Our Artist Spotlight blogs are a weekly feature where we focus on one of our performers, giving you the chance to find out more about the people behind the performances, and offering an insight into the world of entertainment.
Tommy “When I dropped my girl off for her last shift on the scoops, after working another 12 hour day at Franks Garage as a desk clerk my musical life changed forever!! I knew I’d met kindred spirits in Annie-Grace and Holly-Belle(THE BELLES)when I saw them snapping their fingers and harmonising to soul 45s on the Wurlitzer while making milkshakes and sundaes in the local ice cream parlour. It was only a matter of time before we found the perfect back line to their new choreographed harmonies in THE TONES – a bunch of garage grease monkees who tinkered with cars at Franks Hot Rod Garage. The music has been coming thick and fast ever since. With a mix of my quirky vocal power beautiful harmonies and the rhythm and soul of The Tones we as a band provide an energetic, spellbinding, slick-as-grease show that rolls, thunders, roars and soars.”
Holly Belle “Yeah we thought who’s this skinny geek staring at us while we worked but he turned out ok, especially when we heard him sing”
Annie Grace “He had such a nice bow tie and lovely shoes”2. What training and / or qualifications did you have to achieve to get into your line of work? Official or otherwise!
Tommy “As a young boy I studied the Kazoo with a MacKintosh Clansman in the remote village of Durness in scotland. I spent months mastering the way of the Kazoo. At the end of my apprenticeship he gave me a piece of paper with just the words “not bad Jimmy, could do better” on it. Does that count?
Noodles “No you didn’t”
Tommy “I did!”
Bam Bam “We all thought you were volunteering in an orphanage overseas”
Tommy “Oh. Yeah, I was learning the kazoo”
Mr Tees “I passed my grade 7 tumpet”
Woody “You said you couldn’t get past grade three!?”
The Flying Greek “I got my pilots licence!!”
3. What is your favourite thing about performing/ workingin the events industry?
Tommy “Just making people happy with our music. That simple”
Bam Bam “You said it was because you were skint!!!”
Annie Grace “It has to be because I get to dress up and were my best shoes”
Holly Belle “I get to practise my karate moves on the band while on stage”
4. What advice would you give to somebody who wanted to get into your line of work?
Bam Bam “Read the contract!!”
Tommy “Learn the Kazoo, it’s opened a lot of doors for me!”
Noodles “Always ask for a good cheese and biscuits in the dressing room”
Annie Grace “You need to have a big mirror, that’s really important”
Holly Belle “And lots of hair spray”
5. What was the best event(s) you worked on for Contraband?
Tommy “We loved entertaining the girls recently and are very keen to get the fingers snapping of more Contraband clients!”
Tommy “The best has to be seeing people shakin’ their hips and shuffling their feet to our music, but if I see even one person not diggin’ our grooves it really gets me down.”
Woody “I like the inflight movies but not the meals”
The Flying Greek “If you fly with me I give you great kebabs but no movie”
Noodles “Why is the cheese on inflight meals so rubbish!!?”
Bam Bam “Will you give it a rest about your stupid cheese, it always stinkin’ out the dressing room!!”7. Where do you get your inspiration from for your act – new tricks, etc?
Tommy “It usually comes from the bottom of Granny’s tea cup. She has an amazing talent at reading tealeaves. All of our ideas come from Granny’s teacups and she hasn’t been wrong yet!!!”
Annie Grace “I love your mums tea, she does a lovely sponge too”
Mr Tees “Have you tried my Bakewell Tart, I’ll give you the recipe if you want”
8. What other entertainer(s) do you most admire & why?
Tommy “Way too many to mention but basically if it’s got a good beat, a great riff and a catchy tune then we dig it!!”
Noodles “You can’t beat a bit of Richard Clayderman”
Mr Tees “Are you serious!!?”
Holly Belle “Ignore him he’s been on the stinkin bishop again”
Woody “Mr Tees listens to Chris De Burgh all the time”
Mr Tees “WOODY!!”
Woody “Joe Leader, that’s all I’m saying”
Annie Grace “I always really liked Rod Hull and Emu”
9. How do you fit your work around your lifestyle (family, social life, other work), do you think it differs from other jobs and if so how?
Tommy “I love spending time with my family, I’m always building crazy contraptions for my kids to play with and inventing new gadgets for the house, not always to great success!! Being away from home can be tough but it makes coming home so much better. But when I’m away gigging I have my other family, The Belles and the Tones”
The Flying Greek “I feel a bit sick”
Bam Bam “Friends?”
Holly Belle “Well if you weren’t such a grumpy git”
Annie Grace “I really miss my puppies when I’m away”
10. If you could change one thing about working in the events industry, what would it be and why?
Tommy “Not much really, I can’t think of a better than making people dance and have a good time”.
Noodles “More cheese”
Bam Bam “If you mention cheese one more time, I’m gonna….”
Holly Belle “Bam Bam, leave it!!”
11. What are your plans for the future?
Tommy “I’ve got loads of amazing ideas in the pipeline such as a Baby Stroller and Scooter Hybrid, a Baby Mop, Sleeping Bag with Arms and Legs and a Duck-Billed Protective Muzzle For Dogs… oh you mean for the band!! Well loads of gigs and to get everyone in the world dancing to Tommy & The Belles of course!!”
Mr Tees “Never ask Tommy to make you anything!! Remember the microphone come hairspray dispenser for stage”
Holly Belle “Yep Annie couldn’t speak for a week!!”
The Flying Greek “Yeah best thing he’s ever made!!”
12. How do you feel about working internationally?
Tommy “Hey, we’ll play anywhere, as long as the people are nice and want to have a good time”.
Noodles “Has anyone seen Mike”
Bam Bam “He found a cardboard box, so he’s gone for a sleep”