world, this album would be a massive hit and one can only hope that the band will build up some momentum with this release.”

Yes, we can only hope!! Thanks Chris. Also, Delicious Agony Radio’s “Rickter Scale” show hosted by Rick Dashiell lists Insomnia track “Desire” in his Top 40 of the Year… nice! Thanks Rick. So we are pleased to know at least a few people are enjoying the album. If you visit the reviews page here on this site you will see there are quite a few others that seem to appreciate the album as well. Thank you all! Now if only the rest of the world would catch on.

If you haven’t heard the album yet we encourage you to go have a listen.

Otherwise, we are still hoping to get Mastermind live off the ground sometime this year if possible, and news about other projects such as The Berends Brothers Band can be found on guitarist Bill Berends newly updated website; billberends.com

Best wishes to all for the new year… here’s to more music on 2011!

category: Mastermind,music,News,reviews

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Check it out!

Posted: November 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

An impressionistic music video by Krype Malisque for “Night Flier”, an instrumental track on the new Insomia album… a marvelous interpretation! Very cool. Thanks Krype, nice work!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LFGh9_Q_7Q (stop by and give it a thumbs up!)

Then check out this thoughtful new Mastermind Insomnia review at suite101.com. Very nice.

And finally, for those who haven’t picked up a copy of the new album (yet), head on over to our youtube page for a preview (let the playlist run – and maybe subscribe while you’re there too – more videos to come). Then come on back and stop by the Mastermind store to grab a copy (or three, it just might make a nice Christmas present for someone!). Thanks!

Enjoy.. and spread the word!

category: Mastermind,music,reviews,video

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Berends Bros Band plays Mastermind

Posted: October 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm

At recent Berends Bros gigs we’ve been known to whip out a few old Mastermind tunes…


We could easily do a whole show of this material if we thought there was enough interest, so let us know. For more Berends Bros Band bluesy rock videos visit youtube.com/billberends

We hope to be rehearsing for some Insomnia shows in the near future.

category: Mastermind,music,video

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Insomnia Reviews

Posted: August 21, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Now the Insomnia album has been out for six months, a lot of nice reviews have come in. We’re very pleased by the latest from Exposé Magazine, one of the original prog-rock magazines printed on real paper… “this is Mastermind’s best album to date. – Peter Thelen” Very cool! Thank you Peter. More review links can be found on our review page and thanks also to the many journalists & critics who have taken the time to write a thoughtful review.

Also, many thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy (something special in this day and age)! We know for a fact Peter actually purchased his copy for this wonderful review, and we suspect (have been told) some of the less than kind reviews are based on Lion Music not giving out free CD’s for review – only digital downloads – which really annoys some reviewers accustomed to getting free stuff (and quite often reselling it ebay). Hey, it’s a digital age.

In any case, we thank you all for listening and for those who haven’t purchased their CD yet please visit our online store to get yours. Reviewers interested in obtaining a digital copy for review, please contact promo@lionmusic.com. Thanks!

category: Mastermind,music,News,reviews

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Berends Bros / Mastermind Newsletter July 30, 2010

Posted: July 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Greetings folks! Some updates from the Berends/Mastermind camp…

First off, a reminder The Berends Bros Band is playing at The Country Lakes Pub (NJ) Sat. July 31, we hope to see some locals there. This is a 3 set gig so we’re playing a wide variety of material. At the last Berends Bros gig we played some old Mastermind trio material, but quite honestly, it tends to clear room of average folk… so if enough Mastermind enthusiasts show up we could whip some out. Otherwise lots of vintage rock with plenty of new material added to the set list.

Sat. July 31, 2010 – Country Lakes Pub – Browns Mills, NJ
558 Lakehurst Road, Browns Mills, NJ – 9pm to 1am, 3 sets, 21+, no cover
For map link visit – http://tinyurl.com/bbgigs

There are some new BB/MM interviews posted talking about music, Mastermind & more. These may give you some insight into what is going on and what is coming in the future. For links visit http://billberends.blogspot.com/

In MASTERMIND news, the INSOMNIA album has been fairly well received with lots of nice reviews (and a few clunkers-can’t please everyone). We hope you have purchased your copy! Visit http://mastermindband.com/store to order. Also available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and CDBaby.com

We have reached out to some of our prog rock contacts to inquire about possible Mastermind live shows, but the responses have been slow in coming. If you would like to see future Mastermind shows, reach out to some of these festivals and promoters and let them know you would like to see Mastermind live!

A technical update: our website “mastermindband.com” will be changing hosts in the coming weeks, so if the site goes missing or domain mail bounces, never fear, it will reappear. In the interim use “mastermindband@yahoo.com” to get in touch and bookmark http://billberends.com for news, links & updates. Thanks.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and we hope to see you soon!

Bill c/o Berends Bros & Mastermind

ps: more new music is on the way.

category: internet,Mastermind,News

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Back catalog downloads

Posted: April 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm

We’ve added a few more albums to our page at bandcamp.com for your listening pleasure. These early albums are getting harder to find on CD, so we hope to make the music more readily available to anyone who is interested. You can stream full albums online (free) and purchase downloads in any format (mp3, ACC, ogg, FLAC, Apple Lossless) for one low price.

Go have a listen! mastermind.bandcamp.com

All album downloads include printable PDF covers.

* all titles are also available at http://mindawn.com/artists/mastermind – please note that Mindawn and Bandcamp are the ONLY authorized sites to download these back catalog titles.

category: downloads,Mastermind,music,News

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Posted: April 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Found this clip from Insomnia cruising youtube. We hope you enjoy it…


category: Mastermind,music,video

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“Broken” wins listeners poll! New interview.

Posted: March 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm

“Broken” has won The EKR Listeners Poll for the favourite EKR A-List track for the week commencing 08/03/2010″ — www.ekr.net (UK)  Excellent… we’re number one! (poll link)

Also a new interview with Bill Berends online at Virtuosity One (UK)

category: interviews,Mastermind,music,News

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Insomnia rotation airplay in the UK

Posted: March 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Insomnia track “Broken” added to steady rotation playlist in the UK –European Klassik Rock

Nice. To quote the Dutch Progressive Rock Page… “It could easily become a major hit!”

We think so!

category: Mastermind,music,News

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