Like many others, I first became aware of Jimmy when he joined Spock’s Beard as their live drummer so Nick could concentrate on vocals when he took over from Neal, and then after Nick’s own departure he stayed in the seat. I had seen the Beard a few times with Neal, and there was no way I was going to miss out on seeing them again without (especially as Enchant were support), and that night I was blown away by the drummer I had not previously heard of. These days he can also be heard with Pattern Seeking Animals, but I have also come across him working with Steve Bonino and know that while he is widely known for playing in prog bands there is far more to Jimmy than “just” that.

I get the impression this album was recorded over quite a period of time, as the musicians vary quite a lot with the only constant being Jimmy himself who provides all lead vocals and drums as well as keyboards. Something I find interesting is that Jimmy has obviously decided he is not a good enough songwriter to provide material for his own album, and has instead looked to others, with Greg Lastrapes providing four and Steve Bonino two along with other writers and two well-known covers. The major weakness of Nick D’Virgilio’s debut solo album, ‘NDV’, was the material included and by using other writers it has allowed Jimmy to display his diversity of styles, and how much he feels at home with being the frontman.

Although there are some very well-known friends performing here, as would be expected, this is not a prog album at all. Instead, what we have are a variety of songs performed in a rock/pop manner with Jimmy taking them wherever he wishes. This means the listener has no idea what is going on, as we may be in a world of funk, or something thoughtful or dynamic, with lush harmonies or a more direct approach. What is never in doubt is that Jimmy is a great singer, and it is something of a surprise to hear his vocals as here is someone who could happily be at the front of a stage as opposed to being hidden by the drums and one can easily understand why the Beard came calling. The two covers could not be more different, in that we get an angular take on Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless” which I prefer to the original. With Mike Glendenning and Randy Jacobs on guitars, Bill Lanham on bass, he brings out an inner beauty I find somewhat missing from the version on ‘Remain In Light’.

However, the highlight is the closing number, Split Enz’ “Six Months In A Leaky Boat”. For those living outside New Zealand or Australia it will be difficult, if not impossible, to understand just how important this band was, and how Tim Finn and brother Neil (who formed Crowded House after their demise, another NZ outfit, whatever Aussies say) are regarded. Even though the song tells the story of how long it took pioneers to sail to New Zealand, it was felt by many in the UK to be about the Falklands War and was banned! Some people concentrate on the middle section of this song, which is the jaunty rock section, but it has an important intro and outro, and Jimmy has ensured these are given the reverence they deserve, with Ryo Okumoto providing a delicate piano introduction which is more direct than the original with less orchestration, but still with the sounds of the storm while the close out is by Otmaro Ruiz.

In many ways this song is a wonderful representation of what can be found on the album, as Jimmy has made it his own, with stacks of confidence. I love it and have heard the original countless times yet understand this is a homage. I sat and played this album three times straight the other day, enjoying it more each time as there is a warmth and companionship within this which only comes from someone doing what he loves, and not attempting to fit inside any particular musical box or expectations but doing what makes him happy. This needs to be heard by a much wider audience than progheads as this is a delight from start to finish. 9/10 Kev Rowland


When I started writing some thirty years ago, one of the reasons for doing so was that I was aware of some wonderful music which the mainstream press ignored. Being able to sing and/or play instruments no longer seemed to be as important as it used to be, and the state of music being played on normal commercial radio filled me with despair, so I just didn’t listen to it anymore. This is how I became involved in the underground scene, and over the years have been fortunate to hear some incredible music which otherwise would have passed me by. Earlier this year Peter Matuchniak sent me a copy of his latest project, ‘Gyreland’ by Bomber Goggles and I loved it immediately. One of the people involved in that was Steve Bonino, and we soon discovered we had a lot in common and I interviewed him for his latest album, ‘Stargazer’ (which is awesome, everyone should have a copy). Following on from that he sent me some of his older material, and I am currently playing Children of the Moon from 2014. My only question has to be, why on earth didn’t I come across this before?

Children of the Moon is multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Steve Bonino, with singer Pascale Elia and drummer Jimmy Keegan. If that isn’t enough in the way of Spock’s Beard credentials, Ryo Okumoto guests on one song and it was mastered by none other than the mighty Rich Mouser. To say this album is a delight is a masterful exercise in understatement. Power pop, pop rock, crossover prog, melodic rock, call it what you will but know that there are some gorgeous songs here with great hooks. Both Steve and Pascale take turns on leads, as well as harmonizes, while Jimmy shows yet again why he is such an in-demand drummer as he adds nuances here and there without removing any emphasis from the melody.

There are quite a few different styles here, and “Everybody Loves Love” is a standout country number (the pedal steel is a wonderful touch), while “My Young Man” is a singer-songwriter classic which belongs in the late Sixties with gorgeous harmonies. Special mention must be made of Amy Tori, who guests with flute on five songs, and this adds an additional sense of class and style to the album that works really well. Many of the songs seem incredibly personal, so much so that I felt at times that I was almost intruding, but it was all so good that I couldn’t turn away. The CD is still available, and it is also possible to stream through Bandcamp, and I can only urge all those into wonderful psychedelic power pop to get straight over to https://thesteveboninoprojects.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-the-moon and discover it for yourselves.

9/10 Kev Rowland

Fire Garden Release Far and Near

It’s time Friends…..

After a blasting successful pledge campaign crossed over 227% the album is releasing to rest of the world on Friday October 21, 2016.

Thank you all for making it possible. The response from pledgers has been very positive and It is always pleasing to read your comments and thoughts.

I know many of you already pledged and pre-ordered the album If you are still waiting then this is the time as we are start shipping CDs, T-Shirt orders from next week.

Other than that we are working hard to bring the band to your town in USA and play some good music for you. Keep visiting our website SHOWS page to see what is happening in FG’s world. If you are interested in Fire Garden to play in near your area simply reply to this email we will put your city in our plans.

Fire Garden

Fire Garden second full length record contains 9 new tracks featuring Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Jimmy Keegan (Spock’s Beard).
Mixed by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief)
Album cover by Travis Smith
CD and Digital with 24 page booklet contains song artwork and lyrics
Available from 10/21/2016 in Stereo and 5.1 Surround and Hi-Resolution Audio
Releases Date October 21, 2016
Far and Near Line Up
Zee – Music, Lyrics, Vocals, Guitars, Mellotron, Synths
Jimmy Keegan (Spock’s Beard) – Drums
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) Keyboard solo on Life of a Drifter
Frank Lucas – Pianos, Keyboards
Marc Malitz – Bass

Barry Kleiber – Bass




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Jimmy Keegan Steps Down As Drummer for Spock’s Beard


Jimmy Keegan
Hey Kids! So … In 2003 I was asked to join Spock’s Beard. I had been toying with the idea of putting my own band together but this seemed a safer route as well as an honorable one. Nick had become the singer and they needed a drummer who could sing (especially the high bits) as well as play the often complex parts that Nick had crafted so well. The fit seemed perfect. Almost too perfect! I became the touring drummer while Nick played alongside and in the studio. Some time later, Nick would get a call to join Cirque du Soleil and he decided to take the offer, as I would’ve as well. I became the full time drummer and tracked two fantastic records as well as some great tours and shows. The idea of my own band was still nagging. I started to humor it and raised some money in a campaign but the schedule has proven extremely difficult and I have been way too slow to produce this first album. I should’ve been doing this long ago. For this reason, I have stepped down as the drummer for Spock’s Beard and will be putting all my efforts into my own project. Oh sure, I will continue doing sessions, gigs and short tours but my daily focus will now be … well, myself. For those who contributed, I can’t thank you enough for your patience. For SB fans, you will be in good hands. Look to the guys for announcements of what is to come.

Definitely not an easy decision but a necessary one. Thanks for your support and thanks to Spock’s Beard for allowing me to be a part of such a fantastic band for so long.
Stay tuned!

In a statement for the Spock’s Beard Camp
We regret to announce that Jimmy Keegan has resigned from Spock’s Beard to pursue other interests. Jimmy has been a key member of the SB family since 2003, and his unique contribution will be sorely missed. His talents as a drummer and vocalist are world class, unsurpassed. We wish Jimmy well and look forward to what he’s going to come up with next – Dude, you’re the best!

Jimmy was Drummer and Vocalist for Spock’s Beard between 2011 and 2016 and recorded to albums with the band:Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep (2013) and The Oblivion Particle (2015) Jimmy has He has played with artists such as Santana, as the drummer on the song “Primavera” on Santana’s hit album Supernatural also with John Waite, Amadeus Awad, Steve Bonino and Kenny Loggins to name a few.

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