Blake Carpenter Opens Up About The Past, Present & the Woods

Hello, Blake thank you for doing this interview as Power of Prog has been following your music career for some time.

PoP:
Tell us, who is Blake Carpenter

Blake: 
I am me Haha, no, I am just a person who lives for music or should I say lives because of music. Music is the heartbeat that keeps me and us alive.

PoP:
How long have you been a professional musician, and what professional training have you had if any 

Blake: 
Been creating original music for about 35 years, been pro (making pennies for playing) since the early ’90s. I have a few lessons on guitar under my belt but that is about it, I hate class.

PoP:
What was the defining moment in your life that sparked the eternal flames to become a musician, and was it, anyone, we might know 

Blake: 
When I was 4ish a neighbor in the apartments me and my mom lived in had a son in Vietnam, he had KISS albums and his mom would listen to them, me and my mom were there one day and she played Destroyer and I was hooked, I started singing then.

PoP:
When did you release your first album and what was it called. 

Blake:
My first album was in a project called Naked At Birth with another guitarist, we were an acoustic duo and it was released on cassette in 1991

PoP:
How was the experience of recording the first album vs. the new album Jack: A Different Tale 

Blake: 
Oh my, the first album was in a basement studio in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and with friends in tow, all I had to do was show up and sing. The last album, Jack, was all done in my small makeshift studio or in the drummers house (recording the drums) and I had to mix and master it all and I am not sure I did it the same justice as I did with The Road To Avalon as I was and still am very disappointed about what happened with The Minstrel’s Ghost (TMG)

PoP:
How many albums have you released thus far and which one are you the proudest of 

Blake: 
Altogether I have one album out there, one with Naked At Birth, one with my band OGMA from the early 2000s, three Minstrel’s Ghost albums, one Voice of the Enslaved album one with Coalition, one with Jack Potter, one with The Petri Lindström Project and two with Corvus Stone. I would say I am most proud of The Road To Avalon as it is probably the best produced.

PoP:
Why is The Road To Avalon so special to you

Blake:  
Again because The Road To Avalon is the best produced but also it is a story I love.

PoP:
What’s the difference between fronting your own projects or fronting someone else’s

Blake:
Fronting someone else’s project can be a blessing and a nightmare. A blessing since all I need to do is sing and perhaps write a few words, a nightmare because I may have to write a few words LOL

PoP:
Name all the bands and projects and release that you have been part of till now

Blake:
Naked At Birth, OGMA, The Minstrel’s Ghost, Corvus Stone, Coalition, Jack Potter, The Petri Lidström Project and oh yeah, Telergy, that was a very short speaking bit but really friggin cool album to be a part of.

PoP:
What influence your song writing 

Blake:
Anything really, love, hate, war, politics, magical things, it just depends I guess on where my head is when I put pen to paper.

PoP:
What is the story behind your latest release Jack: A Different Tale 

Blake: 
It is a play on Jack the Ripper with a fictional back story about his growing up. I wrote it largely with my own childhood in mind but that is for another day.

PoP:
Who are the musicians on the new album Jack: A Different Tale and what rol do they play 

Blake: 
Troy James Martin on bass and vox on News, Mike Troupe on drums and vox on Born, Jartse Tuominen on lead guitar and myself on all other vox, keys and guitars.

PoP:
We understand that Jack will be the final releases by TMG, is this true and why have you decided to close this chapter in your life 

Blake: 
The end of TMG is not something I wanted but something that happened. We had a live band thing happening it was going great but as is often the case things went sour and after so much work that I put into it I was crushed emotionally, it let Jack sit for almost 3 years before I finished it and once I did I felt like I needed to let TMG go, at least for a while and definitely what it was, if the ghost is reborn it will be something completely different from what it was.

PoP:
What’s been the most challenging obstacle for you as a musician 

Blake:
Releasing a physical product, I can never make enough cash to do it or do it right. The Road To Avalon was a fluke and caused some issues personally to get it done.

PoP:
You often use many different musicians on your releases, how do you choose an artist to be on a particular album or song 

Blake: 
Honestly, if they want to be on it and have the sound that fits then they are welcome, that is it. I am not a snob, you don’t have to be a virtuoso to play with me, I sure as hell am not one.

PoP:
Name 10 albums that should be part of any serious record collection

Blake Answers: 
1 XANADU – Soundtrack
2 STYX –  Paradise Theater
3 Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
4 The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come
5 Loreena McKennitt – The Visit
6 INXS – KICK
7 KISS – ALIVE
8 David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars 
9 The Cure – Disintegration
10 Any Vangelis album

PoP:
What was the last album you listened to 

Blake:
OmniaPagan Folk

PoP:
Word has it you love and collect vinyl, what’s your Holy Grail, the one LP that you have always wanted 

Blake: 
I have Xanadu and KISS Alive, I would just like to get all the rest of the KISS albums on vinyl, I only have 9.

PoP:
It’s been said that vinyl has a warmer sound, I don’t subscribe to that. So my question to you is, how would you describe listening experience between Vinyl and Digital including CDs, and Downloads 

Blake: 
Everyone has different thoughts on that, music is music, as long as I can listen to it and it is clear. I like the feel of vinyl, the size of the art and the smell. I also love cassettes and I am building that collection. CD’s I can take or leave.

PoP:
Describe what success means to you, not as a musician but as a person 

Blake: 
Success is what you make of your life and what you leave behind. In the end, are you proud of what you have achieved should be your last question to yourself

PoP:
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your warm up act 

Blake: 
Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and I would be just fine warming up for U2, Stevie Nicks a close second, U2 is probably the best show ever put on at Red Rocks and was my introduction to the venue and Stevie Nicks concert there was awesome too.

PoP:
You are known as a multi-instrumentalist, what instruments do you play, and which one gives you the most joy 

Blake: 
I play guitar, mandolin, bass, keyboards, tin whistle, recorder, harmonica, bodhran, djembe, I have a set of bagpipes but need to get em cleaned up and reeds put in, and I would love a bouzouki but I guess voice is my main and can give me the most joy cause I do not need anything but myself to play it.

PoP:
You are working on the 2nd Voice of the Enslaved (VotE) release, what can you tell us about this project and release

Blake: 
If I can get it done (all my studio computers have shit the bed) it will be anti nuclear anything cause that shit is the end of all.

PoP:
What musicians will be involved in the new VotE album 

Blake: 
Petri Lindström will be filling the bass position again, I will be doing drums, keys, and voice and I am still not sure about guitars.

PoP:
How has the music landscape changed since you have become a professional musician 

Blake: 
As far as I am concerned it has gotten tougher, not easier as some would lead you to believe. Although a musician no longer needs a label the competition and cost have increased 1000 fold.

PoP:
Did MTV kill the radio star, or is it the ease that anyone can obtain music on the internet in a matter of a moment or two 

Blake Answers: 
MTV made radio stars, without MTV nearly every band from the ’80s would have never made it the way they did

PoP:
What advice would you give to the next generation of future musicians 

Blake Answers: 
Don’t, hahaha, just kidding. Work hard play hard and know that it is gonna suck for a long time before it doesn’t suck so much

PoP:
Where can people buy your music 

Blake Answers: 
Melodic Revolution Records and maybe some other places used.

PoP:
Do you have a mailing list where fans and voyeurs of information can sign up too 

Blake: 
If you go to blakecarpenter.com there is a sign-up form there for my newsletter, it will cover any project I am working on and other stuff too.

PoP:
In closing I want to thank you for taking time to do this interview with us, do you have anything that you would like people to know that we did not talk about 

Blake:
Well, thanks for the interview, it was a pleasure. I can say I am working on a couple of other projects besides VotE. One will be a solo BLAKE thing and the other is something called Max Nova which may or may not go out as a BLAKE thing, till then….get out into the woods to listen to and smell life

 

 

Colin Tench’s Living Legacy

A year passes and we aren’t sure where the time has gone. Memories are made and tucked away for another day. Sadness for the loss of a friend, a brilliantly talented musician and incredible human turns to action to give him the legacy that he deserves. Colin Tench, WE SALUTE YOU!

One year ago we lost Colin Tench, he had just completed his final work minor Masterpiece, and a masterpiece of musical artistry it is. The news of his passing was devastating to not only the management and staff of Melodic Revolution Records (MRR) but to the musicians on the label who were his musical family. So many of them had worked with Colin over the years; and his energy and exuberance for music and life had been infectious, inspiring several projects in his wake. For a time we stood in silence, but now we must come from under our mourning shroud to unveil the legacy of music he has left us and to celebrate a life well-lived.

Photos provided by Sonia Mota

During the past year members of the Tench FamilyAmanda and Jim Tench, Colin’s brother and sister-in-law would have the very difficult task as executors of Colin’s estate. They contacted MRR and asked if we would work with them in keeping Colin’s legacy alive by selling and promoting all of his releases and donating the net proceeds from the sales of his work to two charities of the estate’s choice. Without hesitation, MRR became involved in this monumental task to immortalize Colin’s work in musical history. MRRhad been fortunate to work with Colin during his lifetime on various projects and releases; this project became a labor of love for the label.

His music will continue to be available via all digital outlets worldwide, with physical distribution via Melodic Revolution Records, Amazon, CD Baby and an all New Bandcampstore that features the work of Colin Tench in all his various incarnations: BunChakeze, Odin of London, Corvus Stone, Colin Tench Project, Andy John Bradford’s Oceans5, as well as his work with Transmission Rails, Andres Guazzelli, The Minstrel’s Ghost and Murky Red. Our goal is to keep Colin’s legacy alive and well for generations of new fans to enjoy his wonderful music. The new Bandcamp store “The Music and Projects of Colin Tench” will give people a chance to discover the many different artists that Colinhad worked with over the years. “The Music and Projects of Colin Tench” Bandcamp store will open On December 27th a year to the date of Colin’s passing. Colin was only 63 when he passed away peacefully due to natural causes; some candles burn with great intensity for only a short time and leave us with eternal light.

In a statement from Colin’s Brother Jim Tench
As a young boy, my brother Colin had a fascination for insects and other small creatures which escalated later in his adult life to include a love and respect for wildlife, especially large mammals. He was very passionate about scuba diving and enjoyed swimming with, and filming, aquatic wonders too. His heart was very much in preserving, and not destroying, this amazing planet we live on. Music was also very dear to his heart and he became very disappointed in the post 70’s manufactured sound – he believed music should be an expression of your soul and not a path to fill three minutes of radio space and fifteen minutes of fame.

Prog Rock gave Colin hope that there were like-minded people, all around the world that would be able to come together via the internet and keep this incredible music genre alive. Colin gave 100% of his time for many years to try to achieve this – I think we can all agree he succeeded.

Myself, Colin’s younger brother David, and our mum Joan felt that it would be Colin’s wishes to donate all net profits from the sale of his music to benefit two charities dear to his heart. As Colin subscribed to and donated to, the World Wildlife Fund (and visited many of their sanctuaries around the world) we felt this would be a natural choice. The second charity is the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation that helps fund young musicians who need financial support to purchase their own instruments so they can explore and develop their musical talents. We believe this to be an incredible legacy left behind by Colin and one that he would be very proud to be a part of. Jackie Aris has also been very much involved in this process, having shared their lives together for 29 years she truly knew his passions and causes in life. We thank Jackie from the bottom of our hearts for donating the funds to ship Colin’s CDs to MRR for circulation.
Thank you to MRR for their dedication and support to make this possible, and to every single one of Colin’s friends, musician buddies and fans around the world.
Jim Tench

Colin Tench Biography 
http://mrrmusic.com/colin-tench/
Colin Tench Bandcamp Store
https://colintench.bandcamp.com/
World Wildlife Fund
https://www.worldwildlife.org
Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
https://www.mhopus.org
Media
Nick Katona
nick@melodicrevolution.com

Colin Tench Leaves Us With A Minor Masterpiece

The music has gone quiet temporarily at Melodic Revolution Records as we sadly report the tragic news of the loss of one near and dear to our hearts and a member of our Melodic Revolution Family. Last evening our dear friend and Musician Extraordinaire, Colin Tench left this world, and though the music lives on we will forever feel the loss of his creativity.

According to members of the family, we have learned that Colin passed away peacefully due to natural causes. Out of respect for his family, we felt it necessary to keep this info out of the public attention until all family members were notified.

On behalf of us all at Melodic Revolution Records, we extend our deepest love, eternal respect, and condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Colin Tench. Colin was 63 years old and had just released his latest album “minor Masterpiece” under the “Colin Tench Project.” Anyone that knew or had worked with him could and most definitely would tell you that he was an under-rated and exceptionally talented musician who was charismatic and witty, well respected and loved. Colin was a rare breed indeed in today’s world, a friend and mentor to so many. Colin will be missed more than words can express. We hope that he has taken his wings to join the great gig in the sky, heaven is blessed with our loss. May you rest in peace.

In a note from Gordo Bennet who just finished working closely with Colin on his new album.
“My heart and time stopped when I heard the news that my dear brother, friend, and musical mentor had left this earth on angels wings. It deeply saddens me, and I am broken right now because of it. Colin has touched so many of us in different ways but it was his music that brought us all together as one. I think that he would want us to “pay attention to the details” as he would say and focus on all the laughter, love, and music he brought to us all. It will be different for all of us but from his Brazillian to his final Masterpiece he will always be a part of me. “We Love and miss you Coilin”
“Sleep well, my friend…”

Pat Ganger Sanders Assembles Supergroup for Charity EP

With Christmas fast approaching, a bunch of us have teamed up to concoct a festive song entitled ‘Wake Up’ which was released as part of an EP on December 1st.

Wake Up features Colin Tench (Corvus Stone), Gareth Cole (Mike Kershaw, Tom Slatter), Ben Bell (Patchwork Cacophony, Gandalf’s Fist), Stefan Hepe (Gandalf’s Fist), Peter Falconer, Pat Sanders and Manu Michael (Drifting Sun).

The song was mixed and mastered by Jon Huxtable at Smallfish Studios, Scotland.

Also included in the EP are 7 songs previously recorded by the musicians who contributed to the making of ‘Wake Up’.
Available Here https://tierhilfe-sauerland.bandcamp.com/album/wake-up

All the profits from the sales will go to TIERHILFE SAUERLAND E. V.

Barbara Hellekes, CEO of the animal welfare organization said “We’re over the moon about this! Winter is coming, and it’s really hard to get the poor souls through the winter, especially in Hungary and Greece, where we support and help privately organized shelters in keeping the streets free of stray dogs, trying to find them a forever home”

We, Shits ‘n’ Giggles, take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken up their valuable time to bring their contribution to this EP to help make this release possible, and we hope that the charity organization we have chosen will benefit greatly from the generosity of the people who donate to their cause, cheers everyone and Merry Christmas to all!

Melodic Revolution Records, Unified Past & RoSfest!

Melodic Revolution Records is thrilled to return to RoSfest as a vendor for our 6th year… we are celebrating our 10th year anniversary as a prog label and we will be located in the upstairs lobby of the theater throughout the 3 day festival beginning on May 5th.
 
We will be selling all of our current and new releases including releases by Murky Red, NeverWake, Darrel Treece-Birch, Marco Ragni, Leon Alverado, Nth Ascension, Sunshine & Bullets and DDrive to name a few, we will also be selling classic release by The Minstrels Ghost. Time Horizon, Corvus Stone, Kinetict Element, Anuryzm, Gekko Projket among others.
 
We are thrilled beyond belief to have MRR Recording Artist Unified Past confirmed to perform on day 2 of the festival.
 
Please stop by the booth and get all your favorite UNIFIED PAST releases. As usual we will have some very special announcements and surprises to make during the festival.
 
We will also have some cool MRR various artists CDs featuring tracks from our newest releases and Download Cards featuring unreleased up and coming and some best of MRR Releases as well as band Swag, so stop by the MRR vendor table located on the 2nd level of the Historic The Majestic Theater @ 25 Carlisle Street. Gettysburg, PA 17325. There will also be many other cool music vendors, so make sure you drop on by during this amazing event. We will be open between the live performances all weekend.
 

Other bands on the bill include: The Neal Morse Band, Anglagard, Moon Safari, The Fierce & The Dead, Edensong, The Aaron Clift Experiment, Evership, Kyros & Prognation

Links:
Melodic Revolution Records
http://mrrmusic.com/
Unified Past
http://www.unifiedpast.com/Unified_Past/Welcome.html
Rosfest
http://rosfest.com/